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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Unanswered Questions

.           There are some questions about a letter written by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to Attorney General William P. Barr in late March. Mueller spent two years investigating possible collusion between Donald Trump and/or his campaign and the Russian government. He finally decided to end the investigation – was it his idea or was he pressured by Barr? He sent his report to the Attorney General who sent the final decisions to Congress. His report indicated that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia and that there was not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstructing the investigation. This is basically what Mueller wrote in his report.

            Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress stating the main findings of the investigation: no collusion and not enough evidence to prove obstruction. A few days later Mueller sent a letter to Barr telling him that his letter to Congress “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the investigation. The letter sparked a telephone conversation between the two “longtime colleagues and friends” who apparently disagree about how the investigation was reported to Congress.

            It is interesting that Mueller’s letter was not made public until the day prior to Barr testifying before Congress tomorrow. Who kept the letter private? Who disclosed the fact that there was a letter? What is in the letter that makes it crucial to be disclosed at all? Why was it disclosed now? How will Congress use the disclosed letter in their questioning of Barr? Is the release of the letter Mueller’s attempt to keep the potential overthrow of the President going?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Oscar Stewart

            My VIP for this week is military veteran Oscar StewartHis military training kicked in when he heard gunfire at the Chabad of Poway in San Diego, and he ran toward the shooter. Instead of following others out of the synagogue, Stewart turned in the direction of danger.     

            Stewart saw the nineteen-year-old shooter carrying a semiautomatic rifle, and he shouted at him. He ran as fast as he could in order to close the gap to less than five feet in order to lessen the ability of the shooter to use the rifle. Stewart said that the gunman was in the act of shooting when he saw him but fled when Stewart started after him.

When I yelled at him he turned and looked at me, and he like froze. And then the look on his face was one of amazement at first, and then one of fear. He saw me coming, and I was ready to do whatever I had to do to stop him.

When I shouted, they said that it sounded like four men shouting…. I don’t know if that was me or if that was an angel, if you believe in angels, or what made that noise.

I must have had a really mean look on my face or something because he immediately dropped his weapon and turn and ran. And then I gave chase.

            Stewart is being called a hero, and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department is saying that he saved lives in process of stopping the shooter. He sounds like a hero to me because he took no thought for his own safety as he focused on stopping the shooter.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Constitutional Mandate to Enforce Law

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns Article II Section 3 of the United States Constitution. This section lists several duties of the President of the United States. “He shall … take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed….” The President, in other words, has a constitutional mandate to enforce the laws.

            There is a current immigration statute that is not being enforced, probably because Democrats want votes and Republicans in Name Only (RINOs) want cheap labor. The President should see that this statute is “faithfully executed.” It is 2013 US Code regarding the unlawful employment of aliens. 

            Unlawful employment of aliens - 8 U.S.C. § 1324a (2013)
§1324a. Unlawful employment of aliens

 (a) Making employment of unauthorized aliens unlawful

            (1) In general
It is unlawful for a person or other entity—

                        (A) to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien (as defined in subsection (h)(3) of this section) with respect to such employment, or

                        (B)(i) to hire for employment in the United States an individual without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section or (ii) if the person or entity is an agricultural association, agricultural employer, or farm labor contractor (as defined in section 1802 of title 29), to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an individual without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section.

            (2) Continuing employment
It is unlawful for a person or other entity, after hiring an alien for employment in accordance with paragraph (1), to continue to employ the alien in the United States knowing the alien is (or has become) an unauthorized alien with respect to such employment.

            There are fines and penalties listed for American employers who hire or continue to employ unauthorized aliens. How many laws are being ignored, and which ones have loop holes that are being used against Americans. If the President chose to enforce this statute, as well as other such statues, it may lessen the flow of undocumented immigrants into our nation.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Two Great Commandments

            The scriptures tell of attempts by numerous people to cause Jesus Christ to trip over His words. One such person was a “certain lawyer” who asked the Savior, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life.” Jesus answered with two questions: “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” The lawyer obviously knew what the scriptures said.

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.

And he [Jesus] said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. (See John 10:25-29.)

            This was not the end of the conversation, but it is good for us to discuss the principles referred to in the above verses. The first principle is that we must love God and love our neighbors in order to obtain eternal life. How are we to love God? Jesus said that we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind. This means that we are to love God with our whole self. President Ezra Taft Benson taught the following about this commandment. 

To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being – physical, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – to a love of the Lord.

The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one’s life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord. “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord,” said Alma, “yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36).

Why did God put the first commandment first? Because He knew that if we truly loved Him we would want to keep all of His other commandments. “For this is the love of God,” says John, “that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3; see also 2 John 1:6). We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. He must come first, just as He declares in the first of His Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.

We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives.

            President Benson explains that we must love God with our whole being and that our love for Him cannot be lukewarm. We show our love for God by keeping His commandments and doing His will. In other words, our love for God guides our words and actions. Now let us go back to Luke’s account.

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise (Luke 10:29-37).

            These verses clearly teach the principle that we are commanded to love and serve those in need, regardless of their race, religion, tribe, or social class. The priest and the Levite had the priesthood duty to care for the wounded man, but they shirked their responsibilities. The Samaritan was actually doing what the priest and the Levite should have done. President Thomas S. Monson went about doing good in service to mankind. He taught the following about loving our neighbors. 

Each of us, in the journey through mortality, will travel his own Jericho Road. What will be our experience? What will be mine? Will I fail to notice him who has fallen among thieves and requires my help? Will you? Will I be one who sees the injured and hears his plea, yet crosses to the other side? Will you? Or will I be one who sees, who hers, who pauses, and who helps? Will you?

Jesus provided our watchword: “Go, and do thou likewise.” When we obey that declaration, there opens to our view a vista of joy seldom equaled and never surpassed.

Now the Jericho Road may not be clearly marked. Neither may the injured cry out, that we may hear. But when we walk in the steps of that good Samaritan, we walk the pathway that leads to perfection.

            President Monson demonstrated by his actions throughout his lifetime that he would have been one who crossed the road to help someone in need. He set an excellent example of one who walks the path to perfection. President Howard W. Hunter added the following reminder

I suggest to you that the Lord has prepared a touchstone for you and me, an outward measurement of inward discipleship that marks our faithfulness and will survive the fires yet to come….

The answer of Jesus to the lawyer might be considered as the Lord’s touchstone. He said on another occasion, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40). He will measure our devotion to him by how we love and serve our fellowmen. What kind of mark are we leaving on the Lord’s touchstone? Are we truly good neighbors? Does the test show us to be 24-karat gold, or can the trace of fool’s gold be detected? …

The Samaritan gave us an example of pure Christian love. He had compassion; he went to the man who had been injured by the thieves and bound up his wounds. He took him to an inn, cared for him, paid his expenses, and offered more if needed for his care. This is a story of the love of a neighbor for his neighbor.

… We need to remember that though we make our friends, God has made our neighbors – everywhere. Love should have no boundary; we should have no narrow loyalties.

            We should be grateful for the smug lawyer who asked Jesus Christ how to inherit eternal life. His question brought forth great teachings about the two great commandments. All of God’s commandments fall under these two commandments.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Study Can Strengthen Family

            Parents can strengthen their own family as well as their community and nation by encouraging their college-age students to take some classes in marriage and family studies. Many students take marriage preparation classes, but there are other valuable classes to take also. Most students will not be interested in a career in counseling or marriage and family therapy, but studying some of the material in that program can help them to have happy and successful marriages and families.

            Last semester I took a class that was based on “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The principles of the proclamation were supported by social science research. I gained a lot of research-based knowledge about the principles. For instance, I learned that therapists now encourage patients to practice forgiveness – for their own sake and not particularly for anyone else. Another principle was wholesome family recreation. It is good to share whole recreation with young children, but it is essential in keeping teenagers close to the family.

            This semester I am taking a class on family relations. This is my week, but I am already learning lots of new stuff that helps in understanding the importance of the family. This week we studied the Baby Boom and the panic it caused in the environmental community. As it turns out, the fertility rate during the Baby Boom (18 years) was about 1.0 higher than the replacement rate. With the panic over the population explosion and the legalization of abortion, the fertility rate of Americans now below replacement rate. However, there is no cause for alarm.

            The immigrants and their children are enough to bring the official rate over the replacement rate. This makes the United States the only Western nation to meet the replacement rate. So when we hear of the 3,000 immigrants per day pouring over our southern border, it is not all bad news. They are actually adding to our economy.

            This is another thing that I learned this week: the economy is tied to the fertility rate. As the fertility rate goes down, the available workers have to work harder and smarter to keep the economy growing. When we reach the point that they cannot work any harder or smarter, the economy starts going downhill. The only other answer is to increase the number of people.

            The experts expect the U.S. population to reach a peak about 2065 and then start to decline. Since fertility rate in Mexico and Central American countries is also declining, those countries will reach a point when they will want to keep their citizens at home.

            The solution to avoiding a demographic winter is to strengthen families. We need to have policies that encourage marriage and family, and we need parents who will teach their children properly. The family is the cradle for teaching basic moral principles and how to be contributing members of society.

            It all goes back to the prophetic counsel found in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The family is the basic unit of society and must be strengthened in order for society to stay strong. The rising generation can do much to strengthen their family, community, and nation by studying about marriage and family and applying the principles that they learn.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Collision of Freedoms

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the conflict between freedom of religion and how to protect gay, lesbian, and transgender workers from discrimination. There has long been a debate between lawmakers and legal experts on whether the laws protect the LGBTQ community, but the decision is going to the Supreme Court. 

Justices announced Monday that they will hear three cases involving employment discrimination claims this fall. Two feature gay men who were fired soon after their employers learned of their sexual orientation, and the third involves a transgender woman who was let go soon after her transition.

The Supreme Court’s eventual rulings will hold significant consequences for LBGTQ employees and their employers, including people of faith, legal experts said….

If justices rule that “sex discrimination” includes sexual orientation and gender identity-based discrimination, religiously affiliated businesses or schools could face lawsuits if they refuse to hire gay or transgender employees. But if the rulings go the other way and limit the scope of sex discrimination protections, LGBTQ workers may have no legal recourse to being fired or mistreated.

            One may ask what the problem is. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Acts “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.” Since the big problems in 1964 involved “unequal treatment of male and female employees or mistreatment of pregnant workers,” the law did not include mention of the LGBT community.

            Efforts have been made to broaden the interpretation to the rights of the LGBTQ community, but the results have not been consistent. Various Circuit Courts across the nation have made opposing decisions about it. The administration of Barack Obama supported a broad sex discrimination definition, while the Donald Trump administration “argues that sex discrimination does not include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

            Many people that any change to broaden the interpretation of sex discrimination should be done through the legislative branch of the federal government, not the executive branch or the judicial branch. John Bursch, attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, is one of them: “Neither government agencies nor the courts have authority to rewrite federal law [to] replace ‘sex’ with ‘gender identity.’”

            A huge obstacle to having Congress solve the problem is the inability of the Democrats and Republicans to work together for the good of Americans. The obstacle appears to be in the state legislatures also because “only 10 of 37 LGBTQ rights bills considered by state legislatures last year had bipartisan sponsorship.” Less than half of the states – 21 of them – currently prohibit employment discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender-identity.

            There is currently a bill in Congress – the Equality Act – that would give protection. It may be passed by the Democrat-controlled House, but it is not expected to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The debate surrounding the Equality Act illustrates how new protections for LGBTQ Americans can clash with religious freedom laws. If it passes, religiously affiliated schools and other faith-based organizations could face lawsuits for refusing to hire gay workers or limiting which facilities transgender students can use, even if these policies were tied to religious beliefs.

            The Justices accepted the three cases for the 2019-2020 Court season that starts in October 2019. Their decisions are not expected the end of June 2020.

            The clash between rights of different groups is not just about employment rights. A case concerning the rights of LGBTQ couples to adopt or foster children through faith-based agencies was recently settled in Michigan.  However, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty announced this week that it is filing a new case. The organization is suing Michigan and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of St. Vincent Catholic Charities and two adoptive families it served. 

             The reason for the new lawsuit is the belief that faith-based adoption and/or foster care agencies should not “miss out on government contracts simply because they won’t work with same-sex couples for religious reasons.” Mark Rienzi, Becket’s president, made the following statement in this “years-long clash between religious freedom and LGBTQ rights in Michigan and across the country.”

Faith-based agencies like St. Vincent consistently do the best work because of their faith, and we need more agencies like them helping children – not fewer. The actions by the Attorney General of Michigan do nothing but harm the thousands of at-risk children in desperate need of loving homes….

            Apparently, the goal of the LGBTQ community is not to shut down religious-based adoption and foster care agencies but to stop them from receiving tax dollars. They believe that they should be served by organizations that receive tax dollars. Many of the faith-based organizations cannot operate without government contracts and would have to shut their doors.

            I can understand what the LGBTQ community is saying about tax money, and I can understand why the faith-based organizations are concerned putting children with members of their faith community. However, it is the good of the children that must be considered. It would be really nice if a solution could be made that would do right by the children. I do not know if there is a solution that would serve both communities well.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Border Crisis Getting Worse

            There is absolutely a gigantic crisis on the southern border of the United States. Thousands of people are crossing the border illegally every single day without regard to any immigration rules or laws. Recently a group of five or six soldiers pulled guns on two National Guard soldiers in United States territory but past the border fence. President Donald Trump is not happy about the limited support coming from Mexico to stop the migrants, and he definitely does not like this recent event. He sent the following warning to Mexico today.

Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border. Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!

            Even though a brief discussion between the two groups of soldiers solved the misunderstanding, the situation shows that there are definite. In fact, Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, suspects that there is more to the story.

These things don’t just happen by accident…. I don’t know one Border Patrol agent that is going to accept that story that the Mexican military thought that these national guardsmen were in Mexico.

We have hundreds upon hundreds incursions by the Mexican military into the U.S., yet we have very few incursions by Border Patrol agents into Mexico.

            The incident caused the military to review and modify the instructions given to troops stationed at the border. Trump says that military members along the border will now be armed, which I consider to be a wise action to take. The drug dealers and cartel members are heavily armed, and our soldiers should be able to protect themselves if necessary. Yet, the scene is being set where someone is going to get killed if Congress does not act to close the immigration loopholes.

            There is a huge caravan heading through Mexico towards our southern border. Mexico has detained several hundred members of the caravan, but the rest of the migrants continue north. Trump is insisting that Mexico apprehend the remainder of them. He warns that the U.S. might have to close a section of the border and have the military defend against invaders. He also states that the “Coyotes & Cartels have weapons!”

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Invasion of America

            It seems that America is being invaded by all types of people for numerous reasons. We hear of thousands of migrants who are crossing the border each month. We hear of heavily armed men escorting a mother and child across the border.  We even hear of U.S. soldiers being disarmed and interrogated by Mexican soldiers who crossed to the U.S. side of the border. 

            President Donald Trump declared that there is a national emergency at the border and has diligently tried to provide a barrier to stop of the hordes of invaders. The statistics collected by Daniel Horowitz are absolutely unbelievable. He put together the following “statistics from the March data and the cumulative numbers of illegal aliens and family units crossing this fiscal year.” These numbers clearly show that the President is absolutely correct in his declaration of a national emergency. 

103,492: The total number of illegal aliens and inadmissible aliens apprehended at and between points of entry in the month of March…

1.2 million: How many in a year if March’s pace continues….

$168-180 billion: The lifetime cost of 1.2 million illegal aliens per year….

57,27l: A record number of family unit apprehensions (number of people apprehended with family members) in March….

189,584: The number of family unit apprehensions between points of entry for the first six months of fiscal year 2019….

218,645: The number of family unit apprehensions between points of entry since Judge Dana Sabraw ruled last July that all parents or adults [who] brought children must be released with the children….

4,647%: The percentage increase in monthly family unit apprehensions between points of entry since the low of the “Trump effect” in April 2017 through February 2019….

422,334: The total number of illegal aliens and inadmissible immigrants, including single adults, who have been caught at our border….

104: The number of large groups, defined as 100 or more, coming in at once to surrender to border agents and shutting down their resources….

            Border towns are being overrun by the illegal immigrants. Yuma, Arizona, declared an emergency situation because of the numbers of migrants coming into the city. Horowitz concluded his article by sharing what he considers to be “surprising” information from the March statistics:

One of the surprising data points from this month is the surge in single adults in addition to family units. While two-thirds of the illegal immigrants were family units or unaccompanied minors, the number of single adults increased in raw numbers by 30 percent over February….

            Doug Hagmann is another person who recognizes that America is being invaded. Quoting or referring to much of the information stated above, Hagmann shares the following information.

We are either a sovereign nation with secure borders and proper enforcement, or we are not. You cannot have it both ways, despite what the Democrat-Socialists in Congress, ideologically driven “Communist red-lined” black-robed rogue activist judges, those occupying other elected or appointed positions throughout the United States and the Socialist corporate media want you to believe….

To be clear, this invasion is not new. Reports dating back more than a decade … describe similar events, but the invasion is growing more intense and extreme by the day….

It is generally accepted that when the army of a foreign country crosses the border of another country, it is an act of war. When will Americans wake up to the fact that we are indeed at war? When will we hold to account the enemies within who are facilitating the enemy, from the denizens of the Deep State embedded in positions of elected and appointed leadership to the members of the complicit media? How many more citizens must be killed by the acts of these illegal invaders before we say, “ENOUGH?”

            I believe that it is safe to say that the United States is being invaded. I also believe that the invasion is being driven by individuals or organizations who are attempting to destroy the constitutional government of our land. These hordes of invaders are not spontaneous. The people are coming because someone is telling them something. Who it is and what they are saying is not fully known, but we can be sure that there are evil powers behind the invasion. I say, “ENOUGH.” We need to stop the invaders!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Joseph Smith, Prophet of God

            My VIP for this week is the Prophet Joseph Smith because he is the prophet of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to earth. He accomplished more for mankind than any other mortal who ever lived on earth, and he did it in short period of time. President Russell M. Nelson shared the following information about Joseph Smith.

Joseph’s mission in mortality was foreordained. His receptive and pristine mind was open to the Lord’s instruction. But, by worldly standards, Joseph was most unlikely. And his task to be the Prophet of this last dispensation seemed totally impossible. This example demonstrates a principle that is often true of how the Lord works; He uses the unlikely to accomplish the impossible.

            The Prophet was young, but he was prepared to be taught by heavenly beings. He saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ when he was a lad of 14. He was an instrument in God’s hands in restoring His gospel to the earth. President Dallin H. Oaks shared the following list of Joseph Smith’s accomplishments.

·         The nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

·         The relative functions of these three members of the Godhead and Their relationship to mortal beings.

·         The nature of the Fall of man.

·         The purpose of mortal life in furtherance of the Father’s plan for His children to attain their eternal destiny.

·         The role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in assuring immortality and providing the opportunity for eternal life.

·         The role of earthly and eternal marriage in the Father’s plan.

·         The essential role of priesthood and ordinances in the Father’s plan.

·         The essential role of temples and proxy ordinances in the Father’s plan.

·         The knowledge that God desires to save all of His children and that every person who has lived upon this earth – whether then knowing of Jesus Christ or not – is capable of attaining the highest heaven hereafter.

·         The relationship of the threefold sources of truth about man and the universe: science, scriptures, and continuing revelation.

            President Oaks did not include the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ in his list. He said that this “new volume of scripture” is “the source of many of those new religious ideas and that it deserves special mention. He shares the following quote about the book from a best-selling scholar.

The Book of Mormon proposes a new purpose for America: becoming a realm of righteousness rather than an empire of liberty. Against increasing wealth and inequality, the Book of Mormon advocates the cause of the poor…. Against republican government, it proposes righteous rule by judges and kings under God’s law. Against a closed-canon Bible and nonmiraculous religion, the Book of Mormon stands for ongoing revelation, miracles, and revelation to all nations. Against skepticism, it promotes belief; against nationalism, a universal Israel. It foresees disaster for the nation if the love of riches, resistance to revelation, and Gentile civilization prevail over righteousness, revelation, and Israel.

            This is just part of the information shared by President Oaks. I invite you to study the rest of his article titled “The Miraculous Mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Ensign, Jan. 2019, 30-39. As a student of Joseph Smith, President Oaks has much to share about him as a prophet of God, a man, and a supporter of law. I add my witness to that of President Oaks and millions of other people. I know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God because the Holy Ghost has borne witness to my spirit that he is.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The Founders were not concerned about citizens having guns for hunting and target practice. They wanted the citizens to be prepared to fight back against a tyrannical government. The Second Amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” Yet, there are state and local governments that continued to chip away at this right. It seems that politicians in big cities are attempting to solve local problems by restricting gun rights on a state-wide basis, and the county officials are fighting back.

            County leaders are creating Second Amendment sanctuary counties to protect the rights of gun owners. Apparently, the sanctuary county idea started in Effington County, Illinois. Effingham County Board member David Campbell went to Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler with an idea. He had a resolution produced by Iroquois County about gun rights, and “he wanted to do something similar.”  His idea was to adopt the idea of sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants and make sanctuary counties for gun owners.

            The Second Amendment sanctuary county movement is now in 64 of the 102 counties in Illinois as well as counties in three other states. There are nine additional states where “counties are eyeing similar nonbinding measures.” As state politicians are thinking of ways to restrict gun ownership, county leaders are considering ways to oppose them. Freedom-loving Americans must be vigil about protecting their Second Amendment rights, and sanctuary counties may be the answer to gun-control ideas.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

"He Is Not Here: for He Is Risen"

            Jesus Christ spent His last few days teaching in Jerusalem by day and spending His nights with friends in Bethany. Most scholars say that He ate His Passover meal on Thursday evening, but some say that it was Wednesday. Whichever night it was, He introduced the sacrament to His Apostles, sang and hymn with them, and took them with Him into the Garden of Gethsemane. He took Peter, James, and John and went a little further. He bade them wait for Him while He went to prayer. After praying several times, He woke His exhausted friends and went to meet His betrayer.

            Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was arrested and taken before the Sanhedrin. After being abused by them all night, He was taken before Pontius Pilate in the early morning hours. Pilate tried to free Him but eventually sentenced Him to death while at the same time releasing a condemned murderer. Jesus was scourged or beaten with a whip made of leather and weighted with sharp pieces of lead and bone. After beating the Savior, the Roman soldiers mocked Him by putting a purple robe on Him and a crown of plaited thorns.

            The Savior had been up more than 24 hours by this time. He spent His day teaching in the temple and His evening with His Apostles. Then He went into Gethsemane where He continued His atoning sacrifice. He spent the night before the Sanhedrin and was taken before Pilate in the morning hours. After all this terrible treatment, He was expected to carry His own cross to Golgotha. His physical strength apparently failed Him because the soldiers compelled another man to carry the cross.

            Jesus was nailed to the cross about 9:00 in the morning. About noon a darkness covered the land, and the Savior died about 3:00 p.m. His body was taken down from the cross and placed in a borrowed tomb where it lay until early Sunday morning. Peter tells us that Jesus Christ visited the spirit world while His body was lying in the tomb.

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (1 Peter 3:18-20).

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit (1 Peter 4:6).

            In 1918 President Joseph F. Smith was in his home in Salt Lake City, Utah. He read and pondered the above quoted words of Peter. While he was pondering Peter’s words, a vision opened to him, and he saw “an innumerable company” of “the hosts of the dead, both small and great” gathered in one place. The spirits “were filled with joy and gladness, and were rejoicing together because the day of their deliverance was at hand.” They were waiting to welcome “the Son of God into the spirit world.” He watched as “the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful.” He preached His gospel to the faithful and taught them “the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.” He did not visit as wicked, ungodly, unrepentant, or rebellious spirits. (See Doctrine and Covenants 138:11-21.)

            President Smith marveled about what he was seeing, and he continued to ponder Peter’s words where he said that Jesus “preached unto the spirits in prison, who sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering God waited in the days of Noah” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:28). He wondered how the Savior could teach all the spirits in the spirit world during the short period of time that His body was in the tomb. Then the vision continued.

And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;

But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead (Doctrine and Covenants 138:29-30). 

            We know from President Smith’s vision that the Savior was busy with His work of saving the souls of mankind even though His body was lying in the tomb awaiting resurrection. Early Sunday morning followers of Jesus Christ discovered that His body was missing from the tomb. Soon afterwards the resurrected Savior appeared to them. They were allowed to touch the nail holes in His hands and feet and to thrust their hands into His side.

            To the Jews, the Sabbath Day is Saturday. The Christians changed their Sabbath Day to Sunday because Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Sunday. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event to take place on earth. His Resurrection is celebrated every year in the spring on a day called Easter. Without the events of Easter, there would be no Christmas. If Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead, He would have been just another of the billions of mortals on earth. However, He did rise from the dead and made it possible for all mankind to be resurrected and become immortal. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) taught the following about the importance of the Resurrection of the Savior.

“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” [Matthew 28:6].

These are the most reassuring words in all of human history. Death – universal and final – had now been conquered….

Never had this occurred before. There had been only death without hope. Now there was life eternal. Only a God could have done this. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was the great crowning event of His life and mission. It was the capstone of the Atonement. The sacrifice of His life for all mankind was not complete without His coming forth from the grave, with the certainty of the Resurrection for all who have walked the earth.

Of all the victories in the chronicles of humanity, none is so great, none so universal in its effect, none so everlasting in its consequences as the victory of the crucified Lord, who came forth from the tomb that first Easter morning.

Those who were witnesses of that event, all who saw and heard and spoke with the Risen Lord, testified of the reality of this greatest of all miracles. His followers through the centuries lived and died in proclamation of the truth of this supernal act.
To all of these we add our testimony that He who died on Calvary’s cross arose again in wondrous splendor as the Son of God, the Master of life and death (“Special Witnesses of Christ,Ensign, Apr. 2001, 15). 

            A beautiful program presented by the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square can be found at this site. It is titled “He Is Risen: A Sacred Easter Presentation.”