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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

What Is at Stake in the 303 Creative v. Elenis Case?

Lorie Smith is a Christian graphic artist who owns 303 Creative. She designs custom websites and loves to use her talents to help others. Her decision to create custom wedding websites that are consistent with her Christian beliefs got her in legal trouble in Colorado. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case 303 Creative v. Elenis on Monday.

The issue at stake is whether an artist has the legal ability to decide how they will use their skills and talents. An artist should have the right to determine which issues they will support. However, the State of Colorado and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

According to Lathan Watts at The Daily Signal, Smith decides what she will custom-design “based on her beliefs, the message being requested, and her own expertise.” She creates only custom designs, and each design “must be consistent with her faith.” Smith is like other artists in that she does not “promote every message requested.” As examples, “she can’t create art that promotes certain political messages or casinos. She also can’t design anything that is un-American, degrades people who identify as LGBT, or disrespects someone’s faith.”

Colorado is seeking to force Smith and all other artists “to forfeit their right to free speech as a cost of doing business.”         

As specious as that claim is, its tenuous link to credulity is further weakened by the fact that the state only imposes this Faustian bargain on those who disagree with the state’s current preferred message on marriage. Its position is clear: Speak the state’s message or don’t speak at all.

Suppression of viewpoints that conflict with the government’s is what characterizes every tyrannical regime.

Coerced speech and censorship are two sides of the same unconstitutional coin. Even in the darkest times of American history, when Jim Crow laws were enforced and state governments attempted to crush the civil rights movement, freedom of speech exercised peacefully in marches and protests eventually pierced hearts and prompted the American conscience to finally live up to its promise “that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.”

The 303 Creative v. Elenis case is an excellent opportunity for the Supreme Court to remember its promise made at the time of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision. The promise was that those who disagreed would not lose the right to speak consistent with their beliefs that marriage is between a husband and wife.

After all, this case transcends the marriage issue. It’s about whether the government can purge people (and their ideas) from the marketplace simply because the government doesn’t like their beliefs. We are right to expect and demand that government treat people equally under the law by protecting everyone’s right to free speech.

If Smith wins the case at the Supreme Court, all Americans will win with her. If she loses, we all lose. According to Watts, the question “What kind of country do we strive to be?” is at the heart of this case. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

What Will Be the Results of the Respect for Marriage Act?

As reported by Mary Margaret Olohan at The Daily Signal, the U. S. Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act today, but the final version did not include “a vital amendment that conservatives had pushed to protect religious freedom.” The supporters of the bill claimed that it has plenty of protection for religious liberty, but opponents warned that the bill “puts a giant target on people of faith.” United States Senate Passes Radical Respect for Marriage Act (

The first thing that the new legislation does is to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The second thing that it does is to require those “acting under color of state law” to recognize same-sex marriages. A third thing is that it “orders the federal government to recognize marriages that are deemed valid by one or more states.”

Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee urged Senators of both parties to support his amendment that would create “a strict policy that the federal government can’t discriminate on either viewpoint of marriage, whether same-sex or traditional.” His amendment failed 48-49 on a Tuesday vote. The amendment had a 60-vote affirmative threshold.

Twelve Republican Senators voted to advance the legislation, and they also voted for the final passage of the bill: Senators Roy Blunt (Missouri), Richard Burr (North Carolina), Shelley Capito (West Virginia), Susan Collins (Maine), Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), San Sullivan (Alaska), Thom Tillis (North Carolina), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Todd Young (Indiana).

The same twelve Republicans Senators except Susan Collins (Maine) voted for Senator’s Lee amendment. Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) also voted for Lee’s amendment. Two other amendments – one by Republican Senator James Lankford (Oklahoma) and one by Republican Senator Marco Rubio (Florida) – failed, both with votes of 45-52.

Lee sent a letter to the twelve GOP Senators last week and emphasized that his amendment would “ensure that federal bureaucrats do not take discriminatory actions against individuals, organizations, nonprofits, and other entities based on their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions about marriage by prohibiting the denial or revocation of tax-exempt status, licenses, contracts, benefits, etc.”

Lee added, “It would affirm that individuals still have the right to act according to their faith and deepest convictions even outside of their church or home.” He tried to convince them to not vote for the final bill unless his amendment was added to it. “The free exercise of religion is absolutely essential to the health of our Republic…. We must have the courage to protect it.”

Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation stated, “Members of Congress who voted for this bill and claim to support religious liberty are either na├»ve or don’t understand the laws they are passing.” He continued:

Despite polling showing that their constituents oppose this legislation, they refused to adopt Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s amendment that would have protected the religious freedom of millions of Americans without taking away a single benefit or legal entitlement from same-sex couples.

As a result, the tax-exempt status of religious schools and nonprofits is now up for debate. Additionally, the Left will try to use the bill to sue faith-based adoption agencies and contractors to drive them out of business as they have done in multiple states and localities already.

It appears that tyranny against religious organizations and people will continue to grow. Americans have twelve Republican Senators to thank for this monstrosity. If they had withheld their votes for the final bill, Lee’s amendment or a similar one might have passed.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Who Is Cole Capener?

            My VIP for this week is Cole Capener, an ordinary man who is accomplishing great things. One part of his preparation was learning to speak Mandarin while serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Taiwan. Another part was becoming a partner in one of the largest law firms in the world, Baker & McKenzie. He lived in Beijing and Hong Kong where he could use his Mandarin and help to bring American high-tech companies to China. A third part of his preparation was adopting a quote from Sir Edmund Burke: “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” 

            With Burke’s words ringing in his ears, Capener walked into the managing partner’s office at Baker & McKenzie and requested permission to take leave for a year. That was 21 years ago. He started with a desire to do something to help other people with his attorney skills. He became aware of “the catastrophe HIV/AIDS was causing in Africa” and two virology professors at the Stanford School of Medicine who were trying to combat the disease.

            Capener visited Dennis Zerelski, one of the professors, and learned that his colleague, David Katzenstein, was in Zimbabwe leading the Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention Project. Katzenstein needed all the help that he could get, so Capener flew directly to Zimbabwe for a firsthand experience. He learned that fathers were contracting the virus and bringing it home to their wives, who became pregnant. Often, the fathers were dead before the babies were born, and the mothers were dying soon after giving birth. Capener had found his quest.

            Putting his lawyer skills to work, Capener started to make deals. He first returned to the United States where he set up a nonprofit and called on colleagues, family members, and friends to provide financial assistance. He named his nonprofit Saving African Families Enterprise (SAFE). He next lobbied the government in Zimbabwe “to declare HIV/AIDS a public health emergency.” The declaration paved “the way for much cheaper generic medicines to come into the country.”

            Capener was just getting started. He found “a company in India to supply the medication (antiretrovirals) and “a much bigger charity, Doctors Without Borders” to do the heavy work. Thanks to the antiretrovirals, the Doctors Without Borders, and “many other heroic efforts, more mothers stayed alive to raise their children. More dads, too.”

            Currently living in Park City, Utah, Capener makes an annual trip to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, to see how SAFE “is faring and to make plans for the coming year.”

To this day, he marvels at how fast the pieces fell into place.

“I think if you have a desire to try to serve, doors will be opened, I believe that,” is all he can ascribe it to.

            SAFE continues to operate much like it did when it was started. One paid employee runs the office in Harare and does the day-to-day work. The nonprofit has no website and no fundraisers besides Capener. The organization runs on volunteers and 98 cents of every dollar goes to the projects. He can be contacted at His closing words are:

My religious worldview motivates me to do all the good that I can, even if it’s a small amount. I guess that’s my Buddhist Mormon speaking. That’s why I think we’re all here – to try and relieve suffering.

He concludes, “Service isn’t the icing on the cake. It’s the whole cake.”

Sunday, November 27, 2022

What Changes Should Arizona Make to Their Elections?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the constitutional right to vote given to all citizens aged 18 years and over. In 2020, there were many questions about the election system, and conservatives are accused of being “election deniers.” However, the 2022 election also showed problems with the election system in Arizona. The 2022 mid-term election was held on November 8, but the election in Arizona has not yet been certified.

Peter Parisi at The Daily Signal recently claimed that it was time for Arizona to get its act together IF the state “is genuinely interested in enacting much-needed state election reforms.” He suggested that Term-limited outgoing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, should call a lame-duck special session of the Legislature for the sole purpose of enacting voting reforms before the presumptive governor-elect, Democrat Katie Hobbs, can take office on Jan. 2” because it will not get done by her administration. 

At the present time, Hobbs leads Republican “Kari Lake by 0.6 of 1%, or 17,150 votes, out of more than 2.55 million counted.” Although the news media called the election for Hobbs, Lake has not yet conceded. In fact, Lake has filed a lawsuit or two against the Maricopa County election board. In addition, Arizona Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright notified Maricopa County’s top election officials that she wanted detailed reports on why there were so many problems with voting on election day.

After the State of Florida had problems counting the “hanging chads” during the 2000 presidential election, Florida reworked their election laws. In 2022, Florida had several times more votes to count than did Arizona, but Florida had their votes counted and reported about five hours after the polls closed. Thus, Florida could probably give Arizona some help in reworking election laws. Parisi stated that any “election-reform legislative package should include some combination of the following:

1. Increase the severity of punishment for the inherently corrupt practice of ballot-harvesting, which is currently only a Class 6 felony, the least severe type of felony in the state. 

2. Eliminate all ballot drop boxes, which were supposedly intended to accommodate a one-time emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, and never meant to be a permanent feature of the electoral landscape. 

3. Require photo identification. (Currently, there are too many alternative forms of ID allowed, many not requiring a photo.) 

4. Significantly shorten the window for early voting, which currently begins in Arizona 27 days before Election Day. Election Day should be just that, not Election Month. Early voting shouldn’t run for more than a week, because the longer the period is, the more time there is to cheat. 

5. Eliminate so-called Active Early Voting List mail-out ballots, which allows voters to sign up for a mail ballot to automatically be sent to them for every election. That’s a prescription for ballots to be mailed to voters who have moved or died, which creates an opening for orphaned ballots to be filled out and returned by someone else. 

6. Sharply curtail most mail-in and absentee-voting options, except where they have traditionally been used, such as when the voter is out of town or ill. They should not be allowed merely for convenience. (France banned voting by mail in 1975 because of its propensity for fraud.) 

7. Require the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number or the serial number of the voter’s driver’s license or state-issued voter-ID card as a safeguard on allowed absentee ballots, rather than just signature-matching, which is at best an art and not a science. Matching Social Security and state ID numbers would also be much faster and more accurate.

8. Require by law a sitting secretary of state running for reelection or for another office to recuse himself or herself from election supervision. Lake repeatedly called on Secretary of State Hobbs to do so during the campaign, citing conflict of interest, but indefensibly, she refused to do so.  

Hobbs will not rework the election process, but Lake promises to do so if the election turns in her favor. Whoever eventually becomes the Governor of Arizona, they need to do something. The residents of Arizona and the citizens of the United States deserve better treatment that currently happens in Arizona.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

What Message Do You Learn from the Story of Jonah?

My Come, Follow Me studies took me to the books of Jonah and Micah this week. The lesson was titled “He Delighteth in Mercy” and was introduced by the following paragraphs.

Jonah was on a ship headed for Tarshish. There’s nothing wrong with sailing to Tarshish, except that it is far away from Nineveh, where Jonah was supposed to go to deliver God’s message. So when the ship encountered a great storm, Jonah knew it was because of his disobedience. At Jonah’s insistence, his fellow mariners cast him into the depths of the sea to stop the storm. It looked like the end of Jonah and his ministry. But the Lord hadn’t given up on Jonah—just as He hadn’t given up on the people of Nineveh and just as He doesn’t give up on any of us. As Micah taught, the Lord does not delight in condemning us, but “he delighteth in mercy.” When we turn to Him, “he will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and [He will] cast all [our] sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19). 

There were several principles taught in this scripture block, but I feel prompted to discuss this one: “All of God’s children need to hear the gospel.” Chapter 1 of the book of Jonah starts with the Lord commanding Jonah to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me” (Jonah 1:1-2). Jonah 3 tells us that Jonah “rose up” as he was commanded, but he fled to Tarshish to escape “from the presence of the Lord.” He traveled to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish, so he paid the fare and boarded. The problem was that Tarshish was in exactly the opposite direction than was Assyria.

Nineveh was part of the Assyrian empire, an enemy of Israel known for its violence and cruelty. The situation would be similar to an LDS missionary being called to preach the gospel to the Taliban or even ISIS. Obviously, Jonah did not wish to go to Assyria. It is possible that he doubted that such wicked people would hear the word of the Lord and repent. Yet, the Lord had commanded this prophet to go to Assyria to warn them.

Members and missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have also been called to warn our neighbors. Most of us are not required to go to our sworn enemies to declare repentance, but we are asked to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with our family, friends, and neighbors.

President Dallin H. Oaks taught the following: “We should never set ourselves up as judges of who is ready and who is not. The Lord knows the hearts of all of His children, and if we pray for inspiration, He will help us find persons He knows to be ‘in a preparation to hear the word’ (Alma 32:6)” (“Sharing the Restored Gospel,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 58-59).

Jonah quickly learned that he could not hide from the Lord. Soon after the ship on which Jonah traveled set sail, a strong storm arose. The sailors did everything that they could to stabilize the ship, but they feared that it would be destroyed. Jonah told them to toss him into the sea, and the waves would calm. The sailors reluctantly did as they were told, and the sea became calm.

Jonah was caught by a big fish and swallowed. He spent three days in the belly of the fish before he turned to the Lord, and the fish soon spit him out on dry land.

Jonah traveled to Assyria and cried repentance to the people. All the people as well as the king repented in “sackcloth and ashes.” This was not the situation that Jonah expected, and he was not happy about his enemies receiving the blessings of repentance. Hopefully, we will be happy for anyone who hears the gospel and is blessed by it.    

Friday, November 25, 2022

Is Debt Your Servant or Your Master?

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger if they have little to no debt. As we enter into the Christmas season, I thought that it might be good to discuss debt. Wise people understand that debt is a tool that can be a blessing if it is used correctly. However, debt can become strong chains if used incorrectly.

            At this moment, the debt owed by the United States government is $31,334,888,632,641. The national debt amounts to approximately $93,989 per citizen. “About 46 percent of Americans carry a balance on their credit cards from month to month, with an average balance of $6,093

            The first credit card issued was the Diners Club in 1950. Bank of America issued the first general-purpose credit card that offered a “revolving credit” feature.” The same year, American Express Company issued a travel and entertainment payment card. In 1969, a magnetic strip was adopted in the U.S. for all credit cards. In 1976, Bank of America created BankAmericard and joined with other banks to create Visa. Three years later in 1979, Mastercard was born. Discover Card was created in 1986, and in 2015 the EMV chips became standard to help protect buyers against fraudulent card transactions. 

            Jay Evensen’s article in Deseret News explained that grocery stores began accepting credit cards. Most of the women interviewed at that time did not think that credit cards would bring anything good. One woman said that paying on credit would be “like paying for a dead horse,” and another said that “credit cards would lead people to overspend.” A third suggested that credit would “end up as one of the biggest causes of voluntary bankruptcy.” A fourth woman looked into the future and proclaimed that there would come a “time when we won’t handle any of our money at all. Some big computer will run us and our money.” None of the women mentioned anything about hackers stealing our money, but they got lots of things correct. 

            Millions of Americans have been living on credit for numerous years, and many more are using credit cards now because inflation is eating so much of our money. Evensen referenced the following data recently released from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

[The data shows] that household debt in the United States rose faster in the third quarter of this year than at any time since 2008. We added $351 billion in overall debt, with higher-interest mortgages leading the way.

But the report said we also added the most credit card debt in 20 years, increasing our collective balances by 15% over this time in 2021. This, at a time when interest rates are topping 19% on those cards, and when you don’t have to Google too hard to find warnings of a possible looming recession.

            No one is suggesting that anyone stop using credit cards. Evensen and this post are pleas for Americans to be mindful of the amount of money being put on credit cards as well as wise plans to pay the bills. My family uses credit cards for our convenience in making purchases. However, we never put anything on the cards that we could not purchase with cash. The credit card bills are always paid completely at the end of each month. We learned this lesson from the examples of our parents, one set used credit wisely while the other set did not.

            J. Reuben Clark, Jr. made the following statement in 1938: “Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.” (See Conference Report, Apr. 1938, 103.)  

            Debt is a tool to use for our benefit. When we use it wisely, it is an obedient servant, However, it becomes our master if we use it unwisely. Wise parents will use credit wisely and teach their children to do the same. The wise use of debt can strengthen families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

What Makes You Happy?

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the free-market system that we enjoy here in the United States. Carlos Garcia posted an article at The Blaze sharing several blessings that we enjoy because of the free market. 

However, you define the happiness you seek in life, I can almost guarantee you that the free market has made it easier for you to obtain and enjoy happiness.

Obviously, nearly everything that you can buy has become better and cheaper over the last decades. Fantastic inventions that people couldn’t even imagine a hundred years ago so commonplace that we take them for granted…..

The miracle of fracking has made energy far less expensive. This incredible process has allowed humanity to extract far more gasoline from the earth than we used to believe even existed. In fact, all of those predictions that we would run out of oil in this century were obliterated by this one incredible operation.

The miracle of modern fertilizers allowed humanity to grow more produce per square inch than anyone could possibly have imagined before their invention. In fact, humanity was crashing against its farm-space limitations before that miraculous invention changed everything.

The incredible invention of anti-bacterial soap absolutely revolutionized medical efficacy. Soap has made our lives safer, good health cheaper, and medical care astoundingly better. Why aren’t we thanking God every day for soap? Because we take this miraculously commonplace advancement for granted….

Even considering things are more expensive than they were last year or the past two years, the free market has made them available to us when in past years, only wealthy people could afford them.

Garcia reminded his readers that there are some things that the free market cannot provide, blessings that bring us the most happiness. These blessings include “our families, our communities, our faiths, and all of those intangible things that you can’t buy.”

Thanksgiving is a great day to express gratitude for blessings, and gratitude brings additional happiness. Maybe gratitude should be part of every day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Are You Counting Your Blessings for Thanksgiving?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day set aside in the United States to express gratitude. According to an editorial in the Deseret News, the fourth Thursday in November was designated as “a day of thanksgiving” by President Georg Washington, but American colonists had designated days for giving thanks and for spiritual reflection. Washington’s first thanksgiving proclamation stated, “It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor….” 

Other U.S. presidents have also made Thanksgiving proclamations. During some of the darkest days of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln listed many of the nation’s blessings and then added, “They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”

In 2020 as people dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued an invitation to all people to express gratitude on social media and engage in daily prayer for the week prior to Thanksgiving.

Over my nine-and-a-half decades of life, I have concluded that counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems. No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a fast-acting and long-lasting spiritual prescription.

            I accepted President Nelson’s invitation and made a gratitude post each day. This activity helped me to look for the blessings in my life and acknowledge that they come from a Source outside myself. Many years ago, a friend mentioned that she always listed three things in her daily journal for which she was grateful that day. I began that practice. I started by listing three things and realized that I had many more blessings.

            Now I list five things each day. On days that I am extra grateful for blessings, I list five groups of blessings. This practice of expressing daily gratitude has helped me to stay positive in difficult times. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

What Is San Francisco Thinking?

San Francisco stepped ahead of other American cities when it created a financial incentive for residents to “transition” to a different gender. The city created a new program called Guaranteed Income for Transgender People (GIFT). I join others in expecting that the number of people transitioning will increase.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the “GIFT pilot program ‘will provide 55 eligible residents with $1,200 per month for 18 months, as well as health care and financial coaching.”  Jay Richards at The Daily Signal gave the above quote from the LA Times and then declared, “This scheme fuses bad fiscal policy with bad social policy. And the whole will be worse than the sum of its parts.” Then he wrote the following. 

First, note that this program doesn’t provide so-called universal basic income. It doesn’t target the whole population or even those in greatest financial need, but rather those with the greatest status in the intersectional hierarchy. In this case, that means residents, including minors, living at the intersection of economic poverty and transgender identity….

Of course, we already have evidence that this scheme won’t reduce poverty in San Francisco. Over more than a decade, the federal government financed research on “guaranteed income” schemes. It supported randomized, controlled trials across six states conducted from 1968 to 1980.

Guess what the U.S. government found? Recipients’ motivation to work dropped, regardless of their sex, marital status, or status as a parent. In fact, for every dollar in transfer payments, earnings fell by 66 cents….

Just consider: The number of people identifying as transgender, nonbinary, and so forth has exploded in the last several years, especially among your people. This growth has been so alarming that it led Dr. Lisa Littman, a physician and researcher, to suggest a new diagnosis in 2017 that she called “rapid onset gender dysphoria.”

This pandemic among the young has gotten far worse in the past five years….

Anyone who studies the rise of gender ideology in schools, culture, and social media is bound to suspect that we are dealing with a new social contagion, not the rare gender dysphoria of the previous century.

Gender transitioning is now, for many minors, a trend [that] leads to sterilizing cross-sex hormones and disfiguring surgery.

With the above information stuck in your brain, now consider the cases of Camille Kiefel and Chloe Cole. Each woman filed a lawsuit suing the health care professionals who advised them to have double mastectomies and transgender. According to Dan Hart at The Daily Signal, Kiefel filed her lawsuit two weeks ago in Oregon against a social worker and a mental health therapist for misdiagnosing her severe mental illness. Cole filed a similar lawsuit on November 9 in California accusing health care professionals of misdiagnosing her mental health. 

The two women are part of a growing group of people who are disillusioned. They join “a burgeoning movement of doctors openly decrying the practice of gender-transition procedures.” The movement by medical professional and “acknowledgements in the legacy media of growing concern over transgender drugs such as puberty blockers – seems to be having a cumulative, negative effect on the popularity and cultural power of gender ideology.” Maybe, just maybe, the transgender trend is beginning to crack! San Francisco should beware. They may be looking at numerous lawsuits!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Who Is Jennifer Wright?

My VIP for this week is Arizona Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright. According to Joseph MacKinnon, Wright wants answers to why the 2022 general election in Maricopa County was bungled so badly. The Attorney General Office (AGO) sent a letter to the Maricopa County attorney’s office on Saturday questioning why voters had so many problems with ballot tabulators and ballot-on-demand printers – not to mention potential election law violations.

Wright’s letter was sent just one day after the board of Arizona’s Cochise County delayed certifying the election results. Wright’s November 19 letter to the Maricopa County attorney’s office “noted that the AGO’s Election Integrity Unit has received ‘hundreds of complaints … pertaining to issues related to the administration of the 2022 General Election in Maricopa County.’” The letter continued, “These complaints go beyond pure speculation, but include first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa’s lawful compliance with Arizona election law.”

On the basis of these complaints and the problematic administration of the election, Wright underscored how Arizonans “deserve a full report and accounting of the myriad problems” that occurred in Maricopa County on Election Day.

In addition to voters’ complaints, Wright indicated there was additional cause for concern, given that “statements made by both Chairman Gates and Recorder Richer, along with information Maricopa County released through official modes of communication appear to confirm potential statutory violations of [Arizona election law].”

Wright’s letter, as noted in MacKinnon’s article, contained more information about why she invoked Arizona Revised Statutes Section 16-1021. She was particularly concerned about printer problems and check-out problems. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

What Is the Connection Between Trump, Democracy, and Free Speech?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns democracy and free speech. Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk recently purchased Twitter, and he has been causing leftists heartburn since the purchase. He decided to ask Twitter users if former President Donald Trump should be allowed by on Twitter.

Musk sent a simple tweet with a poll: “Reinstate former President Trump.” Two hours after the poll was published, it received more than 3 million votes. The final numbers were 15,085,458 votes with 51.8% of voters voting yes and 48.2% of voters voting no. At the time that The Blaze published their article, the percentages were 57% to reinstate Trump, while 43% did not want him to be reinstated. Musk used the voice of the people to reinstate Trump’s right to free speech.

Twitter suspended Trump’s account on January 6, 2021, during the riot at the U.S. Capitol because he was somehow responsible for the riot. He was later suspended permanently from its platform, and other social media platforms suspended him.

Trump joined Truth Social and other social media platforms, and he indicated that he is not interested in returning to Twitter. Now that he has been reinstated, he may change his mind, but democracy and free speech won.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

What Is the Role of Prophets?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Amos and Obadiah in a lesson titled “Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live.” The lesson was introduced by the following paragraphs:

God chose Abraham’s seed to be His covenant people so that they would “be a blessing” to all people (see Genesis 12:2-3). But instead, by the time of Amos’s ministry, many of the covenant people were oppressing the poor and ignoring the prophets, making their acts of worship empty and meaningless (see Amos 2:6-16). True, the nations surrounding them were also guilty of great sins (see Amos 1; 2:1-5), but that has never been an excuse for God’s people (see Amos 3:2). So God sent a herdsman from Judah named Amos to preach repentance to the Kingdom of Israel.

Later, God also declared through the prophet Obadiah that although the Kingdom of Judah had been destroyed, the Lord would gather and bless His people again. The covenant people had strayed from the Lord, both prophets testified, but they would not be cast off forever. When God reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets (see Amos 3:7), we can take it as a sign that He still wants to help us live up to the covenants we made with Him. 

The topic of this essay is the principle just mentioned: The Lord reveals truth through His prophets. Amos introduced the principle by giving several examples of cause and effect:

4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?

5 Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?

6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?

7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:4-8)

Amos spoke to the entire house of Israel, all twelve tribes, and he used the metaphor of a husband and wife. The Lord reminded Israel that He had chosen no other (see Amos 3:2; Deuteronomy 7:6). He spoke of Himself as faithful husband and reminded Israel of her covenant relationship with Him (see Jeremiah 3:19-20). The images used by Amos were chosen to express this message: God knows about calamities before they happen, but He never sends a calamity unless He first notifies His prophet that it is coming. Amos 3:7 is a clear statement of the role of prophets: they are spokesmen for the Lord. President N. Eldon Tanner said the following:

There are many scriptures which assure us that God is as interested in us today as he has been in all his children from the beginning, and thus we believe in continuous revelation from God through his prophets to guide us in these latter days. The Prophet Amos said, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p.52, as quoted in Old Testament Student Manual – Kings through Malachi, 2003). 

I know that God still speaks to us through His prophets. His prophet today is Russell M. Nelson, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful to live in a day when living prophets are upon the earth to guide us in the ways of God.

Friday, November 18, 2022

What Kind of Parent Are You?

Families are stronger when parents seek to balance their demands and their responses to their children. There are four basic types of parents: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. Team Beenke described the four different types of parents. 

Authoritarian parents are demanding, but not responsive…. big believers in setting rules for children to follow, but not much interested in taking their kids’ point of view into consideration…. very strict and controlling … tend to use punishment instead of discipline…. So rather than teaching a child how to make better choices, they focus on getting kids to feel “sorry” for their actions and be obedient.

Children … are at a higher risk of having low self-esteem because their input and opinions aren’t valued … can be well-behaved and do well in school, but … become skilled liars in order to avoid punishment. Children … may also grow up to be anxious adults … [and] … higher levels of depression.

Authoritative parents seek a balance between a child’s desire for freedom and their need to be listened to. These parents are both demanding and responsive; meaning they have rules and consequences but they also consider their child’s opinions…. use a positive discipline model where they focus on problem solving and strategies to reinforce good behavior… sets high expectations, but also values open communication with their child…. ultimately in charge, they make the effort to understand and support their kids as well.

Authoritative parents is widely regarded as the most effective of the different parenting styles. Children … tend to be more happy and successful … helps kids develop a sense of independence. The focus on open communication makes kids feel comfortable expressing themselves and they tend to do better in social situations as a result. These kids are also more likely to be good at evaluating risks and making decisions.

Permissive parents, while loving and accepting, make few demands of their children… lenient and may worry about stopping a child’s creativity by interfering… tend to give kids what they ask for and they avoid conflict whenever possible. If they do use consequences, they don’t always stick with them. A child can often get privileges back if they beg and promise to be good… encourage their kids to talk about issues, but they rarely put much effort into helping them problem-solve or teaching them how to make better choices… most hands-off.

Kids with permissive parents are more likely to struggle academically … flounder in school… exhibit behavior problems because they don’t understand boundaries or how to follow rules… may come to feel entitled to privileges and material goods… at a higher risk of health problems, such as obesity, because permissive parents struggle to limit the amount of junk food they eat.

Uninvolved parents demand almost nothing and give almost nothing in return [most dangerous type of parent]. Basically uninvolved parents expect kids to raise themselves … don’t set expectations, boundaries, or consequences … may spend a lot of time away from home, leaving kids to fend for themselves … may not … meet their children’s basic needs. It can verge into neglect territory… may have … substance abuse problems, mental health issues, lack of education, severe financial stress, etc. … can create a lifetime of havoc for a child.

These kids have no trust foundation with their parents which make it difficult for them to form relationships with others… perform poorly in school, display behavior problems, and rank low in happiness.

In her article titled “Perspective: Make ‘parent’ a verb again,” Bethany Mandel wrote of a family in Texas where four children are being reared “without any rules about food, clothing or appearance” and are “allowed to eat whatever they choose, shave their heads, wear whatever they want (or don’t want, in the instance of shoes) and even drink coffee.” Another article about the family called the type of parenting “free-range parenting.” Mandel called the children “feral” children. Most of us would put the type of parenting into the area between “passive parenting” and “uninvolved parenting” style. 

The Team Beenke article gives some suggestions for how a parent can decide what kind of parent they are. If you do not know, I suggest that you go to the article to learn more. Parents should strive to be authoritative parents because they will strengthen their family and their children will be happier and more successful. Such families can then add strength to their communities and nations. 


Thursday, November 17, 2022

What Does the Respect for Marriage Act Do?

The topic of discussion for this Freedom Friday concerns the same-sex marriage bill being pushed through the U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill previously, and twelve Republican senators worked with Senate liberals to move the bill forward in the Senate.

Many people are question why the Republicans were willing to work with the Democrats to push the agenda. Roger Severino of The Daily Signal laid the blame on certain people and faith organizations for putting “a giant target on people of faith.” Two of the organizations that he blamed are the National Association of Evangelicals and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He wrote that the two organizations “gave defecting senators enough political cover to vote against the interests of the people who put them in office.” The two organizations are not the only places where he put blame.

Additionally, a subset of these advocates, including law professors I respect, raise sophisticated legal arguments purporting to show that the bill actually improves the state of religious liberty in America. This piece demonstrates why this view is grossly wrong. As I and others have argued for years, marriage is the exclusive, lifelong, conjugal union between one man and one woman, and any departure from that design hurts the indispensable goal of having every child raised in a stable home by the mom and dad who conceived him.

Severino refused to speculate as to why some of the faith voices who were once opposed to same-sex marriage have flipped on the issue. He believes that they decline to press the sociological, biblical, and biological arguments favoring conjugal marriage. He said that the arguments for entrenching Obergefell v. Hodges in national law “must be judged on their own merits and they demand a thoughtful and serious response.” He discussed seven claims about the proposed Respect for Marriage Act and his response to each of them.

Claim No. 1: Because the bill’s findings characterize beliefs in man-woman marriage as worthy of respect, the legislation would provide religious institutions legally significant protections against being treated by government as the equivalent of bigots.

Response: False. First, the issue is not the ability to believe in man-woman marriage, but the ability to live out those beliefs meaningfully in society and not be labeled a bigot by the government for doing so….

Claim No. 2: The bill can’t be used as a basis for the Internal Revenue Service to deny the tax-exempt status of religious organizations that adhere to and act upon their beliefs in man-woman marriage.

Response: False. Although the bill clarifies through a rule of construction that it does not, by its own operation, revoke tax-exempt status for dissenting religious organizations, it gives ample grounds for the IRS and any other tax authority to do the actual dirty work….

Claim No. 3: Democrats’ marriage bill can’t be used as a basis for government bureaucrats to deny grants, licenses, accreditation, or contracts to religious organizations that adhere to and act upon their beliefs in man-woman marriage.

Response: False. Identical to the question of tax status, although the bill wouldn’t by its own operation revoke licenses, grants, accreditation, or other benefits for religious organizations that hold fast to man-woman marriage, the bill similarly fails to provide any affirmative defense to prevent bureaucrats from using it as a basis for revoking those organizations’ tax-exempt status….

Claim No. 4: Because the proposed Respect for Marriage Act explicitly would preserve application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, this concession and existing court precedents are enough to address any potential harm to religious liberty.

Response: False. Although it is some consolation that the sponsors didn’t explicitly strip protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from the bill, it is cold comfort. Neither that 1993 law nor the Supreme Court’s decisions in the Fulton and Masterpiece Cakeshop cases would prevent targeting faith-based organizations, including schools and adoption agencies, along the lines discussed. That’s because the bill before Congress sets the stage for courts finding a compelling national governmental interest in eliminating same-sex marriage “discrimination.”

Claim No. 5: Because the Respect for Marriage Act, if passed, would apply to private parties only when acting “under color of state law,” the risk is minimal that religious organizations would be deemed government actors. But even if they are deemed state actors, they already would be bound by the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling in the exact same way as under the legislation.

Response: Partly true, partly false. Yes, the risk that an average religious institution would be deemed a state actor is rather law; however, the question is fact intensive. Religious nonprofit contractors that provide, for example, supervised housing for immigrant families detained on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security, adoption services on behalf of government agencies, or prisoner rehabilitation services mandated by a criminal court might be deemed sufficiently governmental to limit a religious organization’s freedom on marriage questions that could arise in each of those settings.

Claim No. 6: The proposed Respect for Marriage Act, if passed, would provide additional protections for explicitly religious organizations to decline to participate in same-sex marriage celebrations and would bar activist lawsuits on this question.

Response: True, but largely irrelevant. If the First Amendment means anything, it means that government is barred from ordering a house of worship to solemnize or celebrate a same-sex marriage within its chapel, church, synagogue, or mosque. Such lawsuits would readily lose, and any subsequent attempts to relitigate the question eventually would lead to sanctioning of lawyers for filing frivolous lawsuits….

Claim No. 7: The legislation, as amended, would not recognize polygamous marriages.

Response: True and false. The latest version of the bill would not grant federal recognition of “marriages between more than two individuals,” which would cover unions where three or more persons are married to each other’s one family unit.

But the bill leaves open the possibility that one person can be in multiple two-person marriages at the same time, which would trigger federal recognition if a state legally were to recognize such consensual, bigamous unions as separate family units.

Severino concluded that “Tolerance and mutual understanding are not achieved by putting people who believe in man-woman marriage on the same plane as people who reject interracial marriage. That is precisely what the Respect for Marriage Act would do, despite no appreciable risk of same-sex couples’ losing any legal status or benefits.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Do Americans Need to Choose Between Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom?

As soon as Roe v. Wade was overturned, Democrats rushed to pass a law to protect same-sex marriage. The House of Representatives passed HR 8404 – Respect for Marriage Act -- in July 2022. According to Mary Margaret Olohan, this bill “provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.” The bill also “repeals and replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages form other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right to claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin,” allows “the Department of Justice to bring a civil action,” and “establishes a private right of action for violations.” 

The U.S. Senate voted today to advance the so-called Respect for Marriage Act with 62 “ayes” votes and 37 “no” votes. I am sorry to report that Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Dan Sullivan, both senators from Alaska, voted to advance the bill. They were joined by ten other Republican Senators: Roy Blunt (Missouri), Richard Burr (North Carolina), Shelley Capito (West Virginia), Susan Collins (Maine), Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Thom Tillis (North Carolina), Joni Ernst (Iowa, and Todd Young (Indiana). Olohan reported that most of the named Senators did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Signal. Are they ashamed of their vote?

Democrats claim that the bill will promote equality, but religious leaders do not agree. According to several sources, the senators named above do not understand what the bill will do. Ernst told The Daily Signal that she believes “this bill protects religious freedoms and will simply maintain the status quo in Iowa.”

Sullivan stated that the “vote was unnecessary.” He believes that “marriage should be an issue left up to the states.” He claimed that he worked “relentlessly to include in the bill considerable advances in much stronger religious liberty protections for millions of Americans that previously were not in federal law and were not in the Obergefell decision.”

Sources condemning the vote include Republican senators, religious leaders, and commentors who pushed back on the above rhetoric. Kristen Waggoner, President of Alliance Defending Freedom, warned, “Make no mistake, this bill will be used by officials and activists to punish and ruin those who do not share the government’s view on marriage.

Senator Mike Lee (Utah) said that he voted “against the motion to proceed to the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ because the religious liberty protections were severely anemic and largely illusory. He continued, “While I respect the efforts and emotions surrounding this issue, the bill does not simply codify Obergefell as its proponents claim.”

Lee continued his statement, “And despite the proposed amendment from Senators Collins and Baldwin, the religious-liberty protections are woefully insufficient. Religious Americans will be subject to potentially ruinous litigation, while the tax-exempt status of certain charitable organizations, educational institutions, and non-profits will be threatened. My amendment would have shored up these vulnerabilities. It is a shame it wasn’t included.”

Kevin Roberts, President of The Heritage Foundation, accused the Republicans Senators voting for the bill as “betrayal.” “Conservatives are deeply disappointed by the betrayal of Senate Republicans to protect Americans’ religious freedom and won’t soon forget the votes of the 12 Republican senators who cast aside an essential right in a bill that will weaponize the federal government against believers of nearly every major religion.”

Christians are already being persecuted and sued simply because they choose to live according to their core beliefs. Codifying same-sex marriage will lead to more persecution.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Will Trump Be Elected for a Third Time?

            Most people understood that he was going to do it because his hints were obvious. Tonight, he did it. Former-President Donald Trump announced tonight that he had signed the paperwork and was running for President of the United States. He made his announcement from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.  “Together we will be taking on the most corrupt forces and entrenched interests imaginable. Our country is in a horrible state. We’re in grave trouble.” 

            The big question for now is, will other Republicans throw their hats into the presidential ring, or will they leave the field open to Trump? There are plenty of Republicans who might run. The first that comes to mind is Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. Former-Vice President Mike Pence has also acted as though he were considering a run. Other who are reportedly considering a presidential run: former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Senator Time Scott of South Carolina. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. How many of them will decide not to run now that Trump has announced his run?

            A second question making the rounds is, who will Trump choose for his vice-presidential running mate?  We are safe in assuming that it will not be former Vice President Mike Pence, which makes me sad. Trump and Pence made a dynamic duo because their strengths and weaknesses off set each other. They were a powerful team, and I will miss their teamwork. Having a Trump-DeSantis team is probably not likely to happen because both of them live in Florida. (Former Vice President Dick Cheney moved from Texas to Wyoming to run on the same ticket as former President George W. Bush.)


Monday, November 14, 2022

Who Is Kari Lake?

             My VIP for this week is Kari Lake. I just learned that she was defeated by Katie Hobbs to serve as the next Governor of Arizona. This election result puts the people of Arizona on the same level as the people of Pennsylvania. I can only assume that they did not know who they were voting for.

            Like Pennsylvanians who elected brain-damaged John Fetterman, Arizonians elected a woman who cannot string three coherent sentences together. Both of them refused to debate their opponents, but Fetterman at least tried. Anyone who votes for such people deserves what they get. Of course, what can we expect from people who elected Joe Biden as President of the United States? We have a doddering old fool in the White House, so we might as well have a Senator with brain damage and an incompetent governor who cannot speak clearly.

            Kari Lake could have been a governor on par with Ron DeSantis, a governor that would straighten out the election mess and get results within twenty-four hours of the close of the election. Instead, Arizonians elected the person who was supposed to ensure that the election was free and fair and ran smoothly – but took a week to get results.  

            Arizona, you really messed up! The biggest problem with your result is that the entire nation will suffer for your choice. The southern border will remain open instead of being closed. Arizona will continue to be the laughingstock of the world for not being able to run an election in such a way as to get timely results, and Americans will continue to wait for election results out of Arizona. Americans deserve better!

Sunday, November 13, 2022

What Does the Future Hold for America?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the type of people necessary to maintain freedom and liberty in the United States of America. John Adams is credited as saying, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” In other words, Americans will not be able to maintain their Constitution and their constitutional way of life IF they are not moral and religious people.

America is deeply divided as shown by the results of the recent election. Half of the voters wanted what Republicans were offering, and half wanted what Democrats were offering. So, we will take a look at ten categories where Republicans and Democrats differ.

·         Republicans want secure borders                   Democrats want open borders

·         Republicans want fair and free elections.       Democrats want to win at any cost.

·         Republicans want energy independence.       Democrats want no fossil fuel energy.

·         Republicans are tough on crime.                     Democrats are easy on criminals.

·         Republicans are pro-life.                                 Democrats vote to kill babies.

·         Republicans want to stop genital                    Democrats want all the rising generation

mutilation of children and teens.                    to question their gender.

·         Republicans believe that parents should        Democrats believe that schools should

be first in decisions about children.                decide what children should learn.

·         Republicans believe in school choice.            Democrats do not want school choice.

·         Republicans want to protect the                     Democrats seek to destroy the Constitution

Constitution and constitutional rights.            and guaranteed constitutional rights.

·         Republicans put America first.                       Democrats put America last.

From my point of view, the comparison is stark. This is the reason why I have difficulty understanding why any thinking person votes for Democrats. Yet, I know many intelligent and spiritual people who vote for at least some Democrats at each election. That is the beauty of our constitutional way of life.

The scriptures and modern prophets teach that there will be a big divide in the world between the righteous and the wicked before Jesus Christ returns to earth. I question if this division between Republicans and Democrats is part of the big gulf that will happen at some time in the future. Therefore, I was interested when I saw an article that shared the same idea.

C. Douglas Golden reminded his readers that Democrats claimed that “democracy” was on the ballot. We all know that it was not. However, inflation and the economy were on the ballot, and those facts hurt Democrats. Everything else in the election concerned social issues: abortion, crime, parental rights in education, gender issues, and others. 

Golden quoted columnist Mark Lewis about why the social issues might have affected the election: “America is morally bankrupt and running up more ethical debt by the day.” So, I went to his site to learn more. Here is part of the article by Lewis: 

The United States has been drifting leftward politically and downward morally since the 1960s. There have been occasional blips in that political slide—Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump come to mind—but they don’t change the general trend. The moral decline is even more evident. In the 1950s, there was a popular TV show for six years entitled “Father Knows Best.” Can you imagine a program being aired like that now? In today’s America, half the children either don’t have a father living at home or have had multiple fathers depending on how many times their mother has been married. Or they are living with two “fathers” or two “mothers.” “Father Knows Best” indeed. Not in 2022. Maybe “Tranny Knows Best.”

This is just one example, of course. Hollywood has certainly been in the middle of the immoral invasion that has attacked America. But my point here is, this is history. Nations rise, nations fall…. It doesn’t have to happen, but it always does, and America is not somehow miraculously immune to that process. Indeed, we are becoming a classic case. [Emphasis added.]

King Canute couldn’t’ stop the tide. And nobody seems to be able to stop the leftward moral and political tide that has been coming in the past few generations….

Maybe the election on November 8 didn’t go quite as well as we had hoped because the country hasn’t been going in the direction we want it to for a long time now, and that drift is very difficult to stop. It never has before, in any country. We can try. We MUST try. But we must also recognize the realities of history.  

We keep fighting. We keep looking for answers… There are still millions and millions of good, decent, God-fearing, family-oriented people in the United States. But there are also millions and millions who aren’t.

And the problem is, folks, we might just be outnumbered now.

Lewis wrote my thought: God-fearing, Constitution-loving, law-abiding citizens may be outnumbered by those who wish to destroy the Constitution and America as we know it. The Biden administration may have already damaged the United States so badly that no mere mortal can turn the country around – and they have two more years to do more damage.

I believe that Americans will go through some tough times – maybe worse that our ancestors experienced during the Great Depression. However, I have faith that the Constitution and America will survive because modern-day prophets assure us that it will. President Harold B. Lee made the following statement:

Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the new Jerusalem. This is the place that the Lord said is favored above all other nations in all the world. This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. This is the favored land in all the world. Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won’t fail. I have faith in America; you and I must have faith in America, if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are living in a day when we must pay heed to these challenges.

I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers. It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through. [Emphasis added.]