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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Roaring Twenties

The term "Roaring Twenties" is used to describe a colorful decade of the 1920's in the United States. Other nicknames for this time period include the Jazz Age and the Dollar Decade. The Roaring Twenties era was a restless time that brought to the United States spectacular economic growth, generally rising prosperity, and great social change.

World War I (1914-1918) was over, and large numbers of Americans simply wanted to forget about the troubles of Europeans and enjoy life. They chose to amuse themselves with shocking morals for the day, illegal liquor, short skirts, and soaring stock profits.

This was a time of booming business profits and a rising standard of living for most Americans. New industries were opening, and even families with low incomes were able to buy one of Henry Ford's inexpensive automobiles called the Model T. The numbers of passenger vehicles increased from about 7 million in 1919 to about 23 million in 1929. The increased traffic crowded the highways and created the need for gas stations, roadside restaurants, and tire manufacturers.

The economy was revolutionized by radio and credit. Radio sales values increased from $60 million in 1922 to almost $850 million in 1929. Radio listeners were encouraged to spend more of their increasing income. Stores encouraged listeners to "Buy now, pay later" when they developed their installment payment plans. Millions of Americans were able to buy their first automobile, refrigerator, and washing machine because of higher wages and increased use of credit.

Most American's agreed with President Calvin Coolidge who said, "The business of America is business." Three Republican Presidents - Warren G. Harding, Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover - were elected during the 1920's. They all had policies reflecting the belief that the economy can regulate itself without government interference.

Americans were convinced to buy stocks because of promises such as "$15 a month in the stock market could make $80,000 in 20 years." Stock prices, which rose gradually in the early 1920's, soared in 1927 and 1928.

Americans wanted no more of European political affairs and distrusted foreigners. A secret organization called the Ku Klux Klan was created, and it terrorized blacks, Jews, Roman Catholics and foreigners. The political corruption made the news when the Secretary of the Interior under President Harding was convicted of being bribed by two oil companies in what became known as the Teapot Dome scandal.

After the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, went into effect in 1920, many Americans started making alcohol illegally at home. Gangsters brought liquor from Canada, sold it to illegal bars, and bribed the police to not interfere. The various underworld mobs fought for control of the liquor traffic, resulting in hundreds of gangland murders.

Moral values changed during the 1920's. Women, who had previously worn long hair, ankle-length dresses, and long cotton stockings, changed their dress code to short, tight dresses, a boyish hair style called the bob, and flashy lipstick and other makeup. Couples danced cheek-to-cheek to the loud jazz music.

The Roaring Twenties was an era of a good time. Crowds were attracted to theaters to see Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Rudolph Valentino, and other stars. Sports stadiums were filled with fans wanting to watch Babe Ruth slug home runs and boxing champion Jack Dempsey. Charles A. Lindbergh made the first solo nonstop airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

The changing values in America were shown in the literature, art, and music of the era. Sinclair Lewis wrote Main Street (1920) in which he wrote about the dull lives and narrow-minded attitudes of people who lived in small towns. Other America authors of the time included F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, who both lived in Paris during this era. George Gershwin created Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928).

Despite soaring stock profits, the good times came to an end in 1929. After World War I, farm prices dropped forty percent below their pre-war level. The profits fell so low that many farmers could not repay their bank loans. About 550 banks went out of business between July 1928 and June 1929. People could not afford to purchase manufactured good as fast as they were being produced because industrial production increased about four times faster than wages.

The illusion of unending prosperity came to an end on October 24, 1929, when investors began to sell stock that they had purchased on credit. This caused a panic, and about 16,410,030 shares were sold by stockholders on October 29. Stock prices plunged by 40 percent by mid-November, and the crash of the stock market led to the Great Depression. The false sense of prosperity and national well-being came to a sudden end. The Roaring Twenties died in a whimper of pain.

Facts for this post came from an article by E. David Cronon in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol 16, pp 363-364

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Save the Constitution

The organization called "As A Mom - a Sisterhood of Mommy Patriots" is encouraging all Americans to save the Constitution by reading it and encouraging other people to read it. Linked to their introductory page are several items that I found to be very interesting. One of those items is produced by the University of Chicago and is called the Founders Constitution . Another item is a paper listing twenty Principles of Constitutional Construction . A third item is US Constitution - Searchable and Annotated . There is much more information in these items than I can possibly pass on to you. They not only provide a copy of the United States Constitution to read, but they also give additional information. I encourage all of you to study the Constitution of our great nation and inform yourselves as to what the Supreme Law of our land says.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Calvin Coolidge

Our VIP for this week is President Calvin Coolidge(1872-1933). He was born on Independence Day - July 4, 1872, in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. He was named John Calvin Coolidge for his father, but he was called Calvin or Cal. After leaving college, he stopped using the name John.  His parents were childhood playmates. His father was a descendant of an English family that came to America about 1630. He also served three terms in the Vermont House of Representatives and one term in the state Senate as well as held many local public offices. The family owned a store in Plymouth Notch and bought a farm across the road from the store.

Cal helped his father with the farm chores and studied in a small stone schoolhouse located nearby. His mother died when Cal was twelve years old. He had one sister, Abigail, who died about the time he graduated from Black River Academy in 1890. Cal attended St. Johnsbury Academy for a short course and then entered Amherst College in 1891. He was very interested in political campaigns. Although he earned only fair grades his first two years at Amherst, he graduated cum laude in 1895. He read law with a law firm in Northampton, Massachusetts, passed the Massachusetts bar examination in 1897, and opened his own law office seven months later in Northampton.

Cal married Grace Anna Goodhue in 1904. She was happy, talkative and fun-loving - just the opposite of shy and silent Cal. They were blessed with two sons - John and Calvin, Jr.

Cal became active in politics by working for the Republican Party in 1896. His first elected office was as a member of the Northampton city council in 1898. He became city solicitor in 1900. He was elected to the Massachusetts house of representatives in 1906 and reelected the next year. He was elected mayor of Northampton in 1909 and reelected in 1910. He served in the state senate from 1912-1915, with two terms as senate president. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1915 and was reelected twice. He was elected governor in 1918.

During the Boston police strike of 1919, Coolidge came to national prominence when nearly three-fourths of Boston's police officers went on strike. After two nights of hoodlums roaming Boston streets, smashing windows and looting stores, Coolidge brought order to the city by ordering out the state guard. When nineteen leaders of the police union were fired, Coolidge made his famous statement: "There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time."

Coolidge was reelected governor in 1919 by a record vote. In 1920 he became the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States on the ticket with Warren G. Harding of Ohio. Harding was easy-going and friendly where Coolidge was silent and unsmiling, but they won an overwhelming victory. At President Harding's invitation, Coolidge became the first Vice President to regularly attend Cabinet meetings. Coolidge remained unchanged in the whirl of Washington's social life. He sat silently through official dinners, rarely smiled and almost never laughed.

Cal was vacationing on his father's farm when he was awakened early in the morning on August 3, 1923 to be alerted to the sudden death of President Harding. After dressing and personal prayer, Cal went downstairs to the dining room where his father administered the presidential oath by the light of a kerosene lamp at 2:45 a.m. He became the sixth Vice President to become President upon the death of a chief executive. Cal then went back to bed and slept, feeling like he was capable of handling his new job. He took a second oath of office eighteen days later - administered by a justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. The attorney general questioned the validity of the first oath because his father had authority to swear in only state officials of Vermont.

Just as Coolidge was entering the White House, the Teapot Dome and other scandals of the Harding Administration became public. His personal honesty was never questioned, and he made no efforts to shield the guilty. He later forced the attorney general to resign because of his connections to the scandals.

Coolidge was President during the boisterous Jazz Age - the Roaring 20's. He considered "the chief business of the American people is business." He continued the policy of President Harding of supporting American businesses at home and abroad. There were high tariffs on imports to help American manufacturers. Congress reduced income taxes which caused revenue from taxes to increase. The national debt was
reduced by about a billion dollars per year.  Immigration was restricted.  Coolidge stood for economy and a simple way of life but enjoyed great popularity even though the public was anything but thrifty. Most American's believed that good times were here to stay. Coolidge was unopposed for the Republican nomination and ran for the general election with the slogan "Keep Cool with Coolidge." He received more than half of the popular votes of the election. Chief Justice William Howard Taft administered the presidential oath on March 4, 1925, and became the first former President to administer the presidential oath of office. Coolidge's inaugural address was the first to be broadcast by radio.

Shortly after Coolidge was nominated for President in 1924, their sixteen-year son Calvin was playing tennis with his brother on the White House courts and developed a blister on a toe. The infection spread, and the young man died of blood poisoning. Coolidge wrote in his autobiography, "the power and the glory of the presidency went with him." The President's father died in 1926.

Americans respected Coolidge. He made few public statements and rarely wasted a word. He had a reputation for wisdom because of his common sense and dry wit. While on a summer vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1927, the President called newsmen to his office in the Rapid City high school on August 2. He handed each reporter a piece of paper containing the words, "I do not choose to run for President in 1928." The nation was caught by surprise by his announcement. He wrote in his autobiography, "The chances of having wise and faithful public service are increased by a change in the presidential office after a moderate length of time." He was also concerned how another term in office would affect his wife. His typical response for comments on leaving office: "Goodbye, I have had a very enjoyable time in Washington."

The Coolidge family returned to Northampton but could not enjoy a quiet life there due to the stream of tourists past their home. In 1930, Coolidge bought an estate in Northampton called The Beeches. It had iron gates to keep curious visitors at a distance.

Coolidge published his autobiography in 1929 in magazine installments and then in book form. He also wrote a series of newspaper articles called "Thinking Things Over with Calvin Coolidge" about government economics and politics. In 1921 he became a life trustee of Amherst College, and in 1929 he became a director of the New York Life Insurance Company.

Coolidge was distressed by the stock market crash of 1929 and the depression that followed it. He at first felt guilty about leaving office, thinking that he could have stopped it. Then he realized that the depression would have happened regardless of which party was in office. As the depression deepened during the fall and winter of 1932, Coolidge became increasingly unhappy. On January 5, 1933, he died of a heart attack in his bedroom. He was buried beside his son and father in the Plymouth Notch cemetery.  Mrs. Coolidge sold The Beeches and built another home in Northampton. She died on July 8, 1957.

Some events from the world of President Coolidge are: 1) The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants admitted to the United States. It also establish a quota system to prevent major changes in the racial or ethnic makeup of the nation's populations. 2) The Golden Age of radio broadcasting began about 1925. 3) The Scopes Trial of 1925 upheld the right of a state to ban the teaching of evolution in public schools. 4) Robert H. Goddard, the American rocket pioneer, launched the first successful liquid-fuel rocket in 1926. 5) Jazz was popular in the mid-1920's. Stars included Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Fletcher Henderson. 6) The American aviator Charles A. Lindbergh made the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. 7) Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs for the New York Yankees during the 1927 season. His record stood until 1961. 8) The Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact, also called the Pact of Paris, was signed in 1928 by fifteen nations and later by nearly all the nations of the world. The signers of this treaty agreed not to use war to solve international problems. 9) Sir Alexander Fleming, a British bacteriologist, discovered Penicillium mold in 1928. This mold produces the anti-biotic drug penicillin. 10) The Charleston was the dance craze of the Roaring Twenties.

Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by George H. Mayer in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1030-1034.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One Vote

The principle for this Constitution Monday is from Article I.3.1 and is that each Senator shall have one vote. This principle means that each Senator has the right to reach his/her own conclusion on any given issue and can vote independently of the other Senator from that state. This principle also gives the people of any state the right and opportunity to know how each Senator voted on a given issue. This principle is different from the original Continental Congress. In that Congress, each state had a vote, and all the delegates from that particular state had to decide how their state would vote, and there was no official record kept of how each Senator voted. The writers of our Constitution wanted each Senator or Congressmen to have a separate vote and to thus fix responsibility for the vote. A politician's voting record is important, especially when reelection time comes around.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sacrament

The Savior introduced the sacrament on His last evening as He gathered His Apostles around Him in an upstairs room. He knew that He would soon die and that this was the last time He would meet with the Apostles whom He dearly loved. He gave them the holy priesthood ordinance to help them remember His great atoning sacrifice and keep His commandments. After His Resurrection, Jesus Christ came to the people who lived on the American continent and taught them the same ordinance. When the Church was restored in the latter days, Christ once again commanded His people to partake of the sacrament in remembrance of Him. Christ wants His people to meet together often to partake of the sacrament and renew sacred covenants. The broken bread and water represent His flesh and blood, which He sacrificed for the good of all mankind. The scriptures contain instructions for the administration of the sacrament. It is administered by those who hold the necessary priesthood authority. A priest or a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood breaks bread into pieces, kneels, and blesses it (see D&C 20:76). A deacon or other priesthood holder then passes the sacrament bread to the congregation. A priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder then blesses the water, which is also passed to the congregation. When Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament, He used bread and wine, but He said in latter-day revelation that it really doesn't matter what we eat and drink during the sacrament as long as we do it in remembrance of Him (see Doctrine and Covenants 27:2-3). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses water instead of wine - a practice for which I am very grateful. Jesus Christ revealed the exact words for both sacrament prayers. They are beautiful prayers. We should listen carefully to them and strive to understand the promises we make as well as what is promised to us. The following prayer is offered on the bread: "O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen" (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77). The prayer on the water is as follows: "O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine [water] to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen" (Doctrine and Covenants 20:79). The sacrament ordinance is performed in a simple and reverent manner. Each time we participate in this ordinance, we renew covenants with God. These covenants are clearly stated in the prayers on the bread and water. Since a covenant is a sacred promise between God and His children, it is important for us to know what the covenants are as well as what they mean. When we covenant to be willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, it shows that we are willing to be identified with Christ and His Church. We also make a commitment to serve Christ and our fellowman and to bring honor to His name. When we covenant to always remember Jesus Christ, we commit ourselves to make sure that all our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions will be influenced by Christ and His mission. When we promise to keep His commandments, we commit to keep all of them. We take these obligations upon ourselves when we are baptized (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:37; Mosiah 18:6-10), and we renew our baptismal covenants each time we partake of the sacrament. The pattern for partaking of the sacrament was given by Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 18:1-2). When we follow this pattern of repenting of our sins and believing in His name, we gain a remission of our sins (see Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 26:24). God's part of the covenant promises that if we keep our covenants, we will have His Spirit with us always. The Spirit brings knowledge, faith, power, and righteousness enough to gain eternal life. Because the sacrament is such a sacred ordinance, we should prepare ourselves spiritually prior to the experience. In fact, the Lord has commanded that no one should partake of the sacrament without being worthy of doing so. This means that we should repent of our sins before we take the sacrament. During the sacrament service, we should be prayerful and reverent, keeping our minds off of worldly things. This is a good opportunity to examine our lives and look for ways to improve and to become more committed to keeping the commandments. Perfection is not required in order to partake of the sacrament, but a spirit of repentance should be in our hearts. Partaking of the sacrament with a pure heart brings the promised blessings from God. Worthily partaking of the sacrament increases our spiritual strength because it helps to bring us closer to God. I am grateful for the opportunity to renew my covenants on a weekly basis. I like the idea of starting each week with a clean slate.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Married Fathers

Many people and organizations are concerned about children living in poverty in the United States, and a large number of these individuals and institutions think that the answer to the problem is more government handouts. A recent study of records from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Community Survey emphasizes that the main problem is the fact that two out of three poor children are living in single-parent households and the fact that when the single moms married the fathers of their children almost two out of three children are taken out of poverty. An article posted by Ken McIntyre on June 18, 2010, in Family and Religion and sent out by The Foundry linked to an article written by Robert Rector and published as a Web Memo by The Heritage Foundation and the twelve charts on marriage and poverty accompanying the article I found the articles and charts very interesting. One chart points out that the percentage of children born out of wedlock in 1930 was about 3 percent and rose to 40.6 percent in 2008. Another chart illustrates that the percentages of children born to married parents decreased from over 95 percent in 1930 to 59.4 percent in 2008. Still another chart shows that 71 percent of poor families with children are not married. Some people might think that these percentages are caused by sexually active teenagers - but they would be mostly wrong according to the chart that shows births to teenagers as 8.0 percent and all others ages at higher percentages. The statistic that I found most interesting is that "being married has roughly the same effect in reducing one's poverty as adding five to six years of education. On average, high school dropouts who are married have a far lower poverty rate than do single parents with one or two years of college." Rector wrote, "The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are: More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime; Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems; Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school; and A third more likely to drop out before completing high school." He continued, "The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families. Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation." He concluded, "Finally the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood." In 1963 President Lyndon Johnson launched the War on Poverty by trying to solve the problem with government programs and entitlements. The facts in these articles and charts show that marriage matters. Anyone who truly wants to wage war on poverty must teach the importance of marriage and the need to support marriage and families by enacting "policies that encourage people to form and maintain healthy marriage and delay childbearing until they are married." .

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Checks and Balances

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that checks and balances are necessary to prevent abuse of power. The Founding Fathers never thought the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government would be absolute. Each branch was to be separate in its duties, but the other two branches were to be used as "checks and balances" to make sure no abuse of power occurred in performing those functions. The powers were to be separate but lightly laced together to form one, balanced unit of government. The three departments of government must be kept separate in order to preserve liberty. James Madison wrote, "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." (The Federalist Papers, No 47). W. Cleon Skousen listed eighteen provisions in the check and balance system of our Founding Fathers. They are as follows: 1) The House of Representatives serves as a check on the Senate since no statute can become law without the approval of the House. 2) At the same time the Senate (representing the legislatures of the states before the 17th Amendment) serves as a check on the House of Representatives since no statute can become law without its approval. 3) A President can restrain both the House and the Senate by using his veto to send back any bill not meeting with his approval. 4) The Congress has, on the other hand, a check on the President by being able to pass a bill over the President's veto with a two-thirds majority of each House. 5) The legislature also has a further check on the President through its power of discrimination in appropriating funds for the operation of the executive branch. 6) The President must have the approval of the Senate in filling important offices of the executive branch. 7) The President must also have the approval of the Senate before any treaties with foreign nations can go into effect. 8) The Congress has the authority to conduct investigations of the executive branch to determine whether or not funds are being properly expended and the laws enforced. 9) The President has a certain amount of political influence on the legislature by letting it be known that he will not support the re-election of those who oppose his program. 10) The executive branch also has a further check on the Congress by using its discretionary powers in establishing military bases, building dams, improving navigable rivers, and building interstate highways so as to favor those areas from which the President feels he is getting support by their representatives. [Could this turn into black mail?] 11) The judiciary has a check on the legislature through its authority to review all laws and determine their constitutionality. 12) The Congress, on the other hand, has a restraining power over the judiciary by having the constitutional authority to restrict the extent of its jurisdiction. 13) The Congress also has the power to impeach any of the judges who are guilty of treason, high crimes, or misdemeanors. 14) The President also has a check on the judiciary by having the power to nominate new judges subject to the approval of the Senate. 15) The Congress has further restraining power over the judiciary by having the control of appropriations for the operation of the federal court system. 16) The Congress is able to initiate amendments to the Constitution which, if approved by three-fourths of the states, could seriously affect the operation of both the executive and judicial branches. 17) The Congress, by joint resolution, can terminate certain powers granted to the President (such as war powers) without his consent. 18) The people have a check on their Congressmen every two years; on their President every four years; and on their Senators every six years. The main purpose for our Constitution was to provide a way to solve problems in a peaceful manner. Our Constitution has served our nation well for over two hundred years. It has gotten our nation through several traumatic crises. A recent example of a peaceful transfer of power was at the time of the Watergate scandal. President Nixon misused his authority and resigned his office under the threat of impeachment. Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, pp 149-156.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Women's Movements

"Women's movements are group efforts, chiefly by women, that seek to improve women's lives or the lives of others. Probably the best-know women's movements are those that have engaged in political efforts to change the roles and status of women in society. Such political movements by women on their own behalf are often referred to as feminist movements. Women's groups also have worked to help others, primarily through religious and charitable activities. Whether political, religious, or charitable, women's movements have sought to achieve greater social, economic, and political involvement for women. "Throughout history, women have usually had fewer rights and a lower social status than men. The traditional role of wife and mother dominated, and most women's lives centered around their households. Women's movements first developed during the 1800's in the United States and Europe and then spread to other parts of the world…. This first wave of women's movements concentrated primarily on gaining voting rights for women. "A second wave of women's movements emerged during the 1960's, another period of great political and social change in many areas of the world. These contemporary women's movements have sought greater equality for women in the family, in the workplace, and in political life" (James Zollinger Giele, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 21, p. 385). Most societies throughout history have put women in an inferior position compared to that of men. This situation may be somewhat understandable because of the natural biological differences between the sexes. The average woman is physically smaller with less powerful muscles, but the fact that women are smaller does not mean that women are less intelligent or less capable in situations where brute strength is unnecessary. The fact that only women can bear children and nurse infants naturally led to the tradition for women to be responsible for child care while men were free to work at greater distances from their families. This division of labor in early societies did not necessarily suggest inequality. In more developed societies, a woman who stayed at home was dependent on someone else - usually her husband - to provide the necessities of life for her and her children. This could put the woman in an inferior economical position unless the husband considered her to be his full partner. I am very grateful for the opportunity that I had to be a stay-at-home mother while my children were growing and developing. I am also grateful that some of my daughters are also given the opportunity to be at home with their children. The Revolutionary War was fought in the name of liberty and equality, and women supported the war by sewing and farming as well as by boycotting British goods. The war did little to increase the rights of women, but it did make the idea of equality more prominent. The Industrial Revolution brought more women into the work place, but their earnings were controlled by their husbands. The various women's movements have brought many rights for women, including better educational opportunities, the right to own property, and the right to vote. There are new attitudes about women and their work today, and there are more women in the work force today than at any previous time. Even though women are not always paid as much for the same work, the pay is more equal than in past years. Men are becoming more involved in the home with both household chores and parenting. More husbands attend natural childbirth classes, and some men even take parental leave from work to care for a newborn baby. . There are still "gender gaps" in political choices. Women tend to choose candidates favoring social programs and domestic spending, while men tend to vote for candidates favoring defense spending. Even though men and women have more equal rights today, we all need to remember that there are eternal differences between the roles of males and females. Men are responsible to preside (take the leadership role) in their families while also protecting and providing for their families. Women are primarily responsible for nurturing their families. When men and women work together, whether in the home, in Church organizations, or the work place, everyone can come out winners by gaining from the male and female perspective on any given idea. God created us as males and females to walk together as equals.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Justice

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all." What kind of justice does our nation guarantee? If something is "just," it is also "fair." This means that to obtain "justice for all," the situation must be fair to all. Only equal justice under the law can be fair to everyone. There are many different words being discussed in our nation today, words that sound like fairness to all but are just the opposite. "Social justice," "political justice" and "economic justice" are different ways to justify redistribution of wealth. President Obama stated, "… the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. [O]ne of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change." Redistribution of wealth appears to be high on the President's "fairness list" as his Administration uses his "coalition of power" to force change on Americans. One of the reasons given for Obamacare was that it was unfair and unjust for millions of people to be without health insurance. I have family members and friends who struggle to pay for health insurance - or go without it. I understand the need to increase the availability of health care at lower costs in order that all may have health coverage; however, I fail to understand the fairness or justice in taking from one group to give to another group as this President is seeking to do. I think that it is past time for everyone to understand a basic principle: Life is not fair. How can it be fair for one girl to have beautiful hair and a shapely body while another girl is unattractive? How can it be fair for one boy to have a tall, handsome, athletic body while another boy is short and skinny with an acne problem? What is fair about one person being able to sing beautiful melodies while another is not able to carry a tune? Life is unfair! Everyone's life experiences are unique. Even siblings born to the same parents and growing up together in the same home have individual abilities and experiences. Some will have a bigger disposable income than others, and some will have easier lives than their siblings. Life is not fair! Those people who think redistribution of wealth will make everyone rich should do some more thinking. As more and more money is taken from the wealthy and those who work hard for what they have, there will be less and less money to go around because no one will be motivated to work for success. No one wants to work for something that will just be taken away from them. Redistribution of wealth will simply make everyone poor. Instead of thinking about "social" or "economic" or "political" justice, we need to think in terms of "equal" justice. Everyone should have the opportunity to be educated, to work, to live in a nice neighborhood, to have health insurance, etc., but no one should be entitled to anything except life, liberty, and the opportunity to own property. There have been times in my life when I struggled, was broke, and without ready cash, but I have never lived in chronic poverty or been dependent on the government to provide my living. My parents taught me how to work and the importance of work. They also taught me to be independent. There is an old saying that should be taught in all homes, schools, and churches: "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for one day. If you teach the man to fish, he can catch his own fish and feed himself for many days," Individuals who are temporarily short of cash may need only a "fish," but people who live in chronic poverty need to be taught how to fish so that they can be independent. Benjamin Franklin shared the same idea. "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." America is a great nation with enough opportunities for all to succeed or to fail in the attempt. Failure is not a bad thing; in fact, it is one of life's greatest teachers. In fact, failure can lead to great achievement. The reason that so many Americans are prosperous is because capitalism gave them the opportunity to succeed or fail. Capitalism creates prosperity. If the government got out of the way, more people could enjoy prosperity. In America we are guaranteed the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Americans should also enjoy "equal justice" under the law.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) became President by a margin of one electoral vote in the most strongly disputed presidential election in the history of our nation. Congress ended the dispute and decided the winner by creating a special Electoral Commission.

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born on October 4, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio, the fifth child of Rutherford Hayes, Jr., and Sophia Birchard Hayes. His family moved to Ohio from Dummerston, Vermont, in 1817. His father died was a successful store owner but died two months previous to the birth of Rutherford, or "Rud." Of a family of three boys and two girls, only Rutherford and one sister grew to adulthood. The children's guardian was a bachelor uncle, Sardis Birchard.

Hayes became a champion speller in elementary school. He attended private school in Ohio and Connecticut before entering Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, in 1838. He graduated at the head of his class there and then entered Harvard Law School the next year. He was admitted to the bar in 1845 after graduating from Harvard and started practicing law.

Hayes married Lucy Ware Webb on December 30, 1852. She was the daughter of a physician and a 1850 graduate of Wesleyan Female College in Cincinnati. Her intelligence and social grace was helpful to Hayes throughout his career, and she became the first President's wife to have a college degree. She was active in many moral causes of the day, including abolition of slavery, prohibition of alcohol, and aid to the poor. The Hayes had eight children, three of whom died in infancy.

Hayes was elected captain of a military drilling company when the Civil War began. He earned rapid promotions and distinguished himself during his four years in the Army. He was wounded four different times and had four horses shot from under him. He resigned from the Army with the rank of brevet major general on June 8, 1965.

Hayes received word that he had been nominated for the U.S. House of Representatives while fighting in the Shenandoah Valley. He refused to campaign for office because the outcome of the war was still in question. He won the election but was not seated until December 1865. He was reelected in 1866 but resigned in July 1867 after being nominated for governor of Ohio. He served three terms as governor. He was a courageous administrator and "worked hard for economy in government and for a strong civil service program based on merit rather than political influence.

Hayes won the Republican nomination as a compromise candidate at the national convention in June 1876. The national election brought great dispute. Four states - Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, and Oregon - sent two sets of electoral returns, one submitted by Republicans and one submitted by Democrats. This resulted in twenty disputed votes. Congress appointed a 15-member Electoral Commission in January 1877 to settle the matter. Fifty-six hours before Inauguration Day, March 2, 1877, Hayes was formally announced as the winner.

Hayes was not a popular President at first. The Democrats charged that he had "stolen the election," and the Republicans were upset because he refused to bestow special favors to party politicians. He announced that he would serve only one term as President because he wanted to reform civil service. He based his appointments on merit rather than friendship or support. By the time he left office, most Americans respected him for his honesty and sincerity. He tried to live by this motto: "He serves his party best who serves his country best." He was studious and good-natured and enjoyed books more than politics.

President and Mrs. Hayes tried to set a good example in the White House for American families. They were respected for their hospitality, simplicity, and modesty. Mrs. Hayes won high praise for her moral standards. She would not serve alcoholic drinks, even at formal dinners and receptions. A typical day for the Hayes family began with morning prayers. The family would gather again early each evening for music and singing. Public receptions were held almost every evening, and everyone was welcome to visit the White House. President and Mrs. Hayes introduced the custom for children to roll Easter eggs on the White House lawn in 1878.

When President Hayes left office, he returned to his home at Spiegel Grove in Ohio and withdrew completely from politics. He became involved in philanthropic work in education, prison reforms, Christianity, and veteran affairs. Mrs. Hayes died in June 1889, and President Hayes died on January 17, 1893. He became ill in Cleveland and insisted that he "would rather die at Spiegel Grove than to live anywhere else. He is buried in Fremont. Spiegel Grove includes the Rutherford B. Hayes Library and Museum and is open to the public. 

Important events from the world of President Hayes include: 1) The end of Reconstruction in 1877 when the last federal occupation troops left the South. 2) Flag Day was first celebrated officially on June 14, 1877. 3) H. O. Flipper was the first black cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1877. 4) Famous books published during the Hayes Administration included Black Beauty (1877) and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880). 5) The woman's suffrage movement was proposed in the United States Congress for the first time in 1878. 6) The first woman lawyer practiced before the United Stares Supreme Court in 1879. Quotes and facts for this post came from an article by H. Wayne Morgan in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, pp. 118-121.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Unlimited Terms

The topic for this Constitution Monday is a subject that was not in the Constitution. The Founders did not designate the number of terms of office that either Senators or Representatives could serve. This gives the individual Senators and Congressmen the Right to decide for themselves how many terms they will serve as long as they are re-elected. The Founders discussed the idea of limiting the terms and expressed the fear that power blocks would develop between elected officials over time. They eventually decided against limits. One of the reasons against setting limits was the idea that the nation may lose some of its best leaders when they were needed the most.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day is a special day set aside to honor and to express gratitude and appreciation to our fathers. It became an official national holiday in 1972 when President Richard M. Nixon signed Father's Day into law. Credit for the adoption of a day for fathers in the United States is given to Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington. After listening to a sermon on Mother's Day in 1909, she got the idea for a day to honor her father, William Jackson Smart. Sonora's mother died in 1898, and her father raised the six children by himself. Through Sonora's efforts, Spokane celebrated the first Father's Day on June 19, 1910. Father's Day is now an official holiday celebrated on the third Sunday in June. I am grateful for the fathers in my life: my own father, my father-in-law, my husband who is the father of our six children, and my sons and sons-in-law who are the fathers of my grandchildren. To all of them, I say thank you and Happy Father's Day. A father holds an important position in a family. He has the responsibility to 1) preside over his family in love and righteousness, 2) provide the necessities of life for his family, and 3) protect his family from all harmful influences. Ephesians 6:4 reads, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Gordon B. Hinckley, a modern-day prophet, said, "The father is the provider, the defender, the counselor, the friend who will listen and give support when needed. Who better than an exemplary father to effectively teach children the value of education, the dead-end nature of street gangs, and the miracle of self-esteem that can change their lives for good?" (Stand A Little Taller, p 169.) The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother and to insist that the children show proper respect to his wife and their mother. A recent study of the effect of marriage on poverty (1929-2008) shows that children have a much lower chance of growing of in poverty if their parents are married. The break down of the family in recent years emphasizes the important role that father fills in a family. In 1963, 93 percent of American children were born to married parents. Today the number has dropped to 59 percent. Children are fortunate if they grow up in a home that functions properly with father at the head of the family and mother at the heart. Fathers and mothers working together for the good of families are very important in establishing and maintaining a strong society. I want to wish a happy Father's Day to all fathers and especially to those fathers who recognize the value of father being in the home and taking an active part in the family.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Optimism

Families are strengthened when their members look for the good in individual situations as well as in the big events of the world around us. The conditions of our nation today - unemployment, problems in the economy, troubles with illegal immigration, political leaders who use the crises for political gain - sometimes make the world look real dark. Instead of looking at the dark clouds, we should look for the "silver lining" behind the clouds. A negative point of view doesn't help any situation, and the spirit of negativism is like a dark cloud hanging over our land. It is not necessary for us to be na├»ve about the conditions in our nation and our world because we do have problems, most of them very serious. We do have issues that we need to handle, but we do not need to stifle criticism. Criticism, if performed in a civil manner, can lead to better communication. What we need to do is to look for the good in every circumstance. President Gordon B. Hinckley knew of the problems in the lives of individuals as well as problems in our nation and world when he suggested that we be more positive. "My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we 'accentuate the positive.' I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort." In the dark days of World War II Hitler's army invaded country after country and dropped bombs on London. In this situation, Winston Churchill said, "These are not dark days; these are great days - the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race." Following the devastating disaster at Dunkirk, Churchill's words rang out across the free world, "We shall not flag or fail…. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." The brave talk by a courageous leader helped Great Britain come through some very dark and deadly days. By talking positively, he was able to give his people hope for a victory. When we walk with faith and hope and cultivate a positive attitude, we increase our faith and hope and our ability to be optimistic. Our individual lives can be happier and our families can be stronger when we cultivate optimism. Ideas and quotes for this post came from Gordon B. Hinckley in Standing for Something, pp 99-107.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Three Branches

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the powers of government should be divided into three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. Throughout the history of mankind, there have been many types of governments. Some nations have been ruled by a single powerful ruler in a monarchy. Other nations were ruled by an aristocracy or the wealthy. Still other nations operated under a pure democracy where all the people joined together to make decisions. The Roman Empire operated as a republic and ruled over millions of people. All of these types of governments have some merit that was taken into our government. In a monarchy, the government is administered by an executive head. An aristocracy represents the wealth and resources of the nation. A democracy represents the people. The Founders of our nation created a three-headed eagle with all three types of government to control our republic. They created three branch of government - executive, legislative and judicial - and divided the powers of government among the three branches. The doctrine of "separation of powers" was not readily accepted by Americans. John Adams was apparently the first of the Founders to recognize the need to separate the powers of government. He was advocating for separation of powers even before the Declaration of Independence was written. Somehow, Adams was able to convince his state to adopt a constitution based on separation of power. Consequently, the constitution of his state was the first in history to read: "In the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the legislative, executive and judicial powers shall be placed in separate departments, to the end that it might be a government of laws and not of men…." Benjamin Franklin was one of the last to be won over to the idea, but he "finally acknowledged that the Constitution of the United States with its separation of powers was as perfect as man could be expected to produce" (W. Cleon Skousen). John Adams said it was his goal "… to see rising in America an empire of liberty, and the prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them." The three-headed eagle has served the United States well for over two hundred years. If the executive, legislative and judicial continue to operate separately, they will be able to protect the liberty of Americans. If they join their powers into one head, it will be as though we live under a tyrant. For the good of our Republic, we must seek out and elect good and honest men and women to be our leaders. Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reconstruction

Reconstruction is the name used for the period in United States history immediately after the Civil War. The word also means the method used by the Union to restore relations with the Confederate states after their defeat. This period of time lasted form 1865 to 1877. It was also one of the most controversial periods in the history of the United States. Its successes and failures are still debated. There was much destruction in the South during the Civil War. Atlanta, Georgia, and Richmond, Virginia, were in ruins. Most of the railroad system in the South and the few factories there were destroyed. The North, in comparison, had little damage from the war, and its farms and industries were prosperous. There were many difficult questions during Reconstruction for leaders of both the North and the South. Some of those questions were: 1) How should the Union readmit the eleven states that had seceded or withdrawn? 2) Should the Confederate leaders be punished? If so, how should they be punished? 3) What rights should be extended to the four million former slaves? How should those rights be protected? 4) How should the rebuilding of the South be done? Some of the questions were answered and the problems solved during Reconstruction. All of the Confederate states eventually rejoined the Union by 1870 after meeting requirements for readmission. Amendments to the Constitution were proposed to give blacks the right to vote and laws were passed by Congress to protect the rights of blacks. The ruined areas of the South were gradually rebuilt. Other problems continued. The living and working conditions of the blacks improved slightly because most white people in the South refused to see blacks as equals. The Reconstruction governments needed support from the North because white Southerners wouldn't support them. These governments were considered illegal by most Southerners. Blacks were prevented from voting by some violent whites. Whites in the South regained control of their state governments as North lost interest in Reconstruction. Many of the newly won rights of the blacks were taken away by whites. The Union was restored during Reconstruction, and the rebuilding of the South began. The economic problems of both blacks and the South were not solved by Reconstruction. Because few of them acquired land, blacks didn't obtain the economic independence that comes from owning land. Most blacks continued doing the same labor for the same masters that they had done as slaves. The South was the poorest section of the nation even though its natural resources were developed and its railroad system expanded. Most Southern whites became firm supporters of the Democratic Party because of Reconstruction, creating the "Solid South." No Republican presidential candidate received a majority of the Southern vote for more than forty years after Reconstruction. Racial disharmony continued long after Reconstruction because whites refused to share important political power with blacks. Blacks set up their own churches rather than attempt to join white society. The blacks gradually lost all their new rights after Reconstruction. Every Southern state passed laws by the early 1900's limiting voting rights. The right to vote was given only to males who could pass certain educational tests or pay special taxes (poll taxes). The result was that few blacks voted. This violation of blacks' rights continued for many years after Reconstruction ended. This was one of the main reasons why the Fourteenth and the Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution were needed. These amendments established a national system of legal protection of equality before the law. The great guarantees of these amendments are still part of the United States Constitution even though they were often broken through the years. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments in the mid-1990's became the legal basis of the struggle of black Americans for equality and the civil rights movement. Facts for this post came from an article by Eric Foner in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 16, pp 176-180.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Support Arizona

The State of Arizona recently passed a law that is receiving much criticism. Many of those people who are finding fault with the law have not even read it. Kris Kobach helped write the law. He is an attorney and a law professor at the University of Missouri. According to Kobach, the new Arizona law is "quite narrow in scope. The law basically says that police officers, when they are making a stop for some other violation of law - [such as a] traffic stop - … and they develop reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal alien, then they have to act on that suspicion and contact ICE, which has a hotline that's been in place for 15 years, and they have to determine if the person is actually lawfully present in the country. "It also requires - it makes it an Arizona misdemeanor to fail to carry the documents that a person is required to carry by federal law if the person is an alien. Fore the last 70 years, it's been a requirement of federal law that aliens in the United States register and carry certain documents with them. The Arizona law just says, if you're breaking this federal law, you're also committing a misdemeanor in Arizona. Those are the two main things that the law does." He added, "[This law] does a number of other things as well. It includes the documentation provision I mentioned. It also prohibits sanctuary cities, which are cities that are breaking federal law by preventing their officers from communicating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He later explained, "Well, we do have some very clear court precedents on this. In 1971, the Supreme Court gave the landmark decision of Deconis (ph) versus Beka (ph), and in that decision, the Supreme Court said states can pass laws to discourage illegal immigration within their jurisdiction. And we do know as far as sanctuary cities are conceived that Congress in 1996 expressly forbid sanctuary cities, passed a law that's found at 8-USC-1373 for anyone with a legal book near them. But it says you cannot have a policy in your city or state that prevents your officers from talking to ICE." So there is the basic Arizona law, a law that mirrors the federal law. The federal government refused to enforce the federal law so Arizona was forced to write its own law. The President of the United States, members of his administration, and Democratic members of Congress are criticizing the Arizona governor for signing this bill into law even though they have not even read the law. They are criticizing Arizona for doing the job that the federal government should be doing but are not! Now they have recruited the President of Mexico to join them in their verbal attacks. There are also cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco that are calling for a boycott of Arizona. Arizona is not only fighting the illegal alien problem. It is also fighting the federal government as well as other nations. I think the Governor described it best when she said, "A country without borders is like a house without walls. It will eventually fall down." Illegal immigrants are being funneled into Arizona because of the wall that was built in California and Texas. Arizona is spending millions of dollars fighting the illegal immigration problem in numerous different ways - such as crime, school expenses, welfare fraud, etc. Arizona kept asking the federal government to secure the border, but the feds continue to do nothing but criticize. Arizona is nearing the end of its rope. It is time for the citizens of the United States to stand with Arizona. I have decided that I will boycott Mexico. I will not visit Mexico again until our borders are secure nor will I purchase anything made in Mexico. I call on all true Americans to join me in this boycott. I am also boycotting any city or state within the United States that boycotts Arizona. In addition, I plan to spend time in Arizona this winter to support the Arizona economy with my money. This is my way of supporting Arizona. I ask all Americans to do the same. I am grateful that Arizona is standing tall against illegal immigration. I support Arizona as does 70 percent of America. Where do you stand on this issue?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) became President when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at the end of the Civil War. Johnson was a Democrat from Tennessee who fought much with Congress. The division between them about how to treat the South became so wide that the House of Representatives voted to impeach Johnson. The Senate failed to remove him from office by one vote. Johnson was a typical stocky man of the frontier. He was a tailor by profession. He lacked formal education and became a self-taught man with help from his wife who taught him to write and to do arithmetic. Johnson was a serious man with limited tact and patience who used humor with his family and friends only. He was honest, brave and intelligent but lacked Lincoln's ability in convincing people to work together. He had an unshakable faith in the Constitution, which guided him for twenty years as he served as a United States Representative, a governor, and a United States Senator. At his impeachment trial, one of his attorneys wrote: "He is a man of few ideas, but they are right and true, and he could suffer death sooner than yield up or violate one of them." During the Johnson presidency, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia and made Nebraska a state. The South worked at repairing all their ruined towns and farms and learning to live without slavery. The first oil pipeline, the first practical typewriter, and the first refrigerated railroad car were part of his time period. Andrew Johnson was born December 29, 1808, in Raleigh, North Carolina, the younger of two sons. His father worked as a handyman at a tavern, and his mother worked as a maid at the tavern. After the death of his father, his mother sewed and took in washing to provide for her family. When Johnson was thirteen, he became an apprentice to a tailor. He was probably taught to read by the foreman of the shop as tailors usually hired someone to read to workers who were stitching clothes at tables. Because Johnson read newspapers and a few books, he became well acquainted with the Constitution, American history, and politics. Johnson ran away from his apprentice job after serving two of the required six years. He was a tailor in Carthage, North Carolina, and then at Laurens, South Carolina, before moving west to Tennessee. He took his mother and step-father with him to settle in Greeneville. Johnson married Eliza McCardle, the daughter of a Scottish shoemaker, on May 17, 1827. She taught him to write and to do simple arithmetic as well as encouraged him to read and study. They had five children. Johnson worked hard and was thrifty and built a profitable tailoring business. He bought property in town and was a devoted father. Johnson admired Andrew Jackson, a fellow Tennessean and Democrat, and used him as a political role model. Both men had firm faith in the common people. Johnson was proud of his humble beginning and saw himself as the champion of small white farmers and craft workers opposed to the great landowners who controlled Tennessee. John had a powerful voice and a quick mind, which helped him to sway large crowds and soon attracted a following. Johnson's first political position was a Greeneville alderman (1829). He also served as mayor (1834), Tennessee House of Representatives (1835), United States Representative (1843), Governor (1853), United States Senator (1857), and United States Vice President (March 4, 1865). He was sworn in as President of the United States on April 14, 1865. Because the gloomy war years were over, life in the Johnson White House was livelier. Living with the President and Mrs. Johnson were their two surviving sons, two daughters, one son-in-law, and five grandchildren. Mrs. Johnson was an invalid of about twenty years, and her daughter served as White House hostess. The grandchildren played and held parties in the White House. Johnson was both pro-slavery and pro-Union and believed until the last minute that the South would not secede. He said about Abraham Lincoln, "I voted against him; I spoke against him; I spent my money to defeat him; but still I love my country; I love the Constitution; I intend to insist upon its guarantees." Johnson stood by his principles when the Southern States began leaving the Union. He called the secessionists traitors in March 1861. He was the only Southern senator who refused to secede with his state. When Lincoln was killed, Johnson became President. He had the responsibility to unify and rebuild the nation. Congress and the President argued over bills. Radical members of the House of Representatives voted to impeach Johnson 126 to 47 on February 24, 1868. A trial began in the Senate on March 13, 1868. The Senate acquitted Johnson by one vote. His acquittal demonstrated that more than political opposition to Congress was necessary to remove a President from office. Johnson remained in office until the end of his term and was not nominated for a second term. He remained interested in politics after he left the White House in 1869. He ran unsuccessfully for several offices before being elected to the United States Senate in 1875. He was the only former President to serve as a Senator. He attended a short session in March 1875, and many Senators greeted him with applause and covered his desk with bouquets of flowers. He suffered a paralytic stroke while on a visit to Tennessee and died a few days later on July 31, 1875. He was buried in Greeneville with his body wrapped in a United States flag and his well-worn copy of the Constitution under his head. Events in the presidency of Andrew Johnson included: 1) Two Amendments to the Constitution were ratified. The Thirteen Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. The Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to all former slaves. It also forbade all states to deny equal rights to any person. 2) Antiseptic surgical methods were developed by Joseph Lister, an English physician (1865). 3) Literature published included Alice in Wonderland b Lewis Carroll of England (1865) and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott of the United States (1868). 4) The first successful transatlantic telegraph cable was laid in 1866 between New Foundland and Ireland. 5) The United States purchased Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 in 1867. 6) Dynamite was invented in 1867 by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist. Facts for this post came from an article by James E. Sefton in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 17, pp 136-142.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Flag Day

A flag is a piece of cloth that stands for something. The flag of the United States of America is known by several names, among which are Old Glory, the Star Spangled Banner and the Stars and Stripes. The Stars and Stripes is the most popular name for the red, white and blue flag. The colors of our flag stand for our land, our people, our government and our ideals. The flag of our nation stirs patriots to joy, to courage, and to sacrifice. Our flag should be treated with respect at all times. In 1949 President Harry S. Truman officially recognized June 14 as Flag Day by signing the National Flag Day Bill. Flag Day is celebrated in memory of June 14, 1777, the day that the Stars and Stripes was officially adopted by the Continental Congress as the official flag of the United States. Flag Day was first officially observed in 1877 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the selection of the flag. Flag Day is not a legal holiday except in Pennsylvania. Flag Day is an important day in the United States, and the people of the nation display the flag on their homes, businesses, and public buildings. Flag Day is an excellent day to ask God's blessings upon our nation. The following prayers were offered by modern-day prophets. "Joseph Smith wrote, "Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever" (Doctrine and Covenants 109:54). Gordon B. Hinckley said, "May God bless this nation of which you and I are a part. Bless her leaders that they may rise above pettiness and live after the tradition of the Founding Fathers. Bless our industry that it may benefit all mankind. Bless our science that out of it may come health and happiness of the peoples of the earth. Bless the people of this nation, you, every one of you, and me, and all who walk beneath its glorious flag with gratitude and appreciation, with respect and reverence, as well as with love." (Stand A Little Taller, p 173.) Please fly your Stars and Stripes!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gifts of the Spirit

After we were baptized, each of us had elders lay their hands on our heads to give the gift of the Holy Ghost. If we are willing and worthy to "receive" this great gift, we can have His influence with us continually. Through the Holy Ghost, each of us can be blessed with certain spiritual powers called the gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are given to those who are faithful to Jesus Christ to help us know and teach the truths of the gospel. These gifts help us to bless others and will lead us back to God. It is important that we know what these gifts are, how we can develop them, and how to recognize Satan's imitations of them. According to many scriptures, these gifts have been given to members of the true Church of God whenever it has been on the earth (see Mark 16:16-18). The gifts of the Spirit include the gift of tongues, the gift of interpretation of tongues, the gift of translation, the gift of wisdom, the gift of knowledge, the gift of teaching wisdom and knowledge, the gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the gift of believing the testimony of others, the gift of prophecy, the gift of healing, the gift of working miracles, and the gift of faith. In order to develop our gifts, we must first know what they are. We can gain this knowledge through fasting and prayer. Sometimes this information is given in patriarchal blessings. We are to seek after the best gifts according to Doctrine and Covenants 46:8. Obedience and faithfulness are required before we will be given gifts. We are then to use those gifts to do the work of the Lord. Satan has the power to imitate the gifts of tongues, prophecy, visions, healings, and other miracles. Moses had to compete with Satan's imitations while trying to convince Pharaoh to let his people leave Egypt (see Exodus 7:8-22). Satan uses imitation to convince us to believe in his false prophets, false healers, and false miracle workers. These imitations may seem so real that they may be detected only by asking God for the gift of discernment. Satan himself may appear as an angel of light (see 2 Nephi 9:9). Satan wants to blind us to the truth and to keep us from seeking the true gifts of the Spirit. Satan uses his power through mediums, astrologers, fortune tellers and sorcerers. They may claim that they follow God, but their works are an abomination to the Lord (see Isaiah 47:12-14; Deuteronomy 18:9-10). We should avoid all associations with the powers of Satan. Spiritual gifts are sacred (see Doctrine and Covenants 6:10) and are given for our profit and for salvation. They are not to boasted of or spoken about before the world. We should express gratitude to God for all the gifts that He gives to us.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Patriotism

Parents who teach patriotism to their children strengthen their family, community, state and nation. The word patriotism comes from the Greek word patris, which means fatherland. Patriotism is the love and loyal support of one's country. It includes a love for the country's land and people, admiration for its customs and traditions, pride in its history, and devotion to its welfare. It is a normal attitude or feeling and has existed throughout history and among all peoples. It requires public service and responsibility of all citizens. It involves serving one's country in the best way possible. It requires loyalty to country. A good way to teach patriotism to your children is to take your family on an outing with the specific purpose of purchasing a United States flag. Then teach your children to respect the flag by your attitude and example. I hope that you will fly your flag often. Flag Day is June 14 and is an excellent day to begin the practice of flying the flag of your nation.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Free Market

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that a minimum of government regulations and a free-market economy brings about the highest levels of prosperity. Our Founding Fathers first obtained independence and then they organized a government based on natural laws. They received some assistance in writing laws about the marketplace from a college professor in Scotland named Adam Smith. Smith wrote a five volume work called The Wealth of Nations, which came out in 1776. This brilliant work was just what the Founders needed. Thomas Jefferson wrote: "In political economy, I think Smith's Wealth of Nations the best book extant." (Bergh, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 8:31.) The Founders structured the entire national economy of the new nation on the basis of natural law and Smith's ideas about a free-market economy. According to W. Cleon Skousen, there are five parts to Smith's formula: 1) There is specialized production. 2) The government does not interfere in production, princes or wages. 3) The free-market operates on supply and demand with no government-imposed monopolies. 4) Competition based on supply and demand regulates prices. 5) Profits are an indication of whether the goods and services produced are worthwhile. 6) Competition improves quality and reduces prices. Skousen also wrote that "there are four laws of economic freedom which a nation must maintain if its people are to prosper at the maximum level. These are: 1) The Freedom to try. 2) The Freedom to buy. 3) The Freedom to sell. 4) The Freedom to fail. "By 1905 the United States had become the richest industrial nation in the world. With only five percent of the earth's continental land area and merely six percent of the world's population, the American people were producing over half of almost everything - clothes, food, houses, transportation, communications, even luxuries. It was a great tribute to Adam Smith." (See The Five Thousand Year Leap.) Even though the United States was becoming the biggest and richest nation in the world, the system needed some adjustments. Many powerful leaders thought the system needed to be replaced. At the same time, the Founding Fathers and the Constitution were being criticized and the ideas of Adam Smith were considered old fashioned. The intellectual leaders were creating a vacuum in order to build a new system based on the teachings of Karl Marx. This new system was exactly what the Founders were trying to eliminate. The colleges and universities in the 1920's stopped teaching anything about the heritage of our nation; therefore, there were no assignments to read The Federalist Papers or The Wealth of nations or anything similar. President Franklin Roosevelt did his best to trade the rights of the Republic - such as checks and balances, limited government, inalienable rights to liberty and property - for a centralized state and controls on industry. The Founders wanted to "make the American dollar completely independent of any power or combination of powers outside of the American people" (Skousen). They gave exclusive responsibility to issue and control money to Congress because the people had control over who would represent them in Congress. All money was to be precious metal. This plan of the Founders never was completely implemented. First, the Bank of the United States was created to issue money, a task given to the Federal Reserve System today. Thomas Jefferson stated, "If the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied. The issuing power of money should be taken from the banks and restored to Congress and the people to whom it belongs." (Quoted in Olive Cushing Dwinell, The Story of Our Money, p 84.) Jefferson must have been looking at circumstances similar to our day when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own approximately 90 percent of all the home mortgages. I feel certain that the situation saddened Jefferson as it does many today. If we truly want to return to our First Principles, we must convince our political leaders to reform our economy to the point that Congress again has the exclusive responsibility to issue and control money. Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, pp 131-139. There is much more information on this principle in this book.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Persian Gulf War

The Persian Gulf War is sometimes called Operation Desert Storm. It was fought in early 1991 and was between Iraq and a coalition of 39 countries. This war was organized under the direction of the United States and United Nations (UN). Leaders of the coalition included Egypt, France, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United States. The war was fought mostly in Iraq and Kuwait, two countries that lie together at the northern end of the Persian Gulf. The coalition was formed after Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Iraq invaded Kuwait, a tiny oil-rich nation, after unsuccessful attempt to resolve several disputes between the two countries. Iraq quickly gained control of Kuwait and then moved large numbers of troops to Kuwait's borer with Saudi Arabia. This action triggered fears that Iraq would invade Saudi Arabia next. The world's industrialized nations rely on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as primary providers of petroleum and were very alarmed at the invasion. Several members of the coalition sent troops to Saudi Arabia to protect it from attack. After months of pressuring Iraq to leave Kuwait, the coalition started bombing military and industrial targets in Iraq on January 17, 1991. A massive ground attack into Kuwait was launched in late February and quickly defeated the Iraqis. Military operations were ended by the coalition on February 28. There was much human suffering in the Middle East and enormous material damage in Iraq and Kuwait as a result of the war. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, wounded or made refugees. Iraq and other countries in the region suffered great hardship because of economic measures taken against Iraq. Environmental pollution in the region was huge because of the war as well as the fact that the Iraqis set hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells on f ire and dumped large amounts of Kuwaiti oil into the Persian Gulf. If those problems were not enough, there were bloody revolts in Iraq by Kurds and Shiite Muslim Arabs. The Persian Gulf War was the first major crisis in the international world after the end of the Cold War. This war tested the cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union. It also tested the ability of the UN to be a leader in world affairs. The war also divided the Arab world between those who supported Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the coalition members. A formal cease-fire agreement was accepted by Iraq on April 6. The UN Security Council officially declared the end of the war on April 11. Saddam Hussein continued to rule Iraq after the end of the war and continued to cause problems in the Middle East. There was much contention in the Iraq. There were revolutions in northern Iraq among the Kurds and in southern Iraq among Arabs of the Shiite sect of the Muslim religion. Most of the revolts were quickly put down by Iraq's army. Hundreds of thousands of Shiite Arabs fled to Iran. Thousands of others hid in the marsh lands of southern Iraq. At least one million Kurds escaped to the mountains of northern Iraq and to Turkey and Iran. Tens of thousands of Kurds and Shiites were killed in the rebellions or died later of wounds, disease, exposure, or hunger. The United States and other coalition members established no fly zones - Iraq aircraft were banned - in the north to protect the Kurds and in the south to protect the Shiites. Saddam remained a tyrant who was not good for his people or for his country. He needed to be overthrown for the good of his countrymen. Facts for this post came from an article by David A. Deese in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 15, pp 300-301.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Amendment

Our First Amendment is being dismantled by "progressive" liberals in our nation. This Amendment has only forty-six words, but they are possibly the most important words in the United States Constitution. These forty-six words protect many of our freedoms, but our Rights protected by this Amendment are under siege by the progressives and their allies. Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution in plain and simple language in order that it could be understood according to their intent. The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Note that the Founders used the words "Congress shall make no law…." They could have said, "Congress should not…." They didn't. They used words that state what definitely should not happen: "Congress shall not…." There are people in this nation who think that our Constitution is a "living" document that has "evolved" into something much different than what the Founders wrote. I belief that if any of our Founding Fathers - such as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson - were to visit the United States today, they would wonder what in the world happened to the government they set up. Our constitutional Rights have been whittled away slowly for the past one hundred years, and we are almost to the point where we are no longer free. Progressives have tried to eliminate God from our government, from our classrooms, from our holidays, and from our individual lives. Now they are using our faith in God to complete their "fundamental transformation" of our country. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) recently said about cap-and-trade: "I think this could pass. And the reason it could pass is that we have the broadest base of support, as I said. We have faith-based community support for this bill." John Kerry is not the only progressive who gets excited about faith-based initiatives. President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships recently issued its report of recommendations, and the Obama administration is about to take faith-based initiatives to a whole new level. The council hopes that government and religion can partner to push the good news of global warming, climate change and green issues. It could become the religion of environmental and social justice. There is a new EPA faith office that is supposed to help churches and other non-profit organizations improve "access to financing," including "establishing revolving loan programs or working with utility companies to help finance greening building projects." Obama is merging the EPA with churches to make it easier for churches to get loans to green up and push green initiatives on their parishioners. If churches don't cooperate, their 501c3 status could be in jeopardy; if they agree to help with the administration's agenda, the government might help them build a new chapel. The administration's emphasis on faith goes beyond cap-and-trade. Nancy Pelosi is now asking churches to help her pass immigration reform: "On the subject of immigration because I think the church is going to have to play a very major role in how we, how people are treated. The cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops that come to me and say we want you to pass immigration reform and I said but I want you to speak about it from the pulpit. I want you to instruct your, whatever the communication is - they - the people some oppose immigration reform are sitting in those pews and you have to tell them that this is a manifestation of our living the Gospels." Net Neutrality is another area that is getting support from religious groups like the Christian Coalition. The coalition agenda for 2010 includes, "Prevent discrimination on the Internet by passing Net Neutrality." A group known as Free Press is also campaigning for Net Neutrality through events such as "faith-based community organizing and media reform." The ACLU gets upset about children singing Christmas carols in school. They get upset about the Ten Commandments being seen by the public. Somehow, they think it is great if the EPA merges with churches. It seems like the perfect program for the ACLU: They replace God with the government. They replace the Creator with the created. The religion of environmental justice is so powerful now that one of the leaders of the movement - one of its high priests - has admitted that what they are forcing on Americans won't even solve the supposed problem. Joel Rogers said, "I hope you all realize that you could eliminate every power plant in America today and you could stop every car in America - take out the entire power generation sector, take out all of the transportation sector - and you still would not be anywhere near 80 percent below 1990 levels. You would be closer to 60 percent - it would be around 68 percent - and that is with bringing the economy to a complete halt, basically." Progressives use Acts 2:44-45 as their guide to social justice: "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." To any person who understands the gospel of Jesus Christ, this scripture is obviously describing a group of people who were living the law of consecration. These people chose to give all of their goods to the Church. This scripture does not describe the agents of Rome taxing and/or confiscating property and then redistributing it to the poor as progressives are trying to do today. Social justice is a code word for Marxism. Consider the following conversation between the host Maureen Fiedler and a Reverend Jim Wallis. Fiedler: "Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth in society?" Wallis: "Absolutely. Without any hesitation. That's what the Gospel is all about. I get a call one day from a priest. And Dorothy Day is in town opening a Catholic border house on Kenmore up on the north side. She wants to meet you; do you have time? Do I have time? We had one community car, which was always broken and so I ran, you know, 20 blocks. And I'm in the parlor of the Catholic worker and in walks the great lady. Dorothy wrote a book about her life called "Love is the Measure," but she wasn't ever soft. Very tough. So you're a radical student like me, right? You were a Marxist like me, right? Yeah." Americans must understand what is happening with this social justice and EPA-faith office. It is a radical perversion of the Gospel. Suddenly, it seems that the radical left is no longer concerned about "separation of church and state." They obviously know that this isn't about God. They know that it is about control and the fundamental transformation of America. It is very important that Americans be aware of what is happening in our churches. Your church is either for socialist government or it is for living the gospel - and you need to know which they are teaching. If your church has "social justice" or "environmental justice" on its web site or in its teachings, it is Marxist - and you need to run from it as fast as you can. The First Amendment is very important in protecting our Rights. If this Amendment falls, we will have no way to communicate with each other in any way without permission from the government, and we will have lost our liberty.

Monday, June 7, 2010

George H. W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush (1924- ) was elected President of the United States in 1988 after serving as Vice President under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989. He was the fourteenth Vice President who became President. He was defeated in his bid for a second term by Democrat Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas. Bush took advantage of his association with Reagan while he campaigned for the 1988 election. Reagan had been a very popular President. Bush also profited from the fact that relations between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) greatly improved during the Reagan years. As President, Bush was commander-in-chief during the Persian Gulf War in which the United States and its allies defeated Iraq. He also signed important arms-control agreements with the former U.S.S.R. and then with Russia and other former Soviet republics. Before he was elected Vice President, Bush had a long career of government service. He served two terms representing Texas in the U. S. House of Representatives. He was U.S. Ambassador to United Nations (UN), director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Republican Party Chairman, and Envoy to China. Bush was a native of New England who was drawn to Texas by the booming oil industry. He worked his way up from equipment clerk to become president of an independent offshore oil drilling company. He was a successful businessman in the oil industry. Bush enjoyed sports, especially tennis and baseball. He also enjoyed jogging, boating, fishing, and parachuting out of airplanes in his later years. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family at their vacation home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush was born in Mitton, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1924. He had three brothers and one sister. His father was a successful businessman before becoming interested in politics. He represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate from 1952 to 1963. The Bush family lived in a nine-bedroom home in Greenwich, Connecticut, and spent summers at the Kennebunkport home of George Herbert Walker, the grandfather for whom young George was named. Bush attended the private Greenwich Country Day School before enrolling in an exclusive preparatory school named Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He earned good grades and was elected president of his senior class. He was also captain of the baseball and soccer teams before graduating in 1942. After the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Bush enlisted in the Naval Reserve. He received flight training and was the Navy's youngest pilot when he was commissioned an ensign in June 1943. He was assigned as a fighter pilot with the Torpedo Bomber Squadron VT-51, aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. San Jacinto in the Pacific Ocean. During an attack on a Japanese-held island, his plane was shot down on September 2, 1944. Before escaping from his plane, he scored damaging hits on his target, a radio station. He was rescued from the ocean by a U.S. submarine, the U.S.S. Finback, but his two crew members did not survive. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism in the incident and returned to flying after being shot down. He was later transferred to the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia until the war ended in August 1945. Bush met Barbara Pierce of New York at a Christmas dance in 1941. Her father was the publisher of McCall's and Redbook magazines. George and Barbara were married on January 6, 1945, and had six children (George, Robin, John, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy). Bush entered Yale University in the fall of 1945 where he worked hard and did well in his studies. He played first base on the Yale baseball team for three seasons and was captain of the team during his senior year. He graduated from Yale in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in economics and was elected to the honor society Phi Beta Kappa. While he was President of the United States, he had to deal with the worst crisis in the savings and loan industry since the Great Depression of the 1930's. More than 1,000 institutions failed and hundreds more neared bankruptcy between 1980 and 1990. Causes of this crisis were: customers failing to repay loans, poor regulation, and fraud and mismanagement in the industry. Bush proposed legislation to rescue and restructure the industry. The cost of this bailout could eventually reach hundreds of billions of dollars. The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in March 1989 near the port of Valdez, Alaska. It was the largest oil spill ever to take place in United States waters (11 million gallons). Two weeks after the spill, Bush order U.S. military and other federal agencies to take control of the clean up. Bush signed a bill amending the Clean Air Act of 1970, setting stricter standards for air quality and emissions and requiring the sale of cleaner burning fuels. He signed a bill in November 1990 to raise federal income taxes, going against a campaign promise to oppose any new taxes. By July 1991 the U.S. economy had entered a recession. The Los Angeles riots broke out in June 1992, resulting in 53 deaths and over $1 billion in property damage. In international affairs, Bush took bold military action twice during his presidency. He ordered troops into Panama in December 1989 to overthrow the dictatorship of General Manuel Antonio Noriega, save 35,000 Americans who lived in Panama, and to defend the Panama Canal. Noriega was brought to the United States where he was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to 40 years in prison. In August 1990 Bush ordered hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to the Middle East after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Many Arab nations and other nations joined the United States in a coalition that forced Iraq's military out of Kuwait and defeated Iraq after about 100 hours of fighting. In April Bush ordered U.S. troops to work with other coalition forces in establishing safety zones in northern and southern Iraq. Major events occurring during the Bush presidency include: 1) The Soviet Union broke apart into several independent states in late 1991. 2) The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protected disabled people from discrimination by private employers. 3) The Hubble Space Telescope, launched into orbit by the United States in 1990, produced valuable new images of stars, planets, and galaxies. 4) Recycling programs multiplied as the world's output of garbage became a growing concern. 5) A cyclone and tidal wave hit Bangladesh in 1991 and killed 150,000 people. 6) South Africa officially ended apartheid, its policy of racial segregation, in 1991. However, the country's laws continued to deny blacks the right to vote in national and provincial elections. 7) Hurricane Andrew tore through southwestern Florida in 1992 leaving 250,000 people homeless. Facts for this post came from an article by Lee Thornton in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp 732-739.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Six Years

On this Constitution Monday, the topic comes from Article I.3.1, "The term of office for a Senator shall be for six years." The Founders thought the states had the Right to be represented for six years. Senators were given a longer term of office than Presidents or Representatives in order to provide more stability in the government.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gift of Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead. He is "a personage of Spirit" (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22) without a body of flesh and bones; therefore, His influence can be everywhere at once. He testifies of the Father, the Son, and all truth. He also prepares us to return to live in the presence of God by purifying and sanctifying our hearts until we have no more desire to do evil. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the privilege to receive continual guidance and inspiration from the Holy Ghost. This gift is given to people who have been baptized and confirmed as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The gift of the Holy Ghost is enjoyed by all who truly receive it. The Holy Ghost may temporarily guide a person without the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Doctrine and Covenants 130:23). This guidance is a temporary experience unless the person is baptized and receives the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. A Roman soldier named Cornelius received inspiration from the Holy Ghost telling him that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true, but he did not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. (See Acts 10.) According to Joseph Smith, the Holy Ghost would have left Cornelius if he had not been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. (See Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p 97.) People today who are not members of the Church know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true (see Moroni 10:4-5). If they do not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, that initial testimony will leave them and they will not receive the continuing assurance that can come to those who have the gift of the Holy Ghost. After people are baptized, they are confirmed as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are given the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Every worthy elder of the Church, when authorized, may give the gift of the Holy Ghost to another person. Each person is told to "receive the Holy Ghost." This means that the Holy Ghost will come to us with inspiration and guidance only when we are faithful and desire His help. We are worthy of help from the Holy Ghost when we keep the commandments of God and keep our thoughts and actions pure. When the Holy Ghost "speaks" to us, it is usually referred to as a "still small voice" (see 1 Kings 19:9-12; Helaman 5:30; Doctrine and Covenants 85:6). President Boyd K. Packer explained, "The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear…. While we speak of `listening' to the whispering of the Spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying, `I had a feeling….' This voice of the Spirit speaks gently, prompting you what to do or what to say, or it may caution or warn you" (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60). The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father gives to His children. It is through the Holy Ghost that we may know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Book of Mormon is true, that God's Church has been restored to the earth, that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, and that there is a living prophet on earth today. The Holy Ghost shows us all things that we must do (see 2 Nephi 32:5). The Holy Ghost sanctifies us to prepare us to live in God's presence. The Holy Ghost also brings other gifts to us. The gift of the Holy Ghost can also bring peace to our hearts and understanding of the things of God to our minds (see 1 Corinthians 2:9-12). I have received the Holy Ghost many times in my life. I am very grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I love to feel the peace that He always brings.