Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


The principle for discussion on this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.5.1: “The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each judge and determine whether or not its members have been properly elected to represent their respective constituencies.” This principle protects the integrity of the Senate and House of Representatives by giving the members of each body the Right to determine the credentials of their fellow members.

The House or Senate assumes its constitutional role of judging whenever a member is suspected of being elected illegally. Congress can issue a subpoena to compel a witness to appear before them or warrants for arrest of witnesses who are hostile and don’t respond to a subpoena.

The House or Senate retains the authority to investigate irregularities or illegal election procedures even if they refuse to allow a newly elected member to take the oath of office. Any state that allows a Senator or Representative to be elected illegally has no right to claim they are not being represented equally.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Temple Work

The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that we have a Heavenly Father who wants all of His children to return to His presence. The gospel also teaches that the Atonement of Jesus Christ provided the means to be resurrected and to live forever with our families in God’s presence. In order to put the Atonement into effect in our lives, we must obey all that the Savior commands. His commandments include being baptized and confirmed as well as receiving the temple ordinances.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have each been baptized and confirmed by one holding proper priesthood authority. Each adult member also may go into the temple to receive the saving priesthood ordinances performed there.

Many people have lived on the earth that did not have these same opportunities. They did not live at a time or in a place when the gospel was available to them. Because Heavenly Father loves all of His children and wants all of us to return to live with Him, He provided a way for those who have died without baptism or the temple ordinances to receive them. Members of the Church act as proxies to perform temple ordinances for our ancestors.

Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are special buildings built and dedicated to the Lord. Worthy Church members have the opportunity to go inside the temples to receive sacred ordinances and to make covenants with God. These ordinances and covenants, like baptism, are necessary for our salvation and must be performed in the temples of the Lord.

Part of the temple experience is instruction about Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Visitors to the temple gain better understanding of our purpose in life and our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. There we learn about our life before we came to earth, why we are here, and what life after death is like.

All temple ordinances are performed by the power of the priesthood. Ordinances performed on earth by this power are sealed, or bound, in heaven as the Savior taught His Apostles, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

The temple is the only place where families can be sealed together forever. Baptism and all other ordinances prepare us for marriage in the temple where a man and a woman are joined as husband and wife for eternity if they honor their covenants.

When a man and a woman are married in the temple, any children born after the sealing are automatically part of their eternal family. Couples who were previously married by civil authority can receive these same blessings by preparing themselves and their children to go to the temple and be sealed to each other. Parents who legally adopt children may have those children sealed to them.

Many of our ancestors died without the opportunity to hear the gospel on earth and now live in the spirit world where they are taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who accept the gospel there in the spirit world are waiting for the temple ordinances to be performed for them here on earth. We can feel the joy of our ancestors as we perform these temple ordinances for them.

In order to do temple work for our ancestors, we must identify them by doing family history. When we have sufficient information, we can take the names of our ancestors to the temple to be sealed into the family relationship. The experience of doing temple work for an ancestor is a special and sacred experience.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Memories of Alaska Highway

Families grow stronger when they share good experiences and learn from their memories. Traveling the Alaska Highway has provided many wonderful experiences for our family, and we often remember and laugh about them.

The Alaska Highway starts at Dawson Creek in British Columbia, Canada, near the Alberta border and stretches north-northwest for approximately 1520 miles to Fairbanks, Alaska. I traveled the entire Alaska Highway only once, but I have been on large portions of the highway about a dozen times.

The first time that my family traveled the Alaska Highway was in 1973 when we moved to Alaska. Our family at that time consisted of my husband, two little girls (ages sixteen months old and one month), and myself. We drove a 1970 Chevrolet pickup and pulled a thirteen-foot camp trailer. Car seats were just coming out but were not yet required for children. Since we had room for only one car seat in our truck, we chose to put the toddler in the car seat and put the baby on a pillow on my lap. Our toddler was very active and hated the car seat so we were able to travel only while she was napping. Our trip up the highway took two full weeks.

My plan at the time of this first trip was to come to Alaska and stay for about a year to allow my husband an opportunity to experience Alaska and get it out of his blood. I thought we would then return to Utah and “get on with our lives.” The trip up the highway converted me to the beauties of the north country. I loved Alaska from the time I entered it in 1973.

For my second and third trips, I drove down the highway with my six children to spend six weeks with family and then drove home. Their ages at that time were 17, 16, 14, 12, 9, and 4 years old. Neither my husband nor the children really believed that I would make the drive – until we actually left. The car was really too small for all of us so we were very crowded. One of my strongest memories of this trip is my fourteen-year-old son trying to find someplace to put his long legs. The teenagers were so bored with all the scenery that they actually slept the trip away as did the younger children. We drove about twelve hours each day and then stopped at hotels at night. One night I woke up to the fire alarm going off but couldn’t see any fire. I called the office, and a man came to change the battery in the alarm. I was amazed that none of my children woke up during the entire experience. The only time that we could not get a hotel room was when we hit Calgary, Alberta, during the Calgary Stampede and ended up sleeping in the car. I awoke early the next morning with two guys looking in the window at my daughters. I hurriedly started the car and got out of there! The children all complained about the travel arrangements, but several of them wrote essays about the trip for their college applications. They learned some interesting lessons on the trip: patience, getting along together, and the importance of family. All of my children have definite memories of this trip!

Several of my children have driven the highway with friends to attend college and had interesting experiences. My oldest son had a funny experience when he and his friend pitched their tent in the dark and woke up to discover that they had put their tent in the middle of someone’s driveway.

My husband’s parents wanted to drive the highway in 1990. They flew to Alaska and then drove with my two youngest children and myself. This time I drove a Chevrolet Suburban and had plenty of room to take belongings for a college student. On the return trip, my older brother drove with me. This time we slept in the Suburban, and we drove the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to Fairbanks and then drove to Anchorage on the Parks Highway. This is the only time I drove the entire highway.

We stopped in Edmonton on numerous trips in order to go to the Edmonton Mall. This mall is really huge – about a mile long. It has all kinds of stores in it including two McDonalds and hotels. There is a wave pool in the mall as well as a place with carnival rides. It was easy for me to see why such a mall would be helpful in a place with months of cold weather.

I drove the Alaska Highway three different times in 2004. My husband purchased a truck in Washington, and I flew down to drive back with him in May. In August I drove down the highway with my youngest daughter when she went to college and then flew home. In October I drove down the highway with my husband to spend a few months helping his parents. I enjoyed every trip!

Driving the Alaska Highway provides many happy memories for my family.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brush Fires of Freedom

“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men” (Samuel Adams).

The tea party movement began with a few groups of American citizens who were concerned by the government bailouts of banks and corporations and who thought they were Taxed Enough Already (TEA). The movement continued to grow as the government ran up trillions of dollars in national debt, nationalized health care and failed to secure our borders. Politicians saw and heard their complaints – and then ignored them. The movement now includes millions of patriot conservatives who are clamoring for the rule of law.

Ken Buck, candidate for a Colorado seat in the United States Senate, clearly articulated why freedom-loving Americans are standing up and fighting to take our country back. Check out his comments here. His conclusion: we have a choice; we can either repeat history or make history that will make our posterity proud.

The influence of the tea party is being felt across the nation as many incumbents in the US House of Representatives and US Senate are fighting for their political lives. Conservatives nationwide are telling politicians to stand on constitutional principles and keep their sacred oaths to support and defend our Constitution – or be replaced. The tea party marches are part of a non-violent revolution. Hopefully, we can keep our nation from being “fundamentally transformed” in front of our eyes without this peaceful revolution becoming a bloody and violent revolution.

The words of Thomas Jefferson ring loudly in my ears: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” I believe that only our Second Amendment “Right to Keep and Bear Arms” will save our Republic from total destruction and this is why liberals and progressives want to take away gun rights.

James Madison apparently had a similar belief when he said, “[T]he advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.”

Samuel Adams said, “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
I hope that you love liberty more than wealth and will join the cause for liberty along with the tea party movement. This patriotic movement is not going to go away so you might as well join us and add your voice in this fight for freedom. United we stand! Please join the effort to set “brush fires of freedom” in the minds of our countrymen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alaska Highway

The Alaska Highway means different things to different people. Some people consider it to be a great adventure while others think of it as simply a long drive. I heard one young woman describe it as “a thousand miles too much scenery.” I have traveled the Alaska Highway about a dozen times, but I still find myself wanting to make the trip again – looking forward to it and enjoying every mile of it.

The idea of an overland link between Alaska and the Lower 48 was studied as early as 1930 during the administration of President Herbert Hoover. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, construction of the highway became a military necessity because Alaska was considered to be vulnerable to an invasion by Japanese forces. When the Japanese invaded Attu and Kiska islands in the Aleutians in June 1942, there was an added sense of urgency to complete the highway.

The highway to Alaska was approved by the United States Army on February 6, 1942, and construction of it was authorized on February 11 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Construction of this pioneer road officially started on March 9, 1942, and ended on October 25, 1942 = a period of 8 months and 12 days. The military name for this trail through the wilderness was ALCAN, and some people still refer to the Alaska Highway as the ALCAN. There were restrictions on civilian traffic on the highway during the war years. The highway was officially renamed the Alaska Highway in March 1943 and opened to the public in 1948.

The War Department determined that the Alaska Highway would be built on the same general route followed by aircraft flying from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Fairbanks, Alaska, as well as existing winter roads, old Indian trails, rivers, and “sight” engineering. Airfields along this route formed the Northwest Staging Route. More than 8,000 war planes were ferried along this chain of airfields from Great Falls, Montana, to Ladd AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska. The aircraft were flown from Fairbanks to Nome to Russia as part of the Russian-American Lend Lease Program.

A formal agreement between the United States and Canada in March 1942 secured rights-of-way for the road. The United States agreed to pay for construction and to give the Canadian portion of the highway to the Canadian government after the war. Canada agreed to furnish the rights-of-way, to waive import duties, sales taxes, income taxes, and immigration regulations, and to provide materials for construction along the route.

More than 10,000 American troops in regiments from the United States Army Corps of Engineers went north to work on the road. Civilian engineers and equipment were organized by the Public Roads Administration. They located and shipped trucks, road-building equipment, office furniture, food, tents and other supplies.

Soldiers and civilians worked seven days a week and endured mosquitoes and black flies in summer and temperatures below zero degrees in winter. Communication between headquarters and field parties was sparse, and there was never enough equipment. Crews worked from the western end of the road as well as from the eastern end and met at Contact Creek on September 25. Vehicles were traveling the entire length of the ALCAN by October.

The Alaska Highway was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Soldiers’ Summit at Kluane Lake on November 20, 1942. It was rededicated on November 20, 1992, during the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. It was also named an International Historical Engineering Landmark in 1996.

The Alaska Highway starts in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, at Mile 0. It travels in a northwesterly direction to Watson Lake, Yukon Territory (Historical Mile 635). It crosses the Alaska border at Port Alcan (Historical mile 1221.8). The official end of the Alaska Highway is at Delta Junction, Alaska (Historical Mile 1422), and the unofficial end of the highway is at Fairbanks, Alaska (Historical Mile 1520).

The highway is about 35 miles shorter today than it was in the 1940’s, and it continues to get shorter as reconstruction takes off more miles. The condition of the highway continues to improve with reconstruction. When I first drove it in 1973, there were vast stretches of mud. Today the entire highway is paved, but it is still plagued with frost heaves.

Driving the Alaska Highway is an adventure that everyone should take at least once. I recommend that anyone making the trip take along the latest copy of The Milepost. This book is a “must” for making the trip. In fact, much of the information for this post came from my copy of The Milepost (pages 97, 104).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Drove the Alaska Highway

My husband and I recently completed a five-day trip from Anchorage to northern Idaho. Due to the lateness of the season, most of our travel took place on the Alaska Highway. I love this trip through the wilderness of beautiful western Canada and have made it about a dozen different times over a period of 37 years.

We left Anchorage about 4:00 on a Friday afternoon with mostly cloudy skies and the thermometer at 46 degrees. We traveled the Glenn Allen Highway to Tok, 330 miles north/northwest of Anchorage. The road winds through Chickaloon Pass, along the Matanuska River, and between Chugach Mountains and the Talkeetna Mountains. The road was dry, but heavy snow was accumulating in the tops of the mountains. The scenery was absolutely spectacular with the snow-tipped mountains in the background and trees covered with brightly colored leaves.

We saw a red fox and three moose before we reached Glenn Allen about 7:00. After leaving Glenn Allen we traveled the Richardson Highway until we came to the Tok Cutoff at the Gakona Junction about 7:30 when darkness fell.
As we neared Tok, we drove into freezing fog, which lasted for several miles. The next morning we left Tok on the Alaska Highway. The thermometer stood at 19 degrees, and the trees, brush and weeds were covered with frozen fog. It looked as though we were driving through a Christmas wonderland. Tok usually has the worst weather on the whole trip as it is the furthest north so we were hoping for good weather for the rest of the trip.

Crossing the border into Canada was uneventful this year because we had our passports handy and the paperwork for our guns properly prepared. Soon after we entered Canada we hit snow. We drove on a snow-packed road for most of our second day. After traveling in snow for about an hour, we reached beautiful Kluane Lake, the first of many humongous lakes on our route. Kluane Lake is the largest lake in Yukon Territory and covers approximately 154 square miles. The road winds around a large part of the lake and at times right on the edge of the lake. The road winds between Kluane Lake and Sheep Mountain. We didn’t see any Dall sheep on Sheep Mountain this year, but we have at various times on previous trips – usually in the spring – counted dozens of sheep. We assumed that the sheep had found refuge from the storm in a more sheltered area than the open mountain side, but we understood that we might be looking right at the white sheep but couldn’t see them on the snow-covered mountain. The mountain pass between Kluane Lake and Haines Junction was open but snow packed. We were relieved to get over the pass as we had seen other vehicles struggling to get up the mountain.

We stopped in Haines Junction for a break and some brunch at Glacier Inn. The owner recognized us. Is this a sign that we have been there too many times? We drove on to Liard Hot Springs and took the time to take a swim. The water is very warm and even too hot in places. We always stop there when we travel this part of the highway. I recommend that all jewelry be removed before entering the water. My shiny white-gold CTR ring turned to a dark charcoal gray effervescent color. The flat areas of my ring returned to dull silver within about twenty-four hours; the edges are still dark after two weeks. I was told that gold jewelry also changes colors. I was also told that Liard Hot Springs is wonderful in the winter when the trees are covered with snow and frost. The hot water heats the body so well that it stays warm on the long walk back to the parking area.

I felt very grateful for all my previous trips down the Alaska Highway. Because I had previously traveled the highway, I knew that beautiful vistas of the Canadian Rocky Mountains lay just beyond the trees lining the road. On this trip, I could see nothing beyond the trees because of fog, clouds, snow and rain, and we were out of the mountains before we hit clear weather.

The road through the Rocky Mountains is narrow with no shoulders and almost continuous twists and turns. It is not a fun road to drive on dry pavement and becomes worse on wet and slippery pavement.

Businesses and towns along the upper portion of the Alaska Highway appreciate the dollars Americans spend while making the trip between Alaska and the Lower 48. The people are always friendly, and some of them show their appreciation by flying the Stars and Stripes side by side with their Canadian flag. Watson Lake lines the entire route through their town with Canadian and American flags. Watson Lake also has a “forest” of sign posts with streets signs and license plates from many parts of the USA and elsewhere. A business at Burwash Landing has a large sign that reads, “Long live the USA.” Businesses in the more populated areas east of the Rockies are not so dependent on American dollars, but some of them still fly the American flag.

Our trip along the Alaska Highway this year ended at Dawson Creek – Mile Zero. We usually leave the highway at either Watson Lake (Cassiar Highway) or just before Fort St. John (Highway 29). This year we drove to the beginning of the Alaska Highway in an effort to see some different scenery.

We always try to begin or end our trip through Canada with a drive through the Canadian national parks. We enjoy seeing the slanted mountains, hanging glaciers, ice fields, glacier streams, and beautiful mountain grandeurs of the parks. We always fill up with fuel in Jasper because it has the cheapest fuel on the entire trip through Canada.

Driving the Alaska Highway is an adventure for us. We usually drive ten to twelve hours each day. We crossed the border into northern Idaho in late afternoon on our fifth day. I can honestly say that I enjoy every single trip that I make on the Alaska Highway.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese democracy activist, is the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Price. It appears that he truly deserves the prize – unlike others who have received it in recent years. We have not heard much about the activities of Liu Xiaobo because the European and American media tend to cover up China’s internal and international acts. China considers his writing to be subversive and has censored his name.

Liu, age 54, was born December 28, 1955, in Changchun, Jilin, People’s Republic of China. His alma maters are Jilin University and Beijing Normal University.

Liu, a Chinese intellectual and writer, is also a human rights activist and a political prisoner in China. He was detained on December 8, 2008, and formally arrested on June 23, 2009, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” After his trial on the charges on December 23, 2009, he was sentenced on December 25, 2009, to eleven years in prison and two years of being deprived of political rights. This imprisonment is Liu’s fourth prison term. The Chinese government does not like him because he wants democratic elections, freedom values, separation of powers, and accountable governments.

Liu Xiaobo was first detained in June 1989 for his part in the Tiananmen Square protest. He was convicted on charges of “counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement.” He was then ordered in October 1996 to be re-educated by labor for three years. He was charged with “disturbing public order” for criticizing the Chinese Communist Party. Liu was released in 1999, but apparently he was not yet free. The government built a sentry station next to his home and tapped his telephone line and internet connections. His computer, letters and documents were confiscated by the government in 2004 when he started to write a report on human rights in China. Liu was again detained and questioned in 2007 about his articles being published on websites outside Mainland China.

Liu received the 2010 Nobel Peace Price for “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” The Chinese government was not happy about Liu Xiaobo being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and warned the Nobel committee that it would be against Nobel principles to give the prize to Liu. All news of the award was censored and some of it was blocked in China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued the following statement, “The Nobel Peace Prize is meant to award individuals who promote international harmony and friendship, peace and disarmament. Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law. Awarding the peace to Liu runs completely counter to the principle of the award and is also a desecration of the Peace Prize.”

Human right lawyers and academics attempted to honor Liu Xiaobo with a banquet, but they were stopped by Beijing police. Other meetings to recognize the award were “prevented by authorities, and prominent intellectuals and other dissidents were detained, harassed or put under surveillance.”

After the award was announced, Liu Xia, Liu’s wife, was put under house arrest, but she has not been charged with any crime yet. Facts and quotes are from Wikipedia.

I wrote about Liu in an effort to better dramatize the differences between a democratic republic and a Communistic republic. I think it is very important that people who enjoy liberty be aware that millions of other people live in very controlled environments. I am grateful to live in liberty. Long live the USA!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Annual Sessions

The principle for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.4.2, "The Congress, consisting of both the House and the Senate, shall meet automatically once every year, on the first Monday in December unless they shall by law appoint a different day." This principle gives the people the Right to expect their representatives in Congress to automatically meet each year on a specific date. (Section 2 of the Twentieth Amendment, passed in 1933, changed the date to January 3.)

The writers of the U.S. Constitution were well aware that the king in England convened and dissolved Parliament whenever he chose to do so, and they wanted to avoid the conflicts caused by such behavior. The Founders wanted the annual sessions of Congress to occur automatically each year, and they wrote specific instructions to do so.

An interesting side note: At the time George Washington became President of the United States, the States General of France had not been called together by the king for 175 years. King Louis convened the French States General one month after Washington was inaugurated - and the French Revolution was the result of their meeting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Law of Chastity

The law of chastity is very simple to understand: We are to have sexual relations only with our spouse to whom we are legally and lawfully married. No one, male or female, is to have sexual relations before marriage. After marriage, sexual relations are performed only with our spouse.

The law of chastity is not a new law because the Lord told the Israelites, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). This law has been repeated in modern days (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:24). The law of chastity means more than sexual intercourse. The First Presidency warned of other sexual sins: "Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage. Do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person's body, with or without clothing. Do not allow anyone to do that with you. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body" (For the Strength of Youth [pamphlet, 2001], 27).

Homosexual behavior is a serious sin just like other violations of the law of chastity. Latter-day prophets have warned about the dangers of homosexual behavior and about concern for people who may have such inclinations. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "In the first place, we believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. We believe that marriage may be eternal through exercise of the power of the everlasting priesthood in the house of the Lord.

"People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.

"We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families" (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).

So why is obedience to the law of chastity so important? When God created the earth, He commanded each living thing to reproduce after its own kind (see Genesis 1:22). It was part of God's plan that all forms of life would continue to exist on the earth through reproduction of their own kind.

After God created all the animals, birds, fish, etc, He created Adam and Eve after His own image. They were His spirit children, and He brought them together in marriage in the Garden of Eden. Then He commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth (see Genesis 1:28). They were to govern their lives by moral laws and not by animal instincts.

God planned for His spirit children to be born into families where they could be cared for and taught properly. As the posterity of Adam and Eve, we too are to provide bodies for God's spirit children. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have stated, "We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed" ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). God has commanded that sexual relations are to take place in a legal and lawful marriage between a man and a woman. This commandment is the law of chastity.

Satan is cunning and powerful as he does all that he can to destroy the plan of God by enticing us to break the law of chastity. Because Heavenly Father wants us to keep our bodies covered modestly, Satan attacks the standards of modesty. Satan knows that immodest dress encourages improper thoughts and actions. Satan also tempts us through our emotions and chooses a time when we are lonely, confused, or depressed to tempt us to break the law of chastity. If we will rely on Heavenly Father, He will give us the strength to pass through these trials unharmed.

Genesis 39:1-18 tells the story of a righteous young man named Joseph, who was trusted by his master Potiphar. Joseph had command over everything that belonged to Potiphar. When Potiphar's wife lusted after Joseph and tempted him to commit adultery with her, Joseph resisted and fled from her.

Breaking the law of chastity is very serious. The prophet Alma told his son Corianton that unchastity is next to murder in seriousness when he said, "Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?" (Alma 39:5).

Heavenly Father wants all of His children to obey the law of chastity and any members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who break this law or influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Those who break the law of chastity can receive forgiveness and peace, but the way is not easy. President Spencer W. Kimball said, "To every forgiveness there is a condition. … The fasting, the prayers, the humility must be equal to or greater than the sin. There must be a broken heart and a contrite spirit…. There must be tears and genuine change of heart. There must be conviction of the sin, abandonment of the evil, confession of the error to properly constituted authorities of the Lord" (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 353).

Confession is usually the most difficult part of repentance for confession must be not only to the Lord but to those who have been offended. President Kimball warned, "Even though forgiveness is so abundantly promised there is no promise nor indication of forgiveness to any soul who does not totally repent …. We can hardly be too forceful in reminding people that they cannot sin and be forgiven and then sin again and again and expect repeated forgiveness" (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 353, 360).

Living the law of chastity helps us to live without guilt or shame. It also brings blessings into our own life and into the lives of our children. Our children look to our example and follow in our footsteps.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Choice and Accountability

Families grow stronger when parents teach the fact that there is accountability for every choice. We all have agency and freedom to do many things. We can choose what we want to do without any problem in many instances, but we must also understand that we cannot choose the consequences for those choices.

President Calvin Coolidge (1873-1933) said, "We demand entire freedom of action and then expect the government in some miraculous way to save us from the consequences of our own acts…. Self-government means self-reliance."

Our Constitution was written for a religious and moral people. People who expect the government to always be there to bail them out of trouble are dead weights on our system. We can strengthen our nation by making right choices in order to receive the consequences that we desire.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Voter Apathy

Do you or do you not want to be free? Every issue concerning Americans at this time is about freedom: bailouts, buyouts, backroom deals in Washington, out-of-control spending, illegal immigration, drug cartel violence, or government takeover of everything. It is all about lessening the freedoms that Americans enjoy.

Election day will be November 2. These elections will have consequences about the freedoms we enjoy and will affect generations yet to come. The Obama Administration and their cohorts in Congress have been taking freedoms away from Americans for more than a year and half. Poll after poll has shown that there are far more conservatives and independents in the United States that liberals and progressives. We can "take our country back" if we all go to the polls and vote for conservatives.

We must not fall for the stories coming from mainstream media. They are telling us that Americans are angry enough to vote all incumbents out of office. They are trying to lull us into apathy in order to keep us from going to the polls to vote. They want us to think that we don't need to worry about voting because "everyone else" will be there. They want us to believe that we don't need to worry or pay attention because the angry citizens are coming. Freedom-loving Americans must not fall for their siren song.

Gun owners may be one group of Americans that may be feeling safe. There were razor-thin victories in the U.S. Supreme Court in two different cases concerning the Second Amendment. Both District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago were decided in favor of freedom by a margin of one vote. Since Heller was decided two years ago, President Obama has appointed two liberal justices to the Supreme Court. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is constantly under attack.

I encourage all Americans - not just those who own guns - to join the National Rifle Association (NRA) in order to add more voices and votes for freedom. "From the birth of our nation at Lexington and Concord, right up until today, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is the single most important safeguard and symbol of freedom in the American experience.
"The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is what secures the sovereignty of `We the People.'"

Remember to "Vote Freedom First" on November 2!

Ideas and quotes for this post are from an article by Wayne LaPierre and Chris W. Cox in America's First Freedom, October 2010, pp 32-36).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mount Rushmore

The name Mount Rushmore is used when referring to a huge carving on a granite cliff in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore National Memorial shows the faces of four American Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Washington's head is as high as a five-story building and is to the scale of a human being 465 feet tall.

The American sculptor Gutzon Borglum designed Mount Rushmore and supervised most of its work. Workers obtained measurements for the figures by using models that were one-twelfth actual size. They used drills and dynamite to cut the figures from Mount Rushmore's granite cliff. Work on the memorial began in 1927 and continued over 14 years with a few lapses in work. Borglum died in 1941 before seeing the memorial completed, but his son finished the work.

Mount Rushmore is located in the mountains twenty-five miles from Rapid City. The memorial rises 5,725 feet above sea level and more than 500 feet above the valley. Mount Rushmore is taller than the Great Pyramid of Egypt and is part of the National Park System.

Facts for this post came from an article in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, pp 887-888, that was critically reviewed by the National Park Service.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Owned by China?

The following statement leads an article on CNBC entitled "US Is `Practically Owned' by China: Analyst": "The US supremacy as the top world economy will end sooner than many people believe, so gold is a better investment than the dollar despite it hitting a new record, Tom Winifrith, CEO at financial services firm Rivington Street Holdings, told Monday [27 Sep 2010].

The price of gold continues to climb, and the price of silver is higher than it has been in 30 years. China continues to buy more and more of the debt of the United States and practically owns the United States according to Winnifrith.
America is following in the footsteps of other great empires, particularly Great Britain. Winnifrith predicts that China and India will have the world's two largest economies by 2032.

The best thing that Americans can do is vote all the progressives out of office and elect conservatives. Conservative principles work every time they are tried. When Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Ronald Reagan cut taxes, the result was the same - a stronger economy. It isn't the political party that is important; we must elect conservatives in order to save America.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt (ROH zuh vehlt) (1858-1919) had served as Vice President of the United States for only six months when President William McKinley was killed by an assassin in September 1901. He was the youngest man to become President when he took office at age 42. He was wildly popular and millions of Americans affectionately referred to him as "Teddy" or "T.R." He was elected to a full term as President in 1904 and declared that he would "under no circumstances" run for President again. He gave in to pleas in 1912 that he run for a third term as the "Bull Moose" candidate but lost to Woodrow Wilson.

Roosevelt had great energy and led what he called a "strenuous life." He enjoyed horseback riding, swimming, hunting, hiking, and boxing and often expression enthusiasm for something by referring to it as "bully." Cartoons of him show his rimless glasses, bushy mustache, prominent teeth, and jutting jaw. One such cartoon showed him with a bear cub. It was not long before toymakers began making stuffed animals known as "teddy bears."

Roosevelt became a national hero when he led the fearless Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War in 1898 against Spaniards in Cuba. He came home to be elected governor of New York and then Vice President two years later. His domestic policies were reforms to benefit the American people, specifically to limit the power of great businesses.

In foreign relations, he worked to make the United States a leader in the world and felt that this position of leadership should be supported with a strong military. He expressed this foreign policy as: "Speak softly and carry a big stick." He strengthened the U.S. Navy, began construction of the Panama Canal, and insured that European nations did not interfere in Latin America. He was instrumental in ending the Russo-Japanese War and was the first American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

During the Roosevelt Administration, automobiles, electric lights, and telephones began to be widely used. The first radio message was sent across the Atlantic Ocean, a telegraph cable was laid across the Pacific Ocean to the Philippines, and the Wright brothers flew the first successful airplane with Roosevelt enjoying a ride in one of the first models.

Roosevelt enjoyed being at the center of the stage of public life. When he left office, he wrote: "I do not believe that anyone else has ever enjoyed the White House as much as I have" - and he was probably right.

Theodore Roosevelt - known as Teedie to the family - was born on October 27, 1858, in New York City. He had one older sister and a younger brother and sister.
The Van Roosevelts, Teddy's ancestors, came from Holland in the 1640's. One of his ancestors, Klaes Martensen Van Roosevelt, settled in what was then called New Amsterdam, New York. Klaes was also an ancestor of Franklin D. Roosevelt who was the 32d President of the United States. Most of the Van Roosevelts were wealthy land owners and business leaders. His mother came from a prominent family in Georgia. There were some differences in the Roosevelt marriage during the Civil War: Mrs. Roosevelt had a brother who was an admiral in the Confederate Navy, and she supported the South. Mr. Roosevelt was an importer of plate glass and supported the North. In spite of their differences, they provided a happy home for their family.

Roosevelt had great energy, curiosity, and determination, and he enjoyed an active childhood. He was puny and ill often, and he suffered greatly with asthma. He discovered that he was nearsighted while playing with friends one day: the other children could easily read an advertisement on a billboard but he could not even see the letters. Theodore wore glasses from that time on.

Roosevelt's interests in nature study came from his love of both books and the outdoors. He went on two trips with his family, each of which lasted one year when he was 10 and again at age 14. He visited both Europe and the Middle East.
Teddy's father told him that he would need a strong body in order for his mind to develop to its full potential. After he was bullied on a trip to Maine by himself, his father built a gymnasium in the family home. Teddy exercised there regularly, overcame his asthma and built up unusual physical strength.

Teddy was tutored until age 18 when he entered Harvard University in 1876. There he earned good grades and asked many questions. A professor remarked, "Now look here, Roosevelt, let me talk. I'm running this course!"

Roosevelt met Alice Hathaway Lee, the daughter of a wealthy official of a Boston investment firm, in October 1879. They courted during Roosevelt's senior year at Harvard and married on his 22d birthday after he graduated. Alice died on February 14, 1884, two days after the birth of a daughter named Alice. Roosevelt's mother died on the same day from typhoid fever.

Roosevelt's father died in 1878 and left him some money. He needed to earn more in order to live comfortably so he enrolled in the Columbia University Law School. The law classes did not interest him, and he wrote The Naval War of 1812 while studying law. He decided to enter politics to give public service. In the fall of 1881 he won election to the New York state assembly at age 23. He was re-elected twice. His intelligence, courage, and energy won respect from the other legislators even though they thought he looked like a "dude" with his sideburns and elegant dress. He left politics after the deaths of his wife and mother.

Teddy ran two cattle ranches on the Little Missouri River in the Dakota Territory. The hard work and endless activity of being a rancher aided in his recovery from his heartaches. He wore cowboy clothes and spent 14-16 hours each day in the saddle. He hunted buffalo and other wild animals, tended cattle, and even aided officers of the law to capture a band of outlaws. He wrote steadily and in less than three months completed a biography of Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. He also wrote a four-volume series called The Winning of the West.
Most of Roosevelt's cattle were destroyed during the severe snowstorms in the winter of 1885-1886. and Teddy returned to New York City in 1886. At the request of Republican leaders he ran for mayor but was badly defeated.

During trips home from his ranches, Roosevelt visited a childhood friend, Edith Kermit Carow. They were married on December 2, 1886 and lived in Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt's home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. The Roosevelts had five children, and Mrs. Roosevelt raised Alice Roosevelt, Teddy's daughter from his first marriage, as her own child. Roosevelt love to play with his children.
Roosevelt served in many political positions: Civil Service commissioner, police commissioner, assistant secretary of the Navy, governor of New York, and Vice President of the United States

President William McKinley was shot by an assassin on September 6, 1901, while attending the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, just six months after his second inauguration. Roosevelt was vacationing in the Adirondack Mountains but hurried to Buffalo when he learned that McKinley was near death. McKinley died before Roosevelt arrived, and Roosevelt took the oath of office as President on the same day, September 14, 1901.

Life in the White House was never dull during the Roosevelt Administration. The Roosevelt children and their friends became known as the "White House Gang," and the President occasionally joined in the children's games. One day, upon hearing that the children were planning to attack the White House, the President sent a message through the War Department ordering them to call off their "attack." The children were allowed to bring their pets into the White House - including a pony and snakes.

The President played tennis on the White House lawn with friends often, and these friends became known as the "tennis cabinet." The group also enjoyed horseback riding and hiking. The President and his friends even swam across the Potomac River through chunks of floating ice a few times.

Edith Roosevelt carefully kept out of politics but was an efficient and gracious White House hostess. Roosevelt's daughter by his first wife became known as "Princess Alice" by newspaper reporters. She was married in the White House.

After Roosevelt left the presidency in March 1909, he sailed to Africa to hunt big game. Roosevelt and his party killed 296 big-game animals, including 9 lions. Roosevelt was the center of national attention when he arrived home in June 1910. Progressive Republicans wanted him to run for President because they felt that William Howard Taft had betrayed them. Roosevelt became the "Bull Moose" candidate and tried to unite the progressive and conservative wings of the Republican Party. He was unsuccessful because he was identified too closely with the progressives. Roosevelt's candidacy split the Republican vote, Democratic candidate, Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey, easily won the election.
While exploring the River of Doubt in the Brazilian jungle in 1914, Roosevelt contracted a form of jungle fever. He returned home weak and prematurely aged. He underwent surgery in 1918 to remove abscesses on his thigh and in his ears, which were the result of the jungle fever. He lost hearing in his left ear. About this same time he disclosed that he had lost sight in his left eye in 1908 from an injury received while boxing with a military aide.

Roosevelt was opposed to American membership in the League of Nations, feeling that the United States would be limited in foreign relations. Roosevelt might have been named as the Republican presidential candidate in 1920, but he died unexpectedly of a blood clot in his heart on January 6, 1919. He was buried in Youngs Memorial Cemetery, near Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, New York. Edith Roosevelt died in 1948 and was buried beside her husband.

Both Roosevelt's birthplace in New York City and Sagamore Hill are national historic sites. Wilcox Mansion in Buffalo, New York, where Roosevelt took the oath of office in 1901, is also a national historic site. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in western North Dakota, includes one of Roosevelt's ranches; the other ranch is nearby. There is a large statue of Roosevelt located on Theodore Roosevelt Island in the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. Roosevelt is also one of the four Presidents whose faces are carved on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by John A. Gable in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 16, pp 464-472.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Federal Elections

The topic for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.4.1: "It will be up to the legislature of each state to determine the time, places, and manner in which elections shall be held for federal offices, but the Congress may at any time pass a law to alter such arrangements. An exception was made as to the places of choosing Senators, since they were originally chosen by the state legislatures." This principle provides Rights to both the states and the Congress. States have the Right to schedule elections for federal office, but Congress has the Right to intervene when required by circumstances.

Congress did not act on this provision from 1787 when the Constitution was written until 1842. Congress decided to intervene in 1842 because inequities had developed. Congress decided that states should be divided into congressional districts with one representative elected by the people in that specific district rather than all representatives being elected by the people of the entire state.

Congress intervened again in 1866 to force state legislatures to meet on a specific day to elect Senators to represent them. State legislatures were required to stay in session until they reached a consensus on their Senators.

Congress declared in 1872 that all states would hold their general election on the same day. They selected the Tuesday following the first Monday in November to be the day for all general elections.

In 1899 Congress decided that the use of voting machines was legally acceptable. The Nineteenth Amendment provided that women could vote in general elections, and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment provided that all those eighteen years and older could vote in federal elections.

Because of corruption in state elections, Congress passed bills to make it a federal crime for anyone to vote in a federal election if that person was guilty of false registration, bribery, voting without legal right, intimidation of other voters, interfering with election officials, or making a false report of votes cast.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Marriage for Eternity

"Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God" ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). Marriage has been a law of the gospel since the beginning of time. Because Adam and Eve were married by God while they lived in the Garden of Eden and before there was death in the world, they were married for eternity. (See Genesis 2:21-24.) The eternal marriage of Adam and Eve indicates that marriages are intended to last forever and not just until death.

Adam and Eve taught the law of eternal marriage to their children as well as to their grandchildren and other posterity. Through the generations of time, the posterity of Adam became so wicked that the authority to perform the sacred ordinance of eternal marriage was taken from the earth. This authority was restored to earth through the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, marriage is more than a social custom or a legal agreement between a man and a woman to live together. Marriage is a sacred covenant, a sacrament, and the most sacred relationship that can exist between a man and a woman. Marriage affects our happiness here on earth as well as in the eternities and is a requirement for exaltation.

By obedience to the law of eternal marriage, we can become like Heavenly Father. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, "In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.] And if he does not, he cannot obtain it" (Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-3).

For a marriage to last for eternity, it must be performed by the proper authority and in the proper place. A marriage must be performed by one who holds the sealing power in order to receive the promised blessing of the Lord: "If a man marry a wife by … the new and everlasting covenant … by him who is anointed, … and if [they] abide in [the Lord's] covenant, … it … shall be of full force when they are out of the world" (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19). The proper place for an eternal marriage is one of the holy temples of our Lord - the only place where a marriage for eternity can be performed.

Latter-day Saint couples kneel at one of the sacred altars in the temple and make their marriage covenants before God and in the presence of their family and friends who have received the temple endowment. The marriage is performed by a man who holds the holy priesthood of God and who has received the authority to perform this sacred ordinance. Acting under the direction of God, he promises the blessings of exaltation to the couple as well as instructs them in how to obtain those blessings - with a reminder that all blessings depend on obedience to God's laws.

A marriage performed by any authority other than by the priesthood in the temple is for this life only, and the marriage partners have no claim on each other or on their children after death. A marriage for eternity presents the opportunity for families to continue after this life. Couples who have previously been married by civil authority may prepare themselves to go to the temple to be sealed for eternity, but a civil marriage is not a requirement for a temple marriage.

There are numerous blessings of an eternal marriage, both in this life and in eternity. Blessings in this life include: 1) The knowledge and comfort that our marriage can last forever and will not end at death except through our own disobedience. This knowledge helps us to strive harder to make a happy, successful marriage. 2) The knowledge that our family relationships can continue throughout eternity helps us to be more careful in teaching and training our children. This knowledge helps us to use more patience and love in dealing with family members and thus helps to make a happier home. 3) When our marriage is performed in God's ordained way, we have the right to the blessings of God upon our marriage as long as we live worthy of those blessings.

Blessings we can enjoy in heaven include living in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of God, being exalted as God is, and receiving a fulness of joy. Keeping an eternal perspective has a great influence on all that we say and do.

President Spencer W. Kimball taught, "Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but also with eternal joys. It affects not only the two people involved, but also their families and particularly their children and their children's children down through the many generations. In selecting a companion for life and for eternity, certainly the most careful planning and thinking and praying and fasting should be done to be sure that of all the decisions, this one must not be wrong" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 193).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Individual Excellence

Families become stronger as each individual strives for excellence. When every member of a family is striving to become the best person he/she can be, the entire family becomes stronger. A young family I know has as their family motto "Realize Your Potential."

We know that the potential of each person is great because the Lord revealed, "Remember the worth of souls is great" (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10).

President Gordon B. Hinckley, a modern-day prophet, counseled, "You can be excellent in every way. You can be first class. There is no need for you to be a scrub. Respect yourself. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Do not dwell on unkind things others may say about you. Polish and refine whatever talents the Lord has given you. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, with great and strong purpose in your heart. Love life and look for its opportunities, and forever and always be loyal to the Church" (Stand A Little Taller, 298).

Families are strengthened as the individuals in them move toward their best selves.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

No Shariah Law in Detroit

For this Freedom Friday I want to bring to your attention something that happened in Michigan a few weeks ago. The Detroit News carried a story on September 23, 2010, about Muslim leaders there demanding that prosecutors press charges against a man who burned a Koran outside a mosque in East Lansing. Stuart Dunnings III, prosecuting attorney in Ingham County, stood firm for the rule of law. He said that authorities "didn't find there was any violation of Michigan law."

Dunnings also said that burning a Koran did not qualify as a hate crime. "We don't have a hate crime. There was no threat of physical intimidation because (the man who burned the Koran) was the only one there at the time." He said that the act was protected by the First Amendment and could be compared to burning a flag.

Apparently there was intense pressure from the local Muslim leaders. Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan said that the man who burned the Koran should face federal charges. "Not to prosecute this hate crime would send a terrible message to bigots that there will be no legal repercussion against those who intimidate Muslims at their houses of worship, he said.

Prosecutor Dunnings should be applauded for standing firm for the rule of law in America. His courage in standing on principle can be compared to an incident that apparently happened in Great Britain. According to an article in The Daily Mail, "Six suspects were seized after allegedly torching the Muslim holy book in the backyard of a pub… Two men were arrested on suspicion of stirring racial hatred, and have since been released on bail. On Wednesday (9/23/10) four more Gateshead men were arrested and bailed …. "

In order for us to keep the Constitution as the supreme law of the United States, we must have leaders who have the knowledge of the law and have the courage to stand against intense pressure to favor any one group over another.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Columbus Day

Columbus Day was celebrated in the United States on October 11. It honors Christopher Columbus for his first voyage to America in 1492. It became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1971 and is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Prior to 1971, several states celebrated Columbus Day on October 12 with cities and organizations sponsoring parades and banquets.
The first Columbus Day celebration was held in 1792 when New York City celebrated the 300 year anniversary of the discovery of the New World. President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States in 1892 to celebrate the 400 year anniversary of the event. Since 1920 Columbus Day has been celebrated annually.

There are many monuments that honor Columbus even though the land he discovered was not named after him. The Republic of Colombia in South America and the District of Columbia in the United States both bear his name. There are also towns, rivers, streets, and public buildings named after him. The United States is sometimes referred to as Columbia in poetic personifications. There are about 350,000 volumes on the American republics located in the Columbus Memorial Library in Washington, D.C.

October 12 is celebrated as the Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race) in many Latin-American nations to honor the Spanish heritage of the peoples of Latin America. Speeches, parades, and colorful fiestas are all part of the celebration.

Facts for this post came from an article by Jack Santino in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p 865.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stars Recite Pledge

The world has changed greatly since I was a child, and one of the greatest changes occurred in Hollywood. Hollywood stars and movies were very patriotic in my childhood and youth, but the stars and movies of today seem to simply want to tear our nation down. For a simple comparison of the stars of today to the stars of yesterday, check out John Wayne and Red Skelton reciting the pledge of allegiance. How many of our movie and television stars would do the same today?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Christopher Columbus

I wrote a post about Christopher Columbus last year because I considered him to be a very important person in the history of America. I was surprised by all the negative comments in the media about him last year and so decided to make him my VIP again this week. There isn't much new information about him since last year so I will simply re-do my post from a year ago. I think it is really important that we remember history as it really happened and not as progressives want us to think that it happened.

According to William J. Bennett (America The Last Best Hope, Volume 1), Columbus was a "tall, red-haired sea captain from Genoa, Italy" (p 1). Since I have some tall, red-haired grandchildren and sons-in-law with connections to Italy, this became an interesting fact to me.

As you probably know, Columbus received fame by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a sea route to Asia. He did not find Asia but instead found the New World. Another interesting fact that I learned while studying about Columbus is that the scholars of that time period already knew that the world was a sphere. Way back when I was in school, we were taught that the people still believed that the earth was flat and if a person sailed far enough they could fall off the earth.

I also learned why the Europeans were searching for a sea route to Asia. It seems that the European nations at the time of Columbus were at war with the Ottoman Turks who conquered much of southeastern Europe and had made Constantinople (now known as Istanbul, Turkey) their capital in 1453. This became a problem for Europe because it cut off the European access to Asia and the treasures there. It also meant that the Europeans had to choose between making a difficult and dangerous journey over land or go by sea around Africa or westward across the Atlantic. Columbus was only one of numerous sailors searching for a sea route (Marvin Lunenfeld, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, 857).

Columbus sought financial aid from Spain's monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabella) over a period of several years and finally obtained funding in 1492. Ferdinand and Isabella were strong Catholics so Columbus' faith probably had an important appeal to them. His first name means "bearer of Christ" (Bennett, America, p 3).

As you know, he took three ships - the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. He was the captain of the Santa Maria while two Spanish brothers captained the other two ships. A month after the ships left Spain on August 3, 1492, the approximately ninety Spanish sailors became anxious about sailing for so long without finding land. The Italian captain kept stringing them along and not wanting them to know just how far they had traveled. "Threatened with mutiny by his crew, Columbus was forced to promise his captains on October 9 that if they failed to sight land within three days, they would all turn about and head back to Spain" (Bennett, America, p 4). Why did he choose three days? Was he guessing or had he received some inspiration? The sailors started seeing signs of land such as land based birds and coastal seaweed. Finally on October 12, 1492, the three ships landed on an island in the Caribbean Sea in what is now the West Indies. Columbus named the island San Salvador (Spanish for Holy Savior). Historians do not know which island Columbus landed on. Using their best guesses, they decided that Watling Island in the Bahamas was the most likely landing spot and renamed this island San Salvador in 1926 (Lunenfeld, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, 860).

The Santa Maria crashed on a reef on Christmas Eve and broke apart. Columbus left part of his men in the New World to hunt for gold and took two ships back to Spain, arriving there on March 15, 1493. There he was honored by Ferdinand and Isabella at a great reception.

According to the World Book Encyclopedia article, Columbus' impact on history was huge. His search for a westward route to Asia changed European's ideas about the world and led to contact between Europe and America. This contact brought both good and bad results. Europeans brought many deadly diseases to America to which the Native Americans had no resistance. Malaria, measles, smallpox, tetanus, typhus, etc. swept through the newly exposed population and killed many. In return, Europeans became infected by a form of syphilis not previously known in Europe.

There was also an exchange of many foods, animals and plants. America provided cassava, cayenne, chocolate, hot peppers, paprika, peanuts, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and potatoes. Europe and Asia sent cattle, goats, honey bees, horses, pigs, sheep, wheat and many trees and plants.

The freedom-loving people of the Americas with their ideas of sharing leadership showed the European's a new kind of personal liberty to the Europeans. The new belief inspired by the Native Americans "became a basis for democratic revolutions against European monarchies and greatly influenced the structure of government in the United States" (p 864).

Even though Columbus came to the Americas many years before the U.S. Constitution was written, we now know that his voyage had much greater effect than simply discovering the New World, a discovery that was foretold about 592 B.C. by a prophet (1 Nephi 13:12).

Columbus made three other trips to the New World. He spent his last days living in a modest home in Valladolid, Spain. He suffered from a disease that might have been Reiter's syndrome and died on May 20, 1506, at the age of 54. He was a wealthy man when he died. His remains were transported to Seville, Spain and later to Santo Domingo, in what is now known as the Dominican Republic. There is some dispute about where his final resting place is. Some historians believe that his remains were moved to Havana, Cuba, in 1795, and then back to Seville in 1899. Other historians believe the bones of Columbus are still in Santo Domingo and remains moved were either those of one of his brothers or of his son Diego.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More Charges?

The topic for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.3.7: "A person removed from office by impeachment proceedings may still be charged, tried, and punished for any civil or criminal violation of the law which led to his impeachment."
This principle provides the Right to the government of prosecution of crimes as well as removal from office. The impeachment process is simply to remove a convicted offender from office and deny further employment with the federal government. This provision states that an impeached individual can also be tried in a court of law for any crimes committed - just like any other citizen.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Effective Families

Stephen R. Covey compared an effective family with the flight of an airplane in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. I found this comparison to be a very good one because both airplane flights and effective families have three key elements, which are: 1) They have a definite destination and know where they want to eventually be. 2) They have a plan on how to reach their destination. 3) They have a compass to guide their travel.

I know a little bit about maintaining an airplane because I am part owner of an aircraft. I know a little about what it takes to fly an aircraft because I am married to a private pilot. Under normal operating conditions, pilots know the condition and capability of their airplane at all times. Aircraft are required to have "annual inspections" to maintain airworthiness. In addition to the required inspection, all the pilots I know inspect their aircraft before every flight. Pilots chart their flights, know the course they will be traveling, and file a flight plan of some kind. They take into consideration the wind, rain, turbulence, air traffic, and every other factor that might have an impact on the flight. Pilots do not normally fly on a straight line through the air and often fly higher or lower in order to find the smoothest air. Pilots sometimes make adjustments to their flight in order to go around snow flurries or other unexpected weather problems.

Continuing with Covey's metaphor of the airplane, I would like to enlarge on the three key elements. Most families that I know have a goal of returning to Heavenly Father to live with Him as a family for all eternity. That is their final destination, but they may have some planned stopovers also. A family mission statement can be a guideline to your destination. The important thing is that all members of the family share a common vision of where they want to be. All families are not all alike because each family is composed of individuals and has its own unique challenges and assets. The biggest mistake we can make is to compare our own family to any other family.

The next key element is a flight plan. It is important that your plan be a framework of basic principles that are self-evident, universal, and timeless. Covey lists the seven habits as core principles: 1) Be proactive, 2) Begin with the end in mind, 3) Put first things first, 4) Think "win-win," 5) Seek first to understand … then to be understood, 6) Synergize, and 7) Sharpen the saw. These are all good principles. My family and most other families that I know also use the basic principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ to help guide them. One of these principles is that every member of the family has a unique and important place in that family and has certain sacred responsibilities. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102) says that "fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners," meaning that they should work together to provide the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical needs of their family. Parents share some responsibilities such as teaching their children about faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, prayer, and obedience to God's commandments. Parents can best teach their children by showing love and respect for each other and for their children with both words and actions.

Some responsibilities fall upon the father while other responsibilities belong to the mother. In case of emergency such as accident, sickness or death, one parent might need to carry some or all of the responsibilities of the other parent. The Proclamation says, "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families." Fathers carry the duty to provide for the physical needs of his family, making sure that they have the necessary food, housing, clothing, and education. Fathers carry the responsibility of showing a good example to their children and for calling their children together twice daily for family prayer and for weekly family home evening. Fathers who spend time with their children, both individually and as a group, reap great rewards. Fathers who teach their children correct principles, discuss the problems and concerns of their children, and counsel them lovingly develop strong and lasting bonds with their children.

Motherhood is a sacred calling because mothers form a special partnership with God in order to bring His spirit children into the world. President David O. McKay stated that motherhood is the noblest calling (see Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay [2003], p 156). Bearing children is one of the greatest blessings that a woman can have, but a woman does not have to bear children in order to be a mother.

President Boyd K. Packer said, "When I speak of mothers, I speak not only of those women who have borne children, but also of those who have fostered children born to others, and of the many women who, without children of their own, have mothered the children of others" (Mothers [1977], 8).

The Proclamation states, "Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children" (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). Nurturing includes spending quality and quantity time with her children, loving them and teaching them. Children can discover the world around them as mother plays and works with them. When mother is warm and loving towards her children, she helps them to feel good about themselves. Mother presides in the home when father is absent.

Children also have family responsibilities because they share the responsibility to help build a happy home. They can do this by obeying the commandments of God and cooperating with family members. In Exodus 20:12, the Lord said, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land." Honoring parents means to love them and respect them. Obeying parents is another way of showing honor to them.

For the third key element - a compass, I refer back to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. Covey states that each human being has received four unique gifts that can serve as our compass. They are: 1) Self-awareness - the ability to stand back and observe our own thoughts and actions, 2) Conscience - the inner voice, the moral or ethical sense, that helps us evaluate ourselves,
3) Imagination - the "ability to envision something entirely different" from past experience, 4) Independent will or the "power to take action." These four gifts will help to keep our flight towards our destination. Covey stated that these four gifts are located in that split second "between what happens to us and our response to it" (p 30-32).

I know that families can become more effective by having a definite destination, a flight plan, and a compass to guide them. I hope that all of you will help your family to become more effective.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cheer Leaders

Families and marriages grow stronger when the individuals involved are cheer leaders for each other. We are all in need of confirmation that we have value, and we all need to hear that somebody else thinks we are special.

My little granddaughter has recently learned how to walk. Whenever she even attempted to take a step - with or without support - everyone around her applauded as though she had done something marvelous. They were her cheer leaders. Their cheers gave her courage to keep trying until she could walk across a room without support.

In recent weeks and months I have recognized how my youngest son is a cheer leader for his wife. I've realized that he recognizes and appreciates many things that she does. I remember the first time that she played the piano in my presence, and my son said, "She plays really well, doesn't she?" Lately I have realized that he has brought her abilities to my attention on many different occasions. He brags her up whenever she cooks something special, paints a picture, starts a blog, plays the piano, etc. It doesn't seem to matter what she does or even the quality of the accomplishment. It doesn't seem to matter to him. Whatever she does, he is there cheering for her. This quality about him has increased my appreciation for him.

Family members who spend their time making each other feel good about themselves will not have time to look for weaknesses. We all love and feel closer to anyone who sincerely compliments us and builds us up. Cheering each other will strengthen marriages and families.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shariah Law

For this Freedom Friday, I want to awaken my readers to the dangers of shariah law. I recently spent several hours reading a report released about a week ago by the Center for Security Policy entitled "Shariah - the Threat to America - An Exercise in Competitive Analysis." I will admit that I did not understand everything I read in the 148-page report supported by 24 pages of "notes," but I did come away from the exercise with a new understanding about the dangers of shariah law. As I understand it, shariah law is "firmly rooted in Islam's doctrinal texts" and is the system under which Islam plans to take over the world by either violence or stealth. I recommend that all of you read the report as soon as possible. The study was completed by a team of nineteen experts consisting of military officers, ambassadors, special agents, former Director of Central Intelligence, former assistants to Cabinet members, etc.

"This study is the result of months of analysis, discussion and drafting by a group of top security policy experts concerned with the preeminent totalitarian threat of our time: the legal-political-military doctrine known within Islam as `shariah.' It is designed to provide a comprehensive and articulate `second opinion' on the official characterizations and assessments of this threat as put forth by the United States government."

The study asserts that the United States has "an enemy inside our perimeter" and that our national security is at grave risk. It makes the following conclusion: 1) The United States government under successive presidents has failed to understand how shariah law poses a direct threat to our constitutional form of government and free society. 2) Shariah law is "an alien legal system" that is "hostile to and in contravention of the U.S. Constitution." 3) Because this law dictates both violent and non-violent means to establish shariah law in America, proponents of it should be considered as engaging in criminal sedition and not a protected practice of a religion.

The report lists eight recommendations for policy and programmatic changes: 1) Americans in all walks of life "must be equipped with an accurate understanding of the nature of shariah and the necessity of keeping America shariah-free. Specifically, we must resist efforts to allow the "alien and barbaric legal code" of shariah to become "an alternate, parallel system to the Constitution and the laws enacted pursuant to it." Those who have taken an oath to "support and defend" the Constitution must honor that oath.
2) Agencies and organizations of the US government should stop their outreach to Muslim communities through Muslim Brotherhood fronts whose mission is to destroy our country from within…" 3) Add those who espouse or support shariah to the hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan who are currently banned from holding positions of trust in federal, state, or local governments or the armed forces of our nation. 4) Proscribe "Practices that promote shariah … are incompatible with the Constitution and the freedoms it enshrines." 5) Warn imams and mosques that advocate shariah in America that "they are promoting seditious activity" and that they "will not be immune from prosecution" because "sedition is prohibited by law in the United States." 6) Textbooks "must not promote shariah, its tenets, or the notion that America must submit to its dictates" whether used in secular educational systems or Islamic schools. 7) Any communities or compounds seeking to "segregate themselves on the basis of shariah law, apply it alongside or in lieu of the law of the land, or otherwise establish themselves as `no-go' zones for law enforcement and other authorities must be thwarted in such efforts," and "assertion of claims to territory around mosques should be proscribed." 8) Supporters of shariah law should not be allowed to immigrate to the United States.

The study indicates that the United States is in this dangerous situation because Americans are too concerned about political correctness and tolerance and not concerned enough about learning about the Constitution and why the United States became and remains a great nation. As I read this study I could not help but make the comparison between the Muslim Brotherhood in America with the Gadianton Robbers in the Book of Mormon. Both groups share the goal of destroying government and freedom.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is the suspension bridge over the East River, and it connects the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City. The bridge, with a span of 1,595 feet, was the largest suspension bridge in the world when it was built in 1883 at a cost of about $15 million.

The Brooklyn Bridge hangs from steel cables, nearly sixteen inches thick, suspended from 275-foot towers. The cables are anchored to enormous blocks of masonry at their ends. There are six lanes for traffic on the bridge. The bridge was designated as a national historic landmark in 1964 by the National Park Service.

Another interesting fact that I learned this week is that the Brooklyn Bridge is in the general area where General George Washington and his army crossed from Brooklyn to Manhattan in order to escape from the British Army in the Battle of New York.

Facts for this post came from an article by Fred F. Videon in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p 650.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prophet Speaks

One of my favorite hymns starts with these words, "Come, listen to a prophet's voice, and hear the word of God, and in the way of truth rejoice, and sing for joy aloud. We've found the way the prophets went who lived in days of yore. Another prophet now is sent this knowledge to restore." I had the opportunity to listen to a modern-day prophet on several occasions over the past weekend.

President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sustained as a prophet, seer, and revelator by more than 13 million members of the Church. I am one of those who believe that President Monson is the spokesperson for God.

President Monson related the story of the Ten Lepers from the New Testament. While Jesus Christ was walking from Jerusalem to Galilee, He passed through the midst of Samaria. As He entered into a certain village, He was met by ten men who were lepers. They stood afar off and called to Him, "Master, have mercy on us." When Christ saw them, He did have mercy on them and told them, "Go shew yourselves unto the priests." As the ten men traveled, they became clean from the leprosy. One of the men, when he saw that he had been healed, went back to Jesus. He fell on his face at the feet of Christ and thanked Him for the great blessing of being healed from leprosy. Jesus Christ asked the Samaritan man where the other nine men were, and then said, "Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole" (St. Luke 17:11-19).

Following this story, President Monson told us that we need to remember to give thanks because gratitude is the key that unlocks heaven and lets the blessings pour down upon us. You too can listen to a prophet's voice at under October 2010 General Conference.

Later in the conference President Monson told us that we should read the words from the conference. He also said that our peace and safety is found in keeping the commandments of God and that we should show increased kindness to each other.

An ancient prophet taught, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, [until] he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). I believe that President Monson spoke the words that we need to guide us for the next six months. I am grateful to live in a day when a prophet of God walks the earth once more.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chester Arthur

Chester Alan Arthur (1829-1886) became the fourth Vice President to move to the Oval Office when President James A. Garfield was assassinated. He moved through the ranks of the Republican Party quickly, beginning in 1871 as collector of the New York Custom House, "then the largest single federal office in the United States." He was removed from the position after he used the office to reward Republicans and strengthen the party - and thus contributing to the widespread dishonesty and corruption in government.

When the Arthur Administration showed honesty and efficiency, the nation was pleasantly surprised. Congress passed the Civil Service Act because of protests about the dishonesty of the previous administration. President Arthur signed the law and administered it faithfully.

President Arthur was tall, ruddy, and handsome and was sometimes known as the "Gentleman Boss." He enjoyed fine clothes and surroundings; he also enjoyed entertaining friends. He traveled widely as President. While he was the Chief Executive, the United States celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the British surrender at Yorktown.

Chester Alan Arthur was born in Fairfield, Vermont, on October 5, 1829; he was the first boy in a family of six daughters and three sons. His father, a teacher and Baptist minister, immigrated from Northern Ireland, and his mother grew up on a farm in Vermont. The family moved often throughout Vermont and upstate New York due to the father's position as minister.

Chester was a good student and was interested in politics early in his life. He graduated at age 18 from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and became a partner in a law firm in New York City in 1854. He established a reputation as a defender of civil rights for blacks and won a landmark case in 1855 that opened the way for blacks to ride any streetcar in New York City.

Arthur married Ellen Lewis Herndon, the daughter of a naval officer, on October 25, 1859. The couple became parents to two sons and a daughter; the oldest boy died at age 2 1/2. Chester became a single parent when Mrs. Arthur died the year before Arthur became Vice President.

James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur won the election of 1880. Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881, and died on September 19. Arthur took the presidential oath at 2:15 a.m. the next morning in his home in New York City. Arthur thought the Presidential Mansion looked like "a badly kept barracks" and ordered it renovated. He moved into the redecorated White House on December 7, 1881, and asked his sister to serve as his hostess there. Arthur was President about a year when he learned that he had a kidney disease called glomerulonephritis, or Bright's disease. He kept his illness a secret even though he often suffered from great pain. Because he was ill, he didn't want to run for re-election and quietly discouraged his friends from working in that direction.

After he left the White House, Arthur returned to New York City where his health continued to decline. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on November 18, 1886. He was buried beside his wife in the Rural Cemetery at Albany, New York.
Events in the life of President Arthur are as follow: 1) Trade unionists founded in November 1881 the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada (later reorganized as American Federation of Labor.
2) John D. Rockefeller and his associates in the oil industry formed the Standard Oil Trust in 1882, thus controlling 90 per cent of the oil refining capacity in the United States until 1892 when the trust was disbanded. 3) German physician Robert Koch discovered the germ that causes tuberculosis in 1882. 4) In 1883 William Frederick Cody, known as Buffalo Bill, organized his "Wild West Circus" to tour the United States and Europe. The same year the first vaudeville theater in the United States opened in Boston, and the Metropolitan Opera House opened in New York City. 5) The railroads adopted standard time in 1883. About 100 "railroad times" became the four time zones in the United States. 6) Brooklyn Bridge was the world's longest suspension bridge when it opened in 1883. 7) The speed of typesetting was greatly increased when German-born inventor Ottmar Mergenthaler patented the linotype machine in 1884. 8) Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was published in England in 1884 and the United States in 1885. This novel became known as an American masterpiece. 9) The Home Insurance Building in Chicago was the first metal-frame skyscraper when it was built in 1884 and 1885.
Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by Thomas C. Reeves in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol.1, pp 754-757.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Removal from Office

The principle for discussion on this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.3.7: "If any judge or executive officer is convicted of impeachment charges, the punishment of the Senate shall not extend beyond his removal from office and declaring that individual disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the authority of the United States in the future." This principle provides two separate rights: 1) The Senate has the Right to remove the offender from office and prevent further employment with the federal government. 2) The offender has the Right to have punishment limited to loss of position and further employment with the federal government.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Families Are Forever

Families are part of Heavenly Father's plan of salvation. Adam and Eve were married by God while in the Garden of Eden and commanded to have children (see Genesis 1:28). God revealed that providing mortal bodies for His spirit children is one of the purposes for marriage. Men and women are partners with Heavenly Father in creating families. God sends His spirit children to earth to receive mortal bodies and to experience life on earth. Bringing children into the world is the way that parents help Heavenly Father carry out His plan.

Heavenly Father wants each new child to be welcomed into a family with gladness. He wants parents to remember that each child is also a child of God. He wants parents to take time to enjoy their children, to play with them, and to teach them. President David O. McKay, a modern-day prophet of God, said "With all my heart I believe that the best place to prepare for … eternal life is in the home" ("Blueprint for Family Living," Improvement Era, Apr. 1963, 252). It is at home with our families that we can learn self-control, sacrifice, loyalty, and the value of work as well as to learn to love, to share, and to serve one another.

Fathers and mothers are charged with the responsibility to teach their children about Heavenly Father. A good way to teach their children is by the parental example. When children see that mother and father keep God's commandments because they love Him, they come to an understanding of how to show love to God. Parents also have the responsibility to teach their children how to pray.

Because families can be together forever, it is critical that the right steps are taken. When a couple is married in the temple by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, their marriage and family life can continue after death. Marriages performed outside the temples will end when one of the partners dies. By keeping their covenants with God, families will be united eternally as husband, wife, and children.

If husband, wife and children want to be together for all eternally, they must learn to be thoughtful and kind to each other and how to develop greater harmony in their home. They should never say or do anything to hurt each other and try always to make each other happy. As parents learn more about God and become more like Him, they will teach their children to love one another.
King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon taught his people, "Ye will not suffer your children … [to] fight and quarrel one with another….
"But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another" (Mosiah 4:14-15).

I know that family members can help each other to be more confident by sincere encouragement and praise. When parents show interest in each child and show love and concern for each child, then every child should feel important to the family. Children should also show love and kindness to their parents and bring honor to their parents by living good lives.

President Harold B. Lee, another modern-day prophet, said, "The most important of the Lord's work you will ever do will be within the wall of your own homes" (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2001], 134).
Satan understands that families are important to Heavenly Father and in bringing about His plan. Satan wants to destroy individuals and families by keeping them away from God, and he will tempt us to say and do things that will destroy our families.

We must remember that "Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God…. The family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children" ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World, Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, "Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities" (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

Here are some time-tested ways to develop happy, successful families: 1) Kneel together in family prayer every night and morning. Pray together as husband and wife. 2) Hold family home evening every week and teach your children the gospel of Christ. 3) Study the scriptures as a family regularly. 4) Work and play together as a family. 5) Practice being kind, patient, long-suffering, and charitable. 6) Attend Church meetings together regularly. 7) Follow the counsel of God in Doctrine and Covenants 88:119: "organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." 8) Receive the sealing ordinances of the temple, keep a family history, and perform temple work together regularly.

The family is the basic unit of society and the most important unit in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church exists to help families gain eternal blessings and exaltation and has organizations and programs that are designed to strengthen us individually and help us live as families forever.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stop Feeding the Beast

Families are strengthened when parents teach their children with love, respect, and common sense. I have much admiration and respect for the young parents I know because they show much love and respect while teaching and training their children; however, I have at times wondered about the amount of common sense they use.

I enjoy reading articles by family psychologist John Rosemond because he states in plain language the need for common sense in parenting. In a recent article in the Anchorage Daily News, Rosemond wrote about temper tantrums and how to deal with them. The author wrote that he sees a lot of parents today that deal in "psychological thinking. They assign psychological meaning and significance to any behavior on the part of their children that is the least bit out of kilter. … The psychological interpretation mystifies the child's behavior, raises the parent's anxiety level, and generates responses that are not only confusing to the child but also makes the problem - if in fact the behavior in question is problematic to begin with - much, much worse."

The author continued his explanation by telling about a mother of a 3-year-old who thought her daughter's temper tantrums had something to do with the fact that she was adopted. He explained to the mother that her daughter was throwing temper tantrums for the same reason that non-adopted children throw temper tantrums - "You are not obeying her properly."

He continued with: "It doesn't matter what the child's history or circumstances, all tantrums are equal. They are expressions of what I call `The Almighty I Am' - the belief, shared by every child, that he/she is the only fish in the pond of any significance and that everyone else - parents especially - exists solely to serve. When their service is not pleasing, when their obedience is not immediate, The Almighty I Am begins to rage. Hell hath no fury, etcetera."

Rosemond explained that The Almighty I Am was referred to as the "inner child" back in the 1960s when almost everyone was trying to get back in touch with their own. When the children of the 1960s grew up and became parents, they were careful to "not repress our children's inner beasts, which goes a long way toward explaining why so many Boomers are now raising their grandchildren.) Convinced that her daughter's tantrums were a sign of deep-seated psychological rumblings, Mom catered to them. She figured out what her daughter wanted her to do and she did it. In short, she fed the beast. In turn, the beast grew more beastly."

Dr. Rosemond further explained that it is not good for a child to believe that the parent should obey him/her. He went on to state that parents should basically ignore a child's temper tantrum and stop "feeding the beast."

I tell my own grandchildren, "Temper tantrums won't get you anywhere with me. I don't like temper tantrums!" I have been kicked, screamed at, and even accused of making my grandchild throw a fit, but I simply will not tolerate temper tantrums. Parents who "feed the beast" may end up parenting their grandchildren instead of simply enjoying the opportunity to be a grandparent.