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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Voter ID and Hacking of Election Data

                Two states have reported hacking incidents of in voter registration systems. The hacking incidents in Arizona and Illinois may prove the importance of stronger laws calling for voter identification laws. The FBI is investigating the hacking in Illinois of 200,000 voter records. The incident in Arizona forced the state to remove its voter registration system from online. Voters are allowed to register online in 31 states and the District of Columbia, and voter ID laws are in place in only 34 states.

                Fred Lucas posted an essay on The Daily Signal discussing the problem with hackers getting in the voter registrations systems in states.  He quotes Hans von Spakovsky as saying that the hacking of election systems in “certain states has the potential to shift an election.”

                “`If it’s an organized effort, and someone hacks into a system and falsely registers bogus voters, you could hire a crew of people to vote multiple times under different names…. That’s a problem for states with no voter ID laws. There is no way to prevent that.’”

                I believe that the only way to prevent hackers from changing elections and nullifying Americans’ votes is to pass laws requiring that individuals register to vote in person and to provide personal identification when registering and again when voting. I show personal identification every time I vote and have done so for many years. I have never been given a ballot without first proving that I am who I claim to be. I am grateful that my state insists on voter identification, and I hope other states adopt realistic laws also. The voting process must have integrity, or it will become irrelevant.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dumbing Down Curriculums

                Many people believe they do not need a college education. Others think individuals graduate from college without gaining basic skills and/or knowledge. Perhaps all of them are correct.

                Charles Sykes posted an essay at The Daily Signal titled “The Dumbing Down of College Curriculums.” He writes that even some college professors admit that college curriculums are not what they should be.

                Sykes quotes Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa from their book “Academically Adrift.” The authors conclude that “45 percent of students `did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning’ during their first two years of college. More than a third (36 percent) `did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning over four years of college.’
                “Traditionally, the authors wrote, `teaching students to think critically and communicate effectively’ have been claimed as the `principal goals’ of higher education. But `commitment to these skills appears more a matter of principle than practice.’ Arum and Roksa found.
                “`An astounding proportion of students are progressing through higher education today without measurable gains in general skills,’ they wrote. `While they may be acquiring subject-specific knowledge, or greater self-awareness on their journeys through college, many students are not improving their skills in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing.’
                “But those are precisely the skills that employers increasingly expect from college graduates. A 2013 survey of employers on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that 93 percent of employers say that a demonstrated capacity to think critically communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than a candidate’s undergraduate major.
                “More than three-quarters of the prospective employers of new college graduates said they wanted colleges to put more emphasis on such basic skills as `critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge.”

                The entire essay is very interesting and informative and worth studying in depth. It brings the question, “Since schools are basically under the control of liberals and progressives, why is learning being dumbed down?” I believe school curriculums are being dumbed down from elementary school through high school and through the university level. Students are not learning how to think and reason in order to solve problems.

                What would happen if students were capable of “critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge?” I believe they would start thinking about what they are gaining from their education and why they are not learning the important issues. If our citizens were capable of these skills, they would stop voting for liberals because they would reason that liberal principles never work. The bottom line is that liberals literally cannot afford for students to gain these skills because the liberals would be out of jobs.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Colin Kaepernick

                I had a difficult time deciding who to make my VIP for today. Since 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick is in the news, I thought I would write about him – whether or not he is worthy of VIP status. Last Friday the 49ers played a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, and Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem.

                Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” He said that he is not “looking for approval” and only wants to “stand up for people that are oppressed.”

                I do not intend to discuss whether or not Kaepernick “should” stand for the national anthem. America is the land of liberty. We have the freedom to do what we want as long as it does not hurt anyone else or endanger our own health or life. I will say that I believe he is the wrong person for the protest. See this site for a similar view

                I understand that Kaepernick is bi-racial, having a white mother and an African American father. He was adopted and reared by a white couple. He lives in a nation where the current President is bi-racial, two black people have been Secretary of State, two black people have been Attorney General, and another black person is currently Secretary of Homeland Security.  In addition, numerous other African Americans have had leadership positions. He also plays football for the NFL where he makes millions of dollars playing with a ball. He has been blessed, not oppressed.

                As for as I am concerned Kaepernick can sit through the national anthem as often as he likes, but he cannot say that blacks are currently oppressed in the United States. Affirmative action places black students in universities even though students of other races are better qualified for admittance. Most people in America want blacks to succeed just as we want all other races to prosper.

                I am, however, getting really tired of being called a racist and being told that I “owe” other races something simply because I am white. The more Mr. Obama and other liberals discuss racism, the more I notice people of color. I do not think any less of them, but I am more aware that they are different than I am. Before Mr. Obama took office, I considered all people as human beings; now, I think of them as different races and wonder where in Asia or South America they originate. I think of race more often now simply because it is constantly thrown in my face. I liked the old America best!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pledge and Patriotism

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution is the connection between children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and patriotism. The topic is in the news because a waiver from an elementary school in Florida was posted on Facebook. The waiver form gave parents the opportunity to opt their child out of “standing and placing his/her right hand over his/her heart” and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. A child’s uncle posted the waiver on Facebook and asked, “What is happening in our country?” Florida has given children an opportunity to opt out of the pledge since 2000, which means the uncle is just becoming aware of the problem.

                Jarrett Stepman at The Daily Signal writes that “the casual and increasingly dismissive treatment of even simple patriotic acts is a symptom of deeper trends in American society. The decline of patriotism in American life will lead to profound crisis for the world’s youngest civilization – which has been fortunate enough to maintain one of the oldest, and certainly the greatest, of political systems.”

                Stepman further reports that “only 53 percent of adults are `extremely proud’ to be Americans” according to a June Gallup poll. This is a decline of 17 percent since 2003 with the numbers “dragged down in particular by millennials.” He says that these “steadily declining numbers, more than economic malaise or any other factor demonstrate the current fragility unity of the world’s greatest superpower.”

                The rising generation apparently is not as patriotic as their parents and grandparents. I believe this loss of patriotism starts in the schools where more and more liberals and progressives have control of our children for five or more hours each day, five days each week, nine months out of the year. The simple fact that a school sends waivers to parents with the opportunity to opt their child out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance indicates the size of the problem in our society.

                Stepman continues, “The flippant way in which patriotism is being cast aside in this country makes it vital that Americans attempt to restore patriotic sentiment and understanding of the nation’s traditions for current and future generations. Leaders capable of articulating what has made America unique are necessary, as is a public that has a keen understanding of what ideas are at the cornerstone of the republic.”

                One suggestion by Stepman to restore patriotism to our children is following the example of South Carolina, which has a “new law requiring students to study the founding documents” of our nation. I believe students should be required to take a civics class in middle school or high school. I also believe children should be taught the importance of memorizing and saying the Pledge of Allegiance as well as honoring military and veterans. The best way we can teach patriotism is by personal example. Do you love the United States of America? How do you show your love?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Prophet Speaks

                Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regard Thomas S. Monson as a prophet of God. We believe that he speaks the words that Jesus Christ would want us to hear. I believe that blessings come when we follow the counsel of the prophet.

                President Monson spoke about charity in the October 2010 session for women in a talk titled “Charity Never Faileth.” The entire talk is well worth studying. Most members of the Church will remember the story he told about a young married couple named Lisa and John who moved into a new neighborhood.

                “One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash. `That laundry’s not clean!’ Lisa exclaimed. `Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!’”
                John did not say anything, and Lisa would make the same comments each time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry. A few weeks passed. Then one day “Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, `Look, John – she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.’
                “John replied, `Well dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!’”

                President Monson then said, “Tonight I’d like to share with you a few thoughts concerning how we view each other. Are we looking through a window which needs cleaning? Are we making judgments when we don’t have all the facts? What do we see when we look at others? What judgments do we make about them?”

                I do not know about you, but I have come face-to-face with the fact that I am judgmental of others. I find myself looking through “dirty windows” when I recognize such thoughts as, “That’s a crazy outfit!” or “I wonder what she did to her hair” or “Why is she doing that?” I am not pleased to know that I am judgmental, but I can at least take credit for recognizing my weakness. Each time I recognize myself judging others, I call myself out on it. I am grateful that they are only thoughts and not words or actions. I hope to one day eliminate this weakness as I continue to work on it.

                President Monson continues, “None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions.
                “There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: `Judge not.’"

                I was gratified last Sunday when I did not judge a mother of a young child who was crying in sacrament meeting. I remembered how I felt as a young mother with crying children, and I felt only sympathy for her.

                President Monson quotes “Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life.” “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” He then reminds us that the “Savior has admonished, `This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.’ I ask: can we love one another, as the Savior has commanded, if we judge each other? And I answer – with Mother Teresa: no, we cannot.”

                President Monson continues, “I have always loved your Relief Society motto: `Charity never faileth.’ What is charity? The prophet Mormon teaches us that `charity is the pure love of Christ’….
                “I consider charity – or `the pure love of Christ’ – to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.
                “I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others….
                “In a hundred small ways, all of you wear the mantle of charity. Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out.”

                The prophet has spoken. He tells us the words that Christ would have us hear. I am grateful that President Monson reminds us to have more charity for our fellow beings and stop judging them. Imagine what can happen in our homes and communities if we follow the counsel of the living prophet!

Friday, August 26, 2016


                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when men and women realize that parenthood is the reason we are created, the reason we are on earth. Heavenly Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ, created this earth for the purpose of teaching and training His spirit children to become like Him. One of God’s expectations of us is that we will partner with Him in creating bodies for other spirits to come to earth also.

                Blogger Matt Walsh recently wrote an interesting article in reply to message he received on Facebook. The message came from a young man whose wife was pregnant with their first child. He was worried that he was not “dad material” because he enjoys his free time, trips, vacations, and having fun with his wife.

                Walsh explained that he should relax because no one is “dad material” or “mom material” before they become dad or mom. Everyone enjoys their free time, trips, vacations, etc. “We all like to relax, come and go at our own leisure, and generally exercise control over our lives.”

                After explaining why men need to become fathers, Walsh writes, “So you don’t feel like you could fit a kid into your life exactly as it is right now? You’re right. You’d have to change it. But that raises the real question: Is it worth it? You like your free time and your vacations, but is there something better out there? Is there something deeper to be found in life if you dig for it?

                Walsh says that “every man is meant to serve and protect others. All men are meant to deny themselves. All men are meant to love self-sacrificially. All men are meant to give themselves up, as Christ did on the cross. All men are called to provide strength and moral leadership. All men must have a father’s heart, no matter what they’re doing with their lives. And the fact that any man is afraid of giving himself to a greater cause doesn’t mean that he’s not meant to do it….
                “I truly believe that no man can ever be happy or satisfied until he embraces his role as a father, in whatever capacity. As long as he lives like a boy, as long as he lives only for his toys and his free time, he’ll be miserable because there’s just not enough in all that stuff to sustain a man. Some men will find their fatherhood role outside of biological or adoptive fatherhood, and they’ll be happy there. But most men, like us, will find fatherhood in fatherhood….”

                Walsh answers the question, “what do I get out of being a father” with a list of blessings: “A sense of purpose. A reason. A cause. An entire universe you never knew existed. An outlet for that self-sacrificing love that all men fundamentally desire to give….”

                Fatherhood is not easy, but it is possible and worthwhile. Becoming a father – or a mother – is fulfilling the purpose for your existence on earth. When fathers and mothers understand the importance of fatherhood, our families, communities, and nations are strengthened.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Freedom of Inquiry and Expression

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns freedom of inquiry and expression. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States declares:  “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech or of the press….” Amendment 1 was adopted on December 15, 1791, as the first of ten amendments constituting the Bill of Rights.

                Yet, freedom of speech has been curtailed and even prevented on liberal university campuses across the United States because someone might feel uncomfortable by something someone else says. Spineless and/or liberal administrators at colleges have allowed liberal and progressive students to force rules curtailing the freedom of speech on their campuses and demanding “safe places” where they will not feel threatened by words.

                Finally, a university stands up to the pressure. Jay Ellison, Dean of Students at the University of Chicago, sent a letter to the class of 2020 informing them that one of the university’s “defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression.” The letter warned incoming students to not expect “trigger warnings” or “safe spaces” on campus.

                In its first paragraph the letter congratulates incoming freshmen on being accepted to the university and welcomes them to the campus. The second and following paragraphs informed students of the university’s stand on free speech.
                “Once here you will discover that one of the University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression…. Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.
                “Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called `trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual `safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

                You can find the entire letter at this site, and I hope you will read it. I find the letter to be very refreshing. I am grateful for those universities and other schools that refuse to curtail academic freedom because of pressure from liberals.

                Students go to universities, colleges, and other schools to learn. How can they learn if they are censored in what they can speak, write, or hear? I enjoy hearing the viewpoints of other people because I know they come from different backgrounds and different experiences and can add to my knowledge. The more knowledge I gain, the better I am equipped to make informed decisions. The opposite is also true. If knowledge is withheld from me, I am less able to make good decisions.

                Could this be the reason freedom of speech is curtailed on liberal campuses? Conservative principles work every time they are tried, and they bring more freedom with their policies. Liberal leaders must be afraid they will lose followers if their followers are allowed to hear conservative ideas!    I applaud the University of Chicago in their commitment to academic freedom!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mormons and Immigration

                Donald Trump does have a “Mormon problem,” but it is not the problem Tom Tancredo posed recently. “It is an open secret in Washington, D.C., that the Mormon church supports open borders and lax enforcement of immigration laws.” This is an outright lie.

                The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement five years ago on June 20, 2011, concerning its position on immigration. The first four paragraphs of the statement are as follow:

                “Around the world, debate on the immigration question has become intense. That is especially so in the United States. Most Americans agree that the federal government of the United States should secure its borders and sharply reduce or eliminate the flow of undocumented immigrants. Unchecked and unregulated, such a flow may destabilize society and ultimately become unsustainable.
                “As a matter of policy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourages its members from entering any country without legal documentation, and from deliberately overstaying legal travel visas.
                “What to do with the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants now residing in various states within the United States is the biggest challenge in the immigration debate. The bedrock moral issue for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is how we treat each other as children of God.
                “The history of mass expulsion or mistreatment of individuals or families is cause for concern especially where race, culture, or religion are involved. This should give pause to any policy that contemplates targeting any one group, particularly if that group comes mostly from one heritage.” (Emphasis added.)

                Most people would agree that the above statement hardly calls for open borders. It does, however, put the responsibility of securing the borders directly on the federal government of the United States. It also states that continued illegal immigration into the United States can “destabilize” our society and that members of the Church are discouraged to enter any country illegally.

                The most important issue to the Church and its members is “how we treat each other as children of God.” This is an issue that the early members of the Church dealt with over and over again. Joseph Smith and his followers were persecuted and pushed out of New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois because of religious beliefs. The intolerance of other religious groups forced them to actually leave the territory of the United States and seek safety and religious freedom in the Utah Territory. This is the reason why members of the Church and the Church itself defend the religious freedom of all other people.

                Many of my ancestors were among those members who were uprooted time and time again and finally established permanent homes in Utah. I am in full support of the Church’s position on immigration. I too believe that the most important issue is “how we treat each other as children of God.”       

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

                The New Atlantis published a new report about gender identity and sexual orientation. The report, “Sexuality and Gender:Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” is co-authored by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh, two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality.

                Ryan T. Anderson at The Daily Signal says that the report “challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity…. The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that `some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.’”

                Anderson then lists “four of the report’s most important conclusions.” (1) “The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property – that people are `born that way’ – is not supported by scientific evidence.” (2) “Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex – so that a person might be a `man trapped in a woman’s body’ or `a woman trapped in a man’s body’ – is not supported by scientific evidence. (3) “Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.” (4) “Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

                The new report should cause people to pause and consider some of the actions that are being taken in our nation. There is no scientific evidence available to prove the need for some of these actions; therefore, our federal government and media should stop pushing for drastic changes in our society. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Julian Assange

                Julian Paul Assange has been in the news numerous times over the past few weeks for items published by WikiLeaks, and he is in the news today because of a burglary at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

                WikiLeaks published the following statement this morning:  “16 mins ago at 2:47 am a `cat burgler’ scaled the side wall+window of the Ecuadorian embassy in London; fled after being caught by security.”

                What does the Ecuadorian embassy in London have to do with Assange? He was granted political asylum by Ecuador and “has been living inside the embassy for more than four years.”

                There is some concern that the burglar was actually attempting to assassinate Assange. It seems that lots of people associated with the Clintons die of “suicide” or “unknown causes.” Assange has been a pain in Hillary Clinton’s side for a very long time now, as he has continuously released documents and information that indicates massive amounts of fraud and corruption taking place by Hillary, her state department, and the Clinton Foundation.” He promises to release more documents about Hillary.

                I personally have wondered how he has managed to stay alive this long. Apparently, many other people believe his life is in danger. Maybe it is a good thing that he lives in an embassy with security guards.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Voter Fraud

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns voter fraud. Conservatives have been claiming voter fraud for some time, and progressives have been denying it even though voter fraud cases are being put on record.

                Peter Tapsak and Jason Snead explain, “Progressives insist that voter fraud is a myth, a charade meant to justify repressive voting laws. The facts, however, tell a different story: Voter fraud is real, and if we ignore it, we leave our ballot boxes open to fraudsters who would rather steal elections than risk losing in a fair and open contest.”

                In their article titled “Voter Fraud Is Real. Here Are 4 More Cases,” Tapsak and Snead discuss how “courts struck down election integrity laws in Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin” but left “some provisions of Texas’ challenged election laws” in effect. A “stay has been entered against the order striking down Wisconsin’s law.”

                Tapsak and Snead then discuss four new fraud cases to put on the record. They took place in Kentucky, Texas, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The charges include vote buying, identity theft, fraud, “assisting” absentee voters, convicted felon voting, and 13 counts for duplicate voting.

                The article at The Daily Signal concludes: “As the old adage goes, we are entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. These cases – along with the hundreds of other convictions Heritage has documented – are the inconvenient facts many on the left choose simply to ignore. Reasonable Americans should not follow their lead.
                “Elections – our most direct means of political participation – should be fair and untainted by fraudsters. Every time a vote is cast illegally, it nullifies a legitimate vote and undermines the entire system by eroding public trust in our political institutions. It is imperative that this not be allowed to happen.”

                We must believe that voter fraud takes place and demand fair and honest elections!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Guard Rails

                Almost every time I leave my neighborhood I travel through a certain intersection. As I travel down the road leading to the intersection, I have the choice to go straight across the bridge over the freeway or to take a sharp turn to the right. One lane of the road to the right leads to the freeway, and the other lane leads to the frontage road. I make that sharp right turn regularly and several times each week. I travel down the frontage road each Sunday to reach the meetinghouse. I also travel that road during the week to attend the temple, which sits on the same piece of land as the meetinghouse. I enter the freeway whenever I go shopping, out to eat, or to a movie.

                Just before I make that sharp right turn, I clearly see a guard railing on the opposite side of the road from me. The railing is there to keep vehicles from going off a steep embankment and dropping onto the freeway. When the roads are icy, I drive around the corner very slowly in order to avoid sliding across the intersection and hitting the railing. I have successfully driven through the intersection without hitting the railing for nearly 30 years.

                I know that not every driver is so careful or fortunate because the railing is replaced at least once each year. Obviously, there are too many people driving too fast to make the corner safely because the railing almost always has more than one dent in it and several colors of paint on it. A new railing rarely lasts a week before being dented, but the barrier has fulfilled its purpose by stopping many vehicles from going off the embankment.

                Guard railings are in place to keep people and property safe. The same is true of family rules, city laws, and God’s commandments. The purpose of rules, laws, and commandments is to provide safety and to bring lasting happiness to all of us. Family rules are in place to help all family members remember the actions that strengthen families. Traffic laws are in place to avoid accidents. God gives commandments to help His children become more like Him and to prepare to live with Him for eternity.

                In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in April 1843, the Lord gave a list of instructions to Joseph and the Church. One of those instructions pertained to the subject of this discussion: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated – And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (Doctrine and Covenants 130: 20-21).

                If I obey the traffic law that says to stop at a STOP sign, I most likely will not be hit by any car driving through the intersection. If I understand the law of nature that cold and moisture turns roads icy, I will drive slowly enough through the icy intersection to miss the guard railing. If I obey the commandment of God to be honest in my dealings with my fellowmen, I do not need to worry about being caught in a lie. If I am obedient to the law, I will reap the blessings that come with obedience to those laws.

                Whether rules, laws, and commandments bring happiness or heartache depends on how we view them. If we view them as barriers to our happiness, we will do all that we can to get past them. If we view them as railings to protect us spiritually and physically, we will appreciate them and do our best to stay within them. I know that obedience to rules, laws, and commandments brings greater freedom and happiness just as the guard railing keeps me safe from a terrible accident.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book of Mormon Is the Keystone

                We can strengthen families, communities, and nations by learning how to be more effective missionaries.
President David O. McKay said, “Every member a missionary,” and President Thomas S. Monson called for better member missionaries. Are you following this counsel? Would you like to know how to be a better member missionary?

                This site has prepared some family home evening lessons to help us become better missionaries by using the missionary manual, Preach My Gospel. The “lessons cover everything from using the Book of Mormon to teach to understanding the Spirit better.” The site promises that “family home evenings will be filled with the spirit of missionary work” if you use the lessons. 

                The second lesson comes from Preach My Gospel, Chapter 5: “What Is the Role of the Book of Mormon?” The purpose of this lesson is to emphasize the importance of the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ is sharing the gospel. The lesson emphasizes the value of knowing what the Book of Mormon teaches and why it is essential.

                The “Introduction” in the Book of Mormon discusses the “what,” “when,” “how,” etc. of the volume of history. This statement is found in the sixth paragraph:  “Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: `I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.’”

                Approximately 30 years ago in the October 1986 General Conference, President Ezra Taft Benson spoke on the topic of “The Book of Mormon – Keystone of Our Religion.” President Benson (1899-1994) was the 13th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As an Apostle of the Lord, he also served the United States as Secretary of Agriculture during the Eisenhower Administration. “He is remembered for his firm testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon and his emphasis on its importance in daily scripture study, missionary work, and gospel teaching.”

                President Benson begins his talk by explaining that the Book of Mormon is “one of the most significant gifts given to the world in modern times” and “is a gift of greater value to mankind than even the many wonderful advances we have seen in modern medicine… [or] … the development of flight or space travel….” He reminds us that this “gift was prepared by the hand of the Lord over a period of more than a thousand years, then hidden … [and] … preserved” for us. He also reminds us that the Lord bore witness of the Book of Mormon: (1) It is true (Doctrine and Covenants 17:6), (2) It “contains the truth and His words” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:26), (3) It “was translated by power from on high” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:8), (4) It “contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:9; 42:12), (5) It “was given by inspiration and confirmed by the ministering of angels” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:10), (6) It “gives evidence that the holy scriptures are true” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:11), and (7) Those “who receive it in faith shall receive eternal life” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:14).

                Later in his talk, President Benson explains that there “are three great reasons why Latter-day Saints should make the study of the Book of Mormon a lifetime pursuit.” The three reasons are: (1) The “Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion.” (2) “It was written for our day.” (3) It “helps us draw closer to God.” I know that the entire talk is relevant and interesting, but I will share only what President Benson says about the first reason.

                “The first is that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. [He includes part of Joseph Smith’s statement quoted above.] A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.
                “There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.”

                President Benson explains the three ways that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and testifies that he has spoken the truth. This talk by President Benson is one of the classic talks given in General Conference and should be studied by all members of the Church over and over again. I would like to share all of the talk with you, but I will return to the “Introduction” in the Book of Mormon.

                The seventh paragraph explains that eleven other people saw the gold plates and left their written testimonies. These testimonies are included in the Book of Mormon under the headings of “The Testimony of the Three Witnesses” and “The Testimony of the Eight Witnesses.”

                The eighth and ninth paragraphs issue an invitation and a promise:  “We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3-5.)  
                “Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.”

                I have read the Book of Mormon many times, usually two or even three times each year. I have pondered its message and taken my questions to Heavenly Father. When He knew that I sincerely wanted to know if it is true, I received a powerful message through the power of the Holy Ghost. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and brings me closer to God. I encourage you to read this sacred book and ask God for yourself. If you are sincere in your quest, you can know the truth and strengthen yourself, your family, your community, and your nation.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


                The liberty principle for today concerns the right of religious people to practice their religion without being forced to condone the LBGT agenda. The battle between LGBTs and religion has been ongoing for a couple of years. LGBTs continue to attack religious institutions and are now attacking BYU.

                Cheryl Chumley posted an article for The Blaze titled “LBGTs vs. First Amendment: the Fight for Religious Freedom Ratchets.” She claims that “The skirmishes around the nation centered on rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders are not really about rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. They’re about the decimation of the First Amendment and the destruction of traditional family. And the latest local battle to drive a wedge in the national norm is in Utah, where 25 groups dedicated to advancing the LGBT rights’ movement have signed on to a letter urging the Big 12, which is considering a team expansion, to turn a blind eye on Brigham Young University.”

                The coalition claims that “[BYU] actively and openly discriminated against its LGBT students and staff. In fact, through its policies, BYU is very clear about its intent to discriminate against openly LGBT students, with sanctions that can include suspension or dismissal for being openly LGBT or in a same-sex relationship…. Given BYU’s homophobic, biphobic and transphobic policies and practices, BYU should not be rewarded with Big 12 membership.”

                Chumley continues her article by explaining that BYU is a private university and is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU “does in fact have policies regarding homosexual relations,” but it also has policies governing heterosexuals. All administrators, employees, and students at BYU are required to “be honest,” to “live a chaste and virtuous life,” and to “participate regularly in church services.” They are expected to demonstrate moral values of the gospel of Jesus Christ in their “daily living on and off-campus.”

                The Church’s stance on gender and sex is summed up in “The Family – A Proclamation to the World.” The fourth paragraph of the proclamation states: “… We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” This statement means that all sexual relations are to be within a lawful marriage between man and woman.”

                The proclamation says in paragraph 7, “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity….”

                The policies at BYU are founded on Church doctrine. The LGBTs may be able to keep BYU out of the Big 12, but they will not change Church doctrine because it is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Creation of ISIS

2016-8-17 Creation of ISIS
                Donald Trump said a few days ago that Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton created ISIS. The left-leaning members of the media did their usual attack on his statement because they knew he was speaking the truth. Mark Alexander of The Patriot Post explains how Obama and Clinton “seeded, sprouted and nourished the Islamic State.” He discusses the policies established by Obama and Clinton between 2009 and 2012 that helped ISIS rise.
                After his review, Alexander states, “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are, in fact, the founders of the Islamic State. Given their wanton nuclear empowerment of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and the expanding capability of Islamic terror networks now targeting the U.S., the Islamist attack on our nation in 2001 will one day seem minor when compared to the detonation of a fissile weapon in a major urban center.”
                It appears that the Donald is correct in at least some of his wild statements. Maybe we should pay a little more attention to what he is saying!


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fixing the Problem

                A man was shot by a police officer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and riots followed. More police officers have been attacked and killed. What should our nation do about the excessive force being used by police officers and the attacks on officers?

                Congressman Dave Reichert believes that “he has the life experiences to be the GOP’s authority on addressing historic tensions between the police and the people they serve. `I have been there before, where your life is threatened and you have to make a split decision…. I have been in battles where my throat has been slashed with a butcher knife, where I had a shotgun stuck to my belly, and each time I was able to resolve the situation without using force.’”

                Reichert, now 65 years old, had a 33-year law enforcement career and was sheriff of King County in Washington. He oversaw the capture of a notorious serial killer there. Even though he has respect for police and was successful in his career, he is calling on Congress to make some reforms. He wants to transform “a law enforcement task force … into a bipartisan working group dedicated to `having a candid discussion on issues fueling excessive force by law enforcement and against police officers.’” The six-term moderate Republican hopes to move Congress to take action to resolve this “crisis,” and Congress has been reluctant to become involved in the hostility between police and minorities.

                I believe that Reichert is correct in many of his ideas. I believe that there are most likely police officers of every kind who should not have the power and authority of law officers. I also believe there are minorities who believe all the lies they have been fed by liberals. An example of this is the black man in Milwaukee who was rioting because the white people had money and were not giving any to the black people.

                I believe that Sheriff David Clarke is correct in stating that the conditions in the ghetto need to be fixed more than policing. “Milwaukee could be a case study in how damaging progressive, liberal policies have been…. They’ve created an underclass here. We have entrenched poverty in the city of Milwaukee, we have failing schools, we have dysfunctional families, broken homes, we have massive unemployment, we have questionable lifestyle choices.”

                Congress may be successful in writing new laws, but they have no power over morality. We must take our government back from the secret combinations that are trying to destroy our way of life. We must fix the problems in the economy in order for black people to have employment and self-worth. We must teach the importance of marriage and father in the home. We must enforce the laws against looting, arson, and other violent actions. We must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and allow His influence into our lives and our nation!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sheriff David Clarke

                I have admired Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark for several years because he stands firm on law and order and speaks the hard truth. A black policeman in Milwaukee shot an armed black man on Saturday when he refused to drop his weapon, and protesters started rioting and burning the town. They drew more demonstrators by using social media. They burned several businesses, including a gas station, a bank, an auto parts store, and a liquor store. They threw rocks at police, leaving an officer injured.

                Sheriff Clarke consulted with Governor Scott Walker and Major General Donald Dunbar of the Wisconsin National Guard and requested the mobilization of the National Guard. He issued the following statement:  “We cannot allow for a repeat of what happened (Saturday) night. I am going to utilize all available resources to accomplish that.”

                Using strong words, Sheriff Clarke proclaimed “that it is the ghetto that needs to be fixed and not the police.” He justified calling in the National Guard on Sunday to avoid a repeat of the destruction on Saturday night.
                “People have to find a more socially acceptable way to deal with their frustrations, their anger and resentment…. We cannot have the social upheaval – the chaos that we saw [Saturday] night that frightens good, law-abiding people in those neighborhoods…. We have a growth of the underclass here in Milwaukee. And we saw some of their behaviors on display. Fortunately, the loss of life of innocent civilians and law enforcement personnel did not happen. I think only by the grace of God, with bullets flying all over the place.”

                The sheriff did not stop there. He “emphasized that the shooting of the suspect only ignited a situation that already existed, and it is failed urban policies that are to blame. These conditions include failed public schools, homes without a father, inadequate parenting and the presence of gangs and thugs in these neighborhoods, along with massive unemployment. Clarke said that these conditions fuel resentment, anger and frustration, which boils just beneath the surface before an incident ignites it, and then it is hijacked for political reasons.

                Sheriff Clarke continued by saying that “an inadequate criminal justice system that gives criminals too many chances and not enough punishment creates an atmosphere where those breaking the law do not fear the consequences of their actions. He said, for example, that the suspect who was killed had been arrested 13 times for serious offences, but was still free on the night of the incident.”

                On a program with Glenn Beck, Sheriff Clarke said, “`It’s the same ingredients that exist in a lot of urban centers, where you have the presence of the underclass. You have the ghetto, and you have pathologies associated with that. You have inescapable poverty. You have failing public schools. You have massive unemployment. You have a father absent in homes. You have questionable lifestyle behaviors….’ Sheriff has called what happened Saturday in Milwaukee a social order collapse, with `tribal behavior’ taking over and the law of the jungle replacing the rule of law. A straight shooter, Clarke doesn’t mince words or kow tow to politically correct labels.”

                I like Sheriff Clarke because he does not pull any punches but simply says the truth. Why was this thug out on the street again after 13 arrests? Where are the fathers? Why is there so much unemployment in the black community? Just as the Sheriff said, the problems are all caused by failures in the culture, which are brought about by liberal policies.