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.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Teaching the Dangers of Pornography

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when parents humbly and prayerfully teach their children about the “sacred and human nature of sex, bodies, and procreation.” Most parents and children find the transition period between childhood and adulthood to be challenging. Loving parents want to keep their children safe while at the same time prepare them to go out into the world. Just as most parents do not allow their children to go wandering around in a strange place by themselves, parents must also teach their children about the dangers of pornography and how to have loving and respectful intimate relationships in marriage.

                N. Beth Cavanaugh posted a very helpful and interesting article that should help many parents deal with the growing interest of their child in their physical body and sexual activities. It is titled “The Perfect Thing My Husband Did When He Discovered Pornography on Our Child’s Device.” She discusses how her husband found evidence of interest on their son’s electronic device and how the father, mother, and son handled the situation.

                Cavanaugh lists the steps her husband took in dealing with the problem of their 11-year-old son being interested in pornography. The steps are:  (1) Take time to breathe. Do not re-act to the situation but wait until you are prepared to act properly. (2) Find any humor in the situation that you can and “laugh a little and pray a lot.”
(3) “Shun shame” because no parent wants their child to feel “unlovable or unworthy of redemption.” It also shuts down communication. (4) “Ask questions and listen.” Ask open-ended questions and actively listen to the answers.
(5) “Set boundaries and follow up with trust.” Agree to discuss the problem openly. Institute rules with accountability. Allow the child to have ownership in the rules and consequences. (6) Be sure that your child knows that your goal is to keep him/her happy and protected.

                With pornography so readily available to our children and youth, parents must prepare themselves to act lovingly and prayerfully in teaching the dangers of sit to their children. I know that parents can help their children learn about sex in safe and responsible ways, keep their family relationships strong, and thus strengthen their families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Education and Religion

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the necessity of education and religion working together to preserve and protect the Constitution. Most universities and colleges have curriculums that lead to the destruction of liberty, and some churches lean left.

                I found a very interesting article by Milo Beckman titled “Religion and Education Explain the White Vote.” As Beckman says, most colored people vote for Democrats, but the swing voters are “overwhelmingly white.” This is an open secret, but it may not mean much during this campaign season.

                White people have been assaulted on too many levels for this election to be normal. The “race card” has been played far too many times. White children are being taught that they are terrible simply because they are white. There are open physical attacks on white people, simply because they are white.

                Beckman’s article is an answer to this question: “Which demographic traits affect how white Americans vote?” A detailed poll was conducted during the summer by Five Thirty Eight/Survey Monkey contains a lot of interesting data to answer this question. The poll tracked seven demographic variables.

                The poll discovered that income is “the least predictive of white voter support among the seven demographic variables tracked by the poll.” So if income plays such an insignificant part, what is important in relationship to the white voter?

                Beckman writes, “Instead, the two most predictive variables are religious attendance and education. Crucially, these two variables are still more explanatory when considered together. Roughly speaking, a white voter will lean left if she is `more college than church’ and will lean right if she is `more church than college.’
                “More precisely, we can assign an educational score (no college = 0, some college = 1, college degree = 2) and religious attendance score (never attend = 0, sometimes attend = 1, attend weekly = 2) to each white American. Those with a higher education score are likely to support Clinton, those with a higher religious attendance score are more likely to support Trump, and those with equal scores are more divided….
                “One quick side note: The three groups in the middle, with `equal influence’ from college and church – none/never, some/sometimes and degree/weekly – can be further explained by the third-most predictive variable, urban/suburban/rural residence. Urban voters lean left while suburban and rural voters lean right.”

                I found this article so interesting that I shared it on Facebook. One of the reasons that I found it so interesting is that I know many faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are highly educated. A friend posted that Mormons tend to be “outliers in these sorts of studies” because members of the Church “are highly educated and religious” and “our dedication to religion increases with our educational attainment.”

                My friend’s comments only heightened my interest in this issue, and I asked why Mormons were different than other religions. She answered that Mormons tend to become more religious with age, while members of other religions lose their faith as they age.

                I wanted to know more about this issue and found an article by Michael Lipka at the Pew Research Center titled “U.S. Religious Groups and Their Political Leanings.” His article starts, “Mormons are the most heavily Republican-leaning religious group in the U.S., while a pair of major historically black Protestant denominations – the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and the National Baptist Convention – are two of the most reliably Democratic groups, according to data from Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study.
                “Seven-in-ten U.S. Mormons identify with the Republican Party or say they lean toward the GOP, compared with 19% who identify as or lean Democratic – a difference of 51 percentage points. That’s the biggest gap in favor of the GOP out of 30 religious groups we analyzed, which include Protestant denominations, other religious groups and three categories of people who are religiously unaffiliated.
                “At the other end of the spectrum, an overwhelming majority of members of the AME Church (92%) identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while just 4% say they favor the Republican Party (an 88-point gap). Similarly, 87% of members of the National Baptist Convention and 75% of members of the Church of God in Christ (another historically black denomination) identify as Democrats.” Lipka did not divide the information by race except to say that members of churches that are predominately black vote for Democrats.

                I am still curious about why Mormons are “outliers.” I find my friend’s explanation to be the only plausible one, and now I have more questions. What is it about the Mormon religion that encourages members to become more religious with age? Could it be the actual doctrine? Is it the emphasis on family and self-reliance? Is it something else entirely? I think a study should be done to answer this question!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Voting by Non-American Citizens

                There is no secret about the fact that many people living within the United States are not American citizens. Many Americans are concerned that some of these non-citizens will vote in the presidential election. Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal shares some ideas about the problem of non-Americans voting.

                The right to vote is one of the many benefits of being American citizens, but liberals and progressives are giving that right to non-citizens as quickly and thoroughly as they can. With the Obama administration actively fighting states that try to verifying the citizenship status of registered voters, there seems to be increased chances for voter fraud. Lucas says, “Inquiries into voter fraud are typically met with derision from both government and the media – and in at least one instance with prosecution. Prosecutors don’t prioritize voter fraud, while convictions only garner light sentences.”

                Leftists do not want voter identification and look for ways to get around the voter integrity laws. Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch, explains, “Why on earth would you not want to make sure that only citizens are registered and voting? … That to me shows that the Obama administration and the left generally, which is behind this, want to be able to steal elections if necessary. To me, that’s a crisis.”

                Fitton continues, “The percentages of non-citizens in the United States are approaching nearly 15 percent now…. So it’s a numbers game. A certain number of those citizens – a certain number of those residents, both legally … present and illegally present, are going to register to vote.”

                Leftists continue to argue that voter ID laws limit the voting opportunities for minorities, but actual facts dispute their arguments. In the states that are using voter ID laws, the number of minorities voting has actually increased. It stands to reason that people are more likely to vote if they feel their vote will count. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Essential Lessons

                I happened upon a very interesting and educational article by Jason W. Stevens. His article is titled “5 Essential Political Lessons All Americans Need to Know.” He gives the five essential lessons as well as a story to illustrate each one.            The five essential political lessons that each American should know are: (1) Every person you meet deserves your attention and care, even if it is just a smile and a “hello.” (2) Be kind to others even in difficult situations. 
(3) Always remember those who serve you. (4) Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our situation. (5) Give of yourself when it is needed.

                This is a very simple but powerful article. I encourage you to read it and share it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell

                Two of my favorite authors and speakers are Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. I like them because they are intelligent, wise, and unafraid to speak the truth. I have enjoyed learning from them for many years.
                 I was not searching for it, but I was pleased to find this article written by Williams quoting Sowell.  Williams essentially calls out many members of the media for their “dishonesty, lack of character, and sheer stupidity.” Since “most of them are college graduates, they don’t bear the full blame. They are taught by dishonest and irresponsible academics. Let’s look at it.”
                Williams takes the following quote from “A Clash of Police Policies,” a column written by Sowell: “Homicide rates among black males went down by 18 percent in the 1940s and by 22 percent in the 1950s. It was in the 1960s, when the ideas of Chief Justice [Earl] Warren and others triumphed, that this long decline in homicide rates among black males reversed and skyrocketed by 89 percent, wiping out all the progress of the previous 20 years.”
                Williams then makes this statement: “Academics and the media blame poverty and discrimination for today’s crime. No one bothers to ask why crime was falling in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, when blacks faced far greater poverty and discrimination.

                The article has lots of other interesting data in it about blacks and poverty, education, and unmarried parents. It begs the question: Why are blacks worse off today than they were in earlier years, even after decades of “help” from liberals and progressives?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Conservative or Liberal?

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the fact that there have always been different opinions in America. I do not know that there were “conservatives” and “liberals” among our Founding Fathers, but they definitely had differing opinions about what should be in the Constitution, how it should be written, and how the government should be organized.

                This site states that, “Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems. Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”

                This site gives a little broader definition to both conservative and liberal, but it starts with this statement:  We all want the same things in life. We want freedom; we want the chance for prosperity; we want as few people suffering as possible; we want healthy children; we want to have crime-free streets. The argument is how to achieve them….”

                The site’s definition for liberals is:  “Liberals believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems.”

                The site’s definition for conservatives is: “Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems.”

                Just in case that you are still in doubt about whether you are conservative or liberal, there is more information about specific issues to help you determine your status.

                This site has an interesting and hilarious history of conservatives and liberals. It is apparently a test to determine whether one is a conservative or a liberal. Conservatives will most likely laugh, while liberals will probably get angry. What is your reaction?

                I laughed at the history because it is too silly not to laugh at it. It is very creative and gives us something to enjoy during this presidential election.

                I am definitely conservative, but I have conservatives, moderates, and liberals in my immediate family. I am somewhat grateful for the variety of political views because they help me to stay centered and balanced in my views. I know that we can work together as conservatives, moderates, and liberals to make our nation great. We just have to remember that we have a nation full of good people!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

How to Find Happiness

                Everyone longs to be happy. The ancient prophet Lehi states that “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi 2:25). If we are here on earth to be happy, why are so many people unhappy?

                Elder Brent H. Nielson of the Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seems to have the answer to my question. He discusses happiness in an article titled “Can We Live `after the Manner of happiness’?” (Ensign, September 2016, 64-67). He takes his title from another scripture in the Book of Mormon: “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27).

                Elder Nielson poses the question is, “Is it possible to live `after the manner of happiness’ … when confronted with the challenges of daily life?” His article then proceeds to explain how to do it.
                “In our premortal life the Father explained His plan to us He told us we would come to earth and receive a body. We learned that we would have appetites and passions that would be difficult to control and that we would sin. We also learned that to return to the Father, we had to be clean.
                “We had a serious dilemma: by entering mortality we would certainly sin, but how could we also be clean? The Father promised us He would provide a Savior who would come and atone for our sins. We `shouted for joy’ (Job 38:7).”

                In the rest of His article Elder Nielson explains that the way to happiness is to put both powers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ into our lives. The first power is the power of redemption. Jesus Christ took our sins upon Him in the Garden of Gethsemane and then died on the cross on Calvary to atone for the sins of all those who will repent. He has already borne the penalty for our sins. All He asks of us is that we sincerely repent and turn to Him.
 Many of us repent of our sins but cannot forgive ourselves.

                Elder Nielson explains, “We profess a belief in the Savior and in His Atonement, but we may have doubts that the Atonement will actually work for us. So we carry our own sins. We worry, we doubt, and sometimes we despair. That is not God’s plan for us.
                “From the very beginning, the Father told us the Savior would atone for our sins if we would repent. Let Him do it. There is no reason for you to carry your own sins. If you will allow the Savior to do this, you will be free to act for yourself (see 2 Nephi 2:26; 10:23; Helaman 14:30)."

                The other power of the Atonement is the enabling power. This power enables us to carry the burdens we carry in life and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Nielson explains, “We know that through the infinite Atonement, the Savior has paid for our sins. But we must also know that as we make our way through life, the `enabling power’ of the Savior’s Atonement can make our burdens light and allow us to live `after the manner of happiness.’”

                Elder Nielson then quotes Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:  “Do we also understand that the Atonement is for faithful men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully? I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this strengthening aspect of the Atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe we must carry our load all alone – through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities.” (See Bednar, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” Ensign, May 2014, 90.) 

                Concluding his article, Elder Nielson states, “When you face burdens in life, the key to access the Savior’s enabling power is to submit cheerfully and with patience to the will of the Lord. Allow the enabling power of the Savior to make your burdens light.”

                So, the key to happiness or the ability to live “after the manner of happiness” lies in our capability to apply both powers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives. Each individual commits sins – some large, some small. When we apply the redeeming power of the Atonement in our lives and repent daily, we can become clean. When we apply the enabling power of the Atonement, we gain the ability to carry the various heavy problems that come into our mortal lives. We must let the Lord bear the impediment of our sins and lighten our burdens in order to be truly happy.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Media Influence

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we understand how media influences our choices. Even though technology on its own is neither good nor bad, the effects it has on us can be far-reaching. All members of our families must understand that the media we choose to consume will affect us for good or evil.

                In an interesting article titled “No Neutral Ground – How Media Influences Us,” Aysia Tan discusses the effects of media. “No one is immune to media’s influence. We cannot expect to indulge in media designed to affect us mentally and emotionally without its influence being sustained in our subconscious long after the movie is over, the book is closed, or the song ends. Those who believe media does not affect them are often the people who are most affected because they deny the influence and are therefore not guarded against it. Just as water will continue to seep through a leak in a boat whether or not we acknowledge the leak, so will media continue to influence our thoughts whether or not we address its impact.”

                Tan continues her article by explaining how media affects us and how we can choose positive media options. “By understanding the influence media has on our lives, we can consciously address the options before us. Our choices make all the difference in determining our sensitivity to the Spirit and the goodness around us. Every decision we make brings us closer to or further from our Father in Heaven.”

                Tan reminds her readers that we have the power to choose what media that we will consume. “By choosing to participate in morally uplifting media, we invite the Spirit and allow ourselves to be strengthened. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we are given the power to act for ourselves. (See 2 Nephi 2:26.) …
                “The great advances in media technology with which the Lord has blessed us come with a responsibility for us to choose how to use those technologies. Through study and experience, I have seen the impact media has, whether or not we chose to acknowledge it. Before us are the options of the morally degrading or the wholesome and uplifting. We have the choice – but more importantly, we have the power to choose.”

                The article is very interesting and well worth the time and effort to study it. We - as parents, grandparents, leaders, and teachers - have the responsibility to help the rising generation to develop good habits with our media consumption. We can teach by both word and example, but we must teach them to choose wisely in order to stay close to Heavenly Father. I know that our media choices influence our thoughts, words, and actions. I also know that we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by consuming only positive, uplifting media and teaching our children and youth to follow our examples. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fairness for All

                The U.S Civil Rights Commission recently released its report about fairness and religious freedom. According to The Deseret News editorial, the report “falls short of its stated aim of `reconciling’ the often competing rights of religious liberty and nondiscrimination. Perhaps even more troubling, however, was the commission chairman’s statement that called into question the sincerity of religious freedom advocates and insinuated that religious freedom is often simply a cover for shameless bigotry.”

                The writer of the editorial believes that the chairman’s statement “diverges” from the call for “fairness for all” from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At a special regional conference of stakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the “church’s general counsel and three religious liberty lawyers” made presentations. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “We hope that what we say here will explain why members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must be committed to maintaining the free exercise of religion, and why all citizens of this nation should be supportive of this effort.” He said that the motive for the conference was to “get our members involved in a constructive way in the vital contest for religious freedom.” Elder Oaks is one of six members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other “senior” leaders of the Church that have given approximately thirty talks on this issue in recent years.

                In addition, the Church has also “launched a new webpage,, packed with resources for defending the principle of religious liberty.” The webpage has a lot of interesting information.
                “What does religious freedom really mean?  Religious freedom is more than just the freedom to believe what you want. It’s also the freedom to talk about and act on your core beliefs without interference from government or others, except when necessary to protect health and safety. It also allows people with similar beliefs to form religious organizations that govern their own affairs…”

                There may be people wondering why the Church and other religious organizations are so concerned about this issue. This is the answer on the webpage to the question, “Why does it matter so much?”  “Agency is essential in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation, and religious freedom ensures we can use our agency to live and share what we believe. Everyone needs to have that freedom, no matter what they believe….”

                The webpage then encourages people: (1) To “Become informed about the basics of religious freedom and understand your rights….” (2) To “Live and respectfully share your beliefs. Have meaningful, kind conversations with those of differing beliefs. Focus on seeking to understand one another’s perspective and finding common ground that unites you….” (3) To “Find simple ways to help protect the rights of everyone to act on their beliefs…. (4) To “Build trusted relationships in your community among people of diverse opinions….”

                The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

                The federal government, as well as the city, county, and state governments, has no authority to make any law about how or what people believe. The right to choose one’s religion, to live that religion openly, and to share that religion with others is guaranteed by the Constitution. Yet, freedom of religion is threatened today. We must all be concerned about this threat!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Felon Voting Rights

                The right to vote for felons continues to be in the news. I knew nothing about the issue until Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that his administration would restore felon’s voting rights. Now California is getting into the act.

                Governor McAuliffe first issued an executive order in April that would restore voting rights to more than 200,000 people who have served their sentences and completed their parole or probation. The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the Governor could not restore felons’ voting rights in such a large group. The ruling by the court did not stop the Governor. He announced that “his administration would process applications for 13,000 felons so that they might vote in November.”

                Governor McAuliffe wants to restore the rights of felons who have paid the price for breaking the law. They have served their sentences and completed parole and/or probation. “These individuals are gainfully employed. They send their children and their grandchildren to our schools. They shop in our grocery stores and they pay taxes. And I am not content to condemn them for eternity as inferior second-class citizens.”

                The Governor’s statement makes sense to me. They broke the law, were caught, and paid the price for their crime. Why should they continue to be punished?

                The case in California makes little sense to me. Governor Brown has a bill before him that would “allow tens of thousands of incarcerated felons to vote, while continuing to deny the vote to others.” The 50,000 felons affected by this bill are incarcerated in county jails; the felons who would not be able to vote are serving their sentences in prisons. Californians seem to have a problem deciding exactly what “imprisoned” means in their state constitution.

                Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal discusses the California situation. “If the bill becomes law, it would create an odd circumstance in which inmates out of prison on parole are prohibited from voting, but felons behind bars in county jails could vote, said Cory Salzillo, legislative director for the California State Sheriffs’ Association, which represents 58 county sheriffs.
                “`We think that it’s appropriate to keep felons from voting while they are incarcerated,’ Salzillo told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. `Our notion is that it’s a consequence of being incarcerated. Society has said for a certain period of time you are precluded from participating in certain aspects of civic life.’”

                I did a little more research on the issue and discovered that disenfranchisement has been around since ancient Greece and Rome. This site states that “A condition called `civil death’ in Europe involved the forfeiture of property, the loss of the right to appear in court, and a prohibition on entering into contracts, as well as the loss of voting rights. Civil death was brought to America by English colonists, but most aspects of it were eventually abolished, leaving only felon disenfranchisement intact in some parts of modern America.”

                Apparently, the decision about who has the right to vote is a states’ rights issue. In Maine and Vermont, felons never lose the right to vote. Felons in the District of Columbia and 13 states lose the right to vote only while incarcerated with right automatically restored upon release. Felons in 29 other states lose the right to vote while incarcerated, on parole, or on probation with automatic restoration when completed. Felons in nine states have to wait for their voting rights to be restored by governor or court actions. Some of those nine states fall in other categories but have special conditions that must be met.

                I can see from the above site that felon voting rights continue to change in different states, but I believe California has taken a big jump. When they are kept in county jails or state prisons, felons who are incarcerated have not paid their debt to society; therefore, they have given up the civic right to vote until they have repaid the debt. Even though felons tend to vote liberal, I do not believe in keeping them as second-class citizens. Once they have completed the punishments dictated by the courts, felons should have their voting rights restored.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Facts about Poverty

                The Census Bureau of the United States released its annual poverty report on Tuesday. The report declares that 3.1 million Americans lived in poverty in 2015. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield of The Heritage Foundation explained that the U.S. government is withholding facts about poverty in America from its citizens. The authors share the following facts about poverty in America. (They explain that the data on electronic appliances owned by poor household come from a 2009 government survey, and it is likely the rates are higher among the poor today.)

                . Poor households routinely report spending $2.40 for every $1.00 of income the Census says they have.
                . The average poor American lives in a house or apartment that is in good repair and has more living space
                  than the average non-poor person living in France, Germany, or England.
                . Eighty-five percent of poor households have air conditioning.
                . Nearly three-fourths of poor households have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or                          trucks.
                . Nearly two-thirds of poor households have cable or satellite TV.
                . Half have a personal computer; 43 percent have internet access.
                . Two-thirds have at least one DVD player.
                . More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
                . One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.

                There are activist groups who claim that hunger is widespread in the nation, but their claims do not apply to most of the poor. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture collects data on these topics in its household food security survey. For 2009, the survey showed:  (1) Only 4 percent of poor parents reported that their children were hungry even once during the prior year because they could not afford food. (2) Some 18 percent of poor adults reported they were hungry even once in the prior year due to lack of money for food.”

                The Heritage Foundation article includes similar type facts about poverty. Then it asks a very important question, “Why does the Census identify so many individuals as `poor’ who do not appear to be poor in any normal sense of the term? The answer lies in the misleading way the Census measures `poverty.’ The Census defines a family as poor if its income falls below a specified income threshold. (For example, the poverty threshold for a family of four in 2015 was $24,036.) But in counting `income,’ the Census excludes nearly all welfare benefits.”

                There are other facts about poverty in the article, but the authors suggest that the work and marriage would help the poor to become self-sufficient. “Able-bodied recipients [of welfare] should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of getting air. Penalties against marriage in welfare programs should be removed.”

                Poverty in the United States is not handled well, and reports on poverty are not honest. We should be encouraging people to get out of poverty instead of making them comfortable in it – like Benjamin Franklin suggested. As the authors state, we should have policies and regulations that encourage work and marriage. Work and marriage have long proven to improve financial situation of families.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Joe Miller

                I went into the Primary election with the intention of voting for any Republican but Lisa Murkowski for the U.S. Senator from Alaska. I think I marked the first name on the list even though I knew nothing about the person. I could not vote for Murkowski because she is a Republican-In-Name-Only and the most liberal of all Republicans running for re-election. She votes with Barack Obama 72% of the time, second only to Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Republicans in Alaska wanted to replace her in 2010, but Democrats – mostly Alaska Natives living in the Bush – put her back in office. I believe they voted for her simply to protect their handouts from the federal government.

                A notice published on September 6, 2016, announced that Joe Miller would run against Murkowski as a Libertarian. The notice said, “With a near-historic low of 15.4 percent turnout and only 7.7 percent of Alaska’s registered voters casting a vote for our incumbent senator in the primary, it is obvious that Alaskan voters wanted another choice.
                “Due to Libertarian candidate Cean Stevens’ withdrawal from the race and a unanimous vote of the Alaska Libertarian Party’s board of directors, Joe Miller will appear on the November ballot as the Alaska Libertarian party Nominee. Miller seeks to be the first third-party nominee to win a federal seal in decades.”

                Miller states, “Alaskans deserve a real choice…. The choice between a Democrat, a Democrat-backed independent, and a Republican-In-Name-Only – who has been one of Barack Obama’s chief enablers – is no choice at all.”
                Murkowski calls herself a “conservative,” but she “ranks near the bottom of the American Conservative Union scorecard for GOP senators; was given an `F` grade by the Conservative Review for her voting record, and scores just 36 percent with the Heritage Action Committee ratings this session of Congress (34 percent lifetime), well below the 58 percent average for Republicans.”

                Murkowski’s record was compared with Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who “scored 97 percent for his senate votes with Heritage Action” and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) who “earned a 100 percent score.”

                Miller pledges to caucus with the Republican Party but be a voice for reform. The notice ends with this statement: “Joe Miller is a limited government constitutionalist who believes government exists to protect our liberties, not to take them away. He supports free people, free markets, federalism, the right to life, religious liberty, American sovereignty, and a strong national defense.”

                If Joe Miller is truly the man that he says he is and has the principles that he says he has, Alaska will be better off with him than Murkowski. We need more conservative Senators, men or women who will stand with the likes of Mike Lee and Ted Cruz in defending our Constitution. I will most likely be voting for Miller because I want to replace Murkowski and am willing to give him a chance.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Defending Voter ID Laws

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the need to defend voter identification laws nationwide in order to protect the vote of eligible voters. Americans are required to show identification often for a variety of purposes. We show our ID to enter any federal building, to obtain fishing and hunting licenses and driving licenses, to get medical treatment, at airports, to withdraw money at banks and credit unions, and for numerous other experiences. Even though we use IDs often in our normal lives, liberals and progressives consider it an imposition to require an ID before voting. I personally find the whole situation an interesting study.

                Beverly Hallberg of The Daily Signal posted an interesting article titled “A Simple, 3-Step Approach to Defending Voter ID Laws” Hallberg states in her article that we “have solid logic on our side” when we support ID laws. She suggests three simple steps to use when in a discussion with anyone opposed to voter ID laws.

                Step 1 is to seek common ground. Everyone can agree that “we want free and fair elections” and “certain policies” must be in place to “safeguard the election process.” She continues, “Everyone has to go through the same process to obtain a valid ID, which makes the ID the great equalizer….” Just as rules are in place to require voters to be at least 18 years old and U.S. citizens, “It only seems reasonable that those seeking to cast a vote should have to show a valid ID to prove they meet the requirements assigned.”

                Step 2 is to cite examples using numbers and anecdotes. One example is citing the number of dead people who vote year after year. “The Daily Signal recently reported on the voter fraud taking place in California. An `investigation revealed that 265 deceased persons voted in Southern California, 215 of them in Los Angeles County.”

                Step 3 is to use the words that matter. “Those who oppose voter ID laws often feel they have ownership of the `emotional’ or `compassionate’ side of the debate. Use their language to help them see why this isn’t so. Not only are voter ID laws perfectly fair, they actually safeguard equal opportunity. Those who meet the requirements to vote should be allowed to vote – that’s fair and it safeguards the equal opportunity of all citizens.”

                We must take steps to prevent “fraud and abuse” in order to guarantee that every eligible vote counts without being “stolen or diluted.” Hallberg states that “Voting is not only a great honor, it is a great responsibility that should be taken seriously. So many brave men and women have died fighting for the right we have to vote. Showing an ID is the least we can do to honor their sacrifice and carry out our civic duty responsibly.”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Adam, Eve, and Me

                Adam and Eve were created by God and lived in the Garden of Eden. I have no questions about those biblical teachings. My questions concern the commandments given to Adam and Eve. As most of us understand, God performed the marriage ceremony for Adam and Eve and commanded them to be “fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:26-28; see also Genesis 2:24).

                After Adam and Eve were married, God placed them in the Garden of Eden. Then He commanded them, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

                Satan appeared first to Adam in an attempt to convince him to partake of the fruit of the tree of good and evil, but Adam rejected him. Satan then went to Eve. He told her that she would not die but would be like the Gods, knowing good and evil. (See Genesis 3:4-5.) Eve listened to Satan, partook of the fruit and gave some to Adam. They were kicked out of the garden and did eventually die.

                My question was, “Why did Heavenly Father tell Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit of the tree of good and evil?” I always knew that He had good reason for doing so, but I did not have understanding. One day while pondering the whole Adam and Eve thing once again, and I came up with following comprehension.

                Heavenly Father has a general plan for the eternal happiness of all His spirit children.  The creation of Adam and Eve and their children was part of His plan. Adam and Eve could not have children in their terrestrial life in the garden. There had to be a change come over their bodies in order for them to have children. They had to become mortal! Satan did not understand Heavenly Father’s plan, but maybe he was honest when he said that there was no other way!

                I had a difficult time understanding why God would command Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit if they needed to eat it to become mortal. Then I remembered the scripture in Abraham where we find the description of the spiritual creation of the earth. “And … we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 24-25).

                This was the answer to my question about Adam and Eve. I believe that Heavenly Father gave contradicting commandments to Adam and Eve in order for them to use their agency. They had to have the opportunity to choose between good and evil and whether or not they would obey; they had to “prove” their obedience to God.

                Heavenly Father knew that they had to become mortal in order to keep the first commandment about multiplying and replenishing the earth. I feel certain that He had a plan for how they could become mortal, but He first wanted to give them a chance to prove that He could trust them to be obedient. Because He knows everything, He already knew what would happen, but He had to give them the choice. They had to have the opportunity to prove themselves obedient to His commandments.

                We all know the story. Adam was obedient and rejected the temptation of Satan, but Eve was “beguiled” by Satan and partook of the fruit. When Adam knew that Eve had eaten the fruit and would be kicked out of the garden, he pondered the situation. He understood that they could not the first commandment if she left, and he partook of the fruit. He disobeyed the lesser commandment in order to obey the greater the commandment to “cling” to his wife and “multiply and replenish” the earth.

                Mortality is a time for all of us to be tested, tried, and proved. Heavenly Father continues to try us to see if He can trust us to “do all things whatsoever” He commands. I understand that the “bigger” the person the bigger the trial. Two examples are Abraham’s experience with sacrificing Isaac, and Heavenly Father’s experience of watching helplessly as His Son atoned for our sins.

                Satan continues to tempt all of us in an effort to get us on his side of the line. Are we as obedient as Adam, or are we deceived as Eve was? Are we passing or failing our tests? I know that we must put our trust in God and know that He has a plan for our happiness, both generally and as individuals. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Saving Marriages and Families

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we save marriages and families. We live in a disposable society where people think nothing of throwing away anything that breaks down, wears out, or no longer satisfies.  This happens with technology (computers, cell phones, etc.), clothing, and vehicles. It also applies to marriages. If the marriage no longer works or satisfies, too many people simply throw it away.

                In the April 2015 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke about the need to save marriages. He begins his talk with a memory of an elderly couple, tenderly and affectionately, holding hands at the Frankfort Germany Temple. “It was clear that this couple had been together for a long time and their affection for one another was still alive and strong.”

                After speaking about our throw-away society, President Uchtdorf says, “I am grateful that I belong to a church that values marriage and family. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are known throughout the world for having some of the finest marriages and families you can find. I believe this is, in part, due to the precious truth restored by Joseph Smith that marriages and families are meant to be eternal. Families are not just meant to make things run more smoothly here on earth and to be cast off when we get to heaven. Rather, they are the order of heaven. They are an echo of a celestial pattern and an emulation of God’s eternal family.
                “But strong marriage and family relationships do not happen just because we are members of the Church. They require constant, intentional work. The doctrine of eternal families must inspire us to dedicate our best efforts to saving and enriching our marriages and families.”

                President Uchtdorf explained that there “is not one solution that covers every situation” and “what is right for one family may not be right for another.” “However, there is one thing that is right in every case. In the Book of Mormon we learn of a people who had discovered the secret to happiness. For generations, `there was no contention…. And surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.’ How did they do it? `Because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.’ [See 4 Nephi 1:15-16.]       
                “Whatever problems your family is facing, whatever you must do to solve them, the beginning and the end of the solution is charity, the pure love of Christ. Without this love, even seemingly perfect families struggle. With it, even families with great challenges succeed. `Charity never faileth.’ [See 1 Corinthians 13:8; see also Moroni 7:46.] It is true for saving marriages! It is true for saving families!”

                We live in a very materialistic society. Most of us have too much “stuff” in our rooms, homes, and/or cars. Even though most of us have the need to declutter, we should never consider our spouse, children, or other family members as part of the clutter. The family is the core unit of society and must be strengthened. The best way to have a stronger family is to first strengthen the marriage. I know that we can save most marriages if we are willing to work on them. I know that solid marriages and happy families lead to better communities and stronger nations!