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.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Why Single Out Churches for Harsh Treatment?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns restrictions on religious services. In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Constitution does not tolerate any government edicts that keep churches, synagogues, and mosques closed but allow liquor stores and bike shops to reopen. The decision was split between conservative and liberal justices with Chief Justice John Roberts voting with the liberals.

            A similar case affecting churches in California and Nevada received the exact opposite vote. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to leave restrictions on churches and synagogues in place due to the pandemic. That decision took place while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was present.

            In the current case, the majority stated that the orders from New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo violated the free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote a concurring opinion saying that the governor was playing favorites with some activities. He wrote the following: 

It is time – past time – to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques.

            The case was filed to protect the Diocese of Brooklyn and Agudath Israel of America that have churches and synagogues in zones designated as red and orange in the Brooklyn and Queens areas. In the zones labeled red and orange, New York put a cap on attendance at houses of worship at 10 and 25, respectively. However, current designation of yellow in both zones was not challenged.

            The lawsuits will continue, but the emergency order temporarily stops New York from enforcing the restrictions. The majority did not like the restrictions that “single out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment.”      

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Why Do We Have Weaknesses?

             This week I studied Ether 11-15 for my Come, Follow Me lessons. Ether 11, 13-15 are all about the final wars and destruction of the Jaredites, but Ether 12 contains great doctrines and principles. The principle that I will discuss tonight is humility.

            It seems that Moroni took a break while summarizing the chapters about the wars and destructions and wrote about faith, hope, and charity. While writing about those three principles, he dropped some information about humility. Moroni shared his concerns about his writing ability with the Lord in Ether 12:23-25.

23 Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them.


24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.


25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.

            Moroni had great strengths and attributes, but he felt inadequate when he compared his writing to that of the brother of Jared. I believe that Moroni recognized his weakness and worried that people in the latter days would condemn his record because of his writing ability. I have read Moroni’s writing, and I find his words to be beautifully written. Was he worried about his penmanship or his writing ability? We do not know, but we know what the Lord answered in Ether 12:26-29.

26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;


27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.


28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope, and charity bringeth unto me – the fountain of all righteousness.


29 And I, Moroni, having heard these words, was comforted….

            The Lord packed a lot of information in His answer. He seemed to acknowledge

            Moroni’s weakness before assuring that the Gentiles would not use it against him. The Lord then explained that He gives us our weaknesses to keep us humble. It may be difficult for any of us to stay humble if we had no weaknesses. The opposite of humility is pride, and we know that pride is not a good thing.

            In addition to keeping us humble by giving us weaknesses, the Lord promised that He would turn our weaknesses into strengths if we stay humble and exercise faith in Him. Elder Neal A. Maxwell had some additional insight into these verses. “When we read I the scriptures of man’s ‘weakness,’ this term includes the … weakness inherent in the general human condition in which the flesh has an incessant impact upon the spirit (see Ether 12:28-29). Weakness likewise includes, however, our specific, individual weaknesses, which we are expected to overcome (see Doctrine and Covenants 66:3; Jacob 4:7)” (Lord, Increase Our Faith [1994], 84).

            We can conclude from Elder Maxwell’s words that some of our weaknesses are just part of being human, while others are personal weaknesses. President Henry B. Eyring gave additional insights into these verses. “Moroni said that when he ‘heard these words,’ he ‘was comforted’ (Ether 12:29). They can be a comfort to all of us. Those who do not see their weaknesses do not progress. Your awareness of your weakness is a blessing as it helps you remain humble and keeps you turning to the Savior. The Spirit not only comforts you, but He is also the agent by which the Atonement works a change in your very nature. Then weak things become strong” (“My Peace I Leave with You,” Ensign, May 2017, 16).

            We know that other prophets had weaknesses also. Enoch wondered why the Lord would call him as a prophet because he felt that he was too young – at age 65. Moses had a weakness with speaking, so the Lord made Aaron his spokesman. If we knew particulars about all the prophets, we would probably learn that all of them had a weakness or two. Even though they are prophets, they are also human.

            When we look at ourselves and see our weaknesses, we should remember that God gave them to us to keep us humble. However, He expects us to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and humbly ask for help in overcoming our weaknesses.

            Moroni had not quite learned the lesson because he asked the Lord to give grace to the Gentiles “that they might have charity” (Ether 12:36). The Lord assured Moroni that he did not have to worry about the Gentiles in verse 37.

37 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

            These verses clearly tell us that we have weaknesses to keep us humble, but we are supposed to work at overcoming our weaknesses. However, we do not need to concern ourselves with how other people see our weaknesses. If we are faithful, we can be assured that the Lord will give us what we deserve.

Friday, November 27, 2020

How Do Children Deal with the Intensity of COVID-19?

             Families, communities, and nations are stronger when parents and children can discuss concerns openly and honestly. Children and teens know that their world has been turned upside down with COVID-19. Many of them see classmates in Zoom classes only or had their sports teams cancelled. Most of them can no longer play with friends in the neighborhood unless it is outside. It is only natural for children and teens to feel stress just as adults do.

Experts say that parents should not panic if they hear children talking about “Covid” or “Rona” in their playtime talk. 

“Adults process stress verbally,” Laine Young-Walker, the chair of psychiatry at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, told The Washington Post. “They’re able to talk to their loved ones about their fears and concerns. But young children don’t have that ability so you’re more likely to see a behavioral response to stress or to see the stressful or traumatic event coming into their play.”

            Children may be more irritable, have trouble sleeping, or change toileting habits. They may want to talk with their parents about it, or they may benefit from visiting a professional counselor. Others may work out their stress by mixing it right into their play.

“While children may exhibit age-appropriate speech and language skills, they may require time and guidance to nurture their emotional intelligence or ability to monitor their own emotions and link these to preceding situations and resulting behaviors,” said Leela R. Magavi, regional medical director for Community Psychiatry, California’s largest outpatient mental health organization, told The Washington Post. “Consequently, rather than directly speaking with their parents about sadness, anxiety and anger due to COVID-19, children may express their feelings by using their trusted toys.”

            Psychologists say that mixing COVID-19 with playtime is normal. It helps children work through the stress and tension caused by all the changes.

“Play helps modulate their mood,” Sandra Russ, Ph.D., a professor and psychologist at Case Western University, told The New York Times. “They can express these things in little bits in ways that re manageable for them.”

Stories can be an important part of this, Russ said.

“They integrate it, including their fears, and build a story around it,” she said. “That narrative is really important.”

            The bottom line is that children are not just miniature adults. They have different ways of processing stress. One of the ways for children to deal with all the changes of COVID-19 is to mix it into their playtime talk with their toys. Parents should not panic when they hear their little children discussing the terrible disease that has changed life for most of us. Families, communities, and nations can come out of this pandemic with healthier children if we allow them to deal with it in their own way.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Were You One of the Biden Voters with Incomplete Knowledge?

             The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the need for an open and honest flow of information from our news sources. Americans must have access to critical knowledge about political candidates if they are to make informed voting decisions, and news agencies are obligated to provide honest and unbiased information.

A recent poll indicates that a large percentage of voters would have voted differently if the mainstream media and social media sources had not censored the positive news about Donald Trump and the negative news about Joe Biden. Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center made the following statement. 

It is absolutely unequivocal, the evidence that it was the national news movement that deliberately, and I underscore deliberatively, made it a point not to tell the public about these stories that nobody can question…. And now we’re showing the evidence that it cost Donald Trump the election.

            The Media Research Center selected “eight news stories” considered to be “important topics” that the liberal news media did not cover properly. Of the eight topics, three were negative about the Biden-Harris ticket and five were positive about the Trump administration. Rich Noyes is the research director at the Media Research Center. He indicated in a report that the survey discovered that 17% of citizens voting for Biden would have voted differently “if they had been aware of one or more of these important stories.” Bozell said that “Trump would have won every single contested race in America” if the eight stories would have had accurate reporting and that Trump “would have had at least 311 electoral votes.”

            The survey was completed by the Polling Company, which surveyed 1,750 Biden voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. “The survey found that 82% of people who voted for Biden did not know of at least one of the eight stories.” The report noted the following:

[Tara Reade’s allegations that Biden sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.]

If they had known about Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations, 8.9% told us they would have changed their vote…. By itself, this would have flipped all six of the swing states won by Biden (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) giving the president a win with 311 Electoral College votes.

[Lack of positive reports on the Trump administration’s successes.]

The five pre-election jobs reports from June 5 to October 2 showed a record 11,161,000 jobs were created in the extraordinary snapback from the pandemic recession

Yet, a large number of Biden voters (39.4%) said they didn’t know about this achievement. If they had, 5.4% said they would have changed their vote; this would have swung Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to Trump, who would have won with 295 electoral votes.

[New York Post article on October 14 alleging that an email found on a computer believed to belong to Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, indicated that Hunter introduced his father to a Ukrainian business executive from Burisma, a Ukraine-based natural gas company where Hunter was a member of the board. Also, a business associate said in an interview with Tucker Carlson that he was in meetings with Joe Biden when company business with China was discussed.]

One polling question read, “At the time you cast your vote for president, were you aware that evidence exists, including bank transactions the FBI is currently investigating, that directly links Joe Biden and his family to a corrupt financial arrangements between a Chinese company with connections to the Chinese Communist Party that was secretly intended to provide the Biden family with tens of millions of dollars in profits?”

Among respondents who voted for Biden, 45.1% said they were unaware of this.

Of Biden voters, 9.4% said they wouldn’t have voted for Biden had they known, “flipping all six of the swing states he won to Trump, giving the president 311 electoral votes,” according to the Media Research Center.

“The scandal, I think, points to perhaps the largest scandal in history where the government is concerned where the allegation was that the vice president of the United States was, in fact, lining his pockets with shady business deals with Chinese communist companies,” Bozell said.

The Biden laptop purportedly confirms all of that. So you would have thought that the same media that were going hog wild [during] the Kavanaugh hearings when there was no evidence of it would go crazy over this one.”

            Other themes in the survey included Senator Kamala Harris’ liberal viewpoints, the 33.1% economic growth, and the Middle East peace deals. This report explains a lot about how people could vote for Biden, a candidate who was credibly accused of sexual assault and who was doing business with foreign nations.

Biden voters either did not know because the media kept the information from them, or they did not care because they hated Trump so much. Only repentance will help people who are blinded by hate, but this report shows that lack of information can have a drastic effect on elections. It illustrates the importance of seeking critical knowledge from sources other than the mainstream media.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Did You Accept the Prophet’s Invitation to #GiveThanks?

             Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day 2020. Most Americans know that the first Thanksgiving took place in 1621 with the Pilgrims and the American Natives feasting together, but the first official Thanksgiving was October 3, 1863. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln announced that the nation would celebrate an official Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1863, the fourth Thursday in November. In 1941, Congress adopted Thanksgiving Day as a legal annual national holiday. Between the two official actions, Thanksgiving was observed but not officially as a national holiday.

            As I typed the above information, I found it interesting that the two official acts took place when the nation was in great distress. By 1863, the Civil War had been raging for more than three years. Yet, President Lincoln felt the need for the nation to commemorate an official day of thanksgiving. Europe and Asia were both engulfed in war in 1941, but the United States did not enter the war until after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Yet, Congress decided that the nation should have an annual national holiday to give thanks.

            The United States is not embroiled in another stressful time. COVID-19 came to our shores from China early in 2020. By mid-March, Americans were quarantined to their homes to slow the infections long enough for the medical profession to prepare. Now we are in the ninth month of efforts to avoid infection with the disease that has been related to more than 250,000 deaths in the United States.

            We were doing well until the weather turned cold, and people moved inside. Now the disease is raging through the country once again, and governors are asking/instructing people to isolate as much as possible once again. It seems that the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths just keep going up here in Alaska. Because my husband and I are among the vulnerable population, we have not ventured far from our home since mid-March except for medical and dental appointments. We have not been inside a grocery store since February and have relied on the goodness of our children and friends to do our shopping for us.

            Then, as if 2020 could not get any worse, the presidential election became the victim of fraud. There is clear evidence that fraud took place, but no determination has been made yet about cancelling the election results or overturning them. The nation remains more divided than it has been since the days of the Civil War. Half the nation supported a presidential candidate who would uphold the Constitution, and the other half supported a presidential candidate from a party that wants to change the Constitution. There does not seem to be any middle ground.

            It is under these conditions that Russell M. Nelson, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Lord’s appointed prophet for the world, suggested a way to bring healing to the nation and the world. Before he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Nelson was a world famous cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon and saved many lives with his skills. Now, he is the Prophet and can bless people spiritually. He spoke to members of the Church of Jesus Christ and people worldwide last Friday, November 20, 2020.

As a man of science, and as a man of faith, the current worldwide pandemic has been of great concern to me. As a man of science, I appreciate the critical need to prevent the spread of infection. I also honor the devoted service of healthcare pro-fessionals and grieve for the many whose lives have been upended by COVID-19.

As a man of faith, however, I view the current pandemic as only one of many ills that plague our world, including hate, civil unrest, racism, violence, dishonesty, and lack of civility.

Skilled scientists and researchers are laboring diligently to develop and distribute a vaccine against the coronavirus. But there is no medication or operation that can fix the many spiritual woes and maladies that we face.

There is, however, a remedy – one that may seem surprising – because it flies in the face of our natural intuitions. Nevertheless, its effects have been validated by scientists as well as men and women of faith.

I am referring to the healing power of gratitude….

As a doctor, I know the value of good therapy. So, dear friends, may I prescribe two activities to help us experience the healing power of gratitude.

First, I invite you – just for the next seven days – to turn social media into your own personal gratitude journal. Post every day about what you are grateful for, who you are grateful for and why you are grateful.

At the end of seven days, see if you feel happier and more at peace. Use the hashtag #GiveThanks. Working together, we can flood social media with a wave of gratitude that reaches the four corners of the earth. Perhaps this will fulfill, in part, the promise God gave to Father Abraham, that through his descendants, “all families of the earth [shall] be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)

Second, let us unite in thanking God through daily prayer. Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray by first expressing gratitude to God, and then petitioning Him for the things we need. Prayer brings forth miracles.

            The Prophet then said that he would like to offer a prayer for the world and all the people in it. He invited us to pour out our hearts “in gratitude for the countless blessings God has given [us], and petitioning Him to heal our hearts, our families, our societies and the world at large.” He then offered the following prayer.

Our Father in Heaven, as fellow passengers on Thy planet Earth, we humbly pray unto Thee.  We thank Thee for life and all that sustains life. We thank Thee for the beauties of the earth, for order in the universe, the planets, stars, and all things of eternal significance. We thank Thee for Thy laws that protect and guide us. We thank Thee for Thy mercy and loving watch care. We thank Thee for our families and loved ones, who fill our lives with joy.

We are grateful for all who are striving to combat the COVID pandemic. Please bless them with protection and inspiration. Wilt Thou help us end this virus that has plagued so many of Thy children.

We thank Thee for the leaders of nations and others who strive to lift us. We pray for relief from political strife. Wilt Thou bless us with a healing spirit that unites us despite our differences. 

Wilt Thou also help us repent from selfishness, unkindness, pride and prejudice of any kind, so that we can better serve and love one another as brothers and sisters, and as Thy grateful children. We love Thee, our dear Father, and pray for Thy blessings upon us, in the name of Thy Beloved son, Jesus Christ, amen.

            The Prophet prayed for the world and all the people in it, and he asked us to pray for healing in our hearts, families, societies, and the world. I immediately posted my first note of gratitude and wrote about my gratitude for a living prophet and his counsel. I noticed that my Facebook feed was soon full of posts from many of my friends and family members about people, places, and things for which they are grateful. In one day, the feed changed from one of rancor about the election to one of gratitude for blessings, and it changed my world.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the seventh day for showing gratitude. However, it does not mean that we should stop expressing gratitude for our many blessings. I recognize that some people seem to receive many more blessings than other people do. Nevertheless, I know that God does not leave any of us entirely on our own. He loves us and desires to bless us. One way to access His blessings is to show gratitude for the blessings that we already have. I encourage you to try it! #GiveThanks!

 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

How Did Joe Biden Outperform All Other Elected Presidents?

            The mainstream media has declared Joe Biden to be the president-elect, and GSA is coordinating the transfer of power from Trump to Biden. American citizens are being asked to accept as fact that Joe pulled off an outstanding performance when compared to other elections. There are many questions that should be answered before the formal declaration of an election winner is made, such as the following.

·         How did Joe Biden, a man who spent most of the campaign in his basement, receive a record number of votes – more than any other president-elect in the history of the nation? Donald Trump gained more than 10 million votes over his 2016 victory, but Americans are being asked to believe that Biden’s appeal was even greater. In fact, Americans are expected to believe that Biden’s appeal was so much greater than Barack Obama’s that he received 15 million votes more than the celebrated first black President of the U.S.

·         How did Biden win the election without winning either Florida or Ohio? He is the first person to lose those two states and still win the election.

·         How did Biden win the election and still lose in almost every bellwether county in the nation? No previously elected president has ever done it.

·         How did Biden win the election and still trail Clinton in numbers except in certain Democrat-held cities in the swing states?

·         How did Biden win the election on the same ballot where most other Democrats lost?

·         How did Biden win the election after losing a good portion of the black and Hispanic votes?

The above questions all show that a Biden win was a miraculous accomplishment, something that could only happen with election fraud. There are other questions still hanging around waiting for an answer.

·         Why were the voting machines shut down on election night in only the swing states?

·         Why did all the machines stop at the same time and start again at the same time?

·         Why do Biden and Harris expect Americans to suddenly unify and accept his election? Democrats have never accepted that Trump won in 2016, and they have been causing division and hate in the country for four long rant-filled years?

·         Why should Americans believe that Democrats would run a fair and open election? They started talking about impeachment fifteen minutes after Trump was inaugurated, and they pulled every hoax possible trying to remove him from office.

All the above questions deserve answers, and plausible answers could help Americans

accept the validity of the election. The 74,000,000 Americans who voted for Trump want to know what happened and why. Even though conservatives do not loot stores and burn buildings, no one should expect them to quietly accept a stolen election.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Who Is Willing to Allow the Constitutional Process to Fully Work?

            My VIP for this week is a group of activists who refuse to allow the election to conclude until states get the counts right. Every legal vote should be counted. This coalition of activists – political, economic, and social – are members of the Conservative Action Project. They remain some of the few holdouts for a fair and free election result. As long as there are questions about the fairness and legality of the election and cases being filed in courts, all Americans should allow the Constitutional process to continue.

The mainstream media anointed Joe Biden as the “President Elect” two weeks ago even though millions of ballots remained uncounted in a close election. Democrats have been calling for Biden to be recognized and given appropriate access to national security and taxpayer funds. Republicans – including my own Senator Lisa Murkowski – joined the chorus this week, and today GSA started the proceedings.

However slim it may be, there is still a possibility that enough fraud can be shown to save our nation from a Biden presidency. I am grateful for all American who are standing with President Donald Trump as he strives to determine what happened with this election. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is the founding chairman of the Conservative Action Project. He and more than 100 other leaders in the conservative group signed a letter today. Part of that letter is as follows. 

Ours is a government of laws. Included in those laws are the processes by which elections at every level of government are conducted. The purpose of subjecting the election process to a legal regime is to ensure that results are, and are accepted as, just and accurate. This system works and all Americans should trust it. But, it must be allowed to fully work.

It is not a coup to insist that we follow our election laws. It does not erode the foundations of the republic to remind American citizens that the media does not certify elections. And it is not a stain on our national honor for a candidate to refuse to concede when there are open and compelling disputes about an electoral outcome.

            Becky Norton Dunlop, a former White House adviser to President Ronald Reagan, was one of the people signing the statement. She noted in an email sent to The Daily Signal, “The absolute integrity of each citizen’s legally cast vote for president is at stake in this presidential election.” She added a reminder that the determination of who won the 2000 election took over a month to decide. What is the hurry?