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.

Friday, July 31, 2020

What Will Help Parents to Cope in This Crazy World?

            Parents can strengthen their family, community, and nation by teaching correct principles to their children. When children are properly taught at home, they usually do not end up burning businesses and rioting in the streets. For better or worse, most children follow the examples set by their parents.

            The responsibility to properly teach children rests heavily on parents in all ages. However, the load seems heavier now that we live in this crazy, up-side-down world. We live in a world where good is called evil and evil is called good. In addition, the support system for parents is no longer strong.

            Not too many years ago parents had the support of church, school, and community in teaching children to be good citizens. As one example, children understood that lying and stealing was wrong. They were taught by their parents to be honest. They were taught in Primary classes that honesty was the best policy. School teachers expected students to be honest and do their own work in class. Society helped to teach the same lessons.

            I remember returning to grocery stores on more than one occasion because one of my children took something without paying for it. I am grateful that I was supported in teaching honesty every single time. I took the child to the clerk at the store and explained the situation and made it as easy as possible for the child to apologize for taking something without paying for it. Every time, the clerk said something to reinforce my teaching of honesty. With the lack of morals in our society, I wonder if I would receive the same support today.

            I can imagine the stress on parents as they have assumed the jobs of schoolteachers and Primary teachers as well as parents. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are fortunate in that the Church made changes that helped prepare us to teach and learn at home. However, the additional duties are heavy and come at a stressful time in the world. There is a worldwide pandemic with a coronavirus that seems to be quite contagious. There are millions of people getting sick and thousands of them are dying. Parents are justified in being fearful for their children, but little children have less understanding than adults at what is happening. They often have fears that we do not even imagine.

There are also the tensions in the United States caused by riots taking place in various cities across the country and elsewhere. In addition, this is a presidential election year with all the tension, lies, misquotes, and ugliness of politics. In addition, many parents have lost their jobs or part of their income.

Part of the stress is caused by not knowing what to expect. Parents are trying to decide whether to send their children back to school or keep them home for school. Some parents have no choice because the schools are not reopening, and some of those same parents would send their children to school.

I believe that the craziness of our world will continue because we live in the last days before Jesus Christ returns to rule and reign on earth. I believe that things will get much worse before they get better. Meanwhile, the best counsel that I can give to parents who are carrying such heavy loads is to pray over your decisions. What is right for you and your family may not be the best answer for your neighbor or your best friend. However, Heavenly Father will hear your prayers and will help you to make the best decisions. With help from God, parents can strengthen their family and become an influence for good in their community and nation.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Do Democrats Hold Their Elected Representatives Accountable?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the use of lies and deception by the Democrat Party to overthrow the administration of Donald Trump and/or to ensure that he does not win re-election. Representative Adam Schiff insisted that he had seen hard evidence that Trump was involved with Russia. Representative Jerrold Nadler explained that Antifa is a myth. Many Democrat politician and media people insist that the riots are merely “peaceful protests.” These are just a few of the dishonest statements pushed on the American public and used to take down Trump if possible.

            One such dishonest act took place this week when Attorney General Bill Barr was invited to testify before the House Judiciary Committee but not allowed to answer questions. I have never previously seen adults act so rudely to an invited guest. A Democrat would ask Barr a question but would not shut him down by interjecting, “Reclaiming my time” and continuing to speak. Barr was able to answer several of their questions, but he usually did so during time reserved for Republicans.

            There was at least one exception. Nadler accused the Attorney General and the Justice Department of violating the civil rights of Americans who were participating in the “peaceful protests.” He claimed that “There is no precedent for the Department of Justice to actively seek out conflict with American citizens under such flimsy pretext or for such petty purposes.”         

            Barr attempted to educate Nadler, but a student must be willing to learn. Barr told the committee that “violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak havoc and destruction on innocent victims.” He explained that the situation in Portland is a “telling example” because the mobs have “laid siege to the federal courthouse” for two months.

The rioters have come equipped for a fight, armed with powerful slingshots, tasers, sledgehammers, saws, knives, rifles, and explosive devices. Inside the courthouse are a relatively small number of federal personnel charged with the defense of mission to protect the courthouse.

What unfolds nightly around the courthouse cannot reasonably be called protest. It is by any objective measure an assault on the government of the United States. As elected officials of the federal government, every member of this committee, regardless of your political views and your feelings about the Trump administration, should condemn violence against federal officers and the destruction of federal property.

            I wonder if the Democrats on the committee even understood the difference between the mobs that Barr described and the “peaceful protesters” in their minds. They were giving campaign speeches rather than asking questions to gain knowledge. They were not interested in hearing what Barr had to say. They also looked like fools as they tried to show their superiority to the “lowly” Attorney General. I was shocked at their behavior and embarrassed for them.

            I cannot help but question the intelligence and integrity of the people who elect such imbeciles – people like Schiff, Nadler, and Maxine Waters – to represent them. Do they ever hold their elected representatives accountable, or do they just mark the box that has a D in front of it? Are the freebies that such representatives bring back to the district more important than capable legislators? How can America ever survive? Is it even wise to ask God to bless America when there are people among us who inflict such damage to our republic?

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

When Will Amnesty End for Illegal Aliens and their Children?

            The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to help illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as children is in the news again. The program was created in 2012 by the Obama administration. Barack Obama grew tired of waiting for Congress to act, so he created the illegal program with an executive order. The DACA program protects more than 649,000 illegal aliens from deportation.

            President Donald Trump used an executive order to end the DACA program, but he gave Congress a certain length of time to act. Instead of legislating laws to deal with the problem, Congress was caught up in the Russia collusion and Ukraine corruption cases. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was more interested in removing Trump from office than doing her job, so no action was taken by Congress.

Instead, the Trump administration was taken to court for its executive order. The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided 5-4 against the president. The court ruled that the president had the authority to rescind DACA, but the justices did not think the Trump administration gave sufficient reason for doing it. Dissenting justices argued that the program was illegal and should be ended, but that view did not have enough votes.

Mike Howell and Lora Ries of The Heritage Foundation posted an article in The Daily Signal stating that the Trump administration “should refuse to renew amnesty for any DACA beneficiaries as their deferral periods end.” However, the administration extended amnesty deportations for at least another year while the problem receives more study. The authors correctly emphasized that “History has proven that promises of amnesty beget more illegal immigration,” and said that the Tuesday announcement by the White House “will result in just that.”

The authors said that it may be difficult for the administration to give “sufficient reason” that activists on the Supreme Court would accept, no matter how much time is given to study the problem. “Setting legal strategy aside, granting a one-year extension of DACA is extending amnesty. Amnesty is the forgiveness of consequences for breaking immigration law.”

Ending DACA is one of Trump’s 2016 campaign promises that he has yet to fulfill. Instead of ending the illegal program, the administration is now extending it. The authors do not agree with the president’s use of executive orders on immigration because it might lessen conservative support. They say that the president should “keep his promise to end the unconstitutional practice of granting birthright citizenship to the children of illegal aliens.” He should also “enact policies that end the practices of sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.” These policies should include actions to “increase interior enforcement of immigration law, and hold accountable colleges and universities that unlawfully grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens.”

The impeachment trial, COVID-19 pandemic, and the riots have distracted many people from the illegal immigration problem. We cannot adequately deal with the millions of illegal aliens currently in our nation until we secure our borders. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to thousands of illegal aliens with the problem that the borders would be secured. Now we have millions more illegal aliens, and the border are still not secured. If we grant amnesty again, we will be inundated with more illegal aliens!

Re-electing Donald Trump is our best hope to ever get the illegal immigrant problem under control along with ending the corruption in Washington, D.C. Yet, there are people who hate Donald Trump so badly that they will not vote for what is best for the nation. Putting Democrats in control of the government may mean the end of the United States as we know it. If you do not believe me, just look at what is happening in the cities and states that are controlled by Democrats. Do you like what you see in Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York, California, and every other place governed for any length of time by Democrats? If you vote against Trump, you are voting for that type of leadership!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Why Do Racists Seek to Use “White Culture” to Further Divide Americans?

            After the police killing of George Floyd, white Americans were told that it was not enough to not be racist. We must become anti-racist and realize that our “white culture” is to blame for many of the problems in our nation. We are told that we should not expect other races to adopt the characteristics of our “white culture.”

What are these terrible values that whites are forcing on other races? Frederick Hess and R.J. Martin explained in an article posted at The Daily Signal. It seems that the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture had a chart with the following values listed as products of the “white culture.”

According to the Smithsonian, values such as “hard work,” “self-reliance,” “be[ing] polite,” and timeliness are all a product of the “white dominant culture.” Indeed, it turns out that conventional grammar, Christianity, the notion that “intent counts” in courts of law, and the scientific method and its emphasis on “objective, rational linear thinking” are all proprietary to “white culture.”

Several things might be said about all this. But the place to start may be by observing just how insidious it is to teach black children to reject intellectual and personal traits that promote personal and civic success – in the U.S. or anywhere else.

After all, in what land are students well served when they’re encouraged not to work hard, make decisions, think rationally, or be polite and on time?

Among the extraordinarily accomplished people honored by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, those such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison, John Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Condoleezza Rice, and Barack Obama might be surprised to learn that hard work and rational thinking are somehow alien to black culture.

            The article stated that the Smithsonian has since removed the chart [July 16] but did not denounce the information on it. Instead, the museum merely said that the material did “not contribute to the productive discussion” that was desired.

            I believe that such thinking as well as the chart itself are racist on their own. This type of information tells us that only white parents teach such traits as “work hard,” “be polite,” or “be responsible.” This is an outright insult to the many black parents and parents of every other race who teach and train their children to become successes in life. These so-called white traits are critical for making good neighbors and strong communities. They contribute to creating our future leaders.

            The concept that Christianity is part of white culture is an outright lie because there are people of every race who believe in Jesus Christ. In fact, “72% of black Americans … identify as Christian” while only “65% of white Americans do so.” In addition, there are successful scientists, medical professionals, teachers, and every profession from other races so know how to think critically.

            The more that I hear about “white culture” and its so-called traits, the more I realize that there are segments in our nation who do not want to heal the racial divide and unify the nation. It also appears that they do not want future black generations to be successful. How can anyone be successful without working for it – whether it is becoming a famous brain surgeon or a great basketball player?

I have great respect for numerous black individuals who excel in their fields, such as Dr. Ben Carson, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, as well as those of my personal acquaintance whom I will not name. I refuse to consider my brothers and sisters of other races as less capable than those of my race. There are many who are brilliant, gifted, and capable of blessing the entire human race, and we should be encouraging every person of every race to reach their full potential as children of a loving Heavenly Father.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Who Is Mildred Jefferson?

            I chose Mildred Jefferson for my VIP this week. She is a black woman who broke gender barriers and racial barriers to influence the course of the United States. She was a brilliant, Harvard-educated surgeon. “She helped found the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization” and gave “eloquent pro-life arguments.” Her passion for the unborn “inspired some of the biggest voices in the nation to speak up for the unborn.”

            One of the people that Jefferson influenced was then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan. He watched Jefferson on a national television interview in 1972 and was converted to pro-life. He wrote the following to her: “No other issue since I have been in office has caused me to do so much study and soul-searching…. You made it irrefutably clear that an abortion is the taking of human life. I’m grateful to you.” As President of the United States, Reagan was “one of the most unapologetically pro-life presidents in American history.” Jefferson and Reagan frequently corresponded with each other.

            Jefferson blazed a trail for women in several ways. She is so brilliant that she “earned her bachelor’s degree in three years and was the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1951. She also became the first female surgeon at what was then the Boston University Medical Center.”

            Jefferson became “involved in the pro-life movement when the American Medical Association decided it was ethical for physicians to perform abortions.” Jefferson felt that this decision “violated the Hippocratic Oath” and “helped found the National Right to Life Committee.” She served as its president three times and “became one of the most visible spokespersons for the prolife position in the nation.” She worked to change minds, and she worked to change the laws.

The NRLC PAC, which she helped to form, is “one of the most successful political action committees in the country dedicated to helping elect pro-life candidates.” This PAC “has been instrumental in stopping numerous attempts to advance abortion laws and in passing laws to protect the unborn and their mothers.”

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Is Freedom of Speech the First Right to Go?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns freedom of speech. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech….” This amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

            This amendment protects most speech, but not all speech. Americans are free to express their thoughts and feelings about politics, religion, business, and numerous other things. However, we are not free to say things that harm or threaten harm to others. Child pornography and words of defamation are not protected speech.

            Even though most speech is protected in the United States, many Americans do not feel safe in expressing their thoughts or ideas about politics. Benjamin Nichols wrote in an article posted at The Daily Signal that “nearly two-thirds of Americans are afraid to share their political views.”

A new CATO Institute/YouGov national survey found 62% of Americans say the political climate today prevents them from saying what they believe. This is up several points from 2017 when 58% of Americans said they were afraid to share their political beliefs.

“Thirty-one percent of liberals, 30% of moderates and 34% of conservatives are worried their political views could get them fired or harm their career trajectory,” the CATO survey stated.

            The cancel culture is causing many people to pause and consider their words for future effects. It seems that “more people among all political groups feel they are walking on eggshells” according to the survey. According to the survey, “majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) who all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share.”

            One may ask with good reason if anyone feels safe in sharing their political opinions. The answer is yes. “Strong liberals stand out … as the only political group who feel they can express themselves. Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of staunch liberals feel they can say what they believe.” However, not all liberals feel such freedom of speech. “A majority of centrist liberals, who in 2017 said they could express their views freely, now say they have to self-censor.” People across all ethnicities feel the need to self-censor with “65% of Latino Americans, 64% of white Americans, and 49% of African Americans saying they have political views they are afraid to share.”

            What do these large numbers of groups feeling the need for self-censorship mean in our political climate? The CATO study concluded that these numbers may indicate that “many of these opinions may be shared by a large number of people” and not just the radical or fringe groups.

Both surveys, CATO and Politico, suggest that those who engage and support cancel culture are a vocal minority of Americans, not the majority.

“While online shaming may seem like a major preoccupation for the public if you spend a lot of time on Twitter, only 40% of voters say they have participated in cancel culture and only one in 10 say they participate ‘often,’” the Politico poll found.

            It seems to me that there could be a “Silent Majority” of about 60% of voters. If they do not feel safe to voice their opinions, they do not support the leftist agenda. This seems to bode well for Donald Trump. He loves America and strives to strengthen and make America even greater. Anyone who does not support the destruction of America and America’s history should be able to support the Trump programs of putting America and Americans first, particularly when the Democrats in control continue to move further left in their behavior.

The riots of the past two months, the shortages in the stores over the past six months, and the general increase of government control in Democrat-led cities and states should be a flashing red light to anyone thinking about voting for anyone other than Trump and Republicans. America is on a crash course with socialism, and this election will determine the kind of country America becomes. It can be a greater America, or it can move further down the slopes to socialism. Much depends on this election, and I hope that America gets it right. We may not have another chance to save our nation!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

What Does It Mean to "Bridle All Your Passions"?

            I think that we all know what is meant by the word passions, so I want to concentrate on the word bridle. Bridle is the name given to a piece of headgear that is used to control a horse. An important part of the bridle is the bridle bit, which is a steel rod that is placed in the horse’s mouth and held there by the rest of the bridle. Besides the bridle bit, the bridle consists of leather straps. There is usually a chin strap – a leather strap that goes under the chin to hold the bit in the horse’s mouth – and a long strap that goes up one side of the horse’s face, behind the ears, and down the other side to the bit and chin strap. The two long straps are connected across the face by two straps that go across the nose and across the forehead above the eyes. There is also a strap that goes around the neck of the horse to hold keep the bridle on the horse. All the straps are connected by buckles. The reins are long strips of leather that connect to each side of the bit and are used by the rider to control the horse. The bridle is a piece of equipment that keeps the horse under control of the rider.

            This brings us to the topic of how to “bridle” our passions. Alma was a great high priest and prophet in ancient America, and he had three sons – Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton. Alma loved his sons, and he took his fathering responsibilities seriously by teaching his sons what they should do. When Alma became older, he took each son separately and gave them a specific lesson. Helaman, the oldest son, was taught how to be a great Church leader. Corinanton, the youngest son, was taught the importance of chastity, repentance, and living a good moral life. Shiblon, the middle son, was praised for being steady, faithful, and diligent in keeping the commandments of God. As one part of the counsel given by his father, Shiblon was admonished to “bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love” (Alma 38:12).

            What does controlling our passions have to do with love? Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Marie explained that a bridle was meant to direct desires and passions but not to destroy them.

Is self-denial wise because something is wrong with our passions, or because something is right with our passions? Alma taught his son: “See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” (Alma 38:12; emphasis added.) He did not say eliminate or even suppress your passions, but bridle them – harness, channel, and focus them. Why? Because discipline makes possible a richer, deeper love (The Belonging Heart [1994], 302).

            We bridle our passions to have “richer, deeper love.” President Boyd K. Packer, then-President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, frequently taught this principle: “The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed together for time and for all eternity.” To have this happiness at home and to be sealed for time and all eternity, a couple must be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, understand its principles and doctrines, and make and keep sacred covenants.

            The scriptures teach that the Gods organized this earth and created man in their own image as male and female. God then commanded the man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Abraham 4:27-28). This commandment has not been rescinded but is still in force. To ensure that His sons and daughters would multiply and replenish the earth, God planted in each of them the desire to mate. He was certain to make this desire constant and strong to encourage mating.

            President Packer taught that “Our happiness in mortal life, our joy and exaltation are dependent upon how we respond to these persistent, compelling physical desires.” He said that “very personal feelings occur, in a natural way, unlike any other physical experience” when the procreative power is mature. He taught that it is ideal if “mating begins with romance” and all that romance brings – “feelings of excitement and anticipation, … holding hands, and other expressions of affection between a young man and a young woman.” However, “Mature love has a bliss not even imagined by newlyweds” if passions are bridled and kept under control.

True love requires reserving until after marriage the sharing of that affection which unlocks those sacred powers in that fountain of life. It means avoiding situations where physical desire might take control. Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal and lawful ceremony, and ideally after the sealing ordinance in the temple are those procreative powers released in God’s eye for the full expression of love. It is to be shared solely and only with that one who is your companion forever.

When entered into worthily, this process combines the most exquisite and exalted physical, emotional, and spiritual feelings associated with the word love. That part of life has no equal, no counterpart, in all human experience. It will, when covenants are made and kept, last eternally….

            This is what Elder and Sister Hafen meant by “richer, deeper love.” It usually includes romantic love, but romantic love is not enough. This kind of love takes time, sacrifice, and endurance to develop. It takes repentance and forgiveness. It takes service and understanding. It is worth every effort because it can last forever. When we want our love to last forever, we protect it and treat it with great care. When we “bridle” all our passions, we are protecting our love and helping it to grow even richer and deeper.

Friday, July 24, 2020

How Do We Deal with Misguided Children of All Ages?

            To have strong communities and nations, parents must accept the responsibility to train their children to take their place as competent adults. It is all too obvious that too many parents failed as parents. Tomorrow marks two full months since the death of George Floyd, and “misguided children” are still running around destroying cities.

            Former congressman Allen West discusses the delusion of America’s misguided children. He asks a question that all of us should have asked weeks ago: “What does the destruction of statues of abolitionists have to do with George Floyd?”

OK, yes, that is the pure definition of a rhetorical question; it has nothing to do with it. And therein lies the crux of what is happening in America. The misguided children, and that reference is not based upon age, but rather level of rational competence, have taken a totally unrelated event and leveraged it for an ideological agenda that embraces violence. The nation was appalled at the George Floyd murder. However, the rational inquiry that should be mad3 is, what does tearing down the statue of Frederick Douglas or Abraham Lincoln have to do with George Floyd?

Matter of fact, what do Christopher Columbus, Teddy Roosevelt, or the Washington Redskins have to do with George Floyd? None of those whom I reference wore a Minneapolis police officer uniform and certainly have not been charged and sit in jail awaiting a court date.

Only the irrational, misguided children of the progressive, socialist left would deduce that the way to respond to that tragedy is with violence….

            It is fair to ask how parents are to avoid having children who are so misguided. The answer is to “parent them.” They teach them by word and example how responsible citizens behave. The “misguided children” who are destroying our cities do not seem to understand the time, effort, and money involved in creating viable businesses or building structures. They obviously do not understand that insurance does not always pay in full and that insurance rates increase with every claim made.

            West was quick to emphasize that the term “misguided children” does not apply only to the young to middle-age rioters. It can also apply to mayors and governors who allow the rioters to destroy their cities. The strange thing to me is that black lives do not seem to matter to the Black Lives Matter movement. There have been many blacks who lost their lives over the past two months. They were police officers doing their jobs, they were teens and young adults who joined the protesters, and they were children who were thought to be safe at home.

West said that we should have learned our lesson: We “cannot appease, compromise, negotiate, or acquiesce to the misguided children,” so we should stop trying to satisfy or placate them. He further stated that we should not allow “the misguided children to run the amusement park.” The adults who should be instilling “guidance, rational thought, discipline, wisdom, and discernment” are AWOL.

West clearly stated that adults who lack “the resolve, intestinal fortitude, and character to confront America’s misguided children” become “useful idiots” like those people used by Adolph Hitler. Unless adults soon take control, we will lose our country. We need parents who are willing to teach correct principles and train their children to behave properly if we desire to have strong families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

How Does Knowing History Strengthen Us?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the fact that knowing our history makes us stronger. Tomorrow is an important day in the history of my people. It is Pioneer Day, a day we remember the Mormon Pioneers. On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young and a company of Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes called Mormon, were forced out of Nauvoo, Illinois, and other locations including Kirtland (Ohio) and Missouri. There was no place within the United States where they could practice their religion.

The Pioneers left the boundaries of the United States and went to Utah Territory in search of a place where they could worship God as they chose. They were all committed to the American belief that each person had freedom of religion. They all left homes and property, and some left loved ones behind to follow the Prophet. Some of them drove covered wagons pulled by oxen, horses, or mules. Others pulled handcarts that held all their earthly possessions, or those they considered most important. Most, even little children, walked. No one knows exactly how many pioneers crossed the Great Plains of the United States between 1847 and 1868. However, the estimates of historians range between 50,000 and 90,000.

Pioneer Day – July 24th – is an official state holiday in Utah. It is also a day commemorated by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wherever we may live or how our community celebrates it.

When I was a child, Pioneer Day was a special day when Primary children dressed as pioneers and participated in the annual Primary Pioneer Day Parade. Every ward had a parade but usually on Primary day rather than on July 24th.

            Utah normally celebrates Pioneer Day for about two weeks every July. This celebration is called the “Days of ’47,” but it has had other names in past years, such as Pioneer Days or Covered Wagon Days. However, it has been Days of ’47 since 1943.

This celebration includes many events and something for every member of society. There are rodeos in almost every town throughout the state as well as a big one in Salt Lake City. There is always a huge Days of ’47 parade in downtown Salt Lake City. People camp overnight on the streets and in the parks to have a good spot to watch the two-hour parade. The current Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints usually leads the parade. The parade has many beautiful floats and is sponsored jointly by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.

            Like many other celebrations, Days of ’47 has a royalty. A queen and her two attendants have reigned over the pioneer celebration since 1897. One of my high school classmates was the Days of ’47 Queen in 1964.

            Like many events in this strange year of 2020, all events for Days of ’47 have been cancelled and postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing. This is not the first time for the events to be cancelled. They were also cancelled in 1917-18 for World War I, 1942-45 for World War II. This year COVID-19 is the problem.

            The cancellation of events will not deter me from commemorating this important day. Some of my ancestors were among the pioneers who entered the Salt Lake Valley during 1847. They did not all come the same year or in the same way, but all eight of my great-grandparents joined the Church of Jesus Christ and traveled to Utah. Most of them traveled across the plains with the pioneers with the last ones arriving on the newly completed cross-country railroad.

            I am grateful to know the history of my people and my family. This knowledge helps me to know that I am part of a large family and an even larger group of people who believe in Jesus Christ. I gain strength through knowing that my ancestors had enough faith in Jesus Christ to do hard things and to make it possible for me to be born to parents who were active members of Christ’s Church.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

What Evidence Shows That BLM Is Morally Bankrupt?

            The cry of “black lives matter” was heard soon after the video of George Floyd’s death went viral, and most Americans were emotionally moved by the unnecessary death. We could understand to some degree why people were protesting police brutality. Most of us did a self-examination to determine the condition of our heart. We were united against a rogue cop.

            The protests turned into riots, and mobs turned into looters, arsonists, and murderers. I believe that the honest protests were overtaken by paid rioters because the “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) movement suddenly forgot the death of George Floyd and turned to destroying the nation.  It seemed to be that the movement was just waiting for an excuse to riot and took advantage of the situation.

            If the Black Lives Matter movement sincerely cared about black lives, its leaders would focus on something more than destroying statues, monuments, and government buildings. I believe that the first focus should be abortion. In searching for the number of black babies killed in abortions, I found an estimate of 900 per day. This article, dated February 28, 2020, had the following information about total numbers.

Abortion in America has contributed to the greatest decline in black population since the first black slaves arrived in the Americas in the 1600s. According to U.S census data, there were 18,871,831 black American citizens in 1960. Since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, abortion has killed an estimated 20 million black babies – more than the entire black population of 1960.

We know that Planned Parenthood makes it as easy as possible for black women to abort because many, if not most, of their abortion clinics are in black communities. If BLM really cared about black lives, they would be destroying the abortion clinics.

BLM were instantly on the spot to “protest” the death of a black man – George Floyd – by a white cop. However, they do not protest the black on black crime happening every single day in Chicago and other cities.

Four-year-old LeGend Taliferro was asleep at a Kansas City, Missouri, apartment when he was fatally shot at 2:30 a.m. on June 29. People in the apartment awoke when they heard gunshots outside the apartment and realized the boy was shot. A family member took him to a hospital where he was declared dead. Police are searching for those responsible for his death, and President Donald Trump is acting to prevent future deaths. He is sending federal agents into U.S. cities to quell the violence as part of “Operation Legend” – named after the boy. The officers are in Portland, Oregon, and will soon be in Chicago. Why is BLM not protesting the death of little LeGend Taliferro if they care so much about black lives?

             The truth about BLM is that it is a Marxist movement. It was named Black Lives Matter because Black people are emotional, and the creators knew that they could use their emotions if they used racism and anger as tools. The purpose of the movement is to take down the government of the United States and other Western countries and bring in socialism. This is the reason I say that they are morally bankrupt. They are using Black people and making their lives worse. I am grateful that many Blacks have awoken to this fact and are opposing BLM. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Do Americans Have the Right to Defend Their Property?

            The case of Mark and Patricia McCloskey is becoming a saga. The St. Louis couple defended themselves and their property by pointing guns at a mob of 300-500 people who crashed through an iron gate to trespass on their property. Now they have been charged with criminal charges for their action, and their guns – a rifle and a handgun – have been confiscated.  

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner filed the charges and gave the following explanation for them: “It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis.” 

Gardner is a Democrat who seems to have a leftist mentality. The so-called protesters tore down the couple’s gate to enter their property, but she charges the couple for defending their property. This is absurd!

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is the top law enforcement official in Missouri, indicated that he agreed with my evaluation when he said that he would dismiss the case. Since Missouri has a “castle doctrine” law, residents of the state can legally defend their property. The only question is if the jury would believe that the couple thought they were acting in self-defense.

Other people agree with Schmitt and me. Missouri Governor Mike Parson tweeted that residents of Missouri have “the right to protect their family and their personal property.” If the attorney general does not dismiss the case, it is possible that the governor would issue a pardon.

Amy Swearer at The Heritage Foundation said that the burden of proof would be on the state to prove that the case was not “reasonable self-defense.” She also said that “it would be a difficult case to make” for the prosecution to champion the right to protest because the protesters left public property and entered private property when they tore down the gate.

            There are claims that this is political prosecution by Gardner. Her office indicated that there is “a backlog of cases and dozens of homicides that haven’t been prosecuted” even as this case has been “accelerated” forward. What else can we expect from someone whose election was supported by money from George Soros?

Monday, July 20, 2020

Who Is Esther Salas?

My VIP for this week is Federal Judge Esther Salas, age 51, who was appointed last week “to hear an ongoing lawsuit with ties to Jeffrey Epstein.” It appears that somebody does not like Judge Salas. A gunman approached the Salas home in North Brunswick, New Jersey, on Sunday dressed as a FedEx delivery driver and approached the door as though delivering a package.

When the assassin knocked on the door, the Judge’s husband, Mark Anderl, answered the door and was critically injured. He is a 63-year-old criminal defense attorney and was shot twice. The assassin then shot the couple’s son, Daniel Anderl, in the heart. Daniel, age 20, was a student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. before he died. Judge Salas is now receiving 24-hour protection from US Marshals.

The suspect, Roy Den Hollander, was found dead on Monday in his car near Liberty, New York. It is reported that he had a FedEx package addressed to Salas in his car. Police said that the cause of his death “appeared to be a self-inflicted, gunshot wound.” Hollander was an attorney. Salas agreed to hear one of his cases filed in 2015, but she dismissed part of the lawsuit in 2019 with another part still pending. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr said that he has ordered a comprehensive investigation of the assault.

On behalf of the entire Justice Department, I send my deepest condolences to Judge Salas and her family on the death of their son and wish her husband a swift and complete recovery.

This kind of lawless, evil action carried out against a member of the federal judiciary will not be tolerated, and I have ordered the full resources of the FBI and U.S. Marshalls Service to investigate the matter.

I suppose that it remains to be seen what Hollander’s motivation was for the shooting. Was he upset with the Judge because of the case that he had before her, or was he acting on behalf of someone involved in the Epstein case?

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Why Is It So Difficult for Liberals to Understand the Second Amendment?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This amendment says that Americans have the right have and use firearms. This means that we have the right to defend our lives and our property.

            Mark and Patricia McCloskey, residents of St. Louis, Missouri, used their firearms to defend their home on June 28, 2020, when “300-500” protesters broke down the iron gate to threaten their home. They were “loud but not violent,” but they threatened to kill the owners and either burn the house or live in it. I can imagine that it was a scary situation for the couple. Most of us have seen pictures of the McCloskeys standing on their front steps with guns in their hands facing a mob of rioters. Mark was holding a rifle, and Patricia was holding a handgun.

            The rioters returned on July 3, but they faced a different scenario. The McCloskeys were alerted enough in advance to hire a private security company to protect their residence. The night before the return, the couple began hiding valuables and securing their home.

            According to Albert Watkins, their attorney at the time, the couple did not arm themselves until they felt threatened.

My clients didn’t sit on their front stoop with guns…. No firearms were on them at the time that they were, as property owners, standing in front of their home…. It was not until they basically were in a position of seeing and observing violence, recklessness, lawbreaking, and knowing that the police were not going to be doing anything.

            The couple has a new attorney, Joel Schwartz, who confirmed that the search warrant was issued, but he would not confirm or deny if authorities took anything from the home. He does not know the location of the handgun.

A week or so after the first threatening visit, the St. Louis authorities issued a search warrant, and police entered the McCloskey home and took possession of the rifle. The McCloskeys were not arrested or charged with any crime, and the warrant covered a search only for the guns. Schawartz will be contacting Kimberly Gardner, circuit attorney in St. Louis, who announced that her office and the police department would be investigating the McCloskeys and their display of weapons.

I wonder if Gardner or anyone in her office has read the Constitution lately, or at least the Bill of Rights. Neither Mark nor Patricia fired their weapons, so why is an investigation necessary? If any investigation is made, it should be about the rioters who threatened them.

Mary Rose Corkery at The Daily Signal reported that other officials are looking into the situation. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr to scrutinize the matter. He stated that Garner’s decision to investigate Mark and Patricia McCloskey was an “unacceptable abuse of power” as well as a “threat to the Second Amendment.” He later tweeted a statement about his request to the Department of Justice to investigate the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. “Targeting law abiding citizens who exercise constitutionally protected rights for investigation & prosecution is an abuse of power.” 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Is the Idea to Wear a Mask a Simple Answer to Our Fasting and Prayer?

            Last week in Come, Follow Me I studied the false teachings of Korihor in one chapter and the Zoramites in another chapter. The Zoramites met once a week to worship God and never spoke of God again until their next meeting. They built a tall tower in their synagogue, and each person who wanted to pray climbed the tower and said the exact prayer as the person before him said. Poor people were not allowed to worship in the synagogue even though they had helped to build it. The impoverished people sought Alma to ask how they could worship since they could not enter their synagogue.

            This week’s studies consist of the teachings of Alma and Amulek to the poor Zoramites. In Alma 32, Alma taught them about gaining faith in Jesus Christ and told them that the first step was a desire to know. Once they had a desire, they should experiment on the word. He compared the word to a seed, which is nourished and encouraged to grow. We plant the seed of faith in our hearts when we have a desire to know the truth, and we nourished it with prayer, scripture study, listening to prophets and apostles. After a time, the seed of faith will grow into a tree of knowledge.

            Alma taught the poor Zoramites that God hears their prayers whenever they are said. Although we are commanded to gather each week to worship God, we can pray at any time and in any place. In fact, scriptures tell us to pray always or to pray unceasingly. This does not mean that we should multiply many words, use flowery speech, and engage in long hours of solitude. President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explained, “Our hearts can be drawn out to God only when they are filled with love for Him ad trust in His goodness” (Ensign, Nov. 2001, 16).

            Quoting an ancient prophet named Zenos, Alma told the people that they could pray in the wilderness, in the field, in the house, in the closet, or in congregations. Alma quoted two other ancient prophets, Zenock and Moses. Zenock was stoned to death because he testified that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Moses also testified that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

19 Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.

20 But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them. (See Alma 33:19-20.)

            The Israelites in the time of Moses were bitten by fiery flying serpents, and many of them died. The Lord told Moses to make a brass serpent, put it on the end of a pole, and hold it up for the people to see. Those who looked at the brass serpent would be healed, and those who did not look would die. The hearts of some of the people were so hard that they would not perform the simple task of looking because they did not believe.

            At the end of March 2020, President Russell M. Nelson asked members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to fast for the blessings of God. In April, he asked us to fast again on Good Friday, and he invited people from other faiths and all areas of the world to join us in fasting and prayer. He gave us four blessings to fast and pray for: (1) the present pandemic may be controlled, (2) caregivers protected, (3) economy strengthened, and (4) life normalized.

            About the same time as the second fast, the “curve” began to flatten, and deaths began to decrease. About this same time, the “experts” looked at other nations and saw that the virus was better controlled in those countries where the people wore masks. As more people began wearing masks as well as practicing physical distancing and washing hands frequently, cases were falling. Then we celebrated Memorial Day with people gathering. The protests began with hundreds and thousands of people marching and shouting in the streets, many of which did not wear masks. Not long afterwards, we celebrated Independence Day, and now we are seeing the number of coronavirus cases climbing once again.

            Could the simple request for Americans to wear a mask be the answer to our fasting and prayers? A mask helps to control the virus, protect the caregivers, open the economy, and normalize life. Are we so proud and stubborn that we refuse to do one thing that will solve all four problems? Are we as hard hearted as the Israelites that we too refuse to do a simple task that will save lives? Are we willing to do the small and simple task of wearing masks in public?

            I dislike wearing a mask as much as anyone else, and I take my mask off as soon as I am in the car. I hate to wear anything on my face or head, but I wear a mask for my own protection as well as to help my neighbors and to be a good citizen. I am an adult, and I do not need to be forced to do the right thing. I am also willing to accept counsel that may have been the answer for which we fasted and prayed. Miracles come in small and simple packages, and the idea of wearing a mask may be our own miracle.

Friday, July 17, 2020

What Is the Difference between Teaching and Indoctrination?

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when the rising generation is taught correct principles, true history, and how to find truth. Elementary and secondary school children are in school approximately six hours per day and five days per week for nine months out of every year. A problem arises, however, when parents allow other people to have extended influence on their children. How are parents to know what children are being taught?

            Church leaders and socialists agree that early childhood is the time to teach/indoctrinate society. King Solomon is credited with the saying, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). So, how do we know if a child is being taught good principles and skills or just being indoctrinated? Why is it important to make sure that children are being taught properly?

            Teaching is the tool for education. A teacher is an authority figure that teaches ideas, principles, and knowledge to other people. Education is the process of learning from a teacher. For teaching to take place, there must also be learning on the part of the student.

            According to Auguste Mevrat, “indoctrination happens through many channels – entertainment, speeches, and censorship – but its main instrument is the school system. Teachers have a captive audience of malleable young minds for several years. They may not have figured out how to make students smart and productive, but they can at least make them submissive and obedient.”

            I have been pondering a question that I read recently that goes something like this: “Who has been teaching the rising generation to hate America?” Who told our children and teenagers that Christopher Columbus was a terrible person? Who convinced our young adults that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other Founding Fathers were not good men and should not be held in a place of honor? Is this what our children are learning in public schools and universities?

            What kind of liberal garbage is being fed to our young adults on college campuses? I recently saw a chart showing 82% of college professors are liberal and 18% of them are moderate. There are few, if any, conservative professors on most college campuses. How can young adults learn to compare liberalism and conservatism when they are taught only liberalism? Is it a coincidence that young adults are the ones pulling down statues and destroying monuments to our Founding Fathers?

            According to Mevrat, “Curriculum should help guide the teacher to create lessons and use materials that will train the students to think and function independently. Instead, most public-school curricula … do the opposite.” He then explained why he considers Common Core to be indoctrination.

Common Core has facilitated progressive indoctrination by smothering independent though and stifling intellectual development. It effectively trains students not to think by emphasizing skills over content, process over product, and relative standards over absolute ones.

            Mevrat indicated that all areas suffer. In the humanities, studies “focus on teaching supposedly practical skills rather quality content.” Students are assigned journalistic nonfiction and taught research skills rather than “reading great poetry and literature.” “Instead of reading for meaning and writing clearly, students read for bias and learn to write fluff.” History is one of the areas that suffer the most because students are taught “everything except remembering actual history and synthesizing information.” This means that “both literary and historical content is drained of relevance or meaning. While students learn to process data, they do not think about anything in particular.”

Math and science are hurt more by Common Core’s obsession with the process over the product. Reaching the right answer means little in Common Core math. It is more important that students learn various arbitrary methods through which they can arrive at an answer. Students receive more credit for following a needlessly complicated breakdown, complete with color-coding and an array of abstract terms, for relatively simple computation….

Mevrat wrote that “some students can make their way through the Common Core curriculum without knowing much math or science at all,” and they stop thinking because it is meaningless. This brings about “a pervasive relativism in education.”

…Content is interchangeable, and mastery is either illusory or impossible. Knowledge becomes subjective. One text is as good as another. One period of history is as important as another. One theory or formula is as useful as another. It is hard to learn how to think when there is nothing real to think about.

In such a system, thinking is only the articulation of opinion; it has no bearing on truth. This means that people don’t really need to think critically and understand why they believe what they do. They just need to have the right viewpoint and force others to conform like they’ve been forced to conform. They engage in arguments where the loudest voice wins because no one’s points are better than another. They pressure instead of persuade.

This, in turn, leads to tribalism – groups of people united in feeling and opinion, but not in reason and truth. The lack of thought makes all these groups vulnerable to mass media and prevents any organized resistance to an encroaching state or lawless ideologue in power. Indoctrination is complete when perception (i.e., whatever is on the screen, whatever an “expert” says, whatever is popular) really does become reality for most people because they’re too stupid or apathetic to respond rationally.

            How can we reclaim the rising the generation from the indoctrinated masses? Mevrat said that the “only real solution to indoctrination, then, is good teachers. These good teachers include “parents, mentors, and other knowledgeable adults” who “train students in methods of thought while supplying the stuff of thought. They teach a person to evaluate an argument properly, find actual solutions to problems, and determine what is true and what is false.”

            We need to look for – and be – the type of teacher that does not promote “one ideology over another” and “trust [the] student to reason through to the right position…."

Only clear thought will be the death of foggy indoctrination. If people want to pass on their ideas on to the next generation, they should focus on building up logic, not just giving them the right texts to read and TV shows to watch. The goal should be to understand the reasons, not follow the signals of the right tribe.

At some point, indoctrination will always collapse on itself and leave mediocrity in its wake. Teaching, by contrast, is what will sustain our culture and bring out its virtues. It fosters the presence of active thought – not uniform thought – and it is what will ultimately mend and civilize our sorely divided country.

It is our responsibility to make sure that the rising generation is taught and not indoctrinated. By seeking out good teachers for our children, we can strengthen our homes, communities, and nations.