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, April 30, 2011

Faith in Christ

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of His gospel. One of the requirements of salvation is to have faith in Jesus Christ. Faith requires action and gives power to motivate us in our daily lives. Faith has been described as a "hope for things which are not seen, which are true" (Alma 32:21; see also Hebrews 11:1).

We would not study and learn if we did not believe we could gain knowledge and wisdom. We would not work if we did not hope to accomplish something. We would not plant if we did not hope to harvest something. We exercise faith every day when we act upon things we hope for without being able to see the results.

There are numerous examples in the scriptures of great things being accomplished by exercising faith. Acting in faith Noah built an ark and saved his family during the great Flood. (See Hebrews 11:7.) By faith Moses parted the waters of the Red Sea. (See Hebrews 11:29.) With faith Elijah called down fire from heaven. (See 1 Kings 18:17-40.) By faith Nephi called for a famine and then asked God to end the famine. (See Helaman 11:3-5, 9-17.) By the power of faith many miracles have taken place and many prayers have been answered.

Faith is a strong belief of truth that leads us to do good. For faith to be most powerful, it must be centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we trust Him enough to obey Him. With faith in Jesus Christ, we become His obedient disciples, receive forgiveness for our sins, and prepare to return to God's presence. Numerous prophets have taught that there is no one else, no other name in the world that can save us. (See Acts 4:12; 2 Nephi 9:23; Mosiah 3:17.)

When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we will also have faith in Heavenly Father. We will also have faith that They will send the Holy Ghost to teach us all truth, to protect us, and to comfort us.

Many blessings come to those people who exercise faith in Jesus Christ. We can increase our faith in Jesus Christ the same way that we develop any skill. When we study, work and practice at any skill, we improve. The same is true with faith in Jesus Christ. If we want to increase our faith in Jesus Christ, we must work at it.

The first step in building faith in Jesus Christ is the desire to have it. We can increase our faith by praying to Heavenly Father about our hopes, desires, and needs. We cannot expect faith to come simply because we ask for it. We must work to obtain faith even though it eventually comes as a gift from God. We can also increase our faith by hearing the word of God as it is taught at our church meetings and by studying the scriptures.

There is a direct relationship between faith and action. Faith motivates us to act, and then our faith is strengthened by our actions. Many blessings come through the gift of faith: miracles are wrought, angels appear, prayers are answered, and men become the sons of God.

"When faith comes it brings … apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, gifts, wisdom, knowledge, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc. All these appear when faith appears on the earth, and disappear when it disappears from the earth; for these are the effects of faith …. And he who possesses it will, through it, obtain all necessary knowledge and wisdom, until he shall know God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has sent - whom to know is eternal life" (Lectures on Faith [1985], 83).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Solution for Illegal Immigration

I have been very torn about the illegal immigration problem in our nation caused by the failure of our federal government to secure our borders. My feelings have varied from compassion for the good people who come to our country seeking better lives for themselves and their families to fear concerning those who come with a desire to change the very fabric of our society.

Having been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for my entire life and having been taught to honor, obey, and sustain the law of the land, I had a difficult time trying to mesh together the teachings to obey the laws of the land, counsel to have compassion for those who come to our nation illegally, and the idea of rewarding those same law-breakers with amnesty. I certainly did not agree with President Obama's statement that illegal aliens are the same as immigrants who come legally through Ellis Island.

Seeing no common sense in what I was hearing, I went to the Church's web site to read for myself what the Church had to say about dealing with illegal immigrants. I found the following statement, which greatly clarified the situation for me:

"The Church has spoken a number of times about the issue of immigration. Specifically, it has spoken in support of the Utah Compact and has described the package of bills passed by the Utah Legislature, taken together, as `a responsible approach' to the difficult question of immigration reform.
"The Church's position is based on three basic principles: 1) The commandment to `love thy neighbor.' 2) The importance of keeping families intact. 3) The federal government's obligation to secure its borders.
"The Church appreciates the package of bills that the legislature had passed, including House Bill 116. The Church feels that this package was a responsible attempt to address the principles outlined above.
"The February 28 Deseret News editorial, "A Model For The Nation" also accurately reflects the position of the Church regarding immigration reform, including measures that will allow those who are now here illegally to work legally, provide for their families and become better contributing members of our community - but without establishing a path to citizenship or granting amnesty.
"The Church may speak further on this subject if it is necessary to refute any misunderstandings or correct distortions of its views that have found their way into the discussion taking place on this important topic."

The article in the Deseret News entitled "A Model For The Nation," further clarified the situation for me. The article states that Utah may have forged "a comprehensive solution that has eluded Congress and other legislatures. This promising solution will require statesmanship that navigates the many crosscurrents that might exist both within and between the House and the Senate.
"The Utah solution that is emerging would weed out dangerous criminals without overburdening local law enforcement. It would hold employers and employees to account for compliance with the laws. But it would also provide a pragmatic way for hardworking but undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and contribute productively without creating a path to citizenship.
"By being the first state-based initiative to forge a comprehensive solution to the problems associated with illegal immigration, Utah's solution would raise as many important questions as it might answer. And undoubtedly, if implemented, Utah would discover the need to refine and adjust elements of the legislation.
"But these uncertainties that come with any innovation are not reason enough to stall. Utah's pioneering heritage has taught us that there are great rewards to being on the frontier and, that working together, our community can address the most challenging issues with tough, pragmatic and economically prudent solutions."

The newspaper article also included the following statement issued early in the discussion on immigration policy by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the owner of the Deseret News: "Finding a successful resolution will require the best thinking and goodwill of all across the political spectrum, the highest levels of statesmanship, and the strongest desire to do what is best for all of God's children."

I am pleased to know exactly what the Church's position is, especially the clarity it gives about loving our neighbor but also "obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." It appears to me, with my limited understanding of the situation, that the Utah solution may truly be the answer to our national problem with illegal immigration. I can easily understand the impossibility of disentangling all the families who have both illegal aliens and those granted citizenship because they were born in our country. There would be too much social, emotional, and political turmoil if our government even tried to deport the millions of illegal immigrants in our country. Yet, we must do something!

I was very pleased that the Church's statement included "The federal government's obligation to secure its borders." We must secure our borders. I have heard that 35,000 murders have taken place along our southern border because of the evil drug cartels that are operating in the area. Our citizens do not want criminal elements coming into our nation! I personally could accept giving amnesty to those illegal immigrants already here IF our borders were secure enough to keep us from being over-run by even more illegal aliens - such as what happened the last time amnesty was declared in the 1980s.

I now feel confident that there is a way to show compassion to those who are in our nation illegally while also living by the rule of law. I am grateful to know that our Church is led by a prophet of God who can see so clearly through the foggy areas of our earthly life.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Protecting the People

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that a constitution should be written in such a way as to be a permanent protection for the people from the human weaknesses of government leaders. This does not mean that government is responsible to protect us from ourselves or our own bad choices.

The Founders of our nation seemed to understand the principle contained in the following statement written by the Prophet Joseph Smith: "We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion."

The following quotes from some of our Founding Fathers indicate that they understood that the leaders we elect are still mere human beings. Thomas Jefferson stated, "It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights; that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism; free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy, and not confidence, which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power; that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no farther, our confidence may go… In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." ("The Kentucky Resolution of 1798," Annals of America, 4:65-66; emphasis added.)

George Washington also indicated his belief that government was something that had to be tightly controlled by the Constitution when he said, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." (Quoted in Jacob M. Braude's Lifetime Speaker's Encyclopedia, 2 Vols., 1:326.)

James Madison also indicated that he had more faith in the people than in the leaders they choose when he said, "It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices [chains of the Constitution] should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? … If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. [But without controls] in framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself." (The Federalist Papers, No. 51; emphasis added.)

We can see that the Founders were very concerned about controlling the natural tendency of men with power to abuse the rights of the governed. This natural tendency is a permanent part of human nature and it never changes. It is "the nature and disposition of almost all men" to use their power to "exercise unrighteous dominion."

Some of the ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, pp. 119-122.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ann Borden Hopkinson

Nancy (Ann) Borden married Francis Hopkinson, signer of the Declaration of Independence, in Christ Church, Bordentown, on September 1, 1768. She was the daughter of Judge Joseph Borden, a prominent and wealthy citizen of New Jersey who "was proprietor of a boat and stage line running from Philadelphia to New York. He was also an active patriot during the Revolutionary War and a member of the first Revolutionary Convention held in New Brunswick in 1774. Nancy's brother, Captain Joseph Borden, commanded a troop of light horse soldiers for Burlington County.

Nancy was a nice looking, vivacious girl who was well educated and highly accomplished. Nancy was considered to be a good match of the brilliant young Francis. Nancy and her sister Maria were considered to be the most beautiful women of New Jersey. Maria married Thomas McKean, another signer of the Declaration of Independence who later served as governor of Pennsylvania.

Nancy and Francis began their married life in Bordentown where Francis began to practice law. Francis was active in the cause of liberty and served as a member of the Provincial Convention at New Brunswick in 1774. He was elected to be a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress 1776 where he voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence. He later served as Chief Justice of New Jersey.

Francis and Nancy maintained a home in Philadelphia as well as a nice country home in Bordentown. The family lived in Bordentown until 1779 when Francis returned to Philadelphia to be Judge of the Court of Admiralty. Francis was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and appointed to be Judge of the United States District Court for Pennsylvania by President George Washington in 1789.

Francis and Nancy were parents of James, Joseph, Elizabeth, Maria, Thomas, Ann, a second Thomas, Francis, and Sarah Johnson. James and both Thomases died in infancy, but the others all grew to adulthood and married. Francis died in 1791 at age fifty-two, and Nancy died in 1827, surviving her husband for thirty-six years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

American Dream

Is the American dream in jeopardy? The Morning Bell put out by The Heritage Foundation on April 19, 2011, said that the American dream is in jeopardy because large American corporations are "cutting back on their domestic workforces and increasing hiring overseas." This movement is a sign that America has a serious problem in economic freedom.
"Big government policies are setting us on a path away from a fundamental freedom we cherish - one the Founders strove to preserve. It's the freedom to pursue the American dream of `economic freedom' that, tragically, is in jeopardy."
The Morning Bell included the following quote by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. and Matthew Spalding, PhD., previously printed in The Heritage Foundation's "Understanding America" series: "America's founders knew that liberty is about more than just securing political freedoms. True liberty requires economic freedom - the ability to profit from our own ideas and labor, to work, produce, consume, own, trade, and invest according to our own choices. Thomas Jefferson underscored that point when he observed that `a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.'"
The United States is no longer considered to be "free" economically but "mostly free." According to the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom, the United States fell from eighth place to ninth internationally. The lower ranking reflects deteriorating business freedom, trade freedom, government spending, and monetary freedom. Hong Kong is ranked as number one in the world in economic freedom and is followed by Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, and Denmark. Bahrain is in the tenth spot.
According to the Index, "Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state. In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself."
The economic freedom in each nation is measured by ten components with each component receiving a grade. Then the ten component grades are average to obtain the overall economic freedom. The ten components of economic freedom are: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom.
Will the United States continue to fall in economic freedom? Can the American dream survive or will it simply continue to disintegrate?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Francis Hopkinson

Francis Hopkinson, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born at Philadelphia in 1737 of English parents. His mother was the daughter of the Bishop of Worcester; she was well educated and moved in the best circles of England. His father was also well educated, and Francis received every advantage that a good social position could give to him.

Francis was only fourteen years old when his father passed away and his mother left to care for a large family with too little income. Francis received his primary education from his mother until he was prepared to enter the college of Philadelphia. After he left the college, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1765. He traveled to England to visit relatives and to gain more knowledge in 1765. He returned in 1768 and soon married Nancy (Ann) Borden of Bordentown, New Jersey.

Hopkinson was a musician, poet and wit. Leaders in Great Britain recognized his superior talents and appointed him to a "lucrative office" in New Jersey soon after his marriage. He continued in this position until the British could not continue to excuse his words and deeds about republican principles. In 1776 the people of New Jersey elected him to be their delegate to the General Congress. He voted for the Declaration of Independence and "joyfully" signed it.

Francis held the office of Loan Commissioner for several years until he was appointed as Pennsylvania Judge of Admiralty. He held that office until President George Washington appointed him as Pennsylvania District Judge in 1790.

Hopkinson was modest, quiet, and loyal and was considered as a true genius. He was very patriotic and very involved in the cause of liberty, but he seldom engaged in debate.

Judge Hopkinson died in May 1791 at age fifty-two, two hours after an attack of "apoplexy." He left a widow and five children.

Facts are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 85-87.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Unsigned Bills

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.7.2, "If a bill has been presented to the President and he does not sign it or return it to Congress for reconsideration within ten days, then it shall automatically become law." This provision requires the President to do something with a bill within ten days or it will become law automatically. Congress thus has the right to expect their legislation to be handled in a responsible and timely manner.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Happy Easter to all of you! The Easter season is the most sacred part of the year for Christians because it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are all part of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which is the most important event that has ever occurred in all the history of mankind. It has been said that no one really understands their need for the Atonement of Jesus Christ until they understand the Fall of Adam and its effect on all mankind. As part of Heavenly Father's plan of salvation for His children, the Atonement of Jesus Christ was necessary to counteract the effects of the Fall of Adam.

The Fall of Adam brought two kinds of death into the world: physical death and spiritual death. Physical death is the separation of the body and the spirit. Spiritual death is separation from God. The Atonement of Jesus Christ overcame both kinds of death. Without the Atonement, our bodies and spirits would separate at death and never be reunited. Without the Atonement, we would never live with Heavenly Father again.

As a visual for the Fall of Adam, imagine a man falling into a very deep pit. The man tried to climb up the very steep side of the pit but kept slipping back to the bottom. He searched around in the pit and discovered some sticks and poles. He took the scarce materials and made the longest ladder possible with what he had available. He stood the ladder on end and leaned it against the side of the pit. With great excitement, he climbed the ladder to the very top - only to discover that he was still far below the rim of the pit. He knew that he had done all that he could do, and now he understood that he could not save himself. He became very discouraged and resigned himself to being in the pit for the rest of his life. This man represents all mankind after the Fall of Adam.

The man stayed in the pit for a long time. Then one day another man came along the same path and saw the huge pit. He carefully crept to the edge of the pit and looked down into the pit. There he saw the first man sitting in the bottom of the pit. He also saw the ladder leaning against the side of the pit. He recognized that he could save the man by using the rope that he carried and the ladder that the other man had built. He called down to the man and explained his plan. He secured one end of the rope and then threw the other end down to the man. The man in the pit climbed to the top of his ladder and then grabbed the rope. Working together, the man in the pit was able to climb out of the pit. He was very grateful for the man who saved him and remembered him for the rest of his life. This second man represents our Savior and his rope represents the grace of God. As I mentioned earlier, no man, woman or child realizes his or her need for the Savior until he or she recognizes that the Fall of Adam plunged all of us into a very deep pit!

Our loving and wise Heavenly Father prepared a wonderful plan to save us from the effects of the Fall of Adam, which are physical and spiritual death. He planned for a Savior to come to earth to pull mankind out of the "pit" of mortality. This Savior came to redeem us from our sins and from death. We could not redeem ourselves because of our sins and the weaknesses of our mortal bodies. (See Alma 34:10-12.) Jesus Christ was sinless, and He had power over death because He is the Son of God. He is the only one who did not fall into the "pit."

Jesus Christ was the only person who could be our Savior for numerous reasons. The first reason is that Heavenly Father chose Jesus to be the Savior. A second reason is that Jesus was the Only Begotten Son of God; therefore, He was the only one who had power over death. No one could take His life from Him unless He allowed it. A third reason is that He is the only person to live on earth who did not commit any sin. He alone was worthy to make a sacrifice to pay for the sins of others.

I personally do not fully understand how Jesus Christ suffered for all our sins, but I know that He did. I know that He atoned for my sins and for your sins as He suffered in Gethsemane and gave His life on the cross. The weight of our sins caused Him to feel such pain in Gethsemane that He bled from every pore. He suffered through painful death on the cross and died from one of the cruelest methods of death that are known to man.

The suffering of Christ through both physical and spiritual agony shows the great love that both Heavenly Father and Christ have for all mankind. John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Heavenly Father sent His Beloved Son to earth to suffer and then stood back and let His Son suffer. As a parent, having some experience with watching my children suffer great pain, I have some understanding of the great sacrifice Heavenly Father made as He allowed Jesus Christ to atone for the sins of mankind. I believe that it is essential that we understand this truth as well as the fact of Christ's suffering for us. None of us have a right to complain about the suffering we have to endure.

Jesus Christ became the first person to be resurrected when He took up His body again on that third day after His crucifixion. The wonderful news was proclaimed by an angel to Christ's friends, "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6). His spirit re-entered His body and would never separated from it again. By His resurrection, Christ overcame death and made it possible for all mankind to be resurrected also. (See 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.) Just as Jesus was resurrected, our spirits will be reunited with our bodies and will never experience death again. (See Alma 11:45.) All people who have ever lived on earth will be resurrected. (See Alma 11:44.) This condition is called immortality and is a free gift to all mankind from Jesus Christ.

Just as the resurrection of Christ made it possible for all mankind to overcome physical death, the Atonement of Christ made it possible for us to overcome spiritual death. This gift is conditional on our acceptance of Christ's Atonement on our behalf.
We accept Christ's Atonement when we put our faith in Him. We show our faith in Him when we repent of our sins, are baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and obey His commandments. When we do those things, we become His disciples, and we receive forgiveness and cleansing from sin in preparation to return to Heavenly Father's presence to live forever.

President Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve Apostles told a story - a parable - that illustrates how Christ's Atonement made it possible to be saved from sin IF we do all we can do. The parable can be found in Ensign, May 1977, 54-55, but a summary of the parable follows.

There was a man who wanted something, badly enough to go into debt for it. He always knew that he had the debt, but he didn't get around to paying it. Then the bill came due, and the man had nothing to pay it. There was a discussion about justice and mercy. The creditor could not extend mercy to the man and still receive justice. The man was headed to prison for not being able to pay his debt until his friend came to help. The friend paid the creditor and gave him justice. The friend then extended mercy to the debtor. He set the terms for repayment of the debt, terms that were possible but not easy. Justice had been satisfied, and mercy was extended.

When we sin, we go into spiritual debt. Jesus Christ is our Friend who paid our debts and offered us possible terms for repayment. He is our Savior and our Mediator. His terms are repentance and obedience to the commandments. If we keep His terms, we will qualify to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Jesus Christ gave mankind two gifts. The first gift is that we will be resurrected and become immortal. It is given freely to all mankind. The second gift is the Atonement. It gives us eternal life IF we accept the terms offered by Jesus Christ: Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion, receive the Holy Ghost, and keep the commandments for the rest of our lives.

"Behold, I have come unto the world … to save the world from sin.
"Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved" (3 Nephi 9:21-22).

Jesus Christ lives!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Buy Locally

Families, communities, states and nations are strengthened when members, residents, and citizens support each other. We can support each other by purchasing local products as much as possible. I strengthen local farmers when I purchase produce at the Farmers' Market. I strengthen Alaskans whenever I purchase anything marked "Made in Alaska." I strengthen the United States when I purchase items made in the United States.

It seems fairly plain to me that we can strengthen our own nation while at the same time weakening those who are against us simply by buying locally - whether it be food, clothing, home products, or oil. Buying locally may cost more money, but it will also bring strength. I encourage everyone to check the labels and purchase only those items made locally or in your own state and nation.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our Republic

On this Freedom Friday, the topic of discussion is republics. Our pledge of allegiance highlights the form of government in the United States - "I pledge allegiance to the flag Of the United States of America And to the Republic For which it [the flag] stands…."

The Founders desired to set up a Republic for numerous reasons. A pure democracy works well in smaller groups where the masses of people can fully participate in decisions and rules, but democracies become problematic in large groups. The Founders were well aware of the deficiencies of a democracy as evidenced by the following quote by Fisher Ames: "The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be, liberty" (Speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788).

A democracy becomes inefficient and unwieldy in a large population, but a republic can be expanded indefinitely because it governs through representatives. Because our Founders set up our government as a democratic republic, the same Constitution could govern 3,000 or 300,000 or 300 million people. This is the reason why our Constitution has withstood all the attacks on it while the constitutions of many other nations have been changed repeatedly in the same period of time.

James Madison defined a republic as follows: "We may define a republic to be … a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period or during good behavior. It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans and claim for their government the honorable title of republic" (quoted by W. Cleon Skousen in The Five Thousand Year Leap, p 114).

This statement proved to be prophetic when tyrannical governments such as the Communist People's Republic of China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) began to call themselves republics.

Over the past six weeks, many people in nations across the Middle East and northern Africa have marched in protests to their governments. The chant has been "give us a democracy." They do not understand that a democracy can be as evil as an authoritarian government simply by manipulating the vote of the majority. A democratic republic is much different than just a democracy, and our republic has proved the test for well over 200 years!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Elizabeth Montgomery Witherspoon

Elizabeth Montgomery married Rev. John Witherspoon, D.D., future President of Princeton College and future signer of the Declaration of Independence, in Scotland soon after he completed his education at Edinburgh University in 1743. Dr. Witherspoon's biographers described Elizabeth as "a Scotch woman of little education, but whose piety, benevolence, and graciousness made her beloved by all who knew her."

John and Elizabeth were parents of ten children. Elizabeth wanted to stay near her family and friends and discouraged John from accepting an offer to become the President of Princeton College. When Richard Stockton traveled to Scotland in 1768, he was able to convince John to accept the position. The Witherspoon family arrived in Princeton in August 1768, including John, Elizabeth and their five living children: James, John, David, Anna, and Frances.

Elizabeth died in 1789, and her widower married the young (twenty-three years old) widow of Dr. Dill of Philadelphia eighteen months later. This couple apparently had one daughter, but nothing more is known of the second wife or her daughter.

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 139-141.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Financial Problems

I have spent much time trying to understand the financial situation of our nation, but I admit I find it very confusing. I do not know if it is in the best interest of our nation to raise the debt limit or not, but I expect that it is not. I don't know how to bring the governmental spending under control, but I can plainly see that it is necessary. I don't know how to solve the problem of taking care of our elderly, sick, and incapacitated citizens, but I believe that our current entitlement programs must be changed in order that our nation can remain free.

The battle between conservatives in the House of Representatives and liberals/progressives in the Senate and the White House continues day after day. The previous Congress failed to make a budget for FY2011 - one of their main duties. The House of Representatives is working hard to get a budget passed, but the Senate and White House refuse to face the reality that our nation is spending more money than we have.

This morning's newspaper featured a report that Standard & Poor (S&P) sent a warning to national leaders. S&P kept the AAA rating on federal government debt but changed its outlook from stable to negative. This change shows that the ratings agency is doubtful about Washington's ability to take the necessary steps to cut spending and pay debt.

According to the article by Kevin Hall at McClatchy Newspapers, S&P analysts noted the following in their credit report: "The negative outlook on our rating on the U.S. sovereign signals that we believe there is at least a one-in-three likelihood that we could lower our long-term rating on the U.S. within two years." They also commented: "The outlook reflects our view of the increased risk that the political negotiations over when and how to address both the medium- and long-term fiscal challenges will persist until at least after national elections in 2012."

Hall called the action by S&P a "surprise." I find this comment naïve because financial analysts have been warning about such a move. Hall explained that the action "raises the prospect that the United States could be deemed less creditworthy, which would raise the cost of borrowing for government, business and taxpayers alike."

The warning from S&P "sent stocks plunging Monday and crystallized the threat that mounting federal budget deficits and national debt pose to the U.S. financial system and the American way of life."

The same newspaper carried an article by Steven Thomma, also of McClatchy Newspapers, about a national McClatchy-Marist poll. Thomma wrote, "Alarmed by rising national debt and increasingly downbeat about their country's course, Americans are clear about how they want to attack the government's runway budget deficits: raise taxes on the wealthy and keep hands off of Medicare and Medicaid.
"At the same time, they say that the government should not raise the legal debt ceiling, which the government must do soon to borrow more money, despite warnings that failing to do so would force the government into default, credit markets into turmoil and the economy into a tailspin."

The American public seems to be as confused as our leaders. I saw last night a chart showing that 97.30 of federal income taxes are paid by the top 50 percent of taxpayers. In fact, the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers pay only 2.7 percent of the total income taxes. Approximately, 45 percent of workers with income do not pay any income taxes after deductions and some end up receiving more money back from the feds than they actually paid. Many of these same people think that the rich should be paying more taxes plus the social security (FICA) benefits of the poorer workers.

Americans would probably understand the situation much better if Congress, the White House, and the media would give us the truth. This morning I received a letter from The Foundry, published by The Heritage Foundation, signed by Bill Beach, the director of the Center for Data Analysis. The letter is "An Open Letter to Paul Krugman," and it is very direct.

Beach wrote, "Over the past two weeks, you have relentlessly engaged in dishonest, deceptive and factually incorrect critiques of Heritage's recent analysis of the Ryan budget plan, and they need to be addressed. With all of the work good people of every political stripe need to be doing in Washington today, the last thing we all have time for is correcting your typically contrived commentary. But when The New York Times gives you such a platform to spread distortions, they necessitate a response." Beach then proceeded to list each claim and debunk them. I personally was pleased to have someone step forward and force a liberal to face the real truth. You can see the full letter here . I believe that the folks at Heritage Foundation can be trusted to give us the truth. I encourage you to go to and become a member. Heritage is a conservative think tank that helps members of Congress work through the problems of government. I believe that they are worthy of our donations.

The financial situation of this nation is critical and needs to be corrected. I believe that this correction will not take place until Americans - all of us - are willing to "bite the bullet" and face the situation directly. Americans need to become educated about the situation and force our representatives in Congress to do the right thing!

Monday, April 18, 2011

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born on February 5, 1722, in the parish of Yester located near Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a direct descendant of John Knox, the great reformer. His father was a greatly loved minister in the Scottish church in their parish and was very concerned about the education of John. He wanted to make sure that John learned sound moral and religious principles in order to be prepared to be part of the gospel ministry.

John studied at a Haddington school until he entered the University of Edinburgh when he was fourteen years old. He was a diligent student and delighted his father with his interest in sacred literature. He took the regular theological course of study and graduated as a licensed preacher at age twenty-two. Although he was requested to be an assistant to his father in Yester, John chose to accept a call to serve at Beith in western Scotland and labored faithfully there.

While John was serving in the ministry in Beith, the commotion known as the Scotch rebellion took place. In the battle of Falkirk in 1745-46, the forces of George the Second fought the forces of Prince Charles Stuart. John, along with other people, went to watch the battle and witnessed the victory of the rebels. John and several others were taken prisoner and imprisoned for some time in the castle of Doune.

John moved from Beith to Paisley and became widely known for his piety and learning. He was invited to take positions in Dublin (Ireland), Dundee (Scotland), and Rotterdam (Holland) but turned down all the offers. He was invited in 1766 by a unanimous vote of the trustees to become the president of New Jersey College but declined that invitation also as a favor to his wife who wanted to remain in Scotland. John Stockton visited him and urged him to take the position at New Jersey College. He accepted appointment and sailed to America, arriving in August 1768. He was inaugurated as president of the College on August 17, 1768, and embarked on changing the financial affairs of the institution and bringing it to a respected place among American institutions of learning.

The College at Princeton was broken up when the British arrived in New Jersey, and Dr. Witherspoon used his extensive knowledge in other ways. In early 1776, John helped to write a new Constitution for New Jersey under the state's provisional government. People were so impressed with his abilities that he was elected to serve as a delegate to the General Congress where he took his seat on June 29, 1776. When a Declaration of Independence was discussed on July 1, one of the delegates remarked that "the people are not ripe for a Declaration of Independence of Independence." Doctor Witherspoon observed, "In my judgment, sir, we are not only ripe, but rotting." He was convinced on the need to become independence; he voted for the acceptance of the Declaration of Independence and signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776.
Witherspoon was a member of the General Congress from 1776 until 1782 (except for part of 1780) and was rarely absent from attending. He served on important committees and given delicate commissions. His colleagues were amazed at the versatility of his knowledge in both military and financial matters.

When peace was restored in 1783, Doctor Witherspoon retired from public life but maintained his ministerial duties. He lent his name and influence in the effort to resuscitate the College. Even though he considered the trip a waste, he consented to go to Great Britain to solicit funds for the college but was able to collect barely enough to pay for the expenses of his voyage.

Doctor Witherspoon was married twice. He married Elizabeth Montgomery in Scotland soon after he graduated from the University of Edinburgh. The couple had ten children, five of whom died in Scotland; three sons and two daughters accompanied their parents to America. Eighteen months after Elizabeth died in 1789, Dr. Witherspoon married the young widow of Dr. Dill of Philadelphia, age twenty-three, with whom he had one daughter.

About two years before his death, Dr. Witherspoon became blind, but he did not relinquish his duties of the ministry. After being helped to the pulpit, he presented his message with his usual vigor.

"As a theological writer, Doctor Witherspoon had few superiors, and as a statesman he held the first rank. In him were centred the social elements of an upright citizen, a fond parent, a just tutor, and humble Christian…." He passed away on November 10, 1794, at age seventy-two, after a very useful life.

Facts and quotes are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 81-84.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vetoed Bills

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.7.2, "After due consideration of the President's objections, both houses may vote on the bill again. If two-thirds of both the House and the Senate approve the bill, then it shall become law without the President's signature. However, the name and vote of each Senator and Representative shall be entered in the journals of their respective houses." This provision gives Congress three options for a vetoed bill: 1) Kill the bill; 2) Amend the bill and send it back to the President; 3) Override the President's veto by a two-thirds vote in both houses. This provision also protects the people by requiring that bills have at least two-thirds of their elected representatives in Congress pass the bill as well as keeping accurate records of their names and votes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Christ's Church Today

Jesus Christ established His true Church while He lived on earth. He wanted everyone to have the truths of His gospel and to receive the ordinances of it. He organized His Church in order that those truths and the ordinances could be administered with proper authority. It was through this organization that Christ could bring the blessings of salvation to all mankind.

After Christ ascended into heaven men started changing the ordinances and doctrines of His gospel. The Apostles were killed, exiled, or otherwise incapacitated, and apostasy took place. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.) Because of the apostasy, there was no direct revelation from God, and the true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer on the earth. Other men organized different Churches and claimed them to be the true Church of Christ, but they taught conflicting doctrines. This brought much confusion and contention over religion.

Ancient prophets foretold that the apostasy would take place and that the Lord's Church would be restored in the latter days. Christ told Isaiah, "I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and wonder" (Isaiah 29:14).

People lived in spiritual darkness for many years. About 1700 years after the time of Christ, people started to search for truths about God and religion. By careful study of the scriptures, people could see that the gospel of Christ was no longer upon the earth. Some realized that there was no revelation or true authority on earth. The time had arrived for the Church of Jesus Christ to be restored to earth.

One of the most important events in the history of the world happened in the spring of 1820 because it was time for the marvelous work and wonder spoken of by Isaiah to take place. Joseph Smith was searching for the true Church of Jesus Christ and went into the woods near his home to pray. With humility and real intent to know the truth, he asked Heavenly Father which church he should join.

In answer to his humble prayer, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared personally to Joseph Smith. The Savior told Joseph that he should join none of the churches because the true church was not on the earth. He also said that the creeds of the various churches presently on earth were "an abomination in his sight" (Joseph Smith-History 1:19; see also verses 7-18, 20). After this visit from the Father and the Son, there was direct revelation from heaven once more. The Lord chose a new prophet and the heavens opened again. Joseph was chosen to help restore the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and each of the chosen prophets continue to receive revelation to this day.

As part of the restoration of the gospel, God gave the priesthood to men once again. John the Baptist conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829. (See Doctrine and Covenants 13; 27:8.) Later Peter, James, and John, who composed the office of the presidency of the Church in ancient times, came to Joseph and Oliver and gave them the Melchizedek Priesthood and the keys of the kingdom of God. (See Doctrine and Covenants 27:12-13.) Additional keys of the priesthood were restored later by other heavenly messengers such as Moses, Elias, and Elijah. (See Doctrine and Covenants 110:11-16.) The priesthood was returned to earth. Men who hold this priesthood today hold the authority to perform ordinances of the gospel such as baptism as well as to direct the Lord's work on earth.

Under the direction of the Savior, His Church was organized on earth again on April 6, 1830. (See Doctrine and Covenants 20:1.) His Church is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (See Doctrine and Covenants 115:4.) Jesus Christ stands at the head of His Church today just as He did in ancient days. Jesus Christ Himself has said that this Church is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased" (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30).

Joseph Smith was sustained as prophet and "first elder" when the Church was first organized. He was sustained as President when the First Presidency was organized. The framework of the Church was set up when it was first organized. As the Church grew, the organization of the Church continued to develop.

The Church was organized after the pattern of the ancient church. It has the same offices in the priesthood as were in the ancient church, including apostles, prophets, seventies, evangelists (patriarchs), pastors (presiding officers), high priests, elders, bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons.

Acting under the direction of the Lord, a prophet leads the Church today. He is also the President of the Church and holds all the necessary authority to direct the Lord's work on earth. (See Doctrine and Covenants 107:65, 91.) Two counselors assist the President. The Twelve Apostles are special witnesses of the name of Jesus Christ who teach the gospel and regulate the affairs of the Church all over the world. Other general officers of the Church have special assignments, such as the Quorums of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric. They serve under the direction of the First Presidency and the Twelve.

Because the Church is much larger than in the days of Christ, He has revealed additional units of Church organization. Wherever the Church is fully organized in an area, the local divisions are called stakes. Each stake is presided over by a stake president and two counselors. They are assisted by twelve high counselors. Priesthood quorums are organized under the direction of the stake president. Each stake is divided into wards. Each ward is presided over by a bishop and two counselors. Districts and branches, similar to stakes and wards, are organized in developing areas of the Church.

The Church today teaches the same principles and performs the same ordinances as were performed in the time of Christ. The first principles and ordinances of the gospel are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. (See Article of Faith 1:4.)

Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, which contains the plain and precious truths of the gospel, through the gift and power of God. He received other revelations, which are recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Some of those important truths include the following: 1) Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real beings with tangible, perfected bodies of flesh and bones. The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. 2) We existed as spiritual children of God in a premortal life. 3) The priesthood is necessary to administer the ordinances of the gospel. 4) We will be punished for our own sins and not for Adam's transgression. 5) Children do not need baptism until they are accountable and are at least eight years old. 6) There are three kingdoms of glory in the heavens. People will be rewarded according to the desires of their hearts and according to their actions. 7) Through the sealing power of the priesthood, family relationships can be eternal. 8) Ordinances and covenants are required for salvation and are available for both the living and the dead.

The Church of Jesus Christ will never be taken from the earth again. Its mission is to take the truth to every person on earth. There are now members of the Church in almost every nation on earth.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Family Prayer

Family prayer strengthens families, and the strongest families I know hold regular family prayer. There is an old saying that families who pray together stay together. It is true that families who do many things together stay together - whether it is eating dinner together, playing together or anything positive - but family prayer keeps families together even when they are far apart physically.

When the Savior visited His people on the American continent, he counseled them: "Pay in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed" (3 Nephi 18:21).

Praying together as families helps to bring family members together in their desire to know and follow the will of God. Prayer unites families in their goals and in their communication. Praying together as families teaches children the importance of prayer and helps them feel comfortable saying their own personal prayers in times of need.

President Thomas S. Monson shared the following: "A prominent American judge was asked what we as citizens could do to reduce crime and disobedience to law and to bring peace and contentment into our lives and into our nations. He carefully replied, `I would suggest a return to the old-fashioned practice of family prayer.'
"As a people, aren't we grateful that family prayer is not an out-of-date practice with us? There is no more beautiful sight in all this world than to see a family praying together. There is real meaning behind the oft-quoted `The family that prays together stays together.'" (See "Come unto Him in Prayer and Faith," Ensign, March 2009, 5.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Atlas Shrugged

The topic of discussion for this Freedom Friday is the principle that man must be free to think and act for himself. When man lives under too many regulations and excessive legislation, he is limited in his abilities and thus loses freedom and liberty.

I recently read Ayn Rand's classic novel entitled Atlas Shrugged for the first time. Published in 1957, it continues to generate inspiration and controversy. The theme of the book is the importance of individual achievement in society, and the goal of the book is to "demonstrate what can happen when individual achievement is undervalued, suppressed, and demonized." It "celebrates limited government, free markets, and individual liberty." The plot has all the necessary ingredients for a good reading experience, including drama, friendship, intrigue, mystery, romance, and science fiction.

The heroine, Dagny Taggart, is the owner and operator of an intercontinental railroad. She is intelligent, courageous, and beautiful, and she lives life on her own terms and according to her own principles and values. Henry Rearden, a steel magnate, is an industrialist who works to improve the quality of everyone's lives, and he works according to his own principles and values. He dares to declare, "My goal is to make money," and he says it with pride. The villains are evil as they subvert and undercut talent and achievement in their efforts to bring the populace under their control.

I was pleased to learn that a new film entitled Atlas Shrugged, Part I will be released on April 15, 2011. According to Matt Kibbe from FreedomWorks, "The film is set in a not-so-distant future in which government has taken control of the means of production, bureaucrats have imposed harmful regulations on business, and turmoil in the Middle East has sent oil prices skyrocketing. Sound familiar?" The movie is opening in 300 theaters nationwide and will be sent to others on demand.

I found the book interesting and enjoyable to read, and I was continually pulled back to the story. On a deeper level, I found the book really intriguing because it seems to be describing the day in which we live. Although the story is set in the near future, it seems to be built upon things of the past. For example, the major source of transportation seems to be railroads although air travel is available and people own private airplanes. Another example is the use of telephone booths and typewriters rather than the cell phones and computers of our day. It does, however, depict accurately a government that is out of control, one that attempts to control all people, regulate all industries, and nationalize everything. There is apparently a one-world order similar to that which progressives of our day are moving us toward. The book clearly illustrates how progressive ideas and progressive principles steadily erode the liberties of the people.

Under the oppressive governmental control, people are told to stop thinking and are urged to simply obey orders and let the government take care of all their needs. This sounds so much like our country today! Through the controls of taxes and regulations, the government takes from the producers and gives to the non-producers.

I found the following statement - made by the evil Dr. Floyd Ferris, a government leader - to be very interesting. It explains clearly why our current government has to take so many pages to make a law - such as Obamacare. "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? … We want them broken…. We're after power and we mean it…. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt." (436)

A certain group of producers, movers and shakers understands what the government is doing. They do not agree with the government slogan: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." They do not agree with the programs of the government that take from those who work and give it to those who do not work. They also recognize that the "takers" or "looters" do not appreciate the efforts of the "producers."

The people in the book considered "money to be the root of all evil," and one of the characters, Francisco d'Anconia, explained: "Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them…. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil? (410)
"…Money is made - before it can be looted or mooched - made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced. (411)
"… But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality - the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.
"Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants: money will not give him a code of values…. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent….
"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth - the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him…. (412)
"Let me give you a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.
"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil….
"But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it….
"… But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law - men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims - then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them…..
"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed…. (413)
"To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money - and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-contrast, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being - the self-made man - the American industrialist.
"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose… the fact that they were the people who created the phrase `to make money.' … Americans were the first to understand the essence of human morality. (414)
"… Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns - or dollars. Take your choice - there is no other - and your time is running out." (415)

The "producers" are denounced for their virtues, hated for their achievements, scorned for their "qualities of character," selfish for "acting on your own judgment and bearing sole responsibility for your own life," arrogant for having an "independent mind," cruel for integrity, anti-social for "vision," ruthless for "strength and self-discipline," greedy for "power to create wealth." They are also considered to be "parasites, robbers, exploiters, and vulgar materialists."

Industrialists are hated because they produce industry - so they stop producing. Employers are hated because they are the bosses - so they stop having employees. Businessmen are considered evil - so they stop running businesses.

John Galt is the first man to go on strike against the government, and he threatens to stop the "motor" that runs the government. He gradually convinces other men and women of principle to join him in the strike, and they simply disappear from society. Among those who join John Galt are the following: a famous actress, an important banker, a judge, a brain surgeon, an oil tycoon, a coal producer, a copper producer, a steel producer, and eventually a railroad owner.

When the "producers" no longer produce, the country starts to fall apart - no food is being delivered to the stores and buildings, machines, telephone lines, and railroads began to fall apart. Eventually the lights go out in the nation. After the nation was completely destroyed by the progressives, then the self-exiled producers began to rebuild America as it once was, only better.

Atlas Shrugged confirmed in my mind the importance of stopping the progressive agenda now - before the nation is completely destroyed. I recommend this book to everyone who has any desire at all to understand how progressive principles or the rule of man will destroy America or any other nation. I also recommend that you make every effort to see the movie.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Annis Boudinot Stockton

Annis Boudinot married Richard Stockton, a future signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1762. He was a "prominent young lawyer", and she was a "woman of far more than ordinary intellectual ability and of a high character and patriotic spirit that made her a fitting companion…."

Annis descended from French Huguenot lines, and her family came to America about 1686. Her father was Elias Boudinot, a silversmith in Princeton. Her brother, Elias, "studied law in the office of Richard Stockton and married his sister, Hannah Stockton.

Richard owned a large estate inherited from his father and had a successful law business at the time of his marriage. Annis apparently "added materially" to his estate when he married her and took her home to "Morven," a beautiful Colonial home near Princeton. "Morven" had a reputation for being a hospitable gathering place for many of the intellectuals of the day.

Richard and Annis became parents of two sons and four daughters. One of their daughters, Julia, married Dr. Benjamin Rush, another signer of the Declaration of Independence.
The Stockton family was living at "Morven" when Richard was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress. While he was in Baltimore, the British, under the direction of Cornwallis, invaded Princeton in 1776. Annis hid quite a few important state papers and the rolls and records of the American Whig Society of Princeton College. For this act of courage she was adopted as a member of the Society.

Richard hurried home to move his family about thirty miles to safety, and then he returned to Princeton to spend the night with a friend. While the two friends were sleeping, a group of Tories took the two half-naked men to prison. Richard was first taken to Amboy and then moved to New York City. He was deprived of many comforts and even went without some necessities of life. He was deprived of food for twenty-four hours and then given food that was coarse and far from enough.

When Annis learned of Richard's situation, she contacted Congress. General Howe was told that British prisoners would be retaliated against if Mr. Stockton did not receive better treatment. Even though he received better treatment, his health had already been damaged by the abusive treatment.

"The British plundered his beautiful home, burned his splendid library and papers, and drove off his stock, much of which was blooded and highly valuable." The "devastation of his estate" and the "depreciation in value of the Continental currency" caused an embarrassed Stockton to apply for temporary assistance from his friends. He became so depressed about his situation that he died prematurely in 1781 at age 50.

Annis, three years younger than Richard, stayed at "Morven" until her son, Richard, married and inherited the estate. She and her youngest daughter, Abigail, moved to another residence in Princeton. Annis was "well known throughout the Revolution for her patriotic verse."

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Geert Wilders, Dutch Parliamentarian, spoke recently in Rome about the need to fight against multiculturalism in order to defend liberty in the West. The topic of Wilders' presentation at the Annual Lecture of the Magna Carta Foundation in Rome, Italy, on March 25, 2011, was "The Failure of Multiculturalism and How to Turn the Tide." His remarks echoed recent remarks by European leaders Angela Merkel (Germany), Nicholas Sarkozy (France), and David Cameron (Great Britain).

Wilders began his remarks by reminding his audience that Rome, along with Athens and Jerusalem, is the cradle of our Western civilization - "the most advanced and superior civilization the world has ever known." He said that Western civilizations share the same Judeo-Christian culture - different branches of one culture and not different cultures. He described multiculturalism as "a specific political ideology" that "advocates that all cultures are equal. If they are equal, it follows that the state is not allowed to promote any specific cultural values as central and dominant. In other words: multiculturalism holds that the state should not promote a leitkultur, which immigrants have to accept if they want to live in our midst."

Wilders quoted Will Durant, a famous American historian who wrote, "A great civilization cannot be destroyed from outside if it has not already destroyed itself from within."

Wilders then compared multiculturalism and its effect on Western civilization to the fall of the Roman Empire 16 centuries ago. "In the 5th century, the Roman Empire fell to the Germanic Barbarians. There is no doubt that the Roman civilization was far superior to that of the Barbarians. And yet, Rome fell. Rome fell because it had suffered a loss of belief in its own civilization. It had lost the will to stand up and fight for survival.
"Rome did not fall overnight. Rome fell gradually. The Romans scarcely noticed what was happening. They did not perceive the immigration of the Barbarians as a threat until it was too late. For decades, Germanic Barbarians, attracted by the prosperity of the Empire, had been crossing the border.
"At first, the attraction of the Empire on newcomers could be seen as a sign of the cultural, political and economic superiority of Rome. People came to find a better life which their own culture could not provide. But then, on December 31st in the year 406, the Rhine froze and tens of thousands of Germanic Barbarians crossed the river, flooded the Empire and went on a rampage, destroying every city they passed. In 410, Rome was sacked."

Wilders then quoted Winston Churchill from his book The River War as warning that believers of Islam were "threatening Europe just as the Barbarians had once threatened Rome." Churchill wrote, "Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. No stronger retrograde force exists in the World. […] The civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome."

Wilder continued by explaining, "Our opponents are keenly aware of our weakness. They realize that the pattern which led to the fall of Rome, is at play today in the West…." He then quoted a former Turkish Prime Minister, a Hamas cleric, a former Jordanian Minister of Religion, and an imam of a mosque as saying some variation of "Islam will conquer Rome" - meaning the Western world.

Wilder made the following four suggestions on how to keep our Western civilization free from Sharia law: 1) Defend freedom of speech; 2) End cultural relativism and re-assert our belief in the superiority of Western culture compared to Islamic culture; 3) Stop the Islamization of the West because "more Islam means less freedom"; and 4) Restore the supremacy and sovereignty of the nation-state.

This is a very interesting talk that should be read by all citizens of Western nations. I encourage - and even plead with - you to read it if you can find it. I originally found it in an article by Andrew G. Boston at on March 26, 2011, but it is no longer there. I later discovered it here .

European leaders Angela Merkel (Germany), Nicholas Sarkozy (France), David Cameron (Great Britain), and Geert Wilders (Netherlands) now understand the dangers of multiculturalism and are attempting to stop the hordes of people who are invading them from the Middle East and northern Africa. Is it too late for European nations to save their cultures? Will America follow them down the same path to Sharia law and destruction of the Western way of life or will Americans listen and learn from the Europeans? If we want to save our nation from the invasions of people who are attempting to destroy our freedoms and the cause of liberty, we must wake up and elect different leaders.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Richard Stockton

The great-grandfather of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, emigrated from England some time in the 1660-1670 period of time and settled on Long Island in New York. He later moved into New Jersey and purchased a nice tract of land near Princeton where he joined a few other people in building a new settlement.

Richard was born on the Stockton manor on October 1, 1730. He took a college preparatory course at a Maryland academy for two years and then entered New Jersey College at Newark. He graduated in 1748 and began studying law in Newark. He was admitted to the bar in 1754 and did so well that in 1763 he received the degree of sergeant-at-law, the highest degree taken in England in the common law and recognized in the American Colonies.

Stockton traveled to London in June 1766 to live for fifteen months and to improve his legal abilities. He spent much of his time observing the higher courts in London. He was also received with respect by the most important men in England. Through his efforts in England, New Jersey College received much patronage, for which they gratefully acknowledged his work. Since the British people were so interested in the affairs in the American colonies, Richard received many invitations to visit distinguished English homes. He spent a week at the country seat of the Marquis of Rockingham, the Earl of Leven and other noblemen in Edinburgh, and a Doctor Witherspoon at Paisley. Stockton convinced John Witherspoon to move to the American Colonies to be the president of New Jersey College. Witherspoon joined Stockton in signing the Declaration of Independence. (See my post on March 19, 2011.)

Richard returned to America in September 1767 and was lovingly escorted to his residence by the people. In 1768 he became a member of the royal executive council of New Jersey and was given a seat on the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1774. Even though Richard was wealthy and was personally honored by the King, he understood that principles were more important than self-interest and so joined the cause of liberty.

Stockton was elected to the General Congress in 1776 and joined the debate about independence. At first, he was doubtful as to the need to declare independence, but he was convinced of the expediency by the comments of other delegates, particularly the conclusive arguments of John Adams. He voted in favor of the Declaration of Independence and joyfully signed the document.

In September 1776, he tied for votes for Governor of New Jersey, but the position went to a Mr. Livingston. He was elected as Chief Justice of New Jersey but declined the position to return to the General Congress.

Following a trip with George Clymer to General Schuyler and the northern army, Richard quickly moved his family to prevent their capture by the British army, which was pursuing General George Washington and his army across New Jersey. He moved his family about thirty miles to the house of a friend, but he was betrayed by a neighbor there and captured by some refugees. He spent some time as a prisoner and was treated harshly because he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Stockton's hardships weakened his spirits, and he became despondent when he saw the vandalism to his estate by the British and the devaluing of the continental paper currency. After a fight with cancer in his neck, he died on February 28, 1781, at age 51.

Facts came from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 77-80.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Presidential Objections

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.7.2, "If the President does not approve of a bill, he shall return it, with his objections, to that house from which it originated, and the objections of the President shall be entered in the journal of that house." This provision allows the President to veto and send back any bill that he does not approve of, and it also gives Congress the right to keep an official record of the Presidential concerns.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Former-day Christians

Jesus established His church while he was upon the earth. He called His church the Church of Jesus Christ. The members of His church were called Saints (Ephesians 2:19-20). He received His instructions from His Father in Heaven. He then personally instructed and directed the leaders of His church. His church was directed by God and not by men. The Savior taught his followers that He would build His church on the "rock" of revelation (Matthew 16:16-18).

Jesus continued to guide His church after He ascended into heaven. He sent the Holy Ghost to the members of His church to comfort them and to reveal information to them (Luke 1:12; John 14:26). He visited Saul in a vision (Acts 9:3-6). He taught Peter that the gospel was for the world and not just the Jews. The New Testament shows many ways that Jesus revealed His will for guidance to His Church and enlightenment of its members. The book of Revelation is a record of many glorious truths that were revealed to John.

Jesus received authority to organize His church from His Father (Hebrews 5:4-6). Then He ordained His Apostles and gave them the power and authority of the priesthood to direct the work of the ministry. Jesus organized His church very carefully. He compared the church to a properly constructed building. He said that He was the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20) and that the Apostles and prophets were the foundation. Seventies were called to assist the Twelve Apostles and to do missionary work. Other people were called to the work of the ministry.

The Church of Jesus Christ had two basic principles: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. After converts had faith that Jesus was the Son of God and the Savior of the world and repented of their sins, they received two ordinances - baptism by immersion and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:1-6).

Jesus taught that both the living and the dead needed the gospel ordinances in order to enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5) and that the living could perform the ordinances for those who had died (1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6; 1 Corinthians 15:29).

The New Testament shows that the church organization was intended to continue as Christ had established it. When Judas died, Matthias was chosen to be the twelfth Apostle, thus continuing the pattern of the church being led by twelve Apostles.

Evil people have always tried to destroy the work of God. Even while the Apostles were living, false ideas and beliefs crept into the church. Some people openly rebelled at the teachings. Church members were persecuted, tortured and killed for their beliefs. The Apostles were killed one by one or otherwise taken away. The authority and priesthood keys given to the Apostles were taken from the earth because of wickedness, and the church organized by Jesus Christ ceased to exist on the earth. Pagan beliefs replaced the teachings of Christ, and the predicted Great Apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) came into being. God had foreseen the Apostasy and made preparations to restore His gospel to the earth again at a later day (Revelation 14:6).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Doctrine of Family

Families are strengthened when parents, teachers, and youth leaders teach the doctrine of the family to the rising generation. The youth of today will be the leaders and hope of tomorrow; therefore, they must have good understanding of the doctrine of the family.

There are several principles that the rising generation must understand: They need to understand that the family unit is under attack in many different ways. They need to understand the threats in order to know what they are fighting against as well as to prepare for the battle. They need to understand that the commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth" given to Adam and Eve has not been rescinded but remains in force on earth today. They need to clearly understand that doctrine of family comes from Christ; therefore, any teaching, principle, or doctrine that is anti-family is also anti-Christ.

The doctrine of the family is based on the three pillars of eternity: the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This doctrine is found in the scriptures, in the family proclamation, and in the teachings of latter-day prophets and apostles.

Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, stated the following pertaining to this subject, "The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was part of Heavenly Father's plan that Adam and Eve be sealed and form an eternal family.
"The Fall provided a way for the family to grow. Adam and Eve were family leaders who chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.
"The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. The rising generation needs to understand that the main pillars of our theology are centered in the family."

The doctrine of eternal families is the doctrine of Jesus Christ. It was restored to earth in our day by the Prophet Joseph Smith. "Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
"And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
"If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming." (See Doctrine and Covenants 2:1-3.)

Beck quoted the above scripture and then continued, "This scripture is talking about temple blessings - ordinances and covenants without which `the whole earth [is] utterly wasted.
"`The Family: A Proclamation to the World' was written to reinforce that the family is central to the Creator's plan. Without the family, there is no plan; there is no reason for mortal life."

The proclamation on the family begins: "We … proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." It continues in defining and explaining the relationships and responsibilities included in family life. (See "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129.)

The family is central to God's plan for His children. Is it any wonder then that Satan and his powers of darkness are attacking the family on all fronts in an effort to destroy the family unit? There is evidence all around us that the importance of family is decreasing: falling marriage rates, rising marriage ages, increasing divorce rates, out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births, increasing abortions, lower birthrates.

In addition, there is still inequality between spouses in many marriages as well as cultures that condone and practice abuse among family members. Many people put their careers before marriage and family. Because of the bad examples of adults, many of our rising generation have lost confidence in marriage and family relationships.

Many youth do not have the social skills to form family units. They are so busy texting, using social networks, and other means of technology that they do not learn to enjoy personal social experiences.

According to Beck, "We also face the problem that we read about in Ephesians 6:12: `For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.' Public policies are being made every day that are antifamily, and the definition of family is changing legally around the world. Pornography is rampant… [and targeting] young women. Parents are being portrayed as inept and out of touch. Antifamily media messages are everywhere. Youth are being desensitized about the need to form eternal families."

The doctrine of the family must be taught to the rising generation, and the key points of the doctrine must be emphasized. I believe that we are now seeing that generation spoken of by President Spencer W. Kimball when he stated, "Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us….
"… There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence….
"We … should not be taken in by the specious arguments that the family unit is somehow tied to a particular phase of development a moral society is going through. We are free to resist those moves which downplay the significance of the family and which play up the significance of selfish individualism. We know the family to be eternal." (See Ensign, Nov. 1980, p. 4.)

In order to prepare the rising generation, parents, teachers and leaders of youth must clearly teach the doctrine of family. Knowing and understanding the doctrine of family will strengthen youth as well as their families.

Ideas and quotes are from Julie B. Beck, "Teaching the Doctrine of the Family," Ensign, March 2011, pp 12-17.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

God-given Right to Govern

The topic of discussion for this Freedom Friday is the principle of liberty that the God-given right to govern is vested in the people. God gave mankind agency and the responsibility to govern self. People have the divine right to govern themselves and exercise the power to select and/or depose their leaders. The leaders should understand that they are merely servants and are responsible to represent the will of the people as a whole. Some of our leaders in Washington appear to believe that they have a right to "their" seat in Congress. We must make sure that they understand that it is not "their" seat but the "people's seat." When an elected or appointed official misuses the authority of the people and forms an abusive type of government, the people have the authority to "alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government…." (Declaration of Independence).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mary Walton Morris

Mary Walton married Lewis Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1749. She came from a well-known family of merchants in New York City. The family business was started by her grandfather, William Walton, and continued after his death by her father, Jacob Walton, and his brother William. Her mother was Maria Beekman, daughter of Dr. Gerardus Beekman. According to James Grant Wilson's History of New York City, the "most historic family of merchants was that of Walton, whose wealth was cited in parliament to show the wealth of the Province."

Mary was a very capable, well-trained, and thrifty housewife in spite of her wealth and social position. She was an active partner with her husband in rural life when he inherited the family manorial estate of Morrisania. Mary and Lewis were parents of ten children: Lewis, Jacob, William, James Staats, Richard V., Catharine, Mary, Sarah, and Helena. Their three oldest sons served with honor and great credit in the Revolutionary Army.

Even though the Walton's large property was close to New York City and would probably suffer from war, Lewis encouraged leaders in New York to resist British efforts to encroach on the rights of the people. When he signed the Declaration of Independence, he became a marked man. His family fled to safety, but his estate was nearly destroyed with his house ruined, his farm wasted, his cattle driven away and his forest of a thousand acres destroyed.

Lewis retired from Congress in 1777 and was succeeded by his brother, Gouverneur Morris. Lewis, however, continued to be active in public affairs as a member of the state legislature and in the field with the state militia. After the Revolutionary War ended and the British left America, the Morris family returned to Morrisania and "cheerfully" worked to return the nearly ruined estate to resemble a home.

Mary Walton Morris and Lewis Morris were both laid to rest in the family vault located at St. Ann's Church (Episcopal), St. Ann's Avenue and 40th Street, Bronx, New York.

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 126-132.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Out of Control

Do you have the feeling that world-wide events are cascading over us and spiraling out of control? It seems that we are barely able to process one event before another one or two or more comes rolling over us. There is much chaos, disorder, and darkness in the world around us.

The Middle East continues to experience unrest in country after country, and the area is literally on fire. 1) NATO is now in control of the no-fly-zone part of operations against Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya, and French and British jets are bombing military targets there as I write this. Al Qaeda admitted that they are part of the protesters, and they have been reportedly "snatched" missiles from storehouses in Libya. Why is our government even considering the idea of sending arms to help the protesters - who are being support by Al Qaeda? We have already declared war on Al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan! 2) Syrian troops are firing on protesters in several cities as both pro-government and anti-government mobs clash on the streets of the nation's capital. 3) Protesters in Jordan demanding reforms clashed against government supporters in the center of the nation's capital. The two groups were throwing stones at each other until security forces began to beat the protesters. More than one hundred people were injured in this clash. 4) Yemen's long-time ruler has said that he is ready to step down from power if he can leave the country in "safe hands."
5) Tear gas was fired at anti-government protesters in response to a prominent Shiite cleric vow that protesters would not be silenced by "brutal force." 6) In eastern Saudi Arabia, several hundred Shiite Muslims protested to show support for Shiites protesting the Sunni monarchy in Bahrain. The protesters want detainees released and the Saudi government to withdraw troops from Bahrain. 7) In "democratic" Egypt, the military are forcing female protesters to undergo "virginity tests." 8) Other nations in the Middle East and northern Africa continue to have "days of rage" and problems with protests.

In addition, problems are happening elsewhere: 9) Anarchy is taking place in the United Kingdom as 500,000 people march in London to protest budget cuts. 10) The Canadian government has failed. 11) Economic problems continue to plague many nations. 12) Japan is dealing with increasing amounts of radioactivity in their food and seawater and ordering bottled water for infants under one year old. 13) We have breaking news about a government operation that allowed US weapons to be smuggled into Mexico. An investigation into this operation was started after two weapons were found at the site where US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout in December 2010. 14) Wisconsin conservatives continue their battle to bring their budget under control by limiting the rights of unions there. Clashes continue to take place between conservatives and progressives on many levels of government. 15) Earthquakes shake the earth from time to time, and volcanoes are reacting to the added stress.

Where can we find peace? Where is our safety? After the attacks on our nation on September 11, 2001, and at the very moment that word came about the war starting in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, President Gordon B. Hinckley said,
"Now we are at war. Great forces have been mobilized and will continue to be. Political alliances are being forged. We do not know how long this conflict will last. We do not know what it will cost in lives and treasure. We do not know the manner in which it will be carried out….
"Now, all of us know that war, contention, hatred, suffering of the worst kind are not new. The conflict we see today is but another expression of the conflict that began with the War in Heaven. I quote from the book of Revelation:
"`And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
"`And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
"`And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
"`And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of his Christ (Rev. 12:7-10).'
"That must have been a terrible conflict. The forces of evil were pitted against the forces of good. The great deceiver, the son of the morning, was defeated and banished, and took with him a third of the hosts of heaven.
"The book of Moses and the book of Abraham shed further light concerning this great contest. Satan would have taken from man his agency and taken unto himself all credit and honor and glory. Opposed to this was the plan of the Father which the Son said He would fulfill, under which He came to earth and gave His life to atone for the sins of mankind.
"From the day of Cain to the present, the adversary has been the great mastermind of the terrible conflicts that have brought so much suffering.
"Treachery and terrorism began with him. And they will continue until the Son of God returns to rule and reign with peace and righteousness among the sons and daughters of God….
"Now … we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him. He has declared, `Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Ps 33:12). Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God.
"Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to Him, the Father of us all. He has said, `Be still, and know that I am God' (Ps. 46:10).
"Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.
"May the God of heaven, the Almighty, bless us, help us, as we walk our various ways in the uncertain days that lie ahead. May we look to Him with unfailing faith. May we worthily place our reliance on His Beloved Son who is our great Redeemer, whether it be in life or in death, is my prayer in His holy name, even the name of Jesus Christ" ("The Times in Which We Live," Ensign, November 2001, p. 72).

The war on terrorism continues almost ten years later, and other problems plague us as described above. There are many things in our world that bring stress into our lives, but our safety and peace still lies - in life or death - in unfailing faith in Jesus Christ, in obedience to God's commandments, in prayer, and in righteous living. I have no doubts that this is true!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lewis Morris

Lewis Morris, future signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in 1726 at Morrisania, Westchester County, New York. He was the oldest son and inherited his father's manorial estate according to the English primogeniture law prevailing at that time in America. This inheritance made him affluent.

Morris entered Yale College at age sixteen and received a good education under the direction Rev. Mr. Clapp. At age twenty, he graduated with honors and returned to supervise his estate.

Lewis was handsome, intelligent, wealthy, and popular throughout the Colony. Even though the oppressions of Great Britain didn't affect him, he had great sympathy for those who were affected and was among the first to risk his ease, reputation, and fortune in the cause of liberty. He had the perception to see the end from the beginning, and his patriotism and zeal for the cause was not influenced by events.

Morris refused an office under the Colonial government because he preferred the ease and comfort of his home. When he determined to join the Revolution, putting both his fortune and friends in peril, everyone considered him a great patriot. He considered that war with Great Britain was inevitable. He expressed his convictions so strongly that the lukewarm Colony of New York declined to send him as a delegate to the General Conference of 1774. New York may be forgiven for being lukewarm about the patriot cause because Lord Howe had his British fleet hovering around the New York coast. The terms "Whig" and "Tory" were first for the distinctive political parties in New York City. By April 1775, the people of New York felt differently and elected Morris as a delegate to the second Congress to meet the following May.

During the summer of 1775, Lewis was sent to pacify the Indians on the western frontier. He was elected again to attend the Congress in 1776 and was in attendance when the debates about independence took place. He boldly supported the independence movement even though it directly opposed all his worldly interests. He seemed to realize from the beginning that his house would be ruined, his farm wasted, his thousand acres of forest destroyed, his cattle used by the British, and his family driven into exile. Even with this foreknowledge, he was convinced of the necessity to join the battle for liberty and never faltered in his conviction. He voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence.

When Lewis retired from Congress in 1777 to be succeeded by his brother Gouveneur Morris, he received a vote of thanks from the Convention for his "long and faithful services rendered to the Colony of New York." His family apparently shared his feelings of patriotism because three of his sons served in the army with distinction and were thanked by Congress.

Even though Lewis left Congress in 1777, he continued to be involved in public service in the state legislature or as a military commander until after the Constitution was signed, ratified, and adopted.

When the Revolutionary War was over, Lewis returned to his almost ruined estate and was happy to spend the remainder of his days in caring for his land, home and family. He died in his seventy-second year of age in January 1798. His funeral was attended by a large crowd and included military honors due to his rank of Major General. His body was interred in the family vault.

Facts from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 74-76.