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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published on May 9, 2011, "Historic flooding, a record-breaking tornado outbreak and devastating wildfire activity made April 2011 a month of historic climate extremes across much of the United States." These national disasters are in addition to earthquakes and tsunamis in recent months. Are these record-breaking natural disasters signs that the Last Days are here? I believe that they are. Whether or not you believe that we are living in the Last Days, you may find a book by Joel Richardson interesting. The book is entitled The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast.

I found the entire book riveting. My attention was first caught by Richardson's comparison between the information we find in the book of Revelation in the Bible and Islamic traditions and opinions. It seems to me that someone took the information in Revelation and wrote just the opposite view. "The coming of the Mahdi is the central crowning element of all Islamic end-time narratives." (See p. 21).

Richardson made the following summary of the various Islamic traditions and opinions of Muslim scholars. The man eagerly awaited by the Muslims of the world is summarized as follows: 1) "The Mahdi is Islam's primary messiah figure." 2) "He will be a descendant of Muhammad and will bear Muhammad's name (Muhammad bin Abdullah)." 3) "He will be a very devout Muslim." 4) "He will be an unparalleled spiritual, political, and military world leader." 5) "He will emerge after a period of great turmoil and suffering upon the earth." 6) "He will establish justice and righteousness throughout the world and eradicate tyranny and oppression." 7) He will be the caliph and imam (vice regent and leader) of Muslims worldwide." 8) "He will lead a world revolution and establish a new world order." 9) "He will lead military action against all those who oppose him." 10) "He will invade many countries." 11) "He will make a seven-year peace treaty with a Jew of priestly lineage." 12) "He will conquer Israel for Islam and lead the `faithful Muslims' in a final slaughter/battle against the Jews." 13) "He will establish the new Islamic world headquarters from Jerusalem." 14) "He will rule for seven years (possibly as much as eight or nine)." 15) "He will cause Islam to be the only religion practiced on the earth." 16) "He will appear riding a white horse (possibly symbolic)." 17) "He will discover some previously undiscovered biblical manuscripts that he will use to argue with the Jews and cause some Jews to convert to Islam." 18) "He will also rediscover the Ark of the Covenant from the Sea of Galilee, which he will bring to Jerusalem." 19) "He will have supernatural power from Allah over the wind and the rain and crops." 20) "He will possess and distribute enormous amounts of wealth." 21) "He will be loved by all the people of the earth." (See pp. 31-32.)

Richardson listed his comparisons between the Antichrist described in the Bible and the Islamic Messiah: 1) The Antichrist will be a "powerful political and military world leader." (See Daniel 7:7-27 and Revelation 13:2, 4-8.) 2) The Antichrist will be a "spiritual world leader." (See Revelation 13:4,8; 19:20.) 3) The Antichrist will wage a "targeted campaign against Jews and Christians." (See Revelation 12:1-6, 9, 13-14, 17; 13:5-7; Daniel 7:25.) 4) The Antichrist will attack Jerusalem to make it the seat of authority. (See Ezekiel 38:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:1-2, 16-22.) 5) The Antichrist will make a "seven-year treaty with Israel." (See Daniel 9:27; Isaiah 28:14-15.) 6) The Antichrist will "change the set times and the laws." (See Daniel 7:25.) 7) The Antichrist will ride a white horse. (See Revelation 6:1-2.)

In addition to likening the Mahdi to the Antichrist, Richardson warns that the Muslims believe that a prophet they call Jesus will assist the Mahdi. This Jesus will be a "faithful Muslim," even "the greatest Muslim evangelist," and will "abolish Christianity," slay Jews, and be "a good Muslim family man." Muslims also believe that a "false prophet" who calls himself Jesus Christ will come to fight against the Muslims. (See pp. 52-57.)

This book is really interesting because it clearly explains how the battle against Israel will come about and why so many people will be deceived in the last days. I highly recommend this book!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin, great patriot as well as signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was a "true Puritan" who emigrated from England in 1682. Soon after arriving in America, he married a native of Boston named Miss. Folger. His father's occupation was in the "business of a soap-boiler and tallow-chandler."

Benjamin's parents wanted him to become a minister of the gospel. They began his education to be a minister but did not have the financial means for the necessary education. Benjamin attended a common school for a few years and then started working with his father. He did not enjoy his father's business and started working for a cutler; however, he couldn't afford the fee for an apprenticeship and went to work for his brother who was a printer. He continued working for his brother and became "quite proficient" while at the same time being very studious.

When he was seventeen years old, Benjamin left the employment of his brother and sailed to New York City. He couldn't find any work in that city so he continued on foot to Philadelphia. He knew no one in that city and had only one dollar in his pocket. He arrived on a Sunday morning and wandered around Philadelphia "until he came to a Quaker meeting, where he entered, sat down, went to sleep, and slept soundly until worship was closed…." Apparently, the Quakers had compassion on the young man, "With his spare clothing in his pocket, and a loaf of bread under each arm…."

Benjamin soon found employment in a Philadelphia printing establishment, and his employers noticed and appreciated his "industry and studious habits." Benjamin wrote a letter to a friend in New Castle, Delaware, giving a "graphic account" of his trip from Boston to Philadelphia. The letter was shown to Governor Keith. The governor became interested in the young journeyman printer and invited him to his mansion. A friendship developed between Franklin and Governor Keith; the governor advised Benjamin to go into business for himself and offered his patronage.

Franklin traveled to London as part of their plan and found that he needed to obtain employment to supplement the inadequate patronage. He started working as a journeyman printer in one of the main offices there and won many friends because of his "industry, studiousness, punctuality, and frugality." An interesting note about this particular job is that the printing press used by Franklin was put in the National Museum in Washington, D.C.
Benjamin planned to use some of his hard-earned money for a trip to the Continent and was about to depart on the venture when he was given another offer. A friend in the mercantile business was about to sail for America and asked Franklin to accompany him as a clerk. He accepted the offer and sailed for home in July, 1726.

Franklin was facing "the prospect of prosperity and wealth" with his new employer, but he was left without a job when his friend died. Franklin went back to work for his old employer but soon formed a partnership with another printer. He gained "friends, public confidence, and a successful business" in Philadelphia because of "his character, habits, and talents.

In 1730 Franklin married a young widow, whose maiden name was Deborah Read. He asked her to marry him before he went to London, but she married another man. While Benjamin was in London, her husband died. Benjamin and Deborah resumed their friendship upon his return home; they married and became the parents of a son and a daughter.

Franklin started his useful and famous annual known as Poor Richard's Almanac in 1732. This publication circulated widely in the Colonies and in England, and it was translated into several European languages. About the same time that he discontinued the almanac, Franklin started printing a newspaper that "became the most popular one in the Colonies."

Benjamin continued to be studious and gained "knowledge of the Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian languages." He started a literary club that eventually became the Philadelphia Library. He wrote essays on popular subjects and printed them in pamphlets. The pamphlets were widely read and gained popularity for Franklin. His business increased, making him comfortable financially in just a few years.

In 1734 Franklin was appointed as government printer for Pennsylvania, and in 1736 he was appointed to be the Clerk of the General Assembly. He became the postmaster of Philadelphia the next year. His income from these offices as well as from his business made it possible for him to enjoy more leisure time, which he used for philosophical pursuits and to work for more public good.

Franklin organized fire companies in Philadelphia, the first in America. He "devised" a way to pave the streets as well as a way to use gas to light the city. When he noticed that military discipline in Pennsylvania had been neglected, he gained a thorough knowledge about military tactics and then began to teach others what he had learned. He started the "American Philosophical Society," the "Pennsylvania Hospital," and the "Pennsylvania University." In 1742 he published a paper on how to improve chimneys, and he invented the Franklin stove, giving the invention to the public.

In 1741 he started publishing the "General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, for the British Plantations" and had wide circulation of it. He was elected to the General Assembly in 1744 and was re-elected annually for the next ten years. It was about this time that he started experimenting with electricity and discovered "the identity of lightning and the electrical spark of a machine." These discoveries made him famous all around the world.

Franklin continued to serve the public in various positions. In 1753 he was appointed as an Indian commissioner. In 1754 he was a delegate from Pennsylvania to a convention to consult about the general welfare and security against the French. He proposed a plan containing "all the essential features of the present Constitution," but his plan was rejected because it contained too much "democracy" and too many freedoms. About this same time he was appointed to be the deputy Postmaster General and was also "active in improving the military affairs of the colony."

Benjamin traveled to London in 1757 to represent Pennsylvania on government business and remained there for five years, making "many valuable acquaintances there." He went to London again in 1764 on government business and was still there when the Stamp Act was passed. He protested "loudly and boldly" against it. Because he was well respected in London and represented several of the Colonies, "he did much to arrest for a long time the blow that finally severed the Colonies from the mother country."

When Franklin realized that there was nothing more he could do to avoid war, he returned home in 1775 and was immediately elected to be a delegate to the General Congress. He was re-elected to the General Congress in 1776 and was a member of the "committee appointed to draft a Declaration of Independence." He voted for the adoption of the Declaration and then signed it on August 2, 1776.

Franklin was one of three commissioners that met with Lord Howe to discuss the possibility of peace between the Colonies and Great Britain. Reconciliation proved to be impossible, and the Revolutionary War commenced. About this same time Pennsylvania organized into a state, and Franklin was chosen to be its first president.

When Franklin was 70 years old, he was appointed by Congress as a commissioner to the Court of France to negotiate a treaty of alliance between the Colonies and France. He accepted the appointment and sailed to France in October 1776. Franklin was "received with distinguished honors," and "strong expressions of sympathy in behalf of his country were made." France was cautious and did not enter into formal negotiations until after they received the news that Burgoyne had been captured. Franklin signed a formal treaty with the French Minister in February 1778. France acknowledged the independence of America and "openly espoused her cause." Congress gave Franklin almost unlimited power, and he discharged his duties with such "fidelity and skill" that he was admired by Europeans. Franklin was still in France when Great Britain yielded their cause and agreed to negotiate a peace treaty on the basis of independence for the Americans. Franklin had the honor and pleasure of signing the peace treaty.

Franklin requested Congress to allow him to return home to his family and he returned home in 1785 after Thomas Jefferson arrived to succeed him. Americans greeted him with great joy and respect from the "most distinguished individuals" and many public bodies in the new nation. Even though he was 80 years old, he was elected to be president of Pennsylvania and held that office for three years.

He attended the Congress held in Philadelphia in 1787 and helped to frame the Constitution of the United States. This was his last public duty. After suffering with "gout and stone" for many years, he died on April 17, 1790, in his 84th year of age. His death was mourned by Americans and "a vast concourse of people followed his body to the grave." His death was also mourned by "the whole civilized world." "Congress directed a universal mourning throughout the United States for thirty days. In France, and indeed throughout Europe, the news of his death was received with profound grief…."

Facts and quotes are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 104-111.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a national patriotic holiday in the United States. It is a day set aside to remember and honor Americans who gave their lives for their country. Memorial Day was originally designated to honor the military personnel who died during the Civil War (1861-1865). It was later changed to honor all men and women who died in any war while fighting for the United States of America.

Memorial Day is sometimes called Decoration Day because it is a day to decorate or put flowers and flags on graves. I knew the day as Decoration Day long before I heard it called Memorial Day or understood its true purpose.

Memorial Day is a legal holiday in most states and is observed the last Monday in May by most Northern States and some Southern States. The last Monday in May was made a national holiday by a federal law, effective in 1971. Most of the Southern States also honor the Confederate dead on their own specified days. Mississippi chose the last Monday in April as Confederate Memorial Day. Alabama celebrates on the fourth Monday in April. Georgia designated April 26 to observe this holiday. North Carolina and South Carolina chose to celebrate the holiday on May 10. Virginia honors their dead on the last Monday in May. Louisiana celebrates on June 3. On that same day, Tennessee observes Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day on January 19.

Memorial Day is a day when people put flowers and flags on the graves of military personnel. Many organizations march in military parades and hold special programs. The reading of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is often included in Memorial Day programs. Memorial Day is often chosen as the day to dedicate memorials.

Military exercises and special programs are held at Gettysburg National Military Park and at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Some United States ports organize ceremonies where tiny ships filled with flowers are set afloat on the water to honor those who died at sea.

Memorial Day has also been known as Poppy Day since World War I ended. Small, red artificial poppies are sold by volunteers to help disabled veterans. The day has now become a day when many Americans choose to decorate their loved ones' graves.

Although several communities claim to have started Memorial Day, the United States government proclaimed in 1966 that it started in Waterloo, New York. The residents of Waterloo held their first observance of Memorial Day on May 5, 1866, in honor of soldiers killed in the Civil War. Businesses closed that day, and people decorated the graves of soldiers and flew their flags at half-mast.

May 30 was designated by Major General John A. Logan in 1868 as a day to remember Union soldiers and honor their graves. Logan held the position of commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization composed of Union veterans of the Civil War. This organization had charge of Memorial Day celebrations for many years in the Northern States. Since World War I, the American Legion carries this duty.

Facts for this blog post came from an article by Sharron G. Uhler, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, pg 392.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gift of Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead. He is "a personage of Spirit" (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22) without a body of flesh and bones; therefore, His influence can be everywhere at once. He loves us just as the Father and the Son love us. He testifies of the Father, the Son, and all truth. He also prepares us to return to live in the presence of God by purifying and sanctifying our hearts until we have no more desire to do evil.

The gift of the Holy Ghost is the privilege to receive continual guidance and inspiration from the Holy Ghost. This gift is given to people who have been baptized and confirmed as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The gift of the Holy Ghost is enjoyed by all who truly receive it.

The Holy Ghost may temporarily guide a person without the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Doctrine and Covenants 130:23). This guidance is a temporary experience unless the person is baptized and receives the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. A Roman soldier named Cornelius received inspiration from the Holy Ghost telling him that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true, but he did not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. (See Acts 10.) According to Joseph Smith, the Holy Ghost would have left Cornelius if he had not been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. (See Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p 97.)

People today who are not members of the Church know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true (see Moroni 10:4-5). If they do not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, that initial testimony will leave them and they will not receive the continuing assurance that can comes to those who have the gift of the Holy Ghost.

After people are baptized, they are confirmed as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are given the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Every worthy elder of the Church, when authorized, may give the gift of the Holy Ghost to another person. Each person is told to "receive the Holy Ghost." This means that the Holy Ghost will come to us with inspiration and guidance only when we are faithful and desire His help. We are worthy of help from the Holy Ghost when we keep the commandments of God and keep our thoughts and actions pure.

When the Holy Ghost "speaks" to us, it is usually referred to as a "still small voice" (see 1 Kings 19:9-12; Helaman 5:30; Doctrine and Covenants 85:6). President Boyd K. Packer explained, "The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear…. While we speak of `listening' to the whispering of the Spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying, `I had a feeling….' This voice of the Spirit speaks gently, prompting you what to do or what to say, or it may caution or warn you" (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).

The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father gives to His children. It is through the Holy Ghost that we may know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Book of Mormon is true, that God's Church has been restored to the earth, that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, and that there is a living prophet on earth today.

The Holy Ghost shows us all things that we must do (see 2 Nephi 32:5). The Holy Ghost sanctifies us to prepare us to live in God's presence. The Holy Ghost also brings other gifts to us. The gift of the Holy Ghost can also bring peace to our hearts and understanding of the things of God to our minds (see 1 Corinthians 2:9-12). I have received the Holy Ghost many times in my life. I am very grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I love to feel the peace that He always brings, and I know that He love us.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Good Communication

Families are strengthened when there is good communication between the various members. Good communication doesn't just happen but must be encouraged and strengthened. Better communicate starts with being open and honest with each other, understanding the power of the words we use, and stepping outside of our own perspectives.

I have received various communications with the following information. I do not know the original author, but I recognize myself in some of statements. It is suggested that the following terms are "deadly" when used by a woman: 1) "Fine - this is the word women use to end an argument when they know they are right and you need to shut up; 2) Nothing - means something and you need to be worried; 3) Go ahead - this is a dare, not permission - do not do it; 4) Whatever - is a woman's way of saying screw you; 5) That's OK - she is thinking long and hard on how and when you will pay for your mistake. "

Families do not grow strong when they rely on "code" words such as those quoted above. The strongest marriages and strongest families speak to each other kindly and honestly, and they discuss problems until they have an acceptable solution to all involved. We must understand that we can change our world by the very words we use. []

Good communication is often obstructed by the perceptions of the people involved. Most people see an event from their own point of view and think that others have the same picture in mind. I often see what are considered to be "perception pictures." One particular picture shows an old hag if you look at it one way, but it shows a beautiful young woman if you look at it differently.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, Stephen R. Covey shows a perception picture that looks like an Indian, but a different perspective shows an Eskimo with a spear and a hooded coat. What I find to be fascinating about these pictures is that I cannot see both an old hag and a beautiful young woman at the same time. The same is true with the Indian and the Eskimo; I can only see one or the other.

Covey explained in his book that he uses "these kinds of perception pictures to bring people to the realization that the way they see the world is not necessarily the way other people see the world. In fact, people do not see the world as it is; they see it as they are - or as they have been conditioned to be.
"Almost always this kind of perception experience causes people to be humbled and to be much more respectful, more reverent, more open to understanding."

Covey then explained how he tries to teach this Habit by going into the audience, borrowing a pair of glasses from one person and trying to talk another person into wearing those glasses. He wrote, "I tap into motivation, attitude, vanity, economic and social pressure. I intimidate. I guilt-trip. I tell her to think positively, to try harder. But none of these methods of influence works. Why? Because they all come from me - not from her and her unique eye situation.
"This brings us to the importance of seeking to understand before you seek to influence - of diagnosing before prescribing, as an optometrist does. Without understanding, you might as well be yelling into the wind. No one will hear you. Your effort may satisfy your ego for a moment, but there's really no influence taking place.
"We each look at the world through our own pair of glasses - glasses that come out of our own unique background and conditioning experiences, glasses that create our value system, our expectations, our implicit assumptions about the way the world is and the way it should be….
"One of the main reasons behind communication breakdowns is that the people involved interpret the same event differently. Their different natures and background experiences condition them to do so. If they then interact without taking into account why they see things differently, they begin to judge each other….
"As we project our conditioning experiences onto the outside world, we assume we're seeing the world the way it is. But we're not. We're seeing the world as we are - or as we have been conditioned to be. And until we gain the capacity to step out of our own autobiography - to set aside our own glasses and really see the world through the eyes of others - we will never be able to build deep, authentic relationships and have the capacity to influence in positive ways." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, pp. 201-204.

Families are strengthened when they use good communication skills such as being open and honest with each other, using words to change their world, and seeing events from a different perspective.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Three Branches

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the powers of government should be divided into three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. Throughout the history of mankind, there have been many types of governments. Some nations have been ruled by a single powerful ruler in a monarchy. Other nations were ruled by an aristocracy or the wealthy. Still other nations operated under a pure democracy where all the people joined together to make decisions. The Roman Empire operated as a republic and ruled over millions of people. All of these types of governments have some merit that was taken into consideration when our government was organized.

In a monarchy, the government is administered by an executive head. An aristocracy represents the wealth and resources of the nation. A democracy represents the people. The Founders of our nation created a three-headed eagle with all three types of government to control our republic. They created a three-branch government - executive, legislative and judicial - and divided the powers of government among the three branches. The doctrine of "separation of powers" was not readily accepted by Americans.

John Adams was apparently the first of the Founders to recognize the need to separate the powers of government. He was advocating for separation of powers even before the Declaration of Independence was written. Somehow, Adams was able to convince his state to adopt a constitution based on separation of power. Consequently, the constitution of his state was the first in history to read: "In the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the legislative, executive and judicial powers shall be placed in separate departments, to the end that it might be a government of laws and not of men…."

Benjamin Franklin was one of the last to be won over to the idea, but he "finally acknowledged that the Constitution of the United States with its separation of powers was as perfect as man could be expected to produce." (W. Cleon Skousen).

John Adams said it was his goal "… to see rising in America an empire of liberty, and the prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them."

The three-headed eagle has served the United States well for over two hundred years. If the executive, legislative and judicial continue to operate separately, we will be able to protect the liberty of Americans. If they join their powers into one head, it will be as though we live under a tyrant. It appears to me that our three branches of government are being merged into one that operates directly under the authority of the President. The current administration and Congress are making laws and regulations that take away the benefits of the separation of powers. For the good of our Republic, we must seek out and elect leaders who are good and honest men and women and understand and support the Constitution.

Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Julia Stockton Rush

Julia Stockton was born March 2, 1759, at home on her family's estate, "Morven." She was the oldest daughter of her father Richard Stockton - a famous patriot from New Jersey as well as a signer of the Declaration of Independence - and her gifted mother Annis Boudinot Stockton. She was well educated for a woman of her day, and she had numerous opportunities to associate with the many "cultivated" people who visited her family home.

Julia married Dr. Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia on January 11, 1776. Dr. Rush was "already one of the prominent medical practitioners of his day, a writer of acknowledged ability on medical subjects, and a public-spirited citizen, held in high esteem by his fellow townsmen." He later became a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Dr. Rush paid the following tribute to Julia when he wrote his memoirs: "Let me here bear testimony to the worth of this excellent woman. She fulfilled every duty as a wife, mother, and mistress with fidelity and integrity. To me she was always a sincere and honest friend; had I yielded to her advice upon many occasions, I should have known less distress from various causes in my journey through life. … May God reward and bless her with an easy and peaceful old age if she should survive me, and after death confer upon her immediate and eternal happiness!"

After studying a great deal about Julia, a great-grandson said, "I am afraid our forebears did not keep with accuracy the deeds of noble women in the days that truly tried the souls of both men and women. … She is spoken of everywhere as a devoted wife and mother and of her urging her husband to take more care of himself during the terrible yellow-fever scourge of 1793, in Philadelphia, when, much against her wishes, she remained out of town with her children, yet by daily letters encouraged Dr. Rush in his great work for humanity."

Julia and Benjamin Rush were the parents of thirteen children: John, Anne, Emily, Richard, Susannah, Elizabeth, Mary, James, William, Benjamin, a second Benjamin, Julia, Samuel, and a second William. Four children died in their infancy: Susannah, Elizabeth, the first Benjamin, and the first William.

Mrs. Rush lived about thirty-five years after the death of her husband. She died at age 89 at "Sydenham," their country seat but later part of Philadelphia, on July 7, 1848. She "was buried in the grave of her husband in Christ Church burying ground in Philadelphia."

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, 169-174.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Health Care Overhaul

While most of us were distracted by the royal wedding and the death of Obama, attorneys for 26 states urged a United States appeals court on May 4, 2011, to strike down Obamacare. They argued that Obamacare far exceeds the powers of the federal government. Other court challenges are already underway.

Challenges to Obama's health care law began on May 10, 2011, as lawyers from more than fifty percent of the states urge the courts to strike down the law as unconstitutional. The high stakes in the debate plus the partisan divide are shown in the clash in the courtroom by the top appellate lawyers from the administrations of both Bush and Obama. The main cause for the challenges is the government's requirement that nearly all Americans buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty or fee.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit met on May 10, 2011, to determine if a lower court was in the right to strike down the requirement to have health insurance. The three judges - selected by a computer - happen to all be Democratic appointees; two were appointed by Obama and one was appointed by Bill Clinton. I expect that the Democrat-appointed judges will follow the party line, which will send the case to the Supreme Court.

A 69-page motion filed on May 4, 2011, urged the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to uphold U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson's ruling that the health care overhaul's main requirement is unconstitutional. Judge Vinson ruled that Congress does not have the power to require Americans to buy health insurance. The motion argued that the law would set a precedent that "would imperil individual liberty, render Congress's other enumerated powers superfluous, and allow Congress to usurp the general police power reserved to the states." The states argued that the law is an "indefensible" as well as an "unprecedented move" by Congress. According to the motion filed, the law "imposes a direct mandate upon individuals to obtain health insurance, marking by all accounts the first time in our nation's history that Congress has required individuals to enter into commerce as a condition of living in the United States."
Three randomly selected judges from the 11th Circuit panel will consider oral arguments in this case in June. Paul Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, will lead the states' challenge.

Since three federal judges have ruled Obamacare to be constitutional while Judge Vinson and Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia have ruled it unconstitutional, the problem will most likely end up in the Supreme Court. We can only guess how the Supreme Court will rule on the matter as Judge Vinson suggested that the Court may end up in a split decision.

We should all be grateful to the 26 states that were taking care of business while our interest was upon the many explanations as to what really happened in the commando raid to get Osama bin Laden. In order to safeguard our freedoms, we need to watch both "hands" of the Obama Administration in order to avoid deception.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Benjamin Rush

The man known as Doctor Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born on December 24, 1745, about 12 miles northeast of Philadelphia. He descended from an officer with the same name who served in Cromwell's army before immigrating to America and settling in Pennsylvania. Benjamin was his grandson.

Benjamin Rush lost his father at six years of age; this left Benjamin his brother in the care of their mother. She wanted Benjamin to have a "classical education," but she did not have the financial means to give him one. She decided to sell her land and move her family into Philadelphia where she began a commercial pursuit. Through her efforts there, she was able to give her son a "liberal education." When he was nine years of age, he began studying with the Rev. Dr. Findlay, the principal of an academy at Nottingham, Maryland. When he finished his preparatory studies, Benjamin entered Princeton College, receiving a degree in 1760 at age sixteen.

Young Benjamin wanted to study law, but Dr. Findlay convinced him to study medicine. Benjamin studied with Doctor Redman of Philadelphia. Then he went to England in 1766 to gain "professional improvement" by "attending the lectures at the best hospitals and medical schools in London for two years." He went to Paris in 1768 to add to his medical knowledge; that autumn he returned to America with the title of "Doctor of Medicine," having received a diploma at Edinburgh.

Doctor Rush began his medical practice in Philadelphia and almost immediately began consulting other practitioners in the city. "His polished manners, superior intellect, kind deportment in the sick room [bedside manner] made him very popular, and he soon had an extensive and lucrative practice." Students "flocked" to Philadelphia after the war from all parts of the United States and even from Europe to attend his lectures. His biographer wrote that he taught, both privately and in classes, about two thousand pupils.

In addition to running a successful medical practice, he immediately became active in the patriot cause of liberty in 1768. In addition to personal contacts, he used his pen as a powerful instrument to move people to action. He was "solicited" to be a delegate to the General Congress in 1775, but he declined. In 1776 some of the Pennsylvanian delegates to the Congress refused to vote for independence and left; Doctor Rush was elected to fill one of those seats and accepted it. He was not a member of Congress when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, but he was present and signed it on August 2, 1776.

Doctor Rush was appointed by Congress in 1777 to the office of physician-general in the military hospitals where he was greatly useful. He did not serve in Congress again after this appointment. In fact, he did not actively participate in public office except as a member of the Convention of Pennsylvania, which adopted the U.S. Constitution. He was appointed to be president of the mint in 1788 and held that position for fourteen years.

Even though Doctor Rush served well as a statesman, he was much more distinguished and better known as a medical practitioner. He was professor of chemistry at the Medical College of Philadelphia in 1769. He was professor of the theory and practice of medicine in 1789 and at the same time held the professorship of the Institutes of Medicine and of Chemical Science in the Medical College of Pennsylvania. In 1796 he accepted the professorship of the practice of medicine, making a total of three professorships.

Doctor Rush was well qualified as a medical practitioner, a philanthropist, and a Christian when he was challenged with an epidemic of yellow fever that depopulated Philadelphia in 1793. The usual remedies for disease failed, and the best medical care was not good enough. Many doctors began to fear for their own lives and left the city, but Doctor Rush and some of his pupils and friends stayed to help the sick. He eventually had a severe attack of the fever, and some of his students also got sick.

Benjamin Rush impacted several public institutions. In 1786 he organized the Philadelphia Dispensary, and he was one of the main founders of Dickerson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was an honorary member in many literary and scientific societies in Europe, and he also held numerous offices in benevolent and philosophical institutions in America.

"As a patriot, Doctor Rush was firm and inflexible; as a professional man he was skillful, candid, and honorable; as a thinker and writer, he was profound; as a Christian, zealous and consistent; and in his domestic relations, he was the centre of a circle of love and true affection." He was also an ardent student of the Bible, and his faith was "manifested in many of his scientific productions." His "principles stood firm, and his opinions never wavered."

Doctor Rush died on April 19, 1813, at age sixty-eight. During his final illness "his house was constantly thronged with people inquiring" about him. "When death closed his eyes, every citizen felt that a dear friend had been taken away, and a general gloom overspread the community."

Facts and quotes are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, 99-103.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Payment of Debts

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.8.1: "The people of the states empower the Congress to use the money collected through taxes to pay its debts."

This principle gave Congress the authority and power to use the tax revenue to pay the nation's debts. Congress had the power to contract debts so it was only right that it also had the power to pay off the debts. At the time of the writing of the Constitution, the nation was far in debt with expenses from the Revolutionary War. The states also had incurred great debts in the war. The Constitution was the means where the nation assumed the war debts of the states.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


We must learn and obey certain principles and ordinances in order to be a true follower of Christ. Principles are truth, and ordinances are rites or ceremonies. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance are the first two principles of the gospel. The first ordinance of the gospel is baptism. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism bring forgiveness for sins through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

There are several reasons for the ordinance of baptism: 1) To show obedience. Jesus was baptized even though He was sinless. 2) To become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. 3) To receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 4) To enter the Celestial Kingdom.

The proper mode of baptism was revealed to Joseph Smith by the Lord. Jesus told him that a person with proper priesthood authority to baptize "shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism …. Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water" (Doctrine and Covenants 20:73-74). Immersion is a requirement and is symbolic of death, burial, and resurrection. A newly baptized individual starts a new way of life. Baptism by immersion under proper priesthood authority is the only acceptable means of baptism.

Every person who is eight years old or older and is accountable or responsible for his or her actions needs to be baptized. Little children younger than eight are not capable of sinning and do not require baptism. People who are mentally incapable of knowing right and wrong do not need baptism.

When we are baptized we make covenants with God that we will: 1) Come into the fold of God; 2) Bear one another's burdens; 3) Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all places; 4) Serve God and keep His commandments. When we keep the covenants made at baptism, the Lord promises to: 1) Forgive our sins; 2) Pour out His Spirit more abundantly upon us; 3) Give us daily guidance and the help of the Holy Ghost; 4) Let us come forth in the First Resurrection; 5) Give us eternal life. (See Acts 2:38; Mosiah 18:7-17; Doctrine and Covenants 20:77; 49:13.)

Baptism is called a new birth because it brings a new way of life. Baptism is a great blessing because it gives us a new start on our journey towards eternal life.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Some people consider grandchildren to be the "best revenge" for their struggles with their own children. I must admit that I enjoy watching my own children as they move through their own parenting experiences, but I consider grandchildren to be the greatest blessings that my children can give to me.

My fourteenth "blessing" - a boy, making eight boys and six girls, all of them under the age of eleven - was born a week ago. I come from a family that considers children, grandchildren, and other posterity to be blessings in our lives. My own parents have 12 children, 70 grandchildren, 188 great-grandchildren, and 22 great-great-grandchildren - with more on the way. My parents have a total posterity of 292.

My oldest son's wife gathers pictures of all my grandchildren and makes a calendar for me as part of my Christmas gift each year. I love to look at all the pictures as I plan my activities and take a moment to think about what is most important to me. This time she put some cute sayings on the calendar also. Let me share some of them with you.

"Grandchildren are loving reminders of what we're really here for." It is easy to get caught up in being busy with life, but grandchildren in their sweet, innocent, and energetic ways help us to remember that relationships are much more important than projects.

"Being grandparents sufficiently removes us from the responsibilities so that we can be friends." Every child needs a friend who can love them, comfort them and tell them how wonderful they are. Grandparents can be that kind of friend. I receive many telephone calls from my grandchildren telling me about their latest accomplishments or problems. The latest was a little two-year-old boy who wanted to report to me that he is learning to go potty in the toilet. How thrilled he was to tell me of his success!

"Grandchildren are a gift from above - ones to cherish and to love." This is so true. Grandchildren come here straight from Heavenly Father and make life so very interesting.

"The laughter of a child is the light of a house." I love to hear little children laughing and happy. Their laughter lights up my life. One of my granddaughters has a laugh - really a chuckle - that comes from deep within her body. I love to hear her laugh!

"To become a grandparent is to enjoy one of the few pleasures in life for which the consequences have already been paid." While visiting my son and his family recently, I was performing a chore that my son thought should be done by one of the children. He sort of reprimanded me for doing it myself instead of insisting that a child do it. I informed him - kindly - that it was his job to teach the children to work and mine to simply enjoy them. He just laughed - but I meant it.

"Few things are more delightful than grandchildren fighting over your lap." It seems that when grandma or grandpa is cuddling a child, others want to get in on the love also. I quite often have more than one child in my lap when I have the opportunity.

"If I'd known grandchildren were so much fun, I'd have had them first!" I enjoy my grandchildren, but I wouldn't miss the opportunity to be a mother also. What a wonderful blessing!

"My grandkids are geniuses! (They think I'm perfect.)" This is often true. I convinced my oldest grandson that I had magical powers when I made popcorn out of kernels on the stove. He had never seen popcorn popped other than in a microwave oven, and he really thought it was magic!

"Grandchildren are precious gifts given to parents from their children." This is so true! Thank you!

"Grandparents are similar to a piece of string - handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren." I will do anything that I can possibly do if one of my grandchildren asks me to do something for them. The latest request I received was one to make some pioneer costumes for my two granddaughters who will be riding on a float for Pioneer Day in Utah. I hope the girls enjoy the costumes!

I love my grandchildren and enjoy them very much. My children think that I visit them just to see the grandchildren. That is not true, but the grandchildren certainly add to the enjoyment of seeing my children. My grandchildren are special treasures in my life given to me by my children. Thank you!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Free Market

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that a minimum of government regulations and a free-market economy brings about the highest levels of prosperity. Our Founding Fathers first obtained independence and then they organized a government based on natural laws. They received some assistance in writing laws about the marketplace from a college professor in Scotland named Adam Smith. Smith wrote a five volume work called The Wealth of Nations, which came out in 1776. This brilliant work was just what the Founders needed. Thomas Jefferson wrote: "In political economy, I think Smith's Wealth of Nations the best book extant." (Bergh, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 8:31.) The Founders structured the entire national economy of the new nation on the basis of natural law and Smith's ideas about a free-market economy.

According to W. Cleon Skousen, there are five parts to Smith's formula: 1) There is specialized production. 2) The government does not interfere in production, princes or wages. 3) The free-market operates on supply and demand with no government-imposed monopolies. 4) Competition based on supply and demand regulates prices. 5) Profits are an indication of whether the goods and services produced are worthwhile. 6) Competition improves quality and reduces prices.

Skousen also wrote that "there are four laws of economic freedom which a nation must maintain if its people are to prosper at the maximum level. These are: 1) The Freedom to try. 2) The Freedom to buy. 3) The Freedom to sell. 4) The Freedom to fail.

"By 1905 the United States had become the richest industrial nation in the world. With only five percent of the earth's continental land area and merely six percent of the world's population, the American people were producing over half of almost everything - clothes, food, houses, transportation, communications, even luxuries. It was a great tribute to Adam Smith." (See The Five Thousand Year Leap.)

Even though the United States was becoming the biggest and richest nation in the world, the system needed some adjustments. Many powerful leaders thought the system needed to be replaced. At the same time, the Founding Fathers and the Constitution were being criticized and the ideas of Adam Smith were considered old fashioned. The intellectual leaders were creating a vacuum in order to build a new system based on the teachings of Karl Marx. This new system was exactly what the Founders were trying to eliminate.

The colleges and universities in the 1920's stopped teaching anything about the heritage of our nation; therefore, there were no assignments to read The Federalist Papers or The Wealth of nations or anything similar. President Franklin Roosevelt did his best to trade the rights of the Republic - such as checks and balances, limited government, inalienable rights to liberty and property - for a centralized state and controls on industry.

The Founders wanted to "make the American dollar completely independent of any power or combination of powers outside of the American people" (Skousen). They gave exclusive responsibility to issue and control money to Congress because the people had control over who would represent them in Congress. All money was to be precious metal. This plan of the Founders never was completely implemented. First, the Bank of the United States was created to issue money, a task given to the Federal Reserve System today.

Thomas Jefferson stated, "If the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied. The issuing power of money should be taken from the banks and restored to Congress and the people to whom it belongs." (Quoted in Olive Cushing Dwinell, The Story of Our Money, p 84.)

Jefferson must have been looking at circumstances similar to our day when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own approximately 90 percent of all the home mortgages. I feel certain that the situation saddened Jefferson as it does many today. If we truly want to return to our First Principles, we must convince our political leaders to reform our economy to the point that Congress again has the exclusive responsibility to issue and control money.

Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, pp 131-139. There is much more information on this principle in this book.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mary White Morris

Mary White was born on April 13, 1749, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the youngest child of Thomas and Esther White. She married Robert Morris, the future signer of the Declaration of Independence and great financier of the Revolutionary War, on March 2, 1769.

Mary was "well educated and carefully trained in the accomplishments of her day." She was "prominent in Philadelphia society" even before she married Morris, "one of the most prominent merchants of the day" at age 35. Mary and Robert became parents of five children, three sons and two daughters.

Mrs. Morris was subjected to many hardships during the Revolutionary War. With the British Army approaching Philadelphia near the end of 1776, Congress moved to Baltimore. Mr. Morris stayed in Philadelphia but sent his wife to Baltimore to stay with her step-sister along with her parents for several months.

After Mary received news of a victory at Trenton, she wrote the following letter to her husband on December 30, 1776: "… We had been for many days impatiently wishing for a letter from you, as the news we hear from any other quarter is not to be depended upon; but when the welcome one arrived, which brought those glad tidings, it more than compensated for what our unfortunate circumstances prepared our minds to expect. … but I hope, indeed, the tide is turned, and that our great Washington will have the success his virtues deserve, and rout the impious army who, from no other principle but that of enslaving this once happy country, have prosecuted this Cruell war, …"

In March 1777, Mrs. Morris returned to her home in Philadelphia. Apparently, Mary's health was damaged by the separation from her husband plus the worries and anxieties of war for she wrote to her mother, "… everybody exclaims at my thinness; several of my acquaintances … declared there was very little traces of my former self. …" In a postscript to this letter, she added that her brother Billy had been appointed to be the Chaplain in Congress. Billy was the "future eminent prelate and father of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this country, Bishop William White."

Mary was not long in her home when fears of the approach of the British Army made it necessary to move again. Even though she began packing household future, etc. on April 14, 1777, two weeks later she wrote that she was still in Philadelphia and was preparing to send her best furniture, any extra linen, and supplies of all sorts in order to flee quickly if necessary. With the near approach of the British Army in September, 1777, Congress moved from Philadelphia to Lancaster and then to York. Mr. and Mrs. Morris moved to their country home, the Hills, about the same time and stayed until the summer of 1778 when Sir Henry Clinton left the city. Congress returned to Philadelphia on July 2, 1778, for Philadelphia was under the command of Benedict Arnold. During this time there were many social events where military gentlemen, including General Arnold, began to keep company with Tory ladies.

Mrs. Morris lost her father in September 1779. In early 1781, Robert was appointed to be Superintendent of Finance - Treasury Secretary. He and his wife became very prominent because of the power of his position as well as their own wealth and social position. They entertained many distinguished men, including numerous foreigners. One of these foreigners was a French nobleman from whom Robert Morris borrowed twenty thousand pounds on his personal credit. He sent this money to General Washington, who used the money to beat Cornwallis at Yorktown and to basically end the war.

Mr. and Mrs. Morris hosted George Washington, Count de Rochambeau and other foreign and American officers when they traveled through Philadelphia on their way to join LaFayette near Yorktown.

Robert and Mary sent their two oldest sons to Europe to be educated in the fall of 1781. The boys were only 12 and 10 years old.

In late May 1887, the Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia to write a new Constitution, and George Washington stayed with the Morris family while the Founders were meeting. Mr. Morris was a member of the convention, and he nominated General Washington to preside over the proceedings. Robert and Mary Morris remained close friends with George and Martha Washington.

When Washington became President, he asked Morris to be Secretary of the Treasury. Morris declined the offer but recommended Alexander Hamilton whom Washington appointed to the position.

When settlers did not flock to the wild lands purchased by Robert, his fortune was wrecked. He was arrested on February 15, 1798, and put in debtor's prison for three and a half years before being released in October 1801. One of their sons died the same month. Mary and her daughter Maria visited Robert in prison day after day even though malignant fever raged through the area.

Gouverneur Morris, a good friend but not a relative, came to Mary's aid. He compelled the Holland Land Company, who had the title to Robert's three million three hundred thousand acres to pay Mary an annuity of $1500.00 for the rest of her life.

Robert was a "broken-down old man" when he was released from prison, and he died about five years later in 1806. Mary moved to a different home after his death where she lived for the rest of her life.

When General La Fayette made his famous tour through the country in 1824, he made his first private visit in the city to Mrs. Morris. He had not seen her for thirty-seven years, but he recognized her at her window as he passed her house earlier in the afternoon on September 29. At his personal request, Mary attended a grand Civic Ball given in his honor on October 5. Mary was sixty-seven years old at the time and was described as being "tall, graceful, and commanding, with a stately dignity of manner."

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 155-169.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Royal Wedding Hats

Approximately two billion people tuned in to watch the wedding ceremony of Catherine Middleton, a commoner, to Prince William, heir to the throne of Great Britain, on April 29, 2011, in Westminster Abbey. I was one of them. Even though the wedding was at 11:00 a.m. in England, it was the middle of the night here in Anchorage. I definitely should have been sleeping, but I was fascinated with all the pomp and ceremony involved in the royal wedding.

Catherine was a beautiful bride in her modest and slimming dress with a train of about eight feet. William was beaming in his military uniform. The wedding itself was simple, but the circumstances were definitely royal. The royal family arrived at the church in Bentleys; the newlyweds left the chapel in a horse-drawn coach. The first - and second - kisses on the palace balcony delighted the crowds of well-wishers.

I was fascinated most of all by the beautiful hats worn by the women attending the wedding. They ranged from very small to fairly large and were of every color imaginable. Some of them were downright ugly while most of them were very attractive. Queen Elizabeth wore a yellow hat to match her bright yellow suit. The hats made the British women look especially stylish, and I liked the look.

Seeing all the hats at the royal wedding brought back memories of my own maternal grandmother. I remember that she never left the house without her hat. It was simply a part of her outfit. She wore her hair in a bun located just above her neck, and then the hat was placed towards the back of her head with her beautiful white hair showing all around. Her hats were never very large, but she always wore them whenever she left her home. I also remember the pill box hats of Jacqueline Kennedy. She always looked so beautiful and stylish.

I remember seeing the many hats worn by members of the Red Hat Society while on a recent cruise. Now there are news items about the police in Detroit looking for members of a theft ring dubbed by them to be the "Mad Hatters." They are older, grandmotherly women who distinguish themselves by wearing hats while they stealing money and credit cards from purses left in shopping carts, etc. Although I do not admire them for actions, I do compliment them on their sense of style.

A recent Relief Society birthday celebration in my home ward was on the "Mad Hatter" theme, and all the women wore hats to the party. It was fun to see so many different hats.

I first became fascinated with hats while watching Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and other movies based on the works of Jane Austen. The scenes from the royal wedding whetted my appetite to see more hats - other than baseball camps - on the heads of women in the American society.

I believe that American women lost something important in style when hats were dropped from the fashion scene in the United States. Maybe hats are worn at other churches, but there have been very few worn by members of our church. I hope that hats come back into fashion. Beautiful outfits would look so much more stylish with an appropriate hat topping them off. Should I start looking for a hat?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Robert Morris

Robert Morris, one of the greatest of patriots and future signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in January 1733 in Lancashire, England. His father was a Liverpool merchant who engaged extensively in trading with the American colonists. His father moved to America when Robert was a very young child, leaving him in the care of his grandmother and moved to America. He settled on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay in a place called Oxford. Robert was thirteen years old when his father finally brought him to America.

Robert went to school in Philadelphia, but he apparently knew nearly as much as his teacher. At fifteen years of age he started working in a counting room for one of the leading merchants in Philadelphia, Mr. Charles Willing. He became an orphan about this same time when his father passed away from an infection on his arm. He died several days after being hit by the "wad" fired from one of the guns on one of his ships. I found no mention of his mother.
Mr. Willing liked Robert and "gave him every advantage his business afforded." By the time Mr. Willing passed away, Robert had become a merchant. He started a mercantile business with a Mr. Thomas Willing in 1754, and the firm soon became very successful and prosperous. Even though the Stamp Act, the Tea Act, and non-importation agreements caused them to lose much business, they "cheerfully" supported the regulations and did everything they could to convince other merchants to do the same.

Robert married Mary White of Pennsylvania in 1769. They were married and had "uninterrupted domestic happiness" for 37 years before his death.

The British attack at Lexington caused great indignation among the colonists, and "extinguished all hope of reconciliation" with England. Robert then became involved in public affairs, and he was elected by the Pennsylvania legislature as a delegate to the General Congress in November 1775. His talents as a businessman were quickly recognized. He became a member of a "secret committee" (responsible for managing the financial affairs of the government) as well as a "committee to devise ways and means for providing a naval armament." He was assigned by Congress in the spring of 1776 to "negotiate bills of exchange, and to take other measures to procure money for the Government."

He was elected for a second term in Congress on July 18, 1776, fourteen days after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and he signed the document on August 2, 1776. He continued to labor diligently in Congress with the confidence that the patriots would finally achieve peace and independence. He was so confident in the final victory that he personally loaned $10,000.00 to General George Washington after he and his half-starved, half-naked soldiers retreated across New Jersey in late 1776. Robert financial support helped Washington to recruit and pay the soldiers who later crossed the Delaware River and achieved victory in the battle at Trenton.

There were numerous other times when the government was unable to procure finances that Robert arranged for the money on his own good name and character and then applied the money for public benefit. In the darkest period of the war in 1781, Robert joined with other citizens to organize a new bank in Philadelphia. The purpose of the new bank was to issue paper money that the public could accept with confidence because the "government bills were becoming almost worthless." The plan had the desired effect and greatly helped the cause of liberty.
During that same year, Congress convinced Robert to accept an appointment to be general financial agent of the United States. Today we call the position the Secretary of the Treasury. Robert was probably the only man in country who had the business talents and extensive ability to get credit, either domestic or foreign. Congress recognized his great abilities and urgently solicited his help. Congress at the time could not obtain loans for even one thousand dollars, but Robert could get loans on his own credit for tens of thousands. The Bank of North America became a successful operation, and the patriotic service of Robert Morris probably kept the Continental Army in business.

Robert was able to raise great amounts of money to support the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Because of his abilities, he became known as "the financier of the American Revolution." In fact, it has been stated that: "If it were not demonstrable by official records, posterity would hardly be made to believe that the campaign of 1781, which resulted in the capture of Cornwallis, and virtually closed the Revolutionary War, was sustained wholly on the credit of an individual merchant." It is stated that George Washington had only to tell Robert Morris how much money he needed, and Morris raised the money on his own responsibility.

After the Revolutionary War was over and peace established, Robert served two terms in the legislature of Pennsylvania. He attended almost every session of the Constitutional Congress of 1787 but played a minor part there. He was one of only six people who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

Robert was elected as a Senator for Pennsylvania to the first meeting of Congress under the new government. When President George Washington was selecting members of his Cabinet, he was very anxious to have Robert as the Secretary of the Treasury, but Morris declined. When Washington asked for suggestions for the position, Morris immediately mentioned Alexander Hamilton.

Morris served another term in the U.S. Senate and then retired from public life. By the time he left the Senate, he had invested heavily in the unsettled land throughout the new nation. His credit however collapsed by the late 1790's, and he was sent to debtor's prison in 1798. He was released from prison in 1801 and spent his remaining years in poverty. His financial situation bothered him a great deal. He also suffered from asthma. He died on May 8, 1806 at age 72.

Facts are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 93-98, and World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, p. 817. Quotes are from Signers.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.8.1: "The people of the states hereby delegate to the federal Congress the power to collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises."

This provision gave Congress the power to collect general taxes for the first time from either the states or the people. It also gave Congress the power to collect duties on imports, exports, or manufactured items, imposts or a tax similar to duties, and an excise tax or federal sales tax. Taxes consist of both indirect and direct taxes: "direct taxes are levied directly against individuals and their personal property and cannot be passed on to anyone else" while indirect taxes "are much less painful to collect" because they "can be passed on to the person who is the final purchaser of the goods." (See W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p 372.)

According to Skousen, the Founders expected that the federal government would be able to operate during ordinary times on the import duties, but they also realized that war or other emergency would require direct taxes from the people and their property. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were the two Presidents who were most successful in handling the power to tax. Jefferson was able to operate the federal government on the import revenue. He repealed excise taxes, abolished the internal revenue system, and sold public lands. Jefferson was able to pay off half the enormous debt from the Revolutionary War during his eight years in office. Andrew Jackson sold public lands in order to pay off the total national debt and have a surplus. He "returned $28 million to the states."

This information is especially interesting at this time because the conservatives in the House of Representatives are currently in a budget battle with the liberals/progressives in the Senate and White House about cutting spending and lessening debt. Wouldn't it be nice if we could find another Thomas Jefferson or Andrew Jackson in our day?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Repentance Means Change

There is a natural progression from faith in Jesus Christ to repentance. Repentance is a very important principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, one that is essential for our daily and eternal happiness. Repentance is more than simply admittance of sin; it is a complete change of mind and heart. Through repentance we gain a new awareness of how much Heavenly Father loves all His children. Our attitude toward God and His work change. Repentance is motivated by our love for God, and it includes a complete avoidance of sin. Repentance is motivated by a sincere desire to be obedient to God and to do only those things that please God.

From the time of Adam, mankind has needed repentance. The Lord told Adam to "teach it unto your children that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence" (Moses 6:57).

This earth was created as a place where we could grow and develop. During this lifelong process, we all sin and need to repent. Some sins are committed in ignorance; others are committed because of weakness or deliberate disobedience.

Sin is unrighteousness and a transgression of law. Jesus Christ is the only being to ever live on earth and remain sinless. He lived a perfect life, and through His Atonement, Heavenly Father provided a way for everyone else to repent.

Repentance is the way that we can become free from our sins and receive forgiveness for them. The burden of sin holds us back and slows or even stops our spiritual growth. Repentance is the process where we can throw off our burden of sin and start growing and developing again spiritually. Repentance is not easy. In fact, it is very difficult. It requires strength, courage, prayer, work, and sometimes even tears. Through repentance, we can change ourselves and our lives.

"There is no royal road to repentance, no privileged path to forgiveness. Every man must follow the same course whether he be rich or poor, educated or untrained, tall or short, prince or pauper, king or commoner" (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 38; italics in original).

The principles of repentance include: 1) Recognition: We must recognize within ourselves that we have sinned. Until we admit to ourselves that we have done something wrong, we cannot truly repent. 2) Remorse: We must feel sincere sorrow - sometimes called godly sorrow - for what we have done and desire to unload the burden of sin. We must feel sorrow for committing the sin, not just that the sin has been discovered by others. 3) Resolve: We must make an unyielding, permanent commitment to never repeat the sin. We must forever forsake and abandon the sin. 4) Report: We must confess all of our sins to the Lord. We must confess to proper priesthood authority any serious sin, such as adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, spouse or child abuse, or selling and/or using illegal drugs. We should confess our sins to those we have injured by sinning. 5) Restitution. We must restore as far as possible anything that we have damaged by our actions. We must right any wrong we did. 6) Righteous Living. It is not enough to simply stop committing sin. We must fill our lives with righteousness - daily prayer and scripture study, service, forgiveness of others, attendance at meetings, tithing, etc. We must obey with exactness the commandments of God. Sincere repentance changes lives.

Repentance makes the Atonement of Jesus Christ more effective in our lives and brings forgiveness from God. As we become free from the burden of our sins, we find true joy coming into our lives.

Repentance should be a part of our daily life. We should examine ourselves in the morning to determine if the Holy Ghost is with us. We should review our words and actions each night and ask God to help us recognize anything for which we need to repent. When we repent everyday and feel God's forgiveness for our sins, we can experience the daily process of becoming more like Christ. This process can bring sweet and exquisite happiness and joy into our lives.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Families are strengthened when parents are involved in their children's education and know what their children are learning. Parents must be willing to work at the local level to make sure that children are being taught appropriate lessons.

We must be very careful about what is being taught in our schools. Abraham Lincoln obviously understood this necessity when he made the following statement: "The things that are taught in our schools in this generation will be the policies of our government in the next generation."

Adolph Hitler apparently understood it for he said the same thing in different words, "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future."

Barack Obama obviously also understands this principle. Whenever he has a presentation to make, he goes to a place where young people gather instead of making his statement to adults. I listened to an unknown socialist (I didn't catch his name.) who was speaking to other socialists. He stated that it was important to work with people younger than college age - high school and even middle school students. Do you want your teens and pre-teens being indoctrinated with socialist ideas?

Progressives, Marxists, Communists, and socialists understand the importance of teaching their ideas to the youth, and many of them have infiltrated our school systems. Teachers who are members of these various groups are attempting to indoctrinate the children in their beliefs and principles. They are teaching ideas such as the following to their students: America is evil. Democracy is outdated. Parents do not know what they are talking about. Big businesses and corporations are evil. All private property should become public property. Abortion is not as bad as it sounds. Mother Earth is more important than the United States.
One group of school children presented the following rap on a school program for Earth Day []. This rap is quite simply indoctrination disguised as conservatism. Parents in this particular school took their concerns to the principle and got no where. They were told, "The song doesn't mean anything."

"The sky is high and the ocean is deep,
But we can't treat the planet like a garbage heap.
Don't wreck it, protect it, keep part of it wild [Like half the state of Alaska?]
And think about the future of your great-grandchild.
Recycle, bicycle, don't you drive by yourself."

I have no objection to the above words. We are stewards for the earth, and we do need to take care of it. We can accomplish much more by working together than we can by practicing class warfare. The following words are obviously against big businesses and corporations. Is this rap a prelude to riots?

"Don't buy those plastic products on the supermarket shelf. [We need containers of some sort!]
Boycott, petition, let the big business know [Those evil corporations!]
That if we mess it up here there's no where else we can go.
Don't shrug your shoulders, say what can I do.
Only one person can do it and that person is you."

Parents need to be certain that their children are being taught respect - respect for parents, respect for the nation, respect for our flag, etc. Children need to understand that corporations are not all bad. We must all remember that rich men provide jobs, and poor men don't. Many corporations do much to help society. For example, all the profits from the salad dressings known as Newman's Own are given to charities. They have donated more than $300 million to charities since 1982. The oil companies, banks, and other large corporations here in Alaska do many things to benefit our communities, such as sponsoring school activities and making donations for facilities.

In case you are thinking about pulling your children out of public school and putting them in private schools or home schooling them, think about the following statement made by a mother on the front lines of this problem. "Someone needs to be willing to stand up for the children." If all the good parents exit the school districts, what will happen to the other children?

A recent news item is that the National Education Association (NEA) has asked its members to support President Obama's bid to serve a second term as President of the United States. The NEA is the largest union in our nation with more than 3 million members. It appears that labor is preparing to support Democrats - their traditional ally - in the election of 2012.

The schools are different today than they were when I was a child or even when my children were in school. I know many good and wonderful teachers whom I would trust to teach my grandchildren. I know that there are teachers who have not gone over to the "dark side." While appreciating and supporting the good teachers, we must be vigilant and stand up to those teachers and administrators who are willing to "spin" their teachings in order to advance their political agendas. Parents must be aware and actively involved in the education of their children. They can strengthen their family by standing up for children and insisting that proper principles being taught in the schools.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Life, Liberty, and Property

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that security of life and liberty depends on the right to own property. In the eyes of our Founding Fathers, the protection of property was a primary purpose for government. They considered private property to be a foundation stone that protected life and liberty. John Adams said, "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist." (Charles Francis Adams.)

We live in an age of government entitlement programs that take property from the "halves" and give it to the "have nots." Our current leaders seem to believe that they have the right to redistribute the wealth of some citizens to other citizens as well as to other countries.

It appears that James Madison looked through the ages and saw our day when he said, "Government is instituted to protect property of every sort…. This being the end of government, that alone is not a just government, … nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest." (Saul Padover, ed, The Complete Madison, p 267.)

Redistribution of wealth is unconstitutional. It is unlawful to take property from one person to give it to another person, whether by an individual or a government. A society is corrupted when the government violates the principle of property rights. For this reason, all entitlement programs should be phased out. Many people worry about what would happen to the elderly, the poor, the sick and the needy if there were no more Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc. President Grover Cleveland said the following after vetoing legislation designed to charge taxes to pay for private welfare problems:

"I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the government the Government should not support the people.
"The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood." ("Why the President said No," in Essays on Liberty, 12 Vols., 3:255; my emphasis.)

President Cleveland understood that family, friends and neighbors helping each other would bring more common good than handouts by the government. He understood the "general welfare" phrase in the Preamble means exactly what it says. Government is responsible for the welfare of Americans as a whole but not as individuals. It is sad that we haven't found some Grover Cleveland's in Washington, D.C. today!

Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, pp 123-129.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sarah Hatfield Clark

Sarah Hatfield, the eldest daughter of Isaac Hatfield, was born in 1728 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. She married Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, when she was twenty-one years old. Sarah was from a well-to-do and respectable family, but little else is known of her family.

Abraham was a farmer and surveyor as well as a "poor man's lawyer" helping his neighbors. He served as a county sheriff, clerk of the assembly, and as a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress. He was a part of the Congress that voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence, and he continued as a member of the Congress for many years.

Sarah's home was not invaded by the British, but two of her sons, officers in the Continental Army, were captured by the British. They both were treated badly by the British "because of the activity of the father." When Congress threatened to retaliate against two British captains, the British began to treat Sarah's sons better and they were exchanged for British officers.

Abraham died in 1794, and Sarah died about ten years later. They are both buried at Rahway.

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp 147-149.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Osama bin Laden

There was great rejoicing throughout America and other parts of the world on Sunday, May 1, 2011, when President Barack Obama announced that a commando team had killed Osama bin Laden, the world's Most Wanted terrorist in Pakistan earlier in the day. Students gathered in front of the White House to celebrate while people in New York gathered to the World Trade Center site. People were calling each other and writing on Facebook about the event. It was big news!

I found my reaction to the news to be very interesting because I accepted the news with a lot of mixed feelings. I was glad to hear that OBL was dead and have no regrets that he was shot in the head and is no longer living.

I am grateful and pleased to know that President George W. Bush's promise was fulfilled. On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists flew two planes into the two towers of the World Trade Center, another plane into the Pentagon, and still another plane headed to Washington before Americans forced it into the ground in a Pennsylvania field. Following that attack, President Bush promised, "We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail." OBL learned the hard way that he could run and he could hide, but we would eventually get him!

I am sorry that the death of OBL did not happen during President Bush's term in office because I believe that he deserves a lot of the credit for success of the commando raid. I do not like the arrogant way that Obama took all the credit for the accomplishment. President Bush set up the policies and procedures that led to the important intelligence that led to the commando attack. I'll give Obama credit for actually ordering the attack and not letting OBL escape once again! I do not think that his "victory tour" was needed or showed good common sense.

I am proud of the United States military and particularly those involved in this commando raid under the direction of the CIA, and I am grateful that no Americans were injured or killed in the raid. In my opinion, we have the best military in the world, and this precision attack in Pakistan illustrates how really good they are. Way to go, Troops! May God be with you always!

I wonder what difference the death of OBL will make to our American way of life. He has been in hiding and somewhat marginalized for nearly ten years. He was not able to communicate with telephones or the Internet but was forced to use couriers to carry his messages. From information gleaned from the equipment taken from the Osama compound, we know that he was actively guiding the terrorist network. We can assume that we struck a blow against the terrorists, but we know that someone else will take his place and the attacks will continue against the West unless we stop them.

Even though President Bush and President Obama have been very careful to state that we are not at war with Islam, we must admit that most of the Islamic world is at war with us. The death of OBL will not change this fact. I found it very interesting that OBL was found in a populated part of Pakistan and not in a cave in a remote area. I feel certain that many people in Pakistan knew where he was and did not divulge the information even though there was a bounty on his head. What does this say about our "allies" in Pakistan?

The death of OBL does not change the fact that many Islamists in the Middle East are threatening to wipe Israel off the map. It does not change the fact that Iran continues to enrich uranium for building nuclear weapons. It does not change the fact that many of our leaders are still bowing to Islamic demands - such as burying OBL within twenty-four hours of death.

The death of OBL does not change the fact that our nation is spending more money than we take in, the fact that we are borrowing money from our enemy, the fact that our children and grandchildren will inherit enormous debt.

The death of OBL does not change the fact that we have a progressive socialist as our President or the fact that his policies are destroying the American way of life. It does not change the fact that we need to find a leader with conservative principles and courage to run against Obama in 2012.

The death of OBL does not change the fact that we have to endure x-rays and groping every time we get on an airplane. It does not change the fact that we have to prove that we are American citizens in order to enter any federal building in the nation.

We can rejoice that the Most Wanted terrorist is dead, but we must realize that it isn't going to change a lot of anything. We must continue in our cause of liberty. We cannot waver, we cannot tire, we cannot falter, and we cannot fail in our quest to preserve our peace and freedom!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Abraham Clark

Abraham Clark, future signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, on February 15, 1726. He was the only child of his parents and grew up working on his father's farm. Abraham was quite studious but didn't receive much early education. As an only child, he was quite spoiled.

Realizing that he did not have what it took to be a farmer, Abraham decided to study mathematics and law. He became a "good practical surveyor." He did not complete a course of legal study, but he transacted a lot of law business in his hometown for several years - "drawing up deeds, mortgages and other legal papers." The people loved and respected their "Poor man's Counsellor."

Abraham held several offices under the British government, including county sheriff, and he faithfully fulfilled his duties. When confronted with the question of being free politically or remaining slaves to England, he immediately joined the cause of liberty. He served on the first vigilance committee organized in New Jersey with "watchfulness and untiring activity."

Abraham was elected to be a delegate to the 1776 Continental Congress. Since the Provincial Congress of New Jersey had given him ample instructions, he understood exactly how his constituents wanted him to vote. He was seated in the Continental Congress in June, and he voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence with the understanding that he was putting the safety of his life, his family and his property in jeopardy. Unlike Richard Stockton and John Hart, Abraham did not suffer in either his person or his property, but the value of his property decreased due to his necessary neglect of it. Two of his sons served in the Continental Army and were captured by the British; they were incarcerated in a prison ship until they were released in the final exchange of prisoners.

Abraham continued to be an active member of the General Congress, with the exception of one term, until 1783 when peace was proclaimed. He served as a member of the State Legislature. He understood the problems of the old confederation and was elected to be one of the New Jersey delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He was prevented from traveling to Philadelphia by ill health. He was chosen to be one of the commissioners who worked to settle New Jersey's accounts with the Federal Government. He was elected a member of the first Congress under the new Constitution and served in that body until June 1794 when he retired from public life. He passed away that autumn at age 68 from an inflammation in his brain, and he was buried in the Rahway, New Jersey, church cemetery.

Abraham saw so much cruelty and oppression in the fight for independence that he grew to hate Great Britain. He had a difficult time with his hatred, but he always tried to control his own feelings and tried to always do what was good for his country. Whenever questions about France came up in Congress, he always took the side of the French against Great Britain.

Facts and quotes come from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp 90-92.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Maverick Clause

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.7.3: "Every order, resolution, or vote requiring the concurrence of the Senate and the House of Representatives (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States and be approved by him before it takes effect."

This provision is considered to be a maverick clause because it is inconsistent with other provisions of the Constitution. It is usually treated as such by both Congress and the White House.

According to W. Cleon Skousen, "This provision is the one clause in the Constitution which is considered to have been inadequately drafted. It was apparently designed to protect the RIGHT of the President to review all resolutions and legislative enactments of the Congress before such legislation or resolutions can take effect. However, there are a number of things besides their mutual adjournment which the Constitution itself excludes from the scrutiny or veto power of the President." Skousen gives several examples: 1) After both Houses of Congress have approved an amendment to the Constitution, it goes directly to the states for possible ratification. 2) Congress can suspend the President's war powers by a joint resolution and without the President's approval. 3) Occasions when the House and Senate agree between themselves on "deployment of funds for their mutual support services." (See
The Making of America - the Substance and Meaning of the Constitutio, pp 360-361.)

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I have the opportunity to know many young and wonderful women who are accomplishing much good in the world by being exceptional mothers to their children. These young mothers impress me by the way they love and teach their children. Several of these young women have been chosen to represent Alaska in different years as either the Alaska Mother of the Year or as the Alaska Young Mother of the Year.

I have learned much from these young mothers, things that I wished I had understood when my own children were young. I have learned that the smallest of gestures leave great impressions. The following lines are attributed to Victor Hugo: "She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to her children, who ate with eagerness. `She hath kept none for herself,' grumbled the sergeant. `Because she is not hungry,' said a soldier. `No,' said the sergeant, `because she is a mother.'"

I know that any of these young mothers of my acquaintance would react as did the mother in the following incidence in a concentration camp during World War II:
"One afternoon we had to stand in line to receive our food and water rations. Our mother could barely stand, let alone walk, but she … stood in line with us, in obvious pain, leaning heavily on a stick. Seeing my mother like that fueled the hatred in my heart for those responsible… When I passed one of the officers … I threw my cup … in his face and spat at him.
"Immediately a samurai sword was drawn toward me. Quickly my mother put her hands on the sword and pushed it away from me, cutting her hands…
"`Please pick up your cup, Kitty, and apologize,' she begged me softly….
"With great difficulty she bent and picked up the cup, then bowed deeply… She offered apologies in my name, telling him that I was only a child and had not acquired the discipline to master my emotions…. `If there must be a punishment,' she said, `I will take it for my child.'
"… The officer slowly put the sword back in its sheath, gently took the cup from my mother's hands, and filled it with water. `Woman, drink!' he said, and … my mother drank the water eagerly. He took the cup from her hands, filled it a second time, and offered it to my mother with both hands and a slight bow…
"`It is I who must apologize to you for not recognizing the majesty of your womanhood,' he said." (Kitty DeRuyter)

I think that mothers in general consider their efforts to be feeble when comparing themselves to others. I know that I usually feel that my works do not measure up to what they should be. For all those mothers who feel that they will never be chosen as "mother of the year," consider the following thoughts from prophets: "I have learned to place a high estimate upon the love of mother. I have often said, and will repeat it, that the love of a true mother comes nearer being like the love of God than any other kind of love" (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 315).

"Motherhood is the greatest potential influence, either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world" (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, 452).

"She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and the plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, whose immortal souls will exert an influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have decayed or shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God" (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, 453-54).

The following story illustrates that motherhood is the noblest of all careers and the most important career for women. "Kristen was finishing a graduate degree and had recently given birth to her second child. She felt the other graduates had accomplished so much more and was reluctant to attend the graduation dinner. Her fears were confirmed when, at the dinner, the students were asked to list their professional accomplishments.
"Kristen recalled, `I suddenly felt embarrassed and ashamed. I had nothing to call myself, no lofty position, no impressive job title.' To make matters worse, the professor read the lists as he presented a diploma to each student. The woman ahead of Kristen had many accomplishments: she already had a PhD, was receiving a second master's degree, and she'd even been a mayor! The woman received grand applause.
"Then it was Kristen's turn. She handed the professor her blank sheet, trying to hold back the tears. The professor had been one of her teachers and had praised her performance. He looked at her blank paper. Without missing a beat he announced, `Kristen holds the most critical role in all of society.' He was quiet for a few seconds, then declared in a powerful voice, `She is the mother of her children.' Instead of a few courteous claps, people rose to their feet. There was just one standing ovation that night; it was for the mother in the room" (Bonnie D. Parkin, "Sweet Moments," Ensign, Nov. 2005, 107).

Fools may deride the women who choose to become mothers and spend their most productive years in nurturing their children. People with wisdom understand that mothers hold the most critical position in the world. The work done by mothers with their children will determine the type of society we have so never underestimate the importance of being a mother. Consider the words of the following poem:
The holiest words my tongue can frame,
The noblest thoughts my soul can claim,
Unworthy are to praise the name
More precious than all other.
An infant, when her love first came,
A man, I find it still the same,
Reverently I breathe her name,
The blessed name of mother.
George Griffith Fether, "The Name of Mother," in Best-Loved Poems of the LDS People, ed. Jack M. Lyon and others (1996), 218.

I wish a Happy Mother's Day to every woman. To those women who happen to have children, enjoy the attention given to you today because you deserve it. To those women who do not have children of their own yet, rejoice because you are a woman and are a mother in your heart. Every woman has a part to play in helping the children and youth of today to become the healthy, well-balanced adults of tomorrow.