Thoughts on how an ordinary citizen can make a difference by strengthening faith in God, family, and country.
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.
I had a
difficult time selecting a VIP for this week from what is happening in the
news, so I decided to go back in history to 600 years before the birth of Jesus
Christ. Lehi lived in Jerusalem with his wife, Sariah, and four sons and some
daughters. We know that the sons were Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi, but we do
not know the names of any of the daughters.
Lehi was a wealthy business man
and did some traveling with his work. He had heard prophets call the people to
repentance and warn them about being destroyed if they did not change. He was
praying as he traveled one day and received a vision. He returned to his home
and cast himself on his bed because he was overcome by what he had seen.
While Lehi was lying on his bed,
he received another vision in which he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He
saw Christ descending to the earth and twelve other men following Him. They
gave Lehi a book, which he read and was filled with the Spirit. The Lord showed
him many wonderful things concerning the destruction of Jerusalem.
After the vision was over, Lehi
went out among the people and began to prophesy and declare the things he had
seen and heard. The Jews did not like what Lehi was saying and began to mock
him because he had testified of their wickedness. He tried to tell them of the
things he had read in the book about the coming of the Messiah and the
redemption of the world.
The Jews became angry with Lehi
and sought his life, just as they had cast out, stoned and slain other
prophets. Lehi escaped from the Jews and went home. There he had a dream in
which the Lord told him to take his family and depart into the wilderness. Lehi
was obedient and left Jerusalem, along with his home, inheritance, gold, silver
and precious things.
Lehi ad Sariah had two more sons
in the wilderness, Jacob and Joseph. Another family eventually joined Lehi’s
family in the wilderness, and the two families made their way to the coast.
There they built a ship and sailed to the Americas. The descendants of the two
families became the Nephites and the Lamanites and are the principle ancestors
of the Native Americans. Their story is told in the Book of Mormon – Another Testament
of Jesus Christ. I encourage you to read the Book of Mormon because it is the
word of God and will bring you closer to God than any other book (Joseph
Smith). I know for myself that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
It is Memorial Day once again, a
day for remembering those who are no longer with us. It is a day for visiting
grave sites and placing flowers on the tombs of our loved ones.
Memorial is observed in the
United States on the last Monday in May. It originated after the Civil War was known
as Decoration Day, a day set aside to honor men and women who gave their lives
while serving in the U.S. military. It became an official federal holiday in
Peter Brookes shared some of his
thoughts about Memorial Day on The Daily Signal. Here are some of his thoughts, which I
spiritual or not, it’s right for this country to take this day to remember
those who have fallen, those who have returned, those who are hurting and
suffering wounds both visible and invisible, and those who are serving today.
Nor should we forget
their families, who have shared their most prized possessions with our armed
forces for the good of this country. `They also serve who only stand and wait,’
as the poet John Milton noted.
Memorial Day is
but a brief moment in time every year when a great country takes pause to
rightfully and reverently thank those both living and dead who have served for
their courage and sacrifices on our behalf.
marriage is more than a simple contract to be broken at will. A covenant
marriage is one in which the husband and wife are bound by covenants to help each
other grow and reach their individual potential. A covenant marriage is one in
which each companion gives 100 percent to the marriage.
Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the
Quorum of Seventy states, “Marriage is by nature a covenant, not just a private
contract one may cancel at will. Jesus taught about contractual attitudes when
he described the `hireling,’ who performs his conditional promise of care only
when he receives something in return. When the hireling `seeth the wolf coming,’
he `leaveth the sheep, and fleeth … because he … careth not for the sheep.’ By
contrast, the Savior said, `I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life
for the sheep’ (John 10:12-15). Many people today marry as hirelings. And when
the wolf comes, they flee. This idea is wrong. It curses the earth, turning
parents’ hearts away from their children and from each other (Doctrine and
What are the “wolves” that
threaten marriage? Elder Hafen describes them as being (1) natural adversity –
things that happen simply because we are human, (2) personal imperfections –
weaknesses, faults, and (3) excessive individualism – selfishness.
Elder Hafen further explains, “The
adversary has long cultivated this overemphasis on personal autonomy, and ow he
feverishly exploits it. Our deepest God-give instinct is to run to the arms of
those who need us and sustain us. But he drives us away from each other today
with wedges of distrust and suspicion. He exaggerates the need for having
space, getting out, and being left alone. Some people believe him – and then
they wonder why they feel left alone…. When we observe the covenants we make at
the altar of sacrifice, we discover hidden reservoirs of strength.” (See Bruce
C. Hafen, “Covenant Marriage,” Ensign, November
How are you doing in your
marriage? Are you a “hireling” in your marriage, ready to flee at the first
sign of trouble? Do you consider your
marriage to be a covenant, and are you giving 100 percent to your marriage? I
encourage you to treat your marriage as a sacred, three-way covenant between
husband, wife, and God. As husband and wife each draw closer to God, they
automatically draw closer to each other. Healthy and happy marriages can happen
when each partner forgets themselves and works for the good of the marriage.
communities, and nations are strengthened by following the counsel given in “The
Family: A Proclamation to the World,
which was published by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The third paragraph of the
proclamation is as follows.
“In the premortal realm, spirit
sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted
His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly
experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her
divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables
family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and
covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return
to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”
Heavenly Father’s plan of
happiness for His spirit sons and daughters provides for marriage between a man
and a woman and the children that are born to the couple or adopted by them. As
this paragraph in the proclamation states, every human being born on earth was with
Heavenly Father in the premortal life. All listened as He presented His plan
for happiness and then accepted His plan. All mortals came to earth to gain a
physical body and to gain experience that could be obtained in no other way.
Heavenly Father sends His spirit children to earth to live as families and to prepare
to live together for all eternity.
The plan of happiness includes
covenants and ordinances that are available in temples. The most important
covenant is “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.” Marriages performed
by proper authority can be eternal, and children born into those marriages
belong to their parents for eternity. Marriage is part of God’s “laboratory on
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles states, “Perhaps it helps to emphasize – more than
we sometimes do – that our first estate [pre-mortal life] featured learning of
a cognitive type…. The second estate [earth life], however, is one that
emphasizes experiential learning through applying, proving, and testing. We
learn cognitively here too, just as a good university examination also teaches
even as it tests us. In any event, the books of the first estate are now closed
to us, and the present test is, therefore, very real; we have moved, as it
were, from first-estate theory to second-estate theory laboratory. It is here
that our Christ-like characteristics are further shaped and our spiritual
skills are thus strengthened” (Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, pages 19-20).
principle for this Freedom Friday concerns our liberty to select our own
leaders. A principle that goes with the freedom to choose, is the
responsibility to choose well. A third principle is the fact that when we make
a choice, we also choose the consequence of that choice.
As my regular readers
understand, I am not certain of my feelings for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan,
but I do from time to time write about him. It seems to me that he is showing
some real leadership skills and espousing principles at the present time.
Here is his most recent statement. http://www.speaker.gov/video/choice
"I've not seen the kind of bitterness in our politics like
we have today. And I've got to say, I think it's both sides. It's not—you know,
I'd love to say it's just Democrats, but it's not—it's both. And it doesn't
have to be that way.
"This anxiety has got to be channeled and dealt with [and] with
solutions instead of just amplified and accelerated and exacerbated. How do you
fix that? I think leaders fix this, and we haven't had that kind of leadership
"Leaders need to say: 'here's my principle; here's my
solution.' And let's try and do it in a way that is inclusive, that's
optimistic, that's aspirational, that's focusing on solutions.
"And so, that's the choice you'll have, far more than a
personality. Republicans lose personality contests anyway. We always do.
But we win ideas contests. We owe you that choice."
I believe in adventure. I
believe life is an adventure, which started the day I was born and will
continue until the day I die. I did not realize until lately that I had this
belief, but I now know it has directed my path throughout my life.
Since an adventure is any
experience or activity that is unusual and exciting, mortality offers us
countless opportunities to find such a quest. If we are willing to accept
life’s interesting undertakings and have a positive attitude, we will find
unlimited vistas and enjoy boundless experiences. Each day brings adventure, whether it is
reading a new book, going someplace different, meeting diverse people, or
learning a fresh skill. Life is to be lived fully, getting out of it all that
we can. It is a journey in search of greater experiences, knowledge, and
When I was a child, my siblings
and I would often go on little jaunts. Our exploits would usually take us into
the sandy hills located just north of our farm. The usual object of our
escapades was to find the elusive arrow head. We had the understanding that
someone once found one in those hills, and we wanted to find some for
ourselves. We were unsuccessful in our quest, but we did find lots of other
treasures: fascinating rocks, skeletons
of small animals, snake skins, pieces of glass with beautiful colors, and other
bits of rubbish dumped in the area.
After I was married and had one
very young daughter, my husband suggested that we move to Alaska. A fellow
employee was moving to the Great Land and offered us a place to stay until my
husband found work. The entire idea upset my sense of peace and tranquility! I
pondered the notion for some time and then had to agree. Since he had dreamed
for several years of living in Alaska, how could I deny his fantasy? I did,
however, insist on staying put until our second child arrived a few months
later. Several weeks after our daughter’s birth, we loaded our necessary
household goods into our blue, 1970 Chevrolet pickup truck with its small
camper and our thirteen-foot, well-worn camp trailer. We said goodbye to our
families in late-August and headed north. We drove up the muddy Alaska Highway
with our little girls, taking two weeks to make the trip due to the demands of
our toddler. I left Utah with the idea that we would be in Alaska for a year
and then return to move on with our lives. I fell in love with Alaska because
of its charming people and magnificent scenery and stayed to make it my home.
More than forty years later, I
am the grandmother of seventeen delightful grandchildren and am embarking on
another adventure – going to college. I did not plan to take this journey but
am enjoying it immensely. I am bursting with a sense of great accomplishment
because I finally learned how to do basic algebra last semester, and I
currently find pleasure in stretching my abilities to share my thoughts through
writing. I look forward to the coming years as I learn new skills, gain
considerable knowledge, and make numerous friends. I expect that this
undertaking will add abundant excitement to my remaining years, and I am
grateful for my belief that life is an adventure!
I do not know
how I really feel about Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. I like some of the
things he does, but I question others.I
do, however, like the commencement address he gave on Sunday, May 22, 2016, at
Carthage College. I want my readers to read the entire speech, but I will share just a part of it.
“The biggest piece of advice that
I’d give to all of you is this: Don’t worry too much about the plan. Go where
you can make a difference. Sometimes fulfillment lies in very unpredictable places.
All your life people are going to hound you about the plan, the plan, the plan
. . . Have you found a job? Are you going to graduate school? Where do you see
yourself in 20 years? It will seem like nobody cares what you do so much as
where you end up. And you will start to wonder whether you shouldn’t care
either. But beware: Careerism, in the wrong way, is cynicism in perpetual
“Before donor services drags me off
the stage, let me clarify what I'm saying here: I am not telling you to reject
that job offer and move into your parents’ basement. What I am saying is,
wherever you end up, the work itself is the reward. Treat it that way. Because
the truth is, life can put your best-laid plans through the paper shredder. You
may never get that dream job—or if you do get that dream job, it may turn out
to be a nightmare. But maybe you’re meant to do something else. What seems to
you like catastrophe could end up becoming opportunity. Don’t be so quick to
dismiss that opportunity if it doesn’t fit into the plan. When you come to a
fork in the road, and you are deciding between two paths, instead of thinking,
“How do I stay on course?” think to yourself, “Where can I do the most good?
Where do I get real fulfillment?" If you realize it is the detour, then
Speaker Ryan added a three part postscript that I endorse also: (1) Do not fear failure, but “learn from it”
and “forgive it.” (2) “Read as much as humanly possible… The greatest asset you
have is your mind. But it really is like a muscle. You have to keep it in
shape.” (3) “If you’re [a] believer, keep going to church… Prayer has sustained
me in many difficult moments of my life. I think it will do the same for you.
Because as you get older, you realize that life does actually follow a plan. It
just may not be your plan. It is God’s plan. And coming to accept that
fundamental fact … is the essence of faith…. So if you remember one word from
this speech, let it be `faith.’ That should be all the planning you need.”
More than a year
ago, I decided to study Jesus The Christ by
Elder James E. Talmage of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I even purchased a study guide to increase
the benefits of my study. When I went to my book shelves to get my book, it was
not there. I looked and looked but could not find it. Later I discovered that
my son had borrowed it. By the time he finished studying it, I was deep into my
college classes. I did not think I had time to study another book, but I still
felt drawn to it.
Yesterday I made the decision to
study Jesus The Christ, even if I can
read only a page or two per day. I was fascinated by the information about
Elder Talmage in the study guide and decided to do a little more research on
him. You are the beneficiary of that research.
James E. Talmage was born in
Hungerford, Berkshire, England, on September 21, 1862. He was baptized into The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 15, 1873, at the age of 10.
Four years later in 1877, he and his family moved to Provo, Utah Territory. He
studied at Brigham Young Academy (BYA) and graduated in 1880. (The academy is
now Brigham Young University.) One of his teachers was Karl G. Maeser.
“In 1881, Talmage received a
collegiate diploma from BYA’s Scientific Department, the first such diploma to
be issued. His early predilection was for the sciences, and in 1882 and 1883 he
took selected courses in chemistry and geology at Lehigh University in
“Though a special student and
not a candidate for a degree, during his single year Talmage passed nearly all
the examinations required in the four-year course....
“Talmage studied chemistry and
geology at Lehigh University and John Hopkins University. He received a B.S.
degree from Lehigh University in 1891 and a Ph.D. from Illinois Wesleyan
University for nonresident work in 1896….
“Talmage was elected to life
membership in several learned societies…. [He] taught science at BYA both
before and after he went to study in the eastern United States. He was the
president of Latter-day Saints’ University [now LDS Business School] until 1894
and then was president of the University of Deseret [now University of Utah] from
1894 to 1897. From 1897 to 1907, Talmage was a professor of geology at the
University of Utah.”
Merry May Booth (1868-1944) was
only 16 years old when she starting studying at BYA. Talmage was one of her
instructors. After completing her course of study, Booth was hired as a teacher
in Kaysville, Utah. Talmage went to the area to “study the waters of the Great
Salt Lake” as an excuse to pursue a relationship with Booth. They were married
five months later on June 14, 1888, in the Manti LDS Temple. They became the
parents of eight children.
Talmage authored numerous books,
including The Articles of Faith, The
Great Apostasy, The House of the Lord, and Jesus The Christ. These volumes are still in print and widely read
in the Church. Jesus the Christ is
the only book written in the Salt Lake Temple.
Talmage became a member of the
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1911 until his death on July 27, 1933, at age
70 in Salt Lake City. He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
The topic of
discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the right to privacy. Courts
recognize that the right to privacy is protected by the Constitution, and society
has long protected the right to privacy. Why then has this right been set aside
to appease the LGBT movement? Why do women and children have to fear men coming
into their restrooms or locker rooms or men worry about women coming into
Matt Sharp, legal counsel with
Alliance Defending Freedom, “represents students and parents in two federal
lawsuits against the Obama administration for exceeding its authority in
pushing school districts to open bathrooms to the opposite sex.” His article
titled “Our Constitutional Right to Privacy Is Missing from Bathroom Debate” as
published by “The Daily Signal.”
In his article, Sharp suggests
that common sense has been eliminated from the discussion about bathrooms. “What
else can explain the decision by dozens of school districts across the country,
retailing giant Target, and even the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice
to voluntarily adopt and promote policies that strip away privacy for everyone,
allowing men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa? …
“When discussing freedom of
speech, one of our most precious rights, the Supreme Court has often emphasized
that the right is most important for those whose speech is most vulnerable to
“The majority’s views aren’t the
ones that need protection. The minority’s views, the ones that may subject the
speaker to abuse, are the ones that the First Amendment was designed to
“The same is true of the right
to privacy. So who are the vulnerable ones in our society most in need of
Sharp explains that the most
vulnerable people are those who have suffered sexual abuse or assault and those
who are vulnerable for other reasons. Privacy is “especially important [to
them] in order to heal and to feel safe. By protecting privacy for everyone, we
protect privacy for the most vulnerable among us….”
I am reading The Promised Messiah by Elder Bruce R.
McConkie and am gaining depth in my understanding of many of the principles and
doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was recently reading his section
about how the Sabbath bears witness of Christ. He explains that Sabbath worship
“identifies the Lord’s people” because “the saints of God rest form their
labors and pay their devotions to the Most High on his holy Sabbath.” He then
explains that “true religion” always calls for a Sabbath – “one day in seven be
devoted exclusively to worshiping the Father in Spirit and in truth.” This is
because “men’s hears will never be centered on the things of the Spirit sufficiently
to assure them of salvation.”
Elder McConkie states that the “law
of the Sabbath is so basic, so fundamental” that it is the fourth of the Ten
Commandments. The first three commandments are about worshiping God and showing
reverence to His name.
“The fourth gives us the Sabbath
day as the weekly occasion on which we perfect our worship and put ourselves in
tune to the full with Him by whom all things are. It is in no sense an exaggeration nor does it
overstate the fact one whit to say that any
person who keeps the Sabbath, according to the revealed pattern, will be saved
in the celestial kingdom. The Sabbath is a day of worship. … True worship
includes keeping the commandments, and those who devote their Sabbaths to true
and proper worship obtain the encouragement that leads to full obedience” (page
391; emphasis added).
Even though I have attempted to
keep the Sabbath holy for many years, I am trying harder now because of the
emphasis made recently by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. Elder Russell M. Nelson’s counsel to “make the Sabbath a delight” means
much more to me today – after reading this statement from Elder McConkie – than
it did previously.
This statement by Elder McConkie
simplifies my life. Instead of worrying about whether or not I am worthy, I
just need to keep the Sabbath holy. How about you? Does this knowledge simplify your life?
communities, and nations are strengthened when children, youth, and parents
know they have a lifeline to God. Our lifeline to heaven is the Holy Ghost. When
we pray to our Father in Heaven, we receive our answers through the power of
the Holy Ghost.
Sister Mary R. Durham gave a
beautiful talk in General Conference titled “A Child’s Guiding Gift” in which
she told a story about a father with a child on his back struggling to keep
their heads above the water until he kicked off his heavy footwear. She discussed
how we can “kick off some of the weight of the world we carry” and keep our
children’s heads and our own worried minds above the water.”
“How can we prepare our children
for the day when they can no longer cling to us and our testimonies – when they
are the ones swimming?
“An answer comes when we
recognize this divine source of strength. It is a source often underestimated,
yet it can be used daily to lighten our load and guide our precious children.
That source is the guiding gift of the Holy Ghost.
“At age eight, children can
experience baptism. They learn about and make a covenant with God. Those they
love surround them as they are immersed and come out of the font with a feeling
of great joy. Then they receive the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, a gift
that may guide them constantly as they live for that blessing.”
Saying that “Children have a
natural desire to do good and to be good,” Sister Durham asked some important
questions: “How do we as parents increase the spiritual capacity of our little
ones? How do we teach them to kick off worldly influences and trust the Spirit
when we are not with them and they are alone in the deep waters of their lives?”
She gave the following ideas.
“First, we can bring to our
children’s attention when they are hearing and feeling the Spirit” just as Eli
did with the boy prophet Samuel in the Old Testament.
“Second, we can prepare our
homes and our children to feel the still, small voice” by immersing them in a
setting where spiritual education can take place.
“Third, we can help our children
understand how the Spirit speaks to them” because He speaks to us in the way
that we can learn the best.
Sister Durham closed her talk
with this statement: “Feeling and
recognizing the Spirit will bring spiritual capacity into our children’s lives,
and the voice they come to know will become clearer and clearer to them. It
will be as Elder Richard G. Scott said:
`As you gain experience and success in being guided by the Spirit, your
confidence in the impressions you feel can become more certain than your dependence
on what you see and hear.’”
As parents, grandparents, and
teachers, we have the responsibility to teach the rising generation about the
Holy Ghost and how to recognize His influence in their lives. By doing so, we
can prepare them for the time when they have to “swim” by themselves through
the deep waters of life, plus we can strengthen our families, communities, and
The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday
concerns the comparison of the bathroom debate with the Civil Rights movement
of the 1960s. The Civil Rights movement was important to our nation because an
entire race was being oppressed, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Now
the debate about bathrooms is being compared to that movement, a comparison
that disrespects the battle fought by the black community.
“That said, the LGBT community
has elements within it that don’t feel that compromise is a valid end game, and
their definition of coming to an understanding is the old `my way or the
highway’ saying. This latest stunt from that arm of the LGVT community has
tossed on the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. …
“So inexcusable, in fact, that
they compared it to the civil rights issues of the black community faced back
in the 60s, when segregation was a thing we did.
“As a black man, I can’t believe
what I’m hearing. Back then, they discriminated against an entire race of
people based on their skin color, barring them from anything from colleges to
water fountains. This was something the black community couldn’t help. They
were black, and regardless of what they’ve done, or the decisions they made,
they were looked down on simply for having a certain level of melanin….
“Now let’s take the transgender
bathroom issue. Here we have people who are not what they say they are by the
simple rules of nature, and defying these natural facts to make up their own
rules in order to gain access to a restroom they don’t belong in. Their claim
that they do belong in said restrooms is based solely off of reasoning that
amounts to `because I said so.’ …
“In what world is the
transgender bathroom issue like the civil rights era issue? Except for the fact
that you have two groups of people being denied something based on identity,
one was denied for no good reason, and the other is being denied for a perfectly
“This is so disrespectful to the
black community whose struggle was a real issue of rights, not just for a
bathroom, but for a life of freedom for an entire race….”
I am grateful that this man had
the courage to state the facts as they really are and not the way some people
wish they were. I encourage you to read the entire article to feel the full
extent of the author’s wrath.
The Lord, even
Jesus Christ, defined truth as “knowledge of things as they are, and as they
were, and as they are to come.” He added that “whatsoever is more or less than
this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning”
(Doctrine and Covenants 93:24-25).
So, what is the truth about
Islam? Who can we believe? Who can we believe to give us the unadulterated
truth? I found an article by Lawrence Sellin, PhD, titled “Muslims Don’t Assimilate, They Infiltrate.” Mr. Sellin is a retired colonel with 29 years of
service in the U.S. Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mr. Sellin began his article, “Let
us first, dispense with the pretense. Every notion we in the West have adopted
in terms of dealing with Muslims, both individually and collectively, is wrong.
“It is a policy based more on
political correctness than on rational analysis, more on a misunderstanding of
culture than religion.”
Continuing his article, Mr.
Sellin explained where, when, why, and by whom the term “Islamophobia” was
coined. He then cites Nicolai Sennels, a Danish psychologist who treated 150
criminal Muslim inmates. Dr. Sennels discovered there are “fundamental and
largely irreconcilable psychological differences between Muslim and Western
culture” and made the claim that “effective assimilation [is] at best
serendipity and at worst urban myth.”
One difference is how the Muslim
culture and the Western culture view anger. In the Western culture “expressions
of anger and threats” lead to “a feeling of shame and a loss of social status.”
“In Muslim culture, aggressive behaviors, especially threats, are generally
seen to be accepted, and even expect as a way of handling conflicts.” This
means that “peaceful approaches such as demonstrations of compassion,
compromise and common sense are seen by Muslim leaders as cowardice and a
weakness to be exploited.”
Another difference, according to
Sennels, is an “important psychological difference” called the “locus of
control.” For Westerners, their lives are mainly influenced by their “inner
forces” – or their ability to control themselves and their emotions, how they think,
what motivates them, how they relate to people, and their ability to
communicate with others. “In Muslim culture, however, inner factors re replaced
by external rules, traditions, and laws for human behavior. They have powerful
Muslim clerics who set the directions for their community, dictate political
views, and provide rules for virtually all aspects of life.”
The ultimate difference is the
Muslim feels like a victim while the Westerner feels like a survivor. Because
the Muslim has no feelings of personal responsibility, he makes his demands
that society conforms to his way.
Dr. Sennels offers this suggestion: “We should not permit the destruction of our
cities by lawless parallel societies, with groups of roaming criminal Muslims
overloading of our welfare system and the growing justified fear that
non-Muslims have of violence. The consequences should be so strict that it
would be preferable for any anti-social Muslim to go back to a Muslim country,
where they can understand, and can be understood by their own culture.”
Okay, what is the truth? Read
the article and see if you can find the truth.
Is the Christian
religion in trouble in the United States today? I personally believe that it
is. I believe that Christians will continue to be persecuted here in this land
of freedom because our people have turned from the God of the land, who is
Jesus Christ. I am not alone in my beliefs that Christians are in trouble.
Pastor Michael Harrington in Hood River, Oregon, believes it so strongly that he put up this message on the
billboard for his church: “Wake up
Christians. Allah is not our God. Muhammad [is] not greater than Jesus.” As if
that message was not clear enough, he added this one: “Only the Bible is God’s word. `Holy book.’
Koran is just another book.”
Pastor Harrington’s billboard
caused shock, dismay, offense, and opposition in his community. While I believe
his message to be the truth, I believe he could have put it in kinder words
such as: “Jesus Christ is our God. The
Bible is His `Holy Book.’”
Radio host and conservative commentator Steve Deace also agrees with me. He believes our nation is “screwed”
because Donald Trump appears to be the Republican’s choice for President. Mr.
Deace believes the media is supporting Trump in order to use him “to denigrate
Christians and conservatives. The [media’s] goal of elevating Trump has not
just been ratings. For decades, the left and the media … have been looking for
a straw man to brand the rest of us with. He’s the perfect douche bag for the
job, and he even volunteers for it.”
The plan seems to be to make
evangelicals look bad. “The goal is to brandish Christianity and conservatism
with the negatives of Trump. That is the goal and that’s the endgame if they
get him the nomination.”
Russell Moore, president of the
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention,
claims that our belief that America is a Christian nation is false. He admitted
that most Americans profess to be Christians, but he does not believe that God
made a covenant to bless the United States of America.
“We need to ask, what do people
mean by a `Christian nation’? If you
could have done a public survey in 1776, the vast majority of white Americans
would have professed to be Christians. … Christian (or at least theistic)
assumptions about creation, equality, and human nature undergirded the
Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. … But the idea that God made
a special covenant relationship with America, like he did with Israel in the
Hebrew Bible, has no scriptural or historical basis.”
Dr. Kidd is wrong in his
statement about “no scriptural or historical basis” for believing God made a covenant
with the inhabitants of this land. The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of
Jesus Christ contains histories for two great nations who came to this land and
perished because they forgot their covenant with God. This covenant is found in
many places in the Book of Mormon, beginning in the second chapter of the book.
“And inasmuch as ye shall keep
my commandments, ye shall prosper,
and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands” (1 Nephi 2:20). The
next reference is two chapters further: “…
I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness,
saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise” (1
Nephi 4:14) (emphasis added). This same promise is repeated at least seven more
times in the Book of Mormon.
In our time – and after the
United States of America was established as an independent nation – the Lord
told the Prophet Joseph Smith to “importune for redress, and redemption …
According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained
for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy
“And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by
the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and
redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77, 80;
The God of this land, even Jesus
Christ, did make a covenant with the United States of America, and that
covenant is the Constitution. This Supreme Law of our land is sacred and must
be preserved for the benefit of all human life. This means that our nation is
definitely a Christian nation and America will prosper only as long as We The
People worship Jesus Christ!
McCain is my VIP for this week. I do not care much for the Senator as a
politician, but I am now very impressed with him as a man. While doing an
assignment for my writing class this week, I found an essay by the Senator that
was heard on the “This I Believe” podcast on March 1, 2016. I found his essay
under the “America and Patriotism” theme and was very impressed with what he
wrote. I particularly like this portion.
“I believe in honor, faith, and
serve – to one’s country and to mankind. It’s a lesson I learned from my
family, from the men with whom I served in Vietnam, and from my fellow
“Years later, I saw an example
of honor in the most surprising of places. As a scared American prisoner of war
in Vietnam, I was tied in torture ropes by my tormentors and left alone in an
empty room to suffer through the night. Later in the evening, a guard I had
never spoken to entered the room and silently loosened the ropes to relieve my
suffering. Just before morning, that same guard came back and re-tightened the
ropes before his less humanitarian comrades returned. He never said a word to
“Some months later on a
Christmas morning, as I stood alone in the prison courtyard, that same guard
walked up to me and stood next to me for a few moments. Then with his sandal,
the guard drew a cross in the dirt. We stood wordlessly there for a minute or
two, venerating the cross, until the guard rubbed it out and walked away.
“To me, that was faith: a faith that unites and never divides, a
faith that bridges unbridgeable gaps in humanity. It is the faith that we are
all equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness. It is the faith I would die to defend.
“My determination to act with
honor and integrity impels me to work in service to my country. I have believed
that the means to real happiness and the true worth of a person is measured by
how faithfully we serve a cause greater than our self-interest….”
As I said previously, I do not
agree with much of Senator McCain’s political moves, but I respect him as a
man. He suffered as a prisoner of war for long years and yet wants to continue
serving our nation. I honor him for staying sane and willing to serve.
The topic of discussion for this
Constitution Monday is a question:Is
the United States of America a democracy or a constitutional republic?Do you know the difference between these two
types of government?
Randy Barnett, law professor at
Georgetown University, wrote the book Our
Republican Constitution in an effort to explain what “We the People” meant
to the Founders. In a recent visit to The Heritage Foundation, Professor
Barnett explained why he is pessimistic about the makeup of U.S. Supreme Court
since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.
“There’s a lot at stake with the
next Supreme Court justice, but I can already tell you, I believe that fight
has been lost. We have to decide how we’re going to survive under a court that
is hostile to how we think.”
To hear more of Professor
Barnett’s thoughts about his book, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution,
watch this interesting video made at The Heritage Foundation.
Jesus Christ have long known that He expects us to serve others in His name. The
Savior showed us an example of how to give unselfish service because He devoted
His life to serving Heavenly Father and all of His Father’s children. He works
unitedly with His Father to give the gift of immortality and the blessing of
eternal life to all of us. (See Moses 1:39.)
President Henry B. Eyring of the
First Presidency reminded his listeners that “Jesus went about teaching His
gospel and doing good (see Acts 10:38). He healed the sick. He raised the dead.
With His power He fed thousands when they were hungry and without food (see
Matthew 14:14-21; John 6:2-13). After His Resurrection He gave food to several
of His Apostles as they came ashore at the Sea of Galilee (see John 21:12-13).
In the Americas, He healed the sick and blessed the children one by one (see Book
of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 3 Nephi 17:7-9, 21).
We can find numerous references
in the scriptures that admonish us to serve. The Apostle Paul taught, “By love
serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
An ancient prophet known as King
Benjamin exhorted: “When ye are in the
service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Book of
Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 2:17)
Modern-day prophets and apostles
also teach the importance of service to the needy, poor, sick, widows, and
fatherless. Just a month ago, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints were admonished to reach out and help the refugees in our
President Thomas S. Monson told
the story of Jack McConnell who “grew up in the hills of southwest Virginia in
the United States as one of seven children of a Methodist minister and a
stay-at-home mother. Their circumstances were very humble. He recounted that
during his childhood, every day as the family sat around the dinner table, his
father would ask each one in turn, `And what did you do for someone today?’ The
children were determined to do a good turn every day so they could report to
their father that they had helped someone.
Dr. McConnell calls this exercise his father’s most valuable legacy, for
that expectation and those words inspired him and his siblings to help others
throughout their lives. As they grew and matured, their motivation for
providing service changed to an inner desire to help others.
“Besides Dr. McConnell’s
distinguished medical career – where he directed the development of the
tuberculosis tine test, participated in the early development of the polio
vaccine, supervised the development of Tylenol, and was instrumental in developing
the magnetic resonance imaging procedure, or MRI – he created an organization
he calls Volunteers in Medicine, which gives retired medical personnel a chance
to volunteer at free clinics serving the working uninsured. Dr. McConnell said
his leisure time since he retired has `evaporated into 60-hour weeks of unpaid
work, but [his] energy level has increased and there is a satisfaction in [his]
life that wasn’t there before.’ He made this statement: `In one of those paradoxes of life, I have
benefited more from Volunteers in Medicine than my patients have.’ There are
now over 90 such clinics across the United States.
“Of course, we can’t all be Dr.
McConnells, establishing medical clinics to help the poor; however, the needs
of others are ever present, and each of us can do something to help someone.”
President Monson quoted the
Savior as saying, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake,
the same shall save it” (Luke 9:24); he then added the following statement.
“I believe the Savior is telling
us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose
to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and
figuratively lose their lives, which those who lose themselves in service to
others grow and flourish – and in effect save their lives.
“I am confident it is the
intention of each member of the Church to serve and to help those in need. At
baptism we covenanted to `bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light’
(Mosiah 18:8). How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed
the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet
how often has day-to-day living interfered and you’ve left it for others to
help, feeling that `oh, surely someone will take care of that need.’
“You may lament: I can barely make it through each day, doing
all that I need to do. How can I provide service for others? What can I
possibly do?” (See Thomas S. Monson, “Lose Yourself in Service,” New Era, August 2015.)
President Eyring taught that
service to other will help to qualify us for eternal life. “One of the
assurances that you are being purified is an increasing desire to serve others
for the Savior. Home teaching and visiting teaching become more of a joy and
less of a chore. You find yourself volunteering more often in a local school or
helping care for the poor in your community. Even though you may have little
money to give to those who have less, you wish you had more so that you could
give more (see Mosiah 4:24). You find yourself eager to serve your children and
to show them how to serve others.
“As your nature changes, you
will feel a desire to give greater service without recognition. I know
disciples of the Savior who have given great gifts of money and service with a
determination that no one but God and their children would know about it. God
has recognized their service by blessing them in this life, and He will bless
them in the eternal life to come (see Matthew 6:1-4; 3 Nephi 13:1-4). …
“The Savior teaches us how we
can learn to serve others. He served perfectly, and we must learn to serve as
He learned – line upon line (see Doctrine and Covenants 93:12-13). Through the
service we give, we can become more like Him. We will pray with all the energy
of our hearts to love our enemies as He loves them (see Matthew 5:43-44; Moroni
7:48). Then we may at last become fitted for eternal life with Him and our
Heavenly Father.” (See Henry B. Eyring, “Service and Eternal Life,” Liahona, March 2014.)
There is something we can all do
to help someone else. We must be wise in our service and not attempt to do more
than we have strength, and we must remember that some of the greatest service
we can give is given within the walls of our own homes and for members of our
own families. The question asked by the father of Dr. McConnell’s father is one
that we should ask ourselves every day: “And
what did you do for someone today?” The best way to know where our service
would do the most good is to ask Heavenly Father each morning where He would
like us to serve. We cannot do everything, but we can do something!
I am a grandmother who is concerned about the direction our country and world are headed and what my grandchildren will inherit. I want to do my part to bring peace on earth and sanity to our insane world.
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.