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, June 25, 2022

What Decisions Are You Making that Will Affect Your Destiny?

            My studies for the Come, Follow Me lesson this week took me to 2 Samuel 5-7; 11-12; 1 Kings 3; 8; 11. The title of the lesson was “Thy Kingdom Shall Be Established for Ever.” The lesson was introduced with this information:

King David’s reign started out with so much promise. His undaunted faith in defeating Goliath was legendary. As king, he secured Jerusalem as his capital and united Israel (see 2 Samuel 5). The kingdom had never been stronger. And yet David gave in to temptation and lost his spiritual power.


The reign of David’s son Solomon likewise started out with so much promise. Is divinely received wisdom and discernment were legendary. As king, he extended Israel’s borders and built a magnificent temple to the Lord. The kingdom had never been stronger. And yet Solomon foolishly allowed his heart to be turned away to other gods.


What can we learn from these tragic stories? Perhaps one lesson is that regardless of our past experiences, our spiritual strength depends on the choices we make today. We can also see in these accounts that it isn’t our own strength or courage or wisdom that will save us – it is the Lord’s. These stories show us that Israel’s true hope – and ours – is not in David, Solomon, or any other mortal king, but in another “son of David”: Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1), the Eternal King who will “forgive the sin of [His] people” if we “turn again to [Him]” (1 Kings 8:33-34).

            David had been a faithful servant of God in the past, but his past faithfulness did not give him immunity to temptation in the present. He did not go out to battle with his armies and had difficulty sleeping one night. As he “walked upon the roof of the king’s house,” he “saw a woman washing herself” (2 Samuel 11:2). The accidental viewing of a woman in the midst of her bath was not wrong. However, David chose to linger longer to watch her and then to lust after Bathsheba enough to order her to his home. There he committed adultery with her.

            David’s bad decisions did not stop at that point. When he learned that Bathsheba was pregnant, he ordered her husband to return to Jerusalem. He encouraged Uriah to go home to sleep with Bathsheba, but Uriah was an honorary leader and would not leave his troops. David then arranged to have Uriah killed at the battlefront.

One wrong decision followed another, and each decision was worse than the previous one until David was in spiritual peril. The same can happen to you and me. We can make a little decision that is wrong. If we do not correct it, we might continue making decisions that gradually grow larger and more dangerous. One such area is pornography, which afflicts many of the men and women of the rising generation.

Accidently linking to a pornography site and quickly leaving is not a sin. If we choose to linger longer and to visit the site often, the sin becomes bigger and bigger. Pornography is the cause of the downfall of many people and can lead to broken marriages, broken families, and much unhappiness.

In a video titled “To Look Upon” that is included in this Come, Follow Me lesson, President Dallin H. Oaks links the downfall of King David to the use of pornography in our day. Many people are being exposed to pornography, and many are falling into its traps. June 20–26. 2 Samuel 5–7; 11–12; 1 Kings 3; 8; 11: “Thy Kingdom Shall Be Established for Ever” (churchofjesuschrist.org)

God gave us agency and allows us to make choices. However, we cannot choose the consequences to our choices. We must be aware of our choices and make course corrections when we choose unwisely. Otherwise, we will face unwanted consequences, just as King David did long ago. As President Thomas S. Monson taught, “decisions determine destiny.”

Friday, June 24, 2022

Are You and Your Spouse on the Same Page with Finances?

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when financial information is known by all who are in leadership positions. Elder Marvin J. Ashton quoted a study by the American Bar Association that indicated that “89 percent of all divorces can be traced to quarrels and accusations over money.” 

            One way to achieve oneness with a spouse on finances is to discuss finances while dating. In their textbook titled Fundamentals of Family Finance – Living Joyfully within your Means,

E. Jeffrey Hill and Bryan L. Sudweeks discussed this topic. In chapter 13 Marriage and Money, the authors listed lots of questions to discuss with a potential spouse. Some of those questions are as follows:

Are you a saver or a spender?

What is your net worth?

What is your attitude about debt?

What is your attitude about financial help from family?

What is your credit score?

Do you currently have and live within a budget? If so, what are your living expenses each month?

How are you paying for your college education?

How do you foresee sharing finances and assets with your spouse after marriage?

How many children do you desire in hour family?

What is your expectation about who is going to earn the money in your family?

What do you think about tithing and other donations?

            The authors taught that the purchase of “the engagement ring is the first major financial decision that you will make related to your marriage” (p. 177). The decision on the ring should be a joint decision. The second big expense is the wedding budget, and couples should avoid going into debt to pay for a wedding.

            The authors gave four principles for handling money in marriage: (1) Spouses should be equal partners in financial decisions. (2) There should be total trust and transparency between marital partners. (3) Couples should work together to reduce and eventually eliminate debt. (4) Couples should counsel with the Lord in all thy financial doings.

            In addition, the authors gave six practices for handling money in marriage: (1) Do your budget together and review it frequently. (2) Make major purchases together. (3) Agree to spending limits. (4) Sleep on big purchases. (5) Deal with financial disagreements constructively (remember H.A.L.T. – hungry, angry, lonely, tired). (6) Both spouses should have some mad money to spend on anything they desire without a need to account for it.

            Marital partners can strengthen their marriage by getting on the same page with finances. By following the authors’ suggestions, they can strengthen their marriage, family, community, and nation.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

What Do We Do about Renegade Teachers and Schools?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns renegade teachers and schools teaching undesirable topics to children. Teachers and administrators in numerous schools are bypassing the rights of parents, and parents are fighting back.

            Nicole Russell posted an article at The Daily Signal outlining the situation of parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She stated, “There are school policies and state and federal laws that outline parameters for transparency between parents, students, and schools.” These parameters are there for the protection of everyone and particularly for the child. “They are rooted in the idea that parental authority is paramount, even in schools.” Yet, some teachers and some schools do not understand the concept. 

In Pennsylvania recently, three parents filed a federal lawsuit alleging that their children’s first grade teacher violated their rights, not to mention school policy and state law, by teaching their children about “gender dysphoria and transgender transitioning….

Carmilla Tatel, Stacy Dunn, and Gretchen Melton are all mothers speaking out against the Mount Lebanon School District. In their lawsuit, which names multiple school administrators and first grade teacher Megan Williams, the mothers are seeking a court order to either stop the gender-related instruction at Jefferson Elementary School in Pittsburgh or provide parents the ability to opt their children out of it.


The mothers allege Williams failed to honor their parental rights with her “direct classroom instruction” on gender dysphoria and that the district didn’t list “gender dysphoria and transgender transitioning” as part of the curriculum online, violating its own policy. In essence, it sounds like the school was taking advantage of kids who were confused about their gender – experiencing dysphoria – and was encouraging them to adopt the qualities of the opposite sex, like changing their names and using a different bathroom.

            The parents did not file the lawsuit for the sake of politics or because they are anti-transgender. Their case is not about censorship or banning books. The case is about the “Plaintiffs’ parental rights and each of their respective decisions not to want their six- or seven-year-old child to receive first-grade classroom instruction on gender dysphoria or transgender transitioning from their first-grade teacher.” The Pennsylvania moms are not the only parents filing lawsuits against schools.

            In a case in Monterey County, California, a mother filed a similar lawsuit. In 2019, her sixth-grade daughter was recruited by teachers at her school to join an “Equality Club.” There she was introduced to transgender and bisexual.

Two seventh grade teachers created the club for students “who they believed might be receptive to ideas such as homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, gender nonconformity, etc.”


Teacher and school administrators encouraged Jessica Konen’s daughter to change her name to a boy’s name and then “specifically instructed her not to tell her mother about her new identity because her mother couldn’t be ‘trusted.’” Together, school staff convinced the middle school-aged girl she was bisexual and later, transgender.


Without Konen’s knowledge, teachers and administrators created a “Gender Support Plan” and told faculty to call her daughter by her new male name and to let her use the unisex teachers’ restroom. It was only after months had passed that Konen was made aware of what her daughter had been experiencing and what the school had been doing without her knowledge or consent.


In this specific case, Konen maintains she would have gladly supported her daughter’s gender struggles – if only the school had been transparent. Ironically, during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout remote learning, Konen’s daughter, now released from the influence of school staff, no longer agrees she is bisexual or transgender.

            Across the nation in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, a parent is suing a school district and its individual administrators a curriculum that includes “anti-racism” and discriminates against students with white skin. Certain parts of the curriculum were put in place after the death of George Floyd in 2020. The lawsuit is about the parts that “allegedly teach ‘racial political ideology’ and create a ‘hostile educational environment’ for white students. 

            When parents send their children to school, they expect the teachers and administrators to teach reading, writing, math, science, geography, social studies, and other such topics. They do not want their grade school age children taught anything about sex, and they certainly do not want their children to be taught to hate the color of their skin.

            I say, good for these parents who are suing the teachers and schools. If enough parents fight back against the evil ideologies, schools will get back to teaching educational topics and forget for their social engineering.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Why Is Violence Not Condemned by Democrats?

            The leaked Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization came out on May 2, 2022. Since the leak occurred, many pro-life organizations have been attacked. On June 13, 2022, John Knox put the number at 41. Yet, the Department of Justice does not take actions against any of the perpetrators. 

According to Jarrett Stepman, conservative leaders noticed the lack of DOJ action and recently sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for civil rights. The leaders requested that the DOJ address the recent wave of attacks on pregnancy resource centers and churches. 

The severity of the situation calls for your leadership. This continued assault on religious and pro-life groups because of their beliefs is a manifest injustice that requires prompt, comprehensive, and public response.

            As Stepman reported, the leaders noted in their letter that the attacks were occurring prior to the leak of the Dobbs decision, but they “intensified” after the leak. The writers of the letter called for the DOJ to investigate and to take actions to stop the violence.

Since May 2020 over 130 incidents have occurred across 29 states and the District of Columbia at Catholic properties alone. Incidents include arson, statues beheaded, limbs cut, smashed, and painted, gravestones defaced with swastikas and anti-Catholic language and American flags next to them burned, and other destruction and vandalism. A number of these incidents appeared to express hostility toward the Catholic Church because of its beliefs on the sanctity of life in the womb.


We call on you to publicly condemn these unlawful attacks; to commit to vigorous efforts to prevent them, and to investigate and prosecute them; and to proactively engage with the affected faith communities to ensure their concerns and security needs are being met.

            According to Stepman, the letter was signed by Brian Burch (president of Catholic Vote), Tony Perkins (president of the Family Research Council), Jeanne Mancini (president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund), Ben Carson (former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and chairman of the American Cornerstone Institute), Kevin Roberts (president of The Heritage Foundation), and Jessica Anderson (executive director of Heritage Action for America).

            Stepman noted that the “escalating wave of attacks on pregnancy centers and pro-life organizations” have had little attention from the media. He wrote that The Washington Stand (news site of Family Research Council) reported “at least 41 separate incidents of violent attacks against churches, pro-life organizations, and pro-life property across the country” the Supreme Court draft was leaked on May 2 leak.

The radical pro-abortion group Jane’s Revenge took credit for recent vandalism and arson and said it would continue acts of violence.

From here forward, any anti-choice group who closes their doors, and stops operating will no longer be a target. But until you do, it’s open season, and we know where your operations are.

            Jane’s Revenge is not the only pro-abortion group committing illegal and/or violent acts. The group known as Ruth Sent Us has been active in protesting at the homes of several conservative justices. They recently sent out an open invitation to protest at the home of Justice Amy Coney Barrett as well as her church and the school that her children attend.

If you’re in the D.C. metro area, join us. Our protests at Barrett’s home moved the needle to this coverage. Falls Church is a People of Praise stronghold. She sends her seven kids to a People of Praise school that she sat on the Board of Directors for. She attends church DAILY.

            Neither President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris have condemned the protests. Neither was there any condemnation from them after an alleged attempt to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi discussed her own pro-abortion views when she was asked about the violence. The Department of Justice fails to stop the protests or to investigate the threats against the justices even though it is illegal to protest at a federal judge's or a justice's home. It is like the Democrat leaders want the violence to continue.

            The formal Supreme Court decision will come out in the next few weeks – either the end of June or the first part of July. If the Justices are not swayed by the violence, the decision will send the question of abortion back to the states where it belongs. If the past is a precursor to the future, we can expect more violence without the DOJ or the Democrat-controlled cities and states doing anything to stop it. More property will be destroyed, and people may lose their lives. When will the violence on the Left be treated the same way as the assault on the Capitol Building? Never, if it is left to the Democrats!

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Should Women Be Drafted into Military Service?

            My generation fought the Vietnam War. I had friends who were drafted into the military, and some lost their lives. My husband came close to being drafted, and our lives were badly affected by the possibility. My sons registered for the draft when they turned 18 years old, and one of my sons served four years in the Air Force. The fact is that there are people who are not satisfied with drafting my sons and grandsons. Now, they are discussing the idea of drafting my daughters and granddaughters.

            I do not like the idea of sending my sons and grandsons to defend the nation on the front lines. I dislike even more the idea of my daughters and granddaughters going into the military. One of my nieces chose to serve in the military where she was raped. War is not good for either men or women, but men are more suited to deal with the conditions of war than are women.

            Last year, Congress debated a requirement for young women to register for military duty. It was “a very bad and ill-considered idea,” according to James Carafano. Congress decided against the provision, but proponents of the bad idea could bring it up again. 

            Carafano suggested that Congress consider questions Americans as to what we want. If drafting young women is “a pressing reform,” he suggested that the subject should be nationally debated. “Why isn’t every candidate for office being asked about the issue in the run-up to the midterms in 2022?

Drafting our daughters is following an all-too-familiar pattern of implementing consequential social change without seriously looking at the consequences.

Many states, for example, have forged ahead with so-called gender-affirming medical treatment with almost no serious consideration of the impact on our children.

            Carafano declared that America should take a timeout on the issue because proponents of the idea of drafting women have been working on the issue in secret rather than discussing it openly. The reason that they want to draft women is for “equity” – if men are drafted, then women should be drafted also. Carafano continued with his reasoning:

That argument raises a second red flag. Women already have widespread opportunities to serve in the armed forces. This initiative won’t promote equal treatment or opportunity for women.


This sounds suspiciously like every woke campaign started by the left that begins with making a case that it’s all about “fairness,” when what’s really intended is a small first step for a radical agenda….


The reality is that the current system of U.S. conscription is an anachronism that serves no useful military purpose. Rather than talking about drafting women, we ought to be asking why we perpetuate a draft at all.


Registering for the draft is not an act of patriotism that builds civic virtue. It’s just a legal requirement that, beyond registering, requires individuals to do nothing.


The brutal truth is that even if the U.S. tried to draft Americans, the system would produce almost no manpower. The vast majority of American youths, for various reasons, don’t qualify for military service.


If the U.S. reinstituted a draft, we would be drafting from the small pool of American youths who are already volunteering for military service. That makes no sense.


Rather than tackling real issues, like the social, cultural, and health issues making American youths ill-prepared to serve, and focusing on creating more opportunities and options for service in the all-volunteer force that would contribute to military readiness, Congress will yet again toy with an empty gesture that would do nothing about meeting the constitutional obligation to “provide for the common defense.”

            I like Carafano’s reasoning because I do not women to be drafted into military service. For those women who desire a military career, I wish you success. I do not want my daughters and granddaughters to serve in the military. The conditions of war are bad for all people, but they are worse for females than for males. There is no good argument for drafting women.

Monday, June 20, 2022

How Important Are Fathers in the Lives of Their Children?

            Since this is the week of Father’s Day, my VIP for this week is fathers who impact their posterity for good. There are people in our society who believe that fathers are unnecessary in the lives of children, at least after the act of conception. The Child and Family Advocacy Society at Brigham Young University-Idaho believes otherwise. They recently posted a meme with the following information on Facebook.

Fathers do much more than society realizes. They provide important socializing skills, moral traits, and even physiological changes when present in their children’s lives. Children suffer when fathers aren’t present. How has your father blessed your life?


Fathers PLAY Differently

They tickle, wrestle, and roughhouse more. This kind of play helps children learn when not to use physical violence. Through the father’s play children learn self-control.


Fathers BUILD Confidence

Fathers tend to encourage running faster, climbing higher, and throwing farther. Fathers encourage children to push limits. This helps children learn boundaries and strengths, which builds confidence.


Fathers PREPARE for the World

Fathers are more likely to deliver hard truths that need to be heard. They value children knowing the reality, even if the truth might be uncomfortable or unflattering.


Fathers DISCIPLINE Differently

Fathers tend to focus on justice, fairness, and duty. They tend to enforce rules more consistently and timely. Children develop a stronger sense of right and wrong.


Fathers SPEAK Differently

Fathers don’t tend to modify their language when speaking to children. Father’s teach new words, expand comprehension, strengthen linguistic skills.


Why Fathers Matter

63% of teen suicides are fatherless

70% of juvenile delinquents are fatherless

71% of dropouts are fatherless

80% of rapists are fatherless

85% of youths in prison are fatherless

90% of homeless children are fatherless

            The post emphasized that “both fathers and mothers are important” in the lives of their children. “It is their strengths and differences that create healthy children. Fathers are a vital part of a child’s development.” Another bit of information: “Sadly, over fifteen million children in the US are living in a fatherless home – 25% of all children have this reality.”

            Today, I want to recognize the men who are fathering their children. As a grandmother, I have lots of opportunities to watch how my children mother and father their children. I must say that I am amazed at their parenting skills. All of my grandchildren live in homes where their fathers and mothers are actively involved with them. For this fact, I am grateful!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Can We Save Our First Amendment Freedoms?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is First Amendment freedoms. Some people believe that the Biden administration promotes censorship on information not approved by the Biden administration.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley recently criticized the Biden administration of censoring information on environmental issues by technology companies. In an appearance on “The Ingraham Angle” with host Laura Ingraham, Hawley said, “Laura, this is the most recent example of the most anti-First Amendment administration in American history.”

Hawley’s statement came in response to a clip played on the show of Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Adviser, calling for tech companies to censor debate over environmental issues. According to Harold Hutchison, McCarthy said the following: 

The challenge is that now we’re moving from denial to actually just trying to disengage the public. We have to get tired, we have to get better at communicating, and frankly, the tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation.

            Hawley has a point. Tech companies have censored “specific individuals” because they were spreading “disinformation.” In 2021, YouTube said that videos had to align with “well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change” to be monetized. YouTube was not alone in its censorship because Twitter and Facebook also censored individuals for so-called “misinformation” on environmental issues. Hawley continued with this explanation:

This is an administration assaulting our basic fundamental constitutional values and principles at every single turn. I can’t think of another administration in our history that has assembled an enemies list if you will and read it over and over from the White House podium and says, “We want these people off of social media, we want these people not to be able to communicate a message.”

            Hawley continued by giving examples. His list included “vaccines to combat COVID-19, mask mandates and environmental issues” to show the topics about which the Biden administration wants to suppressed debate.

            Hutchison reported that neither Hawley nor the White House did not respond to requests for comments. Nevertheless, Americans can plainly see that the Biden administration is coming for our First Amendment and Second Amendment rights.