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, January 31, 2018

Resurrection

            My older brother passed away on Monday of this week after several months of illness. He has been close to death on several occasions in recent weeks, so his death was not a surprise. Nevertheless, it is difficult to say goodbye to a loved one. Because of his death, my thoughts have been on life after death. As part of my scripture study assignments this week, I studied some verses on the resurrection and am comforted.

            The Apostle Paul writes about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. He first writes about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the many witnesses of the resurrected Christ. We read in verses 5-8:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; …
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also…

            The resurrected Lord appeared to many other people besides those mentioned above. The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ tells of His appearance to a group of people living in ancient America. They were gathered around their temple when they heard a voice from heaven speaking to them. They could not understand the voice until the third time when it said: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name – hear ye him (3 Nephi 11:7).

            After hearing these words from Heavenly Father, the people watched as a Man dressed in a white robe descended out of heaven. He stood in the midst of them, and they thought that He was an angel until He said, “I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world” (3 Nephi 11:10).

            The multitude fell to their knees when they remembered the prophecies that Christ would appear to them. The Lord bid them to rise and come to Him “that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world” (3 Nephi 11:14).

            The people went forth, one by one, until they had all thrust their hands into his side and felt the nail holes in his hands and feet. Then they bore record that they “did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of the surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come” (3 Nephi 11:15).

            Thus, we have records of two groups of people who saw the resurrected Jesus Christ. He was the first to be resurrected, and He made it possible for all of us to be resurrected. However, we will not all be resurrected at the same time. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:23 that there is an established order for the resurrection. He says that the righteous people will be resurrected first and will inherit the celestial kingdom or the glory of the sun. They will be followed by those who will inherit the terrestrial kingdom or the glory of the moon. The third group will be those who will inherit the telestial kingdom or the glory of the stars. The last group will be so wicked that they will inherit a kingdom with no glory.

            Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915-85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles summarized the sequence in which the Resurrection occurs: “Order in the resurrection is determined by obedience to gospel law. The most righteous man was first, the most wicked shall be last; Christ was first, the sons of perdition shall be last” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965-73], 2:394, as quoted in the New Testament Student Manual, Religion 211-212, 385).

            In addition to the order of the resurrection, Paul teaches that the nature of resurrected bodies will be different. He says that the bodies will differ in glory and splendor just as there are differences in the sun, moon, and stars (see 1 Corinthians 15:39-44). President Joseph Fielding Smith teaches that the differences in glory of resurrected bodies will be great.

In the resurrection there will be different kinds of bodies; they will not all be alike. The body a man receives will determine his place hereafter. There will be celestial bodies, terrestrial bodies, and telestial bodies, and these bodies will differ as distinctly as do bodies here….

Some will gain celestial bodies with all the powers of exaltation and eternal increase. These bodies will shine like the sun as our Savior’s does, as described by John [see Revelation 1:12-18]. Those who enter the terrestrial kingdom will have terrestrial bodies, and they will not shine like the sun, but they will be more glorious than the bodies of those who receive the telestial glory” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:286-87, as quoted in New Testament Student Manual, 387).

            In addition to being resurrected to different glories, Paul teaches that the resurrected body will be a “spiritual body” as compared to the “natural body” that is laid in the grave (see
1 Corinthians 15:44). President Howard W. Hunter explains that this “spiritual body” is a resurrected body and not a spirit.

There is a separation of the spirit and the body at the time of death. The resurrection will again unite the spirit with the body, and the body becomes a spiritual body, one of flesh and bones but quickened by the spirit instead of blood. Thus, our bodies after the resurrection, quickened by the spirit, shall become immortal and never die. This is the meaning of the statements of Paul that “there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” and “that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” The natural body is flesh and blood, but quickened by the spirit instead of blood, it can and will enter the kingdom” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1969, 137-38, as quoted in New Testament Student Manual, 388).

            I did not particularly learn anything new in my studies about the resurrection this week, but I did appreciate the explanation of the spiritual body. I also received great comfort in reviewing these teachings of the various Apostles of the Lord. I know that my brother received all the necessary ordinances of the temple and that he kept the commandments of the Lord. He was also diligent in doing family history work and helping others to complete their genealogy. I feel certain that he was met by our parents, our two brothers, his daughter, and his great-grandson, plus a whole lot of people who were probably standing in line to say thanks to him. I believe that he will be resurrected as a celestial body, and I receive great comfort in this belief.




Tuesday, January 30, 2018

State of the Union

            Tonight President Donald Trump gave a powerful report on the State of the Union. He spoke of all the “winning” that has been happening this year – the huge tax cuts that put money back into the pockets of Americans, the soaring stock market that keeps money growing in retirement and education accounts, the record low numbers of unemployed people, particularly African Americans and Hispanics. He spoke of the everyday heroes who stood up when they saw a need, such as the Cajun Navy in Houston and firefighters in California. After speaking of all the good things that are happening in the United States, President Trump said the following.

This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.

So to every citizen watching at home tonight – no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.

Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.

We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag.

Together, we are rediscovering the American way.

In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is “in God we trust.”

And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.

Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans’ graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston: a job well done.

Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston’s reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.

Americans love their country. And they deserve a Government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.

            President Trump continued his talk by telling us how he wants the government to work in order to bless the lives of all Americans. He ended his talk with a plea for God to bless America. I echo that plea with an addition: May God bless our leaders and first responders who are working so hard to preserve and protect our American way of life. You can access the entire transcript of his talk at this site. 



Monday, January 29, 2018

My Older Brother

            My older brother passed away early this morning, so he is my VIP for this week. He has been an important part of my entire life and helped me and my family many times. The most important thing that he did for me was to be a mortal example of our Elder Brother, even Jesus Christ. After my mother passed away and my father became elderly, my brother and his wife welcomed my father into their home. They took care of him and gradually took over his responsibilities. 

           After my father passed away, my brother became the patriarch of the family. He accepted the responsibility even though he had an older brother who would not or could not do it. My brother acted in my father’s place in dispensing inheritances to his eleven siblings. He did so with love and concern for each of us and did it in a manner that would have pleased our father. It was through this experience that I came to know and understand the great love that Jesus Christ has for each of His brothers and sisters.

            My brother and his wife became acting grandparents to my children and acting great-grandparents to my grandchildren. Some of my children did not know my mother at all, and none of them knew my father very well. We lived far from home while my children were growing up, and they missed knowing their grandparents well. None of my grandchildren knew either of my parents. We are all grateful for the willingness of my brother, his wife, and their posterity for including us in their family.


            My brother has been ill for more than a year and has had declining health for the past six months. We have known for several weeks that his time to graduate from this earth was near. We had some time to gradually come to terms with his death, but we will dearly miss him. We love him and miss him. However, we know that he is having a wonderful reunion with our parents, two brothers, his daughter, and his great-grandchild who all passed before him.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

One Administration at a Time

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the simple fact that the U.S. Constitution allows only one administration at time to do the business of the nation. This principle has been in force since the beginning of the nation, but it is now being challenged. It seems as though the Obama administration is still trying to be in charge of national business. There are numerous examples to draw from, but I will just use the most recent one.

            Since President Donald Trump made his declaration about Jerusalem, there has been no communication between the White House and the Palestinian Authority (PA). However, the Obama administration stays in contact with PA officials. John Kerry, secretary of state under Obama, recently met Hussein Agha in London. Agha is a close associate of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. A senior PA official confirmed that the meeting took place.

            Apparently, Kerry used disrespectful terms for President Trump, while he suggested that Trump would not be in office for a long time. In fact, he said that “within a year there was a good chance that Trump would not be in the White House.” Kerry sent a message to Abbas to “hold on and be strong … that he should stay strong in his spirit and play for time, that he will not break and will not yield to President [Donald] Trump’s demands.”

            Kerry went so far as to offer his help to the Palestinians to advance the peace process. “He promised to use all his contacts and all his abilities to get support for such a plan.” He suggested that Abbas “concentrate on personal attacks on Trump himself” because Trump – not the US or the Trump administration – “is solely and directly responsible for the situation.”


            It sounds to me like there are some traitors among us! As far as I am concerned, John Kerry just committed treason in going against the Trump administration.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Second Coming of Christ

            Over the past few months I have read several articles about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Among them are two articles by Robert L. Millett. One is titled “7 Things That Still Need to Happen before the World Ends,” and the other one is titled “5 Things You Should Know About the Second Coming.” I may have even used one or both in my blog because both of them have some interesting information and the subject is never far from my thoughts.

            My mind has been on the things of eternity in recent weeks because I have another brother who appears to be close to death. After suffering serious health problems for more than two years, he recently learned that he has brain cancer. Although he appears ready to face whatever comes, I have shed many tears – probably for myself but also for him and his family – since I received the latest news. I thought about his reunion with my mother and father and how they will say to him, “Well done, Son!” I also thought of his reunion with his daughter who passed away more than 40 years ago and his reunion with our two brothers who have already graduated from this life. I am sure that he, along with our father, will have all of them working on family history and doing all that they can to get our family all sealed together.

            With this type of thought going through my mind, I studied 1 Thessalonians this afternoon. The two Thessalonians in the New Testament were written by the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonian saints. Paul had previously performed missionary work in Thessalonica while on his second missionary journey. However, he and his two missionary companions were forced out of the city by Jewish leaders. While on his third missionary journey, he stopped in Corinth and sent Timothy to check on the saints in Thessalonica.

            Timothy returned to Corinth with a good report. The saints in Thessalonica were living the gospel and being good examples to all who knew them. Timothy also brought some questions from the saints to Paul, and Paul sent the answers back to them in his letters.

             In the first three chapters of 1 Thessalonians, Paul expresses great love for the people and appreciation for their faithfulness and missionary work. He counseled them to grow in unity and love one for another.

            In the last two chapters Paul calls on the Thessalonian members of the Church to be pure and holy and to sanctify themselves in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. Paul taught them that the Saints who remain faithful in their testimony of Jesus Christ until death will rise with Him, and that the righteous living on the earth will meet the Lord and the risen Saints. He reminded them of the need to prepare and watch for the day of the Savior’s return.

            The teachings of the Apostle Paul about the Second Coming are confirmed in latter-day revelations, such as Doctrine and Covenants 88:96-98. Elder Dallin H. Oaks summarized these teachings as follows.

Four matters are indisputable to Latter-day Saints: (1) The Savior will return to the earth in power and great glory to reign personally during a millennium of righteousness and peace. (2) At the time of His coming there will be a destruction of the wicked and a resurrection of the righteous. (3) No one knows the time of His coming, but (4) the faithful are taught to study the signs of it and to be prepared for it (“Preparation for the Second Coming,” Ensign, May 2004, 7). 

            Elder Oaks spoke about the destruction of the wicked. Elsewhere, the Lord has said that the destruction will begin in His house, meaning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Those members who have not prepared spiritually to meet him will be destroyed - at least the most wicked of them.

            Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8 that the Savior will as a thief in the night, and Elder Oaks confirms that no one knows the time when the Savior will return. Paul, however, makes an exception for the followers of Jesus Christ who “are not in darkness” (verses 4-5). These disciples will be awake, alert, and watching for the Savior. President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876-1972) adds the following information.

I do not know when he is going to come. No man knows. Even the angels of heaven are in the dark in regard to that great truth [see Matthew 24:36-37]. But this I know, that the signs that have been pointed out are here. The earth is full of calamity, of trouble. The hearts of men are failing them. We see the signs as we see the fig tree putting forth her leaves; and knowing this time is near, it behooves me and it behooves you, and all men upon the face of the earth, to pay heed to the words of Christ, to his apostles and watch, for we know not the day nor the hour. But I tell you this, it shall come as a thief in the night, when many of us will not be ready for it (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954-56], 3:52-53 as quotedin the New Testament Student Manual, Religion 211-212, p 450). 


            There is little doubt in my mind that the Second Coming is near. President Smith said that the signs of His coming are here. It is not too late – yet – to learn the signs of the times and to prepare to meet the Savior. Ancient and latter-day apostles and prophets have warned us. If we do not pay attention to them, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Organizing Your Time

            Families, communities, and nations are blessed by individuals who can organize their time well and fill it with good deeds. It is said that busy people are more apt to accomplish a given task than those who have lots of time.    Busy people use calendars and other such helps to schedule their time. By using a schedule they allot so much time for each task. This helps them to accomplish more because most people do not have enough time to do a task unless they schedule for it. The same is true for students.

            As part of a personal effort to improve my own study skills, I am reading a book titled The World Book of Study Power, volume 1, and I am attempting to share a little of what I learn with my readers. Teaching others what I have learned helps to solidify the information in my own brain and is, therefore, a valuable learning tool. Most of the information that follows, including the following quote, comes from this book.

Everyone has the same number of minutes to spend in every day. Despite this, some people get a lot done and some get very little done. Why? Perhaps what matters is not how much time you have but how you spend that time. The issue is quality: “How well do I spend my time?” and not quantity: “How much time do I have?”

To increase the quality of the time you spend, you’ll need a schedule. Face the fact that your time is just like money – it’s going to get spent, one way or the other. It’s up to you to decide what you want it spent on. A schedule is a plan for spending time, just as your budget helps you spend your money wisely and save whenever possible.
            It is important that we learn to not over schedule our time.

 We should not accept more work than we can actually handle. None of us has an endless amount of time because each day has only 24 hours for each of us. We can burn the candle at both ends of our day trying to fit more activities into our lives, but eventually our bodies will wear out for lack of sleep. Any good schedule allows enough time for sleep, eating healthy meals, proper exercise, and personal relationships. 
    
            The best way to get the most out of our day is to use a schedule our time. We need to plan our day, and then work our plan. Parents can increase their child’s chances of success by helping them learn to schedule their time and then make their schedule work for them. Remember, busy people are the ones who get things done, and people who get things done strengthen families, communities, and nations.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Defend the Family

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the need to defend the family. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” warns the world that “the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” The proclamation teaches that we were created as male and female and that we each have a role to play in this life. It tells us that men and women, husbands and wives, must work together as “equal partners” in order to complete our missions here.    
   
            Adam S. Miller at LDS Living states that “defending the family means rooting out our world’s misogyny.” He continues with an explanation for his statement.

Defending the family means defending women from both the subtle and violent forms of degradation, abuse, and marginalization that riddle our world. It means taking seriously – perhaps for the first time in the history of the world – the solemn declaration that God intends men and women to be equal partners.

In my view, this will be the defining moral issue of our generation.

We cannot continue to abide the world’s casual and routine will to exploit, harass and silence women. We must recover the full force of God’s promise that, in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female” because, in Christ, everyone is “an heir according to the promise” (Galatians 3:28-29). And, as a result, everyone, like Christ, must learn to think, speak, and act for themselves so that they can inherit all that God has.


            Since the family is the core unit of society, it is wise to protect and preserve the family. Because woman is the heart of the home, it is wise to acknowledge that woman is a full partner with man and should walk beside him as an equal. Societies that defend the family are critical to maintaining freedom. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

FBI's Secret Society

            Americans have good reason to wonder what in the world is happening at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The agency’s reputation for fair and honest investigation is being destroyed because numerous political scandals are engulfing it, and all the scandals seem to include two rogue agents, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

            Strzok and Page are lovers. They are involved in numerous scandals including the Clinton email server investigation and the Donald Trump “Russian collusion” investigation. They are also avowed Trump-haters. Strzok and Page communicated by email, and some 50,000 of their emails have been turned over to the House investigation. One or more of these emails discussed setting up a “secret society.” Recently, investigator discovered that emails between the two are missing for a period of about five months – the time period between December 2016 and May 2017 – a period of time when much was happening in the Trump administration. We should be wondering what was in those emails that needed to stay hidden. Hopefully, they can be recovered and read.

            William F. Marshall compares the downfall of the FBI to the sinking of the USS Titanic in his article titled “The Sinking of the FBI.” He says that “the FBI is taking on water at an accelerating rate” and later makes the following statement.

The keel of the USS Federal Bureau of Investigation is starting to rise out of the water, like the RMS Titanic about 30 minutes after striking the iceberg. One can almost hear the bodies of top law enforcement bureaucrats crashing against each other, like so much china on a dying vessel sinking under the waves, as the embattled organization faces exposure after exposure of truly outrageous and un-American, if not illegal, conduct…

The tragic reality is that this apotheosis of American law enforcement, this symbol of truth, justice, and the American way, has become so corrupt, so politicized, and so diametrically opposed to its mission because of its recent actions that nothing short of its reconstitution is required – much as the KGB was reconstituted following the collapse of the Soviet Union…

            Williams claims that a coup d’├ętat or “a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics” has taken place. He describes the actions as “far more insidious than the sort of coups we typically see in Africa and Latin America” because it “required the subversion and corruption of numerous governmental agencies, not just the FBI – to effect: the Department of Justice and the National Security Agency to be sure, and possibly the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department, and other agencies as well.” He says that “what we are seeing should frighten all Americans” and that the “sinking of the FBI may be the least of our worries.”

            I have been writing for several years about the secret societies and secret combinations in our government. I had no idea where they were or how big they had become. I just knew that they were there. How did I know? I knew it because prophets have foretold it for years. Any serious reader of the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ knows about secret combination and the destruction they cause.

            In fact, the book describes how secret combinations caused the total destruction of two great societies in ancient America - the Jaredites and the Nephites. It also warns its readers that secret combinations will be in all nations in the latter-days and that they will destroy any nation that allows them to operate. Moroni, the last prophet in the Book of Mormon, wrote this warning in Ether 8:19-25.

19 For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations…

20 And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people…

21 And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking [Jaredites], and also the destruction of the people of Nephi [Nephites].

22 And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed…

23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles [this means us], it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain – and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you…

24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of our awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you…

25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries…

            So, the Book of Mormon warns us that secret combinations will be among us and Marshall tells that they are here. By the way, Marshall is described as “an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, the private sector, and the non-profit sector for over 30 years” and now working as “a senior investigator for Judicial Watch.” What can ordinary Americans do to destroy their power before they destroy the government?

            There are several actions that ordinary people can take. First, we must join in prayer to ask our Heavenly Father to help us to root out the secret combinations and to destroy their power. This is the easiest as well as the best thing that we can do.

            Second, we must hold our elected representatives accountable to protect and preserve the Constitution. When we recognize that our elected officials have become corrupted, we must be willing to vote them out of office. We would be wise to install term limits for Senators and Representatives.

            Third, we must support the people and organizations that are doing the work of exposing the secret combinations. Some of these people are Representatives Trey Gowdy and John Ratcliffe, two patriotic representatives who are both former federal prosecutors who know and understand the law and who are not afraid to expose corruption. Judicial Watch is an organization that exposes corruption. If the government does not give them information by request, they are not afraid to take the government to court to get the information. Judicial Watch has exposed numerous cases of corruption, including the Clinton email server scandal.

            There is no doubt in my mind that secret combinations are working to destroy the American way of life. If the federal agencies involved with keeping law and order have become corrupted, we must awake to the dangers that we face and do all that we can do to destroy those who are trying to destroy our government.           

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Conservative DACA Bill

            There a conservative bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to deal with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA is an immigration policy that allowed some individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as minors to receive deferred action from deportation and to be eligible to work in the United States.

            According to Will Racke at The Daily Signal, the Securing America’s Future Act “gives legal status to certain younger illegal immigrants in exchange for a host of conservative immigration reforms.” This bill satisfies the three demands of President Donald Trump in exchange for amnesty for DACA recipients: funds for the border wall, limits on chain migration, and an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery. Racke quoted CNN as reporting that a steering committee made the following statement.

The Securing America’s Future Act is the framework to strengthen border security, increase interior enforcement and resolve the DACA situation. … We believe an eventual stand alone floor vote is essential. We oppose any process for a DACA solution that favors a backroom deal with Democrats over regular order in the House.

            Racke writes that the Securing America’s Future Act “goes beyond the Trump administration’s DACA demands. The bill tacks on mandatory e-Verify, punishments for sanctuary cities, tighter asylum standards, and significant cuts to legal immigration levels.”


            Conservatives are pushing Speaker Paul Ryan to bring the bill up for a vote in the House, even though they realize that it mostly likely will not pass the Senate. They believe that it is a good place for conservatives to start working on reforming immigration laws.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Russell M. Nelson

            My VIP for this week is Russell Marion Nelson Sr. An announcement was made last Tuesday morning that he was sustained and set apart as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Lord. This ordination took place on January 14, 2018, in the upper room of the Salt Lake Tempe. His previous position was president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

            President Nelson was born on September 9, 1924, in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Marion C. and Edna Anderson Nelson, and he was reared in the same city. He received his education at the LDS Business College, the University of Utah, and the University of Minnesota. He is an internationally famous heart surgeon.

            President Nelson married the former Dantzel White (m. 1945-2005) with whom he had 10 children, 57 grandchildren, and over 100 great-grandchildren. Dantzel passed away in February 2005.   In April 2006 he married Wendy L. Watson.


            At 93 years old President Nelson remains active and energetic. As proof of his good physical condition, he still enjoys snow skiing – when there is enough snow. He has visited at least 129 nations. In addition to all of his other skills and talents, he sings with perfect pitch.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Democracy vs. Republic

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the foundation of our government. The Founders of the United States established a republic, not a democracy. They wanted a government that would last, and they knew that democracies do not last long.

            Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University, is a very wise man. Whenever I see his name as the author of an article, I always read the article. He recently posted an article at The Daily Signal about the Electoral College titled “Why We Are a Republic and Not a Democracy.” I believe it is worth reading in its entirety, but I will share some ideas from it.

            Williams first reminds us that Hillary Clinton and many of her supporters blame her 2016 presidential defeat on the Electoral College. They think that the President of the United States should be elected by a simple majority vote that is sometimes known as the popular vote. They think that the Elector College system “distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy.” The reason that they have this belief is because “electoral votes are not distributed according to population.”

            Using the examples of Wyoming and California, Williams shows exactly why people want to do away with the Electoral College. Wyoming has about 600,000 residents with one representative in the U.S. House and two U.S. Senators. They have three electoral votes or “one electoral vote per 200,000 people.” California has the largest population with about 39 million people and 55 electoral votes or “one vote per 715,000 people.” “Comparatively, individuals in Wyoming have nearly four times the power in the Electoral College as Californians.” He continues his explanation with these paragraphs.

Many people whine that using the Electoral College instead of the popular vote and majority rule is undemocratic. I’d say that they are absolutely right. Not deciding who will be the president by majority rule is not democracy.

But the Founding Fathers went to great lengths to ensure that we were a republic and not a democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or any other of our founding documents.

            Williams shares quotes from several of the Founding Fathers expressing their views about democracy and why they did not want the new government to be one. He then continues his explanation.

The Founders expressed contempt for the tyranny of majority rule, and throughout our Constitution, they placed impediments to that tyranny. Two house of Congress pose one obstacle to majority rule. That is 51 senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators.

The president can veto the wishes of 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto.

To change the Constitution requires not a majority but a two-thirds vote of both houses, and if an amendment is approved, it requires ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures.

Finally, the Electoral College is yet another measure that thwarts majority rule. It makes sure that the highly populated states – today, mainly 12 on the east and west coasts, cannot run roughshod over the rest of the nation. That forces a presidential candidate to take into consideration the wishes of the other 38 states.

            Clearly the Founders did not want our government to be a democracy, and they put many “impediments” in the way of it turning into a democracy. The best idea that I have ever heard for not doing away with the Electoral College is from an unknown source, but it basically goes like this: If there were no Electoral College and the presidency were chosen by a majority vote, then the president would be chosen by the residents of New York City and Los Angeles County.


            I want you to think about that idea. Do you really want to give up your vote for president? Even worse, do you want New Yorkers and the people who live in Los Angeles County to decide who will be your president? I do not, and the Founders did not. This is the reason why they set up the government the way they did. We should be applauding and praising them, not trying to undo their work.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Spiritual Discernment

            I have been reading in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. He was on his third missionary journey and stopped in Ephesus where he received a message from Corinth. He wrote the letter in answer to questions that they had asked him. One question must have been about receiving and comprehending spiritual truth. He told them that spiritual knowledge is only available through the means prepared by God.

12 Now we have receive, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:12-14).

            Paul taught that spiritual information is discerned by the Spirit. The word discerned means examined, tried, judged. In other words, we must study the material, make a decision, and then ask God if we came to the right decision. If we ask in faith, He will let us know if we are right or if we are wrong.

            Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Quorum of the Seventy compared gaining knowledge spiritually with using scientific methods to prove theories. Even though both methods involve studying and making decisions, there is a difference in how they work.

In the scientific world the scientific method is used to learn truth and advance knowledge. It has been extremely helpful over the years and has yielded tremendous amounts of scientific knowledge and continues to push back the curtain of ignorance about our physical world. Learning spiritual things, however, requires a different approach than learning scientific things. The scientific method and intellect are very helpful, but they alone will never bring spiritual knowledge.

Learning spiritual things involves the intellect, but that is not enough. We only learn spiritual things by the Spirit. …

… Answers to spiritual questions are given to individuals who don’t harden their hearts; who ask in faith, believing they will receive; and who diligently keep the commandments. Even when we follow this pattern, we don’t control the timing of getting answers. Sometimes our answers come quickly, and sometimes we must place questions on the shelf for a time and rely on our faith that has developed from the answers we do know. (See “A Pattern for Learning Spiritual Things” [Seminaries and Institutes of Religion satellite broadcast, Aug. 7, 2012]; si.lds.org.) 

            Elder Johnson explains that we gain answers to spiritual questions in a different manner than we can scientific answers. The important final step is to remember that the Lord determines when we are prepared for the answer and we must exercise patience while we wait upon Him. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gives additional instructions to receiving spiritual answers.

The Lord’s prescribed methods of acquiring sacred knowledge are very different from the methods used by those who acquire learning exclusively by study. For example, a frequent technique of scholarship s debate or adversarial discussion, a method with which I have had considerable personal experience. But the Lord has instructed us in ancient and modern scriptures that we should not contend over the points of his doctrine. (See 3 Ne. 11:28-30; D&C 10:63.) … Gospel truths and testimony are received from the Holy Ghost through reverent personal study and quiet contemplation (“Alternate Voices,” Ensign, May 1989, 29). 

            Elder Oaks tells us that we must not contend with each other for more knowledge but seek it reverently and quietly through the Holy Ghost. One important principle that we must remember is that the Holy Ghost will not give us knowledge if we have contention with anyone.    When I have a lesson or talk to prepare or even an essay to write for school, I must insure that there is no contention between my husband and me. On several – maybe even numerous – occasions I have had to put aside my preparations and to go to my husband to solve whatever problem we were having. Once the problem was solved, I could return to my preparations and receive inspiration through the power of the Holy Ghost.


            One truth that I know is that the communication connection with God is quite fragile. It must be maintained faithfully with obedience to the commandments, reverence, and unity. I know that we can gain spiritual information through this channel but only if we follow the Lord’s instructions in doing so.

Friday, January 19, 2018

March for Life

            Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals, born and unborn, have the right to life. The introduction to the Declaration of Independence states: “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.”

            The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 case of Roe vs. Wade that abortion – the murdering of unborn babies - was legal in every state. Right-to-Life activists held its first March for Life in 1974. The 45th annual March for Life was held today – two days before the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade - at the National Mall and attracted thousands of anti-abortion activists in a movement to save the lives of unborn babies.

            Today President Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to address the activists via video conference as he did so from the White House Rose Garden. However, other Republican presidents have addressed the anti-abortion demonstrators by telephone. Here are some of the President’s remarks. 

As you all know, Roe vs. Wade has resulted in some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world… It is wrong. It has to change. Americans are more and more pro-life. You see that all the time.

            In his remarks President Donald Trump discussed a bill that would ban late-term abortions. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in October 2017 by a vote of 237-189. This “bill includes exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life of the pregnant woman.” Today President Trump called on the U.S. Senate to vote on the bill. 

I strongly supported the House of Representatives’ pain-capable bill, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide, and I call upon the Senate to pass this important law and send it to my desk for signing. [He added that the] United States is one of only seven countries to allow elective late-term abortions, along with China, North Korea, and others. [The seven nations are Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. The U.S. could choose a better group!]

            I am a Right to Life supporter because I believe that all human beings have the right to life from the moment of conception until the Lord takes them home. The right to life itself is a direct blessing from Heavenly Father. He alone has the authority to choose who lives and who dies, and no government can usurp that authority. The right to life is one of the reasons that our forefathers fought for independence from Great Britain, and the loss of it is enslaving us now.

            I urge the U.S. Senate to pass the painful late-term abortion bill, and I urge all Americans to join the Right to Life movement in an effort to overturn Roe vs. Wade. This law is an evil one that arose from a desire to limit the number of African Americans born. It has destroyed millions of lives and should be overturned. We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by bringing the right to life to all people, both the born and unborn.



           


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Freedom from Compelled Speech

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the Freedom of Speech, specifically the freedom from being forced to say things in words or actions against one’s will. The U.S. Supreme Court listened to arguments earlier in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. According to David French at The National Review, it is now “considering whether the government can compel Americans to express or support ideas they find repugnant.” 

            French says that the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra case is much more dangerous than Masterpiece Cakeshop and it “has almost entirely escaped public attention.” He continues with the following comments.

If anything, the violation of the First Amendment in the NIFLA case is more egregious, and the implications potentially more far-reaching. As readers almost certainly recall, the issue in Masterpiece Cakeshop was whether the state of Colorado could compel a Christian baker to design a cake for a gay wedding. One of the state’s principal arguments against the baker’s First Amendment claim was that designing a custom cake wasn’t an expressive act, so forcing him to design a cake wasn’t compelled speech.

The NIFLA case, however, is unquestionably about compelled speech. The state of California has enacted a law, the so-called FACT Act, that requires pro-life crisis-pregnancy centers to prominently place a notice informing clients that California offers low-cost and even free abortions to women who qualify and providing them a phone number that grants quick access to abortion clinics.

In other words, California is requiring pro-life professionals – people who’ve dedicated their lives to protecting the unborn by offering pregnant mothers alternatives to abortion – to advertise state-sponsored abortions. California is making this demand even though it has ample opportunity to advertise state services without forcing pro-life citizens to do so. The state can rent billboard space on the very streets where crisis-pregnancy centers are located. It can hand out leaflets on the sidewalk. It can advertise on television and the radio. It can advertise on the Internet or social media. But rather than using its own voice, it is co-opting the voices of its pro-life citizens, forcing them to join its pro-abortion crusade.

And the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the FACT Act is constitutional. To validate California’s oppressive act, its decision carved out a dangerous First Amendment exception for what it deemed “professional speech” – “speech that occurs between professionals and their clients in the context of their professional relationship” – and ruled that the state had much greater leeway in regulating, for example, doctor/patient communication.


            I did not hear about this case until I read French’s article. It appears that there are a lot more Freedom of Speech cases making their way through the court system than we know. The NIFLA case seems to be one that we need to watch. I am grateful for people like David French who are willing to fight for our freedoms. He filed an amicus brief in the NIFLA case and then alerted American citizens. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will stop this plan to destroy free speech.