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, July 13, 2024

Does Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ Affect the Sharer?

My Come Follow Me studies for this week took me to Alma 23-29 in a lesson titled “They ‘Never Did Fall Away.’” It was introduced with the following information. 

Do you sometimes wonder whether people can really change? Maybe you worry about whether you can overcome poor choices you’ve made or bad habits you’ve developed, or you may have similar worries about loved ones. If so, the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies can help you. These people were the sworn enemies of the Nephites. When the sons of Mosiah decided to preach the gospel to them, the Nephites “laughed [them] to scorn.” Killing the Lamanites seemed like a more plausible solution than converting them. (See Alma 26:23-25.)


But the Lamanites did change – through the converting power of Jesus Christ. They were once known as “a hardened and a ferocious people” (Alma 17:14), but they became “distinguished for their zeal towards God” (Alma 27:27). In fact, they “never did fall away” (Alma 23:6).


Maybe you have some thoughts or actions to change or “weapons of … rebellion” to lay down (Alma 23:7). Or maybe you just need to be a little more zealous toward God. No matter what changes you need, Alma 23-29 can give you hope that through the atoning power of Jesus Christ, long-lasting change is possible.

The chosen principle for tonight’s discussion is “Sharing the gospel brings me joy” (Alma 26; 29). There are 24 mentions of the word joy in Alma 23-29 indicating that living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ brings joy. The chapters for this give numerous reasons why Ammon, the sons of Mosiah, and Alma rejoiced. The following verses is just a sample.

12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.


13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?


14 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.


15 Yea; they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.


16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.


17 Who could have supposed that our God would have been so merciful as to have snatched us from our awful, sinful, and polluted state?


18 Behold, we went forth even in wrath, with mighty threatenings to destroy his church.


19 Oh then, why did he not consign us to an awful destruction, yea, why did he not let the sword of his justice fall upon us, and doom us to eternal despair?


20 Oh, my soul, almost as it were, fleeth at the thought. Behold, he did not exercise his justice upon us, but in his great mercy hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls.


21 And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.


22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing – unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.

Elder Marcus B. Nash taught: “Sharing the gospel kindles joy and hope in the souls of both giver and receiver. … Sharing the gospel is joy upon joy, hope upon hope” (“Hold Up Your Light,” Liahona, Nov. 2021, 71).

President Dallin H. Oaks taught that all members could share the gospel and gave three specific things that we can do. (1) “pray for desire to help with this vital part of the work of salvation. All efforts begin with desire.” (2) “we can keep the commandments ourselves. Faithful, obedient members are the most persuasive witnesses of the truth and value of the restored gospel.”

(3) “we can pray for inspiration on what we can do in our individual circumstances to share the gospel with others” – not what the missionaries or others might do.

President Oaks had other suggestions as to actions that we can take to be more effective while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

1.      We need to remember “that people learn when they’re ready to learn, not when we’re ready to teach them….”

2.      As we speak to others, we need to remember that an invitation to learn more about Jesus Christ and His gospel is preferable to an invitation to learn more about our Church….

3.      When we seek to introduce people to the restored gospel, we should do this in ways that are authentic and in loving concern for the individual….

4.      Our efforts to share the gospel should not be limited to our circle of friends and associates….

5.      Ward bishoprics can plan a special sacrament meeting to which members are urged to bring interested persons….

6.      There are many other opportunities to share the gospel…

7.      Our young members’ fascination and expertise with social media gives them unique opportunities to reach out to interest others in the gospel….

The above suggestions are given to help members of the Church of Jesus Christ to share His gospel. Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with other people brings joy to the people who share it.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Why is DOD Pushing DEI on Military Children?

Families, communities, states, and nations are stronger when children receive proper education. The Left has been pushing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs for several years, and conservatives have been fighting back. However, things may be worse than thought.

S.A. McCarthy, a news writer at The Washington Stand, authored an article about a new report published by nonprofit government transparency watchdog Open the Books. The report is titled “Schools for Radicals: The Secret Push to Institute Radical DEI Curriculums within the Pentagon’s K-12 Public Schools.” The report detailed “the efforts of the Department of Defense Education Activity to promote left-wing agendas in classrooms.” 

… The report begins by noting that the DODEA operates 160 schools across seven states, 11 foreign nations, Guam, and Puerto Rico and is responsible for the education of over 66,000 students. The program’s budget for the 2023 fiscal year was $2.25 billion.


“Unfortunately, the DODEA has been pushing radical ideologies on children of military personnel for way too long,” said Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council senior fellow for education studies, in comments to The Washington Stand. “Imagine serving your nation on the battlefront and returning home to find your daughter is now your son, and to further learn that the schools provided to your family were the first to encourage this lie. This situation is outrageous and fixing it should be a priority for a Republican administration.


Open the Books explained that it “used spending data gathered from federal checkbook database USASpending.gov. Other information was collected from FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests and through videos from the Equity and Access Summit provided by a whistleblower.” These are the report’s key findings:


The Pentagon Lied About Dismantling DEI Initiatives

According to Open the Books, the DODEA became the subject of intense scrutiny for its diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in 2022, after then-DEI chief Kelisa Wing made racist social media posts targeting white people….


DODEA Used SPLC Content in Classrooms

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a known left-wing activism organization, but DODEA still uses the group’s content in training teachers, according to whistleblowers cited in Open the Books’s report….


DODEA Hired Third-Party Contractors to Conduct DEI Training on Taxpayers’ Dime

According to Open the Books, DODEA has not only free resources from the SPLC but spends millions of dollars hiring third-party contractors to promote DEI in classroom programs, too….


DODEA Spending Is Increasing With Almost No Accountability

Open the Books noted in its report that DODEA federal grant spending has “roughly tripled since 2020, from $20 to over $70 million annually,” approximately $300 million is spent annually on contractors, and over $1 billion is spent annually on contractors, and over $1 billion is spent on salaries, “but individual salaries remain a mystery, as DODEA refused to disclose this data, unlike nearly every other federal agency or school district across the country.” …

Education is valuable for all people. However, improper education is propaganda. Families, communities, states, and nations are stronger when children are given proper education.

 

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Is the Media to Blame for Hiding Biden’s Condition from Americans?

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the need for an independent press – reporters who will investigate and report the truth without partisanship. Clearly, the mainstream press in the United States is not independent as was shown from the reactions of Americans who finally saw President Joe Biden as his real self.

On June 27, 2024, Democratic President Joe Biden and his Republican rival former President Donald Trump faced off in the first presidential debate of the 2024 presidential race. Biden was a disaster, and suddenly the entire nation knew it. A top Biden donor who wished to remain unnamed said, “There is no way to spin this. His performance was disqualifying. There is going to be a call for a brokered convention. Whitmer, Pritzker, Newsom, Beshear. Those could all be the options. It’s inevitable.” 

The news for the last two weeks is about Biden and how he should resign. Such calls are coming from Democrats at all levels, but Biden insists that he is the Democrat’s nominee and is staying in the race. Only time will tell who is correct.

Meanwhile, numerous people are being blamed for keeping Biden’s medical condition – senility – a secret from the American public. Obviously, the blame starts with Vice President Kamala Harris and extends through the top ranks of the Democrats who have met with Biden over the past three plus years. It also extends to the lamestream media who have been covering up Biden’s condition.

According to an article written by Jennifer Graham and published in the Deseret News, Jill Abramson, a former editor of The New York Times, accused the White House of conducting “a massive cover-up of the degree of the president’s feebleness and his serious physical decline.” She also “chastised the press for not covering the story until after Joe Biden’s disastrous debate with Donald Trump.” 

“It’s clear the best news reporters in Washington have failed in the first duty of journalism: to hold power accountable. It is our duty to poke through White House smoke screens and find out the truth,” Jill Abramson said, adding, “It is simply astounding for the entire country, including its most seasoned reporters, to be as shocked as everyone was by the ugly and painful reality of (President Joe) Biden’s debate performance.”

Many consumers of conservative media, however, were quick to point out that they were not shocked. Biden’s missteps – both literal and figurative – have long been recurring features on “Hannity” and other talk shows, to the point where any serious questions raised about the 81-year-old president’s limitations were dismissed as partisan attacks, or deflected by concerns that they would harm the national media’s candidate of choice. “I worry that too many journalists didn’t try to get the story because they did not want to be accused of helping elect Donald Trump,” Abramson said.

“Silence,” as Biden has repeatedly said, “is complicity.” And the legacy news media’s silence about Biden’s deteriorating condition in recent years is prompting soul-searching among journalists and a new combativeness between the press and the White House….

Actually, there were plenty of reasons, articulated by The Guardian in an article entitled “Warning signs: A history of Joe Biden’s verbal slips” in which the newspaper recounts incidents over the past three years that, in retrospect, should have been cause for greater scrutiny by the press. These range from Biden stumbling three times as he boards a plane, confusing Iraq with Ukraine, and inexplicably ending a speech about gun safety by saying “God save the queen, man.”

And these are just a sampling of worrisome incidents that are undisputed. There have been many others that might be open to interpretation, most recently a moment in last week’s interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, when Biden appeared to say that he would be satisfied if he had done his “goodest job” in trying to defeat Trump, and a kerfuffle later erupted between the press and the White House over what he actually said.

And of course, Biden provided new sound bites for his critics today when he, among other stumbles, introduced Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as “President Putin” at the NATO meeting in New York City and called Kamala Harris “Vice President Trump” at a rambling news conference that lasted nearly an hour.

I am willing to give Biden some leeway in messing up the names of world leaders. I think he made a simple mistake in calling Zelenskyy President Putin. He recognized his mistake immediately and corrected it. I watched/listened to the news conference, and I thought that Biden did fairly well. In fact, he did much better than I expected him to do. I do not think that Biden will pull out of the presidential race.

However, too many people saw behind the curtain like in Wizard of Oz when they watched Biden’s debate performance. Now Americans know that the press helped Democrats to hide the real condition of Biden.

There may not have been a nefarious “conspiracy of collusion,” as British commentator Piers Morgan has charged, but there was certainly fear by some in the media of helping Donald Trump. There was also a lack of willingness to ask probing questions when the president faltered, and to do the kind of bootstrap reporting that might reveal, as independent journalist Alex Berenson did on July 6 (two days before The New York Times published its story) a curious series of visits to the White House by a doctor who specializes in Parkinson’s disease….

It's hard to overstate how much the media has flipped on the subject of Biden in just 14 days. Jake Tapper, a moderator at the Juen 27 debate, has spoken out strongly about Biden’s condition, calling his refusal to leave the race “Operation Defiance” and devastatingly reading snippets of Biden’s disjointed answers in recent interviews, which we all know were not “cheapfakes” manipulated for political advantage.

There’s no question that the internet is awash in deceptive images, which makes the media all the more suspicious of them. But there’s also no question that public distrust in the media, which has deepened over the past eight years, is related to the open hostility toward Trump and his supporters among some members of the media. Until the media remembers that its job is not to keep Trump out of office, but “to hold power accountable,” as Abramson said, and to do so without partisan bias, our favorable ratings will remain even lower than Biden’s.

I do not know if the media is truly complicit in hiding truth from the American people. I do know that I knew that Hunter’s lap top was real before the 2020 presidential election. The mainstream media was hiding this truth, but the right-wing media was publishing it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Will Illegal Aliens Vote in the 2024 Presidential Election?

The U.S. House of Representatives, currently under Republican control, voted 221-198 today for a bill that requires proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections. The bill is known as the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act, or SAVE Act, and was sponsored by Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas). 

According to Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal, the bill would “amend the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, known as the ‘motor voter law,’ to require that states obtain documentary proof of U.S. citizenship from someone before he or she may register to vote.” It would also “require states to remove noncitizens from the voter rolls.” 

The interesting part of the vote is that 198 Democrats voted against protecting the right to vote for Americans. We should be grateful for the five Democrats who voted for the legislation. President Joe Biden also opposes the legislation, and the chances of a companion bill in the Senate sponsored by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) passing are slim to none at all.

“I kind of dare them to vote no on a bill supported by 81% to 87% of the American people,” Roy said Wednesday on the House floor, referring to Democrats. “I dare them to vote no on a bill that says only American citizens should vote in American elections. I dare them to go ahead and follow a president who has put out a policy against a bill, the purpose of which is to guarantee citizens are the ones who get to vote in American elections.”

Roy’s dare did not stop 198 Democrats from voting against a bill that would protect the vote of American citizens. The vote put the Democrats on record, and Americans should show at the ballot box how they feel about such a vote.

The bill passed in the House would do some other things. It would “empower U.S. citizens to bring civil suits against election officials who don’t uphold proof-of-citizenship requirements for federal elections.” It would also allow “for integrating existing databases at the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to expedite the requirement for states to remove noncitizens from voter rolls.”

It is “already illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections,” but this bill would put a mechanism into place that would “ensure that only those registering or voting are actually citizens,” according to Speaker of the House Johnson (R-La.) Johnson added some other information that is interesting.

Johnson, R-La., noted that Virginia last year removed 1,500 registrants from the voter rolls who were noncitizens, and 22% had cast ballots. The states of Massachusetts and Ohio removed noncitizens from voter rolls in recent years. Georgia found that 1,600 noncitizens attempted to vote.


“American citizens will be protected and in no way harmed by this bill,” Johnson said Wednesday on the House floor. “There is not a conceivable argument that the Democrats can make to oppose the commonsense measures that we’re putting before them today. Nothing changes the voter registration process in the states.”


“The only people who will face hurdles here are those who are trying to break our federal laws,” the House speaker said. “And that’s why it’s patently absurd that the White House issued a veto threat. They issued a veto threat.”

Other interesting information provided by Lucas is that Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes resigned in 2009 “after the state admitted to registering illegal immigrants for several years.”

More than 10 million illegal immigrants and millions more paroled aliens have entered the country since Biden took office in January 2021. The Biden administration has released at least 4.6 million illegal aliens into the United States in addition to 1.8 million known “gotaways,” according to Roy’s office.

One has to wonder why Democrats do not want to protect the right to vote for American citizens. Are they encouraging illegal aliens to vote in American elections? This sounds like election interfering to me – an illegal act.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

What Is the Truth about Project 2025?

Project 2025 is a creation of The Heritage Foundation that has the Left making inflammatory remarks about it. According to Kevin Roberts, president of The Heritage Foundation, this shows that Project 2025 is “right over the target.” 

Tyler O’Neil published an article at The Daily Signal about the Biden claims and the truth about Project 2025. He wrote that the Biden reelection campaign is spreading direct falsehoods about the initiative, hoping that the American people do not do their due diligence to research it. In fact, the Biden campaign has a website dedicated to attacking Project 2025, which has been making “totally baseless claims about the initiative.” This is one of those claims:

“Project 2025 is the plan by Donald Trump’s MAGA Republican allies to give Trump more power over your daily life, gut democratic checks and balances, and consolidate power in the Oval Office if he wins,” the webpage claims. “Trump’s campaign advisors and close allies wrote it – and are doing everything they can to elect him so he can execute their playbook immediately.”

O’Neil explained that “Project 2025 developed independently of Trump’s reelection campaign.” He said that he “wrote the exclusive story introducing Project 2025 to the world back in April 2023, before Trump entered the presidential race.” O’Neil in his current article in The Daily Signal debunked Biden’s claims, but first explained what Project 2025 is.

… The project would be unnecessary if the federal government operated the way the Constitution stipulates. Under the Constitution, Congress should make laws, the president should sign them, and the courts should resolve disputes about them.


In Washington today, however, a vast bureaucracy of alphabet-soup agencies – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and countless others – actually write the regulations that Americans must live by. Sure, Congress passed laws delegating part of its authority to those agencies and could defund them if it chose to do so, and sure, those agencies are technically under the president’s Article II powers to administer the laws, but in practice, these agencies act like a fourth branch of government.


While the president heads up the executive branch, bureaucrats in the alphabet sup enjoy many protections that make it difficult for the president to fire them, even if they directly flout his policy objectives. The Trump presidency saw the rise of a hostile “deep state,” where bureaucrats slow-walk the president’s orders, undermined his policies, and leaked to the media, even bragging that they were restraining him from inside the executive branch.


Project 2025 aims to prevent that going forward by equipping an incoming president with a comprehensive strategy. Key facets include pointers on how to structure the executive branch, drafts of executive orders to cut the red tape and allow presidents to fire hostile bureaucrats, and a database of commonsense Americans who won’t oppose a conservative president’s agenda.


That strategy is designed to bolster the will of the people, as it allows the people’s elected representative – the president – to bring the fourth branch of government to heel and to implement the policy agenda that the American people voted for.

The above four-paragraph explanation of Project 2025 also explains why President Joe Biden and other Democrats are trying to discredit both Donald Trump and Project 2025. Trump fought the “Deep State” for the entire four years of his first term in office. It would be nice if he could govern during a second term without being sabotaged by the people who are supposed to be working for him.

Here are “the biggest whoppers” being told by the Biden campaign about Project 2025.

1. ‘Terminates the Constitution’

Ironically, the Biden campaign claims that Project 2025 “terminates the Constitution.”


While the campaign backs up some of its claims on the website with drop-down menus and explanatory bullet points, it doesn’t even bother backing up this particular claim. Contrary to Biden campaign spin, Project 2025 actually represents an attempt to restore the Constitution, not terminate it.


Bringing the administrative state more firmly under the control of the president, whose authority traces directly from the Constitution, could not be further from terminating this quintessential founding document.


2. Gives Trump ‘More Power Over Your Daily Life’

With no sense of irony, the Biden campaign claims Project 2025 aims to “give Trump more power over your daily life.”


That’s completely false. Project 2025 aims to weaken the bureaucracy that churns out tens of thousands of pages of rules every year. A more restrained administrative state translates into less control over Americans’ daily lives, not more.


3. ‘Guts Democratic Checks and Balances’

The Biden campaign claims Project 2025 “guts democratic checks and balances on presidential power,” but the fine print on the website makes a consequential admission about these checks on Article II powers.


The website claims that the project will empower a president “to fire and replace independent civil servants across the government with extreme MAGA loyalists – turning independent government employees with specialized technical expertise, such as the people who keep our food safe, working for the American people into political creatures implementing his extremist agenda.


The campaign complains that “Project 2025 outlines a plan to reclassify thousands of federal workers so they can easily be fired by Trump for simply not doing his wishes.” In other words, it would allow Trump to fire bureaucrats who oppose the people’s elected president, in whose hands the Constitution places “the executive power.”


Note: The Biden campaign mentions “democratic checks and balances,” but the actual checks on a president’s power that it aims to protect are technocratic, not democratic. Project 2025 would not undermine Congress’ authority – to pass bills, override vetoes of them, or impeach a president – nor the people’s authority to choose the electors who select a president. Those democratic checks on a president’s power remain, and Project 2025 supports them.


Project 2025 aims to make the administrative state more democratic, more receptive to the people’s will expressed in a presidential election. The Biden campaign aims to insulate the administrative state from the people’s will. Its opposition to Project 2025 is anti-democratic.

In addition to the three big lies noted above, the Biden campaign made other dishonest claims about what Project 2025 would do. The false claims state that “Project 2025 would end no-fault divorce, ban abortion without exceptions, eliminate unions, cut Social Security, ban Muslims from entering the country, and completely eliminate the FDA and the EPA.”

The Biden campaign lies about Trump and Project 2025 are a distraction from Biden’s blunders. Biden accuses Trump of doing what “the Left has already done” – “leverage the ‘expertise’ of the administrative state to shove its agenda down Americans’ throats without a single vote.” Any projects that can reverse the damage done to America by the Biden administration would be “both democratic and constitutional” and “in the best interests of the American people.”

A second article, written by Kyle Morris at Fox News, claims that former President Donald “Trump attempted to distance himself from the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025.” 

“I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it,” Trump wrote [on Truth]. “I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.”

Project 2025 “is not associated with Trump’s campaign,” but it is considered to be “a blueprint for a future Republican administration to restructure many parts of the U.S. government.” It was launched in April 2023, and it is also known as the Presidential Transition Project. The following is a statement from Project 2025.

“As we’ve been saying for more than two years now, Project 2025 does not speak for any candidate or campaign,” a Project 2025 spokesperson told Fox News Digital when asked about Trump’s remarks. “We are a coalition of more than 110 conservative groups advocating policy and personnel recommendations for the next conservative president.

Roberts talks of America being “in the process of the second American Revolution,” hopefully bloodless. The so-called revolution involves such things as “overhauling the Justice Department and FBI” as well as “abortion and immigration.”

Monday, July 8, 2024

Who Are the Victims of the Open Borders Agenda?

My VIPs for this week are the thirteen Americans who lost their lives at the hands of illegal aliens over the past twelve months. Seven of them were minors. According to Virginia Allen at The Daily Signal, the thirteen victims are as follows: Jocelyn Nungaray (age 12), Gloria Cascio (age 53), Ruby Garcia (age 25), Christopher Gadd (age 27), Travis Wolfe (age 12), Alex Wise Jr. (age 10), Lizbeth Medina (age 16), Jeremy Poou-Caceres (age 2), Laken Riley (age 22), Melissa Powell (age 47), Riordan Powell (age 16), Aiden Clark (age 11), and Rachel Morin (age 37). 

Allen reported the following about the victims and gave more details than are given in this post.

“The simple fact is that every crime committed by an illegal alien is one committed by an individual who should not have been at large in the country in the first place,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Green told The Daily Signal.


“While the Left likes to hide behind flawed studies and incomplete data on illegal alien crime, families across our country are suffering from the tragic realities of President [Joe] Biden and Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas’ open borders,” said Green, R-Tenn.

The growing number of American lives lost at the hands of illegal immigrants coincides with an increase in the number of criminal illegal immigrants cross America’s borders annually.


According to Customs and Border Protection, 13,130 criminal noncitizens were encountered between ports of entry since the start of fiscal year 2024 on Oct. 1, setting up fiscal 2024 to outpace last year’s 15,267 such encounters.


“Instead of enforcing the laws they swore to uphold, Biden and Mayorkas have devoted themselves to a policy of mass catch-and-release,” Green said. “This radical agenda may excite their far-left base, but the rest of us are left wondering if one of our loved ones will be the next to fall victim to these violent crimes.”

 

Sunday, July 7, 2024

What Is Needed to Save the U.S. Constitution?

The topic for this Constitution Monday concerns the saving of the Constitutional Convention 237 years ago. Tad Walch at The Deseret News wrote about the divisions among the attendees at the Constitutional Convention and how George Washington later explained the following September the saving of the Constitution while reporting on a speech given by Thomas Griffith. 

“The Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable,” Washington wrote. “

Walch reported on an address given by former BYU general counsel Thomas Griffith at the annual conference of Braver Angels in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 28. Concerning “Amity, mutual deference and concession” being three virtues that created the Constitution, Griffith said, “They are needed to sustain the Constitution today.” Griffith should know what he is talking about because he is a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, “widely considered the second-most important and powerful court in the country.” Walch continued with the following:

The example set by Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others in 1787 is vital in “this perilous moment” of “toxic political polarization,” Griffith said during a week that included a presidential debate and major Supreme Court rulings.


Griffith also quoted President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who recently told church members that, “on contested issues, we should seek to moderate and unify.”

Griffith pulled from a journal article by Stanford’s Derek Webb, “The Original Meaning of Civility: Democratic Deliberation at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention.” Griffith said that the “Constitutional Convention moderated division in three key ways.”

First, the convention’s rules banned talking, reading and writing while someone was speaking, which promoted careful listening.


Second, the delegates formed dinner groups across regional and ideological lines. (Griffith loosely paraphrased what George Mason of Virginia wrote to his son – “People from New England aren’t so bad after all!”)


Third and most important, a group of moderates met in Benjamin Franklin’s home and agree “to persuade their colleagues to compromise for the sake of unity even before they knew the terms of the compromise.”


They put, Griffith said, “the nation’s well-being ahead of (their) own interests.”

Griffith recommended a new book he called the most important ever written on the Constitution: “American Covenant: How the Constitution Unified Our Nation – And Could Again.” He said the author, Yuval Levin, shows that the Constitution not only protects Americans’ rights, it also creates a governmental structure that “can only work when majorities and minorities act together through negotiation, compromise, and conciliation.”


“Following the processes of government the Constitution creates gives us practical experience in living and acting together,” Griffith said.

For those who have never heard of the Braver Angels, the organization is “dedicated to political depolarization. It promotes the active listing modeled by Washington, Franklin and the rest of those who were in Philadelphia in 1787.”

Saturday, July 6, 2024

How Do We Become Instruments in the Hand of God?

My Come Follow Me studies for this week took me to Alma 17-22 in a lesson titled “I Will Make an Instrument of Thee.” The lesson was introduced as follows: 

Think of all the reasons people might give for not sharing the gospel: “I don’t know enough” or “I’m not sure they would be interested” or maybe “I’m afraid I’ll be rejected.” Maybe you’ve found yourself thinking similar things at times. The Nephites had an additional reason for not sharing the gospel with the Lamanites: they were described as “a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites” (Alma 17:14; see also Alma 26:23-25). But the sons of Mosiah had an even stronger reason why they felt they must share the gospel with the Lamanites: “They were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish” (Mosiah 28:3). This love that inspired Ammon and his brothers can also inspire you to share the gospel with your family, friends, and acquaintances – even those who may not seem likely to accept it.

There are numerous principles in this week’s scripture block, but I feel impressed to discuss one found in Alma 17-19. It is “When we show love for others, we can help them receive the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The love that the sons of Mosiah felt for the Lamanites had a profound effect on their missionary labors.

Before Ammon and his brothers even left the land of Zarahemla, they expressed their love for humanity. They wanted to take the gospel to the Lamanites for several reasons: to cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, to convince them of the iniquity of their fathers, and to stop the contentions between the Nephites and the Lamanites. Most of all, “they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear than any human should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble” (Mosiah 28:3).

Once the missionaries arrived in the land of the Lamanites, Ammon went to the land of Ismael and became the servant to King Lamoni. Through a series of service opportunities, Ammon proved to the king that he was an honorable servant, which caused the king to want to know more about Ammon. This gave Ammon an opportunity to teach the gospel to King Lamoni, his wife, and his servants – who were all converted. The story of Ammon and Lamoni is illustrated in this video

When Ammon received revelation from the Lord telling him to go to the land of Middoni to rescue his brother Aaron and other brethren who were in prison, King Lamoni went with him. On the way, they met King Lamoni’s father, who tried to kill them – first, King Lamoni and then, Ammon. Through his actions, Ammon convinced the father of King Lamoni that he (Ammon) loved Lamoni and wanted what was best for Lamoni and his people. This opened the door for Aaron to later preach the gospel to the father of King Lamoni and for the Holy Ghost to convert the king and his people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We can all show greater love toward our family, friends, neighbors, and even enemies. As we show our love by our words and actions, we can become greater disciples of Jesus Christ and share His gospel with many other people.

 

Friday, July 5, 2024

Biden’s Department of Education Is Silencing Our Girls?

Families, communities, states, and nations are stronger when women and girls are protected. The Founding Fathers recognized that nations are stronger when the citizenry is educated. According to Kimberly Hermann, Thomas Jefferson “described public education as ‘the means to give every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business … to express and preserve his own ideas … to improve his morals and faculties … to understand his duties, and to exercise his rights.” 

Congress pass Title IX of the Education Amendments in 1972 to stop harassment and discrimination against women. Title IX has protected women as they pursued their dreams for 52 years as they expand “their athletic, academic, and economic opportunities.” However, the Biden administration wants to erase all the protection for females. Hermann wrote the following:

Now the Biden administration and its Education Department, in thrall to radical gender ideology, would erase that progress.


In deciding to reinterpret the statute by replacing “sex” with “gender identity,” the Biden administration would transform a statute meant to protect women into one that would punish them. From kindergarten to college, girls would be unable to raise their voices to protect the very rights Title IX affirmed for them for more than five decades.

Now girls and women are now fighting for the rights that they were given in 1972 because men who think that they are female want to play on female teams. The Biden administration is putting girls and women in physical danger by allowing men to play on female teams. Girls and women will not be truly safe as long as biological men are allowed to play on female teams and enter female restrooms and dressing rooms. Title IX will protect females, families, communities, and nations.

 

 

 

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Has America Forgotten God?

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concern for America to return to God. In the spring of 1863 – several months prior to the famous Gettysburg Address, “President Abraham Lincoln declared April 30 ‘a day of National Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer’ and called on Americans to ‘abstain from secular pursuits’ in favor of ‘acts of devotion and public worship.’ According to Scott Raines, this is a “very foreign tune from today’s obsession with separating church and state.” 

In his declaration, Lincoln stated: “We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. … We have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”


At a time of costly, violent political tensions and national division, and an increasing sentiment of secularism, the president in that “foreign” era of United States history sought to aim the vision of his people not to himself, nor to the legal system, or even to the body politic, but to God – a foreign notion indeed.


However distant or strange the past may seem relative to the present, our nation is still experiencing many of the same problems as did the “foreign lands” of Civil War America. Though – thankfully – nothing nearly as violent, there is still a deepening political and social divide both felt and seen across the American landscape.


A study out of Pew Research Center showed that when Americans were “asked to sum up their feelings about politics in a word or phrase, very few (2%) use positive terms; 79% use negative or critical words, with ‘divisive’ and ‘corrupt’ comping up most frequently.” In terms of political tension and division, perhaps things aren’t so different from those foreign lands after all. What is different, however, is our approach to healing our divide, and where we turn to for help.


Most of our Founding Fathers, and many, if not most of our past presidents (including George Washington, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, to name a few would often (and publicly) look to God to guide and direct, and even course-correct, our country. Today, this seems almost unthinkable; our overwhelmingly secular society wouldn’t allow for it. But this is precisely what we need, and perhaps what most Americans hope for.


Like the foreign country of yesterday, a large majority of Americans (3 in 4) still espouse religious affiliation, despite the alarming increases in “religious nones.” On a global scale, “more than half of American adults (55%) say they pray daily, compared with 25% in Canada, and 18% in Australia and 6% in Great Britain. (The average European country stands at 22%).” In many ways, we are the land of the free because we are faithful.

America will remain free for as long as the majority of Americans worship the God of the land who is Jesus Christ. We must humble ourselves, or we will be humbled. We must turn to God, or He will not heed our cries for help when we need Him.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Would You Pledge Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness to the Idea of America?

Tomorrow is Independence Day, the 248th anniversary of the day the Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence. This history site published the following about the original Independence Day, July 4, 1776. 

The Declaration of Independence was the first formal statement by a nation’s people asserting their right to choose their own government.


When armed conflict between bands of American colonists and British soldiers began in April 1775, the Americans were ostensibly fighting only for their rights as subjects of the British crown. By the following summer, with the Revolutionary War in full swing, the movement for independence from Britain had grown and delegates of the Continental Congress were faced with a vote on the issue. In mid-June 1776, a five-man committee including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin was tasked with drafting a formal statement of the colonies’ intentions. The Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence – written largely by Jefferson – in Philadelphia on July 4, a date now celebrated as the birth of American independence.

Americans declared independence from Great Britain on the idea that government is held in the collective hands of the people being governed. The editorial board at The Deseret News asked this question: “Would you be willing to risk your life, fortune and honor for an idea. 

Most nations have their origins in ethnicity. The United States, however, originated with an idea. Rather than seeing people as subjects to a higher power, this idea placed power in the collective hands of the people, and it recognized basic human rights as being universally endowed by a creator.


Among these rights are “liberty, free speech, freedom of religion, due process of law, and freedom of assembly,” as the Library of Congress website enumerates them.


“America’s revolutionaries openly discussed these concepts,” the website notes. However, then, as now, many regular citizens accepted these ideas better in the abstract than in reality.


From the beginning, Americans have struggled to live up to the nation’s founding principles and ideals, whether the subject was slavery, women’s suffrage, equal public education opportunities or other practical applications.


And yet, as Americans celebrate another Fourth of July this coming Thursday, it is fitting to remember that the original signers of the Declaration of Independence were willing to sacrifice all for this idea. The end of that document asserts that the signers “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”


They knew war was imminent. Their devotion to the idea was deadly serious. But they also asserted “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” which was borne out time and again as they overcame desperate odds to defeat what was the world’s greatest military power at the time.


Thankfully, that idea still resonates today. It is found in the brave men and women who volunteer to serve in the armed forces and who, too often, are called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The editorial board discussed how the idea is found in refugees who suffer hardships to immigrate to the United State. The idea is “found in millions of everyday citizens who live quiet lives as kind neighbors and conscientious stewards of their communities and neighborhoods.”

There are louder voices in election years calling their chosen candidates as “true patriots. “But real patriotism lies with those who study candidates and issues and who vote with the best interests of the nation in mind.” It is found in people who report for jury duty or who volunteer to help the needy. “It is found in people who are, by nature, grateful for blessings.”

On July 4, 1876, on the 100th anniversary of the nation’s independence, President Ulysses S. Grant issued a proclamation that expressed that theme.


“It seems fitting that on the occurrence of the hundredth anniversary of our existence as a nation a grateful acknowledgment should be made to Almighty God for the protection and the bounties which He has vouchsafed to our beloved country,” Grant said. He added that, amid the celebrations of the day, Americans should find time for “some public religious and devout thanksgiving to Almighty God for the blessings which have been bestowed upon us as a nation during the century of our existence, and humbly to invoke a continuance of His favor and of His protection.”


If Grant could see many blessings from the nation’s first 100 years, how many more can we see from the 148 that have passed since then? How much more gratitude should we express amid the fireworks, barbecues and other appropriate expressions on this holiday?


Above all, how much thanks should today’s Americans give to courageous founders who established an idea that revolutionized the world, and that continues to spark hope in people worldwide?

As explained on this site, gratitude is now and has been an essential principle and virtue in cultures throughout time. In fact, gratitude is at the center of Christianity and important in many other religions. Throughout history, prophets – ancient and modern – have taught the importance of gratitude. Scriptures teach us to “give thanks” in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and to arise every day with a heart “full of thanks unto God” (Alma 37:37). 

Latter-day revelation warns: “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:21). Gratitude is an essential characteristic of disciples of Jesus Christ.

If and when Americans express gratitude for the blessings of living under the Constitution of the United, then God can freely bless America. Please join me on this Independence Day to express your gratitude for all the blessings that God as poured out on America and Americans as He protected America in revolutionary days, during World Wars I and II, and all through the years. However, as Americans turn from God and worship other “gods,” God will leave us to operate under our own abilities.

The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ proclaims that America is a promised land that will be protected as long as the residents worship the God of the land, even Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Why Did Biden Lie About Trump’s Immunity Decision?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled yesterday in favor of presidential immunity for former President Donald J. Trump. However, current President Joe Biden spoke for four-and-a-half minutes condemning the decision in Donald Trump v. The United States.

In addition to Biden’s lies, special prosecutor Jack Smith was offering his own lies. He alleged that “Trump conspired to overturn the 2020 presidential election by ‘spreading knowingly false claims of election fraud.’” In turn, Trump’s legal team claimed that Smith’s allegations fell under “the outer perimeter” of Trump’s official duties as president.” Therefore, the president is immune from prosecution, and the charges should be dismissed. The decision by the Supreme Court makes presidents “presumptively” immune from prosecution for any “official” duties of the POTUS but not “unofficial” actions. 

Tony Kinnett at The Daily Signal elaborated on the Biden lies. Biden began his address with the common statement that no one, not even the POTUS “is above the law and the claim that the court decision “fundamentally changed” the statement. Kinnett continued as follows:

1. ‘Virtually No Limits’

“For all … for all practical purposes, today’s decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what a president can do,” Biden claimed.

This accusation is objectively false.


In the opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the president of the United States may not be prosecuted for duties he carries out under his constitutional authority, but may be prosecuted for all other actions….


2. ‘Self-Imposed Limits’

Biden further claimed that “the power of the office will no longer be constrained by the law, even including the Supreme Court of the United States. The only limits will be self-imposed by the president alone.” He later reiterated this claim, stating “the law would no longer” define “the limits of the presidency.”


This is objectively false. No passage in the 119-page document gives the president the authority to define “official” and “unofficial” actions to avoid prosecution and assign himself unlimited power.


3. Attacks on ‘Long-Established Legal Principles’

Biden continued by characterizing Monday’s decision as what he considers to be a trend of “attacks” on a “wide range of long-established legal principles in our nation, from gutting voting rights and civil rights, to taking away a woman’s right to choose, to today’s decision, that undermines the rule of law in this nation.”


The Supreme Court has not “gutted” voting rights or civil rights of any kind. Every citizen of the United States retains equal voting rights at the age of 18, the most a U.S. citizen has ever enjoyed in U.S. history. There is no poll tax to vote, nor a sex or ethnicity requirement. Every citizen maintains sovereign franchise at the ballot box – with noncitizens even allowed to vote in some local elections.


Furthermore, granting presidents immunity from prosecution for their official acts clearly falls within the Supreme Court’s precedents and does not constitute a reversal from “long established legal principles.” As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his opinion, the U.S. “has never before needed an answer” to the question of when a former president may “be prosecuted for official acts taken during his presidency.”


The aberration is the prosecution, not the decision that some official acts are immune from it.


4. Sending ‘a Violent Mob’

Biden accused Trump of sending “a violent mob to the U.S. Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power.”


Two tweets on Jan. 6, 2021, counter this claim, showing Trump calling for protesters to remain “peaceful” and to “support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement.”


January 6, 2021, 19:38:58

Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!

Retweets: 107460

Favorites: 582183


January 6, 2021, 20:13:26

I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!

Retweets: 156100

Favorites: 730357


Biden asserted that Americans deserved to see Trump “answer” in court for these actions “before Election Day.”


“The public has a right to know what happened on Jan. 6 before they’re asked to vote again this year,” Biden said. “Now, because of today’s decision, that is highly, highly unlikely.” …


The Supreme Court did not dismiss the Trump v. The United States lawsuit, but clarified terms of immunity so a lower court could render its decision. No court has refused to render a legal decision regarding the legality of Trump’s behavior.


5. ‘I Will Respect the Limits’

“I know I will respect the limits of the presidential powers as I have for the last three-and-a-half years, but any president – including Donald Trump – will now be free to ignore the law,” he added. He closed by echoing Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissension, suggesting that the president is now a “king” and “above the law.”


Biden has not respected the limits of presidential power, however, and the Supreme Court has called him out on it, proving that the president is not a king.


When Biden sought to unilaterally “forgive” billions in student debt, the Supreme Court struck down his first attempt. He responded by issuing executive orders to dismiss even more debt.

Biden concluded the press conference by encouraging all Americans to “dissent” along with Sotomayor, and then walking away from the podium, refusing to take any press questions.