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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

John Brown

                John Brown was born on May 9, 1800, in Torrington, Connecticut, the fourth of eight children of his parents.  His father was Owen Brown (February 16, 1771 – May 8, 1856), his mother was Ruth Mills (January 25, 1772 – December 9, 1808, and his grandfather was Capt. John Brown (1728 – 1776).  He traced his ancestry back to 17th-century English Puritans.

                Owen Brown opened a tannery in Hudson, Ohio, in 1805 and moved his family there.  He was a supporter of the Oberlin Institute (now known as Oberlin College) but later became critical of its leanings. 

                John Brown was a member of the Congregational church until the 1840s when he withdrew his membership and never officially joined another one.  He was only 16 years old when he left his family to enroll in a preparatory program in Plainfield, Massachusetts.  He soon transferred to the Morris Academy in Litchfield, Connecticut.  He hoped to become a minister for the Congregationalist church but lack of money and problems with his eyes forced him to drop out of school and return to Ohio.  He worked briefly for his father and then opened his own successful tannery.

                In 1820 Brown married Dianthe Lusk, and their first child, John Jr, came just over a year later.  He purchased 200 acres of land in 1825 in New Richmond, Pennsylvania, and moved his family there.  He cleared 25 acres and built a cabin, barn and tannery; his tannery employed 15 men within a year.  In 1978 The John Brown Tannery Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Brown also raised cattle and surveyed as well as helped establish a Post Office and a school.  In 1831 Brown began to see problems:  one of his sons died, he became ill, his businesses suffered and left him great debt.  The next year was even worse.  In the summer of 1832, a newborn son died and was followed by the death of Dianthe.

                Brown married 16-year-old Mary Ann Day (April 15, 1817 – May 1, 1884) on June 14, 1833; she was originally from Washington County in New York.  They became the parents of 13 children, plus the seven surviving children from his previous marriage.  Brown moved his family again in 1836 to Franklin Mills, Ohio (now known as Kent) and “borrowed money to buy land in the area, building and operating a tannery along the Cuyahoga River” with a partner.  He again suffered great financial losses due to the economic crisis of 1839.

                Brown made a public vow in 1837 in response to the murder of Elijah P. Lovejoy:  “Here, before God, in the presence of these witnesses, from this time, I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery!”

                John Brown’s troubles continued.  A federal court declared John Brown bankrupt on September 28, 1942, and four of his children died of dysentery in 1843.  Brown and his sons managed the flocks and farms of Col. Simon Perkins of Akron, Ohio, and Brown moved his family into a home across the street from the Perkins Stone Mansion located on Perkins Hill.  The John Brown House (Akron, Ohio) is now owned and operated by The Summit County Historical Society of Akron, Ohio.

                John Brown believed that the institution of slavery in the United States could only be destroyed by armed insurrection.  He led forces in the 1856 conflict in Kansas at the Battle of Black Jack and the Battle of Osawatomie.  At Pottawatomie his followers killed five people that supported slavery.  He led an unsuccessful raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry in 1859 that resulted in his capture; this resulted in his conviction and a sentence of death by hanging. 

                “Brown’s attempt in 1859 to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (later part of West Virginia), electrified the nation.  He was tried for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, the murder of five men and inciting a slave insurrection.  He was found guilty on all counts and was hanged.  Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of the abolitionist iceberg and represented the wishes of the Republican Party to end slavery.  Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that, a year later, led to secession and the American Civil War.”

                Brown is still a controversial figure, and historians are divided about whether or not he is “America’s first domestic terrorist.”  “He is sometimes memorialized as a heroic martyr and a visionary and sometimes vilified as a madman and a terrorist.”

                I found some of the last written words of John Brown to be almost prophetic and believe they come close to echoing scripture.  Early on December 2, 1859, John Brown wrote:  “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.  I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.”

                Among his final acts John Brown read from the Bible and wrote his final words to his wife, including his will.  He was escorted from the county jail at 11:00 a.m. “through a crowd of 2,000 soldiers a few blocks away to a small field where the gallows were.”  He was accompanied by the sheriff and his assistants but received no religious services.  He was hanged at 11:15 a.m. and pronounced dead at 11:50 a.m.  His body was put in a wooden coffin with the noose still around his neck; the coffin was put on a train to New York where several memorial meetings took place with church bells ringing and minute guns being fired. 

                John Brown was buried on December 8 at the John Brown Farm located near Old Military Road in North Elba, New York, on the outskirts of Lake Placid.  His sons Oliver Brown and Watson Brown, killed in the Harpers Ferry raid, were buried near him.  The tombstone of his grandfather Captain John Brown (1728-1776) is on the grave of his grandson John Brown.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Birthright Citizenship

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the first sentence of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States….”  Many people believe that this clause means that anyone born on United States soil is automatically a citizen of the United States.  If the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment wrote the amendment to give citizenship to everyone born in the United States no matter what other circumstances prevailed, they were setting up our nation for destruction by foreign countries. 

                Donald Trump is not my first choice for President of the United States, but he has done our nation a great favor by bringing birthright citizenship to the forefront of the dialogue of our country.  I believe that illegal immigration with all its problems including birthright citizenship is THE topic of discussion for the 2016 election.  Many people read the Fourteenth Amendment as it is written – and quoted above – while other people conveniently forget the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

                Daniel Horowitz presents “The Originalist Case Against Birthright Citizenship.” “The American people are being told by the political class that there is nothing they can do to prevent future waves of illegal immigrants from coming here, unilaterally declaring political and legal jurisdiction, and securing citizenship for their children.  We are told that there is no recourse through our elected representatives to prevent illegal immigrants from gaining a legal foothold in this country all because of a footnote from the most radical anti-originalist justice of this century, William Brennan Jr.

                “If you are scratching your head wondering how our own Constitution can be used as a suicide pact against us by foreign countries, you are not missing anything.  This irrational sentiment expressed by a number of conservative and liberal pundits alike, in fact, undermines the very fabric of the social contract, popular sovereignty, and the republican form of government established by the preamble of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."

                Horowitz proceeds to explain in detail how people are getting the Fourteenth Amendment wrong.  He then concludes his article:  “Indeed, the issue of birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants is not just a tangential topic within immigration.  It cuts to the very core of how illegal immigrants are able to coerce their will on the American citizenry and the broader issue of sovereignty.  This runs much deeper than the 14th Amendment.  The question for policy-makers has moved beyond whether we will survive as a nation as our Founder’s envisioned.  We have already deviated so far from that vision.  It’s a question of whether we are a nation at all.”

                Illegal aliens come into our country by breaking our immigration laws. They then have the nerve to march in protest to our laws.  Why are not the protesters rounded up and deported?  Why must American citizens endure all the problems brought by people coming to America illegally?  The answer to these questions and others is simply that our elected representatives are failing to do the job they were elected to do!

Saturday, August 29, 2015


                While we were in heaven with our Heavenly Father, He gave each of us at least one talent and/or ability; we brought our talents and abilities with us when we came to this life.  Some talents are: leadership, ability to speak, sing, play a musical instrument, athletics, or ability to work with our hands.  Other talents are being a good listener, understanding others, cheerfulness, patience, or the ability to teach other people.  Moses had great leadership ability but lacked the ability to speak well; Aaron, his brother, had the ability to speak well.

                We have been given talents by Heavenly Father, but we have the responsibility to receive His gifts.  In other words, we may have been given great musical talents or great athletic abilities, but we also have the responsibility to develop and use our talents.  Sometimes, we have a difficult time recognizing our talents and think others are greater blessed.

                We must do certain things in order to develop our talents:  (1) We must discover our talents by examining our strengths and abilities, asking others for help doing so, and asking Heavenly Father.  (2) We must be willing to spend the time and effort to develop our talent.
(3) We must have faith in our ability to develop the talent, and faith in Heavenly Father that He will help us.  (4) We must learn the skills involved in the talent by taking a class, taking lessons, reading a do-it-yourself book, etc.  (5) We must practice our talent.  No one can master a talent without earning it.  (6) We must share our talent with others in order for it to continue to grow.

                The Lord does not always make it easy for us to have a talent; in fact, sometimes, He gives us weaknesses to overcome in order to find our strengths (see Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Ether 12:27).  Elder Paul H. Dunn of the Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wrote:  “Beethoven, a great composer, wrote his greatest works after he was stone deaf.  Demosthenes overcame weak lungs and a lisp to become one of the greatest orators of all time” (I Challenge You, p. 65).

                Shelly Mann was an athlete who developed her talents in spite of a handicap.  Elder Marvin J. Ashton explained, “At the age of five she had polio….  Her parents took her daily to a swimming pool where they hoped the water would help hold her arms up as she tried to use them again.  When she could lift her arm out of the water with her own power, she cried for joy.  Then her goal was to swim the width of the pool, then the length, then several lengths.  She kept on trying, swimming, enduring, day after day, until she won the gold medal for the butterfly stroke – one of the most difficult of all swimming strokes” (Ensign, May 1975, p. 86).

                President Heber J. Grant is known for overcoming several weaknesses and turning them into strengths.  His motto was:  “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased” (Gospel Standards, p. 355).

                We are each responsible for using or misusing the talents given to us by God.  When we do as God desires, He gives us blessings.  Some of the blessings that come from using our talents to bless other people are joy in serving, love for our brothers and sisters, self-control, and the ability to focus. 

                Heavenly Father wants us to develop our talents.  He is pleased when we develop our talents wisely and will bless us as we use our talents to help other people and to build up His kingdom on earth.   Jesus Christ taught in parable of the talents that when we use our talents to serve well in our stewardships, we will be given greater responsibilities.  This parable also teaches that those who choose not to develop their talents will lose them.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

Thoughts versus Emotions on Immigration

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we control our emotions and think clearly.  Our nation is going wild with the “emotional thinking” taking place; it does not seem to matter what the topic is because people think with their feelings rather than their thoughts.  Parents and grandparents can do something about this trend by teaching their children and youth to think until they see the truth clearly and not let themselves be ruled by their emotions.

                One such area where emotions have run all over thoughts is with illegal immigration:  We can’t send them all home, we can’t split up families, they are only here to provide for their families, etc.  The radical elements of both the Democrat Party and the Republican Party - those who are far-left and/or progressive – have lied to Americans for generations about illegal aliens or undocumented immigrants.  They believe that Americans will believe them if they tell big enough lies and do it long enough.  The support for Donald Trump and the uproar in the news about illegal immigration show that many Americans do not believe the lies.  More and more Americans are now involved in educating themselves about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  More and more Americans understand what the Fourteenth Amendment really says.  I like to see Americans opening their eyes and their minds to see what is really happening in our country.

                Tim Dunkin wrote a well-researched and thoughtful article entitled “The Children of Illegal Immigrants Are Not Born American Citizens in which he lays out facts to support the title.

                “The crux about which the discussion revolves is the Citizenship Clause found in the 14th amendment, Section 1, `All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.’

                        “More specifically, what is at issue is the phrase, `and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’  Clearly, the clause was not intended to convey American citizenship to an unlimited pool of children born to aliens on American soil.  If this had been the case, then the phrase under discussion would not have been included.  Obviously, some limits were intended, those circumscribed by the intent of being `subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’

                “So what were those limits?  Typically, it will be pointed out that the limits due to this jurisdictional issue were that citizenship was not being conveyed to children born of ambassadors and other aliens employed by their foreign governments, nor was it being conveyed to members of various Indian tribes which exercised sovereign powers within their own territories (this latter was rescinded by an act of 1924 which granted Indian tribes full American citizenship).  Were these the only restrictions on birthright citizenship intended by the author and debaters of the 14th amendment?

                “No, actually.  Let’s understand what the original intention of the 14th amendment was, which was to grant American citizenship to former black slaves and their children, and to prevent these newly freed citizens from being denied citizenship rights by certain of the southern states.  That’s it.  This was made clear by Sen. Jacob Howard, who authored the amendment in 1866, who clearly provided the intent for this section of the amendment, `Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is, by virtue of natural law and national law, a citizen of the United States.  This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.  It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States.  This has long been a great issue in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.’

                “Clearly, other classes of foreign citizens were intended besides the children of ambassadors and other diplomatic personnel.  Indeed, Howard’s statement appears to be quite all-encompassing – if taken at face value, it would appear that he did not even intend the 14th amendment to grant citizenship to the children of foreign nationals here legally, much less to those here illegally….”

                Dunkin includes other quotes and much information to prove his point that children of illegal aliens are not automatically U.S. citizens – even though the Mexican government sends threats to Texas and anyone else who refuses to grant them birth certificates.  I do not believe this topic will go away soon.  The goodwill of the American people has been used and abused for too long, and we demand that our elected officials represent the will of the American people and not the will of those who come to our nation illegally.

                Illegal immigration is just one area where our children need to be taught the truth and helped to think with their minds and not their emotions.  The future of the United States of America depends on parents and other trusted adults to help the rising generation learn to seek the truth and think about the consequences rather than just “feeling” empathy for an underprivileged class, a group of people who have broken the law to be in America and insist that Americans give them what they desire.  When we teach our children and grandchildren to think clearly, we can strengthen our homes, communities, and nations.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Myths versus Facts of Birthright Citizenship

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is our need to sift through all the myths about birthright citizenship and find the truths.  We must accept the fact that we are being “spoon fed” myths in an effort to keep us from knowing the truths. 

                Daniel Horowitz, Senior Editor of the Conservative Review, posted an interesting article entitled “Fixing the Birthright Citizenship Loophole:  Myth vs Fact.” Before listing seven myths and then sharing the truths, Horowitz shared the following statement made by Senator Harry Reid in 1993 while introducing a new immigration enforcement bill. More than ten million illegal aliens have entered this country since Senator Reid said:   

                “If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant?  No sane country would do that, right?  Guess again.  If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with US citizenship and guarantee a full access to all public and social services this society provides, and that’s a lot of services.  Is it any wonder that two-thirds of the babies born at taxpayer expense in county-run hospitals in Los Angeles are born to illegal alien mothers?” (Emphasis mine.)

                This statement clearly illustrates that Senator Reid and other leaders in the Democrat Party knew the truth in 1993.  In the author’s words, the truth is that “no sane country would diminish the value of U.S. citizenship and use it to blatantly encourage illegal immigration and the growing birth tourism scam.”

                Horowitz’s seven myths are as follow:  (1) Unconditional birthright citizenship is guaranteed by the Constitution under the 14th Amendment; (2) You must amend the 14th Amendment in order to change the citizenship law; (3) Upholding the law in this regard means stripping citizenship from those already deemed Americans; (4) Changing birthright citizenship is radical and uncalled for; (5) Citizenship is then limited to children of citizens; (6) You are a racist if you support a fix of the birthright loophole; (7) Birthright citizenship is a red herring to stir up the masses.

                The author goes through each myth and explains why it is a myth.  His explanations can be boiled down to the fact that the Fourteenth Amendment clearly states that being born in the United States is not enough to claim citizenship.  The Fourteenth Amendment begins:  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside” (emphasis mine).  At least one parent must be in the United States legally for the child to receive birthright citizenship.  If the parents have broken the law to be in the United States, they are here illegally and thus not “subject” to the law of our land.  The Fourteenth Amendment does not need to be amended; it simply needs to be understood correctly and enforced.  People who clamor for the enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment are not racists; we want the law applied to all people who seek to enter our nation!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Anchor Babies II

                When I read the headline “Jeb Bush:  Asians abusing US birthright citizenship,”  I passed over it because I thought he was simply trying to take Americans’ attention off the illegal immigrants entering the United States through the porous southern border.  Bush has clashed with other presidential candidates over the term “anchor babies,” believing it is a “derogatory description of children born in the United States to undocumented parents.”

                Bush was recently in Texas along the southern border and was questioned about whether or not his campaign would suffer with Hispanics over his use of the term “anchor babies.”  He replied, “What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there’s organized efforts – and frankly it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept with birthright citizenship.”

                Bush does not believe he is using a derogatory term with the use of “anchor babies – the practice of people coming to the United States to have children born on United States soil and thus gaining citizenship.  This is why he spoke of immigrants other than Hispanics having “anchor babies.”

                Today I began reading articles about some of the other immigrants coming to America for the blessings of having a baby born on US soil.  This is an article about a couple from China that made the trip and paid $35,000 in order for their second child to be born in the United States to enhance its chances for education and other blessings not available in China.  Their child was one of thousands born here as estimates of Chinese tourists giving birth here range from 10,000 to 60,000 per year.

                Donald Trump appears to be correct when he says that our Fourteenth Amendment is a magnet for “anchor babies.”  This article is about the “very real economic costs of birthright citizenship.” “According to Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) legal policy analyst Jon Feere, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security in April, between 350,000 and 400,000 children are born annually to an illegal-alien mother residing in the United States – as many as one in ten births nationwide.  As of 2010, four out of five children of illegal aliens residing in the U.S. were born here – some 4 million kids.  Reporting that finding, the Pew Research Center noted that, while illegal immigrants make up about 4 percent of the adult population, `because they have high birthrates, their children make up a much larger share of both the newborn population (8 percent) and the child population (7 percent) in this country.

                “The cost of this is not negligible.  Inflation-adjusted figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that a child born in 2013 would cost his parents $304,480 from birth to his eighteenth birthday.  Given that illegal-alien households are normally low-income households (three out of five illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children live at or near the poverty line), one would expect that a significant portion of that cost will fall on the government.  And that’s exactly what’s happening.  According to CIS, 71 percent of illegal-alien headed households with children received some sort of welfare in 2009, compared with 39 percent of native-headed houses with children.  Illegal immigrants generally access welfare programs through their U.S.-born children, to whom government assistance is guaranteed.  Additionally, U.S.-born children of illegal aliens are entitled to American public schools, health care, and more….

                “There are long-term costs, too.  U.S.-born children of illegal aliens can sponsor the immigration of family members once they come of age.  At 18, an `anchor baby’ can sponsor an overseas spouse and unmarried children of his own; at 21, he can sponsor parents and siblings.  There may be a long waiting period before that legal benefit is of use.  But it’s a fact that illegal aliens with American-born children are much less likely to be deported, and that policy has been effectively enshrined in law with President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) policy, which would effectively grant amnesty to some 5 million illegal aliens, on top of the 2 to 3 million granted amnesty under his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.  (DAPA is currently under scrutiny in the courts.)”

                We can see from just these articles that birthright citizenship is a problem, and Trump is right about it being a magnet for illegal immigrants.  Our porous borders and lax enforcement of our immigration laws are allowing many of the “anchor babies” to be here, and our progressive judges and leaders on the federal level are allowing them to stay. 

                The deliberate deception of “anchor babies” is causing problems in our nation, problems that could be hiding even larger ones.  Americans have been lied to for so long that many of us believe the lies.  One of the biggest lies is that our Fourteenth Amendment gives citizenship to any child born in the United States.  This is not true.  The Fourteenth Amendment begins:  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside” (emphasis mine).

                People who come to the United States illegally or as tourists are not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof;” they are subject to the laws of their own nations, whether that be China, Mexico or wherever.  We must continue to share this truth until it overcomes the lies we are being fed.  Knowing the truth of the Fourteen Amendment can help reduce the numbers of  “anchor babies” in our midst, make jobs available for more Americans, and reduce the costs of our welfare programs.  It makes sense that our nation should take steps to reduce the numbers of “anchor babies” in every way we can.  The Donald is right on this one! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Deliberate Deception of Anchor Babies

                Those who are attempting to “fundamentally change” the United States are deliberately deceiving Americans about anchor babies.  According to Doug Hagmann in his article “The lies of illegal immigration and infanticide,” these conspirators are “shredding the United States Constitution and destroying our country from within.”  He also claims that abortion and illegal immigration are “intertwined” issues.

                When media talking heads and politicians discuss illegal aliens being deported, they seldom speak of the “anchor babies” or children born to illegal aliens on U.S. soil. This is because they claim the “anchor babies” are granted automatic citizenship under the Fourteen Amendment to the Constitution.  This leaves viewers with the belief that the statement is true.  Hagmann claims that “this is a lie that has been repeated so often that few dare challenge its legitimacy [emphasis his].
                “It has been repeated so frequently that any challenges are usually unceremoniously dismissed, or the argument gets deliberately diverted, ultimately reinforcing the erroneous stipulation that the newly born child is automatically granted U.S. citizenship.
                “To make it simple, the following eight words eliminate any confusion as to the status of children born in the United States to a woman here illegally:  The child follows the condition of the parents” [emphasis his].

                This is a really interesting article about anchor babies.  I encourage you to read it in order to give a “simple yet accurate rebuttal to anyone wishing to muddy the waters, create confusion, manipulate the language of the United States Constitution, or to otherwise advance their globalist agenda is found in that short sentence:  The child follows the condition of the parents.”

                Hagmann quoted part of the Fourteen Amendment:  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside…” (Emphasis his).

                Hagmann continued:  “To further clarify the highlighted phrase, we consult Vattel’s Law of Nations, which states that `to be of the country, it is necessary to be born of a person who is a citizen; for if he be born there of a foreigner, it will only be the place of his birth and not his country’ [emphasis mine].
                “From this, `the bottom line’ should be abundantly clear.  If a woman, illegally residing within the borders of the United States, has a baby, neither the woman nor the child is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.  As the child follows the condition of the parents, their status is clear:  they too are present inside our country illegally and most certainly can and should be subjected to deportation.
                “Everything else is a deliberate perversion of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights by those complicit in the destruction of our nation from within….”

                Anyone who truly understands the Fourteenth Amendment would understand the need to deport the entire family of illegals.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Frank Lloyd Wright

                The man known to the world as Frank Lloyd Wright was originally named Frank Lincoln Wright.  He was born on June 8, 1867, in Richland Center, Wisconsin, a farming town.  His parents were William Carey Wright (1825-1904) and Anna Lloyd Jones (1838/39 – 1923).  William Wright, originally from Massachusetts, was an orator, music teacher, occasional lawyer, itinerant minister, and was once a superintendent of schools; Anna, from Wisconsin, was a member of a large, prosperous, and well-known family as well as a school teacher.  He was a Baptist minister but later joined her Unitarian faith.  Both parents were “strong-willed individuals with idiosyncratic interests.”

                When Anna was expecting Wright, she declared that her son “would grow up to build beautiful buildings.  She decorated his nursery with engravings of English cathedrals torn from a periodical to encourage the infant’s ambition.”  She purchased a set of blocks created by Friedrich Wilhelm August Frobel that became “the foundation of his innovative kindergarten curriculum.”  “Young Wright spent much time playing with the blocks.  These were geometrically shaped and could be assembled in various combinations to form three-dimensional compositions.”  He later wrote about the influence of the blocks on his life:  “For several years I sat at the little Kindergarten table-top … and played … with the cube, the sphere and the triangle – these smooth wooden maple blocks … All are in my fingers to this day ….”  “Many of his buildings are notable for their geometrical clarity.”

                The Wright family moved to Wisconsin for financial help from the Lloyd Jones family.  William taught music lessons and shared his love for music with his children.  Wright was only 14 when his parents separated; they divorced in 1885.  It was at this time that Wright changed his middle name from Lincoln to Lloyd in honor of his mother’s family, the Lloyd Joneses.  He was now the only male left in the family and assumed financial responsibility for his mother and two sisters.

                Wright attended Madison High School but left no proof of graduation; he also attended University of Wisconsin-Madison and left without a degree (receiving an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University in 1955).  He went to Chicago to look for employment.  The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left the city with a great need for development, and he found work as a draftsman in an architectural firm.  While at the firm, he worked on two projects for his family.

                Frank Lloyd Wright became a famous architect, interior designer, writer, and educator; he designed more than 1,000 structures with 532 of them being completed.  He believed structures should be in harmony with humanity and the environment.  Among the structures Wright designed are offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, and museums.  He also designed furniture and stained glass, wrote 20 books plus many articles, and was a popular lecturer.  He was recognized in 1991 as “the greatest American architect of all time” by the American Institute of Architects.

                Frank Lloyd Wright was married three times:  (1) Catherine “Kitty” (Tobin) Wright (1871-1959; she was a social worker and socialite; married in June 1889; divorced in November 1922); (2) Maude “Miriam” (Noel) Wright (1869-1930; she was an artist; married in November 1923; divorced in August 1927), and (3) Olga Ivanovna “Olgivanna” (Lazovich Milanoff) Lloyd Wright (1897-1985; she was a dancer and writer; married in August 1928).  He was also the father of four sons and three daughters plus one adopted daughter of his third wife.
The children include Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr. (Lloyd Wright) (architect in Los Angeles); John Lloyd Wright (architect; invented Lincoln Logs in 1918 and practiced in San Diego); David Samuel Wright; Katherine Wright Baxter (mother of actress Anne Baxter); Iovanna, and adopted step-daughter Svetlana.  Several grandchildren and great-grandchildren became architects and interior designers.

                Wright passed away on April 9, 1959, in Phoenix, Arizona, at age 91, shortly after undergoing surgery.  He was buried in the Lloyd-Joes cemetery in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  Twenty-five years later – to honor the wishes of his third wife – his body was cremated and sent to Scottsdale, Arizona, where it was interred in the memorial garden.  The original grave site in Wisconsin still carries his name even though empty.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Creation of Constitution

                The creation of the Constitution of the United States was a miracle and one of the most influential events in the history of mankind concerning the liberty.  John Adams described the Constitutional Convention as “the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen.”  Jesus Christ revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that He “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:80).

                Matthew Spalding described this creation in a chapter in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution entitled “The Formation of the Constitution.” Much of the information in this essay comes from his chapter.

                The battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay; they were the first military engagements of the Revolutionary War.  By June 1776 Americans were clamoring for independence from Great Britain.  At the Second Continental Congress Virginian Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution for the colonies to cut their political alliances with their mother country, make alliances with foreign nations, and draft a plan of confederation.  The results of this resolution were the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Franco-American Alliance of 1778, and the Articles of Confederation (proposed in 1777 and ratified in 1781).

                The Articles of Confederation proved to be “awkward at best and unworkable at worst.  Each state governed itself through elected representatives, and the state representatives in turn elected a weak national government.  There was no independent executive, and the Congress lacked authority to impose taxes to cover national expenses.  Because all thirteen colonies had to ratify amendments, one state’s refusal prevented structural reform; nine of thirteen states had to approve important legislation, which meant five states could thwart any major proposal.  And although the Congress could negotiate treaties with foreign powers, all treaties had to be ratified by the states” (p. 7).

                By the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, the Articles were obviously not capable of governing the new nation.  George Washington considered the system to be “a shadow without the substance.”  Spalding wrote, “Weakness in international affairs and in the face of continuing European threats in North America, the inability to enforce the peace treaty or collect enough taxes to pay foreign creditors, and helplessness in quelling domestic disorder, such as Shays’s Rebellion – all intensified the drive for a stronger national government” (p. 7).

                Delegates from all the states except Rhode Island met in a place now called Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from May 25 to September 17, 1787.  Spalding called the group “impressive”; Thomas Jefferson (who did not attend) called the gathering “an assembly of demigods” (p. 8).

                George Washington at first declined the opportunity to be a part of the group; he later decided to attend and was chosen to be the president of the Convention.  He led the Virginia delegation to Pennsylvania and presided over the group while they waited for a quorum of delegates to arrive.  While they waited, the men from Virginia met “to consider strategy and the reform proposals that would become the plan presented at the outset of the Convention.”

                The Convention had three basic rules:  (1) voting was to be done by state with each state having one vote; (2) delegates were to maintain “proper decorum” at all times, and (3) the proceedings were to be kept completely secret.  “Free and open discussion and debate” were encouraged.”  James Madison kept “detailed notes” that became the “best records of the debate”; the notes were not published until 1840 because of the pledge of secrecy.

                The “Virginia Plan” was introduced immediately after the rules of the Convention were established.  From that beginning, the delegates created the miraculous Constitution of the United States.  Spalding concluded his chapter thusly.

                “When the Constitutional Convention assembled on the morning of September 17, 1787, the completed document was read aloud to the delegates for one last time.  Thereupon Benjamin Franklin, the eighty-one-year-old patriarch of the group, rose to speak.  He declared his support for the new Constitution - `with all its faults, if they are such’ – because he thought a new government was necessary for the young nation.  Franklin continued:

                “`I doubt too whether any other convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution.  For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views.  From such an Assembly can a perfect production be expected?  It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies.  … Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best.’

                “As the delegates came forward, one at a time, to sign their names to the final document, Madison recorded Franklin’s final comment, just before the Constitutional Convention was dissolved.  Referring to the sun painted on the back of Washington’s chair, Franklin said that he had “often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting.  But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.’” Spalding added a note from Washington’s private diary where he described the Constitution as a “momentous work” (pp. 11-12).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Missionary Work

                All the prophets were missionaries, and each was commanded to preach the gospel to the people of his day.  At all times when the priesthood was on the earth, God has commanded His servants to preach the eternal principles of the gospel to His children. 

                The Church of Jesus Christ has always been a missionary church.  The Savior ordained Apostles and Seventies and ordained them with authority and responsibility to take the gospel to others.  At first, the gospel was preached only to Jews, but it was taken to the Gentiles after the resurrection of Christ.  He commanded the Apostles:  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

                The Apostle Paul was a great missionary, particularly to the Gentiles.  Once he was converted, Paul spent the rest of his life sharing the gospel with others.  At various times he was whipped, stoned, and imprisoned, but he never let the mistreatment stop his missionary efforts.

                When the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, missionary work began once again.  The Apostles and Seventies have the chief responsibility for preaching the gospel and taking it to all the world.  The Lord told Joseph Smith:  “Proclaim my gospel from land to land, and from city to city … Bear testimony in every place, unto ever people” (Doctrine and Covenants 66:5, 7).  In June 1830 the Prophet’s younger brother Samuel Harrison Smith began the first missionary journey for the restored Church.

                Thousands of missionaries have been called and sent out to preach the gospel.  They take a special message to the world - Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind – and testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to earth.  LDS missionaries pay their own expenses and go to all parts of the world to preach the gospel message; they have responsibility to preach the gospel to all people, to baptize them, and to teach them to do all things which the Lord has commanded (see Matthew 28:19-20).

                We know from modern revelation that we must take the restored gospel to every nation and people in the world (see Doctrine and Covenants 133:37).  We know the Lord will provide a way to do this because He never gives a commandment without preparing a way for it to be accomplished (see Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 1 Nephi 3:7).

                Prophets ask us to pray for the doors of many nations to be opened to missionary work.  President Spencer W. Kimball said that wonderful inventions would be made to help us take the gospel to all the world.  Since that time we have seen many technological breakthroughs that help spread the gospel – the Internet, computers, smart phones, etc.

                Missionary work is necessary in order for all people to have an opportunity to hear and accept the gospel.  Everyone must have this opportunity in order to learn the truth, turn to God, and receive forgiveness from their sins.  As we share the gospel, we help prepare the sons and daughters of God for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

                President David O. McKay taught that every member of the Church is to be a missionary even though we are not all formally called and set apart.  We have received many blessings because we are members of the Church, and we are required to offer all these blessings to all people.  Lord said in modern revelation:  “It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:81).  Other prophets have taught us to love our neighbors and then warn them.  This means we should give them our friendship and fellowship before the warning.

                The Lord will help us be effective missionaries when we have the desire to share the gospel and pray for guidance.  He will help us find ways to share the gospel to our friends, such as:  (1) Show the joy of living the gospel by our very lives; (2) Be friendly to others and do kind things for them whenever possible; (3) Show others that we are good people who care about them; (4) Explain gospel teachings to our nonmember friends and other people; (5) Invite our interested friends to our homes to be taught by the missionaries; (6) Teach our children the importance of sharing the gospel; (7) Help our children to prepare spiritually and financially to serve missions; (8) Pay our tithing and contribute to the missionary fund to help further missionary work; (9) Give financial support to missionaries in the field who need the help; (10) Do family history research and temple work to help bring the gospel to our ancestors, and (11) Invite nonmembers to Church or family activities such as family home evening, socials, conferences, and meetings. 

                The Lord has promised great blessings to missionaries.  In a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord told returning missionaries:  “Ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you” (Doctrine and Covenants 62:3).

                In another revelation, the Lord said, “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

                “And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”  (Doctrine and Covenants 18:15-16).

Friday, August 21, 2015

Calling of Father

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when all of us understand the calling of any father is for both time and eternity and there is no higher calling for men.  Fathers are to provide spiritual leadership in their families.

                A recent lesson in Relief Society discussed the sacred callings of fathers and mothers from the teachings of President Ezra Taft Benson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   President Benson told fathers, “…you have a sacred responsibility to provide spiritual leadership in your family.”  He then repeated a statement from a pamphlet published in 1973 by the Council of the Twelve, “Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership.  It has always been so; it always will be so.  Father, with the assistance land counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home” (Father, Consider Your Ways, 4-5).

                President Benson suggested ten specific ways fathers can give spiritual leadership to their children:  (1) “Give father’s blessings to your children.  Baptize and confirm your children.  Ordain your sons to the priesthood.  These will become spiritual highlights in the lives of your children.”

                (2) “Personally direct family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings.  Your personal involvement will show your children how important these activities really are.”

                (3) “Whenever possible, attend Church meetings together as a family.  Family worship under your leadership is vital to your children’s spiritual welfare.”

                (4) “Go on daddy-daughter dates and father-and-sons’ outings with your children….”

                (5) “Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings.  These memories will never be forgotten by your children.”

                (6) “Have regular one-on-one visits with your children.  Let them talk about what they would like to.  Teach them gospel principles.  Teach them true values.  Tell them you love them.  Personal time with your children tells them where Dad puts his priorities.”

                (7) “Teach your children to work, and show them the value of working toward a worthy goal…. "

                (8) “Encourage good music and art and literature in your homes.  Homes that have a spirit of refinement and beauty will bless the lives of our children forever.”

                (9) “As distances allow, regularly attend the temple with your wife.  Your children will then better understand the importance of temple marriage and temple vows and the eternal family unit.”

                (10) “Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church.  This can become contagious to them, so they, too, will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.” 

                I found the discussion very interesting.  I was particularly impressed on how young mothers help their husbands to interact with their children in more ways.  Several mothers shared how their husbands put their children to bed each night by helping their children with their prayers and reading bedtime stories to them.  This special time is called “Daddy time” and is special to both fathers and children.  I wish I had been wise enough to involve my husband more in such things because I believe family relationships could have been much different.

                Some of my readers may look at this list of things for fathers to do and think it is impossible.  I know it is not because I know fathers, including my sons and sons-in-law, who do all these things on a regular basis.  These men accept their eternal responsibility of being a father and fulfill their calling to do so.  Their children love them and want to be with them and like them.  I know that families, communities, and nations can be strengthened by such fathers.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Human Freedom Index

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact there is a correlation between democracy and human freedom.  Ian Vasquez (Cato Institute) and Tanja Porchnik (Visio Institute) have put together The Human Freedom Index.  The authors gave equal weight to personal freedom and economic freedom and explained how they built their index.  

                “One of the biggest challenges in constructing any index is the organization and weighting of the variables.  Our guiding principle is that the structure should be simple and transparent.  … The economic freedom index receives half the weight in the overall index, while safety and security and other personal freedoms that make up our personal freedom index receive the remaining weight.”

                The authors described the Index and gave some key findings:  “The Human Freedom Index … presents a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint.  It uses 76 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom … The HFI covers 152 countries for 2012, the most recent year for which sufficient data is available.  … The United States is ranked in 20th place.  Other countries rank as follows:  Germany (12), Chile (18), Japan (28), France (33), Singapore (43), South Africa (70), India (75), Brazil (82), Russia (111), China (132), Nigeria (139), Saudi Arabia (141), Venezuela (144), Zimbabwe (149), and Iran (152)….

                “Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significantly higher per capita income ($30,006) than those in other quartiles; the per capita income in the least-free quartile is $2,615.  The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.  Hong Kong is an outlier in this regard.  The findings in the HFI suggest that freedom plays an important role in human well-being.”