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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Work is an eternal principle and is the subject of our gospel discussion for this Sabbath Day. We know that work is important in heaven and on earth because of the examples and teachings of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, under the direction of Heavenly Father, worked to create the heavens and the earth. He worked when He caused the seas to gather in one place and the dry land to appear. He worked when He caused the grass, herbs, and trees to grow on the land. He worked when He created the sun, the moon, and the stars and hung them in the heavens. He worked as He created every living thing on the land or in the sea. When He placed Adam and Eve on the earth, He commanded them to take care of the earth and gave them dominion over all living things. (See Genesis 1:1-28.) We also know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ work because the Savior said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). The Savior also said, "I must work the works of him that sent me" (John 9:4). When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, work became the way of life on earth. The Lord said to Adam, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Genesis 3:19). Adam and Eve worked to provide for their own needs and the needs of their children (see Moses 5:1). When the Lord gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, He said to the people of Israel, "Six days shalt thou labour" (Exodus 20:9). In the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Lord said, "Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them" (Doctrine and Covenants 68:31). President Heber J. Grant said, "Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant [2002], 115). Parents have the responsibility to teach their children to work as they labor together to provide for the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of their family. Parents should never expect anyone to take care of this responsibility for them. The Apostle Paul wrote, "If any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith" (1 Timothy 5:8). Mothers and fathers can establish individual responsibilities for family members as they seek inspiration from the Lord and follow the counsel of the prophets. Just as providing the basic necessities of food and clothing are important, creating a home where principles of the gospel are taught daily and where love and order abound is also important. Children should be taught to do their share of the work in the home, and children learn best when they receive work assignments that fit their abilities as well as receive praise for their successes. Children can develop good work attitudes, habits and skills through successful experiences in the home. A good attitude toward work is very important because attitude affects feelings. Some people find work to be an exciting part of life while other people find work to be drudgery. It seems that the happiest of people enjoy their work. We lighten heavy loads when we help each other in our work. The following story shows the difference that attitude can make in our daily labor: A traveler passed a stone quarry where he saw three men working at the same job. He asked each man what he was doing. The first man answered, "I am cutting stone." The second one said, "I am earning three gold pieces per day." The third man replied with a smile, "I am helping to build a house of God." We can serve God in any honest work. King Benjamin, a righteous Nephite prophet, taught, "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17). We are still helping some of God's children if our work provides only for ourselves or our families. The Lord made plain that He is not pleased with anyone that is lazy or idle when He said, "The idler shall not have place in the church, except he repent and mend his ways" (Doctrine and Covenants 75:29). He also said, "Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer" (Doctrine and Covenants 42:42). From the earliest days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the prophets have taught the members to be independent and self-sustaining as well as avoiding idleness. No self-respecting person will voluntarily shift the burden of their own support to another person. They will supply the necessities of life to themselves and their families as long as they are able to do so. In addition, family members should accept the responsibility to care for their relatives who are unable to provide for themselves. As important as work is, it is also important to maintain a balance between work, recreation, and rest. Work makes rest and relaxation more meaningful. We have six days every week to complete our work and participate in hobbies, recreation and other activities to refresh our bodies and minds. We are commanded to rest on the Sabbath day (see Exodus 20:10; Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-12) after working the previous six days to refresh our souls for the coming days. Honest work brings many blessings into our lives. God told Adam, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Genesis 3:19). This was not only a temporal law, but it was also a law for the salvation of souls because there is no division between spiritual, mental, and physical work. Work is a necessity for each of us to grow and develop character; it also brings many satisfactions that the idle will never know. President David O. McKay said, "Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that the power to work is a blessing, that the love of work is success" (Pathways to Happiness [1957], 381). The ancient prophet Lehi told his family that "Men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). Work is the key to a fullness joy in the plan of God. Those who live righteous lives will one day return to live with Heavenly Father where we will have more work to do. As we grow and become more like our Heavenly Father, our work will become like His work, which is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). Thus, we can honestly agree that work is an eternal principle.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Family Reunions

Families become stronger when they meet together in regular family reunions. Family reunions provide opportunities to gather individual families together. Getting together helps members of larger family groups to understand and love each other better. Reunions are an opportunity to have positive and enjoyable experiences together that cement family relationships. Working and playing together has a powerful and effective way of bringing families together. The memories of well-planned family reunions add to the love and respect between family members. Family reunions provide excellent opportunities for younger family members to become acquainted with their extended family, to get to know their heritage, and to understand that there is a very large group of people who are concerned about them. A family reunion is an excellent way to organize and gather family history and to stimulate interest in gathering family history. I have been attending family reunions for my entire life. As a child I attended reunions of my father's extended family as well as reunions of my mother's side of the family. My parents and their posterity have been gathering together annually for more than thirty years. My husband and I gather our children, spouses and grandchildren together during the Christmas holidays every other year as well as getting together as often as possible at other times. The most important thing in our family is setting the date. The reunion of my parents' posterity is always held about August 1, and the exact date is set a year in advance. Knowing when the reunion will be is very useful in planning for vacation time from work and knitting other activities together with the reunion. For example, members of my individual family often plan other activities for the week following the reunion of our extended family. Advance planning is very useful to family members who must purchase airline tickets and arrange for time off work. The next important item for planning our reunions is to know where the reunion will be held. Our family has learned that a certain park that is centrally located works well for our very large family. A beloved sister-in-law always makes sure that we have the park for our reunion. Our family has also learned that reunions work better when many people are involved in the planning. In order that everyone has an opportunity to share the responsibility of planning and organizing a reunion, the twelve children in my parents' family is divided into two committees. The committees alternate years to run the reunion, and a chairman is chosen from the applicable committee and directs the activities for the reunion. Our family reunions are continually evolving, but they all contain certain elements: food, fun, games, sports, genealogy, more food, and visiting. I particularly enjoy reunions that start with a spiritual basis, such as attending Church or a temple session together. My siblings and I along with our spouses join together for a sibling dinner on the evening before our larger reunion. During our dinner we discuss any problems that need to be brought before the group and do any advance planning for our next reunion. Our adult children hold a "cousins evening" that is held the same evening. A get-together of the entire family is held for several hours on Saturday when everyone gets together for food, fun, games, and visiting. I highly recommend family reunions - and hope that all my family is planning to attend our reunion.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rule of Law

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the rule of law is necessary to preserve freedom, not the whims of men. When a law is established, it states the rights and duties of every person. Each person then knows what is expected. This brings a sense of security to all. In comparison, when people are governed by the whims of men, the rights and responsibilities of the people depend upon whoever happens to be in power. Nothing is fixed, predictable, or secure. Individual families as well as society as a whole need a set of fixed and enforceable laws in order to be civilized. John Lock wrote, "The end of the law is not to abolish or restrain but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law." (Second Essay Concerning Civil Government, p 37, par. 57.) Laws also need to be written in such a way that they are understandable and stable. Modern lawmakers could learn much from our Founding Fathers. The Declaration of Independence AND the United States Constitution are contained in less than fifty pages. The national health care bill took more than a thousand pages! The laws and regulations of our nation need to be less voluminous and less incoherent while also being more understandable and more supportable by the people. Ideas and quotes for this post came from W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap, pp 173-176.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

League of Nations

The League of Nations was created as an international association of countries designed to maintain peace among the nations of the world. Following the armistice of World War I (1914-1918) the victorious nations of the war - including Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States - composed a constitution or covenant for the League in 1919. The League was established in January 1920 with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization stopped functioning in 1939 after World War II started. It was dissolved formally in April 1945 when the United Nations replaced it. President Woodrow Wilson was the chief planner of the League of Nations. He "believed that world wars would continue to occur as long as each nation was responsible its own defense" and that "even a powerful nation, knowing it would face the united opposition of all other powerful nations, would not go to war." He wanted nations to form competing groups, each arming against the other. He also wanted the nations of the world to join together and pledge to defend the territory and independence of any member attacked by another nation. Wilson was successful in convincing other countries to agree to his plans for the League, but he had a difficult time convincing the U.S. Senate to ratify the plan. The U.S. Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles in March 1920; the treaty would have made the United States a member of the League. Most Americans decided within a few years that they had no need to concern themselves with conflicts overseas. The United States never did join the League of Nations. Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by Gary B. Ostrower in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 12, pp 159-161.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Warning Labels

Did you know that Wilder Publications put a warning on our Founding Documents such as the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers? The warning is as follows: "Copyright 2007 Wilder Publications. This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except for brief quotations for review purposes only. A & D Publishing, PO Box 3005, Radford VA 24143-3005;" I hope that you are as appalled as I am about a publisher feeling the need to put a disclaimer upon our Founding Documents. I hope that you will send a letter or e-mail to Wilder Productions to remind them about how and why our nation was created. You might remind them that the United States of America was founded on a brand new idea - the idea that people have rights. Those rights include: the right to life (including what one works for), the right to liberty, and the right to pursue happiness. The Founders had another idea when they created America - the idea that men and women are capable of governing themselves and that the only reason for government was to protect the rights of the people. Government has no authority to tell men what to do or how to live their lives or to take what belongs to one person to give to another. The only responsibility government has is to make sure that no person or group of people violates the rights of another person or group of people. Under the guidance of our Founders America became the most advanced nation on earth and its people the happiest and wealthiest. The United States is also the most compassionate nation on earth as well as the most moral. All of these conditions came about because this nation recognizes individual rights.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was the President of the United States during World War I. He became famous as a champion for world peace and democracy. In addition to being a world statesman, he also achieved success in two other careers. He had a great influence on the course of education as a scholar, teacher, and university principal. In the world of politics, he was a leader in bringing reforms to both state and national governments. Woodrow was of medium height and thin. He wore glasses and had a high Woodrow Wilson was our first progressive president. He had high forehead, firm mouth, and jutting jaw. He was a man of firm beliefs. He became a difficult opponent once his mind was made up or someone challenged his principles. He had great energy, a magnetic personality, and high ideals, all of which helped to win loyalty from friends and political supporters. Woodrow Wilson is considered by historians as one of the most successful Presidents even though he was the first progressive President of the United States. He was elected in 1912 by a minority of voters because the Republican vote was split between President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt. He was reelected in 1916 because people felt that "He kept us out of war." Three months later American ships were attacked by German submarines and Wilson asked Congress to declare war. After the war was over in 1918, Wilson fought for a peace treaty that included a League of Nations. Wilson's dream of U.S. leadership of the League ended when President Warren G. Harding opposed American membership in the new organization. Woodrow Wilson was probably born on December 29, 1856, at Stauton, Virginia. The confusion over the date of his birth comes from the family Bible that shows he was born at "12 3/4 o'clock" at night on December 28. His mother said that he was born "about midnight on the 28th." Wilson used December 28 as his birthday. He was born the third of four children and the first son. He was named Thomas Woodrow Wilson for his maternal grandfather and was known as "Tommy" as a child, but soon after he graduated from college he dropped the Thomas. Woodrow grew up in an atmosphere of religious piety and scholarly interests because he was surrounded by people who were deeply religious, believed in Presbyterian doctrines, and stressed the importance of education. His father and maternal grandfather were Presbyterian ministers. His paternal ancestry is Scotch-Irish and his maternal ancestry is Scotch. He was about four years old when the Civil War started and so grew up in the atmosphere caused by the Civil War. Wilson started school at age 9 because many of the schools were closed during the war. He eventually attended Princeton and the University of Virginia Law School. He opened a law office in 1882 in Atlanta, Georgia, but by the spring of 1883 he realized that he didn't want to be a lawyer. He decided to be a college teacher and began a graduate study in history and political science at Johns Hopkins University. He received his Ph.D. degree in June 1886. Woodrow married Ellen Louise Axson on June 24, 1885, and three daughters were born to the couple. Mrs. Wilson was the most influential person in Woodrow's life and devoted most of her time to making their home comfortable. Woodrow enjoyed playing and reading with his daughters. Woodrow was an associate professor of history at Bryn Mawr College for three years. He then became professor of history and political economy at Wesleyan University where he also coached football. In 1890 Princeton University invited him to become professor of jurisprudence and political economy. There he became a popular and distinguished lecturer. He became president of the university on June 9, 1902. Wilson decided to change careers and decided to run for Governor of New Jersey. He resigned from Princeton on October 20, 1910, to campaign for governor. As governor he pushed through the legislature a series of reforms that transformed New Jersey from one of the most conservative states into one of the most progressive ones. Wilson's reforms in New Jersey gained him national attention, particularly from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. He won the Democratic nomination, which meant almost certain victory for the White House because the Republican Party was split between conservative President William Howard Taft and progressive Theodore Roosevelt. The popular vote was overwhelmingly for Wilson and Roosevelt and was considered to be a clear endorsement for a liberal reform program. Wilson was the last President to ride to his inauguration in a horse-drawn carriage. The Wilsons did not give an inaugural ball because neither of them enjoyed large social affairs. Wilson gave the first regular presidential press conference just eleven days after his inauguration. Wilson asked Congress to pass a series of reforms including a new tariff bill and reform of the banking and currency laws. Congress passed a bill in 1913 to establish a central banking system designed to provide a new currency and to help the flow of capital through twelve reserve banks. All of this was to happen under the direction of a Federal Reserve Board. Congress established the Federal Trade Commission in 1914 to investigate and stop unfair trade practices. That same year under direction from Wilson Congress passed the Clayton Antitrust Act that increased the power of the federal government to police unfair practices of big business. Other reform bills were adopted by Congress in 1916. They included the Adamson Act (established the eight-hour working day for railroad employees), the Child Labor Act (limited work hours for children), and a new program of federal regulation of industry. Congress placed heavy taxes on wealthy people and started programs to improve rural education and rural roads. The Wilson Administration was also involved in many foreign affairs. They included the repeal of the Panama Tolls Act (American ships could no longer use the Panama Canal toll -free.), preparing the Philippines for independence, and a crisis in relations between the United States and Mexico. Wilson also took over most of the control of revolution-torn Nicaragua, sent troops to occupy Haiti, and put the Dominican Republic under American control. World War I started in August 1914, and Wilson managed to keep America out of the battle - until after he was re-elected in 1916. In an eight-month period of time between November 1913 and July 1914, two of the Wilson daughters were married and Mrs. Wilson became very ill. She died on August 6, 1914, after a short illness. Wilson was so sad that he almost lost his will to live. He met Edith Bolling Galt in March 1915. She was the widow of a jeweler in Washington. They were married on December 18, 1915, in her home in Washington, D.C. Wilson gave to Congress what is considered to be his greatest speech and entitled it Fourteen Points. This speech undermined German morale during the final months of the World War I and gave Germany a basis upon which to appeal for peace. The Fourteen Points are: 1) Open covenants of peace - no secret international agreements in the future; 2) Freedom of the seas outside territorial waters in peace and in war; 3) removal of all possible economic barriers and establishment of equal trade conditions among nations; 4) Reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety; 5) Free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims; 6) Evacuation of German troops from all Russian territory giving Russia an opportunity to independently determine its own political development and national policy and welcoming Russia into the society of free nations; 7) Evacuation of German troops from Belgium and the rebuilding of that nation; 8) Evacuation of German troops from all French territory and the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France; 9) Readjustment of Italian frontiers along the clearly recognized lines of nationality; 10) Limited self-government for the peoples of Austria-Hungary; 11) Evacuation of German troops from Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro, and independence guaranteed for the Balkan countries; 12) Independence for Turkey, but an opportunity to develop self-government for other nationalities under Turkish rule, and guarantees that the Dardanelles be permanently opened as a free passage to ships of all nations; 13) Independence for Poland; 14) "A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike." Wilson was the first President to cross the Atlantic Ocean while in office when he attended the Paris Peace Conference in early 1919 following the end of World War I. At the peace conference he campaigned for the adoption of his Fourteen Points because he considered them important for world peace. He won support for only part of the treaty provisions he wanted. In order to gain support for the League of Nations and other provisions in the Fourteen Points, he compromised on several major issues. These concessions weakened his moral position in the eyes of the world but insured establishment of the League of Nations. The Constitution required that two-thirds of the Senators approve peace treaties, and Wilson soon discovered that the Senate was not going to ratify the League of Nations without some amendments to the provisions. He returned to Paris in March 1919 where conference delegates accepted several of his provisions. He returned to the USA only to discover active public debate on the peace terms and mounting congressional opposition to the treaty and the League of Nations. The President decided to take his case for the League to the American people and planned a speaking tour through the Midwest and the West. His doctor did not approve the trip, but Wilson went anyway. On September 25 after Wilson spoke at Pueblo, Colorado, he collapsed from fatigue and nervous tension. He cancelled the remainder of his tour and returned to Washington, D.C. where he suffered a paralytic stroke on October 2. Wilson remained an invalid for the remainder of his life. He did not resign the Presidency even though he was so ill that he was not functioning as the President should. He watched helplessly as he lost his fight for the treaty. In the 1920 presidential campaign, the Democratic platform endorsed the League, and the Republican platform opposed it. The Republican nominee, Warren G. Harding, overwhelmingly defeated his opponent. The League of Nations was dead as far as the United States was concerned. Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1920, for his work in establishing the League of Nations and seeking a fair peace agreement. Wilson's term of office ended in March 1921. Wilson regained partial use of his arms and legs, but his physical condition did not permit any actual work in the law partnership he formed. He lived in quiet retirement in Washington where he spent his time seeing an occasional movie or play, listening to books and magazines read aloud to him, and sometimes lunching with friends. He was confident that he would be proved correct by future events regarding the terms of the peace treaty and the League of Nations. Wilson grew "tired of swimming upstream" and died in his sleep on February 3, 1924. He was buried two days later in the Washington Cathedral, the only President to be buried in Washington, D.C. Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by John M. Mulder in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 21, pp 320-330.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nine Years

The principle for this Constitution Monday is found in Article I.3.3, "A Senator must have been a citizen of the United States for at least nine years." This provision set forth the requirement that any person being elected to be a Senator must have lived in the United States for at least nine years. Most of the Founders had strong opinions about who should hold the power to make treaties and manage foreign affairs. They wanted to be sure that all Senators were free of foreign attachments and would work for the good of the United States of America.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Sacrifice means giving up something good for something better. The Lord requires us to be willing to sacrifice our earthly possessions, time and energy to further His work and defend His kingdom. He commanded, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). People have always been tried and tested to determine if they would put the things of God first in their lives. The willingness to sacrifice shows our obedience to God. The law of sacrifice has been practiced since Adam and Eve built an altar and offered sacrifices to God. Heavenly Father commanded His people to offer as sacrifice the firstlings of their flocks - perfect and without blemish. The ordinance of sacrifice was a reminder to God's people that the Firstborn of the Father would come into the world, live a perfect life, and offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. (See Moses 5:5-8). Jesus Christ came into the world just as the prophets had taught. Through His atoning sacrifice, He made it possible for everyone to be saved from physical death through the Resurrection and to be saved from their sins through faith in Jesus Christ. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ brought to an end the shedding of blood for sacrifices. The outward sacrifice of blood was replaced by the ordinance of the sacrament as a reminder of the Savior's great sacrifice. We should partake of the bread and water of the sacrament often as these emblems remind us of the Savior's body and of His blood, which He shed for us. Even though we no longer sacrifice by the shedding of blood, we are still commanded to offer sacrifices. Through latter-day revelation, the Lord said: "Ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood, … and your burnt offerings shall be done away. … And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit" (3 Nephi 9:19-20). A person who has a "broken heart and a contrite spirit" humbly offers to the Lord a deep sorrow for sins in repentance of them. Sacrifices take many different forms. A "living sacrifice" is made when we are willing to give everything we have to build the kingdom of God on earth and to labor to bring forth Zion. (See 1 Nephi 13:37.) Our daily activities can be a sacrifice as we strive to put the things of God first. I know that sacrifice brings many blessings with the end result becoming worthy to live in the presence of God and live eternally with Him and our loved ones. As we humbly offer our sacrifices, we strengthen our testimonies of the gospel. Sacrifice is not easy but it brings something better than what we give up.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pioneer Day

Families become stronger when they celebrate important days and traditions together. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrate July 24 each year as Pioneer Day. Brigham Young reached the Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, and declared, "This is the place. Drive on." Brigham Young later said that he had seen the valley and Ensign Peak in a vision and recognized it when he saw it. Pioneer Day is marked by parades, picnics, games, etc. by members of a church. The Mormon pioneers believed that God led them to the Great Salt Lake Valley in order that they would have a refuge from the violence of mobs and other people who did not like them. God has prepared places of safety for His people at numerous times in history. He still helps those who love Him to find the right place to live and work. "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "The future is ahead. As great things were expected of the pioneers, so are they of us. We note what they did with what they had. We have so much more, with an overwhelming challenge to go on and build the kingdom of God. We are engaged in a great consuming crusade for truth and goodness" (Stand A Little Taller, 216). Parents can help their families grow stronger by sharing historical stories of their family and church and celebrating holidays. Families can celebrate their own important days whatever they may be and thus strengthen their family.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Local Governments

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the foundation for protecting individual freedoms is strong local self-government. All individuals have a circle of influence, and the strongest influence is from the people we know best. Thus, we are apt to know better the people who live in our own towns, cities, and states than someone across the nation. We can keep our local governments strong by electing people whom we know to have strong moral values. W. Cleon Skousen wrote, "Political power automatically gravitates toward the center, and the purpose of the Constitution is to prevent that from happening. The centralization of political power always destroys liberty by removing the decision-making function from the people on the local level and transferring it to the officers of the central government. This process gradually benumbs the spirit of `voluntarism' among the people, and they lose the will to solve their own problems. They also cease to be involved in community affairs. They seek the anonymity of oblivion in the seething crowds of the city and often degenerate into faceless automatons who have neither a voice nor a vote." Self-government works because problems are best solved at the level where they originate. Problems in a family are best solved by members of a family working together. If a problem originates on a neighborhood level, neighbors working together can best solve the problem. If there are problems in education, the solution should come from a source close to the students. This principle also applies to states. The Constitution gave the federal government the responsibilities that the states could not handle as well - such as defense. It also kept for the states the responsibilities best done locally such as education and police departments. The Founders understood the need to protect the freedom of the individuals as well as to encourage strong local self-government. Thomas Jefferson explained, "The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to [perform best]. Let the national government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the state governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward [township] direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics, from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man's farm by himself; by placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best. What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or the aristocrats of a Venetian senate." (Bergh, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 14:421.) The Founders wanted the federal government to remain small in order that the power would remain with the people. Strong local self-government is the process through which freedom is preserved for individuals. Ideas and quotes for this post are from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, pp 169-172.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mormon Pioneers

The history lesson for this week is the Mormon Pioneers. The Mormon pioneers were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who migrated across the United States from the Midwest to the Great Salt Lake Valley in the Utah Territory in search of freedom to practice their religion as they chose. The journey from Illinois to the Great Salt Lake was taken by approximately 70,000-100,000 people and started in April 1847 and ended when the First Transcontinental Railroad was finished in 1869. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in April 1830. Members of the church were often harshly treated by non-members, partially because of their religious beliefs and partly as a reaction to prejudices and misunderstandings. The body of the church moved from Palmyra, New York, to Kirtland, Ohio, and then onto Independence, Missouri, under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Mormons were forced to leave Missouri in 1838 by the state militia who were under orders from Governor Lilburn Boggs to either expel them from Missouri or exterminate them. The Mormons then moved to Illinois where they built a new city on the banks of the Mississippi River and named it Nauvoo. In 1844 Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were brutally murdered by a savage mob while they were in the custody of the governor of Illinois. A mob broke into the Carthage Jail and shot Joseph and Hyrum on June 27, 1844. Tensions between Mormons and non-Mormons continued to grow with mobs burning Mormon homes and destroying property in outlying areas. Mormon leaders finally decided they would have no peace until they left the civilized areas and moved to the Rocky Mountains. They left Nauvoo on February 4, 1846, crossing the frozen Mississippi River and slogging through snow to the Omaha, Nebraska, area where they spent the rest of the winter. Mobs burned the Latter-day Saint temple in Nauvoo in 1848. A vanguard company organized and led by Brigham Young left Winter Quarters, Nebraska, on April 5, 1847, and headed to the Great Basin. They were looking for a place that no one else wanted. The camp was awakened each morning at 5:00 by a bugle and was expected to be ready to move out by 7:00 a.m. Travel ended each day about 8:30 p.m. with the travelers in bed by 9:00 p.m. The company traveled six days each week but rested on Sunday to observe the Sabbath. On July 24th, Brigham Young first saw the Great Salt Lake Valley from the back of a wagon where he lay sick. He expressed his satisfaction with the area and declared, "This is the right place, drive on." A monument now marks the spot where Brigham made his declaration. Brigham later said that he had seen the valley, including Ensign Peak, in a vision and recognized the spot when he saw it in person. The Mormon pioneers traveled to the Salt Lake Valley in the Great Basin in covered wagons, handcarts, and walking. Their trail is now known as the Mormon Trail and leads along the Platte River and over the Sweetwater River. The wagons were usually pulled by oxen. Provisions included two to three yoke of oxen, two milk cows, other livestock, arms and ammunition, fifteen pounds of iron, pulleys, and ropes, fishing gear, mechanical equipment, cooking equipment and at least one thousand pounds of flour plus other assorted foodstuffs. Some of the wagons had to be lightened by discarding book collections, furniture, china, etc. Pioneers with handcarts could take considerably less than those with wagons. Even though most of the Mormon pioneers moved westward to the Great Salt Lake Valley, a group Saints living in the eastern United States boarded the ship Brooklyn on February 4, 1846 - the same day that Mormons left Nauvoo - to sail to California. The ship sailed south from New York, around Cape Horn, stopped in the Juan Fernandez Islands and the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) and finally docked in Yerba Buena (San Francisco) on July 29, 1846. Many of these travelers stayed in California, but some traveled east to the Salt Lake Valley. I am grateful for my great-grandparents who followed Brigham Young to Utah. Some of them went westward in covered wagons, and some traveled eastward from California. Some were among the first to travel to Utah on the newly build railroad.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tax on Education

I wonder if the intellectuals in our federal government and their supporters in the educational systems of our nation will follow the example of the politicians in the United Kingdom. In an effort to bring more revenue into the bloated socialist government, Vince Cable, Business Secretary of the current British Government, made a proposal to tax university degrees for the lifetime of the recipient. The tax will be based solely on the fact that the graduate received a degree and the amount of tax would be based on a percentage (amount has not yet been determined and of course not permanent) of the graduate’s income. Those who earn higher incomes could end up paying as much as $24,000.00 every year simply because they earned a university degree. I can see another reason for a socialist government to tax education – redistribution of wealth. Only a socialist would think that those who were smart enough and wealthy enough to go to a university should share their higher incomes with those who are unable to obtain degrees. This is just one more way to dumb down a country and bring the people more and more under the control of the government. A big problem with this plan, however, is that the golden goose will gradually but eventually stop laying golden eggs. As more and more people realize that a university degree simply makes them poorer rather than better off, fewer people will want to obtain degrees. Since the United States government has fully taken over the student loan program, it may not be long before some idiot of a progressive will suggest this new source of revenue. Of course, the progressives would probably say that a tax on degrees is necessary to lower the cost of tuition at the schools of higher education. This is just one more reason why we must weed out the progressives and far left liberals from all elected offices. Now is the time to search out and support people who are willing to stand on constitutional principles and to shrink the size of our federal government. You have been warned that this could happen. I encourage you to stay alert and ready to fight for the right to education without taxation.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Brigham Young

Brigham Young is ranked as one of the most important colonizers of the American west. His great leadership abilities and pioneering efforts helped him to lead approximately 100,000 people to the mountain valleys of Utah, Idaho, Arizona and other western states. He was a great colonizer and builder of a great commonwealth as he led the founding of more than two hundred cities, towns, and villages and the establishment of many schools and factories. A statue of Brigham Young stands in Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. to represent the state of Utah. He was the second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a devoted husband and father. He was a faithful disciple and Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Brigham was born in Whittingham, Widdham County, Vermont, on June 1, 1801, the ninth of eleven children of John and Abigail Howe Young. His father was a farmer and was one of the soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War under George Washington. In 1804 the family moved to the state of New York, and Brigham grew to manhood on the heavily wooded lands there. Brigham attended school for about twelve days; therefore, his classroom was basically the family home and the surrounding land. His parents were poor. Brigham later stated, "We never had the opportunity of letters [formal education] in our youth, but we had the privilege of picking up brush, chopping down trees, rolling logs, and working amongst the roots, and of getting our shins, feet and toes bruised." Brigham worked hard to help clear the land, farm it, and help with the chores of the household. H always remembered the strict moral training of his father and the teachings of his mother who "taught her children all the time to honour the name of the Father and the Son, and to reverence the [Bible]; she said, Read it, observe its precepts, and apply them to your lives as far as you can; do everything that is good; do nothing that is evil; and if you see any persons in distress, administer to their wants." Brigham's mother died when he was fourteen years old. Brigham was an apprentice carpenter, joiner, painter, and glazier by age 16. He took pride in his craft and said he considered "honest, reliable work, such as would endure, for those who employed me" to be "a part of my religion." Brigham was a tireless worker with a strong will, engaging personality, and deep convictions, all of which made him an outstanding leader. At age 23, Brigham married Miriam Angeline Works. The couple was blessed with two daughters. Brigham supported his family by making and repairing chairs, tables, and cupboards and installing windows, doors, stairways and fireplace mantels. Miriam contracted tuberculosis. Brigham carried the burden of her care and nursed her through the final weeks of her consumptive illness. She died in September 1832. On 18 February 1834 Brigham married Mary Ann Angell. Six children were born to this couple. Brigham and his first wife Miriam joined the Methodist Church during their first year of marriage, but Brigham continued to wrestle with religious questions. He searched for a church organized according to the pattern Jesus Christ established with a "system of ordinances" and all the gifts of the gospel. Two copies of the Book of Mormon were given by Samuel Smith (brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith) to the family of Brigham Young in April 1830 one month after the book was published. Some of Brigham's siblings read the book and accepted it as the truth, but Brigham did not immediately accept it. Brigham wanted to know the doctrine of the book and if the doctrines were the ones taught by Jesus Christ. He studied the book and prayed about it for two years and stated, "I examined the matter studiously, for two years, before I made up my mind to receive that book. I knew it was true, as well as I knew that I could see with my eyes, or feel by the touch of my fingers, or be sensible of the demonstration of any sense. Had not this been the case, I never would have embraced it to this day." Just as Brigham had to know for himself, he later taught the Saints that God did not intend them "to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another's sleeve…." At another time he said, "It is my duty to know the mind of the Lord concerning myself." He added, "It is your privilege and duty to live so that you know when the word of the Lord is spoken to you and when the mind of the Lord is revealed to you." Brigham believed that he had found the religion that he had been searching for and was baptized on 15 April 1832, a cold and snowy day, in his own millstream; he was confirmed and ordained an elder on the same day. All of Brigham's immediate family members were baptized and remained faithful Latter-day Saints. Brigham felt a great desire to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith and so traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, with his brother Joseph and close friend Heber C. Kimball. The travelers found Joseph Smith chopping wood with his brothers. Brigham stated that his "joy was full at the privilege of shaking the hand of the Prophet of God" and receiving "the sure testimony, by the Spirit of prophecy, that he was all that any man could believe him to be, as a true Prophet." This experience was the beginning of one of Brigham's most important relationships. Brigham became a strong supporter of Joseph Smith and served a series of missions as one of the Church's most successful missionaries. He moved his family to Kirtland, Ohio, in order to gather with other Saints in September 1833. There in Kirtland Brigham met and married his second wife, Mary Ann Angell. In the spring of 1834, Brigham volunteered to march with Zion's Camp, a group of 205 men who went with Joseph Smith to take aid and provisions to the Saints in Jackson County, Missouri, who had been forced out of their homes. It was a journey of two thousand miles and was performed on foot. This difficult journey strengthened Brigham's loyalty to Joseph Smith and taught him the importance of obedience to God and His prophet. Brigham was one of nine veterans of Zion's Camp to be selected as members of the first Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at a special conference on February 14, 1835. Brigham left in May 1835 to serve a four-month mission to the eastern states. He returned to the same area as a missionary during the summers of 1836 and 1837. Brigham supervised the painting and finishing of the Kirtland Temple and was present when the Prophet Joseph Smith introduced preliminary ordinances there. He also attended the March 1836 dedication services with hundreds of other Saints who had greatly sacrificed to build the first temple in this dispensation. Several dissenters tried to take the leadership of the Church from Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young confronted the apostates in the Kirtland Temple: "I rose up, and in a plain and forcible manner told them that Joseph was a Prophet, and I knew it, and that they might rail and slander him as much as they pleased, they could not destroy the appointment of the Prophet of God, they could only destroy their own authority, cut the thread that bound them to the Prophet and to God and sink themselves to hell." Brigham's support for Joseph was so uncompromising that the mob turned upon him and forced him to flee. He left Kirtland to join Joseph Smith and other Church leaders in western Missouri. As large numbers of Saints moved to western Missouri, older settlers there became concerned and fearful about the political and economic domination of the newcomers. Tensions grew until they erupted in the summer and fall of 1838 and culminated when the governor of Missouri ordered the state militia to drive the Latter-day Saints from the state or to exterminate them. Joseph Smith and other leaders of the Church were imprisoned while still others either died or apostatized. New leadership responsibilities were thrust upon Brigham who was President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Brigham and his good friend and fellow Apostle Heber C. Kimball were the only leaders available to guide and assist the Saints as they fled Missouri in a difficult winter exodus. Brigham and Heber led the Saints in a covenant to help the poor, to bring every Latter-day Saint out of the state, and to prepare to gather once again. The exiled Saints built a new city in Commerce, Illinois, and renamed it Nauvoo. Brigham was in Nauvoo only a few months before Joseph received a revelation calling the Quorum of the Twelve to serve missions in England. Brigham and his family were all ill in the fall of 1839 as he left on the mission. Eight members of the Quorum of the Twelve served missions in the British Isles during 1840 and 1841 under the direction of Brigham Young, the President of the Quorum. The missionaries "baptized between seven and eight thousand, printed 5,000 Books of Mormon, 3,000 Hymn Books, 2,500 volumes of the Millennial Star, and 50,000 tracts and emigrated to Zion 1,000 souls…. And have left sown in the hearts of many thousands the seeds of eternal truth, which will bring forth fruit to the honor and glory of God, and yet we have lacked nothing to eat, drink or wear: in all these things I acknowledge the hand of God." Brigham and his fellow Apostles shouldered new responsibilities and improved their personal capacities as well as the capacity of the quorum to work unitedly and effectively for the Church. Joseph Smith trusted the "united wisdom" of the quorum. In August 1841 in Nauvoo, Joseph announced "that the time had come when the Twelve should be called upon to stand in their place next to the First Presidency." The Twelve received greater responsibilities that included preaching the gospel, settling new immigrants, purchasing land, and building the Nauvoo Temple. Before the completion of the Nauvoo Temple, Joseph gathered the Twelve and privately introduced them to temple ordinances, including baptism for the dead, the temple endowment, and family sealings. He anticipated that the Twelve would then teach the ordinances to other members of the Church. The Prophet met again with the Twelve in the spring of 1844 and conferred upon them all the keys and authority necessary to carry forward the work of the Church. The Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered within the next three months. As President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Brigham stood next in line to lead the Church. Through nearly a decade of service as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, Brigham Young learned the ways of the Lord. He was prepared to preside over the Church, first as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and after December 1847 as President of the Church. Brigham's willingness to work hard, be obedient, sacrifice, and accept responsibility as well as his capacity to receive and act upon the promptings of the Spirit prepared him for his new responsibilities. Mobs forced the Latter-day Saints to leave Illinois in 1846 in mid-winter. Brigham led his followers across the frozen Mississippi River and on a long journey through Iowa to the area near present-day Omaha, Nebraska. Knowing that there could not be any lasting peace for the Saints until they were completely separated from the gentiles, Brigham led an advance party of 148 Mormon settlers west to a previously planned refuge in the Great Basin. Upon arrival in the Great Salt Lake Valley (Utah), Brigham declared, "This is the right place. Drive on." Under Brigham's direction, thousands of other Mormons came to the valley and prospered in Utah. They developed irrigation techniques that helped parts of the barren dessert to blossom into rich and fruitful land. The U.S. government established the Territory of Utah in 1850 and made Brigham its first governor. He continued to direct missionary work and led the development of hundreds of Mormon settlements in the West. Non-Mormons came to Utah and caused more problems for the Saints. Gentiles circulated false reports that the church was in rebellion against the federal government. An alarmed President James Buchanan in 1857 replaced Brigham with a gentile governor and sent troops to Utah. The Mormons prepared to defend themselves, and the Utah War - or Mormon War - followed with no actual battles. The hostilities ceased in 1858 when Brigham accepted the new governor and President Buchanan gave full pardons to all concerned. Even though Brigham was no longer governor, he remained the most powerful man in Utah until his death. Brigham's life was centered on teaching the gospel and building up and sustaining the kingdom of God. He said, "The Kingdom of heaven is first and foremost with us." Apostles serving with Brigham at the time of his death described him: "During the thirty three years that he has presided over the Church, since the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph, his knees have never trembled, his hands have never shook; he has never faltered or quailed. However threatening the surroundings or prospects may have been, he has never been dismayed; but at those times he has exhibited such serene confidence and faith, and uttered such words of encouragement, as to comfort and sustain all the people, and to call forth their love and admiration. The Lord, however, not only blessed him with valor, but He endowed him with great wisdom. His counsels, when obeyed, have been attended with salvation, and as an organizer and administrator he has no superior…." They added, "His labors the Lord has crowned with most remarkable success, his words he has honored and fulfilled, and those who have obeyed his counsel he has blessed and upheld. The time will yet come when his presidency over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be pointed to as an epoch of wonderful events." Facts and quotes for this post came from an article in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, pp 1-12.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thirty Years Old

The principle for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.3.3, "In order to qualify as a Senator, a person must have reached the age of 30 years by the time that person is sworn into office." With this provision, the Founders gave to the people the right to be represented in the Senate by a person at least 30 years old. The Founders felt that Senators should be more mature than Representatives because they had additional responsibilities and power of office. In requiring more maturity, the Founders followed counsel given in Deuteronomy 1:13, which tells the people to elect "wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you."

Saturday, July 17, 2010


God's people from the time of Adam have fasted in order to draw nearer to God as well as to worship Him. Jesus Christ indicated the importance of fasting by His personal example. (See Luke 4:1-4.) God still expects His people to fast and pray often as shown through latter-day revelation. (See Doctrine and Covenants 88:76.) Fasting means to go without food and drink, and an occasional fast is good for the body and invigorates the mind. I once worked with a woman who "fasted" once each week in order to cleanse her body. She understood that fasting helped her physical body, but she did not understand that fasting could also benefit her spiritually. A purposeful fast is more than simply going without food and drink; it also includes a need to concentrate on spiritual things. Going without food or drink is simply starving our bodies. In order to benefit the whole soul, fasting must be accompanied by sincere prayer. Each fasting period should start and end with prayer. To make the fast even more beneficial, it should have a purpose. Fasting accompanied by sincere prayer can be used to overcome weaknesses and to solve problems. We can fast and pray for help or guidance for ourselves or for others who may be ill, injured, or otherwise in need of a blessing. Fasting can help us know the truth, become more humble and feel closer to Heavenly Father. It can also bring comfort in times of sorrow and mourning. (See Mosiah 27:22-23 and Alma 28:4-6.) We should be cheerful when we fast. We should not advertise the fact that we are fasting to others nor fast to impress others. (See Matthew 6:16-18.) Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints observe a day of fast one Sunday each month. We neither eat nor drink for two consecutive meals, meaning that we fast for a period of twenty-four hours. This means that if we eat dinner on Saturday evening, we would not eat again until the evening meal on Sunday. The fast day is a special day to help us become more humble, to ask for forgiveness from our sins, and for the power to overcome faults and forgive others. All members who are physically able to fast should do so. Little children, pregnant and nursing women, and members who are ill are not expected to fast. Children should be encouraged but not forced to fast after they are baptized at age eight or older. On fast Sunday, members meet together in fast and testimony meeting to partake of the sacrament and to strengthen ourselves and each other by bearing testimony. Fast day is also a day to help others by donating through the proper priesthood authority the money that would have been spent for food. We have been asked to give as generously as we can because the fast offerings are the Lord's way to administer to the needs or less fortunate members of the Church. An Old Testament prophet named Isaiah wrote about the Lord's rich promises to those who fast and help the needy. He wrote of promised peace, improved health, and spiritual guidance: "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am" (Isaiah 58:8-9). I know by personal experience that fasting brings many blessings. It improves our lives, gives us increased strength, and helps us to live other principles of the gospel by drawing us closer to God. It helps us improve our character as we learn to control our appetites and passions. Fasting helps us to prove to ourselves that we have self-control. Children can learn to develop spiritual strength if we teach them to observe a proper fast. Wise and prayerful fasting helps us develop faith, and increased faith brings greater spiritual power. The Savior promised that proper fasting brings blessings from God: "Thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:18).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thoughts, Words, and Actions

Families are strengthened when individuals show concern, love, and support by their words and actions. No word is spoken or action taken without first being a thought; therefore, loving thoughts must come prior to loving words or loving actions. On the flip side, words and actions that show negative thoughts and feelings tend to destroy families. Righteous King Benjamin taught his people, "But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish...." (Mosiah 4:30). I was recently incapacitated by a stomach flu virus. I was so ill that I couldn't get out of bed to help my family with preparations for a large family dinner. I was extremely grateful for a husband and children who not only took over my responsibilities in the kitchen but took the time to check on me in their spare moments. I thanked them for each kindness bestowed upon me, but I wish to express again my gratitude for their loving acts of service. The Lord commanded His followers in the Doctrine and Covenants, "Thou shalt live together in love" (42:45) and "See that ye love one another…." (88:123). President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled, "God has brought us together as families to bring to pass His eternal purposes. We are part of this plan in this marriage relationship. Let us love and respect and honor one another. We can do it, and we will be the better for it" (Stand A Little Taller, 12). He also said, "True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well-being of one's companion" (p 47). Love is best learned and nurtured in families. Since parents are the core of the family, they need to demonstrate their love for each other by the words they speak and the actions they perform. The children will follow whatever example the parents set, whether consciously or unconsciously. If the parental example is a worthy one, the children are fortunate. If the parental example requires improvement, the children need to consciously develop a different way of speaking or acting. Just as parents teach their children, parents can also be taught by their children. I am amazed at the many characteristics and skills I have learned from my children as they grew to adulthood. They are good influences on me, and I am very grateful for each one of them. Just one example shows how they help me to become a better person. My little grandson was recently reaching for an electrical plug in an outlet. My reaction was to say, "No, No!" He stopped and looked at me - but he didn't move. My daughter then said, "That isn't for Benson. Come and play with this." He left the plug and came to her. Then she turned to me and said with love and kindness, "I try to never use the word 'no' with him if at all possible." I think her way of handling the situation was much better than my way, and I am trying to remember the lesson. I know that families can become stronger when love is shown by words and actions.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Majority Rule

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that government is required to operate according to the will of the majority of the people while at the same time protecting the rights of the minority. We would live in a truly up-side-down world if the will of the minority determined what the entire group would do. This is basically what happened in the American Colonies under the Articles of Confederation, which required unanimous approval in all its decisions. Several problems during the Revolutionary War continued because a single state voted against the solution. When the Constitution was written, the Founders decided to do away with the unanimous vote for ratification. Only nine of the thirteen colonies needed to ratify the new Constitution. The need to protect the rights of minorities remains. W. Cleon Skousen wrote, "… It is important for us to remember that every ethnic group in the United States was once a minority. We are literally a nation of minorities. However, it is the newcomers who feel they are not yet first-class citizens. "It is the responsibility of the minorities themselves to learn the language, seek needed education, become self-sustaining, and make themselves recognized as a genuine asset to the community. Meanwhile, those who are already well established can help. The United States has built a reputation of being more generous and helpful to newcomers than any other nation. It is a reputation worth persevering. Once upon a time, we were all minorities." I taught the following principle to my children and am now teaching it to my grandchildren: Bigger people have to be careful around smaller people. This same principle applies to vehicles on the highway as well as to groups of people. It is only fair that the majority should make the decisions as well as protect the rights of minority. Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, p 167.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Watergate Scandal

The history lesson for this week is the Watergate scandal. The scandal known as Watergate began on June 16, 1972, when a security guard at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., discovered a piece of tape on the lock of the door leading to the National Democratic Headquarters. This attempt was part of a larger campaign by supporters of Richard M. Nixon to tarnish the reputations of Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party.

As soon as the attempt to break into Democratic headquarters was known, President Nixon ordered the entire affair to be covered up. It gradually became clear that the Nixon presidency had been involved in abuses of power and serious manipulation for years. The attempt to hide the truth from Congress and the American people cost millions of dollars from Nixon supporters. Two questions from the investigation became famous: What did the President know? When did he know it? Apparently, Nixon knew about the break-in from the beginning and was involved in the cover-up as it progressed.

The scandal broke in the media as a minor story with little national significance. It probably would have been considered as "politics as usual" if two reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, working for the Washington Post had not began to investigate the mystery. The reporters, aided by an informant identified as Deep Throat, opened wide the chasm that forced the first presidential resignation in history.

Soon after the investigation started, the revelation was made that a taping system was installed in the Oval Office, Camp David, the Cabinet rooms, and Nixon's hideaway office to record conversations. When Nixon argued that the tapes held only private conversations between the President and his advisors, the Supreme Court disagreed and ordered the President to release the tapes.

The tapes - containing an unexplained silence for eighteen minutes - were released. The House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment against President Nixon in mid-1974. The articles of impeachment were: Article I: Obstruction of Justice; Article II: Abuse of power; and Article III: Defiance of committee subpoena.

Republican leaders from both the Senate and the House of Representatives informed President Nixon that he would probably be impeached and forced to resign. President Richard M. Nixon announced to the American people on August 8, 1974, that he no longer had a political base strong enough to keep him in office. He then resigned the presidency.

In a lawsuit of historian Stanley I. Kutler in 1996, two hundred new hours of tape were released. The new tapes revealed that Nixon was closely involved in abuses of power taking place both before and after Watergate. One taped conversation, taking place on June 23, 1972, proved that a discussion had taken place between Nixon and Bob Haldeman about thwarting the FBI investigation into the Watergate scandal by using the CIA.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Right to Vote

Americans have the right to vote, and the United States Constitution protects that right for all law-abiding citizens. I learned recently that we must all guard our right to vote from thugs who try to control elections. I was investigating a news article on Fox and Friends and found some - a lot - of videos on YouTube about Obama stealing the Primary Election from Hillary - one precinct at a time. I watched several of them and found them very interesting in the presentation of tactics used. From the videos it seemed that the bottom line policy was "the end justifies the means." I accept the idea that some of the videos may depict false allegations but cannot accept that all of them are false. I also accept the idea that it isn't just Democrats who use illegal ways to win elections. I encourage you to watch some of the videos and make a decision of how you will protect your right to vote should you ever be confronted by such thugs. I also encourage you to watch the documentary that brought me to search out the other videos. It is produced by a Democrat - a woman - who wants to bring the Democratic Party back to legal means of winning elections. This documentary is produced by Gigi Gaston and is entitled "We Will Not be Silenced 2008." If Americans want the right to vote, we must stand up and be counted now.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gerald R. Ford

When Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office on August 9, 1974, he declared, "I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances.... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts." His words were a soothing balm to a hurting nation. He was the only Vice President of the United States to become President upon the resignation of the chief executive. President Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency facing almost certain impeachment because of his involvement in the Watergate scandal. President Nixon resigned as President on August 9, 1974, and Gerald R. Ford took the presidential oath on the same day.

President Ford came to the office as President on a very strange route. He was elected by the people of Michigan to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives thirteen times and also served as House minority leader. During his twenty-five years in Congress, he gained a reputation for his integrity and openness, which made him very popular. He served as House Minority Leader from 1965 until 1973.

In 1973 Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned from office while under criminal investigation for graft. Ford was the first person to be appointed to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency. He was also the only person to serve as both Vice President and President who was not elected to either office.

Ford came into the office of President with the full support of the American people. His calm, friendly manner and an unquestioned reputation for honesty made him a popular man in the nation. Ford's popularity dropped sharply about a month later when he pardoned Nixon for all federal crimes that he might have committed as President.

Ford acted in an effort to bring further healing to the nation, but his pardon of Nixon angered many Americans who felt that Nixon should be brought to trial for his part in the Watergate scandal. Other Americans felt that a pardon would be okay but only after Nixon had admitted his role in the scandal.

The Watergate scandal stayed in the news for most of the Ford Administration. Two other great events also took place. The first event was when Communist North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam and Communist forces later took over Cambodia, ending the Vietnam War in April 1975. Ford had previously asked Congress for more than $700 million in emergency military aid for South Vietnam, but Congress rejected the request. The Communist victory was followed by a massive U.S.-sponsored airlift of about 100,000 South Vietnamese refugees from their homeland. The second great event was the celebration of the bicentennial of the founding of the United States of America in 1976. A fleet of tall ships from various nations sailed toward New York City harbor to join the festivities.

Gerald Rudolph Ford was born on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska. He was named Leslie Lynch King, Jr. after his father who operated a family wool business there. Ford's parents divorced when he was about two years old, and his mother took him to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she had friends. She married Gerald R. Ford who owned a small paint company in the city in 1916. Ford adopted the young boy and gave him his name.

The boy who would become President was stocky and blond and was known as "Jerry." He grew up with three younger half brothers. Ford's biological father also remarried and gave Jerry one half brother and two half sisters. Ford's mother and stepfather encouraged him to become active in civic affairs. His stepfather took an active interest in local politics and participated in programs in Grand Rapids to help needy youths. 
His mother spent much of her time in charity projects and other activities of the church attended by the family.

Jerry was a Boy Scout and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He once referred to himself as the nation's "first Eagle Scout Vice President." Jerry was strong and husky and excelled in sports. He was the star center on his high school football team, selected three times to the all-city high school football team, and named to the all-state team while a senior.

Ford later commented that playing football taught him the importance of playing as a team. While the normal attire for young men was a sport shirt, slacks and sweater, Jerry chose to wear a suit and tie to school. He studied hard and got good grades. Jerry was also selected as the most popular high school senior in Grand Rapids in a contest sponsored by a local theater.

Jerry worked at a small restaurant waiting on tables and washing dishes as a teenager. His biological father came in one day and introduced himself to the startled Jerry. Jerry knew about his "real" father but had not seen him since the divorce of his parents. King asked Jerry if he would like to live with the King family. Jerry told him that he considered the Fords to be his family. King later helped Ford get a summer job as a ranger in Yellowstone National Park (1936).

Ford entered the University of Michigan in 1931 where he earned good grades as well as playing center on the undefeated Michigan teams of 1932 and 1933. He was named the most valuable player by his teammates in 1934. Jerry played center in a football game between his college team and the Chicago Bears in the 1935 All-Star Football Game. Chicago won a 5 to 0.

Upon his graduation from the University of Michigan, Jerry was offered contracts to play professional football by the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. Ford declined the contracts because he wanted to study law. He accepted a job as assistant football coach and boxing coach at Yale, hoping to also study law there. He coached full time at Yale from 1935 until 1938 when he was admitted by the Yale Law School. 

While at Yale he became a partner in a modeling agency in New York City, which was operated by his partner. Ford became a model for sports clothes for an article in Look Magazine in March 1940.

Ford ranked in the top third of his graduating class when he received his degree from Yale in 1941. He was admitted to the Michigan bar in June 1941 and soon opened a law office in Grand Rapids with a former college roommate.

When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Ford volunteered for the United States Navy. He entered the Navy in April 1941 as an ensign. He taught physical training at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, base for a year before he became the physical training director and assistant navigation officer of the U.S.S. Monterey, an aircraft carrier. The Monterey was part of every big naval battle in the Pacific Ocean in 1943 and 1944. Ford held the rank of lieutenant commander when he was discharged in January 1946. 

Ford resumed his law career in Grand Rapids and became active in local Republican reform group. Leaders of the organization encouraged Ford to challenge the sitting U.S. Representative in the Republican primary election of 1948. Ford won the Primary and then the November election. He was reelected twelve times. 

Jerry Ford met Elizabeth (Betty) Bloomer in 1947. They were married on October 15, 1948, just before Ford won his first election to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was late to his wedding because he was out campaigning. The Fords had four children.

Ford gained a reputation as a loyal Republican and a hard worker during his early years in Congress. He was mentioned as a possible candidate for the vice presidential nomination in 1960. In November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson established the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and appointed Ford as one of the seven members of the commission.

Ford was chosen House minority leader in 1965 and urged Republicans to do more than just criticize Democrats. He worked for Republican alternatives to Democratic programs. He attracted national attention when he was on a series of televised Republican press conferences with the Senate Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen. The series brought more attention to Republican views.

Ford supported early policies in the Vietnam War but began to strongly attack U.S. military strategy in Vietnam by 1967. He gave a speech that year entitled "Why Are We Pulling Our Punches in Vietnam?" His speech encouraged Republicans to oppose Johnson's war policies.

Ford led a group of Republicans and Southern Democrats in opposing many of Johnson's social programs because he considered the programs to be either too expensive or unnecessary.

Ford led an effort in 1970 to impeach William O. Douglas, a liberal associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He criticized Douglas for two reasons: 1) His vote in a case involving Ralph Ginzburg, the editor of a magazine that paid the justice $350 for an article and 2) His encouragement of political dissent in various writing. The effort to impeach failed with a lack of evidence to support impeachment.

Early in 1973, after a land slide victory for Nixon and Agnew in 1972, federal investigators uncovered evidence that Agnew had accepted bribes while he served as Baltimore County Executive , as governor of Maryland, and as Vice President. Agnew resigned on October 10, 1973, and Nixon nominated Ford to replace him. Under the 25th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the nomination required the approval of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Ford's nomination was approved in the Senate by a 92 to 3 vote on November 27 and in the House by a 387 to 35 vote on December 6.

Ford was sworn in as Vice President later on December 6, becoming the first appointed Vice Present in the nation's history. Shortly before Ford became Vice President, impeachment proceedings against Nixon were started in the House of Representatives. The House Judiciary Committee recommended that Nixon be impeached in July 1974 on three articles of impeachment: 1) interfering with justice by acting to hide evidence about the Watergate burglary from federal law enforcement officials, 2) abuse of presidential powers, and 3) illegally withholding evidence from the judiciary committee.

Although Ford defended Nixon, transcripts of taped White House conversations released on August 5 clearly supported the first proposed article of impeachment. Republican leaders of both the House and the Senate warned Nixon that he faced certain impeachment and removal from office. On the morning of August 9, Nixon resigned as President of the United States. At noon on the same day, Gerald R. Ford took the presidential oath of office and became the 38th President of the United States.

Ford nominated Nelson A. Rockefeller, former governor of New York, to be Vice President. After his nomination was confirmed in both the House and the Senate, Rockefeller took office in December 1974.

Ford became President at a time of soaring inflation and loss of public confidence in the government. Many Americans, especially the poor and the elderly, were hurt by the high inflation. Inflation was also threatening a severe business slump.

Two assassination attempts of Ford were made in California during September 1975 by two different women. The first attempt took place in Sacramento on September 5. A Secret Service agent saw a pistol being pointed at Ford and grabbed the gun before it was fired. The second attempt took place in San Francisco but the shot missed the President. Both women were convicted of attempting to assassinate a President and sentenced to life in prison.

The Ford presidency brought a relaxed and informal style of living at the White House. The Fords impressed people with their friendly hospitality and personal warmth. The Fords enjoyed entertaining and invited more than 900 guests to a White House Christmas Party for members of Congress in 1974. President and Mrs. Ford especially enjoyed dancing.

Ford was challenged by Ronald Reagan, former California governor, for the 1976 Republican presidential nomination in a close and bitter contest in the state primary elections. Ford narrowly won nomination on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention. The Democratic rival was Jimmy Carter, and issue was the economy. Ford promised to continue doing the things that he believed had brought about economic recovery, and Carter said that Ford's policies had contributed to the continuing high rate of unemployment.

Carter won by both the popular vote and the electoral vote. On Inauguration Day, President Carter began his speech, "For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land." Grateful Americans concurred.

After leaving the White House, Ford served on the board of directors for several companies, lectured or spoke at colleges, universities and various organizations, and published his autobiography, A Time to Heal, in 1979. He handled some assignments for President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

The Gerald R. Ford Museum opened in Grand Rapids and the Gerald R. Ford Library opened in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1981. Mrs. Ford helped to open the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, in 1982 to treat alcoholism and drug abuse. She opened the center after seeking treatment in 1978 for her own addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs.

President Ford died at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, on December 26, 2006, after experiencing health problems and being admitted to the hospital four times in 2006. He lived longer than any other President of the United States, dying at the age of 93 years and 165 days.

I cannot end this post without writing that I personally believe that Gerald R. Ford was one of the best Presidents in my lifetime. I could not understand why anyone would prefer Jimmy Carter over Gerald R. Ford - and particularly after the dismal Carter presidency. It is my belief that our country made a big mistake by not reelecting Gerald R. Ford as President. How many of our other Presidents could be described as men of honesty, integrity, and openness?

Most of the facts and quotes for this post came from an article by J. F. terHorst in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, pp. 372-379. Others came from and

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Filling Senate Vacancy

For this Constitution Monday, the topic of discussion comes from Article I.3.2: "When a vacancy occurs in the Senate because of death, resignation, or some other cause, the legislature of that state shall appoint another in his stead, and if the legislature is not in session the governor of that state may make a temporary appointment until the legislature convenes." By this provision, the Founders gave each state the right to be equally represented. After the Seventeenth Amendment brought the popular vote for Senators, the governor alone was responsible for making a temporary assignment until the next election.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sabbath Day

The topic for this Sunday is the Sabbath Day. Moses wrote, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8). This commandment was repeated in modern times (see Doctrine and Covenants 68:29). The root for the word Sabbath is a Hebrew word meaning rest. After God spent six days or periods creating the earth, He rested on the seventh. (See Genesis 2:2-3.) The Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between God and His people. Until the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Sabbath was observed on the seventh day of the week. Now the Sabbath is observed on Sunday in remembrance of His resurrection. It is a holy day ordained by God for the benefit of mankind. Jesus Christ taught that the Sabbath day was given to man as a day to direct our thoughts and actions toward worshipping God and to rest from our daily labors. As we rest from our usual labors and activities, our minds are freed for worship and reverence. The Sabbath is a special day for us to renew our covenants with God and to nourish our souls with things of the Spirit. What does it mean to keep the Sabbath day holy? The first thing that we should do is to sanctify the Sabbath day by going to the house of prayer and offering up our sacraments, by resting from our labors, and by paying our devotions to the Most High. (See Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-12.) The second thing that God asks of us is that we rest from our daily work. God commanded the Israelites: "Thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle." This means that we should do nothing that would distract our attention from spiritual matters. Modern day prophets have told us that we should not shop, hunt, fish, attend sports events, or participate in similar activities on Sunday. President Spencer W. Kimball warned that the Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts and not merely lounging about doing nothing. (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 170.) Children and teenagers often wonder what activity is proper for the Sabbath. The prophet Isaiah said that we should "call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable" (Isaiah 58:13) and suggested that we avoid doing our own pleasures. Some suggested ways of keeping the Sabbath day holy are: attending Church meetings; reading the scriptures and words of other prophets; visiting the sick, the elderly, and family members; listening to uplifting music or singing hymns; praying to Heavenly Father in thanksgiving and praise; performing Church service; writing personal histories; preparing family history records; sharing faith-promoting stories; bearing testimony to family; sharing spiritual experiences with loved ones; writing letters to missionaries and loved ones; fasting with a purpose; and spending time together with spouse, children, grandchildren, and others in the home. When trying to determine if an activity is appropriate for the Sabbath, we should ask ourselves: Does this activity show respect for the Lord? Does it direct my thoughts to Him? Does it uplift and inspire me? Working on the Sabbath day should be avoided if at all possible. If it is absolutely necessary to work on Sunday, we should do all that we can to maintain the spirit of Sabbath worship in our hearts. I know by personal experience that proper observance of the Sabbath brings blessings into my life. When I keep the Sabbath day with thanksgiving and a cheerful heart, I feel true joy. I also feel rested and ready to face the next week.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Teach Liberty

Parents in the United States have the responsibility to teach the principles of liberty to their children. Ronald Reagan said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States when men were free."

My grandparents' generation fought World War I - the Great War or the war to end all wars. My parents' generation fought World War II. The heroes from these wars came home to parades and honors. My father was too old to serve in the military, but he left home and family to find work in order to provide for them. He ended up thousands of miles away in Alaska working for a railroad. He was on a crew that blasted tunnels through mountains in order that the railroad could reach the town of Whittier in Prince William Sound. Whittier was a more hidden port to which military supplies could be shipped, and a railroad through the mountains would be less likely to be bombed than one that crossed the mountains.

My generation was a mixed up group. We had the hippies who were rebelling from the life their parents had provided for them. The previous generation made great sacrifices and endured much hardship, and they wanted a better life for their children. The children, however, rejected the life that their parents offered, and some of those rebellious children hold leadership positions in our nation today. They are still in rebellion from the lives of their parents and are now trying to "fundamentally transform our nation."

My generation also fought the Vietnam War - a war we could have won and should have won if it had not become politicized. Our military heroes came home from this war to jeers and disrespect.

My children have known three wars - the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War. Even though these wars are not popular, the people at least support the military. For this I am very grateful!

There are people who want to destroy America and liberty. We must fight for and protect the freedoms we enjoy in order that our children and grandchildren can also enjoy them. We do not want them to grow up in a socialist nation because we want them to be free. We want them to love the United States, and we want them to know that America is the greatest nation on earth.

When Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention, he was asked if the framers had created a monarchy or a republic. He answered, "A republic - if you can keep it."

Can we keep our republic? In the "olden days" the people who came to America wanted to be Americans. Today we have many people who think so little of America that they come here illegally, do not assimilate, have stickers on their cars saying that they "love" another country, fly a flag of another country, and seem to want to make America into whatever country they left.

True Americans love the United States and are grateful to be here. Are you an American or do you just live in America? I believe it is up to each true American to do something - anything - that will help our nation to stay free. We can no longer afford to sit idly by and talk of trivial things. This is a time to persuade ourselves, our posterity, and our friends to come to the aid of our nation. We must plant our flag and make our stand - or we will lose the opportunity to do so. If we stand tall now, we will never have to face our children and grandchildren and explain why we didn't do anything to save our republic. It is time for all true Americans to stand tall and to come to the aid of their country!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

People Retain Power

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the people retain all powers not specifically defined and delegated to the government. The Founders of our unique and great nation feared that a federal government would grow so powerful that it would crowd the rights that legally and morally belonged to the people and/or the states . They spent much time and effort to carefully define the powers delegated to the government. They wanted to limit the authority of the government by the use of legal chains written into the Constitution. W. Cleon Skousen wrote, "It will be recalled that one of the reasons many of the states would not adopt the original draft of the Constitution was that they feared the encroachments of the federal government on the rights of the states and the people. The first ten amendments were therefore added to include the ancient, unalienable rights of Anglo-Saxon freemen so there could be no question as to the strictly limited authority the people were conferring on their central government." After writing the first eight Amendments to the Constitution, the Founders added two more that specifically limited the power of the government. The Ninth Amendment reads, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The Tenth Amendment makes their meaning even clearer: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Our Founders were familiar with governments in the past that were corrupt and abusive. By limiting the power of the federal government and dividing the powers between the states and the central government, the Founders hoped to provide more security for the people. Alexander Hamilton explained, "This balance between the national and state governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights, they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from over-passing their constitutional limits, by certain rivalship which will ever subsist between them." As the Constitution was originally written, states could protect themselves from legislation taking their rights. The Founders wrote that the two Senators from each state were to be selected by the legislature of that particular state. Because the Senate could veto any legislation by the House of Representatives, the Senators were able to protect the rights of their states. When the Seventeenth Amendment in 1931 changed the election of Senators to a popular vote, the States lost their representatives and therefore some of their protection. The illegal immigration problem in Arizona is just one example of how the federal government is trying to crush the state's right to protect its citizens. It may be time for the people of the United States to force a repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment. The rights of the people as well as the rights of the states would be better protected if Senators were chosen by the legislature of their particular state. Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, pp 161-164.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Statue of Liberty

Our illustrious President Barack Obama recently discussed the Statue of Liberty in his eloquent speech on immigration. He indicated that the statue is a monument to immigration from poverty. In fact, it is a monument to liberty, and the torch is to light the way to liberty from oppression in other parts of the world. It was built to celebrate the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. There is a good reason why this monument is called the Statue of Liberty and not the Statue of Immigration. In an effort to correct numerous misstatements made by the President, I write the following post. The copper sculpture known as the Statue of Liberty stands above Liberty Island, a twelve-acre island at the entrance to New York Harbor in Upper New York Bay. The island is about a mile and a half southwest of the tip of Manhattan Island. The pedestal of the statue "rises from within the walls of a star-shaped fort built on the island from 1806 to 1811 to defend New York from naval attack." The name Liberty Island came from an act of Congress in 1956. The complete name of this famous and majestic figure of a robed woman holding a torch is Liberty Enlightening the World. It is one of the largest statues ever built. The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of France in 1884 as an expression of friendship and a reminder that both people shared the ideal of liberty. The money to build the statue was donated by French citizens. The money to build the pedestal or base of the statue came from the people of the United States. Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, chose the site and designed the statue. "The Statue of Liberty has become a symbol of the United States and an expression of freedom to people all over the world. The statue shows liberty as a proud woman draped in the graceful folds of a loose robe. In her uplifted right hand, she holds a glowing torch. She wears a crown with seven spikes that stand for the light of liberty shining on the seven seas and seven continents. With her left arm, she cradles a tablet bearing the date of the Declaration of Independence. A chain that represents tyranny (unjust rule) lies broken at her feet." Since the Statue of Liberty was erected, millions of people have passed it as they entered the United States. "For them, the statue was a strong, welcoming figure holding out the promise of freedom and opportunity." American poet Emma Lazarus wrote a poem in 1883 entitled "The New Colossus" about the statue as part of a fundraiser to pay for the pedestal. This poem was inscribed on a bronze plaque that was placed on the interior wall of the pedestal of the statue in 1903. The poem reads: Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" The Statue of Liberty is 151 feet 1 inch high from its feet to the top of the torch and weighs 204 metric tons. It is made of 300 sheets of copper riveted together. The copper skin is 2.4 millimeters thick. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer who later built the Eiffel Tower in Paris, designed the structural framework for the copper covering. He designed a central tower of four vertical iron columns that are connected by horizontal and diagonal crossbeams. The raised right arm is supported by iron girders that come up and out from the tower. The design of the statue is strong but flexible and allows the copper skin to react to wind and temperature changes without stressing the statue's framework. There are two parallel, spiral stairways that wind up through the interior of the statue to the crown on the statue's head. The torch is 305 feet 1 inch above the base of the pedestal. Its gold-covered flame glows at night with reflected light from 16 powerful lamps arranged around the rim of the torch. Lights shining up from below illuminate the rest of the statue. The pedestal is a huge mass of concrete that was reinforced with steel beams and covered with granite. It was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, an American architect who became famous for designing magnificent mansions. It is about 154 feet tall. It was completed in 1886. Inside the pedestal there are stairs and a passenger elevator. There is a balcony around the top of the pedestal. The idea to build the Statue of Liberty came from Edouard-Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye, a prominent French politician who greatly admired the United States. Construction on the statue began in 1875 in Paris, and Liberty Enlightening the World was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue was repaired, restored, and strengthened in the early 1980's. It was officially reopened on July 4, 1986, with an additional grand ceremony held on October 28, 1986 - one hundred years after the original dedication of the Statue of Liberty. In the good old days before terrorists attacked the United States on 9/11, visitors could tour the Statue of Liberty. In an effort to protect the statue from terrorists, tours were discontinued. I do not know if tours have been reinstated. Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by James B. Bell in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol 18, pp 874-881.