Declaration of Independence

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NAACP

                I am aware that racism in the United States is real, but I am constantly amazed at events in our nation.  The events following the “not guilty” Zimmerman decision clearly illustrate that racism is alive and growing.    Even though white people are most often called racists, I sincerely believe that Democrats and organizations like the NAACP are behind much of the racism and that they do it in order to advance their liberal agenda.

                The NAACP website states:  “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.  The vision of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.”

                If the NAACP is so concerned about the “political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons,” why did the organization blacklist Tom and Deneen Borelli?  The Borellis are black conservatives who are employed by the conservative group Freedom Works.  When they attempted to buy booth space at this year’s 104th National NAACP conference in Florida, they were denied space even though there was plenty of space remaining.  Could their denial be the result of a book?  Mrs. Borelli, an outspoken critic of the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party, is the author of Blacklash:  How Obama and the Left Are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation.


                It appears to me that the NAACP is very much in the business of keeping blacks socially and economically on the “plantation” provided by the government.  The organization apparently is not interested in hearing the views of people who want to bring real freedom to all people.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Egypt

                Are you wondering what is happening in Egypt?  I am.  I have tried to understand the recent events in Egypt through my knowledge of the United States, and I just cannot make the case.  I cannot imagine the military taking over the United States and installing a new President.  I really appreciated the information in an article written by Michael Amerhom Youssef entitled “Everything You Wanted to Know about the Egypt Problem that the Media or Politicians Won’t Tell You.”   This is quite a title, and it certainly caught my eye.

Youssef is a natural-born Egyptian, having been born there in 1948.  He is not only Egyptian, but he has studied and experienced Egypt.  He studied at Moore Theological College and received his ordination as a minister there.

The author began his article by explaining that the Muslim Brotherhood was formed in Egypt in 1928 by an elementary school teacher.  The purpose for the organization was “to overthrow British Imperialism and establish an Islamic state in Egypt” – a state so powerful that it would “eventually encompass the Arab world.”  The British left Egypt long ago, but the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood remains the same.

The relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military in Egypt was once a cooperative one but it turned to rivalry.  The leaders of Egypt have dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood differently.  Gamal Abdel Nasser put “most of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership” in prison while torturing others and putting still others to death. 

Hosni Mubarak was the “head of the Egyptian Air Force” and who became the leader of the nation after Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981.  Mubarak had a varied approach to how he dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood.  There were times when he put the leaders of the organization in prison, and there were other times when he allowed them to hold seats in the Egyptian parliament.

When the Egyptian Spring broke out in January 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood waited to see the outcome.  They “claimed the revolution as their own” only after Mubarak was put out of office.  “And who was there to encourage the Muslim Brotherhood?  None other than the American administration.

“The rule of the Egyptian Army during the sixteen months following Mubarak’s departure turned out to be a disastrous experience for Egyptians.  So under pressure from the American administration, they then conducted a so-called `free and fair elections.’     
   
“There is reason for my cynicism in describing the election that way.  You will never learn from the Western media what my friends in Egypt experienced during that `election’.

“The contest was between a former head of the Air Force, General Shafik (also a one-time prime minister under Mubarak) and a third-choice Brotherhood candidate named Mohammed Morsi.  During the election, thugs took over many of the polling stations, particularly in Upper Egypt.  They told Christians that if they wanted to live, they better not go inside and vote.  Incidentally, they did the same thing during the referendum on the new constitution, which the Islamists concocted as a prelude to Sharia.

“People who can do simple math will discover that less than 15 percent of the population voted `yes’ on that referendum.  But that’s not the entire story.

“According to documents discovered after the recent June 30th Revolution, Morsi actually lost the election by more than 200,000 votes.  But the American ambassador in Cairo, Anne Patterson, who was carrying the wishes of her bosses in Washington, pressured the military counsel to declare Morsi the winner.  The reason?  To avoid bloodshed.”

The author said that “American politicians from both sides of the aisle” think that “we should fight Islam with Islam.”  This “American experiment” has failed.  “Twelve months of Islamist rule have proved to Egypt’s vast Muslim population that the misguided policy of na├»ve Americans has only kicked the can of terrorism down the road.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is “promising a reign of terror to include killings and suicide bombings” – the very thing Americans were trying to avoid.

The author ended his article on a positive note:  “I have no doubt that the people of goodwill in Egypt will prevail.  They have learned that freedom and Islamist rule cannot co-exist.”


The good people of Egypt may be wiser than Americans. We are busy being “politically correct” and refusing to see things as they really; I fear that most Americans will not see the dangers facing us until it is too late.  I believe that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Communists are working together to overthrow our nation.  If/when they are successful in destroying our government, they will then fight it out to see who gets the power.  Do we really want either of them leading our nation?  I say no!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Temar Boggs

                I chose Temar Boggs to be my very important person (VIP) this week because he chose to perform a good deed in spite of the fact that our nation is mired in a “racial war”.  Boggs is a black teenager who rescued a white five-year-old girl.  He chose to do the right thing and to be a productive citizen; he deserves to be recognized for his choice.

                Boggs and his friend were assisting “an old lady” move her couch when they learned that a little girl was missing.  They completed their task and then decided to join the search.  They enlisted their friends to search for the little girl even though they did not know the girl or her family. 

                Boggs and his friend Chris Garcia were riding the streets on bicycles in their search when they spotted a car turning around to avoid the police.  They saw the driver “weave in and out of side streets” and gave chase on their bikes.  They continued their chase for about fifteen minutes and got close enough to see the little girl in the car.  The two teenagers continued their chase until the driver stopped his car and pushed the girl out of the car.  The little girl ran into the arms of the teenagers who took her to the authorities.  The police are continuing their search for the abductor.

                “The girl’s family have called the boys heroes.  But Boggs said, `I’m just a normal person who did a thing that anybody else would do.”
                “It was like fate, it was like meant for me and Chris to be there.  If we wouldn’t have left [to look for the girl], who knows what would have happened to the little girl.  It was a blessing for me to make that happen.”


                Tamika Boggs, mother of this fine young man, has every right to be proud of her son.  She tried to raise him “the right way,” and he turned out to be a great asset in his community.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Treason

                The topic for this Constitution Monday comes from Article III, Section 3, and Clause 1:  “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”  This provision plainly states that Americans can charge anyone with treason if they wage war against the United States or give aid and comfort to our enemies.

                W. Cleon Skousen further explained this provision:  “In colonial times, according to Blackstone, England had seventeen different acts which were described as `treason.’  The penalty was death by hanging until unconscious, followed by revival, then disemboweling, beheading, and quartering. [This sounds gruesome to me!]
                “In the Constitutional Convention it was proposed that the Congress be allowed to specifically define treason because the Founders felt that this might be abused by federal officials as it had been in England.  Treason became the only crime to be defined in the Constitution.  It was limited to two offenses, namely, levying war against the United States and adhering to its enemies by giving them aid and comfort.
                “It is noteworthy that treason can be committed by any citizen living either in the United States or abroad.  Treason can also be committed by an alien living within the United States and consequently receiving the benefit of its protection” (The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 621-622).

                Skousen also explained that no foreign nation can be considered as an “enemy” unless Congress declares war against it.  There were people who were sympathetic to the communists in both North Korea and North Vietnam, but they could not be tried for treason because Congress did not declare war.  [I believe that Jane Fonda was treasonous during the Vietnam War.]


                Bradley C.S. Watson of The Heritage Foundation explained the purpose for including treason in the Constitution.  “Reflecting the American Founders’ concern with protecting individual rights and their fear of arbitrary governmental power, the Framers of the Constitution sought a precise and permanent definition of treason, the permissible means of proving it, and the limitations on the punishment for it.  The drafters of the Constitution reached back (as had the Continental Congress) to language in the statute of 25 Edward III (1350), which limited treason, among other things, to compassing or imagining the death of the king, levying war against the king, or adhering to the king’s enemies, giving them aid and comfort.  But the Framers’ work was even narrower.  They did not include the language of `compassing or imagining,’ which had been the basis of the English doctrine of `constructive treason,’ an effective and easily abused method for dealing with political opponents.  Thus, in the Constitution, treason consists only in levying war against the United States or adhering to its enemies by giving them aid and comfort. It may be proved only by confession in open court, or on the testimony of no fewer than two witnesses to the same overt act” (The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 264).

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Remembering the Savior

                Many people question how to keep the covenant to always remember the Savior.  When members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints partake of the sacrament, we promise to remember the Savior always.  This means that we constantly look to His example and teachings to guide the choices we make.  We subconsciously ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” or “What would Jesus have me do?”  We put the Lord first in our lives and seek to know Him and follow His will.  When we face trials, we look to Him for comfort and strength.  Heavenly Father promised that if we keep this covenant, we will always have His Spirit to be with us.

                Most of us live very busy lives and usually find it easy to forget the Lord.  An ancient American prophet by the name of Nephi told us why we fall to this temptation to forget the Lord and how we can avoid it.

                “And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
                “Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One – yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
                “And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
                “O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
                “Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s path!”  (See Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Helaman 12:1-5.)

                Our Savior, even Jesus Christ, set the example of always remembering and seeking to be like His Father.  The Savior tells us in John 8:29 that Heavenly Father was with him “for I do always those things that please him.”  We can follow Christ’s example by always doing those things that God wants us to do.

                Members of the Church have received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  When we keep the commandments of God, the Father will send the Holy Ghost to us to “teach [us] all things, and bring all things to [our] remembrance….” (John 24:26).  The “Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and [Jesus Christ]” (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 111:32).

                Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared his counsel on how we can remember the Savior always – “one of the central purposes of the sacrament.”  Elder Christofferson continued, “Remembering the Savior obviously includes remembering His Atonement, which is symbolically represented by the bread and water as emblems of His suffering and death.  We must never forget what He did for us, for without His Atonement and Resurrection, life would have no meaning.  With His Atonement and Resurrection, however, our lives have eternal, divine possibilities.”

                Elder Christofferson elaborated on three aspects of what it means to always remember the Savior:  “1) Seek to know and follow the will of Christ just as He sought the will of the Father….  Jesus achieved perfect unity with the Father by submitting Himself, both body and spirit, to the will of the Father….  His focus on the Father is one of the principal reasons Jesus’s ministry had such clarity and power.

                “In the same way, you and I can put Christ at the center of our lives and become one with Him as He is one with the Father (see John 17:20-23).  We can begin by stripping everything out of our lives and then putting it back together in priority order with the Savior at the center.  We should first put in place the things that make it possible to always remember Him – frequent prayer and scripture study, thoughtful study of apostolic teachings, weekly preparation to partake of the sacrament worthily, Sunday worship, and recording and remembering what the Spirit and experience teach us about discipleship.

                “Other things may come to your mind particularly suited to you at this point in your life.  Once we make adequate time and means for these matters in centering our lives in Christ, we can begin to add other responsibilities and things of value, such as education and family responsibilities.  In this way the essential will not be crowded out of our lives by the merely good, and things of lesser value will take a lower priority or fall away altogether.”

                “2) Prepare to answer to Christ for every thought, word, and action.   The scriptures make it clear that there will be a great day of judgment when the Lord will stand to judge the nations (see 3 Nephi 27:16) and when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is the Christ (see Romans 14:11; Mosiah 27:31; D&C 76:110).  The individual nature and extent of that judgment are described by Alma in the Book of Mormon:

                “`For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.
                “`But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance’ (Alma 12:14:15)….

                “Always remembering Him, therefore, means that we always remember that nothing is hidden from Him.  There is no part of our lives, whether act, word, or even thought, that can be kept from the knowledge of the Father and the Son.  No cheating on a test, no instance of shoplifting, no lustful fantasy or indulgence, and no lie is missed, overlooked, hidden, or forgotten.  Whatever we `get away with’ in life or manage to hide from other people, we must still face when the inevitable day comes that we are lifted up before Jesus Christ, the God of pure and perfect justice….

                “We should also take heart when thinking of a judgment in which nothing is overlooked because this also means that no act of obedience, no kindness, and no good deed however small is ever forgotten, and no corresponding blessing is ever withheld.

                “3. Fear not and look to the Savior for help.  In the infant days of the Restoration, Jesus counseled and comforted Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, who were working to translate the Book of Mormon and who would soon have the priesthood conferred upon them.  Joseph was 23 years old at the time, and Oliver was 22.  Persecution and other obstacles were frequent if not constant.  In these conditions, in April 1829 the Lord spoke these words to them:

                “`Fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
                “`Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you. 
                “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
                “`Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.  Amen’ (Doctrine and Covenants 6:34-37).

                “Look unto the Savior in every thought is, of course, another way of saying `always remember him.’  As we do, we need not doubt or fear.  The Savior reminded Joseph and Oliver as He reminds us that through His Atonement He has been given all power in heaven and earth (see Matthew 28:18) and has both the capacity and will to protect us and minister to our needs.  We need only be faithful, and we can rely implicitly on Him….


                “In short, to `always remember Him’ means that we do not live our lives in fear.  We know that challenges, disappointments, and sorrows will come to each of us in different ways, but we also know that in the end, because of our divine Advocate, all things can be made to work together for our good (see Doctrine and Covenants 90:24; 98:3).  It is the faith expressed so simply by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) when he would say, `Things will work out.’  When we always remember the Savior, we can `cheerfully do all things that lie in our power,’ confident that His power and love for us will see us through” (“To Always Remember Him,” Ensign, April 2011, pp. 49-55).

Friday, July 26, 2013

Family Proclamation #8

Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals understand and live the principles contained in the inspired document known as “The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.”   The proclamation on the family is inspired counsel from living apostles and prophets and contains counsel to help strengthen marriages and families.

The eighth paragraph of the Proclamation states:  “We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.  Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

Heavenly Father planned for all of us – His spirit children - to be born into families where they could be cared for and nurtured until adulthood when we would began our own families.  The family is the core unit of society, the foundation of our communities and nations.  When the family fails, it weakens the community and nation. 

A good illustration of how the strength of families affects communities and nations is a line of dominoes.  The domino represents one individual in a family; the next domino represents their family; the next domino represents their neighborhood; the next domino represents their community; the next domino represents their state; the next domino represents their nation, and the last domino represents the world.  When the individual in the family fails to fulfill their personal responsibilities, they can affect other family members, but their failure could extend to and affect their cities and nations. 

“So vital is the family to the cycle of human life and the renewal of each generation that it is fair to say that if the family breaks down, everything breaks down.  If families do not fulfill their divinely appointed purpose of carrying on the light of truth and the torch of civilization to the next generation, then we can throw any amount of money or ideas or programs at our world’s problems, and we will assuredly fail” (Bruce C. Hafen).

The Proclamation on the Family has been shared with leaders in our communities, states, and nations.  The warning has been sounded to the entire world:  God will hold us accountable for any actions that weaken or destroy families – our own family or any other family.  We must abide by the teachings of God or we will held responsible.


I know that we can solve many of the problems in our nation and world by strengthening individual families.  I know that we can strengthen our communities and nation by fulfilling our own personal responsibilities and by strengthening our families.  I know that communities with strong families are healthier and happier and better for society.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christian Nation

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that the United States was established as a Christian nation.  The Puritans and Pilgrims came to the shores of American in an effort to worship God according to their consciences.  The men who wrote the Constitution of the United States did so using Christian principles.

                This principle is stated beautifully in the words of a prophet of God, even President Joseph Fielding Smith:  “The United States was founded as a Christian nation.  The founders of this nation were men of humble faith.  Many of them saw in vision a glorious destiny for our government, provided we would faithfully continue in the path of justice and right with contrite spirits and humble hearts, accepting the divine truths which are found in the holy scriptures.  The appeal of these men has echoed down the passing years with prophetic warning to the succeeding generations, pleading with them to be true to all these standards which lay at the foundation of our government.

“This country was founded as a Christian nation, with the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the world.  It was predicted by a prophet of old that this land would be a land of liberty and it would be fortified against all other nations as long as its inhabitants would serve Jesus Christ; but should they stray from the Son of God, it would cease to be a land of liberty and his anger be kindled against them….

                “Now I tell you it is time the people of the United States were waking up with the understanding that if they don’t save the Constitution from the dangers that threaten it, we will have a change of government.

“It is a sad reflection, but one that cannot be successfully refuted, that we have forgotten the admonition which has come down to us, just as Israel forgot the commandments which would have blessed that nation in the land of Canaan forever had they been observed (Deuteronomy 28; 29; 30).  In forsaking these laws we stand in danger of punishment as the people of Israel stood in danger of punishment because they forsook the Lord and failed to repent and accept the warnings of their prophets” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. III, pp. 325-326).


President Smith gave this counsel in April 1950.  If we had heeded his warning, our nation would not be in the situation we are today.  Our nation was founded as a Christian nation and will continue as a free nation only as long as we worship the God of this land who is Jesus Christ.

Freedom Trumps Safety

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that freedom trumps safety.  Our freedoms come from God.  With those God-given liberties, our Founders created our government to protect freedom.

                A famous quote from Benjamin Franklin  states:  “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” 

                Judge Andrew P. Napolitano wrote an interesting article entitled “Liberty and Safety,”  and I encourage you to read the entire article.  Here is a short quote from the Judge Napolitano:  “The Constitution was created by free men to define and limit the government so it can defend but not threaten our freedoms.  Since only free persons can consent to a government, the government cannot lawfully exist without those consents.  Here is where the modern-day tyrants and big-government apologists have succeeded in confusing well-meaning people.  They have elevated safety – which is a goal of government – to the level of freedom – which created the government.  This common and pedestrian argument makes the creature – safety – equal its creator – freedom.  That is a metaphysical impossibility because it presumes that the good to be purchased is somehow equal to the free choices of the purchaser.”
Judge Napolitano continues by explaining why liberty and safety cannot “balance” each other because they are not equal.  “Liberty is the essence of our natural state.  Liberty cannot possibly be equal to a good we have instructed the government to obtain.”

                

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Varying Viewpoints

                I have watched with great interest the reactions to the jury’s verdict that George Zimmerman was “not guilty” for the death of Trayvon Martin.  I believe that everyone agrees that a great tragedy took place when Zimmerman exercised his God-given right to defend his own life by using deadly force.  I also believe that everyone wishes that Trayvon had not died that night.

                I have noticed, however, that there are great differences in opinion about whether or not the jury came to the right decision.  I am very interested in the varying opinions within the black community itself.

                Leonard Pitts, black columnist for the Miami Herald, wrote in his column that he hoped the Zimmerman verdict would be a “wake up call” for African-Americans.  “We are living in a perilous era for African-American freedom.  The parallels to other eras have become too stark to ignore.

                “Every period of African-American advance has always been met by a crushing period of push back, the crafting of laws and the use of violence with the intent of eroding the new freedoms…. [He used the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution and the “push back” from whites as examples.]

                “Our history is a litany:  two steps forward, one step back.
                “The Civil Rights Movement was the greatest step forward since emancipation.  So we ought not to be surprised to see voting rights eroded again, the Civil rights Act attacked, the so-called `War on Drugs’ used for the mas incarceration of black men.  Or to see the killing of an unarmed child deliver a message as old as the Constitution itself:  black life is worth less.

                “We are in another period of push back.  And worse, we don’t even seem to know.
                “It feels as if we have taken the great advances of the last half century – the protective laws, the rise of the black middle class, the winning of the ballot, the flowering of options once considered unthinkable – for granted.  It feels as if we have come to regard progress as somehow inevitable, preordained, carved in stone, and irrevocable as a birthright.
                “So yes, we need to wake … up.”

                Legendary Charles Barkley of NBA fame  said that he “agrees” with the verdict in the Zimmerman trial because there was not “enough evidence to charge him.”  Barkley blamed the media for fanning the flames of racism by giving a “platform to vent their ignorance” to both black and white racists.

                “Just looking at the evidence, I agree with the verdict.  I just feel bad because I don’t like when race gets out in the media because I don’t think the media has a pure heart….  Racism is wrong in any shape or form.  A lot of black people are racist too.  I think sometimes when people talk about racism, they say only white people are racist, but I think black people are too.  I don’t think the media has clean hands.”

                According to another article at The Blaze, Dr. James David Manning, a black pastor at the ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York City, urged members of “his mostly black congregation to stop viewing the world through their `black eyes’ and start looking at it through the `blood of Jesus.’”  The pastor explained that his congregation would stop “denying that the verdict in the Zimmerman [trial] was the correct one.  He also told those who are convinced that Zimmerman is guilty that they only believe that because they are black.”  Manning “is a colorful and controversial character” who has been “an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama,” but his words following the Zimmerman verdict will probably “cause a stir.”

                Conservative personality Larry Elder, another African-American, debated race relations with CNN host Piers Morgan in a “confrontational and explosive” encounter.  Elder told Morgan that interview with Rachel Jeantel, a witness at the Zimmerman trial, “was terrible as he `condescendingly’ tried to convince her that she was a `victim.’”

                “`This is a young lady who didn’t apply herself, a 19-year-old who is still in high school.  Instead of saying “Young lady, take this as an opportunity to take stock of your life,” you treated her like she was a victim.  And that’s how you’re doing this whole thing about race and racism.’”

                The debate continued by Elder pointing out that “there were 7,000 murders last year of black people, almost all of which were committed by blacks.  Elder also said there have been 480 blacks killed in Chicago alone and 75 percent of the cases have gone unsolved.

                “`Where are the cameras, where are the shows?’ Elder asked Morgan.  `It’s outrageous to act as if black America should fear some non-black guy stalking some black kid at night.  The likelihood of a black person being killed by a non-black person is extremely remote, which is why this became a big national issue in the first place.’”

                When Morgan agreed with Elder that the levels of violence in Chicago are “unacceptable”, Elder said, “Half of the murders in this country are committed by black people, even though black people are 12 percent of the population.  This is why commonsensical people profile.”

                Instead of calming down as Morgan asked, Elder said, “I’m just bothered by how you are handling all this.  You think you are doing something for black people but you’re not.  You’re making black people feel as if they are under siege and it’s not true, it’s an outrage!”  Elder added that he felt Morgan was “stupid” for “trying to convince black people that racism is still a huge issue in present day America.”

                Former U.S. Representative Allen West  – one of two black Republications in the 112th Congress – noted the following on his Facebook page:  “Yes, Trayvon Martin shooting was a tragedy which the usual suspect race baiters and progressive media are using for political gain.  Where is the outrage for the recent killings in Chicago of a 6-month-old black baby, 16-year-old black honor student or 17-year-old black teenager who refused to join a gang?  The focus is on the symptoms which promote political gain, not the disease which now afflicts the black community.  And I am tired of white liberals invoking the heinous memory of lynchings.”

                The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is pressuring the Department of Justice to pursue civil rights charges against Zimmerman even though he has been found “not guilty” by a jury.  The organization does not seem to be concerned about the hundreds of young men who are killed in Chicago in any recent year.  Conservative radio and television host Sean Hannity  told Hilary Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau Director, that to him it “sounds like people that disagree with the verdict are being sore losers and now want to make this guy’s life a living hell.”


                It appears to me that liberal/progressive politicians and members of the mainstream media are milking the Zimmerman trial for all the political gain they can get – without any regard to the damage being done to our society.  No one enjoys seeing people killed, especially the rising generation.  African-Americans need to open their eyes - in the words of Leonard Pitts, they need to “wake up” – and recognize that most conservatives are fighting for their rights while most liberals and progressives simply what to keep blacks on the “government plantation.”  Our nation elected and re-elected our first African-American president.  We have our first African-American attorney general.  We have previously had two African-American secretaries of state.  Conservatives are not racist.  We recognize that members of every race have much to give to our nation, and we know that we need every American – black, brown, yellow, or white.  We simply want “justice for all” based on law; we want everyone to be judged by the same laws because we are – or at least used to be – a nation of laws.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Builders of the Nation

                Since July 24th marks the anniversary of the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, I thought I would write something about pioneers.  I began thinking about the pioneers on Sunday when our congregation sang a hymn entitled “They, the Builders of the Nation” (Hymns #36, written by Ida R. Alldredge with music by Alfred M. Durham).  I was so touched by the words to this hymn that I could not get it out of my mind.  This presentation of “They, the Builders of the Nation” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with music provided by the Orchestra at Temple Square is beautiful and touching.  I appreciate the brief addition depicting the Mormon Pioneers as they crossed the plains.

                They, the builders of the nation, Blazing trails along the way;
                Stepping-stones for generations Were their deeds of every day.
                Building new and firm foundations, Pushing on the wild frontier,
                Forging onward, ever onward, Blessed, honored Pioneer!

                Service ever was their watch-cry; Love became their guiding star;
                Courage, their unfailing beacon, Radiating near and far.
                Ev’ry day some burden lifted, Ev’ry day some heart to cheer,
                Ev’ry day some hope the brighter, Blessed, honored Pioneer!

                As an ensign to the nation, They unfurled the flag of truth,
                Pillar, guide, and inspiration To the hosts of waiting youth.
                Honor, praise, and veneration To the founders we revere!
                List our song of adoration, Blessed, honored Pioneer!

                I decided to research the hymn and found the following information about hymn and its writer. Ida Romney Alldredge is the aunt to former Michigan Governor George W. Romney and great-aunt to former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  She was born on January 7, 1892, in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, to Catherine Cottom and Miles Park Romney.  She married Leo “Lew” Alldredge on August 26, 1911; the next year Lew and Ida moved to Douglas, Arizona, along with other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The group “decided to leave Mexico due to the disruptions caused by the Mexican Revolution.”  Lew began working as a merchant in Arizona, and the couple established their home in Mesa, Arizona.

                Allredge wrote more than 30 poems in the 1920s and 1930s and “more than 400 poems in total as well as many musical works and a few dramatic works.”  She wrote many poems that were published in the Relief Society Magazine and the Juvenile Instructor.  The lyrics of her poems were put to music by “such contemporaries as George Careless, B. Cecil Gates and William Clive.”  Although her best-known hymn is “They, the Builders of the Nation,” Allredge “had songs sung in General Conference, in the Salt Lake and Arizona Temples, and at the Arizona Temple dedication of 1927.”

                One of Allredge’s “last big moments” took place in 1940 when a chorus gathered on the roof of the Arizona Temple to present an Easter sunrise services.  “They sang a cantata written by Allredge and composed by B. Cecil Gates called “Resurrection Morning.”
                Allredge passed away on June 14, 1943, in Mesa, Arizona.

                President Thomas S. Monson spoke about the pioneers:  “That first trek of 1847, organized and led by Brigham Young, is described by historians as one of the great epics of United States history.  Mormon pioneers by the hundreds suffered and died from disease, exposure, or starvation.  There were some who, lacking wagons and teams, literally walked the 1,300 miles across the plains and through the mountains, pushing and pulling handcarts.  In these groups, one in six perished….

                “These pioneers remembered the words of the Lord:  `My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion’ (Doctrine and Covenants 136:31).

                “As the long, painful struggle approached its welcomed end, a jubilant spirit filled each heart.  Tired feet and weary bodies somehow found new strength.

                “Time-marked pages of a dusty pioneer journal speak movingly:  `We bowed ourselves down in humble prayer to Almighty God with hearts full of thanksgiving to Him, and dedicated this land unto Him for the dwelling place of His people.’ …

                “Such were the trials, the hardships, struggles, and heartaches of a former day.  They were met with resolute courage and an abiding faith in a living God…” (“Come, Follow Me,” Ensign, July 1988). 
  
                I stand in awe of the Mormon Pioneers and the other “builders” who made our nation great.  They had trials, hardships, struggles, and heartaches, but they met them with “resolute courage and an abiding faith in a living God.”  They acted on faith, had positive attitudes, and left our nation better for having been there.  We can learn much from the “builders of our nation.”  Happy Pioneer Day!
               

                

Monday, July 22, 2013

Brigham Young

                My very important person (VIP) for this week is Brigham Young.  He was instrumental in settling of much of western part of the United States of America.   He was the successor to the Prophet Joseph Smith and was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1847-1877).  He led the Mormon Pioneers to the Great Salt Lake Valley and founded Salt Lake City.  He served as the first governor of the Utah Territory in what later became Western United States.  Under his leadership, precursors both the University of Utah and Brigham Young University were founded.

                The boy who became this great man was born on June 1, 1801, to Abigail “Nabby” Howe and John Young who farmed in Whitingham, Vermont.  When he was older, he worked as a traveling carpenter and blacksmith as well as other trades.

                Brigham joined the Methodist faith in 1823 and married Miriam Angeline Works in 1824.  He read the Book of Mormon soon after it was published in 1830 and was drawn to its message.  He officially joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1832 and soon left for a mission to Upper Canada.

                Miriam Young died in 1832, and Brigham joined other members of the Church in establishing a community in Kirtland, Ohio.  He was ordained a member of the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1835.  He led a group of other Apostles on a successful mission to the United Kingdom.  In 1838, while the Prophet Joseph Smith was in prison, Brigham organized and led the exodus of Latter-day Saints from Missouri.

                “After the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon believed that because he had been in the First Presidency, it was his right to be the next leader of the Church; he was able to convince some people to agree with him.  As the president of the Quorum of the Twelve, Brigham Young told the apostles all that mattered was what the Lord wanted and they should seek out His guidance.  At a meeting of the Church to settle the matter, both Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young spoke to the congregation.  While Brigham Young spoke, a miracle happened:  he suddenly looked and sounded like Joseph Smith to those in the audience.  More than one hundred people at the meeting had this spiritual confirmation of Brigham Young as the next leader of the Church and made record of it in their journal.  Zina Huntington said of this experience:  `President Young was speaking.  It was the voice of Joseph Smith – not that of Brigham Young.  His very person was changed….  I closed my eyes.  I could have exclaimed, I know that is Joseph Smith’s voice!  Yet I knew he had gone.’  Wilford Woodruff declared, `if I had not seen him with my own eyes there is no one that could have convince me that it was not Joseph Smith speaking.’  From 1844 to 1847, Brigham young led the Church as the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  He was ordained as prophet while at Council Bluffs, Iowa, in December 1847. “    This was approximately two and a half years after the death of Joseph Smith.

                Young was known by a variety of nicknames.  By his followers, he was known as the “Lion of the Lord” because of his bold personality and his willingness to stand on virtuous principles.  He was also loving known as “Brother Brigham” by the members of the Church.  He was later known as “American Moses,” “Modern Moses,” or the “Mormon Moses” because he led the Mormon Pioneers in their exodus, through the desert, to their “promised land.”


                Brigham died at 4:00 p.m. on August 29, 1877, in Salt Lake City from a condition known as “cholera morbus and inflammation of the bowels.”  “It is believed that he died of peritonitis form a ruptured appendix.”  Just before he died, Brigham said, “Joseph!  Joseph!  Joseph!” as though he were calling to his dearly departed friend, Joseph Smith.  His funeral was held on September 2, 1877, in the Tabernacle with an estimated attendance of 12,000 to 15,000 people.  He was interred on the grounds of the Mormon Pioneer Memorial Monument in downtown Salt Lake City.  A bronze marker is on the grave site.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Other Trials

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article III, Section 2, and Clause 3:  “When [a crime is] not committed within any state, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.”  This provision in the Constitution states that Congress will designate the place of trials of any crimes committed outside of any state, such as territories or on the open sea.


                W. Cleon Skousen explained, “In the Northwest Ordinance, passed in 1787 – the same year the Constitution was written – Congress had provided for the administrative affairs of the one major territory that was under its jurisdiction at that time.  However, there were other regions for which no provision was made.  In the above section the Founders indicated that any judicial questions outside of any state or on the high seas should be settled in a manner dictated by Congress” (The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 621).