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.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Presumption of Innocence

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the presumption that one is innocent unless and until one is proven guilty. The phrase presumption of innocence was traditionally expressed by the Latin maxim ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat (“The burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies”). 

In many states, presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and it is an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11. Under the presumption of innocence, the legal burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which thus restrained and ordered by law to consider only actual evidence and testimony presented in court. The prosecution must, in most cases prove that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If reasonable doubt remains, the accused must be acquitted.

Under the Justinian Codes and English common law, the accused is presumed innocent in criminal proceedings, and in civil proceedings (like breach of contract) both sides must issue proof.

            In the days leading up to the hearing of the Senate committee for confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a statement that Kavanaugh deserves the presumption of innocence.” It makes sense to this writer that everyone would assume that someone is innocent until they are proven guilty, but that is not always the case. Even though the presumption is common in many walks of life, it apparently applies only to criminal cases.

            Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Kavanaugh receives “no presumption of innocence or guilt” as a nominee seeking confirmation. He calls the Senate hearing to give Kavanaugh’s accuser an opportunity to present her case a “fact-finding proceeding” but not a legal proceeding. Therefore, he and his fellow Democrats/liberals/progressives continue to act as though Kavanaugh is guilty even without witnesses or evidence.

Find the facts, and then let the Senate and let the American people make their judgment not whether the person’s guilty or innocent, but whether the person deserves to have the office.

            This writer learned something about presumption of innocence. It seems that no one can assume that they will be considered innocent until proven guilty or be given the benefit of the doubt. The Senate circus in the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh has proven this to be so.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Lord and His Prophets

            A couple of weeks ago the semi-annual conference for the Anchorage Alaska Stake was held, and Elder David L. Wright of the Seventy visited from the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During his remarks on Saturday evening, he shared an experience from his mission in South America (I cannot remember the particular country.) when he was a young man.

            Elder Wright and his young companion met a preacher from another church in the area and asked if they could visit with him. He said that he was too busy at the present time but invited them to come back a week later. Then the preacher gave some conditions for the visit. The missionaries could not mention the Prophet Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ – or anything about them. The elders were excited about the opportunity to meet with him again.

            During his personal study time for the next week, Elder Wright attempted to study about Jesus Christ to prepare for the visit. However, he found that the heavens were closed to him. He finally dropped to his knees and pleaded with God for help. He said that his answer was a kind and loving rebuke: “You cannot separate my prophets from me.” The elders went back to the preacher to explain the situation, and he refused to meet further with them.

            The experience with the preacher is not a new one for missionaries or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are many – maybe millions – of people who have rejected an opportunity to learn about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ simply because they cannot accept Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon.

            Millions of other people have listened to the missionaries tell the story of how Joseph Smith received an answer as to which church to join and accepted it as truth. Joseph lived in a time when there was much religious fervor in his area with several different preachers proclaiming that they had the truth. He realized that all of them could not have the truth because they were preaching different doctrines. He wondered how he, a fourteen-year-old boy, could possibly determine the truth.

            In the spring of 1820 Joseph heard one of the preachers speak about asking God for wisdom. He went home and found the following scripture in the family Bible.

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (James 1:5-6

            Determined to ask God which church to join, Joseph went to a quiet place in the woods near his home and knelt down to pray. He wanted an answer to his question, but he did not expect to receive it as he did. As he prayed Joseph saw a “pillar of light” that was brighter than the “brightness of the sun” above his head. The light slowly descended until it fell upon directly upon Joseph.

… When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other –This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (Joseph Smith – History 1:17

            Joseph was so surprised that he was struck dumb. When he was able to speak he asked the Personages which church he should join. He thought that one of them must have the truth, but he received a much different answer than he expected. “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong….” (Joseph Smith – History 1:19)

            Joseph Smith learned for himself that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate heavenly Beings with bodies and who have a powerful interest in each of us as individuals. People have a difficult time believing Joseph’s story because they have been taught that there is no God or that God does not have a physical body or that God no longer speaks to mankind. For nearly 200 years people have tried in vain to disprove the experience of Joseph Smith. Many of them are afraid to even listen to the story or to read the Book of Mormon, and they miss the greatest opportunity of their lives to come to know Jesus Christ.

            Along with millions of other people, I believe this story. I have studied the Book of Mormon many times – maybe hundreds of times, and I learned for myself through personal revelation that the book is true. Because I know that the Book of Mormon is true, I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Because I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in truly the Church of Jesus Christ on earth today. Because I know that this church is His church, I know that there is prophet on earth today, even Russell M. Nelson, leading His church. I have learned for myself that I cannot separate Jesus Christ from His prophets! I encourage you to read the Book of Mormon and gain this knowledge for yourself.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Ministering to Our Spouse

            Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individual husbands and wives minister to their spouse. The term ministering means to be there with them in every way – physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally – to strengthen and to help them.

            The semi-annual conference for the Anchorage Alaska Stake was held last weekend. The visiting authority from the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was Elder David L. Wright of the Seventy. Numerous speakers presented thoughts and gave good counsel. The remarks of our Stake President Boyd Esplin on Saturday evening were described as “inspiring” by several other speakers during the Sunday session. The counsel is well worth sharing as well as following.

            President Esplin reminded his listeners about the new emphasis on ministering in the Church of Jesus Christ. He then said, “The most important ministering that we can do is to our spouse.” He then presented four different ways that we can minister to our spouse, which I will paraphrase.

1. Spend quality time with together. This should be regular time set aside where husband and wife can be together alone. It is important, but it does not need to be expensive. Suggestions include going for a walk, working on a project together, going moose hunting (His wife went moose hunting with him for the first time this year!), going to the temple, and other such suggestions.

2. Pray together. This activity unites the couple and focuses their attention together. Divorce attorneys never see couples that pray together.

3. Study the gospel of Jesus Christ together. Suggestions include studying the scriptures, reading the Ensign, watching Church videos, reading Saints, the new history book for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other such activities.

4. Love your spouse where he/she is at right now. Unconditionally accept and love them at the present place they are at in life. Suggestions include service, paying attention to their needs, listening when they speak, praise, forgive, and express love often.

            President Esplin’s counsel to spend quality time together, pray together, study the gospel of Jesus Christ together, and to love each other is excellent counsel, even “inspiring.” In the Sunday session President Sean Debenham shared how pulling together through the adversities of life with his wife has strengthened his marriage. He was the first speaker to call President Esplin’s counsel “inspiring.”

            Elder Wright added some other thoughts during the Sunday session. He quoted the topic of a talk that Clayton Christenson gave to a group of business leaders: “How Will You Measure Your Life?” He then directed his remarks to the young married men and women in the audience, but his counsel is good for everyone. He reminded his listeners that when we fall in love, we want to be with the one we love more than anyone else for time and eternity and we want to have a family. Then life happens, and the world pulls and tugs at the marriage and the family. Sometimes, the pulling and tugging pulls the marriage and family apart. He counseled us to treat our marriages as sacred and holy and said that we can do that by following the “inspired” counsel of President Esplin.

            I am grateful to live in a time when gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. I am grateful for righteous priesthood holders use priesthood power to bless the lives of others. I am grateful to know that Jesus Christ is directing His work upon the earth through His prophets and apostles.  I know that we can strengthen our individual families, communities, and nations when we strengthen our marriages by ministering to our own spouse.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Freedom from False Accusations

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the need for freedom from false accusations. The rule of law in the United States has always been innocent until proven guilty. We are now faced with a whole new world where people are judged guilty until they prove their innocence. If a person cannot prove their innocence, they must be guilty!

            Senate Democrats, the progressive media, and liberal activists have opened a real Pandora’s Box for parents. They are acting like ravenous wolves in their attempt to stop Brett Kavanaugh from being confirmed as an associate justice on the Supreme Court – or whichever comes first. They do not seem to care how they do it or what the results are. They just want to stop his confirmation any way that they can.

            They first put on quite a circus in the Senate chambers while Kavanaugh endured 40 hours of questioning. Then Dianne Feinstein brought out a letter from a woman that was allegedly assaulted by Kavanaugh while they were both in high school. However, the woman and/or her attorneys drug their feet about her testimony to the Senate committee. Now another woman is claiming that Kavanaugh acted in appropriately at a college party. I wondered how long it would take them to find another so-called “victim.”

            The shenanigans of the enemies of Kavanaugh in the Senate confirmation proceedings were bad enough, but the last hour accusations are truly terrible. In fact, they are disgusting and repulsive to any person with true moral standards. In addition to destroying a decent man and ruining his career track, they are setting a terrible precedent for future judges and for future generations.

            Jake Hoffman claims that the “immediate presumption of guilt for Judge Kavanaugh” poses a “clear and present danger” to the boys and young men in our nation. He says that parents of boys need to understand that the attacks on Kavanaugh will cause problems with their sons’ “reputation, college and career prospects, and general welfare.” By judging Kavanaugh guilty until proven innocent, they have set “a new standard for sexual assault allegations, wherein they should be accepted simply for having been made.” The fact that the allegations were believed in spite of there being no evidence makes it even worse. Liberals and progressives believe that every girl and woman who claims assault should be believed and that every accused boy or man must prove their innocence. Hoffman suggests that parents consider how they would feel if the following situation was presented to their son.

A girl comes forward accusing your son of sexual assault. The case she lays out contains minimal evidence with fuzzy, uncorroborated details and zero recollection at all of many foundational material facts. Two of the only three people the girl claims are in a position to corroborate the allegation issue patent denials, and the only person with whom the incident was disclosed prior to a public accusation against your son contradicts key facts of the allegation. The accuser has a demonstrable history during that period of her life of underage intoxication and your son unequivocally denies that the situation ever occurred. When the authorities offer to hear her testimony, she issues a list of demands designed to obscure your son’s quest for the truth and unfairly prejudice the investigation significantly in her favor. To compound matters, failure by your son to disprove these allegations will result in him losing everything – his reputation, friends, college admission prospects, scholarships, and career opportunities, along with an infinite amount of additional harm.

            I think that we can all agree that we do not want this scenario levied against our sons or daughters. We would want our children and grandchildren to be treated fairly and squarely. We would want our children to be treated as innocent until proved guilty. We need to forget our partisan likes and dislikes and demand that this behavior be stopped. We need to vote Democrats out of office!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

American Foundations

            I started my next class, American Foundations, two weeks ago. I thought that I might have a head start because I have been studying the Constitution and American government for nine years. However, I learned different when I took the pre-test for the class and received a grade of C. I obviously do not know – or do not remember – a lot about American history.

            One of the first things that I came to understand is that Benjamin Franklin had earned a fortune in the printing world of colonial times but had grown tired of living the colonial life. He moved to London and had a love affair with all things British. His feelings for England began to sour when he noticed the difference in the living conditions between the wealthy land owners and the poor people who did not have property. He remembered the colonists in America where most men owned land and a home and had plenty of food and sturdy clothing. He recognized that there were many good things about America even without all the frills.

            I learned how the rebels in Massachusetts seemed to lead the revolution. The Sons of Liberty organization was born in Massachusetts. The Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party both took place because of the rebels in Massachusetts. It was Thomas Hutchinson, the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, who laid the groundwork for the Revolutionary War. When the radical colonists in Massachusetts started to protest the new taxes set by Parliament, Hutchinson feared that mobs would take over the colony. He secretly sent a letter to a friend in Parliament requesting British military to come to America.

            I have been reminded that the Constitution of the United States is an inspired document and was written by wise men who were raised up by God for that very purpose. I was also reminded that not every line and word in the Constitution is inspired, but it does contain certain inspired principles. Some of these principles are: the rule of law, a bill of rights, popular sovereignty (the will of the people), separation of the powers of the federal government (executive, legislative, and judicial), federalism or the division of powers between federal government and state government, and the process written right into the Constitution of how to amend the Constitution.

            I expect that I will learn a great deal more about American history and how our government came to be. I also expect to learn more about how the Constitution was written and how we have been able to maintain it. I look forward to learning many more important things about my native country.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Too Many Illegal Aliens

            Illegal immigration continues to be in the news because it is a problem. There are many aspects to the problem – the wall, the expense to taxpayers, the diseases they bring into the country, plus many others. Now we are being told that there are many more undocumented immigrants than anyone ever thought.

            The traditional number cited for illegal aliens residing in the United States is 11.3 million. Some researchers affiliated with Yale thought that number was too high and decided to do a “sanity check” on it. They were surprised by what they found. 

Immigration is the focus of fierce political and policy debate in the United States. Among the most contentious issues is how the country should address undocumented immigrants. Like a tornado that won’t dissipate, arguments have spun around and around for years. At the center lies a fairly stable and largely unquestioned number: 11.3 million undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S. But a paper by three Yale-affiliated researchers suggests all the perceptions and arguments based on that number may have a faulty foundation; the actual population of undocumented immigrants residing in the country is much larger than that, perhaps twice as high, and has been underestimated for decades.

Using mathematical modeling on a range of demographic and immigration operations data, the researchers estimate there are 22.1 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Even using parameters intentionally aimed at producing an extremely conservative estimate, they found a population of 16.7 million undocumented immigrants.

            The researchers do not want anyone to get the wrong idea and think that there is a huge increase in illegal aliens in the country. They say that is not the case and that the larger number of illegal aliens have been here for decades. So, if it seems to you that the United States has been overrun by people who should not be here, you are right. We have been overrun by them, but they came decades ago.

            The researchers claim that their “paper is not oriented towards politics or policy.” It is simply about getting a better handle on the number of illegal aliens in the country. This writer agrees that it is important to know how many people are residing illegally within the borders of the United States. The researchers filled an important role in bringing this information to us.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Thomas Hutchinson

            The name Thomas Hutchinson may be familiar to history buffs and a few other people. He is mentioned in the history of the American colonies prior to the Revolutionary War, but few people pay much attention to him. Most Americans are more interested in George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and other great heroes of the American Revolution. Yet, Thomas Hutchinson had a big impact in the colonists’ war with Great Britain.

            Hutchinson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 9, 1711. His father was a prosperous merchant, and his great-great-grandmother was Anne Hutchinson, a “famed nonconformist.” Hutchinson graduated from Harvard College in 1727 and started to work in his father’s shipping business. Ten years later he entered politics when he was elected as a selectman in his hometown. Not long afterwards he was appointed to a seat on the General Court or legislature. He held numerous other political offices in the colony but was not a trained lawyer. Hutchinson was appointed as lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts in 1758 and named Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court two years later. He held both positions concurrently.

            Soon after the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, members of the British Parliament sought for ways to pay the expenses of the war as well as the ever expanding British Empire. They settled on the idea of taxing their colonies and embarked on a long list of taxes.

            The taxes had an effect on every segment of the colonial society and did not settle well with the colonists. The first tax was the Sugar Act (1764), which the colonists protested and boycotted. The resistance cost Parliament more money than it made. Parliament repealed the act.  

            The next attempt at taxes was the Stamp Act (1765). This was the first direct tax levied on the colonists, and it applied to all printed material – playing cards, newspapers, books, legal documents, licenses, etc. The purpose of this tax was simply to gain revenue, and it was levied without any consultation with the colonists. The Americans reacted with unexpected fury. The Sons of Liberty organized and proceeded to intimate the royal tax collectors and officials of the government. There was violence in some of the colonies, and the colonists used their economic power for the first time in an organized manner. This act was soon repealed, but it was followed by the Declaratory Act.

            The Declaratory Act said that Parliament had the authority to rule over the colonies and could pass any law that they desired. Even though the colonists fought against “taxation without representation,” Parliament claimed that the colonists were “virtually represented” in Parliament and that the colonists, as subjects of the King, had to obey.

            The colonists resisted once again. It was not so much the amount of taxes that bothered them. It was the idea that the King and Parliament were exerting more control over them. The colonists were afraid of the increased control as well as the idea that they were losing freedom.
The whole situation was made worse by the distance between America and Britain as well as the lack of communication and understanding.

            Hutchinson was the lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts and in the middle of these actions. He was a firm believer in law and order. He was privately against the Stamp Act, but he publicly declared that he would enforce the law. He sees the increasing mob activity against the laws coming from Parliament. He is afraid that mobs will take over Massachusetts and secretly sends a letter to a friend in the Parliament requesting some help from Britain.

            Soon British soldiers were soon roaming the streets of Boston. One day Americans started to throw snowballs at the soldiers, and the soldiers fired on them, leaving five dead colonists. This situation is known as the Boston Massacre.

            The more the colonists resisted the increasing control from Britain, the stronger were the actions taken by Britain. Parliament continued to pass revenue acts with the next being the Tea Act (1773). This tax also met with strong resistance, especially in Boston. A group of angry colonists dressed as Mohawk Indians in December 1773 and dumped 340 chests of tea in the Boston Harbor. This act of resistance is known as the Boston Tea Party, and it brought upon the colonists the Coercive Acts. These acts closed the port of Boston, outlawed town meetings, and limited the independence of the Massachusetts legislature.

            Meanwhile, Benjamin Franklin is living in London. He enjoys the society there and makes some powerful friends. However, he is called before Parliament to answer some questions when the colonists react to the Stamp Act, and he tries to calm the situation. In December 1772 he finds or is given a packet of letters. He looks through the packet and finds the letter written by Hutchinson several years previously to a Member of Parliament. He recognizes immediately that Parliament has been relying on information from Hutchinson, who Britain has recently appointed as governor of Massachusetts.

            Franklin is furious and sends the letters to radicals in Boston. He tells them not to publish the letters, but they publish them – as he knew they would do. Franklin intentionally sacrifices Hutchinson in an attempt to bring stability and calm to the situation, but the situation continues to blow up and eventually erupts into war.

            There is little doubt among historians that Hutchinson’s actions in bringing the British soldiers to America had a great deal to do with the colonial decision to separate from Britain. He was first driven from his home with little else than his life and eventually ended up in England where he spent his final years. There he served “unhappily”as an advisor to the King on matters in North America. He yearned to return to America, but he died in England on June 3, 1780. If Hutchinson had acted differently, Americans might still be British subjects!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Democrats against Constitution

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the role of the federal government. The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, ore to the people.” In other words, the Constitution gives the federal government only those powers listed as belonging to the federal government and those it says do not belong to the States or the people. All other powers belong to the States or the people. James Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution,” explains further in Federalist Paper 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects; as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.

            After quoting the above statement, economist Walter Williams says that the realty today is exactly opposite from what Madison wrote. “The powers of the federal government are numerous and indefinite, and those of state governments are few and defined.” 

            Williams believes that confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court would help the Court to see cases in line with the views of the Framers.

If confirmed, Brett Kavanaugh will bring to the Supreme Court a vision closer to that of the Framers than the vision of those who believe that the Constitution is a “living document.”

Those Americans rallying against Kavanaugh’s confirmation are really against the Constitution rather than the man – Kavanaugh – whom I believe would take seriously his oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution.

            Williams asks, “Was Madison misinformed or just plain ignorant about the powers delegated to Congress?” He proceeds to share the statements of several former presidents, congressional representative, and Framers who support Madison’s view of the Constitution.

            Democrat President Grover Cleveland vetoed 584 acts of Congress during his two terms as president in the late 1800s. Among these vetoes were “many congressional spending bills.” He often gave this reason for his veto: “I can find no warrant for such an appropriate in the Constitution.”

            President Cleveland, along with the Framers and other leaders of the nation, are probably during over in the graves and groaning about massive federal government programs today!

            Williams’ bottom line is leftists are against the Constitution, and not Brett Kavanaugh in particular. They know that he is a strict constitutionalist. He carries a copy of the Constitution in his pocket, and he knows what it says. His record is full of cases where he ruled according to what the Constitution says.

            Therefore, I agree with Williams. The circus atmosphere created by the Democrats in the Senate confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh and the recent attack on Kavanaugh’s character about a 36-year-old alleged assault show that the Democrats are against the Constitution. They will fight any nominee who promises to uphold the Constitution.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

New Church History Book

            I was not looking for it and was sort of startled to suddenly find it on my cell phone. I opened my phone to start my personal gospel study, and I found the new book of history for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Saints – The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. I downloaded the book and immediately started studying it. The “book” is the first volume of a four-volume set.

            I am amazed at how interesting this book of history is. I found many well-loved stories come to life as I read, and I learned some new bits of history that helped me to connect a lot of dots. My personal experiences with the book prepared me for an article by Betty Ann Thomas titled “4 Reasons Every Latter-day Saints Should Read the Church’s Newly Released History.” Thomas describes the book as follows: “Unlike past histories, this book brings the stories of past members to life with vivid storytelling that doesn’t shy away from controversial church topics, such as polygamy, Joseph Smith’s plural wives, seer stones, etc.” Then she gives the following four reasons why we should read the book.

It Places History in Context and Can Deepen Testimonies.  Saints 1815-1846: The Standard of Truth is the most well-documented and easy-to-read history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yet to be published. Citing 600 sources, the Church History Department has laid out well-known and little-known facts about the Restoration….

It Humanizes Our History with Vivid, Accurate Detail. Since the book is written in a narrative style, it is quick and interesting reading. But even with this writing style, “it does not go beyond information found in historical sources….”

It Provides Information About Controversial Topics. With nearly 100 pages of notes of the sources cited, the reader can quickly see where the information included in the text is found. While reading, if a new piece of the story is discovered, one can find the citation and, in many cases, follow a digital link to read the original source….

It’s So Much More Than a Single History. The podcasts which can be found on iTunes or the Mormon Channel are another rich source of more detail for the book. Historians, writers, editors, and others talk candidly about the preparation of the book and its implications to modern church members….

            I find all four reasons to be accurate as I study the first volume of the set. I am excited to study all four volumes and recommend the book to all of you. You can obtain the first volume in the Gospel Library app or through, Deseret Book, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. The book is available in 14 different languages in the app.

            I am particularly grateful to know the purpose for which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided this history. In the final paragraph in “A Message from the First Presidency” in the book: “We pray that this volume will enlarge your understanding of the past, strengthen your faith, and help you make and keep the covenants that lead to exaltation and eternal life.” The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provided this book to help all of us to understand the history of the Church and to move closer to Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Prophet's Counsel on Teaching Children

            Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when parents teach their children to listen to the words of the prophets and to follow their counsel. A living prophet is the Lord’s mouthpiece on earth; therefore, he speaks for God. An Old Testament prophet named Amos said that God would do nothing until He speaks to His prophet: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).

            If parents want counsel about teaching their children, they should listen to the prophet because He can tell them what God would like them to know. President Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s living prophet today. He is also a father of 10, grandfather of 57, and great-grandfather of 119. It is easy to understand that he would have good counsel for parents in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Here is the Prophet’s latest counsel for teaching the children. 

First and foremost, teach them what it really means when they sing, “I Am a Child of God.” God is their Heavenly Father, [and they are His children.]

Teach them about God’s Beloved Son, Jesus Christ [who] came into the world to do the will of His Father, because His Father sent Him.

[Teach them to understand] the significance of the sacrament [and that this is] The Church of Jesus Christ. It is His Church.

[Teach them] about prophets [and that God teaches His children through prophets].

[After bearing his testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon]: Read the Book of Mormon to these wonderful children. Read the Bible and other standard works to them. They will be better students in all of their subjects if they learn to read along with you.

[Teach children about the restoration of priesthood authority and] let your homes be sanctuaries of faith for these children.

[Children need correction from time to time.] That’s why they have parents. Please correct them quietly and privately.

Please help them to focus, even at an early age, on the blessings of the temple. … That is where they will receive their greatest blessings.

            President Nelson wants parents to teach their children that God is truly their Father in Heaven, that Jesus Christ loved them enough to give His life for them, that the sacrament service is sacred and has great meaning, that God speaks to His prophets and they speak to the people, that we have the words of Christ and many prophets in the scriptures, that the priesthood of God has been restored to earth, and that they can receive their greatest blessings in the temple of God. He also charged parents to correct their children privately and with loving kindness when correction is needed.

            Parents can be assured that President Nelson knows about teaching children as well as how much Heavenly Father loves little children. By following the above counsel from the Prophet, parents can strengthen their home, community, and nation.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

False Accusations and False Witnesses

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the need for freedom from the tyranny of false accusations and false witnesses. It seems that anyone can say anything about someone – without a shred of evidence – and be believed. It does not seem to matter that falsehoods and lies destroy individuals, careers, and families – especially if they are done for political purposes.

            It is possible that the accuser of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is telling the truth about his behavior when he was in high school, but it does not seem probable. In the first place, she “recovered” her memories of the alleged assault at the time that Democrats were afraid that Mitt Romney would be the next President of the United States and would appoint Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Is the timing of her memory recovery just coincidental?

            It was at this particular time in the history of the nation that the accuser decided to go for couple therapy with her husband. There is nothing wrong with marriage counseling, but the timing is suspect. The therapist kept notes; however, the accuser says that they were not good notes. Also, there was no mention of Kavanaugh in the notes.

            Since Romney lost the election, there was no reason to act on her recovered memories – until Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. Then she was Johnny-on-spot with her copies of the therapist’s notes and an anonymous letter. When people were not buying the anonymous letter, she decided to go public. However, she has no witnesses – just her recovered memories, memories that contain a lot of holes.

            Kavanaugh, on the other hand, has numerous witnesses. His first witness is his classmate, Mark Judge. The accuser said that Judge was with Kavanaugh during the alleged assault. Both Judge and Kavanaugh denied being there and doing what she alleges – at that time or any other time. Neither of them denied drinking or even being drunk, but they deny being at the particular party where the assault is supposed to have taken place or attacking the accuser.

            A second witness – or set of witnesses – is 65 women who knew Kavanaugh during his high school years. They sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) praising the integrity and character of Kavanaugh.

            A third witness – a group of law clerks – are testifying of the good character of Kavanaugh. They have worked side by side with Kavanaugh and been mentored by him, but they report no unacceptable behavior on his part.

            A fourth witness is not a person at all. It is the six FBI investigations into Kavanaugh. One would think that the numerous female witnesses and the six probes by the FBI would have turned up something bad about Kavanaugh’s past, but they did not.

            So, it is the word of one woman against the word of two men, more than sixty-five women, and six FBI investigations. The Democrats played this game with Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and lost. Now they have pulled out the same playbook to use on Kavanaugh. The times are different now, and the Democrats are even hungrier for power.

            It is good that the accuser and Kavanaugh will appear in a public hearing on Monday to be questioned before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I hope and pray that Kavanaugh is exonerated from this accusation and that the perpetrators of this insane behavior slink back into their holes. No one is truly free in our nation as long as people can make false accusations and false witnesses and get away with the claims.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Desperate Democrats

              Democrats are so desperate to delay the confirmation vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh that they are willing to throw dignity and decency out the window. Judge Kavanaugh and millions of Americans endured a circus-like atmosphere during the hearings in the Senate. Democrats threw everything they could at Kavanaugh during the hearing – except a hidden bombshell.

            Days after the hearing ended Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) revealed that she had an anonymous letter from a woman claiming that Kavanaugh committed sexual misconduct during his high school years. Feinstein said that she received the letter in July, but she did not explain why she had no questions about it during the hearings when he could have defended himself on record. No, she held onto the letter.

            Democrats seem to enjoy doing things anonymously. First, we had all the leaks from people inside the Trump administration. Then we had the anonymous piece in The New York Times. Now we have the anonymous letter, a letter that is no longer anonymous as of Sunday.

            Christine Blasey Ford from California says that she sent the letter. She claims that she has been in therapy for years because of the assault, but I find it strange that she did not say anything about it until now. Why didn’t she say something it when Kavanaugh was first nominated, or why didn’t Feinstein say something about it in July when she received it? It seems questionable to me!

            I believe that this is just another trick of the Democrats in their attempt to delay the confirmation of Kavanaugh until after the November election. They are hoping to gain control of the Senate and stop his confirmation. I think that Ford should called to testify under oath to the Senate committee. I believe that it is important to call the Democrats out on this trick and determine the truth of the situation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Birthright Citizenship

            I have written numerous times about my view of birthright citizenship, and I suppose that my long-time readers remember some of those posts. I have not heard much about this topic over the past months, but I saw an article today that gives me hope. Maybe it will give you hope also.

            Daniel John Sobieski posted an article at American Thinker titled “Trump and Birthright Citizenship.”  He says that Donald Trump was not his first choice for President because Trump “seemed a bull who carried around his own china shop and campaigned like Sherman marching through Atlanta with matches.” This is a great description of Trump! Sobieski says that Trump won him over by the numerous accomplishments over the past 20 months, and he can see the method in Trump’s madness.

He has unleashed America’s entrepreneurs, cut all our taxes, chopped off the strangling regulatory tentacles of big government, liberated American energy, rebuilt the military, ended “free” trade transfers of wealth to those who are not all our friends, fundamentally transformed the judiciary, and dared to step on the new third rail of American politics: illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.

            After listing these accomplishments of the Trump administration, he moves into the topic of birthright citizenship. Even though many legal “experts” say that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees citizenship for anyone born on U.S. soil, Sobieski says that the “Supreme Court, however, has never explicitly ruled that the children of illegal aliens must be granted automatic citizenship.” He says that the Court has “not said birthright citizenship is constitutional,” and then he introduces his readers to Peter H. Schuck, Yale University’s Simeon E. Baldwin professor of law emeritus. Schuck is of the opinion that “birthright citizenship is not required by the U.S. Constitution.”

…Though opposed to many of the president’s positions, he was surprised the administration has not made opposition to citizenship for the children of illegal aliens more central to its immigration policy.

On at least one key immigration stance, however, Schuck appears to be in agreement with President Trump. In the 1990s, along with Yale Political Scientist Rogers Smith, he determined, in a book called Citizenship Without Consent, that the policy of granting citizenship to everyone born on American soil, including so-called “anchor-babies” – those born to illegal aliens [sic] – was not mandated by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as is popularly trumpeted by open-borders supporters. Trump came to the same conclusion on the campaign trail, once stating, “We’re the only ones dumb enough, stupid enough to have it.”

            Sobieski reminds his readers that it is the “misinterpretation of the 14th amendment” that brought about “the guarantee of birthright citizenship.” A mother simply needs to sneak across the border or come into the nation on vacation and have a baby. The baby automatically becomes a U.S. citizen with power to keep its parents in the U.S. and to bring extended family also.

            The thing in this article that brings me hope is the statement that Trump agrees with me on birthright citizenship. He also believes that this misinterpretation is the “biggest magnet” for illegal immigration. He apparently said that he wanted to end it and to reunify families on the “other side of the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Trump said he would end birthright citizenship. Critics have said the task, even if justified, is well nigh impossible, requiring amending the U.S. Constitution. In reality, it may not require altering the 14th Amendment – only correctly interpreting it, perhaps through clarifying legislation. [My emphasis]

            Since Trump has a record of following through on his campaign promises, I have hope that he will find a way to stop birthright citizenship. IF we can elect enough conservatives to Congress, he may be able to convince our representatives to clarify the 14th Amendment through legislative action. Any such law would probably end up in the Supreme Court, but we are getting enough constitutionalists there that the justices might sustain such a law as constitutional. It is on this idea that I have hope that birthright citizenship will end sooner rather than later. So, it is imperative that we elect conservatives as our representatives in Congress!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

            Ruth Bader Ginsburg, current associate justice on the United States Supreme Court, was born Ruth Joan Bader on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents are Nathan and Celia Bader, and the family lived in “a low-income, working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn.” Her mother was a “major influence in her life” and “taught her the value of independence and a good education.

            By following her mother’s counsel, Ginsburg “excelled in her studies” at James Madison High School in Brooklyn. However, her mother passed away from cancer the day previous to Ginsburg’s graduation. Ginsburg attended and graduated from Cornell University in 1954 with a degree in government. That same year, she married law student Martin D. Ginsburg, had her first child, and saw her husband drafted into the military, a law student. After Martin’s discharge two years later, the couple went to Harvard.

At Harvard, Ginsburg learned to balance life as a mother and her new role as a law student. She also encountered a very male-dominated, hostile environment, with only eight other females in her class of more than 500. The women were chided by the law school’s dean for taking the places of qualified males. But Ginsburg pressed on and excelled academically, eventually becoming the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.

            Martin graduated from Harvard and accepted a position at a law firm in New York City. Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School where she graduated first in her class in 1959. She continued to face gender discrimination while seeking employment after graduation. She clerked for U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri (1959-61) and taught at Rutgers University Law School (1963-72) and at Columbia (1972-80). She worked for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and “argued landmark cases on gender equality before the U.S. Supreme Court.” She was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and served there until 1993 when she was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton.

            I am writing about Ginsburg because she is 85 years old and looks to be the next justice to replace. Her hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee were described as “unusually friendly,” and she was confirmed with a vote of 96-3. The description of her Senate hearing is much different than I would describe Kavanaugh’s hearing, which was not at all friendly.

            Even Ginsburg thinks the Democrats were out of order in Kavanaugh’s hearing. I wonder how crazy it will be when Donald Trump nominates another constitutionalist to replace her! As Peter Skurkiss points out, Neil Gorsuch was confirmed 54-45 and replaced “conservative giant on the Court” Antonin Scalia – sort of conservative for conservative. Anthony Kennedy was known as the swing vote, and there have been hysterics about Trump replacing him with a conservative constitutionalist, obviously moving the Court to the right. If Trump, or any other President, nominates a conservative to replace Ginsburg, the Left will go ballistic! In order to put a conservative justice in her seat, we need more Republicans in the Senate!