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.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mitt and the Mormon Church

                    The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the need to keep church and state separate.  The Founders of our nation and the Framers of our Constitution understood that only moral and religious people could truly be free, but they wanted very much to keep government away from the churches.

                    I recently listened to a few minutes of a radio talk program.  The woman being interviewed was a former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was peddling a book she wrote about Mormons.  In her attempt to have her "fifteen minutes of fame," she apparently felt the need to verbally throw mud at the Church.  The words she said were basically the truth, but her insinuations were far wrong. 

                    The woman basically said that Mitt Romney and the leadership of the Church wanted to build up The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and turn the United States into a giant "Mormon Kingdom."  She said that Mitt Romney is not as interested in building up and strengthening the United States as he is in obtaining his "own planet."  She also said that Mitt would be obedient to whatever the First Presidency of the Church said rather than to the Constitution.  She could not be more wrong!

                    I experienced several different feelings as I listened to her with my first feeling being pity.  As the daughter of a former bishop and having made temple covenants, she is now a former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have no idea what caused her to leave the Church and denigrate it, but I would guess that she first failed to live her covenants with God.  My feeling of pity is for all the blessings she has already lost as well as for future blessings that will not be hers.  Having heard what I heard, I would not like to be in her shoes when she meets God and makes her report to Him.

                    I experienced amusement at the information she had in her possession and yet her lack of understanding.  Her ideas and words were far out.  How could she reach her current position?  I experienced some negative feelings also.  She spoke of sacred experiences and items in a way that did not show reverence for them.  The feelings I experienced were probably similar to ones I would feel if I saw someone trampling on the flag of the United States of America or urinating on a picture of Jesus Christ or heard them calling my sweet and loving mother a whore.   

                    I would like to discuss several points mentioned by this woman.  The first point I would like to emphasize is that anyone desiring to know more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should go to the web site of the Church and get the real facts about what this Church teaches.  Talk with active members or the missionaries, not someone who has "an axe to grind" about the Church.

                    The second point I would like to emphasize is that the instruction taking place in LDS temples is not secret; it is sacred.  I do not know the real figures, but I will make the following assumptions.  With more than fourteen million members of the Church, let's assume that fifty percent of the members are adults.  I think that somewhere around fifty percent of the adults have been to a temple to make sacred covenants.  If my assumptions are any where close, this means that approximately 3.5 million people know what happens in the temples.  How can anything known by 3.5 million people remain secret?  Add to the 3.5 million, all the people who were listening to the radio show and now know what happens in LDS temples; then add all the people who have listened to other misguided former members or read their writings.  It is far too many people to be considered "secret."  Millions of people such as myself have been to LDS temples and made sacred covenants there.  We remember the covenants we make and consider them reverently.  The greatest secret about the temples is that there are no secrets!  The instruction that takes place in the temples begins at the Creation of the earth and everything on it.  It discusses the Fall of Adam and Eve and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement of Christ are the three great pillars of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the temple experience aids in living this gospel and keeping the commandments of God.

                    The third point I would like to make is that the woman was telling the truth when she said that the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more power and authority than the President of the United States of America.  Their power and authority comes from the priesthood bestowed upon them.  The priesthood is the power to act in the name of God. 

Twelve-year-old young men hold the priesthood and carry more power and authority than the President of the United States.  As a worthy priesthood holder, Mitt Romney has this same authority whose power comes through righteous living.  "Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen.  And why are they not chosen?
                    "Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson -
                    "That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the power of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness" (Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-36).
                    We believe that God holds this priesthood power and used it to create the heavens and the earth and everything that is on the earth.  We believe that prophets and apostles from the time of Adam have held this same power and authority.  Enoch was one of these prophets:  "And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him" (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:13).

                    The fourth point I desire to emphasize is that the woman was speaking falsely when she said that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is trying to take over the United States government.  She came to this conclusion due to the fact that temple-going members of the Church pledge their lives and their fortunes to building up the Church and preparing the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  We believe that we have the truth.  We believe that this Church is truly the Church of Jesus Christ.  We believe that we have the responsibility to help all mankind prepare for the return of Christ to earth.

                    In order for the world to be prepared for the return of Christ, America must remain free.  Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints understand the importance of this nation remaining free in order for this preparation to take place.               We believe that God preserved and prepared America for founding of America and for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We believe that many of the great men - such as Columbus, George Washington, the Framers of the Constitution - were raised up by the Lord and put in their place for the founding of this great nation. 

                    We believe that God inspired the Framers and gave them the basic principles that should be in the Constitution:  "According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
                    "That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
                    "Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
                    "And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood" (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77-80).
                    We believe that we have a duty to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States.  The Lord told Joseph Smith, "And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
                    "Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land" (Doctrine and Covenants 98:5-6).

                    Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law" (Pearl of Great Price, The Articles of Faith 1:12).  Members of the Church,
particularly those who study the scriptures and attend the temple, may be some of the strongest and most patriotic citizens of the United States.  No one needs to worry about having a President who is also a Mormon.  Being a member of the Church simply reinforces in most of us the importance of being good citizens of our nation.

                    I believe that the American people will be pleasantly surprised with President Romney.  If he remains worthy to attend the temple, we can expect him to lead this nation in the same way he led congregations in the Church.  We can expect that he will be prayerful and attentive to inspiration from God.  We can expect that he desires to please God more than he desires to please us; therefore, we can expect him to be honest with us.  We can expect that he will safeguard the Constitution by remembering his oath to protect and uphold it.  We can expect that he will emphasize good and conservative principles such as working for our daily needs instead of expecting others to provide for us, living within our means, and standing up to evil.

                    Our nation cannot survive unless we worship the God of this land who is Jesus Christ.  It is important that we keep government out of our churches, but we must be moral and religious people and elect moral and religious leaders.                     

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