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, October 31, 2018

Good Governments Are Founded Upon True Principles

            The history of numerous nations of the world tells us much about the government of those nations. The forefathers of the United States of America studied many of these nations in order to learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. The founders discovered that great nations are built upon virtuous standards, and they proceeded to write true and correct principles into the Constitution of the new nation. Since these principles are too numerous for all to be included, this essay will discuss only three of them: mission to be a light, democratic and republican values, and economic freedom.

            The first principle is the belief of the early colonists that the United States had a mission to be a light to the world. This mission was prophesied in scripture and founded in the hearts of the Puritans. The idea of a mission has motivated the United States in all eras of the nation – from the desire to expand to the west and the determination to stop oppression in both World Wars to the destruction of terrorism and confrontation of North Korea. However, the God-given purpose for the United States Constitution is to maintain and protect the rights of all people. Most nations still look to America for leadership in spite of mistakes (slavery and Great Depression) and bad judgement (Vietnam and Iraq wars). The world as a whole becomes a healthier place when the United States fulfills its mission to be a light to the world. America can accomplish this mission better by maintaining a republic founded on virtuous principles.

            The second principle is that the forefathers created a republic that contains republican and democratic values. This principle refers to a type of government rather than to any political party. Knowing that they did not want a monarchy, the founders decided that their choice was between a republic and a democracy. A republic is a nation where the people have the power to elect representatives to create the laws and the laws reflect the will of the people, promote equality among them, and protect their common welfare. A democracy is a nation where the people themselves determine the laws. After comparing the principles of both types of governments, the forefathers chose to create a republic with a few democratic principles. Thus, the government of the United States is often called a democratic republic, and its principles bless Americans and people all over the world.     
            The third principle is economic freedom. This freedom means the opportunity to choose one’s own work (profession or occupation), to control the results of one’s work (earnings, property, or life style), and to use one’s property as one chooses. This principle is closely connected with the principle of private ownership of property. The two principles together create motivation to work and/or to create. The freedom to own property is a large part of the opportunity to the control of the fruits of one’s labor, and this freedom helps to bring more economic freedom to the people. Economic freedom for individuals leads to stronger, healthier, and more prosperous nations because individuals become more self-reliant and less dependent on the government to provide daily needs.    
            One can plainly see that the foundational principles of any nation determine whether the government of that country can be considered as a positive or a negative force in the lives of its citizens. When founded upon virtuous principles that work together for the good of the people, any nation can have an honorable government and freedom for its people. The United States was founded upon true and correct principles and has become a country that attracts immigrants from all over the world. America has been a light to the world for more than two hundred years and will continue to do so for as long as it remains virtuous.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Immigrants, Refugees, or Invaders?

            All Americans came from someplace else. My ancestors came from England and Scotland – with a mixture of German, Swedish, and other blood. My husband’s ancestors came from England, Scotland, Norway, and Sweden – with a mixture of other blood. Even the ancestors of the Alaska Natives and the Native Americans came from some other place.

            Scientists tell us that the ancestors of some of the Alaska Natives came across the bridge from Russia. The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ tells us that some of the ancestors of the Native Americans came from Jerusalem. Hence, it seems safe to declare that America is a land made up of immigrants.  

            Immigrants have been coming to America for hundreds of years. Columbus came by accident and found the Americas while he was searching for another route to India. The Spaniards and French came for the gold, silver, and other natural resources to take back to their nations. The Puritans and Pilgrims came looking for a place where they could enjoy the freedom to worship as they chose. They came with the intention of making America a better place.

            Early converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – including my ancestors and my husband’s ancestors – immigrated to join with like-minded people and to build up “Zion” in America. When the Church of Jesus Christ had grown and flourished for many years, leaders encouraged new members to stay in their home countries and build Zion there. Even though the flow of new members immigrating to the United States has all but stopped, other immigrants continue to come.

            Some immigrants come to the United States seeking protection from persecution. Others come because they are afraid that they will suffer persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, or political opinion. Still others come with no desire to assimilate or contribute anything good. The United States is the last best hope for the world. It is much like a city that is built on a hill whose light shines forth so brightly that it can be seen for long distances. To people who are poor, mistreated, or persecuted America is a beacon of hope. However, to others it is a terrible place that must be destroyed.

            Americans understand why most immigrants want to come to America and are willing to share their nation with immigrants. However, the great majority of Americans do not want people to come to the United States illegally, and they definitely do not want to be invaded.

            When Americans see a horde of people marching from Honduras and through Mexico with definite plans to come to the United States, they are concerned. They see pictures of the marchers burning the American flag and chanting negatives things about America and President Donald Trump. They see pictures of the marchers carrying the flag of Honduras.

            Americans want to know who these people are and why they are coming to the United States. Americans want to know how and why this large group of marchers – somewhere between 4,000 and 14,000 in number – decided to come to the United States as a group. Who encouraged them to come? Who is paying for the buses, trucks, and other vehicles seen providing transportation? Who is providing food for them? Where are these thousands of people relieving themselves? Who is behind this march? If we let this huge group of people into the United States, what do we do with the next group that may be even bigger?

            It is only natural for Americans to feel some trepidation as they watch this large group of travelers – hating America and waving the flag of Honduras – travel toward the southern border. It looks like an invading army because it is made up of mostly young men, and President Trump has promised that they will be met by American soldiers. What are the soldiers going to do? Will they be any more successful in stopping the invaders than the Mexican soldiers are? Will American soldiers use bullets as well as tear gas? How many of our soldiers will be injured or killed in the process of guarding the border?

            The editorial board at The Deseret News says that the United States should show compassion towards these struggling people because they are “families fleeing gang violence and seeking hope for children,” people who are coming from a country “where the World Bank estimates 66 percent of the people are in poverty.” They say that “People don’t voluntarily endure such hardship unless their lives reach a critical level of desperation. They speak about the hope of a better life in the United States.” 

            The editorial board also believes that Americans should be concerned “about the need to handle these people in an orderly and humane manner if they should make it to the U.S. border.” A positive for this editorial is that they recognize that “the United States cannot allow thousands of people to storm their way in with no vetting.” However, they do not seem to understand that the United States does not have the capability of taking in every person who wants to come to America. They believe that it is wrong to separate little children from their parents as has been done in the past, but they do not offer a solution to the problem of what to do with the children while the parents are held for illegally crossing the border. They also do not offer a solution of what to do with those “parents” who are using a child or children only to gain entry into the United States.

            Since President Trump was “forced” by public opinion to do away with the policy of holding children separately, hundreds – and maybe thousands – of more families have come seeking admission or even crossing the border illegally. The compassion of Americans is being used and abused! I do not like the idea of children being separated from their parents for any reason, but I realize that it is sometimes necessary – particularly when parents break the laws of the land. We must protect the children, but I recognize that it is sometimes difficult to protect them when their own parents put them in harm’s way.

            I believe that the best way that America can show compassion for all people – Americans as well as people who want to come to America – is to build a tall enough wall to repel even an invading army. I believe that American politicians must pass laws that allow people to immigrate to the United States in a reasonable period of time. I believe that laws should be put in place to make entering the United States illegally very unpopular and uncomfortable. People who come illegally should not be rewarded in any way. The only way that Americans do the right thing is to vote out every Democrat who stands in the way of making America great again. Vote Republican!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Mike Lee and Chuck Grassley

            This week I have two VIPs. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are seeking a clear solution to “caravans” coming from Central and South America to the southern United States border. The two Senators sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with an urgent plea for them to make an agreement with Mexico. They are urging the United States to enter into a “safe third country agreement” with Mexico, which would require migrants to seek asylum in Mexico and not the United States. In an interview with Glenn Beck, Lee explained the plan and how it would work.

Mexico would require people who enter Mexico, let’s say from Honduras or El Salvador or any of these other countries in Central America… with the intent of claiming asylum, they would have to claim asylum in Mexico rather than in the United States. Now, this would be similar to an agreement we already have in place with Canada and a rule imposed by the E.U. for refugees arriving in E.U. countries from Syria.

In other words, when people are fleeing a country that is dangerous to them … they ought to apply for asylum in the first country [they] reach.

            This agreement makes total sense to me. In fact, I am surprised that it has not been made already – even years ago. Why should so-called refugees be able to travel through some countries to reach a country of their choice? If they are truly fleeing violence, they should be happy to be in a safe country, any safe country. These Senators should be praised for bringing the lack of such an agreement to the forefront. Hopefully, they will be able to get such an agreement signed before too many other such “caravans” arrive at our border!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Constitution Is an Inspired Document

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the simple fact that the Constitution of the United States was inspired by God. This fact is found in a revelation from Jesus Christ to His prophet, even Joseph Smith. The Lord tells His prophet that his people should seek “redress and redemption” under the Constitution.

77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (See Doctrine and Covenants 101:77-80; emphasis is mine.)

            When we speak of the Constitution as being inspired, we do not mean that every word in it is inspired. However, we can find inspiration in many areas of the creation and the ideas within the document. Three evidences of God’s influence in the Constitution are as follow.

1. The actual creation of the Constitution is miraculous. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention came from different areas and different conditions and had different beliefs about life and government. Yet, they overcame their differences enough to work together in the creation of the Constitution. The wording of the Constitution is simple and clear. The document gives guidance and boundaries even as it allows flexibility for changing times. In a letter written on February 7, 1788, George Washington wrote the following to Lafayette:  “It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States (which States you know are also different from each other in their manners, circumstances and prejudieces) should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well founded objections.” Washington considered the creation of the document to be miraculous even though he recognized that it was not a perfect one.

2. The assembly of men who gathered at the Constitution Convention can be considered as miraculous. Not all of the great minds of the time were in Philadelphia because Thomas Jefferson was serving as minister to France and John Adams was serving as minister to Great Britain. Also missing from the convention were Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Patrick Henry. However, Jefferson called the delegates at the Constitutional Convention “an assembly of demigods.” The men attending the convention were some of the best in the new nation and possibly the best in history. As explained at this site, the fifty-five delegates at the convention had important preparation in previous circumstances as shown by the following facts: (1) Two – William S. Johnson and Abraham Baldwin – were college presidents; (2) three – George Wythe, James Wilson, and William C. Houston - were or had been college professors; (3) four studied law in England; (4) thirty-one were members of the legal profession with several judges amongst them; (5) nine had been born in foreign countries and had personal experience with the oppressions in Europe; (6) twenty-eight had served in Congress, and most had served in state legislatures; (7) Nineteen or more had served in the army – seventeen officers and four on Washington’s staff.

3. The Constitution was a written document from the beginning. The delegates created a formal document that detailed the organization of the new government with specific tasks and powers of each part of the government. Then-Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explains why this is important. 

The United States Constitution was the first written constitution in the world. It has served Americans well, enhancing freedom and prosperity during the changed conditions of more than two hundred years. Frequently copied, it has become the United States’ most important export. After two centuries, every nation in the world except six have adopted written constitutions, and the U.S. Constitution was a model for all of them.”

            The above evidences are only a few of numerous ways that the United States Constitution was created under the influence of God. More about the inspiration in the Constitution will come in future posts.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Learning to Minister

            Numerous program changes were made during the April 2018 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the more drastic changes involved the retirement of “home teacher” and “visiting teacher” and the institution of “ministering brother” and “ministering sister.” The responsibilities for the priesthood brethren and the sisters are the same under both programs, but the emphasis is a little different.

            Priesthood brethren are to watch over and care for families, and sisters are to watch over and care for sisters. The difference lies in the attitude of those offering the service. Under home teaching and visiting teaching, many people considered the responsibility as a task that could be checked off when completed and reported as done - or undone. Ministering implies more watchful care without considering how or if to report the service.

            Ministering comes naturally to many people, but it is more difficult for some of us. I am a list maker, and I love to check off the tasks as I complete them. I am guilty of writing things on my list after I have completed them just so I can check them off! I was a faithful visiting teacher, and I contacted each of my sisters every month. I generally considered that my visiting teaching was complete after I made a contact – visit, telephone call, letter, etc. - although I continued to pray for them, watch for them at meetings, and generally watch out for them.

            Since the emphasis was put on ministering, I continue to make the contacts, but this time my attempts are more frequent, my prayers are more heartfelt, and I am generally more concerned about meeting the needs of the two sisters under my stewardship.

            One of the sisters has responded well to my attempts, and we are building a friendship as well as a sisterhood. However, my second sister is a little bit more difficult for me to connect with her. The first one is young enough to be one of my daughters, and the second is about my age. I have found that I have much in common with my young friend, but I have yet to learn much about my other sister.

            On a recent visit I learned that my friend and her family were struggling to arrive at sacrament meeting before the meeting began. Since I struggle with the same problem, we had a lot to discuss. We determined that we simply try to accomplish too much on Sunday mornings before we walk out the door to our meetings. Once I realized the character of my problem, I was able to work with it. For the past two weeks I have arrived in the chapel five to ten minutes before sacrament meeting started. I soon realized that I was missing a great deal by walking in the door just as the meeting started as I previously had done.

            Last Sunday my new friend and I were both in our seats a few minutes before the meeting started, and we congratulated ourselves on our accomplishments and commented about how we were able to choose wherever we wished to sit. My friend’s husband is grateful for help in getting his family out the door earlier. By arriving at the meeting earlier, I was able to visit for a couple of minutes with my own ministering sister and let her know what is happening in my life. Visiting with the two sisters for just a minute or two made a great difference in how I felt about my Sunday experience.

            When I tried to cram too much into my Sunday mornings, I arrived too late to have any kind of interchange with anyone. Then I would go to Primary where I interacted with children for two hours and went home. Although I love my Primary children, I missed the adult-level relationships. Sometimes I would go home from Sunday meetings and realize that I had not spoken to a single adult during the three-hour block! In my attempt to minister to my new friend, I solved numerous problems for myself. Even though I am just beginning to understand how this ministering program works, I believe wholeheartedly in it and am grateful for counsel and ideas on how to do it better.

            Elder Gary E. Stevenson spoke on the topic of ministering in the October 2018 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ in a talk titled “Shepherding Souls.” He shares several examples of shepherds of sheep and likens them to shepherds of souls. He tells a story about a sheep dog that would not abandon his lost sheep. It seems that a small group of sheep were left behind on the summer range and were “stranded and snowbound in the mountains.” The sheep were fortunate that one of the sheepdogs stayed behind with them.

When the sheep were left behind, the sheepdog stayed with them, for it was his duty to look after and protect the sheep. He would not go off watch! There he remained – circling about the lost sheep for months in the cold and snowy weather, serving as a protection against coyotes, mountain lions, or any other predator that would harm the sheep. He stayed there until he was able to lead or herd the sheep back to the safety of the shepherd and the flock….

            Elder Stevenson reminds us that Jesus Christ taught His followers by precept and example about how to be shepherds of souls. He shares the following parable from the Savior that teaches more about our responsibility to be shepherds – ministering sisters and brothers – of the lost sheep of the kingdom of God.

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

“And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

“And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost” (Luke 15:4-6).

As we summarize the lesson taught in the parable, we find this valuable counsel:

1. We are to identify the lost sheep.

2. We search after them until they are found.

3. When they are found, we may have to lay them on our shoulders to bring them home.

4. We surround them with friends upon their return.

Brothers and sisters, our greatest challenges and our greatest rewards may come as we minister to lost sheep. The members of the Church in the Book of Mormon “watch[ed] over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness” (Mosiah 23:18). We can follow their examples and remember that ministering is to be “led by the Spirit, … flexible, and … customized to the needs of each member.” It is also critical that we “seek to help individuals and families prepare for their next ordinance, keep [their] covenants …, and become self-reliant” (“Ministering with Strengthened Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums and Relief Societies,” 4, 5). 

Every soul is precious to our Heavenly Father. His personal invitation to minister is of greatest value and importance to Him, for it is His work and glory. It is quite literally the work of eternity. Each one of His children has immeasurable potential in His sight. He loves you with a love you cannot even begin to comprehend. Like the devoted sheepdog, the Lord will stay on the mountain to protect you through the wind, rainstorms, snow, and more.

            I can be like that faithful sheepdog and stay close to the sisters to whom I am called to minister. I can learn more skills in connecting with them and learn to love them as true sisters and friends. I know that each of us is previous to God, and I know that He loves each of us. I can show my love for Him by helping Him to find His lost sheep and bringing them home to Him.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Size of Families

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when they are told the truth about the size of families. Satan is constantly spreading lies among the nations of the world in his attempt to thwart the work of God. He knows that families are the core unit in society and the central unit in God’s plan for the happiness of His children. Therefore, Satan often attacks families.

            Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron made a statement that played right into Satan’s hands, but it got him in trouble with many women. Macron said, “I always say: `Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight, or nine children.”

            Macron apparently connected large families with parents who marry off their daughters at young ages, but he insulted moms with large families. I came from a family of twelve children, and I am the mother of six children. There is no way that my parents or I would allow or force our daughters to marry at age 10-12. In fact, most women agree with Macron on the wickedness of forcing daughters to become child brides.

            I was not the only mother of a large family who was insulted by Macron’s comment. Catherine Ruth Pakaluk is the mother of eight children and is also an assistant professor of social research and economic thought at the Catholic University of America. She saw the quote and knew that there were many other women with large families. She started a hashtag. #PostcardsforMacron, as a way for educated women with large numbers of children to let the world know about their families. Rachel del Guidice at The Daily Signal shares numerous statements by mothers of large families along with pictures of their children. If you so choose to share information about your family, del Guidice has a link to #PostcardsforMacron.

            The bottom line is that there are many well-educated women who choose to have large families, and they do not have them to provide child brides. They elect to have large families because they want to have lots of children. Mothers of large families should be supported in their decision to provide physical bodies and loving homes for the spirit children of Heavenly Father. I know from watching my family members, friends, and acquaintances that educated women make some of the best mothers possible. The need to limit the size of our families is an outright lie of Satan, and we must expose this lie in order to strengthen family, community, and nation.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Free to Compete

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the United States must be free of the shackles of regulation in order to compete economically with other nations. Donald Trump understood how rules and regulations were hindering America, and he began eliminating regulations as soon as he became the President.

            The result of Trump’s actions can be seen by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) ranking of the United States as #1 in global competitiveness  in the 2018 World Competitiveness Report. The U.S. has ranked #3 for several years and has not been in the top spot for a decade.
Paul Roderick Gregory quotes the WEF report and writes the following to show why a “high ranking matters.”

“Global competitiveness is determined by the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country … And productivity leads to growth … and improved well-being.” The U.S.’s top ranking therefore suggests a lot of growth and prosperity to come….

As the world’s most innovative economy, America is well positioned to take advantage of the new competitive environment. This should be welcome news for the Trump administration and a Republican Party fighting to retain control of Congress.

            Gregory explains that the WEF ranks 140 countries in their study to determine which countries “will better be able to compete in the age of social media, robotics, big data and whatever else may come.” Their report “ranks the countries according to 12 productivity-enhancing `pillars,’ among them legal institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, skills of the labor force, product and labor markets, the financial system and innovation capability.”

            Continuing his explanation, Gregory says that the “U.S. ranks in the top three in more than half of the categories and is in first place in three categories – labor market, the financial system and business dynamism. The U.S. trails only Germany in innovation capability.” He suggests that “we drill down inside the pillars” to see why the U.S. was given the top ranking:

Our labor market is flexible, unlike highly regulated labor markets elsewhere. Employers hire and fire freely, redundancy costs are low, wage determination is flexible and professional management is the order of the day.

The strengths of the U.S. financial system are its promotion of business formation and innovation through its provision of capital to the private sector, its financing of small- and medium-size businesses and lively venture capital markets.

U.S. dynamism is reflected in its positive attitudes toward entrepreneurial risk, efficient bankruptcy procedures and the fact that innovative companies are given room to grow….

            It appears that Donald Trump is successful in making America great once again. He succeeded because he was willing to revoke many of the regulations that were strangling American individuals and businesses. In doing so, he freed America to become competitive once again!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Caravan of Refugees

            A caravan from Central America heading towards the United States has dominated the news in recent days. It apparently started in Honduras with 1,500 people, but it has now grown to 5,000 people. The travelers are mostly from Honduras, but others are joining them for the remainder of their 1,100 mile journey.

            The caravan has developed into a mob, and the members of the group feel that they are entitled to enter the United States. They are so determined to reach the American border that they broke through a border crossing a few days ago and “streamed onto a bridge” on the border between Mexico and Guatemala where many of them were stopped. Some members of the caravan jumped from the bridge and made their way into Mexico. 

            Mexico sent 500 law officers to their southern border. Mexico also says that no one will get into Mexico without proper paperwork. Trump is threatening to put military on the southern U.S. border. He said that they are not coming into the United States, and he threatened to stop all foreign aid into Honduras, Guatemala, and other nations if they do not stop their citizens from entering the United States illegally. Mexico and the United States are supposedly working together to stop the caravan, but it continues to move north.

            There are several reports that men have been seen handing money to the members of the caravan. Where is the money coming from? Who is feeding the migrants? Who encouraged the caravan to gather and to move towards the United States? Answers to these questions and many others must be found, and those people held responsible. I hope that Trump does put the military on the border because the illegal immigration has become a national security issue. The United States is being invaded and cannot remain a sovereign nation if the borders are wide open. We must build the border wall, and we must do it as quickly as possible!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Unborn Child Is a Person

            Apparently leftists knew that an abortion case was making its way through the court system and would eventually make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. That could have been the reason why there was so much madness at the circus known as the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing in the Senate. The case is not an abortion case, but it is a murder case that could mean trouble for Roe v. Wade.

            As reported by Bob Unruh, the case being tried in the Alabama Supreme Court came about because a man by the name of Jesse Phillips was charged with the murders of his wife and unborn child. Phillips claimed that he could not be sentenced for the death of an unborn child because the child was not a “person” under Alabama law.

            The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a person can be punished for the death of an unborn child because that child is a “person” under the law. Justice Tom Parker called on the U.S Supreme Court to take another look at Roe v Wade, the 1973 law that gave mothers the “right” to kill their unborn babies. Justice Parker wrote the following in his special concurrence.

I write specially to expound upon the principles presented in the main opinion and to note the continued legal anomaly and logical fallacy that is Roe v. Wade…. I urge the United States Supreme Court to overrule this increasingly isolated exception to the rights of unborn children.

            Parker affirmed that in the Alabama court’s rationale, “unborn children are persons entitled to the full and equal protection of the law.” He also pointed out that Roe v. Wade “without historical or constitutional support, carved out an exception to the rights of unborn children and prohibited states from recognizing an unborn child’s inalienable right to life when that right conflicts with a woman’s `right’ to abortion.” Parked explained an “obvious truth” that all rational people know: “unborn children are people and thus entitled to the full protection of the law.”

            This case may or may not be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but other cases surely will be. Unruh reported that other judges have also ruled or made statements about unborn children being people. One such person is Justice Harry Blackmun, the man who wrote the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade.

[Blackmun] said the justices didn’t have the scientific evidence to determine if an unborn baby is a person, but “personhood” is the foundation of the case.
Blackmun wrote: “(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.

            A lot has happened in the medical field since 1973. The most important development related to this case is ultra sound. With this and other modern inventions doctors can look inside of people and see what is going on there. They can see babies and count their fingers and toes, and they can do surgery on unborn babies. Because of all the medical advances, science has proven once and for all that an unborn child is a person with the unalienable right of life. It is way past time that the U.S. Supreme Court revisit the decision known as Roe v. Wade!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Alan Dershowitz

            My VIP for this week is Alan Dershowitz. He is a Democrat and a former Harvard law professor. I like him because he seems to speak the truth even when it goes against the message that most Democrats are spreading.

            Dershowitz was recently on the Tucker Carlson Show where he spoke about a claim that sexual assault victims do not need evidence to take their claim to a court of law. Sunny Hostin, a former prosecutor, made the following claim on an episode of “The View:” “After 40 years we’ve finally changed the law. We finally said a woman’s word is enough. I’ve taken many cases to trial with just a woman’s word.”

            Mike Brest reported on the conversation between Carlson and Dershowitz and even provided video of it. Carlson asked Dershowitz if Hostin’s statement is true, and he answered with the following statement.

Technically it is true, the law was changed some years ago, and I think it was a good change. So that if a woman, who was raped, immediately goes to the hospital, gets a rape kit, identifies her assailant, knew her assailant previously, certainly her word would be enough.

But if it’s 35 years old, if her main witness said “no, she wasn’t there,” if there are inconsistencies in the story, then obviously, the testimony of the woman, though technically sufficient, would not be enough to convince any reasonable factfinder beyond a reasonable doubt.

            Dershowitz was clearly referring to the charges made by Dr. Brown about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Carlson asked Dershowitz several questions about believing a woman and if women should be believed more than men. Dershowitz added a caution to consider about the truthfulness of the victim’s statement.

First of all, not only are you allowed, but if you’re on a jury you are obliged to presume the innocence of the defendant which means you cannot presume that the witness is telling the truth. You have to look at the totality of the circumstances.

            Dershowitz continued by saying that we have seen many cases where women told the truth and men got away with the assault, but we have also seen many cases where women have lied and innocent men have been punished.

            Even though Democrat Senators and their protesting supporters did not give Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt, the American way is to assume someone is innocent until there is sufficient evidence to prove otherwise. I am grateful to have a Democrat step forward and make a statement against the circus in the Senate confirmation hearing.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Public Virtue

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the need for more public virtue. When the Framers of the Constitution met in the Second Continental Congress, they were under strict orders from their states to amend the Articles of Confederation rather than abolish them. Knowing that the Articles were no longer useful or relevant to their new nation, the Founders amended them out of existence. Then they proceeded to form an entirely different type of government. They were so concerned about what people would think of what they were doing that they agreed to complete secrecy. No one knew what they were doing under the Constitution was written and signed.

            The Founders were wise men who were raised up by God to create a free nation wherein the gospel of Jesus Christ could be restored. It is said that any one of them would have been outstanding if they had lived in any other period of history. The fact that there were so many outstanding men involved in the writing of the Constitution is evidence that the Constitution is a miraculous document.

            In their attempt to create a “more perfect union” than was possible under the Articles of Confederation, the Founders understood that the success or failure of their “experiment” was based on the public virtue of the people of the United States. It is the wise and virtuous behavior of the citizens that acts as the first line of restraint in the nation. I think that it was John Adams who commented that the Constitution only works for virtuous people. This means that it is not effective in controlling the corrupt people of the world.

            You may wonder what I mean by “public virtue.” When any society is determined to practice public virtue, this means that they are committed to some basic principles. These principles are: (1) A commitment to live by the rule of law, (2) a willingness to practice self-restraint, compassion, and decency, (3) a willingness to set aside private self-interests for the good of the society, (4) a willingness to serve in public office, (5) a willingness to compromise politically for the overall good, and (6) a willingness to practice private and public virtue.

            Virtue is described having high moral standards. Some synonyms of virtue are: goodness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity, honor, decency, respectability, and purity. From this information, we can see how people who practice private and public virtue can help their society to be a healthy, happy, and successful one.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

"If the Lord Be God, Follow Him"

            While listening to a talk from General Conference, I thought of the lesson that I taught to my Primary children last Sunday. The lesson was about Elijah and the false prophets of Baal. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began his talk with this story that is found in the Old Testament.

            Elijah lived in the time of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel and great wickedness. Ahab and Jezebel had led the Israelites away from Heavenly Father and to the worship of a false god, an idol by the name of Baal. Under the instructions of God, Elijah used the power of the priesthood to seal the heaven, causing a terrible drought. The drought caused a great famine in the land, and everyone had a difficult time finding water for their crops and animals.

            At the end of three and a half years God told Elijah to go speak to Ahab, and he did. Ahab blamed Elijah for the drought, but Elijah told him that the worship of false gods had caused the drought. Elijah told Ahab to call all the people together at Mount Carmel as well as the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 other prophets. When the people were all gathered, Elijah asked them a question: “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” Elijah said that he alone was a prophet of God, but there were 450 prophets for Baal. He instructed the people to bring two bullocks for a test to see which God has power.

Let them [the people] therefore give us two bullocks; and let them [the false prophets] chose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:

And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken (1Kings 18: 23-24). 

            Elijah told the false prophets to choose their bullock, cut it in pieces, and put it on wood but not to light a fire. They did so, and then they started to call upon Baal to send fire from heaven to consume their offerings. They cried to Baal from morning until noon. They even leaped upon the altar for greater effect and cried to Baal until evening, but no voice answered.

            Elijah called the people to him and repaired the altar with twelve stones – one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. He also had a trench dug around the altar. He prepared the wood, cut the bullock into pieces, and laid the meat on the wood. He then told the people:

… fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.

And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.

And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water
(1 Kings 18:33-35).

            Elijah wanted the people to know that the power of God is the greatest power on earth. Everything was thoroughly soaked through by the time of the evening sacrifice. Elijah came near and began his prayer.

Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.

Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.

Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God (1 Kings 18:36-39).

            The people were suitably impressed with the power of God, and the false prophets and idols were destroyed out of the land. After sharing this story of Elijah, Elder Christofferson said that Elijah might say the following to us today:

. Either God, our Heavenly Father, exists, or He does not, but if He exists, worship Him.

. Either Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the resurrected Redeemer of mankind, or He is not, but if He is, follow Him.

. Either the Book of Mormon is the word of God, or it is not, but if it is, then “get nearer to God by [studying and] abiding by its precepts.”

. Either Joseph Smith saw and conversed with the Father and the Son that spring day of 1820, or he did not, but if he did, then follow the prophetic mantle, including the keys of sealing that I, Elijah, bestowed upon him.

            Elder Christofferson continued his talk by reminding us that we can know the true God by study and by faith. Through personal revelation we can know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church on earth. A witness borne by the Holy Ghost to one’s heart and mind becomes part of that person and can never be taken away. How long will you halt between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Marriage before Babies

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when couples marry before having children. God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites 3000 years ago. One of those commandments states: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). This law has never been revoked and is still in force today. Those people who obey the law are blessed, and those who break the commandment receive the consequences. One of the blessings of living this commandment is stronger marriages and families.

            According to the United Nations Population Fund 2018 State of World report released this week, babies born out-of-wedlock in America are born to couples who are cohabiting. This is a large percentage of babies born in the United States because unmarried couples account for about 40 percent of all American births. According to the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), unmarried parents cause problems for their children. One problem is poverty. Children of single mothers experience the highest rate of poverty, and they are followed by children of cohabitating parents. There are other problems. 

Compared to children of married parents, those with cohabiting parents are more likely to experience the breakup of their families, be exposed to “complex” family forms, live in poverty, suffer abuse, and have negative psychological and educational outcomes.

            Since the numbers of cohabitating couples are greatly increasing, the number of children affected will also increase. Grace Carr at The Daily Signal gives numerous statistics and links in her article about this subject. She quotes a survey stating that most adults in the United States understand the seriousness of this problem: “Two-thirds of U.S. adults said increasing numbers of single women raising children by themselves was bad for society,” and approximately “50 percent of those surveyed also said greater numbers of unmarried couples raising children is not good for society.” 

            So, what can we do about the problem? One obvious way is for parents to model marriage and to teach the Ten Commandments to their children. Another way is to encourage education. Carr writes that “Over 40 percent of married mothers and fathers have a bachelor’s degree” while “Only 8 to 10 percent of cohabiting mothers and fathers with one or more biological child have a bachelor’s degree.” Some scholars are suggesting that tax bonuses - $4,000 per child – be given to encourage couples to marry before having children.

            Since marriage rates are decreasing, and marriage is being delayed by those who do marry, the problems for children are increasing. Carr quotes another report stating that “Children living with their biological cohabiting parents are also more than four times as likely to be physically, sexually, or emotionally abused as kids living with their married parents.”

            God commands us to marry before having sex. Therefore, He cannot bless a union that breaks this commandment. In addition, numerous organizations tell of increased problems for children when parents are not married. It simply makes sense that families, communities, and nations are strengthened when couples marry before having children.