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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What Happens Now?

                What happens now?  On Friday, June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that same-sex marriage is legal in all fifty states. The four liberal justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan – were joined by the swing vote of Anthony Kennedy to legalize same-sex marriage. 

                Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which was full of statements such as the following:  “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family….  In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.  As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.”

                Four conservative justices dissented; Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel A. Alito Jr.  Chief Justice Roberts’ comments clearly stated that he considered the vote to be an unconstitutional, unprecedented `act of will, not legal judgment’ and that he considered the court to be unauthorized in trying to decide this issue.  “[T]his court is not a legislature….  Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us.  Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.”

                The Chief Justice, joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas, continued, “Supporters of same-sex marriage have achieved considerable success persuading their fellow citizens – through the democratic process – to adopt their view.  That ends today.  Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.  Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.”
                Roberts ended with “Just who do we think we are?”

                Justice Scalia’s dissent, joined by Justice Thomas, was the strongest when stating that the majority decision is a “threat to American democracy” and lacks “even a thin veneer of law.”  “A system of government that makes the people subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.”  In a footnote Justice Scalia stated, “The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

                Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Scalia, wrote that there was no way he could agree with the majority decision because it “inverted the relationship between a person and the government” and “the majority’s decision suggested that human dignity can only come from that government.”  “He warned that what he saw as the majority opinion’s misunderstanding of liberty – which he said was really freedom from the government, rather than access to government benefits -- `will likely cause collateral damage to other aspects of our constitutional order that protect liberty.’”  He wrote of “potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”  He suggested that the majority’s decision will not change the dignity of people who voted for laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

                Justice Alito, joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas, wrote in his dissent that the majority had apparently forgotten that the purpose of marriage was to procreate children, not simply to satisfy the desires of adults.  Even though he acknowledged that modern marriage had fallen far from the ideal of marriage, he was concerned about the majority’s “abuse of its power.”  “If a bare majority of Justices can invent a new right and impose that right on the rest of the country, the only real limit on what future majorities will be able to do is their own sense of what those with political power and cultural influence are willing to tolerate….  Even enthusiastic supporters of same-sex marriage should worry about the scope of the power that today’s majority claims.”

                At first, I was shocked – yes shocked – that the Supreme Court would make this ruling.  I realized right away that the five justices composing the majority had pushed our entire nation much further down the slippery slope of debauchery in order to please a very small percentage of its citizens.  We are now far down the slippery slope leading to the destruction of our nation because this ruling legalizes serious sin.   Homosexual thoughts and feelings are not sins, but homosexual actions are grievous sins, the same type of sins that led to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Old Testament times.  (See Genesis 19:5; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17, and Isaiah 3:9.)  It does not matter whether you or I believe it is sin because God says it is sin.  Sin is wickedness, and wickedness never leads to happiness. 

                After I overcame my shock, I began to wonder how God plans to use this ruling in dealing with His children on earth.  The ruling, of course, was no surprise to God; He knew it was coming.  What actions has He taken to counteract the decision of the majority of justices?

                God has proclaimed that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.  He put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, not Adam and Steve.  He has a plan for His children, and same-sex marriage is not part of His plan.  We each have the freedom to make choices, but we do not have the freedom to choose the consequences of our choices.  What will the consequences be for the decision to legalize same-sex marriage?  I know that only time will tell, but I expect that the consequences will not be pleasant ones.

                What does God want us to do?  How does He desire us to act as a result of this Court decision?  I was greatly comforted and strengthened by the remarks of Nancy Leigh DeMoss in this You Tube video entitled “Nancy Responds to `Same Sex Marriage’ Ruling.”  She reminded her listeners that “Heaven Rules” – not the Supreme Court.  She indicated that we have three choices in how we act or react:  (1) We should not curse the decision and become angry and hateful.  (2) We should not allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the darkness by falling into depression or condoning the sin.  (3) We should allow our light to shine in the darkness and love the sinners while hating the sin.  We should feel compassion for them for they will suffer.

                I believe this decision will be a major sifting among Christians in general.  Those who do not consider same-sex marriage to be a problem will drop out of any church that stands firm on God’s doctrine.  I expect my church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – to stand firm on the doctrine of Christ.  I know God’s doctrine on marriage, and I know that He will hold us accountable for our actions in regard to it.  I believe the gulf between righteousness and wickedness will become wider and deeper.  I feel that God allowed this decision in order to allow His children to choose whether or not we stand on the side of God.  I stand on the side of God.  Where do you stand?

Monday, June 29, 2015

James Dewey Watson

                My oldest son probably knew about My Very Important Peron (VIP) for this week is James Dewey Watson years ago.  My son majored in molecular biology, and Watson is a molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist.  He is best known for being co-discoverer structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick.  Watson and Crick, along with Maurice Wilkins, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.  Their award was “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material.”

                Watson was born on April 6, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois; he is the only son of Jean (Mitchell) and James D. Watson, a businessman whose ancestors were colonial English immigrants to America.  His maternal grandfather was Lauchlin Mitchell who was a tailor from Glasgow, Scotland; his maternal grandmother was Lizzie Gleason whose Irish parents were from Tipperary.  He was raised Catholic who escaped from the religion because his father did not believe in God.

                Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Watson “attended public schools, including Grammar School and South Shore High School.”  Watson and his father were fascinated with watching birds and often shared this hobby; Watson even considered majoring in ornithology.  Watson enrolled at the University of Chicago on a tuition scholarship when he was only 15 years old.  Robert Hutchins, the University president, apparently heard Watson answer questions on “Quiz Kids, a popular radio show that challenged bright youngsters.”

                Watson “changed his professional ambitions from the study of ornithology to genetics” after reading Erwin Schrodinger’s What Is Life?  “In his autobiography, Avoid Boring People, Watson described the University of Chicago as an idyllic academic institution where he was instilled with the capacity for critical thought and an ethical compulsion not to suffer fools who impeded his search for truth, in contrast to his description of later experiences.  In 1947 Watson left the University of Chicago to become a graduate student at Indiana University, attracted by the presence at Bloomington of the 1946 Nobel Prize winner Hermann Joseph Muller, who in crucial papers published in 1922, 1929, and in the 1930s had laid out all the basic properties of the heredity molecule that Schrodinger presented in his 1944 book.  He received his PhD degree from Indiana University in 1950; Salvador Luria was his doctoral advisor.”

                Early in 1948, Watson began his PhD at Indiana University and did research in the laboratory of Salvador Luria, another Nobel Prize winner.  In September 1950 began a year of postdoctoral research at Copenhagen University.  He first worked with biochemist Herman Kallckar and later worked with microbial physiologist Ole Maaloe.  Watson’s intention was “to determine whether protein or DNA was the genetic material.”  He attended a meeting in Italy where Maurice Wilkins spoke about “his X-ray diffraction data for DNA.”  Following the presentation, Watson was “certain that DNA had a definite molecular structure that could be elucidated.”

                After chemist Linus Pauling in California published his model of the amino acid alpha helix in 1951 and Watson did further research, Watson wanted to “learn to perform X-ray diffraction experiments so he could work to determine the structure of DNA.”  He went to England in 1951 to do “a new postdoctoral research project.”

                In mid-March 1953 Maurice Wilkins, Watson and Crick used their own experimental data as well as much collected by Rosalind Franklin and “deduced the double helix structure of DNA.  Sir Lawrence Bragg, the director of the Cavendish Laboratory (where Watson and Crick worked), made the original announcement of the discovery at a Solvay conference on proteins in Belgium on April 8, 1953; it went unreported by the press.  Watson and Crick submitted a paper to the scientific journal Nature, which was published on April 25, 1953.  This has been described by some other biologists and Nobel laureates as the most important scientific discovery of the 20th century.  Bragg gave a talk at the Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London on Thursday, May 14, 1953, which resulted in a May 15, 1953, article by Ritchie Calder in the London newspaper News Chronicle, entitled `Why You Are You.  Nearer Secret of Life.’”

                In 1962 Watson, Crick, and Wilkins received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their research on the structure of nucleic acids.  Rosalind Franklin was not eligible for nomination because she died in 1958.  “The publication of the double helix structure of DNA can be regarded as a turning point in science:  human understanding of life was fundamentally changed and the modern era of biology began.”

                In 1968 Watson married Elizabeth Lewis, and the couple became parents of two sons, Rufus Robert Watson (born 1970) and Duncan James Watson (born 1972).  Rufus suffers from schizophrenia, and Watson desires “to encourage progress in understanding and treatment of mental illness by determining how genetics contributes to it.”  Watson is an atheist and signed the Humanist Manifesto in 2003, along with 21 other Nobel Laureates.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Presidential Succession

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Sections 1 and 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:  “In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President…. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.”  This provision insures that there will always be a President and Vice President; it gives the President the authority to appoint a new Vice President and gives the Vice President the authority to ascend to the office of President.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained, “Until this amendment was adopted, a vacancy in the office of Vice President could not be filled until the next presidential election.  The new procedure has been followed twice since its ratification in 1967.  The first time was when Spiro t. Agnew resigned his office as Vice President in 1973 and President Richard M. Nixon appointed Congressman Gerald R. Ford of Michigan to serve in his place – following the approval of a majority of the House and the Senate.  The second incident occurred when President Nixon resigned and Vice President Ford became President.  Ford then appointed Nelson A. Rockefeller to be the new Vice President, and Rockefeller was confirmed by a majority of the House and the Senate.  Ford and Rockefeller thus became the first nonelected President and Vice President serving together in the history of the United States.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 758-759.)

                John Feerick of The Heritage Foundation explained the need for this amendment:  “The original Presidential Succession Clause of the Constitution (see Article II, Section 1, Clause 6) appeared to be relatively simple in providing for succession to the presidency.  There were, however, troubling ambiguities.  What was the meaning of `inability’ of a President `to discharge the Powers and Duties of said office’?  Who determined the existence of an `inability’?  Did a Vice President become President for the rest of the presidential term in the case of an inability or in the event of death, resignation, or removal; or was he merely `acting as President’?  It was clear that there was no procedure for filling a vacancy in the office of Vice President, although it authorized Congress to legislate a line of succession to cover situations involving the death, resignation, removal, or inability of both the President and Vice President.

                “Until the Twenty-fifth Amendment was adopted, the nation confronted a number of deaths in office of Presidents and Vice Presidents as well as periods when Presidents have been disabled….”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 430.)

Saturday, June 27, 2015


                Fasting has been around since the time of Adam and Eve; it is a principle given to mankind to help us draw nearer our Heavenly Father as well as to worship Him.  By His own example, Jesus Christ demonstrated the importance of fasting.  (See Luke 4:1-4.)  The Lord still expects His people to fast as we learn modern revelation.  “Also, I give unto you a commandment that ye shall continue in prayer and fasting from this time forth” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:76).

                President Joseph F. Smith explained that fasting means to go without food and drink (see Gospel Principles, p. 243).  It is good for our bodies for us to fast occasionally and wisely; it is also good for our minds.  Fasting is actually more than going with food and drink; it also includes concentrating on spiritual matters.

                There are several actions we should take when fasting appropriately.  The first action is to include prayer as a necessary part of our fast.  Prayer and fasting are mentioned together throughout the scriptures.  Sincere prayer should accompany our fasting, which should begin and end with prayer.  Without including prayer, we are merely going without food and drink.

                The second action we should include in our fast is to fast with a purpose.  There are many purposes for which we can fast; two purposes are (1) to overcome weaknesses or problems and (2) to ask for help or guidance for others, such as someone who is ill or injured.  We can fast to know the truth.  We can for missionary efforts or any number of righteous reasons.  We can fast to simply give thanks for blessings.  We can fast to ask for forgiveness for wrong doing.

                We should not fast to impress other people.  We should be cheerful when we fast and not advertise our fast to other people.  If we fast appropriately, we can become more humble and feel closer to our Heavenly Father.

                Fast Sunday is held once each month, usually on the first Sunday of the month.  On this day we fast from both food and drink for two consecutive meals or for twenty-four hours.  An example would be to start our fast following the evening meal on Saturday and to end our fast with the evening meal on Sunday.

                Everyone is encouraged to fast if they can do so, but little children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not fast.  When our children read the age of eight years and are baptized, we should encourage them to fast but never force them.  Most parents teach their children to fast by asking them to refrain from eating one meal and gradually refraining from eating two meals.

                Fast Sunday is a special day to help us become humble before the Lord in fasting and prayer.  It is a day to pray for forgiveness for our sins and to ask for the power to overcome our weaknesses.  It is also a day to extend forgiveness to others.  It is also a day to meet with other members, to partake of the sacrament, and to bear our testimonies and/or to listen to the testimonies of other people.

                The fast is the Lord’s way of helping the poor.  He asks every member to go without eating for two meals and then to give the money that would have been spent on the food for those two meals to the proper priesthood authority.  We have been asked to give as generously as we are able because our fast offerings are used to administer to the needs of our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

                We know from the writings of the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament that the Lord promises rich blessings to those who fast and help the needy.  Some of those blessings are peace, increased health, and spiritual guidance.  Fasting also improves our lives and strengthens us to live other principles of the gospel as we draw nearer to God.

                Fasting helps us learn self-control and thus helps us gain strength of character.  By fasting properly, we can learn to control our appetites, passions, and tempers.  Fasting appropriately can also help us feel successful and lead to more self-confidence.  Children who are taught to fast appropriately are helped to develop the willpower to overcome greater temptations in their later lives.

                We can gain spiritual power by fasting appropriately.  We can develop our faith in Jesus Christ by fasting wisely and prayerfully.  To those who fast properly, the Savior said, “Thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:18).

                I did not prepare appropriately on a recent Fast Sunday and found myself not feeling good about my fast.  I went to the Lord in prayer to tell Him how I felt and to ask whether I should end my current fast and start a better one later in the day; I received a positive answer.  I immediately broke my fast by eating the next two meals; then I started my fast again on Sunday night.  I know the Lord accepted my fast and blessed me for my efforts.  I know fasting is a principle that brings great blessings when we are obedient to it.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Strengthen Family Relationships

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals realize the importance of relationships and put proper priority on them.  We strengthen relationships with others by caring about them, listening to them and learning from them.

                In the Priesthood Session of General Conference in October 2009, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum ofthe Twelve Apostles gave the following advice to the men and young men of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He first expressed joy at being united with men and young men of the priesthood and of seeing fathers and sons sitting together.  He explained that priesthood and family are “two of the most important elements of our theology.”  He further taught that priesthood is the divine power through which families are sealed together forever.  Everything in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, including the ordinances of the holy temple, is focused on the possibilities of families becoming part of the eternal family of God.”  He spent the rest of his talk teaching men and young men are to talk to each other.

                Elder Ballard gave three simple suggestions to the young men on how they could “take full advantage of your relationship with your dad” and “make your relationship with your father even better than it is right now.”  The three suggestions are:  (1) Trust your father because he loves you.  “Share your thoughts and feelings, your dreams and your fears.  The more he knows about your life, the better chance he has to understand your concerns and to give you good counsel.”  (2) Be interested in your father’s life.  “Ask about his job, his interests, his goals.  How did he decide to do the work that he does?  What was he like when he was your age?  How did he meet your mother?”  (3) Ask your father for advice.  “Let’s be honest:  he is probably going to give you his advice whether you ask for it or not, but it just works so much better when you ask!  Ask for his advice on Church activity, on classes, on friends, on school, on dating, on sports or other hobbies.  Ask for his counsel on your Church assignments, on preparing for your mission, on decisions or choices you have to make.  Nothing shows respect for another person as much as asking for his advice, because what you are really saying when you ask for advice is, `I appreciate what you know and the experiences you have had, and I value your ideas and suggestions.’  Those are nice things for a father to hear from his son.”

                Then Elder Ballard spoke to the fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and other adult men and said, “You will notice that there is some linkage between the three suggestions I am going to give and the suggestions I just gave your sons.  That isn’t coincidental.”  His three suggestions to fathers are:  (1) “Listen to your sons – really listen to them.  Ask the right kind of questions, and listen to what your sons have to say each time you have a few minutes together.  You need to know … what is going on in your son’s life.  Find your own best way to connect.  …  Do whatever works best for you.  A one-on-one relationship should be a routine part of your stewardship with your sons.  Every father needs at least one focused, quality conversation with his sons every month during which they talk about specific things such as school, friends, feelings, video games, text messaging, worthiness, faith, and testimony.”  (2) “Pray with and for your sons.  Give them priesthood blessings [for] … a big exam … the start of a new school year, a birthday, or as he begins to date….  One-on-one prayer and the sharing of testimonies can draw you closer to each other as well as closer to the Lord….  (3) “Dare to have the `big talks’ with your sons.  You know what I mean:  talks about drugs and drinking, about the dangers of today’s media – the Internet, cyber technologies, and pornography – and about priesthood worthiness, respect for girls, and moral cleanliness.  While these should not be the only subjects you talk about with your sons, please don’t shy away from them.  Your boys need your counsel, guidance, and input on these subjects….”

                Six months later Elder Ballard spoke to the women and young women of the Church because his daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters were asking for equal time.  “Mothers and daughters play a critical role in helping each other explore their infinite possibilities, despite the undermining influences of a world in which womanhood and motherhood are being corrupted and manipulated.”

                Elder Ballard quoted a statement made by President Joseph F. Smith to the women of the Church nearly a century ago:  “It is not for you to be led by the women of the world; it is for you to lead the … women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and … purifying to the children of men” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Joseph F. Smith, 184).

                Explaining that men cannot perform the tasks “divinely designated” to women from our pre-earth lives and “cannot ever hope to replicate your unique gifts,” Elder Ballard made a profound statement.  He said, “There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman.”

                Speaking to the young women of the Church, Elder Ballard said, “Your mothers adore you.  They see in you the promise of future generations.  Everything you accomplish, every challenge you overcome brings them pure joy.  And likewise your  worries and heartaches are their worries and heartaches.”  He then proceeded to give the young women suggestions on how to take full advantage of your relationship with your mother.  (1) Look not “to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors,” but  “look to your faithful mothers for a pattern to follow.”  “Model yourselves after them, not after celebrities whose standards are not the Lord’s standards and whose values may not reflect an eternal perspective.  (2) Learn from [your mother’s] strengths, her courage, and her faithfulness.  Listen to her…. When it comes to matters of the heart and the things of the Lord, she has a wealth of knowledge.  As you approach the time for marriage and young motherhood, she will be your greatest source of wisdom.  No other person on earth loves you in the same way or is willing to sacrifice as much to encourage you and help you find happiness – in this life and forever.”  (3) “Love your mother….  Respect her.  Listen to her.  Trust her.  She has your best interests at heart.  She cares about your eternal safety and happiness.  So be kind to her.  Be patient with her imperfections, for she has them.  We all do.”

                To the mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and other adult women, Elder Ballard stated:  “We have a family friend who travels often with members of her extended family.  Her primary observation after each trip is how much the young women behave like their mothers.  If the mothers are thrifty, so are their daughters.  If the mothers are modest, so are the girls.  If the mothers wear flip-flops and other casual clothing to sacrament meeting, so do their daughters.  Mothers, your example is extremely important to your daughters – even if they don’t acknowledge it.

                “Throughout the history of the world, women have always been teachers of moral values.  That instruction begins in the cradle and continues throughout the lives of their children.  Today our society is bombarded with messages about womanhood and motherhood that are dangerously and wickedly wrong.  Following these messages can put your daughters on the path to sin and self-destruction.  Your daughters may not understand that unless you tell them or, better, unless you show them how to make good choices.  As mothers in Israel, you are your daughters’ first line of defense against the wiles of the world.

                “… Let me assure you that even when you think your daughter is not listening to a thing you say, she is still learning form you as she watches you to see if your actions match your words….
                “Teach your daughters to find joy in nurturing children.  This is where their love and talents can have the greatest eternal significance….
                 “Mothers, teach your daughters that a faithful daughter of God avoids the temptation to gossip or judge one another…. 

                “A mother-daughter relationship is where a daughter learns how to nurture by being nurtured.  She is loved.  She is taught and experiences firsthand what it feels like to have someone care about her enough to correct her while continuing to encourage and believe in her at the same time.
                “… God is the source of all moral and spiritual power.  We gain access to that power by entering into covenants with Him and keeping those covenants.  Mothers, teach your daughters the importance of making covenants, and then show them how to keep those covenants in such a way that they will desire to live worthy to go to the temple….”

                Elder Ballard concluded his remarks to the women and young women with this prophetic summary from President Joseph F. Smith:  “Our [family] associations are not exclusively intended for this life, for time, as we distinguish it from eternity.  We live for time and for eternity.  We form associations and relations for time and all eternity. …  Who are there besides the Latter-day Saints who contemplate the thought that beyond the grave we will continue in the family organization?  the father, the mother, the children recognizing each other …?  This family organization being a unit in the great and perfect organization of God’s work, and all destined to continue throughout time and eternity?”  (Teachings:  Joseph F. Smith, 385, 386).

                As you can see from Elder Ballard’s remarks and those he quoted, there is much that must be done to strengthen family relationships.  Father- son and mother-daughter relationships are some of the most powerful and important relationships in time and eternity.  We can strengthen our families, our communities, and our nation by strengthening these relationships.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Freedom to Fly Flags

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the freedom of Americans to fly flags.  Americans have the right to fly the flags of their choice on their own property without regard to whether or not it offends their neighbors; however, there are movements in our land to stop certain flags from being flown on government or public property.

                The governor of South Carolina has called for the Confederate flag to be taken down in her state.  The governor of Virginia ordered the Confederate flag to be taken of the state’s license plates.  Amazon, Wal-Mart and other businesses have declared they will no longer sell Confederate flags.  The Confederate flag offends people. 

                Other people are calling for the rainbow flag flown by gay rights supporters to be condemned because it too offends people.  Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh predicted on his show that the American flag will “come under assault” because it offends people and stands for “everything that’s wrong with” America.
                “If you take a look at the timeline of progressive events, their speed and rapidity with which the left is conducting this assault on all of these American traditions and institutions, if you don’t think the American flag’s in their crosshairs down the road, you had better stop and reconsider.”

                Do you believe the time will come when the Stars and Stripes will not fly over public property?   If so, will only patriots fly the American flag?  We live in interesting times.  The future should be even more interesting!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

End Times

                Do you remember the story of Chicken Little who got hit in the head with an acorn and thought the sky was falling?  He went around crying, “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling,” and most of the other animals in the story believed him.  Then someone asked to see the sky that had fallen and was shown the acorn.  The animals were relieved to know the sky was not really falling.

                The scriptures tell about the end of the world.  We know it is coming, and we know the signs leading up to it.  Numerous people have tried to convince us that it is near.  We must remember that Jesus Christ said that no one knows when He will return: however, He also told us to watch the signs of the times to know when the Second Coming is near.  I have been watching the signs closely for years, and I too believe the end times are coming near.

                Dr. Ed Hinson and Tim LaHaye co-authored a book entitled Target Israel – Caught in the Crosshairs of the End Times.  In an interview with Billy Hallowell of The Blaze, Dr. Hinson spoke of Israel’s role in biblical prophecy and five signs that show the end times are drawing near.  He called them “flashing warning lights.”

                According to Dr. Hinson, the five flashing signs are:  (1) the fact that Israel has returned to their Promised Land, (2) “rumors of war” can be found in the crisis in the Middle East, (3) the global economy shows a potential for some person or group of people to take over,
(4) weapons of mass destruction, and (5) the moral decay in our society.

                I am well aware of the five flashing signs noted by Dr. Hinson.  Israel has been returning to their Promised Land since World War II.  There have been wars and rumors of war since the Civil War.  I believe there are secret combinations trying to control the world; I believe we must expose these groups and destroy their power before they destroy our liberty.  Some twenty or thirty years ago, a man I consider to be a prophet, seer and revelator suggested that the end of the world would come through nuclear power.  The moral decay is the sign that I have been watching closely, particularly the attempts to destroy marriage and family.  Family is the core unit of our society; if it is destroyed, there will be no hope for the world.

                Hindson and LaHaye wrote the book because of “their lifelong concern for Israel and the Jewish people” and “their belief that scripture makes it clear that Israel will be a key fixture during the end times.”
                “`Our belief that God has them back in the promised land in the last days for distinct purpose and that they have always been throughout the last 2,000 years the target of irrational and irresponsible hatred worldwide.’”  They wrote their book to expose all the hate and to come to the defense of Israel.

                I too am concerned for Israel and the Jewish people.  For thousands of years they have suffered because of mankind’s hate and envy of them.  I do not wonder about how things will end because the scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ will come to the aid of the Jews.  Anyone and any country that fights against the Jews will also be fighting against God.  God knows all things and has all power; there is no way that puny little man can win against God.  I stand on the side of Israel and God!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Scott Walker Poll

                I have made it very plain in recent months that I like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  I like the fact that he has stood up to liberals on several occasions and won – including two elections and one recall.  I like most of what he says but not everything.  He stated recently that he believes we should reinstate the Patriot Act to fight ISIS and other forms of radical Islamic terrorism. 

                Governor Walker received a standing ovation while speaking to the Road to Majority Conference in Washington Saturday night when he stated:  “We’ve got a president who earlier this year at the graduation ceremony of the Coast Guard, he stood up and actually told the graduates that the number-one threat to military in the world today is global warming.  I’ve got a message for you Mr. President:  The number-one threat to the military, the number-one threat to America, the number-one threat to the world is radical Islamic terrorism.”

                I agree with Governor Walker.  Do you agree with Governor Walker that radical Islamic terrorism is the number one threat to our military, America, and the world?  Yes or No

Monday, June 22, 2015

Audie Murphy

                Audie Leon Murphy was born on June 20, 1925, in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas; he was born into a large family of sharecroppers of Irish descent.  He was the seventh of twelve children born to his parents, Emmett Berry Murphy and Josie Bell Killian Murphy.  His father was not a steady influence and eventually left the family; his mother died of endocarditis and pneumonia in 1941 when Audie was a teen.  His three youngest siblings were placed by Hunt County in Boles Children’s Home.  After World War II, Murphy purchased a home for his sister Corrine and her husband Poland Burns in Farmersville, Texas.  His younger siblings shared the home briefly.

                Murphy attended school until the fifth grade when he quit to pick cotton for $1.00 a day; he also worked at a radio repair shop and at a combination general store, garage and service station to help support his family.  He was a skilled hunter and provided small game to feed the family.  The death of his mother affected him greatly for the rest of his life.  He was a “loner with mood swings and an explosive temper.”

                Wanting to be a soldier for most of his life, Murphy tried to enlist after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  He was turned down by the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps for being underweight and underage.  Murphy enlisted the help of his older sister, Corrine Burns, who was also his nearest living kin; she signed a notarized a document certifying he was born in 1924. 

                With this falsified document, Murphy me the age qualification and accepted by the Army on June 30, 1942.  All of his military records show a wrong date for his birth, but his California driver’s license indicates he was born in 1925.  He attended basic training at Camp Wolters where he earned the Marksman Badge with Rifle Component Bar and Expert Badge with Bayonet Component Bar.  He attended advanced infantry training at Fort Meade. 

                Murphy “first saw action in the Allied Invasion of Sicily and the Battle of Anzio.”  He was “part of the liberation of Rome and invasion of southern France” in 1944.  “Murphy fought at Montelimar, and led his men on a successful assault at the L’Omet quarry near Cleurie in northeastern France in October.  He became “one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism.  At the age of 19, Murphy received the Medal of Honor after single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition.”

                Hollywood heard of Murphy’s heroism and put him in movies for 21 years.  “He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical To Hell and Back based on his 1949 memoirs of the same name.”  He played mostly westerns, made guest appearances on celebrity television shows, and starred in the Whispering Smith series.  He “was a fairly accomplished songwriter, and bred quarter horses in California and Arizona, becoming a regular participant in horse racing.”

                On January 8, 1949, Murphy married Wanda Hendrix, an actress; their divorce was final on April 19, 1951.  Four days later he married Pamela Archer, a former airline stewardess, and the couple became parents of two sons:  Terry Michael Murphy (1952) and James Shannon “Skipper” Murphy (1954).

                Murphy suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) before the term was coined.  He “slept with a loaded handgun under his pillow and looked for solace in addictive sleeping pills."  In the last few years of his life he was plagued by money problems due to his gambling habit, but he refused offers to appear in alcohol and cigarette commercials because he did not want to set a bad example.  Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia [on May 28, 1971], shortly before his 46th birthday.”  He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on June 7, 1971.  He previously requested that his headstone “remain plain and inconspicuous, like that of an ordinary soldier” rather than one decorated in gold leaf as a Medal of Honor recipient.  His grave site is “the cemetery’s second most-visited grave site, after that of President John F. Kennedy.”

                Pamela Murphy and her two sons moved into a small apartment and worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Los Angeles as a clerk for 35 years.  “In 1975, a court awarded Murphy’s widow and two children $2.5 million in damages because of the accident.”

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Voting and Taxes

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Section 1 of the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:  “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.”  This provision simply states that every American has the right to vote if they are otherwise eligible to do so without any regard to the payment of taxes.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained, “Many poor Americans, both black and white, were excluded from voting in certain states because they had to pay a poll tax (so much per person) before they could vote.

                “Actually, the poll tax was a very small tax of one or two dollars to help pay the costs of the election.  Nevertheless, it was sufficient to discourage many of the poor from voting.  Many civil-rights proponents considered poll taxes to be particularly prejudicial to blacks.  It was also the poorer citizens, both black and white, who tended to get behind on their taxes.  This amendment allowed them to vote regardless of their tax status.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 758.)

                David F. Forte of The Heritage Foundation explained further:  “Southern states enacted poll taxes of one or two dollars per year between 1889 and 1966 as a prerequisite to voting.  A citizen paid the tax when registering and then annually thereafter; some laws required payment up to nine months before an election.  Furthermore, many states had a cumulative feature that required an individual to pay all previous years’ poll taxes before he could vote in the instant year.

                “Prior to the enactment of poll taxes, property ownership was frequently a prerequisite to voting.  States instituted the poll tax early in the nineteenth century as a device to grant voting rights to individuals who did not own real property.  Although most states had dispensed with both property qualifications and the poll tax by the time of the civil War, the tax resurfaced in the South to dilute the effect of race-neutral voting provisions required in Southern states’ constitutions as a condition for readmission to the Union following the Civil War.

                “Beginning in 1889, Southern states reintroduced the poll tax as a method of disenfranchising black voters….  Additionally, poll taxes had the effect of disenfranchising the poor in general, including whites; later, it fell upon many women after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

                “Legislation to eliminate poll taxes in federal elections was introduced in every Congress beginning in 1939, but no bill made it into law.  By the time of the Twenty-fourth Amendment’s ratification in 1964, only five states retained a poll tax.  Nevertheless, Congress deemed the amendment necessary inasmuch as poll taxes had previously survived constitutional challenges in the courts … and they had become a notorious symbol of black disenfranchisement….

                “The drafters of the amendment carefully limited its scope to federal elections.  Two years after its ratification, the Supreme Court announced that the use of poll taxes as a prerequisite to voting in state elections violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment…. The logic of the Court’s opinion has made the Twenty-fourth Amendment virtually superfluous….”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 427-428.)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Father's Day

                The third Sunday in June is Father’s Day.  It is a fairly new holiday, being officially recognized as one by President Richard Nixon in 1972.  The idea to honor fathers came from Sonora Smart Dodd.  Dodd understood that Mother’s Day came about because Anna Jarvis pushed so hard for it.  Dodd’s mother passed away when her children were young, and her father accepted the responsibility for rearing the six children.  Dodd felt that her father deserved recognition for his efforts.  Father’s Day was first held in June in 1910.  

                The importance of this holiday cannot be overstated.  Fathers and father figures make great contributions in the lives of their children and other children and deserve to be recognized.  I have long been sympathetic for fathers because they do not usually receive accolades for their parenting.  Bishops and bishoprics in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nearly sweat blood in planning what to give to mothers and all women 18 years old and over.  They now that they cannot please every woman no matter what they do.  If they give chocolates, women on diets get upset.  If they give flowers or plants, women want chocolates.  Pity the poor Bishop that decides to give reading material of one kind or another!  I like the reading material much better than chocolates and even more than cut flowers.

                Father’s Day for the men is just another Sunday in the lives of Church leaders; the brethren do not worry at all about gifts for the fathers.  In some wards the Relief Society or Young Women organizations make gifts for the fathers – homemade candy, cookies, or something similar.  I think the men are grateful for whatever they get but especially for simply being recognized.

                President John Adams (1778) recognized the importance of the home:   “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families….  In vain are schools, academies, and universities instituted, if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years.”

                Mark Alexander of The Patriot Post wrote about fathers.  “The vital role of fathers has been extolled throughout history and in virtually every religion and culture.  In 295 B.C., Mencius wrote, `The root of the kingdom is in the state.  The root of the state is in the family.  The root of the family is in the person of its head.’”  Mencius was totally correct because the strength of the family lies in the type of leadership given by the father who stands as the head of the family. 

                Alexander discussed two decades of consequences from fatherless and “tens of millions of American children growing up in fatherless homes.”  He relied on “only the most reputable professional journals, national research organizations and polling firms.  Here is accurate data on the consequences for American children without fathers in their homes:  About 43% of children live without a father – more than 20 million children – and millions more have fathers who may be physically present but emotionally absent.  Forty-four percent of children living in poverty are fatherless.  Eighty-five percent have behavior problems, often `diagnosed’ as ADHD (or, as I refer to it, PDHD – “Parental Deficit in the Home Disorder”).  Children from fatherless homes account for 63% of youth suicides, 90% of all homeless and runaways, 70% of youths in state-operated institutions, 71% of high school dropouts, 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers and 85% of all youths in prison.  Of course, women without husbands and children without fathers are at much greater risk of being victimized.

                “Most notably, however, 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father, which is to say they are perpetuating the misery.  And tragically, 72% of black children are born out of wedlock.
                “Arguably, the vast majority of social problems confronting our nation today originate in homes without fathers, which would include those without functioning or effective fathers.”

                Even though “most fatherless homes are the result of men putting their own interests ahead of their marriage and family,” there are other reasons.  One of those reasons is caused by women who cannot establish a good marriage with their husbands because of the lack of an appropriate daughter-father relationship.  Women who do not have a healthy bond with their fathers have more difficulty in developing a healthy marriage with her husband.

                We all know young men and young women who overcame dysfunctional families – whether it is a single parent, poverty, or abuse.  They are the minority and were blessed with someone instilling in them the values and virtues needed to succeed in life.  As a result they accept personal responsibility as opposed to the majority who refuse to accept personal responsibility and blame others for their problems.

                Alexander continued, “The failure of fatherhood is more than just a social problem; it is a menacing national security threat.  The collective social pathology of the fatherless has dire consequences for the future of Liberty, free enterprise and the survival of our Republic.”

                Our nation is facing big problems because of the millions of children who grow to adulthood without the influence of good fathers.  - We suffer from gangs of young people breaking laws and running around getting into trouble.  I believe the riots and destructions that take place across our nation – such as Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, – would not have happened if the young people had grown up in homes under the influence of good fathers.

               Elder L. Tom Perry explained how fathers can strengthen our nation:  “Satan, in his carefully devised plan to destroy the family, seeks to diminish the role of fathers.  Increased youth violence, youth crime, greater poverty and economic insecurity, and the failure of increasing numbers of children in our schools offer clear evidence of lack of a positive influence of fathers in the homes.  A family needs a father to anchor it.”

                Have you ever wondered why God chose to be called Father in Heaven?  The answer may be found in this quote from President Ezra Taft Benson:  “The sacred title of `father’ is shared with the Almighty.  … Fatherhood is not a matter of station or wealth; it is a matter of desire, diligence and determination to see one’s family exalted in the celestial kingdom.  If that prize is lost, nothing else really matters.”

                President Benson also said, “With few exceptions, righteous sons and daughters who have attained eternal blessings are not just physically begotten by their fathers.  They are spiritually regenerated by the examples and teachings of their fathers.  Great fathers lead their children to Christ.”

                Another good quote is this one from Elder Robert L. Backman:  “`Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given.  It is more than a biological role.  It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend and, ultimately, a perfect being.”

                If you like the above quotes, you can find more quotes about fathers here.  

               We have earthly fathers and a Heavenly Father.  I am grateful for my father and his influence in my life.  He showed us a good example but also made it plain that he expected us to become even better than him.  I am grateful for my husband and the good he brings into the lives of our children and grandchildren.  I am particularly grateful to all my sons – by birth or by marriage – who are fathering their own children.  I am truly impressed with the good they bring into their children’s lives simply because they are taking an active part in their upbringing.   Most of all, I am grateful to know that I have a Father in Heaven.  I am grateful to know that He has a plan for the happiness of all His children as well as an individual plan for me and you.  I am grateful to know that He lives and that He loves me.