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.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

"Charity Never Faileth"

            “Charity never faileth” is the motto of the Relief Society, the women’s group in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the world. Charity is an attribute of Jesus Christ and necessary in order for us to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.

            Thomas S. Monson, prophet, seer, revelator, and president of the Church, spoke on the topic of “Charity Never Faileth” at the Relief Society Broadcast in October 2010. He began his talk by sharing the following story. 

A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.

“That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”

John looked on but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.

A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John – she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”

John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

            President Monson then  asked, “Are we looking through a window which needs cleaning? Are we making judgments when we don’t have all the facts? What do we see when we look at others? What judgments do we make about them?” He suggested that “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” could be compared with “Why beholdest thou what you think is dirty laundry at your neighbor’s house but considerest not the soiled window in our own house?” He continued.

None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions.

There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.” …

I have always loved your Relief Society motto: “Charity never faileth.” [1 Corinthians 13:8] What is charity? The prophet Mormon teaches us that “charity is the pure love of Christ.” [Moroni 7:47] In his farewell message to the Lamanites, Moroni declared, “Except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God.” [Moroni 10:21]

I consider charity – or “the pure love of Christ” – to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.

I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.

There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere.

            According to President Monson, we must have mercy, tolerance, sympathy, and compassion in order to have charity. For a recent religion class I chose to develop the Christlike attribute of tolerance. One of the “weekly opportunities” I did in my becoming project was to pray for a woman in my congregation that sorts of grates on my nerves. I decided that I would pray for this sister and her family every day. As my project continued, I became concerned for her and how she was dealing with difficult children and her husband’s occupation. I had softer, more tender thoughts about her. I do not know if my prayers helped her, but they helped me develop more tolerance for her. It was as though someone had “washed” my “windows.”

            In a recent Time Out for Women (TOFW) in Anchorage, Alaska, Anthony Sweat said that the opposite of charity is pride, selfishness, and cares of the world. He described charity as the “Fatherly love of God for His children and His children for Him.” Love of God fills us with joy. Love of God plus Love for God equals Love like God or Charity. Charity changes our natures.

            Charity is not easy to develop because it includes all the other Christlike attributes. We cannot develop charity until we have humility, meekness, patience, tolerance, etc. “Charity never faileth” because anyone who has charity is like Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Parenting Is Not Efficient

            Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when parents realize that relationships are more important than being efficient. Parents are some of the busiest people in the world, and the most efficient parents have long to-do lists. Some people, like people, feel more efficient when seeing to-do tasks with a check beside them.

            I was a busy young mother of five children under the age of eight years. I know what it is like to never complete a task! Yet, my children share important memories with me. My oldest daughter saved the “J Book” that we made before she was old enough to go to kindergarten. We found pictures of things that started with the letter J (the first letter of her name), cut them out, and glued them in a homemade book (pieces of paper sewn down the middle and folded over). Apparently, that simple task was very meaningful to her.

            My oldest son remembers coming home from school and not being able to find an important piece of paper in his backpack. We walked the quarter of a mile back to the school looking for it. We did not find the paper, but my son understood that he was important enough to me for me to look for his paper. We also had a short lesson on the importance of closing his backpack before he left the school.

            Another daughter remembers going shopping with me and stopping to get corn dogs. We did not have the money to go out to eat very often, so she knew that this was a special treat. This same daughter taught me an important lesson in relationships when she said to me, “Mama, listen to me with your eyes!” She was very young, maybe two years old, but she knew the importance of having someone’s full attention.

            Jim Daly posted a short article titled “Good Parenting Usually Isn’t Efficient.” He shares a short story about a busy father who took his son fishing. They each made a journal entry about the day. The boy considered it “the most glorious day” of his life while the father considered it “a day wasted.” The son read the father’s statement many years after it was written. The author asks a very important question: “Can you imagine how his father’s assessment of the day must have pierced [the son’s] heart? Daly concludes his article with these paragraphs.

It’s not that to-do lists aren’t important or useful. It’s that sometimes the best thing to do is to take the time to truly connect with our children.
The best moms are those who sometimes take a step back from all those items begging to be completed to spend time reading with their kids. The best dads are those who understand they have to stop looking down at their smartphone and start looking into their kids’ eyes.
Those special moments of togetherness are what kids will remember and cherish. It’s the times of carefree laughter, learning and affection that will stay with them and let them know they’re valued.

            I remember making the book with my daughter, I remember taking the walk back to school with my son, and I remember getting corn dogs with a younger daughter. Yet, I had no idea at the time that we were forming wonderful memories for the children. These memories help my children to know that they are important to me.

            There are times when we must put down the to-do list and work on relationships. Being a task-oriented person and one who gains self-satisfaction from crossing off tasks, I still must remind myself that relationships are more important than tasks to be accomplished. When we strengthen relationships, we strengthen our families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Winning the "War of Ideas"

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns defeating and destroying ISIS. Barack Obama claimed that ISIS was the “JV team” and did not cause any concern. We watched helplessly as ISIS grew and took over territory, and the President of the United States did nothing. He could not even call them Islamist terrorists. His administration developed a plan to fight terrorism called “Countering Violent Extremism.” He did not define the real problem.

            Donald Trump declared that his top foreign policy priority was to defeat and to destroy ISIS. He defines the problem as Islamist terrorists. This is a big deal because a problem must first be identified in order to solve it. Trump put a name on the problem – Islamist terrorism - and is now looking for solutions.

            In his article titled “Top 10 Waysto Make War on the `War of Ideas',’” James Jay Carafano shares some ideas on how to fight the war against Islamist terrorism at home and abroad. Here are his ten guidelines for the new administration in this critical battle.

10. Help Americans understand the changing nature of the war. The global face of Islamist terrorism looks far different from when President Obama took office. Americans understand that, but grasping how the threat has changed can be difficult in a hyperpartisan America where politics define views on foreign and security policy….

9. Do not allow efforts to be captured by ulterior motivations. … Advisers must be carefully vetted. No adviser should be a government stooge or a cheerleader for administration policy, but they all must have an unshakable belief in democracy, equality, tolerance, freedom of speech and the rule of law.

8. Focus on Islamist Threats. Islamist terrorism is among the most dangerous destabilizing threats in the world today. The movement of foreign fighters is particularly challenging. And political Islam both threatens democracy and promotes extremism….

7. Limit domestic programs and keep them modest in character. … American Islamist terrorists are a tiny data set of any data set other than other terrorists. U.S. programs ought to be scoping for specific communities and threats where a particular need is identified rather than focusing on a broad, national scope.

6. Focus domestic programs on counterterrorism. The main goal should be to identify and interdict criminal activity related to terrorism. Programs should give special attention to activities, such as proving material support, that are precursors to criminal acts.

5. Make domestics programs bottom-up. Washington should not be dictating the needs and scope of programs to state and local officials and law enforcement agencies….

4. Emphasize support to the field in overseas programs. Although ISIS and Al Qaeda are global phenomena, they manifest themselves based on local conditions…. U.S. efforts ought to be prioritized and resources pushed to support local programs and be well-integrated with regional strategies that complement other efforts to address radicalization with other instruments of national power and regional partners.

3. End handouts that don’t deliver. The United States ought to scrupulously review programs to ensure they are supporting our strategic priorities….

2. Avoid obsessing over social media. Despite what you may have heard, social media is not the root cause of radicalization….

1. Drop the label. “Countering Violent Extremism” is an overly vague term. Lacking clarity and precision of scope and focus, it contributes little to explaining what government programs should be….

            These are great suggestions for fighting the war on terrorism. We must win the “war of ideas” before we can destroy terrorism. Helle Dale at The Daily Signal added an eleventh point about “the importance of information and communication in defeating the enemy.” She writes:

For that, the United States government has powerful tools – in particular, the civilian entities of U.S. International Broadcasting under the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

These broadcasters are legitimate and important tools of U.S. foreign policy, and have been ever since they were created in World War II.

The U.S. government has devoted millions of dollars over the last 15 years toward expanding these broadcast services to the Middle East and Afghanistan, with varying degrees of success….

The Trump team must now create a comprehensive broadcasting strategy to reach and inform audiences who are trapped behind enemy lines, often by autocratic Islamist regimes. This should become part of a clear, focused, and revitalized counterterrorism strategy.

            As we can see from this list, there are many actions that the U.S. government can take to fight Islamic terrorism. The most important thing that our leaders can do is to persuade Americans that there is a problem by defining it clearly and then convincing all Americans to support the fight. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Protecting Women and Children

            President Donald Trump and Congress are actively working to decrease the number of babies that are aborted in the United States and elsewhere. One of their actions is to defund Planned Parenthood. This means that taxpayer dollars would no longer be used to abort babies within the boundaries of the United States.

            Another action taken by the Trump administration is to implement a new version of the Mexico City policy of President Ronald Reagan to stop U.S. dollars from supporting abortion in foreign nations. The Mexico City policy was designated as such because it was announced by President Reagan in 1984 in Mexico City. This policy was “designed to ensure that U.S. taxpayer money is not funneled to foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.”

            The support or non-support for the Mexico City policy depends on the party who occupies the White House. President Reagan instituted the policy, and Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush embraced it. They were all Republicans. Democrats Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama nullified it.

            Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) has been involved in the process for more than three decades. In July 1985 he “authored the first of several successful annual amendments … to preserve the Mexico City policy.” He says that the “old Mexico City policy only applied to family planning funds – over half a billion dollars.”          Smith continues his explanation.

The new policy establishes pro-child safeguards – benign, humane conditions – on about $8.8 billion in annual global health assistance funding appropriated to the U.S. Agency for International Development and the departments of State and Defense.

This funding includes not only family planning, but other global health assistance such as maternal and child health, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.

Also of significance, the new pro-child, pro-woman safeguards do not reduce funding for global health assistance by so much as a dollar.

            President Trump’s policy – Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance – includes three abortion exceptions: rape, incest, and the life of the mother. According to Smith, there is also nothing in the policy that will prevent treating injuries or illnesses caused by any abortion. Smith explains the benefits of the new policy.

Prioritizing programs that ensure adequate nutrition and supplementation for moms and children during the all-important first 1,000 days of life – from conception to the second birthday – are among the most transformative, life-enhancing commitments that can be made.

Expanding these measures make women and children healthier, stronger, and more resilient to disease and disability while reducing death and injury.

No one is expendable or a throwaway. Every human life has infinite value. Birth is merely an event, not the beginning of the life of a child.

The new Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy is inclusive of all people, regardless of their age, race, sex, disability, or condition of dependency – especially the weakest and most vulnerable.

            President Trump’s emphasis on protecting children – born and unborn – and women is shown through the defunding of Planned Parenthood and implementation of the new Mexico City policy.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

First Job

            I received a different but interesting and appropriate gift for Mother’s Day. One of my daughters gifted me with a subscription to “StoryWorth.” The idea behind the subscription is to help me to write the stories of my life. Each week my daughter will select a question, and the company will email it to me. I am supposed to write the answer to the question and send it back. The company will send the answer to my daughter as well as combining the answers into a book at the end of the year.

            This is my first question: How did you get your first job? The following information is my answer to the question. I included more than a simple answer to the question because it is part of the story of my life and will be included my life history.

            My first paying job was babysitting a toddler when I was approximately twelve years old. There were not many babysitting jobs in the farming community where I lived. Most of the families were well established and had in-house babysitting services. Ruth, a friend to my older sister Bettie, asked me to watch her son while she went on a date with her husband. Ruth’s parents lived about half a mile from my home. Our families belonged to the same congregation, and Ruth’s father was our bishop. When Ruth married, she and her husband moved into a small house about half the distance between my home and her family home. I think that the going rate for babysitters at that time was 25 cents or less per hour. I might have received one dollar.

            I remember receiving much praise from Ruth and her husband upon their return home when they found their child in bed asleep and the house clean. I had washed the dishes, swept the kitchen, and generally tidied the living area. There was not much for me to do after putting the child to bed because there was no television in the area yet and I had not thought to bring a book. However, I remember thinking that I was being paid for my time in the home, and I should not be lazy while there. So I worked. I had one other babysitting job in the area.  
            When I was seventeen I went to my older brother’s house to help with his five children for the summer. I wanted to purchase a school sweater and a class ring, so he invited me to live with him for the summer. A sister in our congregation asked me to babysit for her, but she withdrew the offer when I told her that I charged 35 cents per hour. Soon afterwards, a neighbor down the street hired me to watch her children during the day. This job lasted for several weeks. I do not remember how much I was paid or why the job ended. Was it temporary while the regular sitter was out of town? Did I simply move on?

            My next job was working as a car hop at the Dairy Queen, moving inside to be a cook after several months. Buddy and Arlene were nice enough people, but they did not pay regularly. I remember receiving only one pay check from them, and I received it only because my sister-in-law asked for a loan to buy a new water heater or something. Maybe she knew more than I did because Buddy and Arlene declared bankruptcy soon afterwards. They sold the Dairy Queen to Kent and Thelma, and I started working for them and receiving regular pay checks.

            Kent and Thelma had five young children, so Thelma was usually home with them while Kent managed the business. When they purchased the Frost Top at the other end of town, I started working there. Kent was an interesting employer. He was as round as he was tall and very jolly. He was also a big tease and kept asking me to “belly bump” with him. I, of course, would turn red with embarrassment, and he would laugh.  I suppose that it would be called “sexual harassment” today, but I never felt threatened at any time. Kent started a side business while I worked for him. He made delicious onion rings to sell at the Dairy Queen and Frost Top. Apparently other restaurant owners started asking for them, and his business was born. I helped make onion rings when business was slow.

            There were two incidents that happened at the Frost Top. The first happened while I worked as a car hop and carried a tray full of drinks or shakes to a car. While attempting to hang the tray on the window of the car, one or more drinks tipped over. Some – or all - of the drink(s) went in the lap of the driver, but I cannot remember how much. I do not remember what happened after the accident. I just remember being quite embarrassed.

            The second incident happened while I was a cook. The other cook and I were assigned to change the oil in one of the fryers. We drained the used oil out of the fryer okay, but we had problems when we put the new oil in it. Apparently, we did not work fast enough because the fryer was too hot and caught fire as soon as the new oil hit it. I immediately called Kent, who was working at the Dairy Queen, but I did not think to call the fire department. I am grateful that a guy at the service station next door saw the smoke and called the fire department. The firemen were about to chop a hole in the ceiling when Kent arrived and persuaded them to stop. The fire was quickly extinguished, and there were no further problems. Kent said that it made him feel good to know that I thought to call him rather than the fire department.

            I worked for Kent for nearly two years before I was hired at Hill AFB as a clerk-typist. I had taken business classes – typing, shorthand, etc. – during high school and wanted to work in this field. I advanced to secretary to a major who was the Army liaison with the Air Force and later for his replacement. While working for the second Army major, I also became the secretary to an Air Force colonel and his deputy. I worked for them until my husband graduated from college, and I transferred to a Navy base in California where I worked for six months.

            When my husband was transferred to the oil fields of Utah, I was hired as a secretary at the First Security Bank. I took lots of shorthand and transcribed it into letters. I also opened many new accounts. I was there for about two years before we moved again. I went back to Hill AFB until my first child was born.

            Many years later when my youngest child started school, I worked part time and handled the money for the Barratt Inn in Anchorage, Alaska. When my job was eliminated, I became a teachers’ aid for the Anchorage School District. That was my last paying job and ended when I started making a wedding dress and doing other preparations for an older daughter’s wedding. I never looked for another job because I knew that my favorite job was being a stay-at-home mother!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Young Judge Nominees

            More than 100 vacancies occur throughout the federal circuit and district courts at the present time. The Federal Bar Association  says that the Senate must “act promptly” on confirming the President’s nominees because “the increasing number of federal judicial vacancies throughout the federal court system is straining the capacity of the federal courts to administer justice in an adequate and timely manner.” The association also says that this lack of judges causes “unnecessary hardship and increased costs on individuals and businesses” with pending lawsuits.

            President Donald Trump recognizes the need to fill the judge positions. After seeing Judge Neil Gorsuch successfully confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, he turned his attention to filling other positions. He recognizes his opportunity to leave a “mark” on the lower courts of the federal court system as he fills the lifetime appointments.

            In keeping with his responsibility, President Trump named ten nominees for the federal judiciary on Monday, May 8, 2017. Many of the nominees are still in their 40s. Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal quotes legal scholar John Malcolm as saying, “They all appear to be bright, young, capable conservatives who promise to be outstanding judges; some are already judges.”
Lucas also quotes Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, as saying:

These 10 individuals the president has chosen were chosen for their deep knowledge of the law and their commitment to upholding constitutional principles. Two of the nominees today came from the list of potential Supreme Court nominees that the president released during the campaign. … The president followed the principles that were used to guide that list to select the additional eight individuals…. I think you will continue to see a very robust amount of announcements on not just the judicial front, but on several fronts.

            Since most of the Justices on the Supreme Court came from the Appeals Court, we may see some of these same people nominated to fill future openings there. They may not be on the short list simply by confirmation to an Appeals Court, but they will definitely be on the long list. The Appeals Courts hear hundreds, maybe thousands, of cases each year, while the Supreme Court takes about seventy-five cases annually.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fair and Balanced Courts

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the court system of the United States. When the Founders of the nation organized the government, they structured it with three branches – executive, legislative, and judicial. The three branches were meant to be independent in order to “check” each other. The executive and legislative were political in nature, but the judicial was supposed to remain neutral in order to judge fairly by the law. This is no longer the case.

            President Donald Trump signed several executive orders to limit the numbers of refugees entering the nation and deny funding to cities that refuse to obey federal immigration laws. The executive orders were ruled unconstitutional by left-leaning judges. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is well-known for its liberal decisions, and it struck the first blow to President Trump’s attempts to protect Americans. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals also leans left. Both courts heard arguments about Trump’s orders.

            How did we end up with so many courts with liberal judges? According to an article posted by Josh Siegel, many of the judges were appointed during the Obama administration. “Today, nine of the 13 circuit courts have a majority of justices appointed by a Democrat, compared to only one when Obama took office.”

            Siegel’s article deals mostly with the changes to the 4th Circuit Court, but his chart shows that most of the courts have turned liberal under the Obama administration. The makeup of the courts clearly shows the importance of elections. President Trump was successful in appointment a strict constitutionalist to the Supreme Court, but he has much work to do with the circuit courts in order to make them fair and balanced once again.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hope Is More Than a Wish

            Hope is an interesting word that is sometimes misunderstood and often misused. In everyday usage, we often hear “hope” used in uncertainty, such as “I hope that Grandma comes to visit this summer.” Used in this way, hope is more like wishing for something. To hope is more than simply to make a wish as the following scriptures illustrate.

But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions (Alma 34:41).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abound in good works, being led to glorify God (Ether 12:4)

            These references tell us that hope is more than a wish. It is a firm, sure, and unwavering trust that we will gain a place in the kingdom of God. Hope is connected to faith and charity. As our faith increases, so does our hope, and as our hope increases, so does our charity. We must first learn about God and have faith in Him. As our faith increases, we began to hope that our faith is not in vain.

When we have hope, we trust God’s promises. We have a quiet assurance that if we do “the works of righteousness,” we “shall receive [our] reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23). Mormon taught that such hope comes only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ: “What is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise” (Moroni 7:41). (See True to the Faith, A Gospel Reference (p. 85).

            Anthony Sweat spoke about faith, hope, and charity at a recent Time Out for Women (TOFW) event held in Anchorage, Alaska. He said that “hope” is the big sister of “faith” and is centered in the promises of Jesus Christ. Hope has several powers: (1) Cleansing power, (2) Healing power, (3) Restoring power, (4) Identifying power, (5) Strengthening power, and (6) Transforming power. He emphasized that the first letter of each of these powers spells CHRIST. The gift of hope is our personal assurances of Christ’s promises in our lives.

            The opposite of faith is fear, and the opposite of hope is doubt. In order to exercise faith and develop hope, we must put our trust in the Savior, even Jesus Christ. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at Brigham Young University in 1995 and said the following.

A more excellent hope is mightier than a wistful wish. Hope, fortified by faith and charity, forges a force as strong as steel. Hope becomes an anchor to the soul. To this anchor, the faithful can cling, securely tethered to the Lord. Satan, on the other hand, would have us cast away that anchor and drift with the ebb tide of despair. If we will cling to the anchor of hope, it will be our safeguard forever. As declared in scripture: “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast.” [Ether 12:4]
The Lord of hope invites all people to come unto him. Steps toward him begin with faith, repentance, and baptism. Mormon explained that “the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and … the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, … until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.” [Moroni 8:26] That destiny can only be realized when we “have faith unto repentance.” [Alma 34:15]
Insufficient hope often means insufficient repentance….

            In order to avoid doubt and despair, we must place our hope in Jesus Christ. As we do so, we will be filled with joy and peace. As we gain security in our hope, we then have charity or the ability to love others as God loves them.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Strengthening Marriage

            Strong marriages are essential for strong families, and strong families are the building blocks for strong communities and nations. There are many actions that we can take to strengthen our marriages. There are also a few actions that we should avoid in order to keep our spouses happy.

            Katelyn Carmen posted an interesting article titled “5 Ways You Are Unknowingly Destroying Your Husband and Killing Your Marriage.” She writes about a wife’s responsibility to “love and care for” her husband. Once the wedding vows have been spoken, each spouse is responsible to assist the other in their “well-being and happiness.” Yet, too often spouses let the small things ruin a wonderful relationship.

            Carmen lists “a few ways” that a wife might “unknowingly” destroy her husband and kill her marriage, but she adds that her article applies to men as well. These are the five ways that wives may be hurting their husbands and marriages: (1) Living outside of what you can afford,
(2) Constant negativity, (3) Putting everything else first, (4) Withholding physical affection, and (5) Not speaking his language.

            This list makes sense because all the items are important and work together with the others. Living outside our financial means brings stress into a marriage. Wives who are unsatisfied with the life provided by her husband makes him feel like a loser. Negativity is bad in any relationship, but it is especially damaging in a marriage where a husband and wife are supposed to become “one.” Negative comments and actions drive a wedge between the spouses and sometimes drive the spouses completely away. When we meet the needs of others or keep ourselves too busy, we do not have any time left for our spouse. The greatest way of showing love is to be available to the spouse whenever needed. This applies particularly in the physical affection and language departments. Frequent intimacy in a marriage strengthens the marriage and makes communication flow easier and better.

            Realizing that marriages consist of both a husband and a wife, Matt Walsh posted an article titled “4 Things That Are Hurting Your Wife and Killing Your Marriage.” He admits that he is “playing off a theme started by another blogger last week,” but he thinks it important to apply his article to men. He writes that this may be “the most important” of all the things he has recently written. He does not claim to be an expert in giving marriage advice but admits to being “very much in the thick of it, and very much struggling to be a good man and a decent husband in his own right.” He believes that “it’s more important to talk about these things than it is to talk about politics or world affairs.”

            Here are the most prevalent and most relevant ways, in Walsh’s view, that husbands are damaging their wives and destroying their marriages: (1) Pornography hurts both wives and marriages because it is the equivalent of adultery. The wife feels “betrayed, used, and violated.”
(2) Laziness: husbands should do their share around the home and not leave all the work and responsibilities to the wife. (3) Passiveness may accompany laziness, but not always. “Men are called to be leaders in the home.” A husband should not be “apathetic to the spiritual and emotional welfare of his family.” (4) Immaturity destroys marriages because marriage takes two mature adults to make it work. While a certain amount of recreation and play are necessary in our lives, there are other necessities to be considered also.

            The Lord said that we should “cleave” unto our spouses and love them with all our hearts. When we truly love another person, we do not treat them negatively or as if they do not matter. We make them feel special and wanted. We take care of their needs and make sure that they know they are important to us. Wise husbands and wives will pay attention to the suggestions made by Carmen and Walsh and used them to strengthen their marriages. Strong marriages make strong families, communities, and nations.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Freedom from Arrogance of Illegal Immigrants

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the arrogance of some of the people who enter our nation illegally and then demand that we meet their ultimatums. They protest in our streets, refuse to assimilate by learning our language and customs, and take offense at our flag and national anthem.

            Recently Fox News host Tucker Carlson debated journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, an illegal immigrant from the Philippines, on the issues of immigration reform and the violent May Day protests. Carlson was curious about why liberals in America embrace violence so readily. 

            Vargas refused to answer the direct question and went on the attack: “I don’t know if we’ve talked to all of those people protesting and asked them if all of them are `from the left.’” He continued, “How do you know that? Did you talk to all of those people?”

            The arrogance of Vargas continued to be obvious when he turned the debate to immigration. “What I can tell you is that for many of us this issue is, not just political, it’s personal… We’re talking about millions of people who are related to undocumented immigrants that you call criminal every day. I, as a person, am not illegal.”

            Vargas, like so many people that enter our nation illegally does not appreciate the terms “illegal” and “alien.” Vargas is extremely open about the fact that he is illegal and even flaunts his illegal status. Why is he still here? Why hasn’t he been picked up by immigration authorities and deported?
            Another case in the news is about Silvia Avelar-Flores. An ICE spokesman told Deseret News that Avelar-Flores came to the United States when she was seven years old. She came legally “as a visitor for pleasure” with her parents in April 1993 and was supposed to leave within six months. She did not leave.

            In December 1995 Avelar-Flores, then ten years old, was ordered to leave the United States before the end of March 1996 or be removed. She did not leave. She is married to Juarez, a legal resident of the U.S., and has at least three children born in the U.S. Her parents were deported several years ago.

            Avelar-Flores was arrested recently and detained “pending her removal to Mexico.” Her “final orders of removal” are at least 20 years old. Why was she allowed to stay here so long? Why wasn’t she picked up and deported in April 1996 before she married and had children?

            I feel a lot of compassion for families that are separated or are threatened with separation or live under the fear of being separated. I cannot even imagine how terrible it must be. However, my compassion for the families of illegal immigrants does not satisfy the justice required for breaking the law of the land.

            The United States is a nation of laws, and every person within the boundaries of the United States is subject to those laws. It goes without saying that any person who is in the United States illegally does not belong here and should be deported as quickly as possible. If they are a one-time offender, I believe they should be given an opportunity to return legally and eventually become an American citizen; all others should be denied American citizenship forever.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fake News, Fake Laws

            The media has been dishing up fake news for numerous months, probably years. Now the courts are dishing up fake laws. The fake news and fake laws both come from abuse of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

            Marc O. DeGirolami posted an article titled “Fake Law.” He claims that the fake laws come from a hatred for Donald Trump. He starts his article with the following paragraphs.

Something ugly is happening to the First Amendment. It is being contorted to enable judges to protest Donald Trump’s presidency. The perennial impulse of judges to manipulate the law to achieve morally and politically desirable ends has only been exacerbated by the felt necessity to “resist” Trump. The result: Legal tests concerning the freedoms of speech and religion that in some cases were already highly dubious are being further deformed and twisted.

Welcome to the rise of fake law. Just as fake news spreads ideologically motivated misinformation with a newsy veneer, fake law brings us judicial posturing, virtue signaling, and opinionating masquerading as jurisprudence. And just as fake news augurs the end of authoritative reporting, fake law portends the diminution of law’s legitimacy and the warping of judges’ self-understanding of their constitutional role.

Those who try to police the relentlessly transformational projects of constitutional progressives had much to dread from the Obama administration, an inveterate ally of the legal left that did what it could to graft the aspirations of progressives onto the Constitution. But Trump’s presidency may be even worse, because too many judges now feel called to “resist” Trump and all his works – no matter the cost to the law’s authority and to the integrity of the judicial role.

            It appears that the media and the courts have lost their integrity with their fake news and fake laws. Obviously, there are many people and organizations who do not understand the Constitution. If they understand it correctly, they may not trust it, or like it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Talking to Yourself

            Do you talk to yourself? I talk to myself all the time. There was a time that I became embarrassed when someone walked into the room and asked, “Are you talking to yourself?” or “Who are you talking to?” I now feel comfortable replying that I am talking to myself or anyone else who wishes to listen to me.

            The turning point for me was a lesson given in Relief Society about talking to ourselves. A good friend named Terry gave the lesson and encouraged us to talk to ourselves with constructive comments. She emphasized that it is important for us to talk to ourselves positively for affirmation. We can tell ourselves “good job” when no one else is around or even cares. Studies show that reading out loud to oneself helps in learning.

            I recently read an article where psychologists at a university gave written instructions to 28 people and asked them to read the instructions either silently or out loud. Their concentration and performance were then measured. “They found when people read instructions out loud, their brains absorb more of the material than if they only use their inner dialogue.” 

            Talking to ourselves out loud may even be a sign of greater intelligence according to Dr. Paloma Mari-Beffa, a senior lecturer in neuropsychology and cognitive psychology.

Our results demonstrated that, even if we talk to ourselves to gain control during challenging tasks, performance substantially improves when we do it out loud.

Talking out loud, when the mind is not wandering, could actually be a sign of high cognitive functioning.

The stereotype of the mad scientist talking to themselves, lost in their own inner world, might reflect the reality of a genius who uses all the means at their disposal to increase their brain power.

            So, there you have it. Talking out loud and making positive comments to self can increase self-confidence and bolster self-esteem. It may also be a sign of intelligence, even genius, when a person does it.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dakota L. Meyer

            Dakota L. Meyer is a United States Marine Corps veteran. He is the recipient of the Medal of Honor, which is the highest honor given by the military. He received the medal for actions during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Meyer humbly believes that he did what any other Marine would have done, but the military believes his actions were extraordinary.

            Meyer is in the news again when he responded to a claim that ISIS “appreciates” the work of the National Rifle Association. Eric Levitz published an article titled “ISIS Appreciated the NRA’s Work,” on the New York Magazine’s website. He claims that ISIS likes the stance of the NRA concerning its stance on background checks at gun shows. He also suggested that “gun shows are a significant security threat because terrorists can use them to buy weapons to use against innocent American citizens.

            Dakota Meyer discussed the New York Magazine article on the Fox News Channel.
“Well, first off, I mean, how much lower can a journalist fall to be taking, using ISIS as their credible source, right? … I think it’s ridiculous. Once again, the media is going out and they’re using their First Amendment to try to go after the Second Amendment, by not looking at the facts.

Here’s the facts of the whole thing of it. … Right, you look at San Bernardino. Right? In California out there, they have … restricted AR-15s. You got [to] have a background check on every single weapon. You have to register all your weapons out there. You have a waiting period – all these things they want to implement even more. And what’s the shooting caused by? An AR-15 with high-capacity magazines. It doesn’t seem like it worked in that situation.

[The Second Amendment is] the thing that stands in the way [of terrorism].

The article should read … the thing that stands in the way of ISIS being able to come over … and do terroristic acts is the NRA standing there protecting our rights to be able to bear arms and stand up for ourselves.

            Dakota Meyer is a hero in my mind for what he did in Afghanistan as well as for standing up to the liberals who are attempting to destroy the Second Amendment. We need more people like him who are willing and able to stand for liberty.