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, October 31, 2016


                Lyndon Baines Johnson finished the term of office begun by President John F. Kennedy. Then he was elected as President of the United States and served for additional term of his own. He did not run for the second term that he was eligible to do so because the Vietnam War was so unpopular.

                Johnson is known for designing the “Great Society” statute. This legislation included “civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, aid to education, the arts, urban and rural development, public services, and his `War on Poverty’. Assisted in part by a growing economy, the War on Poverty helped millions of Americans rise above the poverty line during Johnson’s presidency. Civil rights bills signed by Johnson banned racial discrimination in public facilities, interstate commerce, the workplace, and housing; and the Voting Rights Act banned certain requirements in southern states used to disenfranchise African Americans. With the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the country’s immigration system was reformed and all racial origin quotas were removed (replaced by national origin quotas).”

                What was Johnson motivation in designing this legislation?  Could the following statement carry his true message? "I'll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years." He is reported to have made this statement in a private conversation with two governors on Air Force One.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Vote for Constitution

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is not on any ballot for this election, but the election is very much about the Constitution. Depending on whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is elected, the Constitution will be strengthened or weakened.

                The next President of the United States (POTUS) will have the opportunity and responsibility to determine several justices for the Supreme Court. The President, Vice President, and any justices chosen will take a specific oath. They will promise to “faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me … under the Constitution and laws of the United States.”  

                There are different opinions about the Constitution in our nation. There are those people who believe the Constitution should be upheld and honored, and there are others who believe the Constitution is irrelevant. Some people believe Americans should study the Constitution while others believe the Founders and their work are outdated.

                Richard Posner is a Judge on the Seventh Circuit; he is also a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. He sees no value in studying the Constitution: “I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day[s], hours, minutes, or seconds in studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries – well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments) …. Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century.” As explained by the Judge, the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post-Civil War amendments “do not speak to today.”

                Compare the above statement by Judge Posner to that made by Cal Thomas, an advocate of Liberty, after quoting the above statement: “Imagine if such illogic was applied to other creations of the 18th century. There was much literature and music, in addition to political writings, that came from that era. Are Jonathan Swift, Voltaire, Goethe, William Black, Henry Fielding, all of the Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton … and the music of Bach and Beethoven, to mention a few, also irrelevant today?
                “This is the arrogance of some judges who think they know better than the Founders. It is the choice in this election between a president and the judges he or she will appoint who believe, as late Justice Antonin Scalia did, that the Constitution sets boundaries for limited government in order to guarantee liberty to American citizens, or whether it means only what an unelected judge says it does.”
                I have studied, pondered, and prayed for months about this election. I am definitely no fan of Donald Trump, but I believe he will nominate more conservative judges than Hillary Clinton will. I believe that Clinton will nominate justices who will forget their oath of office to defend the Constitution and rule according to their own thoughts and desires.
                Mark Alexander at The Patriot Post adds further understanding to our situation: “While I understand well the nature of presidential character as exemplified best by our first commander in chief, George Washington, and while I believe neither Clinton nor Trump even register on those character scales, I also understand that the outcome composition of the Supreme Court for the next quarter-century. Think about that before you decide to stay home or to cast a `protest vote’ for a third-party candidate.
                “I would state emphatically that those who choose to sit this election out or `choose neither’ are making a choice. If you’re reluctant to vote for Trump, then at least vote for the Supreme Court. And make no mistake: A vote this year for a third-party candidate in any state where the Clinton v Trump contest is close constitutes a vote for Clinton and a third term for Obama. Period.”

                There you have it, folks. A vote for anyone besides Donald Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton and against the Constitution. I will vote for the Constitution and the freedoms, liberties, and rights it protects - and pray that conservative Senators and Congress members can hold Trump in line!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Principle with a Promise

                Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live a strict health code and are well known for their obedience. This health code is formally known as the Word of Wisdom. In the early days of the Church, numerous brethren used tobacco during meetings, and the nastiness of the spittle and/or the smoke caused the Prophet Joseph Smith to ponder the situation. He then inquired of the Lord concerning it and received a revelation from God on the matter. This revelation is now known as the Word of Wisdom and is included in the Doctrine and Covenants as Section 89.

                The Lord explains in the first verse that the Word of Wisdom is given “for the benefit of the council of high priests … and also the saints in Zion.” It was given to show “the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days,” but it was not commandment when it was first given (verse 2).

                Verse 3 tells us that the Word of Wisdom is “a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.” In verse 4 the Lord explains that this word of wisdom was given as a warning against “evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days.” We recognize many of those evil designs in our day.

                The Lord then proceeds to explain that “wine or strong drink” should not be used in the sacrament or taken into the body, but they should be used to wash the body (verses 5-7). Strong drinks are understood to be those with alcohol in them. “Tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man but it is “an herb for bruises and all sick cattle” and should be “used with judgment and skill” (verse 8). One of my sons had a bicycle accident while on his mission and had a terrible bruise. A member of the Church put a poultice made of tobacco on his bruise, and it healed quickly.

                In verse 9 the Lord warns against “hot drinks,” known at the time as coffee and tea but could include the dangers of drinking anything that is too hot. Obedience to the Word of Wisdom now excludes the use of all illegal drugs and the misuse of all legal drugs.

                After His warning about strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks, the Lord proceeds to give instructions about
“wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man” (verse 10). The Lord says that “Every herb” and “every fruit” should be used “in the season thereof; all these with prudence and thanksgiving” (verse 11). He states that the “flesh” of beasts and fowls is “ordained for the use of man” and are to be used with “thanksgiving” and “sparingly” – “only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine” (verses 12-13). “All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life” (verse 14). “All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground” (verse 16).

                After His explanation of what we should avoid and what we can use, the Lord concludes His revelation by explaining how the Word of Wisdom is a principle with a promise. “And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen” (verses 18-21).

                The importance of living the Word of Wisdom was emphasized by President Thomas S. Monson in the October 2016 General Conference. “Those who are obedient to the Lord’s commandments and who faithfully observe the Word of Wisdom are promised particular blessings, among which are good health and added physical stamina.” 

                President Monson then proceeds to share the experience of John A. Larsen in World War II. During a battle in the Philippines, orders were given to evacuate before Japanese bombers and kamikaze fighter planes arrived. Four men, including Larsen, “gathered their gear and hurried to the beach, hoping for a lift out to one of the departing ships. Fortunately, a landing craft picked them up and sped toward the last ship leaving the bay. The men on that departing ship, in an effort to evacuate as quickly as possible, were busy on deck and had time only to throw ropes to the four men….”

                Larsen was carrying a heavy radio on his back and trying to climb a 40-foot rope. He was only a third of the way up the rope when his arms began to burn with pain. He “silently cried unto God, telling Him that he had always kept the Word of Wisdom and had lived a clean life – and he now desperately needed the promised blessings. He later shared that “as he finished his prayer, he felt a great surge of strength. He began climbing once again and fairly flew up the rope. When he reached the deck, his breathing was normal and not the least bit labored. The blessings of added health and stamina promised in the Word of Wisdom had been his….”

                I know that the promise of the Word of Wisdom is for all of us. If we are obedient to this law, I know that we can call upon God for the blessings of living it. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Doctrine of the Family

                We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by accepting the doctrine that the family is ordained of God and we are all part of His family. The eternal salvation of all the family of God is the very purpose of the Creation of the earth and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father loves all of His children so much that He was willing to allow Jesus Christ to suffer as only a God could do in order to save all of us.

                Heavenly Father has a general plan of salvation for all of His children. He also has individual plans for each son and daughter of God. His plan is a plan of love to unite His children with Him. The family is a central part of His plan.

                Elder L. Tom Perry (1922-2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “We also believe that strong traditional families are not only the basic units of a stable society, a stable economy, and a stable culture of values – but that they are also the basic units of eternity and of the kingdom and government of God.
                “We believe that the organization and government of heaven will be built around families and extended families.” (See “Why Marriage and Family Matter – Everywhere in the World,” Ensign, May 2015, 41.)

                Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that life continues beyond the grave and that families can be together forever. For this reason, we are determined to strengthen our families here on earth and continue them in the eternities. Knowledge of the doctrine of the family can strengthen families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Importance of Safety

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the safety of all Americans as well as people in other nations. The #1 responsibility of the U.S. Government is to keep Americans safe. The best way for the federal government to fulfill this obligation is to maintain a strong military. Yet, the military budget continues to be cut.

                President George Washington said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” He understood the necessity of maintaining a strong military because most nations will not attack another nation unless they believe they can win the battle.

                Beverly Hallberg at The Daily Signal writes about the importance of military strength in a very interesting article titled “How toTalk About Defense Spending and `Rebuilding the Military’.” Hallberg reminds her readers that we live in a time of escalating conflicts. Yet, “As violence has increased, defense spending has decreased by about 25 percent since 2011” as shown in the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength published by The Heritage Foundation.

                Hallberg lists several things we can do to persuade people to understand the severity of the problems we face as the strength of our military decreases. (1) Seek common ground: “We can all agree that keeping America safe is priority No. 1.” (2) Give examples and statistics to “make or break your point.” She lists five ways that America is weaker because of decreased military spending. (3) Understand that words are important. Use the word “safety” a lot in your discussion because everyone wants to be kept safe. This would also bring the discussion back to “that common ground established at the outset.” Also, “rather than an `increase in defense spending,’ talk about `rebuilding our military’ because “Money is a sensitive topic.”

                Hallberg concludes her article with this paragraph, “Defense spending is a tricky topic, but you’re not unprepared to address it. Have this discussion knowing that common ground will disarm, your examples will illustrate, and the words you use will help seal the deal.”

                Since all Americans want to feel safe from enemies, we must have a strong military to prevent aggressors from attacking. The only way to have this type of protection is to fund it. We must rebuild our military strength if we want to actually be safe.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Owned by Stuff

                A few weeks ago I drove the Alaska Highway with my husband. The purpose of the trip was to prepare our trailer for sale. More than a dozen years ago we purchased a 34-foot-long fifth wheel trailer, living in it for several months each winter and storing it in Idaho during the summer. We could find no other way to move the trailer without the use of our truck, so we drove the highway. We had several reasons for the decision to sell the fifth wheel with the main reason being that we were not using it as much as we should. Supporting reasons were our age, our health, and the sale of the storage yard.

                As we packed our stuff in the trailer, we realized that we had collected way too much of it. It owned us! Of course, we have stuff at home that owns us too, but we felt a real burden from what was in the RV. We spent three days going through stuff, disposing of some of it, packing the rest, and then moving and storing it once again. We gave about half of the stuff away because we simply did not need it any more.

                There were a few items we wished to keep, such as a set of dishes, silverware, sewing machine, two quilts, and some guns. The rest of the stuff was meaningless to us, just something that we needed to live – pans for cooking, pillows and blankets for sleeping, etc. Did you know that a medium U-Haul box holds only two regular size pillows, two sheets, and maybe two blankets? I used more than four of the boxes to pack the bedding from two beds! How many boxes would be needed for a family?

                I understand better why people feel free when they sell their household goods and move to an RV in order to travel. I do not desire that lifestyle, but I understand why several of my friends have chosen it.

                As I have been writing this essay, I thought of the hobos from long ago. They were usually men, and they carried everything they owned in a handkerchief tied to the end of a stick. They would hop a freight train and go wherever they wanted, getting off when they chose to do so. They were free because they did not own a lot of material goods. I do not desire that lifestyle either, but I desire freedom from excess stuff.

                I moved toward more freedom by taking boxes of belongings to my children. I took about half a pickup load of stuff to them, wishing that I had room to take all of it. Getting rid of all this stuff makes me more determined than ever to clear the excess stuff from my home and life! I will be free!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Alaska Highway

                I have driven the Alaska Highway or Alcan more than a dozen times. The first time I drove it was when my husband and I moved our family to Alaska. More than fifteen years passed before I drove it again with my six children in a small car. That year we traveled the road both ways in order to attend a family reunion. It was an adventure about which several of them wrote college essays. Another fifteen or so years passed before I drove the Alcan with my husband when we purchased a new truck. That year I traveled the highway three different times. The first with my husband, the second with my youngest daughter while taking her to college, and the third with my husband when we became snowbirds. My husband and I traveled the road twice each year for several years to spend the winter months helping his aging parents.

                My latest trip down the Alcan took place several weeks ago. I noticed that the journey was harder on my older body, but I still enjoyed the expedition. I have always used The Milepost on previous trips, wearing out several of the guides over the years. I purchased a new Milepost for this trip, but I barely opened it because my husband and I know the road so well.

                I happened up a little pamphlet titled Bell’s Travel Guides – Alaska Highway Mapbook 2015. I opened it and found an interesting introduction to the Alaska Highway. Bell writes that the “Alaska Highway was the engineering marvel of World War II and was once described as the largest and most difficult construction project since the Panama Canal.” Bell reminds us that the highway “is a wilderness trail with gravel roads, steep grades, muskeg and log bridges to navigate.”

                In all my study and travel of the Alaska Highway I learned something new about the Alcan from Bell. I did not previously know that President Franklin D. Roosevelt started lobbying Canada in 1936 to make a road to Alaska. FDR wanted the road to “shore up military defenses on the west coast in case of a Japanese attack.” Canada was not interested in building the road until the attack on Pearl Harbor.

                The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The plan for the Alaska Highway was approved by the U.S. Army on February 6, 1942, and it was authorized by Congress and FDR “five days later.” Then the USA approached Canada again.

                “Canada agreed to the construction if the United States would bear the full cost and that the road and all facilities in Canada were to be turned over to Canadian authority at the end of the war. Less than a month later, on March 8, 1942 construction began.
                “More than 11,000 soldiers and engineers, 16,000 civilians and 7000 pieces of equipment were called upon to build this 1500 mile road through the vast wilderness of northern Canada and Alaska. In less than nine months these hardy men managed to connect Dawson Creek, British Columbia and Delta Junction, Alaska. And, on November 20, 1942, the official ribbon cutting took place at mile 1061, known as `Soldier Summit.’”

                The road was completed in such a short time because there were five teams working on the road. Two teams worked north from Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson while two other teams started in Whitehorse and worked in opposite directions. The fifth team started in Delta Junction and worked south. The Alcan cost $140 million in US dollars and was “the most expensive construction project of World War II.”

                The road was mostly gravel when I first drove it, but it is mostly paved or chipped sealed now. There are many bumps in the road because of frost heaves, but the road is much better now.

                In my mind, Canada got a great deal because the USA not only paid to build the road, but it also pays to maintain it. The drive from Anchorage to the northern border of the USA is nearly 2500 miles. I am grateful to have this road out of Alaska because it helps me to feel much less isolated in the Far North.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sheriff David Clarke

                Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. is an American hero, and he proved his status once again on a flight from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Charlotte, North Carolina. A “drunk and unruly passenger” began “harassing flight crew and intimidating passengers.” The sheriff became involved when he asked the airline crew “if everything was okay.” He also told the passenger to “chill out.”

                Sheriff Clarke “advised a flight attendant to have an officer meet the flight on arrival.” The passenger resumed his “abusive and intimidating behavior” as the aircraft made his approach. “Sheriff Clarke again got out of his seat and approached the obnoxious passenger who tried to get up. Clarke ordered him to sit down and when he refused, Clarke shoved the unruly passenger face down and pinned him against the seat and held him there until the flight arrived at the gate. The sheriff watched the rest of the cabin, concerned that this may be a distraction for something else.”

                Holding the passenger until the police officer boarded, Clarke then put handcuffs on the passenger and handed him over to the local authorities. The passenger yelled racial slurs at Sheriff Clarke. The sheriff’s greatest disappointment is that there was no federal air marshal on board. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Second Amendment

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the Right to Bear Arms contained in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This right is essential to maintaining the freedoms given to us by the Founders of our nation.

                Nelson Lund at The Daily Signal shares his thoughts about this “vital element of the liberal order” in an article titled “Time for Conservative-Intellectuals to Get Comfortable with the Right to Bear Arms.” He says that “the founders understood that those who hold political power almost always will strive to reduce the freedom of those they rule and that many of the ruled always will be tempted to trade their liberty for empty promises of security.”

                Lund continues, “The Constitution, including the Second Amendment, is a device designed to frustrate the domineering tendencies of the politically ambitious. The Second Amendment also plays an important role in fostering the kind of civic virtue that resists the cowardly urge to trade liberty for an illusion of safety.
                “Armed citizens take responsibility for their own security, thereby exhibiting and cultivating the self-reliance and vigorous spirit that ultimately are indispensable for genuine self-government.”

                I encourage you to read the entire article. Lund says that we must understand liberty principles in order to defend them. His article helps us to understand the reasons for his statement.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dealing with Teenagers

                Families, communities, and nations can be strengthened by following simple rules in dealing with their teenagers. In my world the word “teenager” is almost a dirty word, yet I know many awesome teenagers. How can both of these be true?

                I have the wonderful opportunity to be the mother of six awesome individuals. I enjoyed their teenage years even though they were sometimes stressful. Now I have the opportunity to watch them parent their children, with four of our seventeen grandchildren being teenagers at the present time.

                Christie Halverson posted an article titled “7 Secrets to Raising Awesome, Functional Teenagers.” The author’s seven secrets are: (1) “Love them fiercely. Love everything about them, even the annoying stuff. Love them for their actions AND their intentions. Let them know in word and deed how much you adore them….” (2) “Listen and pay attention. When they walk in the door after school, you have a precious few minutes when they will divulge the secrets of their day with you. Be excited to see them….” (3) “Say yes more than you say no. The world is forever going to tell them no…. I want to be the YES, YOU CAN in their lives. I want them to leave my house every day feeling invincible.” (4) “Say no often. You need to say no to experiences and situations that will set your child up for harm or unhappiness…. Be the parent. Set up rules for their safety, both physical and moral….” (5) “Feed them. A lot. And not only them, but their friends too…. This allows you to not only meet and know their friends, but to keep an eye on your teen as well.” (6) “Don’t sweat the small stuff. When living with teenagers, it can be so easy to see the [you name it] …. Instead, and before you open your mouth to yell at them, put yourself in their shoes. Find out about their day first….” (7) “Stand back and watch the magic happen.”

                Halverson then gives a glowing description of the teenagers I have the opportunity to know: “If you let them, these glorious creatures will open their hearts and love you more fiercely than you could possibly imagine. They are brilliant, capable, strong spirits who bring with them a flurry of happiness. They are hilarious and clever. They are thoughtful and sensitive. They want us to adore them. They need us to adore them. They love deeply and are keenly in touch with the feelings of others. They are just about the greatest gift God gave to parents.”

                I know from personal experience that her “secrets” are good ones for parents and teenagers. I have the opportunity to know many teenagers, and I am in awe of them, their abilities, and their accomplishments. I know that we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by following these simple rules in dealing with our teenagers.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Liberty and Socialism

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns liberty and socialism and the simple fact that there is no liberty where socialism reigns. I am deeply involved in family business, but I want to make sure that my readers see this article by Matt Kibbe titled “Liberty rocks, socialism kills.” 

                Kibbe begins, “Today’s current political atmosphere is more polarizing than ever, leaving many voters – particularly millennials and first-time voters – feeling alienated and disenfranchised. It is times like this when we must reflect on what made America great in the first place and try to revert back to our founding principles. America was not built on the idea of free stuff, but rather the freedom to be left alone – the ability to say what’s on your mind, to practice a religion of your choice, to thrive economically. This freedom to live our lives the way we choose is being threatened by socialist policies and an overzealous federal government.
                “If we want to continue to be the greatest country in modern history and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world, we must protect these freedoms. Only by protecting personal, civil, and economic liberties, can we truly maintain our influence in the world.”

                The article continues by explaining why we need to protect our liberties and regain our influence in the world. I found it to be an interesting article and encourage you to read it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Religion and Politics

                We have heard much about the danger of losing our Freedom of Religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe there is real reason for this fear. I also believe that we – collectively as Christians and as a nation - brought this problem on ourselves because of our lack of integrity.

                We say that we believe certain things, but we live our lives differently from what we say we believe. How else can we explain that we have Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the candidates for President of the United States? If we as Christians were living our lives according to the teachings in the Bible, we would have chosen God-fearing candidates. We had many to choose from!

                Steve Deace at Conservative Review shares some interesting thoughts on this subject. He begins, “There’s been a lot of justifiable hand-wringing regarding the Christian vote in this election cycle. Unfortunately, the reality is even worse than the perception.
                “That’s because data suggests that what’s driving many believers to vote isn’t their beliefs as much as it is their racial/ethnic identity – just like the electorate at large. In other words, voters coming from the institution charged with preserving America’s vitally important moral foundation – the church – collectively aren’t approaching the ballot box any differently than the secularly-minded.”

                How can people who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ support abortion, living on the dole, or violence? We see people see in our nation who claim to be followers of Christ but do not live His gospel. This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and values. It will survive on those same principles or values or fall. Followers of Christ must live their lives differently than other people!

                After discussing the state of the Catholic vote, Deace cites a survey completed by LifeWay Research that draws “distinctions between voters who simply identify as evangelicals and those who actually have evangelical beliefs. Overall, the survey found among whites who hold evangelical beliefs Trump overwhelmingly leads, 65-10. Meanwhile, Clinton holds almost the exact same lead among non-whites with evangelical beliefs, 62-15.
                “For the sake of its survey, LifeWay defined evangelical beliefs as the following: [1] Trusting in Jesus Christ alone for [2].  Believe they have a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with others. [3] Believe the Bible is the final authority in their lives.
                “What’s unsettling is how those who claim they `believe the Bible is the final authority in their lives’ could have such starkly different voting patterns. Especially because the Bible makes it clear the Christian is to set aside their worldly identity (race, ethnicity, gender, family legacy, nation of origin, etc.) in order to find his/her identity in Christ first and foremost.”

                Later in his article Deace explains why this “trend spells certain doom for American Exceptionalism if it continues.” He quotes John Adams as stating that the self-government established by the U.S. Constitution was “meant only for a moral and religious people.” President Adams was not the only Founder stating this belief.

                Deace continues, “It’s no coincidence that as the culture has become more decadent the government has gotten bigger. The less moral restraint we have, the more government is needed to suffer the consequences of our actions.” The cycle simply continues with people calling for more government control. In order to have limited government, morality must also be present.
                “This is why great spiritual awakenings came before liberty in our history, and then later revivals were required to secure that liberty for future generations once it was established. Spiritual revival leads to a morally-restrained people. A morally-restrained people require less government to restrain them.”

                Deace’s article reminds me of a statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he was asked how he controlled the members of the growing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”

                The Book of Mormon is another witness for Jesus Christ and includes many of His teachings. The book is also a history book about various civilizations. It shows the human tendency to move in cycles. When people are humble, the Lord helps them to prosper. As they prosper, they become proud. As they become proud, they sin more and eventually suffer. When they suffer long enough, they become humble enough for the Lord to bless them again.

                This cycle is shown over and over again in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and it continues in our day. This nation was blessed by the Lord in its beginning. There is no way the colonists could have beaten Great Britain, the greatest military in the world at the time, without the help of God. There were numerous miracles from God that helped Americans to win independence.

                Years passed, and Americans begin more wicked – as shown by putting other human beings in slavery. This wickedness continued until the nation was consumed in a terrible war, a war that killed more Americans than all the other wars combined.

                America is a promised land to people who follow Jesus Christ and live His teachings. Prophets in our day teach that God will have a humble people living in the promised land of America. All other people will be swept off the land. At least two great civilizations have lived, prospered, and been destroyed on this continent because they forgot to follow Christ’s teachings. The prophets teach that people will either humble themselves, or He will humble them. I prefer to humble myself. If we desire liberty, we must follow Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Leaked Emails

                Julian Assange, the founder and owner of WikiLeaks, promised to release 50,000 emails and bring down the Hillary Clinton campaign for President of the United States. So far, he has released more than 5,000 emails hacked from John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager.

                Rachel Alexander at The Stream shares some of the most damaging emails from Podesta: (1) Clinton “often” says false things, (2) Clinton hates “everyday Americans,” (3) Clinton Foundation COO almost driven to suicide dealing with Bill, Chelsea Clinton, (4) Collusion with ABC’s George Stephanopolous to ambush “Clinton Cash” Author Peter Schweizer, (5) New York Times reporter Patrick Healy runs his thoughts on his next Clinton/Trump article past Clinton team first, (6) Anti-Catholicism, (7) Bill Clinton: Someone making $110,000 annually would struggle financially, (8) The AP is “helpful,” (9) Saudi Arabia providing aid to ISIS, (10) Clinton’s affiliated super PAC “Correct the Record” placed 132 op-eds, killed negative stories, (11) Clinton campaign aware Obama campaign committed massive voter fraud in 2008, (12) Clinton’s Wall Street speeches, (13) CNBC’s John Harwood, a Republican presidential debate moderator, congratulated Podesta on Clinton campaign success, (14) Staffers brazenly refer to the Democratic base as “The Red Army,” (15) Carelessly discussing sanctions against Iran over unsecured email, (16) Racism, (17) Wall Street banker included in top staffer email discussions, and (18) Plot to smear Bernie Sanders and his supporters as sexist. You can find the details on each of these emails in Alexander’s article titled “18 Reasons (So Far) Leaked Podesta Emails Reveal Dishonest Side of Clinton, Her Campaign and Media Collusion.” 

                Each time I see an article such as the above, I wonder if any legal action will be taken against Clinton and/or her staff. I am slowly losing hope. Maybe she is above the law!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Desmond Doss

                Desmond Thomas Doss is a hero from World War II. He has the distinction of being the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor and one of only three so honored. As a corporal in the U.S. Army, he was assigned to the Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.

                Doss was born on February 7, 1919, in Lynchburg, Virginia, to William Thomas Doss and Bertha E. Oliver. He married Dorothy Doss (m. 1942-1991) and Frances Doss (m. 1993-2006) and had one son, Desmond Thomas Doss, Jr. He died on March 23, 2006, in Piedmont, Alabama, and was buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

                Pfc Doss was mocked for being unwilling to carry a rifle, but he became a hero because of his courage under fire and love for his men. A November 4th big-screen release of a movie, “Hacksaw Ridge” tells his incredible story. The movie stars Andrew Garfield, and the screen adaptation by Mel Gibson is “based on a screenplay that had been relegated to `development hell’ for 15 years. The film’s world premiere was [in September] at the esteemed Venice Film Festival, where it received a 10-minute standing ovation.”

                I first heard of Desmond Doss when I read an article written by Mark Alexander at The Patriot Post. Alexander met 76-year-old Doss in 1995, as the two of them lived a few miles apart in east Tennessee. Alexander described Doss and his wife as being “simple people who lived a simple life on a small farm” and “warm and welcoming” people. Doss is described as “humble and slightly built,” wearing “thick glasses,” and being “virtually deaf. Both Doss and his wife were devout Christians.

                Doss “was raised in a Christian tradition which taught that taking up arms to do someone harm was forbidden,” but he declined a religious exemption during World War II. He was as a “conscientious objector” but considered himself to be a “conscientious cooperator” because he felt it “an honor to serve God and country.” He did not want to dodge the draft, but he had no idea what was ahead of him. He was viewed by both officers and enlisted men as a coward because he never picked up a rifle.

                In May 1945, near Urasoe on Okinawa, Doss showed by his actions that he was not a coward but had “limitless courage and character.” The fighting was “horrific,” and “he knew there were many severely wounded soldiers” on the top of Hacksaw Ridge (Maeda Escarpment). He disobeyed an order to retreat and cover and then spent 12 hours rescuing injured men under machine gun, rifle, and mortar fire. One-by-one, he pulled the injured soldiers off the battlefield and lowered them 35 feet to safety.

                The Medal of Honor citation for Doss sounds like fiction, but it honors a real hero as it documents his heroic actions as a medic between April 29 and May 21, 1945.
                “He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands.
                “On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety.”
                “On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma.
                “Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire.
                “On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.”

                Doss continued his service to other upon his return to the states. His character was shown by his many acts of honorable service throughout his life. It is only fitting that he receives the honor of having a movie made about him. “Hacksaw Ridge” sounds like a movie that all of us should see.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Division of Powers

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the division of powers built into the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the Founders divided the national powers into three branches – the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. In dividing the national powers into three branches, the Founders meant for the three branches to keep each other under control. With Congress giving some of their powers to the Executive branch and the Supreme Court attempting to legislate laws, the controls on the three branches are still there but slowly failing.

                Barack Obama uses his pen and his telephone to make policies. If he cannot persuade Congress to pass a bill that he wants, he simply signs an Executive Order. He does not have a judicial record because the Supreme Court is still exerting controls on his actions on immigration, environmental policy, and presidential appointees.

                Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal recently wrote about seven times when the judicial branch stopped power grabs from the Executive branch. “Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, issued a July 2014 report that found 20 instances in which a unanimous high court ruled against the administration. Not all of these cases were executive actions, but legal interpretations by an agency.
                “The Obama administration has fared worse before the Supreme Court than any other modern president’s administration, with a 45 percent win rate, according to an analysis by Ilya Shapiro, a fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Obama’s last five predecessors had a win rate of between 60-75 percent before the high court, according to Shapiro.”

                Even though every President uses more executive power than the last, Obama has exceeded all of them with his unconstitutional grabs for power. This has happened because Congress and the courts have yielded some of their controls.

                The high rate of unanimous rebukes by the Supreme Court happened because of the Obama administration’s “pattern of ignoring the rule of law and usurping the role of Congress.”  The Judicial branch stopped power grabs in the following seven actions: (1) Executive Amnesty, (2) School Gender Identity Restrooms Mandate, (3) Appointing without Confirmation, (4) Delayed Carbon Regulations, (5) Searching Cellphones,
(6) Obamacare Judicial Setback, and (7) Regulating Water. You can read details of these seven actions in Lucas’ article titled “7 Big Judicial Setbacks to Obama’s Executive Overreach.”

                In order for our national government to operate correctly, each of the three branches of our government – the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial – must operate within the bounds given in the Constitution. Anything less gives power to the wrong branch of government.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Importance of Fathers

                I have written many times about the importance of fathers and was recently reminded of their value in our lives. We have a Father in Heaven could have been called by any name He chose, and He chose to be called Father. This, to me, is a critical witness of the value of fathers and fatherhood.

                We bestow the title of “father” on numerous and worthy individuals. Father Adam, George Washington as Father of our Country, and James Madison as the Father of the Constitution are just a few of them so honored. Yet, the same title of “father” is given to most men.

                Fathers are essential to God’s plan for the eternal happiness of His children. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles  spoke about fathers at the April 2016 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and raised  a voice of encouragement for those who are striving to fill well [the] calling” of father.

                Elder Christofferson quotes David Blankenhorn, the author of Fatherless America. The author observed, “Today, American society is fundamentally divided and ambivalent about the fatherhood idea. Some people do not even remember it. Others are offended by it. Others, including more than a few family scholars, neglect it or disdain it. Many others are not especially opposed to it, nor are they especially committed to it. Many people wish we could act on it, but believe that our society simply no longer can or will.”

                Then Elder Christofferson states, “As a Church, we believe in fathers. We believe in `the ideal of the man who puts his family first.’ We believe that `by divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.’ We believe that in their complementary family duties, `fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.’ We believe that far from being superfluous, fathers are unique and irreplaceable….
                “Perhaps the most essential of a father’s work is to turn the hearts of his children to their Heavenly Father. If by his example as well as his words a father can demonstrate what fidelity to God looks like in day-to-day living, that father will have given his children the key to peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. A father who reads scripture to and with his children acquaints them with the voice of the Lord….
                “Loving the mother of his children – and showing that love – are two of the best things a father can do for his children. This reaffirms and strengthens the marriage that is the foundation of their family life and security.”

                Toward the end of his talk Elder Christofferson shares Julian Dyke’s story about his father that appeared in the New Era [in October 1994]. Every morning before he left for work, the father would stand by his sleeping son and pray for him. The boy was aware of the prayers and was somewhat embarrassed by them.

                “At first, I didn’t really understand what my dad was doing those mornings when he prayed for me. But as I got older, I came to sense his love and interest in me and everything I was doing. It is one of my favorite memories. It wasn’t until years later, after I was married, had children of my own, and would go into their rooms while they were asleep and pray for them that I understood completely how my father felt about me.”

                Children who are reared by the type of father shown in the story above are very blessed. I had such a father, and I grew to appreciate him more and more as I grew up and become a parent. I am grateful that my grandchildren are being reared by this type of father. My sons by birth and marriage are true fathers to their children, and their influence shows in the children’s lives and in the family as a whole. Thank you!

                To close this post, I want to share again this video titled “Earthly Father, Heavenly Father.” I encourage you to watch it often to understand the importance of fathers in our homes.