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.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Are We Responsible for Our Own Learning?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to the New Testament, our new course of study for 2023. I thoroughly enjoyed my first week of studying the New Testament and look forward to studying the scriptures in depth while learning to become more like the Savior.

The purpose of the scriptures is to help us to come unto Christ and to become more deeply converted to His gospel. The Come, Follow Me program can help us to understand the scriptures and to find in them the spiritual strength that we and our families need. As with most studies, we can gain greater insights and knowledge by studying individually and with others.

What is our personal responsibility in learning?

The lesson for this week is titled “We Are Responsible for Our Own Learning.” The lesson was introduced with the following paragraph: 

“What seek ye?” Jesus asked the disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:38). You might ask yourself the same question—for what you find in the New Testament this year will greatly depend on what you seek. “Seek, and ye shall find” is the Savior’s promise (Matthew 7:7). So ask the questions that come to your mind as you study, and then seek diligently for answers. In the New Testament you will read about the powerful spiritual experiences of disciples of Jesus Christ. As a faithful disciple of the Savior, you can have your own powerful spiritual experiences as you accept the Savior’s invitation, found throughout this sacred volume, “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). [Emphasis added.]

The principle for this discussion is “I am responsible for my own learning.” Elder David A. Bednar taught: “We should not expect the Church as an organization to teach or tell us everything we need to know and do to become devoted disciples and endure valiantly to the end. Rather, our personal responsibility is to learn what we should learn, to live as we know we should live, and to become who the Master would have us become. And our homes are the ultimate setting for learning, living, and becoming” (“Prepared to Obtain Every Needful Thing,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2019, 102). [Emphasis added.]

What does it mean to take responsibility for our own learning?

What does it mean to take responsibility for your own learning? Elder Bednar taught that each of us has personal responsibility to learn, live, and become as we should. In addition, the scriptures include other actions that we can take.

John 7:17 says, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” This scripture tells us that we must be obedient to God’s commandments if we desire to know the truthfulness of His doctrine.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, we read: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Prove means to test or try. We should not automatically believe everything that we read or hear, but we should test it against that which we already know to be true.

James 1:5-6 tells us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraided [reproaches] not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” If we ask God, He will give us the information that we need to enable us to stand strong against the storms of life.

In James 1:22, we read, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” It is not enough to hear or read or know. We must do the will of God.

James 2:17-18 says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” God knows that we cannot save ourselves, BUT He expects us to do all that we can for ourselves. For example, we cannot truly be saved if we are ignorant of the word of God. Therefore, He expects and requires us to study His words and gain knowledge.

There are other scriptures that I could share about pondering the scriptures, desiring to believe, praying, being anxiously engaged in doing good, seeking diligently, and teaching others.


None of us can be saved without effort on our part, even though the grace of God will save us after all that we can do. We are responsible for our own learning. Elder Bednar explained, “If all you or I know about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel is what other people teach or tell us, then the foundation of our testimony of Him and His glorious latter-day work is built upon sand. We cannot rely exclusively upon or borrow gospel light and knowledge from other people – even those whom we love and trust” (Prepared to Obtain Every Needful Thing,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2019, 102). [Emphasis added.]

Friday, December 30, 2022

Why Should Families Study Scriptures Together?

Families, communities, and nations are stronger when parents gather their children together to study the scriptures. The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to develop a new scripture study habit. The family is the core unit of society, and the strength of the family determines the strength of the community and the nation.

The home is the best place for children to learn the gospel because individuals can learn in ways that are not possible in a meeting or class. The new Come, Follow Me – For Individuals and Families manual has numerous suggestions for enhancing family scripture study. 

Use Music: Sing songs that reinforce the principles taught in the scriptures….

Share Meaningful Scriptures: Give family members time to share scripture passages that they have found meaningful during their personal study.

Use Your Own Words: Invite family members to summarize in their own words what they learn from the scriptures you study.

Apply the Scriptures to Your Life: After reading a scripture passage, ask family members to share ways the passage applies to their lives.

Ask a Question: Invite family members to ask a gospel question, and then spend time looking for verses that can help answer the question.

Display a Scripture: Select a verse you find meaningful and display it where family members will see it often. Invite other family members to take turns selecting a scripture to display.

Make a Scripture List: As a family, choose several verses that you would like to discuss during the coming week.

Memorize Scriptures: Select a scripture passage that is meaningful to your family and invite family members to memorize it by repeating it daily or playing a memorization game.

Share Object Lessons: Find objects that relate to the gospel principles in the scripture passages you are reading as a family. Invite family members to talk about how each object relates to the teachings in the scriptures.

Pick a Topic: Let family members take turns choosing a topic that the family will study together. Use the Topical Guide, the Bible Dictionary, or the Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures. to find scripture passages about the topic.

Draw a Picture: Read a few verses as a family, and then allow time for family members to draw something that relates to what you read. Spend time discussing one another’s drawings.

Act Out a Story: After reading a [scripture] story, invite family members to act it out. Afterward, talk about how the story relates to the things that you are experiencing individually and as a family.

No family should expect to adopt all of the suggestions immediately. However, every family should be capable of selecting one or two suggestions to internalize each week. By utilizing the suggestions, a family can bring variety and even excitement into their scripture study.

President Russell M. Nelson said: “I promise that as you diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning, over time your Sabbath days will truly be a delight. Your children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings, and the influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease. Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining” (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 113).

Since the family is the core unit of society, the most important thing to do is to strengthen it. One of the best ways to build strength in a family is to study the scriptures together. Parents can strengthen their family as well as their community and nation by gathering their children together for family scripture study. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

When Will Congress Do Their Job?

There is a humanitarian crisis and a national security crisis at the border. The Supreme Court decided on a 5-4 vote to allow Title 42 to remain in place temporarily. Conservatives questioned why Justice Neil Gorsuch did not vote with the majority. According to Jay Evensen, Gorsuch answered, “We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.” 

Since Title 42 was created “to keep asylum-seekers from crossing the border because of the threat of COVID-19,” it makes sense for the policy to end. The threat is no longer present, or in the words of Gorsuch “… the emergency on which those orders were promised has long since lapsed.”

According to a poll by Politico and Harvard University, 55% of Americans want to keep Title 42” with or without COVID-19. Their reason? It is a “good way to control immigration.” In other words, Americans know that Congress has failed them.

The biggest problem with the immigration system in the United States lies with Congress. The legislative branch of the federal government refuses to pass legislation for a workable immigration system. Evensen wrote the following in his opinion piece in the Deseret News:

Congress couldn’t even come up with a way for the children of undocumented parents, who were brought here through no fault of their own, to receive legal status. These so-called “Dreamers” enjoy much higher support form Americans. One poll by Pew Research Center found about three-fourths in favor of granting them legal status.

And yet lawmakers have fumbled this away. Their failure led President Barack Obama to impose a program for these children through executive order, which was briefly overturned by President Donald Trump before the Supreme Court intervened.

That’s the pattern of congressional inaction – let presidents issue executive orders that get challenged in court. If Congress would do as the Founding Fathers intended – struggle to negotiate and do the hard work of passing difficult laws – the nation could have a solution in place by now. Title 42 might be meaningless and border surges might be handled in an orderly manner.

It is far past time for Congress to do their job and pass a comprehensive immigration law that would. Such a law should include funding to create a border wall/fence/barrier that would allow Border Patrol to do their job in an orderly way. Another part of the law should allow for “Dreamers” and others like them to become legal residents of the United States. However, there should be no amnesty and promises of citizenship for anyone who is in the United States illegally.

We should not reward illegal immigrants with citizenship. The immigration bill should also include a clear definition of birth citizenship. If the mother is here illegally, her baby is also here illegally and should not automatically become U.S. citizens.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

What Should We Do about the Increasing Border Encounters?

There is a state of emergency at the southern border of the United States. My long-time readers know that I have written about such a problem since the Obama administration. I supported Donald Trump in his demand that a wall/fence/barrier be built along the border, and I applauded as the fence went up. Trump also put policies in place that stopped the caravans from crossing the border. The border was more secure that it had ever been. Then Joe Biden became the President, and everything changed.

Biden stopped construction on the border fence/wall on his first day in office, and he cancelled the border security policies as quickly as he could. The last – or one of the last – policies is Title 42. It was set to expire last night, but a court case took it to the Supreme Court.

In a 5-4 ruling yesterday, the Justices put a temporary block on ending Title 42. There was a bit of a surprise in the votes by the various Justices. Chief Justice John Roberts joined Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Clarence Thomas to block the termination of Title 42. Justice Neil Gorsuch joined Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson in voting to end Title 42.

Title 42 is a policy invoked by former President Donald Trump. According to Jarrett Stepman at the Daily Signal, it “is a health policy implemented by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. When implemented, it enabled “the quick deportation of illegal immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Stepman has an interesting description for Title 42. 

The administration has used Title 42 as a sort of political football. It maintains the policy when convenient, then announces it will drop it to appease open-borders activists. The law will remain on the books for the time being, but it’s clear the administration won’t employ it aggressively, nor will it take other serious steps to get illegal immigration under control.

Title 42 works well when it is used correctly, but the Biden administration has reduced its effectiveness even while keeping it on the books. For example, Stepman gave the following information that Conn Carroll of the Washington Examiner shared on Twitter.

11/20: 71,929 border encounters, 88% denied entry through Title 42.

11/21: 174,845 border encounters, 51% denied entry through Title 42.

11/22: 233,740 border encounters, 29% denied entry through Title 42.

The above numbers show that the border crisis is escalating and becoming worse as the days pass. From the looks of things, the numbers of border encounters will continue to increase until the Biden administration finally acts for the good of the nation.  Stepman continued:

There are now tens of thousands of people massed around border checkpoints. The Department of Homeland Security predicted that 12,000 to 14,000 people a day could attempt unlawful border crossings every day if Title 42 were dropped. Even half of that number would be staggering.

What’s been made clear, from the moment President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, is that this administration isn’t serious about border enforcement. On Day One, he dropped the Remain in Mexico policy that forced asylum claims.

Like Title 42, that policy remains stuck in an ongoing legal battle. The policy prevented a pileup of people coming over the border and deterred bogus asylum claims.

Republicans could do something about the border, but they seem to be of the same opinion as Biden. There were eighteen Republicans in the Senate and nine in the House who voted for the omnibus bill and bailing out sanctuary cities. Americans should be grateful for the Supreme Court ruling in favor of retaining Title 42 and the nineteen Republican states who sought to keep it in place.  With Title 42 remaining in place for a few more months, there should be a few border crossers who get deported.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Does Stress Cause Miscarriages?

The royal family of Great Britain has been much in the news lately because there is division between the princes. As most of my readers know, Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle stepped down from their royal duties and moved to California. From the safety of their American home, they started to launch attacks on the royal family. From all appearances, they are attempting to destroy the monarchy.

There have been many assaults launched against the new King Charles and William, the Prince of Wales as well as their wives. There have also been assaults on the media, with one of them being blame for the miscarriage of a baby. In the documentary, Prince Harry said, “I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what the Mail did. I watched the whole thing.” However, he admitted that he did not absolutely know that the miscarriage was caused by media stress. Bethany Mandel shared another point of view.

In her best-selling, data-informed book on pregnancy “Expecting Better,” Emily Oster makes clear that 90% of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal problems that are present at fertilization.

And older women, Oster explains, are more likely to miscarry. How much more likely? For women under 20, the miscarriage rate is just 4.4%. For women over 35 (which is how old Markle was during this pregnancy), the rate is almost 19%.

As Oster puts it, “You might wonder if there’s anything you can do (other than getting pregnant at 20 rather than at 35!). The answer is probably not.”

It looks like Prince Harry will have to find another reason to hate the media. However, pregnant women should breathe a little easier knowing that stress does not cause miscarriages.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Who Is Larry Elder?

My VIP for this week is bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio host Larry Elder. He was a candidate for the governor of California. I believe that it is important for me to tell my readers that Elder is a Black man. However, I did not choose him as my VIP for any of those reasons. My reason for choosing him is that he has common sense in a world that seems to have lost its mind! 

In a recent article at the Daily Signal, Elder wrote of “absurdity of American taxpayers” paying “reparations” to the descendants of slaves. He wrote that it is “hard to limit the number of objections” to paying reparations.

These are the facts: American slavery, though horrific, was legal. It ended 157 years ago. The government did not own slaves, the private sector did. Most Southerners did not own slaves. Nearly all slave owners were Democrats (so why should non-Democrats pay reparations?). Hundreds of thousands of white Northerners lost their lives and suffered serious injuries fighting in the Civil War that ended slavery…. Only about 5% of whites bear “a generational guilt” to slavery.

There are so many facts in the above paragraph. Slavery wherever it is found is horrible and should never happen. However, slavery in America ended 157 years ago. There are no Americans alive today who owned slaves, and there are no living slaves to whom to pay reparations. Asking Americans today to pay reparations for something that ended more than 150 years ago is like asking babies born in Japan today to pay reparations for Pearl Harbor and World War II. It is unfair to place such burdens on the people who are alive today.

Elder then moved his argument to Africa. A 2022 movie titled “The Woman King” and starring Viola Davis, is about female African warriors and claims to be “inspired by true events.” It “portrays white slavers as villains and the female warriors as antislavery avengers.” The plot for the movie is described as “A historical epic inspired by true events that took place in the kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.” Elder says that it is not based on true events.

There was, in fact, a band of warrior women in Africa called the Dahomey. True, they were fierce, feared, and bloodthirsty fighters. But they used that ferocity to kill and conquer other Africans for sale to slave traders. The trans-Atlantic African slave trade and the Arab African slave trade could not have occurred without the complicity of African chiefs, who sold conquered Africans to European and Arab slavers.

In the film, white slavers are portrayed as the enemy when, in reality, they were business partners with the “women kings.” …

Elder described “The Woman King” as being set up as “having a historical basis, telling the story of the real-life Kingdom of Dahomey in the 18th and 19th centuries.” In reality, according to Elder,

Dahomey was a notorious slave kingdom, and not the Pan-African freedom fighters as the movie present them. They enslaved and murdered hundreds of thousands from other tribes and sold them into the slave trade.

Dahomey was renowned as the “Black Sparta,” and was a fiercely militaristic society bent on domination and conquest. Their soldiers struck fear into other tribes all along what is still known as the Slave Coast, as they captured tribespeople from enemy tribes and sold them as slaves.

The Dahomey women fought to protect their own slave trade. Even worse for those who struggle with reality, the Amazons were formed from among the king’s “third class” wives. These were those considered insufficiently beautiful to share his bed and who had not borne children. Awkward!

Elder is not the only one saying that “The Woman King” is not based on reality. Using the words of “History vs. Hollywood,” Elder shared the following about the movie claiming to be based on true events:

In real life, the Dahomey are much more the villains than the heroes. … They conquered neighboring African states and took their citizens as slaves, selling many in the Atlantic slave trade in exchange for items like rifles, tobacco, and alcohol. Many of the slaves they sold ended up in America. … The business of slavery is what brought Dahomey most of its wealth. … There are accounts of Dahomey warriors conducting slave raids on villages where they cut the heads off of the elderly and rip the bottom jaw bones off others. During the raids, they’d burn the villages to the ground. Those who they let live, including the children, were taken captive, and sold as slaves.

So, it seems that the “5% of whites” who feel guilty about slavery should actually take a walk in reality. Modern-day Americans should not pay reparations for the sins of people who lived more than 150 years ago. If reparations are to be paid, they should come from the African slave traders.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Does Freedom of Religion Protect Silent Prayer at Abortion Clinics?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns freedom of religion. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution declares: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Americans may better appreciate this freedom if they know what happened in the United Kingdom recently.

According to Mary Margaret Olohan at the Daily Signal, a pro-life woman was silently praying outside an abortion clinic in the United Kingdom and was arrested for doing so. Isabel Vaughan Spruce’s arrest shows what could happen in the United States if the Justice Department continues its crackdown on pro-life activists. We know that Mark Houck, a pro-life father, was arrested for pushing a volunteer at an abortion clinic who was bothering Houck’s son as the two of them prayed outside an abortion clinic. 

Spruce was confronted by police and charged with breaking a law against praying silently near an abortion clinic – on four different occasions in Kings Norton, Birmingham. Remember, Spruce was praying silently when she was arrested. Olohan discussed Spruce’s arrest and then linked it to arrests in the United States.

In the United States, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has charged almost 30 pro-life individuals with Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act violations this year. The Justice Department has been using the FACE Act to target pro-life activists as a response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said earlier this month.

The associate attorney general described the overturn of Roe v. Wade as a “devastating blow to women throughout the country” that took away “the constitutional right to abortion” and increased “the urgency” of the DOJ’s work – including the “enforcement of the FACE Act, to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.”

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the FACE Act, which “prohibits threats of force, obstruction and property damage intended to interfere with reproductive health care services.”

It protects both pro-life pregnancy centers and abortion clinics, as a DOJ official noted to Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, last week.

At least 98 Catholic churches and 77 pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life organizations have been attacked since May, but the DOJ has apparently not charged a single person in connection with these attacks. The DOJ has not responded to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment on this point.

Pregnancy resource centers are typically run by pro-life women who seek to offer expectant mothers alternatives to abortion. Such centers provide diapers, baby clothes, and resources for both mothers and fathers, empowering them to care for their child, overcome addictions, build community, and find jobs.

Did you notice the contradictions? The Department of Justice is supposed to protect “both pro-life pregnancy centers and abortion clinics.” However, it has not arrested anyone for the 175 attacks on pro-life services, while arresting “nearly 30 pro-life individuals.” Are Americans losing their right to exercise their freedom of religion?

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Do You Feel the Joy of Christmas?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week was a week of preparing my heart and soul to celebrate Christmas. The lesson was introduced with the following information. 

The Old Testament carries a spirit of eager anticipation. In that way, it’s a little bit like the Christmas season. Beginning with Adam and Eve, Old Testament patriarchs, prophets, poets, and people looked forward to better days, filled with hope for renewal and deliverance by the Messiah. And the Israelites were frequently in need of that hope—whether they were in captivity in Egypt or Babylon or held captive by their own sin or rebellion. Through it all, prophets reminded them that a Messiah, a Deliverer, would come “to proclaim liberty to the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).

That hope began to be realized when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. The mighty Deliverer of Israel was born in a stable and laid in a manger (see Luke 2:7). But He wasn’t just the Deliverer of the ancient Israelites. He came to deliver you—to bear your grief, to carry your sorrows, to be bruised for your iniquities, so that with His stripes you can be healed (see Isaiah 53:4-5). This is why Christmas is so full of joyful anticipation even today. The Messiah came over 2,000 years ago, and He continues to come into our lives whenever we seek Him.

Christmas is a joyful season to most people in the world, even to those who are not Christian. The Spirit of Christmas, or the Spirit of Christ, causes good feelings among all people. For those in difficult circumstances, the important Christmas message is that the Savior can ease our burdens and help us find peace and joy. For His disciples, the Christmas season is full of joy as we join with millions of other people in celebrating His birth and His life. The Christmas season provides opportunities to spread the joy of Christ in service to other people. Centuries before the Savior was born, the prophets in the Old Testament also felt joy as they spoke of the coming of the Messiah.

Many of the traditions associated with Christmas can have symbolic meanings that point us to Christ. Star-shaped decorations and cookies remind us of the bright star that appeared in the sky on the night of the birth of Jesus. Carolers can remind us of the angels who appeared to the shepherds and sang hosannas in celebration.

            President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught the following about finding joy in learning about God’s plan for the salvation and happiness of His children.

When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening – or not happening – in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing “Joy to the world, the Lord is come” [Hymns, no. 201]. And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy! …

Just as the Savior offers peace that “passeth all understanding” [Philippians 4:7], He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension (“Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2016, 82). 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Why Do You Celebrate Christmas?

Families, communities, and nations are stronger when parents teach the true meaning of Christmas to their children. The reason that we celebrate Christmas is because God sent His Son to earth to redeem all humankind, and the Son overcame death for everyone. Easter is the reason that we celebrate Christmas. If Jesus Christ had not been resurrected and overcome death, we would not be celebrating His birthday. He would have been just another baby born to parents who loved Him.

I believe that the whole business with Santa Clause is an important part of Christmas. I remember searching to see Santa Clause out my bedroom window as a child, and I almost convinced myself that I could see him in his sleigh being pulled by reindeer. Santa Clause was an important part of my family while my children were small, and he is an important part of the lives of my grandchildren. However, my children understood, and my grandchildren are learning the real reason that we celebrate Christmas. Wise parents will transition their children from believing in Santa Clause to believing in the Spirit of Santa or the Spirit of Christmas or the Spirit of Christ. All three spirits come from God.

The first gift of Christmas was love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Love is the foundation of Santa Clause, the Spirit of Santa, and the Spirit of Christmas. It is important that parents teach the true reason for the Christmas season.

There is an opinion piece in The Guardian by a columnist named Polly Toynbee that should frighten every Christian parent. Toynbee considers herself to be “culturally Christian” because she is “so deeply imbued with its myths, paintings, hymns and parables.” However, she believes that we should enjoy the good cheer that comes with Christmas but understand that “it comes with religious baggage we should shed.” Here are a few paragraphs from her article. 

Here comes Christmas. It touches most rationalists as much as believers, reaching deep into the recesses of heart, childhood, memory and family bonds. I will watch A Christmas Carol every year and, whatever production, Muppets or Alastair Sim, I will always shed a tear for the prospect of human redemption. I will watch It’s a Wonderful Life for its belief in collective good at Christmas overcoming the ogres of Pottersville capitalism – never mind Clarence the angel.

In all Christmas messages, the poor inherit the earth, the stable stands for the homeless and refugees, yet the mystery is why so little of this goodwill gets beyond the tinsel into politics….

Every culture needs a mid-winter festival of light in the darkness, a rebirth in the shortest days. Much as I dislike most Christian belief, the iconography of star, stable, manger, kings and shepherds to greet a new baby is a universal emblem of humanity. In that spirit I relish singing the old carols when I get the chance….

Toynbee wants to “enjoy the good cheer” of Christmas without knowing anything about the reason that we celebrate Christmas. Wise parents will teach their children the true reason that we have Christmas season. They will teach about Baby Jesus, but they will also teach about the Resurrected Christ. They will teach that we celebrate the birth of Christ because He is the resurrected Christ who made it possible for all of us to be resurrected. Wise parents will use the Christmas story to strengthen their family as well as their community and nation.


Thursday, December 22, 2022

How Did Your Senator Vote?

 The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the national debt. The Senate voted this afternoon to add $1.85 trillion to the national debt in an omnibus spending bill. Eighteen Republican Senators joined all Senate Democrats to pass the huge spending bill with a vote of 68-29.

According to some conservatives, the move by Senate Republicans was a “stunning act of betrayal.” Despite being in control of both congressional houses and the presidency for all of 2022, Democrats rushed this budget bill through before the end of the year because Democrats lost control of the House during the mid-term election. Therefore, any Republicans who voted for it betrayed their party as well as their constituents who will have to pay the bill. Tyler O’Neil explained the situation in his article at The Daily Signal

Since 1994, the House majority has changed four times. In each case, the outgoing majority didn’t pass an omnibus appropriations bill during the lame-duck session following the election. In each case, the outgoing majority left the hard work of legislating to the representatives the American people had just elected.


Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, warned that Republicans would be voluntarily abandoning their ability to hold the Biden administration accountable for the next year.

The omnibus bill would fund the government through September 2023. It includes military funding for Ukraine, a ban on the Chinese-owned TikTok app on federal government devices, and millions in funding for “woke” earmarks such as LGBTQIA+ Pride Centers, a Michele Obama Trail in Georgia, and the TransLatin@ Coalition. The spending bill does not include the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal tax dollars from going to fund elective abortions.

O’Neil quoted Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel as noting that the huge omnibus package includes lots of separate pieces of legislation that would never pass if they stood alone, but they all pass as part of the huge omnibus bill. The eighteen traitorous Republicans are:

Roy Blunt, Missouri

John Boozman, Arkansas

Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia

Susan Collins, Maine

John Cornyn, Texas

Tom Cotton, Arkansas

Lindsey Graham, South Carolina

Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma

Mitch McConnell, Kentucky

Jerry Moran, Kansas

Lisa Murkowski, Alaska

Rob Portman, Ohio

Mitt Romney, Utah

Mike Rounds, South Dakota

Richard Shelby, Alabama

John Thune, South Dakota

Roger Wicker, Mississippi

Todd Young, Indiana


Three Republicans did not vote:

John Barasso, Wyoming

Richard Burr, North Carolina

Kevin Cramer, North Dakota


Four Republicans who had previously voted to advance the bill switched their votes to oppose it:

Chuck Grassley, Iowa

Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi

Marco Rubio, Florida

Tommy Tuberville, Alabama

I was not surprised to see that my liberal Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski voted for the omnibus bill, but I was sort of surprised to NOT see the name of my other Senator Dan Sullivan. There is no doubt in my mind that Murkowski is Republican in name only because she normally votes with Democrats. However, I am still trying to determine if Sullivan has the spine to stand up for America. How can anyone believe that adding $1.85 trillion more to our national debt is good for America?

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Why Is Light Important?

Today is a special day because it is the anniversary of the day when I became a grandmother more than twenty years ago. Today is also special because it is the Winter Solstice, or the shortest day of the year. The sun rose in my neighborhood at 10:12 A.M. this morning and set at 3:42 P.M. this afternoon, about five and a half hours of daylight. After living in Alaska for nearly fifty years, I have learned the importance of light – as have many other Alaskans.

Some years ago, the municipality of Anchorage asked its residents to put up Christmas lights in October and to leave them up until March. My daughter came to Alaska in February for a family funeral and remarked that she enjoyed seeing the Christmas lights as she ran around the neighborhood. I enjoy looking out my kitchen window, past my dark backyard, and see the lights on the trees of my neighbors.

I, along with many of my friends and neighbors, put up the Christmas tree around Thanksgiving. Some people put up their trees in October simply because they want more light in their home. I put up my tree a few days after Thanksgiving this year for the benefit of the lights even though I put no ornaments on it for another two weeks. In addition, I put a miniature Christmas tree in the bathroom just to see lights as I walk down the hall. I have another smaller tree in the dining room to light a dark corner.

Over the years, I learned interesting facts about how my body responds to the decreasing daylight in winter and the increasing light of summer. Around the beginning of March, I feel my body coming to life with more energy and desire to tackle many tasks. I compare the reactions in my body to how plants must feel when they start poking through the soil to grow again. This energetic feeling continues to grow as spring turns into summer.

As soon as we reach the longest day of the year and start losing daylight, I can feel the decreasing energy in my body. By fall, I start fighting the hibernation syndrome that seeks to take over my body. This syndrome makes me want to eat more food and to sleep longer hours. I fight against hibernation syndrome by staying busy and getting out of the house several days each week. When the sun starts coming back, I seek to exercise more and to be more social.

Elder Ted E. Brewerton of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke

about light and its effect on us. He said that there are two types of light – physical light and spiritual light. 

Physical light, especially natural light, affects the moods of people. When summer’s light begins to fade, days grow shorter, and the winter season looms darkly ahead, natural light becomes a more precious commodity, especially to people who live in extreme northern climates. There, where darkness reigns for up to three months a year and then summer blooms into three months of constant daylight, moods swing with the seasons.

Light does have a profound effect on human mood and behavior. Mounting evidence indicates that people who are feeling a little down and need a lift can get it by going outside in daylight. Walking in the light is a natural mood booster. Many who simply walk for half an hour or more during the daylight hours receive a distinct benefit….

Scientists are not entirely certain which wavelengths cause light’s mood-boosting effects. Researchers believe that these effects are traceable to light taken in through the eyes and not through the skin.

A second medical use of light is light therapy for treating some cancers. Certain chemicals combined with light can destroy cancer cells. Certain chemicals combined with light can destroy cancer cells. Research is under way to identify the best source of light and to determine how to direct it to body areas….

Elder Brewer then switched from physical light to spiritual light. Spiritual light “comes form God and his gospel.” We can read in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 88, of this spiritual truth – “the light of truth.”

Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made….

And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;

Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space –

The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:6-7, 11-13)

Elder Brewer explained that the “word light appears 535 times in the scriptures. He continued with his explanation about light.

Light has a relationship to the Son of God: “And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:67) ….

Jesus Christ is the Light of the world…. [According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie] Our Lord is the Light of the world in at least three ways:

“1. Through the Light of Christ he governs and controls the universe and gives life to all that therein is.

“2. By this same immensity-filling light – and to certain faithful ones, by the power of the Holy Ghost! – he enlightens the mind and quickens the understanding.

“3. By his own upright, sinless, and perfect course, in [premortal life], in mortality, and in resurrected glory, he sets a perfect example and is able to say to all men: ‘Follow thou me.’” (2 Ne. 31:10.) (The Promised Messiah, p. 208).

Jesus Christ is the source of both physical light and spiritual light. The light in our lives comes from Jesus Christ, and His light helps us to be healthy both physically and spiritually. There is a reason why I feel like I am growing in the increasing light and hibernating in the decreasing light. The darkness of night is a time to rest our bodies and minds, while the darkness of winter gives plants a time of rest. However, all living things thrive with light.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

What Will Biden Do with Title 42?

The Biden administration has stopped nearly all of the Trump administration policies that gave Americans the most secure border in U.S. history. The last policy is about to go the way of the others, but the U.S. Supreme Court gave us a few days of breathing room. On Monday, the Supreme Court halted the expiration of a Trump-era COVID-19 policy that allows Border Patrol to quickly remove illegal immigrants from the United States.

Virginia Allen at The Daily Signal explained that the “policy, known as Title 42, was set to expire Wednesday” due to a U.S. District Court’s order to repeal the policy by December 21. However, the U.S. Supreme Court put a temporary stay on the order. The news broke about 5:00 p.m.  EST yesterday. The stay allows Customs and Border Protection agents to “continue using their authority under Title 42 to turn asylum-seekers away at the border until the court issues a further ruling clarifying the law.” 

Both Republicans and Democrats expressed concerns prior to Monday’s ruling about what will happen if/when Title 42 expires. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas said, “Texas and other states are insisting that the Court leave Title 42 in place. Today’s order is a step in that direction. This helps prevent illegal immigration.”

Democrat Mayor Oscar Leeser of El Paso, Texas, declared a state of emergency for his city over the weekend. While doing so, he explained that the city does not have the resources to handle a surge of illegal aliens crossing the border.

“As we see the increase in asylum-seekers into our community, and we see the temperatures dropping and we know that Title 42 looks like it’s going to be called back on Wednesday, we felt it was the proper time today to call the state of emergency.”

[Leeser added that] he called the state of emergency because “our asylum-seekers are not safe, as we have hundreds and hundreds on the street and that’s not the way we want to treat people.”

Leeser is not the only Democrat to discuss the problems with too many asylum-seekers coming into the United States. New York City Mayor Eric Adams also spoke of the strain that illegal immigrants put on his city.

“Our shelter system is full, and we are nearly out of money, staff, and space,” Adams said.

“Truth be told, if corrective measures are not taken soon, we may very well be forced to cut or curtail programs New Yorkers rely on, and the pathway to house thousands more is uncertain,” the New York City mayor added. “These are not choices we want to make, but they may become necessary, and I refuse to be forced to choose new arrivals over current New Yorkers. I’ll say it again – we need a plan, we need assistance, and we need it now.”

Mayor Adams was supported by New York City Council Member Robert Holden, another Democrat, who told Fox 5 New York yesterday that New York City is out of room. “There’s just no place to put them,” Holden said of the migrants. “And our homeless situation, our shelters are bursting at the seams, like I said, this is a critical situation.” He added that “the president must use his executive powers to extend Title 42. It’s as simple as that.”

The problem is that the situation is not “as simple as that.” The Biden administration wants the illegal immigrants to overrun the United States and overwhelm the systems of the states and nation. While campaigning for the office of President of the United States, he told the world that they should surge our borders if they were seeking asylum, and his administration has not done anything to stop the surge.

The mainstream media has aided the Biden administration in that they have refused to report on the problem. Bill Melugin of Fox News has been the only national reporter reporting on the problem for nearly two years. Two days ago, Melugin shared a post on Twitter showing an overcrowded Border Patrol processing center in El Paso. “The post reads that Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, took the video Friday when “4,600 migrants were in federal custody” in a center with the capacity to hold 1,040.

Mayor Leeser of El Paso is worried that the number of illegal aliens crossing the border will double if/when Title 42 is lifted.

Members of Congress from both parties are also making comments. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “The president needs to use every bit of power he has as an executive to find a way or ask for an extension.” He continued, “The president can basically, I think, ask for that extension. I think his administration is doing that or will do that. I sure hope they do. But we need an extension until we can get a viable answer for this.”

Republican governors, senators, and representatives have been calling for the administration to do something for the past two years. Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote on Twitter on Monday that Title 42 is “the last line of defense to combat rampant illegal immigration. And what are Democrats in the House doing today to stop it from ending? Nothing.”

Migrants have been surging the southern border for the past two years even with Title 42 in place. Reports from Customs and Border Protection say that there were “over 2 million encounters with illegal aliens at the border in fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30.” In addition, “Border Patrol encountered 230,678 illegal aliens at the southern border” in October 2022. This is “an increase of more than 65,000 from last October.” The number of encounters for November 2022 are not yet available. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Who Is Correct?

My VIPs for this week are the people of Wyoming who voted Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) out of office. Cheney and Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) joined the Democrats on the congressional committee to “investigate” the assault on the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Both Republicans are Never Trumpers and worked to keep Donald Trump from ever being elected as President again. The people of Wyoming saw that Cheney was not working for them and voted her out of office. Kinzinger saw the writing on the wall in Illinois and chose not to run for reelection.

The January 6 select committee met for the last time today and voted unanimously to recommend to the Department of Justice to charge Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Suzanne Bates shared the following opinion in the Deseret News

In a report released at the committee’s final hearing, committee members recommended charging Trump with obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement, and inciting an insurrection. After 18 months of deliberation and 10 public hearings, the committee’s full report is expected to be released Wednesday.

The committee also recommended Trump Administration lawyer John Eastman be charged for his part in allegedly trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the election on Jan. 6, and referred four members of Congress – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, and Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania – to the House Ethics Committee for refusing to respond to the committee’s subpoenas.

Those people who broke the law on January 6, 2021, are being arrested and charged with crimes. However, people like Cheney and Kinzinger will not be happy until Trump is indicted, convicted, and thrown in prison.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

What Is Behind the Biden Administration’s Refusal to Secure the Border?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the southern border. The U. S. Constitution delegates control of immigration to the federal government. Article IV, Section 4 states: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion….”

Yet, the Biden administration refuses to repel the invasion at the southern border. In fact, the federal officials seem to be allowing anyone into the United States that wants to come – somewhere between three million and five million migrants have crossed the border in the past two years. The federal government is not doing its job, and border States are being overrun by migrants surging there.

The Trump administration was building a wall to stop such an invasion, but the Biden administration stopped construction on the border wall on day 1. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas and Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona are doing what they can to build walls. Notably, Ducey is filling in the gaps in the border wall by double-stacking shipping containers welded together and topped with razor wire in the Yuma and Cochise Counties.

The federal government is suing the state of Arizona over the shipping container border wall. They say that Ducey’s actions are illegal because they were put on federal property without permission.

The State of Arizona sued the federal government for not doing its job, and the federal government is suing the State of Arizona for trespassing on federal lands. Time will tell who wins the legal process. Meanwhile, migrants continue to pour over the border and enter the United States without any officials knowing who they are, what they are doing here, or where they are living.