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.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Why Does the Left Hate Christmas?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is a question about what freedom is. I like the freedom of having no school assignment until mid-January. I would enjoy freedom from the toxic atmosphere in Washington. D.C. I would like the freedom to enjoy the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights without being called names. I want the freedom to elect a President and not worry about him being impeached by people who did not vote for him. I would like the freedom to enjoy the Christmas season without being mocked by non-Christians.

            Speaking of Christmas, Dennis Prager wrote an article about the war on Christmas, which has been going on for “more than a generation.” He said that leftists deny that they are waging a war on Christmas and even mock anyone who says there is one. We only need to count the many ways our celebration of Christmas has been curtailed because non-Christians were offended by Christmas hymns, nativity scenes, “Christmas vacation,” “Christmas tree,” “Christmas party,” and even a “Merry Christmas” greeting.

            After discussing the numerous ways that leftists show contempt for Christmas, Prager explained why they hate this Christian holiday so much. He said that the leftists’ use of the “inclusive” argument is “absurd.” He is “a religious Jew and cannot even fathom being offended or feeling ‘not included’ by an invitation to a Christmas party.” He said that being offended is not the leftists’ real reason for their war on Christmas and gave the following reasons.

One is that the left sees in Christianity its primary ideological and political enemy. And it is right to do so. The only large-scale, organized opposition to the left comes from the traditional Christian community – evangelical Protestants, traditional Catholics, and faithful Mormons – and from Orthodox Jews.

Leftism is a secular religion, and it deems all other religions immoral and false….

The left understands that the more people believe in Christianity (and Judaism), the less chance the left has to gain power. The left doesn’t concern itself with Islam, because it perceives Islam as an ally in its war against Western civilization, and because leftists do not have the courage to confront Islam. They know that confronting religious Muslims can be fatal, whereas confronting religious Christians entails no risks.

Second, the left regards Christianity in America as an intrinsic part of American national identity – an identity it wishes to erode in favor of a “world citizen” identity. The left has not only warred against Christmas; it has sought to undermine other national-identity holidays.

            Prager continued by explaining how leftists are destroying all the important days in America. George Washington’s birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday were combined to become “the utterly meaningless ‘Presidents Day.’” “The only American celebrated in a national holiday is Martin Luther King Jr., which is acceptable to the left since he is not white.” 

            Other holidays that are warred against are “specifically American national holidays”: Independence Day and Thanksgiving. Leftists prefer to celebrate “the real founding of America” in 1619, the year that “African slaves first arrived on the American continent.” The left does not like Thanksgiving because they consider it to be “a historical fraud and an immoral celebration of ‘genocide’ of the American Indians.” Veterans Day and Memorial Day are not specifically American days because other countries commemorate them. The left really has a problem with Christmas because “it celebrates religion” and does so in an American way. 

            Prager gave a third reason for the left’s war on Christmas: “The left is joyless. Whatever and whomever the left influences has less joy in life…. And the further left you go, the more angry and unhappy the people you will encounter. Happy women and happy blacks, for example, are far more likely to be conservative than on the left. Christmas is just too happy for the left….”

            So, now you know three reasons why the leftists continue to wage war on Christmas. They cannot stand to see other people praising God with joyous songs and being happy because they are so downright miserable. They are quite like a certain spirit who wants all people to be miserable like unto himself.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Will the Impeachment of Trump Bring the End of the Democrat Party?

            The Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to impeach President Donald Trump. He is the third President in the history of the United States to be impeached and the first one to be impeached on trumped-up charges of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.” Neither of these charges met the requirements for impeachment listed in the Constitution.

The “abuse of power” comes from Trump’s call with President Zalinski of Ukraine even though there was no quid pro quo in the call. The “obstruction of Congress” charge comes because Trump going to the courts to see if Congress has the right to demand Trump and his people to answer subpoenas from Congress. The fact that the U.S Supreme Court accept Trump’s case tells us that the Court thinks that the case merit.

Not one Republican voted to impeach, but several Democrats voted against impeachment. The final vote on the first article of impeachment was 230 in favor and 197 against impeachment. Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson and New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew voted against the first article of impeachment. Van Drew voted as a Democrat, but he is planning to switch parties soon. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii voted “present.” 

The second article of impeachment passed with a vote of 229 to 198. Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) joined Van Drew and Peterson to vote against this article. Gabbard again voted “present.” Both articles of impeachment passed with only Democrat support, and they were opposed by bi-partisan opposition. A few Democrats can see through the Nancy Pelosi hoax.

Trump was impeached because he wanted corruption of Former Vice President Joe Biden to be investigated. Biden bragged on video that he pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor that was investigating Burisma Holdings, an energy company that hired Hunter Biden. Joe Biden threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine if the prosecutor was not fired within six hours. Biden used the power of the office of Vice President, but Trump was impeached for asking Ukraine to investigate. Biden committed the crime, but Trump got blamed. 

Today is a sad day for America because Democrats in the House of Representatives just impeached the best President in my lifetime. I hope that American citizens are remember what the Democrats have done and that they make Election Day 2020 an even sadder day for Democrats. It is time that Nancy Pelosi retired, and the swamp gets drained!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

What Happens if Trump Is Forced Out of Office?

            It is the eve of the impeachment vote by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. This is a sad time in the history of our nation because it is the first time that a President has faced impeachment proceedings for such a ridiculous reason. The Democrats have been working on impeaching President Donald Trump since he was inaugurated. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi admitted that they have been working on it for nearly three years, and we know that they were talking about it previously.

            The Democrats in the House seem determined to impeach Trump, and the Democrats in the Senate are willing to help them. There were several House Democrats who allegedly tried to move back from the impeachment vote, but Pelosi must have caught up with them. Most of them have crept back to the party line, showing no integrity at all. The Republicans in the House seem to be united against impeachment.

            The Republicans in the Senate are a different story completely. Who knows how Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) will vote? I learned long ago to expect nothing good from any of them. I hope that they are willing to listen to the impeachment charges with open minds and common sense. If they will, I think that they will see the charges for the hoax that they are.

            I believe that the Democrats are charging full speed ahead to impeach one of the best Presidents of the United States in my lifetime. He has done more for Americans than any of the others that I can remember. I voted for Trump wondering what I would get for my vote, and I have been pleasantly surprised. The best thing that Trump did was to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, so everything else he accomplishes is just icing on the cake.

            We have endured some awful President. There were some Presidents – like Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter – who were so bad that they should not even be considered. John F. Kennedy – yes, a Democrat – was good. I believe that he was killed because he was ready to expose the Deep State that Trump has been fighting. Ronald Reagan was good in that he overcame the problems caused by Jimmy Stewart and tried to reduce the size of the government. People hated him too, and someone even tried to kill him. Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury, and Richard Nixon resigned from office for covering up crimes of other people. The two Bushes were placeholders, and Lyndon B. Johnson was so bad that he did not run for re-election. 

We have not had any Presidents that I remember that I would hold up as a good example to children and youth. I think that all of them had integrity or moral problems. This includes Donald Trump. However, I am willing to give him credit for the good that he has accomplished.

The Trump policies brought the lowest unemployment rates across the board in fifty years. The stock market continues to soar. The U.S. took the fight to ISIS and bombed them nearly out of existence. Foreign governments understand that we are no longer the piggy bank for the world. He appointed two Supreme Court justices that use the Constitution as their guide. There are have been so many constitutional federal judges nominated and appointed that the Trump affect will be felt for many years to come. 

The Democrats are most likely pushing impeachment of Trump because they know that they cannot beat him at the ballot box, and they are afraid that he will appoint a third justice to the Supreme Court. The Democrat attempt to remove Trump from office and to destroy his power will continue for as long as he is in office. It does not matter to them that the people want Trump. Democrats just want him gone! While Democrats control the House, they will continue to fight against Trump because he is standing between their terrible policies and the American people. It will truly be a terrible day in America if Trump is forced out of office.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Who Is Austin Brown?

            Austin Brown is a little boy with a big can-do spirit. When Austin was only three years old, two huskies in the neighbor’s yard put their heads under the fence and grabbed Austin’s arm. His father was close by, but the dogs chewed off half of Austin’s right arm before he could free his son. The dogs were sent to a sanctuary.

            After a week in the hospital, Austin was released to go home. However, home would never again be the same. His father suffered PTSD from the attack. He drained the family bank account, took the car, and left. He has never returned. He left his wife and son to deal with the results, and they seem to be overcoming the incident. The couple are now divorced.

            Austin’s mother, Hope Brown, spoke publicly recently about the attack that took place March 2019 in Layton, Utah. She expressed her shock and her fear when her husband called her at work. Now she is dealing with verbal attacks from people that do not even know the family. They blame Austin for provoking the attack. They blame Hope for being a terrible mother.

            There is a knight-in-shining armor in the background. He is Josh Barnett, a husband and father from Logan, Utah. He became friends with Hope, Austin, and a little sister. He also started an Amazon wish list as well as a GoFundMe account to help the family with Christmas and medical expenses.

            Hope says that Austin keeps her grounded because he acts as though the attack did not happen. “Austin’s strength is my strength. He is amazing. He can do so much, and he is so strong,” she said.  

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Should American Conseratives Avoid Adopting the Label of Nationalism?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is nationalism. I am confused about what I am reading and hearing about nationalism. Some articles are saying that conservatives should not support nationalism, but dictionaries define it as something positive. How are we to act when there is so much confusion. Here is one definition of nationalism posted online.

Nationalism is an ideology and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation’s sovereignty over its homeland. Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference, that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power. It further aims to build and maintain a single national identity – based on shared social characteristics such as culture, language, religion, politics, and belief in a shared singular history – and to promote national unity or solidarity. Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve and foster a nation’s traditional culture, and cultural revivals have been associated with nationalist movements. It also encourages pride in national achievements and is closely linked to patriotism. Nationalism is often combined with other ideologies, such as conservatism or socialism for example.

What is wrong with an ideology and movement with the goal of maintaining the national “sovereignty over its homeland”? I believe that every nation should be sovereign and maintain its control over its homeland. What is wrong with having a national culture? Every country should be free to maintain its national culture. The American culture is a bit different from other cultures because we are a melting pot of any cultures. However, the American culture consists of freedom and opportunity, freedom to work and succeed, willingness to help one’s neighbor, etc. Since the above description says that nationalism “is closely linked to patriotism,” I decided to find the definition of patriotism.

Patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings relating to one’s own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to nationalism.

            Patriotism is love of country and devotion to its success. Patriotism seems to be a good thing. If nationalism is closely linked to patriotism, why is nationalism bad? 

            A panel of scholars at The Heritage Foundation met recently to discuss the question, should conservatives embrace nationalism? The scholars answer the question, no. The main reason for their stand seems to be the negative connotation about nationalism. Kim Holmes, executive vice president of The Heritage Foundation and a historian, gave a lengthy address about why he believes that conservatives in our nation should work towards American exceptionalism rather than nationalism. The following quote comes from his address.

I firmly believe that not all nation-states are the same. There have been times in history when nations have been associated with racism, ethnic supremacy, militarism, communism, and fascism.

Rather than embrace this flawed tradition, we should rely on the longstanding conservative tradition of American exceptionalism. This tradition explains that what makes Americans different – what made America a great nation to begin with – was not language, ethnicity, or race, but the exceptional nature of a country that fused the creed of its founding principles with the lived experience of its culture and history. This is not “nationalism,” and should not be equated or associated with the history of an idea and an ideology that is rooted in ideas and traditions that are foreign to the creedal nature of the American experience.

            After listening to Holmes’s entire address, I think that I understand why the scholars at The Heritage Foundation are against conservatives adopting the term nationalism. I encourage my readers to listen to his address as well as the following speakers. They convinced me that Americans should not adopt nationalism as a goal. The definition of nationalism sounds good on paper, but the practice of it has not always been good. After all, Hitler used the concept of nationalism to convince his countrymen to adopt Nazism. I can now understand why American conservatives should speak of American exceptionalism rather than nationalism.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Are We Supposed to Understand the Book of Revelation?

            I found interesting information, topics, and quotes in my study of the book of Revelation. The book was written by a man who identified himself as “John.” The author is understood to be the son of Zebedee and the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:21-22). According to latter-day revelation, John the Beloved is the author of the book of Revelation (see 1 Nephi 14:18-27; Ether 4:16; Doctrine and Covenants 77:1-2).

            The book of Revelation was written to encourage the early-day Saints – and any other readers – to remain faithful amid persecution and adversity. It is also known as the Apocalypse, a word that comes from Greek and that means a revelation, uncovering, or unveiling of something hidden. We should prayerfully study Revelation because it reveals important information about events between now and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as well as during the Millennium.

            Revelation includes much imagery and many symbols, but it contains much information about how God deals with His children as well as about the Savior. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written” (in History of the Church, 5:342; as quoted in New Testament Student Manual – Religion 211-212 [2014], 525).

            The book of Revelation is difficult for some people to understand because of the symbolism and imagery. Gerald N. Lund, who later became a member of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote an article in which he explained that the book of Revelation unveils many truths.

The title of the book in Greek is Apocalypsis, from which we get its other common name, the Apocalypse. Apocalypsis is formed from two Greek words – apo, a proposition denoting separation or removal, and kalypto, a verb meaning to cover, hide, or veil. Apocalypsis, then, literally means removal of the veil or covering. Hence its title in English, the book of Revelation (or the uncovering or unveiling).

While many might find the title to be ironic, arguing that few books are more hidden or veiled, it is an appropriate one, for it truly reveals many things. Elder Bruce R McConkie, in response to the question ‘Are we expected to understand the book of Revelation?’ answered:

“Certainly. Why else did the Lord reveal it? The common notion that it deals with beasts and plagues and mysterious symbolisms that cannot be understood is just not true…. If we apply ourselves with full purpose of heart, we can catch the vision of what the ancient Revelator recorded” ("Understanding the Book of Revelation,"Ensign, Sept. 1975, 87.) ….

If we diligently use the keys that the Lord has given us to interpret the book of Revelation, it can truly become a book of revelation for us (“Seeing the Book of Revelation as a Book of Revelation,” Ensign, Dec. 1987, 46, 52).

            Nephi, a prophet in ancient America, had a great vision that gave significant insight into the vision of John found in Revelation. Nephi was shown in vision the birth and ministry of Jesus Christ as well as future events. He saw the division between the Nephites and Lamanites and the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter-days (see 1 Nephi 12:1-14:2). He saw things that are in our future, but he was forbidden to write them (see 1 Nephi 14:25). He was told by Jesus Christ that the He had given the assignment to write about the Last Days to the Apostle John (see 1 Nephi 14:27). Nephi is a second witness to the reason why we should study the book of Revelation.

Lund suggested four key that may help us to understand the book of Revelation. These keys are: (1) Study, ponder, and pray about its message. (2) Use latter-day revelation to expand our understanding of the book. (3) Explore its symbolic imagery. (4) Study its chronological structure. There is more information about Lund’s four keys in his article.  

            Lund closed his article with this statement: “If we diligently use the keys that the Lord has given us to interpret the book of Revelation, it can truly become a book of revelation for us.” As we gain understanding of the Revelation, we will become better prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and more ready to dwell with Him.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Will Impeachment of Trump Put an End to Democrat Hate?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the impeachment circus currently happening in the U.S. House of Representatives. I fully expect that the Democrats in the House will follow through on their actions and impeach Donald Trump. My question is, will impeachment end their hate for him, or will they just find another way to hate him?

            The Democrats on the far left seem to have forced Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to agree to impeachment proceedings. Will they be satisfied with smearing Trump’s character and historical record, or will they continue their shenanigans? I must admit that I have enjoyed NOT hearing from AOC and her left-wing squad and Mad Maxine Waters.

            I can understand why President Trump wants to call witnesses and to watch as they are raked over the coals by Republicans. I think it would be somewhat satisfying to him to see the liberal so-called witnesses squirm. However, it may be better to just end the charade once and for all like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might be planning. 

Several Republican Senators like the short impeachment idea even though a public defense for Trump could damage political rivals. A quick trial should be easy in that there are no crimes listed in the articles of impeachment. The Senators may understand that Americans are tired of the impeachment circus and just want it to end. Senate Majority Whip John Thune (S.D.) said, “Members want to deal with the arguments, hear the case and hopefully reach a conclusion.” 

 I personally want the Senate to deal with the impeachment matter quickly and cleanly and keep Trump in office. I can think of nothing worse for the United States or its economy than for Trump to be removed from office for no better reason than he disagrees with liberals and they hate him. Trump may be the best President in my lifetime in the accomplishments for good that he has done for the nation and the world. I personally want to be free of impeachment threats and frenzy and be able to watch Congress do their job for a change.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

What Does the Inspector General's Report Say and What Does It Mean?

            The long-awaited report from the inspector general for the Justice Department was released on Monday, December 9, 2019. In his report Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that there were 17 inaccuracies and omissions made by FBI agents while they sought permission from the FISA court to spy on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

            On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, Horowitz appeared before a Senate committee to explain and/or defend his report. Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal found “six big takeaways from the inspector general’s testimony” even though the Democrats kept emphasizing that the IG found no political bias in the corruption and/or incompetence of the FBI.

1. Christopher Steele was “desperate to prevent Mr. Trump’s election.”

2. FISA warrant application was based “entirely” on Steele dossier.

3. IG says he’s “not ruling out’ political bias.

4. [There was FBI bias against Trump, but] what about bias against Hillary Clinton? [FBI agents can favor any presidential candidate, but their personal feelings should not affect their professional work.

5. Comey vs. Horowitz: Findings “don’t vindicate anybody.”

6. AG vs. IG? “We stand by the report.” [Even though Attorney General William Barr does not completely agree with the IG’s report, the IG and his team are standing by their report.]

            Even though I believe that Horowitz is part of the “Deep State,” I also believe that he has integrity. He may have shown some favor toward Democrats when he “found” no bias toward Trump. However, this only means that no one admitted to him that they had bias toward Trump. Horowitz found 17 inaccuracies and omissions and admitted that what happened “looked bad.” This is no small thing. Nevertheless, Barr and John Durham both published disagreements with his report, so they must have other evidence.

            Horowitz’s report is not the last word on the Deep State illegal actions toward Trump. The criminal investigation being conducted by federal prosecutor John Durham is covering some of the same areas but also has a wider range. There are differences between the investigations. The IG could investigate only members of the FBI, and Durham can investigate everyone. The IG could not call a grand jury, but Durham can. The IG could recommend to the Justice Department that indictments should be handed down, but Durham can indict. Because Barr and Durham published disagreements, I expect that some indictments will be coming.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Where Is the Evidence?

            On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, Nancy Pelosi announced that the U.S. House of Representatives was bringing two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Democrats began talking about impeachment before or as soon as Trump was inaugurated. They claimed that impeachment was warranted because of quid pro quo, and then they moved to bribery. The actual articles of impeachment are neither quid pro quo nor bribery because they could find no evidence to prove the charges.

            The specific charges made by the Democrats are “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.” Again, they have no evidence to prove their claims, but they are moving full speed ahead. The Judiciary Committee will begin its deliberations on the matter on Wednesday and cast their votes soon thereafter. If the committee approves impeachment, a vote in the full House is expected before Christmas. If the full House votes to impeach Trump, a trial will be held in the U.S. Senate.

            This is not the first time that a President of the United States has been threatened with impeachment. Numerous Presidents have been threatened – including Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush – but Andrew Johnson (successor to Abraham Lincoln) and Bill Clinton are the only Presidents to be formally impeached by the House. The Senate has never removed a U.S. President through the impeachment process. Five of the past six Republican presidents have been threatened with impeachment, and Richard Nixon resigned when told that he would most likely be impeached and removed from office.

            The Framers of the Constitution wanted a way to remove a bad president from office, but they did not intend for the impeachment process to be easy. The process starts in the House of Representatives with the announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry. This time the inquiry started in the Intelligence Committee with Adam Schiff and then moved to the Judiciary Committee, but it normally starts in the Judiciary Committee. If this committee votes to impeach, they write and pass articles of impeachment. Then the full House votes to proceed with impeachment. Only a simple majority in the House is required to impeach a President. 

            The impeachment process then moves to the Senate where a trial is held with witnesses and testimony. Unlike the House inquiry, Trump may call his own witnesses. However, if enough Senators are ready to vote against removal from office, the Senate trial may be very short and not include witnesses. The President is removed from office only if two-thirds of the Senate find the President guilty of the crimes contained in the articles of impeachment.

            No one expects the Senate to remove Trump from office, including the Democrats who are bringing the charges against him. They know that they cannot win the 2020 election against a strong Trump, so they are attempting to make him look bad. However, their antics seem to be working against them because American citizens are not stupid. We can see what the Democrats are doing, and we do not like it.

            Americans know that Trump has done many good things for America – without much support from the Democrats. We can see that Trump loves America and is doing what he does because he thinks it will be good for America and Americans. We all want the impeachment process to be over, but most of us understand that this will not be the last time that Democrats try to trap Trump. The best way to stop the rogue Democrats is to vote them out of office in 2020!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

How Do You Catch the Spirit of Christmas?

            I simplify more each Christmas, but I still have a difficult time feeling the Spirit of Christmas. I feel stress even though there is not much to stress me. This morning I decided to add a Christmas hymn to my morning devotional with hopes that music will bring the Spirit of Christmas to me as it so often does. 

Christmas stories also help me to feel the Spirit of Christmas, and I received a good one in a Christmas card from a friend today. I do not know if my friend wrote the story or was just sharing it. I believe that the lesson in the story is good for any time of year, but I know that its setting is Christmas. 

I was told a story many years ago of an elderly gentleman who needed to move to a retirement home the day before Christmas. The story continues to describe him as a happy, selfless, patient and understanding man, a man who lever lost sight of the love our Heavenly Father offers each one of us. I think about that sometimes and say to myself, “… you need to be more like that man moving at Christmastime to an old folks’ home.” He was patient while he waited for the handicapped van to come pick him up even though it was over an hour late. Then, after being loaded in his wheelchair into the van, he began chatting with other passengers giving a happy smile to each one of them. He began by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and asking where they were going. Several were pretty silent, just sharing a grunt or two; while others were so happy to see a smiling face that they warmed to the old man immediately. When the others learned that he was on his way to “Settler’s Place” they were silent, looking down at the floor of the bus not wanting him to see their horror once finding out where he was going. But even though the man did recognize their facial expressions, he didn’t let on.

Velma, one of the ladies on the bus, asked him if he knew anything about the place he was going. He said, “Well, I know all I want or need to know. I know it will be great. I know I will be happy there.”

“How do you know that if you haven’t ever been there?” Velma asked. He replied, “I don’t need to have been someplace to know that I will be happy there. Being happy is a choice. And the sooner I make the choice to be happy, the happier I am, no matter where I live!”

Velma thought about that statement carefully before she answered. She could feel the guilt sliding sideways through her mind as she considered the part about happiness being a choice. Then she told him that she’d never thought that happiness was a choice. She had always assumed her mood or attitude came from the places, people and things around her.

The bus had arrived at his stop, and the driver was preparing the lift to help him down. The old man smiled at Velma and said to her, “I learned a very long time ago that if I make up my mind ahead of time that I will like something, life goes more smoothly and I don’t have to worry about being sad, since I have made the decision to choose happiness.”

By this time the bus lift was ready, but everyone on the bus, including the driver were in a state of awe at this little old man who had learned the secret of happiness. They each considered their own habit of thinking negatively, while he was teaching them the secret! Velma didn’t want to listen, though. She was sure that what he said wouldn’t work in her life. She was always thinking miserable thoughts about how her family no longer enjoyed visiting her, and they usually don’t have anything interesting to say, anyway. But she misses them all the same. The old man’s lesson was almost lost on her. But then, as he was waving goodbye, she thought, maybe she could try it. He was clearly a happy man. Maybe, she thought, she’d give it a try during the Christmas season this year.

            This story and the following quote go hand in hand: “Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you” (Ralph Marston).

            The story sort of made me sad. I hate to think of any elderly person being taken to an old folks’ home by some strangers at any time, let alone on Christmas Eve. Yet, it did not bother the old man. I decided to apply his secret and choose to feel the Christmas Spirit. I will simply decide that I have the Christmas Spirit and move forward with the season. How does one act when they have the Spirit of Christmas? I suppose that singing, smiling, and sharing are all part of the Christmas Spirit, so I can start there.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Who Is Alan Dershowitz?

            Alan Dershowitz is a well-known criminal defense lawyer. He is also a liberal Harvard law professor. I chose Dershowitz for my VIP this week because he is a liberal that dares to stand up to Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Jerrold Nadler. Instead of following the liberal line to impeachment, Dershowitz said in an interview with Mark Levin this evening that the phone call made by President Donald Trump to Ukraine does not meet the standards for impeachment for bribery.

[I]t can’t operate when you’re the president of the United States and you’re conditioning or withholding money in order to make sure that a country isn’t corrupt and you’re asking them to investigate [something].

That just doesn’t fit any definition of bribery – common law definition of bribery, statutory definition of bribery – however you define the constitutional word “bribery.” It just doesn’t fit.

            In addition, Dershowitz emphasized that the Democrats had decided to impeach the president long before the telephone call and were merely looking for a crime to justify their action. As far as Democrats are concerned, Trump is guilty of something. They just keep searching until they find it.

They have Trump in their sights. They want to figure out a way of impeaching him and they’re searching for a crime….

First, they came up with abuse of power – not a crime – it’s not in the Constitution. So now they’re saying “bribery,” but they’re making it up. There is no case for bribery based on, even if all the allegations against the president were to be proved, which they haven’t been.

[Dershowitz recalled how the Soviet Union would arrest someone and then find a crime that fit their purpose. Their mantra seemed to be: Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.]

What they’re trying to do is what the KGB under Lavrentiy Beria said to Stalin, the dictator – I’m not comparing our country to the Soviet Union – I just want to make sure it never becomes anything like that.

            Dershowitz may not be willing to vote for Donald Trump, but he seems to be a man who can see clearly how the Democrats are working. They hate Trump so much that they are willing to do anything to get him out of office and/or stop him from being re-elected. The impeachment proceeding is purely a political maneuver. Hopefully, the American citizens will also see clearly what the Democrats are doing and vote them all out of office in 2020.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Is the "Fairness for All" Legislation Truly Fair to All?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is fairness for all. Many individuals and organizations are concerned about fairness and how to achieve it in our nation. A group of nine members of Congress, representing seven states, introduced the federal Fairness for All Act on December 6, 2019. 

            I agree that everyone should be treated fairly, and I admit that fairness is a difficult quality to achieve in the world in which we live. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – led by fifteen men that I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators – expressed support for the bill. The Church is joined in their support by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the 1st Amendment Partnership, the American Unity Fund, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and the Center for Public Justice. The full statement by the Church is as follows.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commends the introduction of federal legislation that seeks to preserve religious freedom and protect LGBT individuals from discrimination. We’re grateful for the leadership of Utah Representative Chris Stewart and other congressional supporters of this cause. The nation is more united when diverse individuals and groups can work cooperatively to advance sound policy. Alongside other religious organizations and denominations and important leaders of the LGBT community, the Church endorses this balanced approach that fosters greater fairness for all.

            The Church of Jesus Christ is concerned about all God’s children. Leaders and members of the Church believe that “No American should lose their home or job simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” We also believe that “All religious persons should be free to live, work or serve their community in ways that are consistent with their faith.”

            I sincerely believe all that is written above, but I am concerned when I learn that a conservative constitutional scholar does not agree. Ryan T. Anderson wrote a scathing rebuttal to the Fairness for All Act. He stated that it is a good thing to find a legislative compromise, but the Fairness for All Act is not a good compromise. He worked for several years with “scholars and civic leaders promoting and drafting this legislation.” He reviewed the “69-page legislative draft” and rejected it.

Despite the undoubted good will of those who drafted and introduced the legislation, and despite some meaningful though insufficient protections for religious liberty, the bill is not in fact fair for all. Its protections for religious liberty come at the high cost of enshrining a misguided sexual and gender ideology into federal law. This will allow the federal government to use our civil rights laws as a sword to punish citizens who dissent from the reigning sexual orthodoxy. This is certain to create significant harm to the common good, especially for the privacy, safety, and equality of women and girls.

            Anderson stated that the Fairness for All compromise “was misframed from the beginning.” He said that Stewart recognized that the compromise is flawed. Even though the bill is meant to be “a balanced legislative solution for preserving religious freedom and protecting LGBT civil rights,” those are not “the only two values at stake in this legislative area.”

            If signed into law, the bill will amend the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Anderson said that “elevating ‘sexual orientation and gender identity” to a protected class in the Civil Rights Act will cause serious harms.” He fears that the harms caused by this bill will come to “people’s privacy, safety, equality, and other forms of liberty – not just for religious people, but for anyone who disagrees with contemporary sexual and gender ideology.”

A bill that was truly fair for all would not allow the government to use civil rights law as a sword to punish citizens for disagreement on sexual ideology.

A bill that was truly fair would explicitly say that no institution could be forced by the government to allow boys who identify as girls to compete against girls in athletics; that no institution could be forced by the government to allow men who identify as women into women-only spaces, such as locker rooms and shelters; that no institution could be penalized because it lives out its creed that marriage unites a husband and wife.

A bill that was truly fair for all would explicitly say that no physician would have to engage in any “gender-affirming” care that they thought unethical, and that no child could be denied assistance to help them identify with their bodies.

            Anderson listed several other ways that he believes the bill is unfair. Then he noted the support given by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He agreed with the statement that “No American should lose their home or job simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” Then he said, “But the Fairness for All legislation goes well beyond cases where people are fired or evicted simply for identifying as LGBT.” He continued with his explanation.

Fairness for All takes the existing Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was passed by Congress to, among other things, combat racism, and expands its reach while adding “sexual orientation and gender identity” as protected classes. The bill never defines what constitutes discrimination against such classes. So it takes a law meant to combat racism, broadens its reach, and fails to define a key term.

But properly defining unjust discrimination and targeting legislation at those actions is essential. Part of the problem with Fairness for All is that it leaves it entirely at the whim of hostile bureaucrats and judges to declare that commonsense actions may count as discrimination….

It is irresponsible to rewrite our civil rights laws to make “gender identity” a protected class when we can’t even define what gender identity is, or how many there are.

            Anderson continued by asking how it can be fair to “pass a law saying it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of these gender identities without even defining what constitutes discrimination? This is legislative malpractice and will lead to endless, costly litigation.” He counseled that the nation should not “rush to conclusions” but “think critically and prudently.” He said that all Americans – no matter where they “fall on the political spectrum and whether they are religious, secular, or agnostic” – should be involved in the redefinition of marriage, sex, and gender.

            Clearly rejecting Fairness for All, Anderson said that the effort to develop good legislation should continue. He said that “A better approach would carefully consider the needs of people who identify as LGBT that requires a policy response, and then target legislation at those needs.”

Such legislation would specifically define what constitutes unlawful behavior, while explicitly protecting everyone’s freedom to engage in legitimate actions based on the conviction that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other.

Such legislation must protect the privacy and safety of women and girls, the conscience rights of doctors and other medical professionals, parental rights, and the free speech and religious rights of countless professionals.

This would leave all Americans free to act on those convictions. It would also protect diversity and promote tolerance. It would promote true fairness for all.

            Anderson defended his rejection of the Fairness for All Act by showing that he has invested time and effort in his attempt to provide fairness for all. Even though the Fairness for All Act has been introduced and could pass quickly through the Democrat-majority House, we should hope and pray that it is destroyed in the Senate and fairer legislation introduced.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Who Are the Enemies in Our Midst?

            Today is a day of commemoration for the United States because it marks the day that Japanese aircraft bombed Pearl Harbor and thrust our nation into World War II. The enemy came upon us suddenly and attacked without warning.

            The same was true of the Saints in the days of the Apostles. I studied in recent weeks the words of Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude, and I noted that each of them warned of false prophets and false teachers. I studied the words of John and Jude this week, so I will share what I learned about spiritual enemies.

            John wrote his Third Epistle to a faithful man named Gaius. He first expressed his joy at hearing of the faithful members of the Church. He then warned Gaius about a man named Diotrephes. It seems that Diotrephes held a prominent post in the town – a Church leader or his home was used for the meetings or something. Whatever post he held, John noted that he loved to have “preeminence” among the Saints, but he spoke “malicious words” about and rejected the authority John and the other Church leaders. He openly opposed the Church leaders.

            The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805-44) wrote, “It is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:39). This is so true of mankind. A little authority can bring out the worst in most of us.

            President James E. Faust (1929-2007) of the First Presidency gave this caution: “There is a certain arrogance in thinking that any of us may be more spiritually intelligent, more learned, or more righteous than the councils called to preside over us. Those councils are more in tune with the Lord than any individual person they preside over” (Finding Light in a Dark World [1995], 121).

            Criticism of Church leaders is a sure sign that a person is headed towards apostasy. Wise individuals recognize the sign, repent, and become supportive. Other people continue into apostasy, a situation that the Apostles were trying to prevent.

            There is no evidence that Jude was an Apostle, but he was respected enough to have his epistle included in the New Testament when it was compiled. His epistle is a “general” epistle, meaning that it went to many Saints. He warned that “certain men crept in unawares” (Jude 1:4) to damage the Church and destroy testimonies. Jude asked his readers to remember the historical people who had fallen away. 

Jude named the people that came out of Egypt with Moses but who were destroyed by God because of unfaithfulness. He named the people in Sodom, Gomorrha, and other cities where immorality was rampant and were burned with fire from heaven. He mentioned the “angels which kept not their first estate,” those spirits who rebelled against Heavenly Father in the pre-mortal life. They followed Lucifer and were cast out of heaven with him. Their penalty was the denial of a physical body for all eternity.

There are enemies in our midst today, and it is often difficult to recognize the “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” This lack of recognition and exposure allows the “wolves” to enter the Church and cause destruction of testimonies. The same is true of “wolves” in our nation, those who seek to “fundamentally transform” our nation from our constitutional way of life. We must beware of “wolves” in all the areas of our lives. They sneak around and pounce when our guard is down; therefore, we must constantly be on guard in order to stay safe.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Is Marriage Good for the Economy?

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when individuals understand the connection between family life and the economy. I have seen numerous bits of information stating that marriage improves the economic situation of couples. Numerous years ago, I read an article by economist Walter Williams telling black youth how to become successful. He told them to graduate from high school, get married before having children, and stay married. Tonight, I read another article about the connection between economics and family life.

            Star Parker began her article by explaining that people generally assume that “economic policy and social policy are separate universes” when discussing public policy. She said that economic policy includes such topics as “taxes, government spending, business, jobs, etc.” while social policy is about “marriage, family, children, abortion, etc.” She concluded that there is evidence that there is no “line” between economic policy and social policy and that family structure “has gotten increasing attention as an important factor to consider in policy discussions about poverty.”

            Parker quoted an academic paper titled “Family Formation and Crime” that “examines the connection between the incidence of pregnancy, childbirth, and marriage, and the incidence of crime. The authors – Maxim Massenkoff and Evan Rose – conclude that there is a connection that should be understood by policy planners.

The conclusion, in the words of the authors: “Our event-study analysis indicates that pregnancy triggers sharp declines in crime rivaling any known intervention. For mothers, criminal offending drops precipitously in the first few months of pregnancy, stabilizing at half of pre-pregnancy levels three years after the birth. Men show a smaller, but still important 25 percent decline beginning at the onset of pregnancy, although domestic violence arrests spike for fathers immediately after birth.”

            Parker asked an important question: “What is it about birth and marriage that contributes significantly to reducing crime?” She quoted an expert who said it was about “socializing and civilizing both men and women.” However, Parker speculated that it is “a wake-up call” that helps men and women see life through different lenses. When people see “the awe and mystery of life” they gain “a sense of meaning and personal responsibility.” 

            I agree with Parker in that we should “be concerned about the decline in Americans’ sense of importance of marriage and children.” She quoted a survey from Pew Research Center that said “57% of men and 46% of women” believe that we can have a “fulfilling life” as long as we have a “job or career” we enjoy. These numbers compare to “16% of men and 17% of women” who believe children are “essential for a … fulfilling life.” 

Parker concluded that “Americans are saying work is three times more important for a fulfilling life than marriage and children.” Because pregnancy and marriage cause a drop in crime, public policies should be encouraging marriage and families. We can help to strengthen all families, communities, and nations by showing the importance of marriage and family life in combatting crime.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Is the USA a Christian Nation?

            The liberty principle for today is a question about Christianity in America. The nation was founded on Christian principles with freedom of religion as the first “right” listed in the Bill of Rights. However, attendance at church is declining and fewer Americans are describing themselves as religious.

            New York Times columnist and author Ross Douthat says, “We’re a no longer deeply Christian country that is not yet post-Christian and is still heavily influenced by Christianity.” I find this statement to be sad and frightening at the same time.

            I have read the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and I believe it to be a true record of ancient Americans. It contains a record of three separate groups of people who came to the American continents. The main history is about the Nephites and Lamanites, descendants of a prophet named Lehi who took his family and left Jerusalem 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

The second history is about a group of people known as the people of Zarahemla or the Mulekites. They also left Jerusalem about 600 B.C. Mulek was the oldest son of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah before the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. Mulek was protected by a group of supporters, and they found their way to America. They took no records with them and had lost their language when they were discovered by the Nephites. They joined the Nephites and became one people with them.

The third history is about a group of people known as the Jaredites. Jared and his brother lived at the time of the Tower of Babel. They asked God to not confound their language or the language of their friends. God blessed them and did not confound their language. He also led them to America. 

The Jaredites warred among themselves until their entire civilization was destroyed. The last surviving Jaredite was discovered by the Mulekites, and he lived with them for nine months before his death. Hundreds of years later, the Nephites and the Lamanites warred among themselves until the Nephites were destroyed. The Lamanites are some of the ancestors of the Native Americans today.

            The reason that the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed is that they rejected Jesus Christ. Before Lehi left Jerusalem, the Lord promised that He would take Lehi and his family to a land of promise. Lehi later shared the following information with his family.

Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.

But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord – having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise – behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them (Book of Mormon – Another Witness of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi 1:9-10).

            I believe that the Nephites and the Jaredites were destroyed because they rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. By doing so, they rejected the God of this land, even Jesus Christ. America is a promised land for the righteous followers of Jesus Christ. The Lord has promised to prosper those who live in the promised land as long as we keep His commandments, but we have no promise otherwise (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). 

This is the reason why I am saddened and frightened to hear the United States described as a nation that is losing its faith in Jesus Christ. I do not believe that the United States will be destroyed. However, I would not be surprised to see great tribulation come to this land because of dwindling of faith in Jesus Christ.