Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Does Election Fraud Happen?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the right to vote. Every citizen of the United States age 18 years and older have the right to vote unless they have forfeited that right by becoming a felon. However, the right to vote is threatened by voter fraud. For every fraudulent vote, one legal vote is forfeited.

            The 2020 presidential election left millions of Americans with concerns over the integrity of the election. The Heritage Foundation maintains an Election Fraud Database with proven instances of voter fraud added on a regular basis, which catalogs 1,311 cases of voter fraud. The most recent entry came from the 2020 election. Kaitlynn Samalis-Aldrich and Hans von Spakovsky gave some details about this case as well as others. 

[First] … Michigan resident Paul Parana pleaded guilty to one count of impersonating someone else to vote in an election. Authorities said Parana filled out and signed an absentee ballot on behalf of his daughter. He was sentenced to 90 days of probation and ordered to pay $1,100 in fines and court cases.

[Second] Another case arose out of the May special election in Paterson, New Jersey, for the Ward 3 seat on the City Council. A superior court judge overturned the election results due to serious questions about the validity of “mail-in votes.”

The special election had been conducted completely by mail, and allegations of an absentee ballot trafficking scheme and fraud began to surface shortly after the results were tabulated.

Judge Ernest Caposela concluded that the election was “not the fair, free, and full expression of the intent of the voters.”

Shockingly, officials rejected 24.3% of all ballots, compared with the county’s average rejection rate of around 9% in past elections.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office has been investigating the origins of the voter fraud in Paterson. Police have made four arrests in connection with the alleged scheme….

            These are only two of the cases discussed by the authors. Other cases came from New Jersey, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas. They involved voting by a noncitizen, a convicted felon, candidate for city council forging signatures to get on the ballot, widespread fraud that eliminated 600 ballots, and a group of voters giving a hotel address to register to vote in a district where they did not live.

            The problems with the election process should be addressed as quickly as possible.  Americans have the right to free and fair elections, and this right should be protected to maintain the right to self-government. Under the Constitution, state legislatures are responsible for election integrity. There should be no interference with the voters’ right to vote for the candidates of their choice, and state legislatures should ensure that every legal vote will count, and every illegal vote will not count. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

What Is the Worth of a Human Soul?

             My Come, Follow Me lesson for this week comes from Doctrine and Covenants 18-19. Joseph Smith knew that Jesus Christ would reestablish His Church on the earth again. The Lord might have revealed this information as early as 1828 (see Doctrine and Covenants 10:53-55.) However, the time had not yet come.

            Meanwhile in June 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had moved to the home of Peter Whitmer Sr. in Fayette, New York, and there they continued to translate the Book of Mormon. Peter, James, and John had conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood on Joseph and Oliver previous to their move. At this time, they were seeking knowledge about how to exercise the keys of that priesthood.

            One day Joseph and Oliver were praying in the room they used in the Whitmer home, and the word of the Lord came to them. They were directed to use the priesthood to ordain elders, administer the sacrament, and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. However, Joseph and Oliver were to wait until a group of believers could assemble to perform the ordinances.

            Joseph and Oliver waited for the Lord’s command to organize the Church. At the same time, they were near the completion of the translation of the Book of Mormon. They learned as they translated the books of 3 Nephi and Moroni that these books contained information about the priesthood ordinances as well as the procedures of the Church of Jesus Christ. This information inspired and guided them as they awaited the time to organize the Savior’s Church.

            Those were the circumstances of Joseph and Oliver when the Lord revealed the information now known as Doctrine and Covenants 18. The revelation came through Joseph Smith and was addressed to Joseph, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer. It gave directions for building up the Church and contained instructions for the men that would be called as the Twelve Apostles. Much of Sections 18 and 19 are about repentance, and Doctrine and Covenants 18 contains these powerful verses (10-11, 15-16):

10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of the God.

11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him….

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

            The Lord said that the worth of a soul is great in His sight. What does the word “great” mean to the Lord? What is the worth of a human soul? This is a question that was asked by Paul C. Child in the following experience related by President Thomas S. Monson.

In March 1967, early in my service as a member of the Council of the Twelve, I was attending a conference of the Monument Park West Stake in Salt Lake City. My companion for the conference was a member of the General Church Welfare Committee, Paul C. Child. …

When it was his opportunity to participate, President Child took in hand the Doctrine and Covenants and left the pulpit to stand among the priesthood brethren to whom he was directing his message. He turned to section 18 and began to read [verses 10 and 15]. …

President Child then raised his eyes from the scriptures and asked the brethren: “What is the worth of a human soul?” He avoided calling on a bishop, a stake president, or a high councilor for a response. Instead, he selected the president of an elders quorum – a brother who had been a bit drowsy and had missed the significance of the question.

The startled man responded, “Brother Child, could you please repeat the question?”

The question was repeated: “What is the worth of a human soul?”

… I prayed fervently for that quorum president. He remained silent for what seemed like an eternity and then declared, “Brother Child, the worth of a human soul is its capacity to become as God.”

All present pondered that reply. Brother Child returned to the stand, leaned over to me, and said, “A profound reply; a profound reply!” He proceeded with his message, but I continued to reflect on that inspired response” (“May Brother’s Keeper,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 43).

[President Monson later declared:] We have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are but rather as they can become. I would plead with you to think of them in this way” (“See Others as They May Become,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 70).

            The Lord wants us to cry repentance to the people of the world because He desires that they all return to His presence. He knows that they cannot enter the presence of God without being cleansed by repentance. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that “crying repentance simply means helping people return to God” (“Preparing for Your Spiritual Destiny” [Brigham Young University fireside address, Jan. 10, 2010], 7

            Doctrine and Covenants 19 was a revelation given through Joseph Smith to Martin Harris. As the completion of the translation of the Book of Mormon neared in June 1829, Joseph Smith and Martin Harris hired the printer Egbert B. Grandin to do the printing. The price for printing 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon was $3,000. Grandin refused to start printing the book without a guaranteed payment for the job.

            The farm of Martin and Lucy Harris was one of the finest farms in Palmyra, New York. They worked for years to acquire and establish the farm, and the farm had provided for their family as well as given them good standing in the community. Martin made a verbal agreement to pay for the printing of the 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon by mortgaging some of his farm. Later, he became concerned about the mortgage. In Doctrine and Covenants 19, the Lord commanded Martin to mortgage his farm and then revealed some important truths about His own atoning sacrifice. In Doctrine and Covenants 19:15-20, the Lord said the following.

15 Therefore I command you to repent – repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore – how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all that they might not suffer if they would repent;

17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit – and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink –

19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

20 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

            Jesus Christ knew that the worth of a soul was great because He paid the price for each and every soul when He made His atoning sacrifice. Then-Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified why Jesus Christ was willing to suffer for our sins.

In some incredible way that none of us can fully comprehend, the Savior took upon Himself the sins of the world. Even though His life was pure and free of sin, He paid the ultimate penalty for sin – yours, mine, and everyone who has ever lived. His mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish were so great they caused Him to bleed from every poor (see Luke 22:44; D&C 19:18). And yet Jesus suffered willingly so that we might all have the opportunity to be washed clean – through having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized by proper priesthood authority, receiving the purifying gift of the Holy Ghost by confirmation, and accepting all other essential ordinances. Without the Atonement of the Lord, none of these blessings would be available to us, and we could not become worthy and prepared to return to dwell in the presence of God” (“The Atonement and the Value of One Soul,” Ensign, May 2004, 85).

            What is the worth of a human soul? It is worth the suffering of a God! The Savior made the atoning sacrifice, but Heavenly Father also made a sacrifice. “For God loved us, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The worth of every human soul is great because it is the price paid by the Father and the Son that we may all repent and return to their presence.

Friday, February 26, 2021

What Is the Connection between the Equality Act and Transgender Ideology?

             Families, communities, and nations are stronger when kids are allowed to be kids without being confused by adult topics. They should be allowed to maintain their innocence for as long as possible. Yet, there are people who use and abuse children for their own pleasure and agenda. One such agenda is in the spotlight at the current time. The left is pushing a destructive gender ideology on our nation, and they are doing it with the blessings of the elected leaders and representatives.

            President Joe Biden said in his inaugural address that he would unite the nation and bring healing to America. Then he went to the White House where he signed an executive order that mandates the radical transgender agenda. The order has two statements that sound innocent: (1) “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.” (2) “People should be able to access health care and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination.”

            No honest person could disagree with either of the two statements. Americans want children to be able to learn in a friendly environment, and everyone should have access to health care and housing without being discriminated against. Ryan T. Anderson at The Heritage Foundation explained what the statements actually mean. 

Boys who identify as girls must be allowed to compete in the girls’ athletic competitions, men who identify as women must be allowed in women-only spaces, health care plans must pay for gender transition procedures, and doctors and hospitals must perform them….

In reality, it spells the end of girls and women’s sports as we know them. And, of course, no child should be told the lie that they’re “trapped in the wrong body,” and adults should not pump them full of puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones.

With this executive order, the so-called transgender moment has arrived at the White House….

            Anderson wrote a book that could help Americans to effectively respond to such actions. The book is titled, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.” Amazon must continue this book to be dangerous to society because the company quietly stopped selling it!

            The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the Equality Act yesterday. The goal for bill is to put the strength of the federal government behind the transgender ideology. Unless Democrat Senators cross the line and vote against the bill, it will become the law of the land. However, this bill will not become law without a fight from conservatives.

            Biden’s nominee for U.S. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary is the current Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine. If appointed to the new post, Levine plans to advance the ideology even further. However, Levine’s qualifications have been questioned. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), a licensed ophthalmologist, exposed Levine’s lack of qualifications on Thursday.

            Rand noted that “Genital mutilation has been nearly universally condemned … by the WHO [World Health Organization], the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund.” 

According to the WHO, genital mutilation is recognized internationally as a violation of human rights. Genital mutilation is considered particularly egregious because, as the WHO notes, it is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children.

Most genital mutilation is not typically performed by force, but as WHO notes, … [but] by social convention, social norm, the social pressure to conform, to do what others do and have been doing, as well as the need to be accepted socially and the fear of being rejected by the community.

American culture is now normalizing the idea that minors can be given hormones to prevent their biological development of their secondary sexual characteristics.

Dr. Levine, you have supported both allowing minors to be given hormone blockers to prevent them from going through puberty as well as surgical destruction of a minor’s genitalia.

Like surgical mutilation, hormonal interruption of puberty can permanently alter and prevent secondary sexual characteristics.

Dr. Levine, do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?

            Dr. Levine danced around the question, and Senator Rand said: “Let it go into the record that the witness refused to answer the question. The question is a very specific one: Should minors be making these momentous decisions?”

            In writing about the interview, Jared Eckert at The Heritage Foundation said, “Paul is right to make the comparison between genital mutilation and ‘transgender care’ for minors. In any other case, the physical destruction of a minor’s genitalia as a result of social pressures to conform and be accepted by others would be condemned as genital mutilation.” Eckert added, “Indeed, this is the description of genital mutilation, according to the World Health Organization. Inflicting such irreversible harm to children’s bodies should be condemned for what it is.” Eckert continued with the following: 

The standards of care Levine recommends are highly controversial and disputed.

The science shows that among children who struggle with gender dysphoria, 80% of girls and 95% of boys will reconcile with their biological sex if they are allowed to go through puberty. Moreover, those who undergo sex-change interventions do not experience lasting benefits with regards to mental health. In fact, they are 19 times more likely to commit suicide.

Additionally, besides sterilization, puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones have been shown to damage cardiovascular health, bone density, and reproductive functions. Paul was right to point out the left’s double standard when it comes to approved medicine.

            The transgender ideology has a firm hold in some adult sections of America. However, children and teens should be protected from pressure to conform to it. The facts listed above show that the vast majority of both girls and boys reconcile with their biological sex when they go through puberty. This shows the great danger found in pushing this ideology on children and teens in our society. When we protect children and teens from radical ideologies, we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations.  

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Why Should Americans Be Concerned about the Equality Act?

             The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns a bill making its way through Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, a bill known as the Equality Act. This bill if made into law will weaken civil rights laws by equating biological sex with sexual orientation and gender identity, according to Rep. Robert Good (Virginia). 

This legislation at its core would take civil rights laws designed to protect classes of people based upon immutable and objective characteristics and would instead base it upon subject ideas about gender and political viewpoints about sexual orientation.

For example, if a biological boy or man identifies himself as a girl or woman, he would be considered just as female under the Equality Act – which opens the doors to allowing biological men to compete with girls and women in sports or use female restrooms across the country.

By equating the immutable with the subjective, those in power seek a moral mandate to silence any dissenting viewpoint.

The Equality Act will be extremely detrimental to the rights of women and girls in sports, churches and synagogues, private schools, and other faith-based organizations.

            The Equality Act is the latest move by Leftists to silence dissent. The movement started ten or twenty years ago with “politically-correct speech” and has only gotten worse. Good wrote that the legislation “reveals how the left has no tolerance in the public square for dissenting viewpoints.” It does not matter to Leftists that the great majority of Americans believe in traditional values, the same values that have kept America strong for more than 200 years. Good argued that it is time for Americans to “stop pretending” that opposition to traditional American values comes from moderates.

The Equality Act is a deliberate attempt to force people of faith to embrace behaviors that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs, which will limit their freedom to love their neighbors.

The Equality Act would make wholesale and damaging changes to our nation’s civil rights laws, with little to no debate in Congress regarding how this legislation will affect the daily lives of Americans and the institutions they hold dear.

While the Equality Act purports to be an “inclusive” piece of legislation, it actually excludes those with different viewpoints. It would ultimately put civil rights law at odds with long-standing religious beliefs pertaining to sex, sexuality, and other moral issues.

This means that faith-based nonprofits – such as a Christian homeless shelter for battered women, an adoption or foster care agency, or another religiously affiliated provider of social services – could not serve in good conscience or operate consistently with their principles without the risk of suffering consequences under federal law.

            Good concludes his article by stating that making the Equality Act federal law will put all Americans in line to being persecuted and tried in federal court. Conservative Americans should be concerned about the Equality Act and should be contacting their representatives in Washington, D.C., and making their thoughts and feelings known.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

What Problems Would Be Caused by Passage of the Equality Act?

             The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives created H.R.5, generally known as the Equality Act. This bill has the potential to damage various areas of life in America. According to Jarrett Stepman, this bill, if it became law, would “add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes into the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” If passed, this bill would mandate the radical gender ideology through federal law. 

“[The Equality Act] would create a destructive gender ideology in education, and it would establish a government-favored viewpoint on marriage that would stigmatize children and their parents,” said Emilie Kao, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.

            At the webinar held yesterday, participants spoke of numerous ways that the Equality Act would hurt girls, women, and families. This potential law would put children on an uneven playing field, and it would move the rights of women and girls backwards. It “would adversely affect parents, adoption agencies, religious organizations, and many other Americans” according to Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.).

            The potential law would destroy the success for women and girls made possible by Title IX because it would cause school and sports programs to allow biological males to compete against girls and women if they “identify” as female.

“What is very concerning to me is the impact of the Equality Act on women’s sports,” [Hartzler] said. “And it will set back women, and ruin all the gains they have made to get a level playing field in sports, by allowing those who have different gender identities – that is, biological males who identify as females – to participate in female sports.”

            Hartzler recognized what many people apparently do not: there are differences between men and women. These differences create unfairness when biological men who identify as women are allowed to play female sports. In most situations where a man competes against a woman, the male wins. If biological men are allowed to compete in women’s sports, it becomes almost impossible for females to get collegiate athletic scholarships.

            Connecticut is one state that allows transgender women – biological males – to compete in female sports and have done so for seven years. “Biological males participating in female sports ‘have won over 15 different championships’ that would have gone to girls,” according to Hartzler. If the Equality Act becomes law, it will create the same situation nationwide and destroy women’s sports programs.

            As bad as it would treat women’s sports, this is unimportant to what it does to children and teenagers who are confused about the biological sex. Dr. Michelle Cretella is the executive director of the American College of Pediatricians. According to Stepman, she explained that “gender dysphoria in minors should be treated carefully and with a ‘thorough psychological assessment’ of the child. “As long as the children do not have this confusion reinforced, the majority of children who are confused about their biological sex will outgrow it by the time they are young adults,” Cretella said.

            Cretella said that the number of children with the gender-identity confusion is increasing. “We are essentially gaslighting children into the lie that they could be born in the wrong body,” Cretella said. “This then will put them on a medical pathway … in which we stop their normal puberty, we arrest it, we give them a disease, the absence of normal puberty.” She called the situation “institutionalized child abuse.”

            The “most troubling part of the new gender-identity agenda” for Maria Keffler, a co-founder of Partners for Ethical Care, is that children are being told things that are not true. The agenda introduces things that are “not factual, that are not scientifically underpinned, that have no basis in reality,” and that “we are teaching this to our kids en masse.”

            Another part of the problem is that professional therapists “will not address other underlying problems in children with gender dysphoria. Teachers, administrators, and counselors are compelled to affirm gender confusion and medicalize it.” All of these problems would be reinforced by the Equality Act and reach into many areas of American life. The passage of this bill would open a Pandora’s Box of many problems.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

What Was Learned in the Senate Hearing Today about Assault on the Capitol?

             A mob assaulted the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rushed an impeachment action against President Donald Trump on January 13, accusing him of “inciting insurrection.” A casual reading of Trump’s words shows that he did not incite anything. The Senate began the impeachment trial on February 9, and the Senators acquitted Trump before the week was over.

            Today two Senate committees began oversight hearings about the mob’s actions to question former and current officials about how the rioters breached the building. Fred Lucas at The Heritage Foundation found six highlights from the hearings.

            Highlight #1: The attack on the Capital was a “Coordinated Attack” that was “clearly” “planned in advance.” The assault on the Capitol began while Trump was speaking – 20 minutes before the event ended -- at the rally located on the Ellipse, which is south of the White House.

“These people came specifically with equipment. You’re bringing climbing gear to a demonstration, explosives, chemical spray – you’re coming prepared,” former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned under pressure after the riot, told senators during the hearing.

In his testimony to senators, acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said of the attack, “I certainly believe it was coordinated.”

Contee pointed to the “placement of pipe bombs in the area,” among other evidence “adding to what we know in hindsight now as a result of the ongoing investigation of the FBI.

            Highlight #2: There was a “Lack of Intelligence Sharing” among agencies. According to Contee, “The District did not have intelligence pointing to a coordinated assault on the Capitol.” Other officials also testified that they were unaware of any intelligence on an attack.

Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., said lawmakers would conduct a broad investigation, beyond this initial hearing, into what he called the “colossal breakdown” in security that allowed the Capitol to be breached.

“… The attack on Jan. 6 was an extraordinary event that requires exhaustive consideration. The American people deserve answers on why their Capitol was breached.”

            Highlight #3: Law Enforcement Officials Are “Rejecting ‘Complicit’ Charge.” Pelosi appointed retired Army lieutenant general Russel HonorĂ© to lead an investigation into the assault. He said in an MSNBC interview: “I think once this all gets uncovered, it was complicit actions by Capitol Police.” This statement was challenged in the meetings.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., asked: “Were you complicit in this attack on Jan. 6?”

Sund answered first, saying, “Absolutely not, and I think it is disrespectful to myself and members of the Capitol Police Department.” …

“Of course none of you were,” Hawley said. “There is absolutely no evidence to that effect. Mr. Sund, I think your comments are appropriately taken. To allege that any of you were complicit in this violent mob attack on this building is not only extremely disrespectful, it’s really quite shocking. And this person has really no business leading any security review related to the events of Jan. 6.”

            Highlight #4: What Was Said about the “National Guard and ‘Optics’”? Senator Hawley questioned the security officials about “why they determined the National Guard would not be needed.” There was disagreement between Sund and Irving about whether Sund had requested the National Guard. Sund said that he requested them, and Irving saying that he did not. Sund accused Irving of denying the National Guard’s help because of “optics.” One thing became clear, however. It was Irving, along with then-Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, who called in the National Guard. Irving said that he did not wait to concur with Senate and House leaders.

            Highlight #5: There Was “Lack of Training” for Such a Situation. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) was puzzled about the statement of “lack of training to deal with such a situation.” Sund, the former Capitol Police chief, responded:

We do train for people trying to get into the building. We don’t train for an insurrection of thousands of people. Our officers do have less-than-lethal capability that they do carry with them. With hindsight being what it is, I think there needs to be additional training, additional equipment to consider [for] this type of attack in the future.

            Highlight #6: “Questions About ‘Provocateurs’.” “Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) read aloud from, and entered into the Senate record, an article by J. Michael Waller, a senior analyst at the Center for Security Policy, a national security think tank.”

In it, Walker writes that “provocateurs” infiltrated a pro-Trump march with peaceful protesters and whipped up a normally law-abiding crowd to turn against law enforcement. Walker was an eyewitness to the Trump rally Jan. 6 before it turned into a riot.

“I would really recommend everyone on the committee read this account,” Johnson said. …

“The House [impeachment] managers made a big deal that this was predictable, this was foreseeable, which I don’t believe. Do you believe the breach of the Capitol, do you believe that was foreseeable and predictable?” Johnson asked the former Capitol Police chief.

Sund said neither he nor leaders of other federal agencies were aware of such a threat, and referred to the D.C. police chief’s earlier comment.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Who Is Carol Swain?

             My VIP for this week is Carol M. Swain who grew up in a two-room shack in the rural South. She was one of nine children in a poor family. How poor? One year the entire family failed their grade because they missed 80 out of the 180 days of school. The reason that they missed so much school is that there was a lot of snow that year, and the family did not have proper footwear for the children.

            Swain and all her siblings dropped out of school after the eighth grade. She married at sixteen years of age and bore her first child at age seventeen. By the time that she was twenty years old, she was the mother of three children. She married twice, but both marriages had problems. She wanted to be able to provide for herself and her children financially, so she decided to go to school.

            Working forty hours per week in the college library to provide for her family and to pay for her schooling, Swain received a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Doctorate. She was a tenured associate professor of politics and public policy at Princeton University. She later worked as a college professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University. She retired from Vanderbilt and now teaches for PragerU.

            Swain is an author of at least nine published books. She is a public speaker and political commentator. She is a lifetime member of the James Madison Society. Her passion is “empowering others to raise their voices in the public square.” She has many other accomplishments that I chose not to mention. You can learn more about Swain at her site.

                I was familiar with Swain from various sources, but I did not know her story or much about her. I happened onto this site tonight and was mesmerized with her story. I hope that you will listen to her story and learn how to overcome difficult circumstances to become successful. She is a wonderful example doing things outside her comfort zone because it was the right thing for her to do. The 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

What Are School Children Being Taught about History?

             The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the necessity of teaching true history to the rising generation. The public-school systems are some of the guiltiest among those who are changing history. The 1619 Project is one such assault on American history as it targets K-12 education. Larry Bell describes the 1619 project as follows: 

Ideological attacks on America’s history are being incorporated into a growing number of public K-12 school programs throughout our country portraying America as a hopelessly racist culture. The central theme relies upon a hotly contested school of thought known as the “New History of Capitalism” (NHC) which asserts that modern American capitalism is forever rooted in plantation slavery of the pre-Civil War South.

This “1619 Project” was launched as a proposed school curriculum in 2019 with several New York Times Sunday magazine essays expressly intended to “reframe the country’s history” by replacing 1776 as America’s founding date and substituting 1619.

That was the year 20 or so African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia.

            Former President Donald Trump recognized the damage that could be done by the 1619 Project. In September 2020, Trump announced a federal “1776 Commission” for the purpose of promoting “patriotic education” in direct opposition to the 1619 Project. He said that the commission “will encourage our educators to teach your children about the miracle of American history and make plans to honor the 250th anniversary of our founding” in 2026. President Joe Biden shut down the 1776 Commission within the first week or so after his inauguration. Biden deliberately chose to shut down a commission that would expose the warped and distorted American story as told by the 1619 Project.

            February is traditionally “Black History Month.” For more than 30 years, American school children have learned Black history in February. Larry Elder questions why children are learning about the historical achievements of one race apart from and above the historical achievements of other races.” He also questions what parts of Black history the students are being taught. 

            Elder asked what students are being taught about slavery. Are they being taught that “slavery was not unique to America and is as old as humankind?”  He quoted economist and author Thomas Sowell as saying:

More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States or to the 13 colonies from which it was formed. White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire, decades after blacks were freed in the United States.

The second question asked by Elder is, “Are students taught that “race-based preferences,” sometimes called “affirmative action,” were opposed by several civil rights leaders? Whitney Young, the National Urban League Executive Director, supported a plan that would work “for a period of 10 years to make up for historical discrimination,” but his board of directors would not endorse it.

Elder’s third question is, “Do our left-wing educators, during Black History Month, note that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s celebrated New Deal actually hurt blacks? He quoted Jim Powell of the Cato Institute: “The minimum wage regulations made it illegal for employers to hire people who weren’t worth the minimum because they lacked skills. As a result, some 500,000 blacks, particularly in the South, were estimated to have lost their jobs.”

A fourth question asked by Elder is, “Are students taught that gun control began as a means to deny free blacks the right to own guns? “In ruling that blacks were chattel property in the Dred Scott case, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney warned that ruling otherwise would mean that blacks could legally own guns.”

Elder’s fifth question is, “Are students taught that generations of civil rights leaders opposed illegal immigration and raised questions about legal immigration.” “After the Civil War, black abolitionist Frederick Douglass implored employers to hire blacks over new immigrants.” The problem apparently was not solved because “Twenty-five years later, Booker T. Washington pleaded with Southern industrialists to hire blacks over new immigrants.”

Coretta Scott King was also concerned about the effects of illegal immigration on Blacks. She wrote the following in a letter to Congress: “We are concerned … that … the elimination of employer sanctions will cause another problem – the revival of the pre-1986 discrimination against black and brown U.S. and documented workers, in favor of cheap labor – the undocumented workers.”

All Americans should be concerned about the history being taught to the rising generation. Our children, teenagers, and young adults have the right to be taught the correct history of our nation – the bad as well as the good. The future of our democratic republic depends on the rising generation knowing the correct history. This is why socialists are trying to erase our national memories

A new history is being shown to youth in the United States and other countries that criticizes their traditional cultures, curses their founding stories, and condemns their founders. Students are being taught to hate where they come from, and to interpret history through the lens of socialism.

It is a battle for memory, in a war of ideas….

            Leftists took control of the public education systems in America many years ago. Individuals who were in school 20-30 years ago are now the parents of the rising generation. Many of these parents do not see or understand the dangers of socialism because it was ingrained in their minds when they were children and teenagers. America is in a dangerous spot because leftists have been indoctrinating the children for many generations. When the older generations are gone, the memory of the true history will be gone too.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Why Did So Many Whitmers Become Witnesses to the Book of Mormon?

            The Come, Follow Me lesson for this week covered Doctrine and Covenants 14-17. By May 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were making good progress on the work of translating the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. However, their situation in Harmony, Pennsylvania was becoming more difficult. The neighbors were growing more hostile, and Emma Smith’s family was growing less willing to support them. Thus, Joseph and Oliver felt that Harmony was no longer safe.

            About a year earlier, Oliver met David Whitmer who lived in Fayette, New York, with his parents and siblings – about 100 miles away. Oliver contacted David to see if he and Joseph might stay with the Whitmer family while they finished the translation work. Even though no one in the Whitmer family had met Joseph, they opened their home to him, and the Lord blessed them. They received the special instruction that is now contained in Doctrine and Covenants 14-17, and they became a foundational family in the Church as well as witnesses to the Restoration.

            Joseph, Emma, and Oliver moved into the home of Peter Whitmer Sr. and lived there until the translation of the Book of Mormon was completed, and a copyright was secured for the forthcoming book. David Whitmer and two of his brothers were convinced that the work was genuine, and they sought to know what their individual duties were in connection to the work.

Joseph Smith inquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim and received three revelations, which are now known as Sections 14-16, at Fayette, New York in June 1829. The three Whitmer brothers worked on the family farm, but the Lord had a different labor for each of them. David Whitmer later became one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and his brothers, John Whitmer and Peter Whitmer Jr., became two of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon. The three sections are similar but individualized and follow:

Section 14

1 A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men.

2 Behold, I am God; give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my word.

3 Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore who desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God.

4 Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God.

5 Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.

6 Seek to bring forth and establish my Zion. Keep my commandments in all things.

7 And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.

8 And it shall come to pass, that if you shall ask the Father in my name, in faith believing, you shall receive the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance, that you may stand as a witness of the things of which you shall both hear and see, and also that you may declare repentance unto this generation.

9 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth, a light which cannot be hid in darkness;

10 Wherefore, I must bring forth the fulness of my gospel from the Gentiles unto the house of Israel.

11 And behold, thou art David, and thou art called to assist; which thing if ye do, and are faithful, ye shall be blessed both spiritually and temporally, and great shall be your reward. Amen.

            Jesus Christ told David Whitmer that He was about to do a “great and marvelous work” (verse 1). The Lord compared His work to the work with which David was familiar, and He spoke in language that David could easily understand – that of a farmer. The Lord also compared His word to a “two-edged sword,” meaning that the word of God us quick, powerful, and sharp. He promised that David would receive eternal life – “the greatest of all the gifts of God” if he endured to the end.

            President Russell M. Nelson taught, “Under God’s great plan of happiness, families can be sealed in temples and be prepared to return to dwell in His holy presence forever. That is eternal life!” (“Thanks Be to God,” Ensign, May 2012, 77).

Section 15

1 Hearken, my servant John, and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer.

2 For behold, I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth.

3 And I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone –

4 For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.

5 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments.

6 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

Section 16

1 Hearken, my servant Peter, and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer.

2 For behold, I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth.

3 And I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone –

4 For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.

5 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given unto you according to my commandments.

6 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

            John and Peter Whitmer were both told that the work of God “would be of the most worth” in their lives (Doctrine and Covenants 15:4; 16:4). Just as the Lord invited David, John, and Peter Whitmer to help with His work, He also invites each of us to participate in it.

            Doctrine and Covenants 17 contains a revelation given through Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, at Fayette, New York, June 1829, prior to their viewing the engraved plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. During their translation work, Joseph and Oliver learned that the Lord would provide three special witnesses to the work. Oliver, Martin, and David were inspired to desire to be the special witnesses. Joseph inquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim and received this revelation, which is now Doctrine and Covenants 17.

1 Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea.

2 And it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.

3 And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God;

4 And this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men in this work.

5 And ye shall testify that you have seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., has seen them; for it is by my power that he has seen them, and it is because he had faith.

6 And he has translated the book, even that part which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true.

7 Wherefore, you have received the same power, and the same faith, and the same gift like unto him;

8 And if you do these last commandments of mine, which I have given you, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; for my grace is sufficient for you, and you shall be lifted up at the last day.

9 And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it unto you, that I might bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men. Amen.

            Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer met the Lord’s requirements to become the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon. They testified that “an angel of God came down from heaven” and showed to them the plates and the engravings thereon. They also testified that they heard the voice of God declaring that the Book of Mormon “had been translated by the gift and power of God.” (See “The Testimony of the Three Witnesses.”)

            At a later time, Joseph Smith was commanded to show the plates to eight other men, now known as the Eight Witnesses. Their names are Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jun., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith. Joseph showed them the plates “which have the appearance of gold.” They handled the leaves of the plates and saw the engravings, which had “the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship.” (See “The Testimony of the Eight Witnesses.”)

            There is another witness of the plates, Mary Whitmer. When Oliver, Joseph, and Emma moved into her home, her labor increased. She had faith in the Joseph’s work, but she had little time to relax. She did not complain, but she was tired.

One day, while she was out by the barn where the cows were milked, she saw a gray-haired man with a knapsack slung across his shoulder. His sudden appearance frightened her, but as he approached, he spoke to her in a kind voice that set her at ease.

“My name is Moroni,” he said. “You have become pretty tired with all the extra work you have to do.” He swung the knapsack off his shoulder, and Mary watched as he started to untie it.

“You have been very faithful and diligent in your labors,” he continued.” It is proper, therefore, that you should receive a witness that your faith may be strengthened.”

Moroni opened his knapsack and removed the gold plates. He held them in front of her and turned their pages so she could see the writings on them. After he turned the last page, he urged her to be patient and faithful as she carried the extra burden a little longer. He promised she would be blessed for it.

The old man vanished a moment later, leaving Mary alone. She still had work to do, but that no longer troubled her (Saints, 1:70-71).

            The Lord provided witnesses to testify that they had seen the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. The testimonies of the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses can be found in the front of each Book of Mormon. Millions of people have not heard the voice of God or seen angels or the plates. Yet, they, too, can testify that the Book of Mormon is true. I am one of them, and I know that the Book of Mormon is true because the Holy Ghost testified of its truthfulness to me. I encourage you to study it and ask God if it is true. If you “ask with a sincere heart, real intent, having faith in Christ,” the Holy Ghost will testify to you of its truthfulness (Moroni 10:4).