Declaration of Independence

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

Friday, May 31, 2024

Does Your Family Excite You?

Families, communities, states, and nations are stronger when traditional values are adopted and sustained. Yet, traditional values get people “canceled” whenever they defend them. An example an example is Harrison Butker, a field-goal kicker with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. Butker, a Catholic, recently gave the commencement address at Benedictine College, a Catholic school. One would expect a Catholic to speak of traditional values, particularly at a religious school. However, such an expectation did not stop leftists from attacking Butker for such statements as this such statements as this

“I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career?” he said. “Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

Butker then had the audacity to applaud his own wife, Isabelle, for the sole reason of embracing her vocation of wife and mother. In other words he promoted family and recognized that men are different than women. Butker did not say that all women should give up their careers to be stay-at-home wives and mothers. He merely said that “most women in the audience are most excited about their future families.”

If women are most excited about their families, they will be doing whatever they can to make their family stronger – whatever that means in their particular circumstances. It may mean that the mother or father is at home with the children during the early years. It may mean that the mother must go out into the world to work to help provide for her family. Mothers and fathers should both be most excited about their families and do their utmost to strengthen them. When most parents are most excited about their families, then families, communities, states, and nations will be stronger.


Thursday, May 30, 2024

What Is the Next Step for Trump?

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns unequal or two-tier justice. During the Biden administration there has been one tier of justice for Democrats and their supporters and a second tier for Republicans – particularly Donald Trump – and their supporters.

Today we saw another result of the two-tier justice system when a New York state court in Manhattan found Trump guilty on all 34 counts in a “hush money” case. Mark Levin, in an article published at The Blaze, shed the following light on the topic. 

In Bush v. Gore, the United States Supreme Court interceded in the Florida Supreme Court’s deliberation because that court was changing the Florida voting system on the fly, thereby violating the Equal Protection rights of Florida voters. The state court was establishing new standards for resolving a presidential election.

The Manhattan trial court has done worse in the farcical “hush-money” case. It has taken up a case in which there is exclusive federal jurisdiction (involving the Federal Election Campaign Act) despite the fact that the federal agencies with authority over enforcing federal campaign laws – the Federal Election Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York – declined to bring charges.

I would strongly encourage his attorneys to seek an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court based on Bush v. Gore.

Judge Juan Merchan is conflicted. His daughter, Loren, is raising tens of millions of dollars on behalf of her Democratic Party clients.

Collateral evidence has been abundant (and has no probative value).

The elements of the supposed federal offence were never articulated by the state or the court.

The imposition of a gag order on the defendant, who is the future Republican nominee for president, during a national campaign, raises all manner of First Amendment questions, problems, and concerns.

Moreover, this state court could easily have avoided influencing and interfering with the federal presidential election merely by setting a later time for the case, if the court actually believed it somehow had merit. After all, the state waited years to bring its case.

Therefore, there is not only a federal constitutional Equal Protection violation, in that this state trial court has purposefully interposed itself into the federal presidential election without authority or jurisdiction, but the court has also violated the federal constitutionally protected Due Process rights of the future Republican nominee for president.

Furthermore, the voters are to determine the federal election outcome without the interference of a state court attempting to influence the result. If President Trump is found guilty of any of the 34 charges, I would strongly encourage his attorneys to seek an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court based, at least in significant part, on Bush v. Gore.

Levin is an attorney who worked during the Reagan administration as the chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese. He is also a conservative radio and television host.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

What Are traditional values?

Traditional values are conservative values. They are the values on which the United States of America was built and maintained for nearly 250 years. Yet, they are the values that get cancelled more often than any other values. Victor Joecks at The Daily Signal used the experience of Harrison Butker to show how the system is working at the current time. Harrison Butker's Traditional Values: Happiness and Fulfillment (

Harrison Butker is a field-goal kicker with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. He recently gave the commencement address at Benedictine College. Both Butker and the school are Catholic. What he said wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone vaguely familiar with Catholic teachings or the Bible generally.

That didn’t stop leftists from having a collective meltdown over comments like this. “I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career?” he said. “Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

He then applauded his own wife, Isabelle, for embracing “her vocation as a wife and as a mother.” He urged men to be involved in their families and to fight “against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things.”

For promoting family and recognizing differences between men and women, he received a vicious backlash from the Left. Vox declared his speech “misogynistic.” Writing in The Kansas City Star, a columnist said the Chiefs should fire him and replace him with a female kicker. Jonathan Beane, the senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at the NFL said, “His view are not those of the NFL as an organization.”

But Butker is right. Start by moving past the straw-man version of his statement – that all women should abandon their careers and only be homemakers. He didn’t say that. He said that most women in the audience are most excited about their future families.

And they should be. For the vast majority of people – both women and men – having a family will provide more meaning and purpose than a job ever could. Your promotion can’t hold your hand. You can hug your money, but it won’t hug you back. Children provide parents with a living legacy and, hopefully, grandkids.

It is strange how much the Left hates capitalism, marriage, and families. Joecks wrote about the way that capitalism is credited with creating “the greatest wealth-creation engine in human history” The same people who cannot understand that capitalism is what creates the American economy urges women to give up marriage and family to climb the corporate ladder.

Experts, such as Brad Wilcox in his book “Get Married,” have found that “married women are happier and wealthier” and “lives with more meaning and less loneliness.”

The long-term alternative for single, childless adults is sobering. Many single, childless adults “will end up aging and dying essentially alone, largely unvisited and uncared for in their final years by anyone but a nursing-home attendant,” Wilcox writes.

Twenty-two-year-olds can’t know what it’s like to be 40, 60, or 80 years old. But they can learn from their elders, avoiding mistakes and imitating wise choices. Health societies nudge young adults toward decisions – like marriage and family – that produce long-term benefits even if they seem daunting in the moment.

Traditions, like the values Butker promoted, are the solutions to problems society’s forgotten about.

Traditional values are the foundation of American. If Americans do not uphold traditional value, they can say goodbye to America as we know it. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Have You Heard of Chris Rufo and Read Any of His Work?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have been much in the news in recent months and even years because DEI “has infested American businesses, colleges, and even our government,” according to Rob Bluey at The Daily Signal. Chris Rufo’s Quest to Abolish DEI (

Bluey has two articles from an interview he had with Chris Rufo who has been “reporting on NPR and the plagiarism plague at America’s leading universities.” Rufo also discussed “his campaign to abolish DEI….” This post will come from Bluey’s first article today with a possible second one coming from his second article. Bluey asked Rufo to give the backstory about NPR.

A month or two ago now, Bari Weiss’s outfit, The Free Press, had this great story from a longtime NPR editor who basically confirmed what conservatives have known all along: NPR has drifted very far to the Left. There’s no ideological balance. It doesn’t represent the public, and it’s run by people who are committed activists and ideologues who don’t care about the news. They care about pushing a propaganda line.

Anyone who’s really been thinking about it could see that, but hearing it from the insider caused something of a stir. And then on the back of that reporting, I did some other reporting on NPR’s new CEO, a woman named Katherine Maher, who is just like a caricature of a kind of far-left managerial leader.

I exposed some of her tweets, which were almost like parodies, left-wing haikus. They were really kind of poetic in their own way. And then I really dug into her background as a left-wing operator, regime-change activist overseas, and then turned the screws on NPR, which if it would hope to actually be public radio representing the public, really can’t have someone who is such a kind of left-wing ideologue in charge.

At a minimum, let’s be clear, the public should not be paying a cent for NPR, and I think that we’ve shifted public opinion on this in recent months in the right direction.

Rufo bluntly shared his thought that NPR should not receive any taxpayer funds because it is strictly leftist propaganda. He then took a leap into plagiarism at “America’s highest profile university leaders.”

Is it possible to reform NPR? Is it possible to reform Harvard? Is it possible to wholesale reform the federal government in the immediate term? No, that is a generational project. But what I’ve tried to do is demonstrate that at least tactically we can score victories.

As I’m thinking about different activist campaigns, I’m always thinking about three points of leverage. How can we find a target that has a kind of opening where we could do some good reporting, good investigation, good agitation, so to speak, and then how can we take away their money? How can we take away their power? How can we take away their prestige?

Ideally, two of those, of course, three of those [are] great. I’ve found that as a rule of thumb, you need to hit an institution along two of those axes in order to really be successful at changing policy, changing staffing, changing kind of programming, changing the ideological balance. Whatever your specific kind of reform is, it takes an enormous amount of pressure.

And so one of the things that I’ve been trying to study as I’ve been working on this in practice is how does that work? How does pressure work? How do institutions work? How does money, finances, [and/or] budget work? And then trying to figure out how, through storytelling, through reporting, through more direct activism, how can you start to shift those conditions?

The theory is that over time, if we can do this enough, if we can do this successfully, if we can demonstrate how to wield power in a meaningful way and in a way that makes things better, you could have more significant reforms building up over time.

Rufo and Bluey discussed Rufo’s book “America’s Cultural Revolution” a bit. Then Bluey asked Rufo about higher education. “How big of a problem is the plagiarism scandal?”

You’re kind of limited by time resources, but certainly when we broke the story that the president of Harvard was a plagiarist, she had plagiarized a large number of passages in her doctoral thesis. Then there was some additional reporting from Aaron Sibarium at the Washington Free Beacon. And then some follow-up reporting from me that showed she had plagiarized the majority of all of her academic papers. She was the president of the most prestigious university in the world. That’s untenable.

Of course, as we started to look elsewhere, we’re finding plagiarism everywhere. We’re finding particularly extreme high rates of plagiarism among DEI administrators. It seems like DEI administrators at universities have a hard time completing doctoral thesis without plagiarizing material. And we found them even in some of the more left-wing ideological academic departments. We’re uncovering plagiarism, but discovering it is somewhat tedious, time-consuming work.

After explaining the difficulty of uncovering plagiarism, Rufo stated that “plagiarism is very much a real problem.” In addition, the work being done by the plagiarists is “actually awful as a matter of quality … the papers are [not] good. These papers are awful [and void of substance.” The bottom line is that the papers do not “create new knowledge or suggest ways to improve our societies.” He ended this part of the discussion by stating that it is the fraudulence that “gets people’s attention.” He concluded by saying that he considers the plagiarism campaign to be “quite fun,” and promising that more stories will be produced in the future.

The discussion then switched to critical race theory or diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. Bluey suggested that these “policies have diminished the importance of merit” and asked if there was “any hope” for change or if change is already taking place. Rufo gave Bluey hope.

It’s already changing in many places.

One good example is that many universities after COVID scrapped the requirements for SAT scores for college admissions. And the reason was, I think, twofold. One is that they were correctly sensing that affirmative action, which is nice euphemism for racial discrimination, was going to be correctly deemed unconstitutional by the courts, which has happened. And they also, in a deeper way, they’ve been grappling with what are very real racial disparities for a variety of complex social scientific reasons.

All of the educational interventions, hundreds of billions of dollars, have not been sufficient in closing what’s called the achievement gap and, therefore, closing a disparity in college readiness. So rather than comply with the law, and rather than be honest about disparities, college administrators said, “If it’s going to be illegal and if we’re giving up on closing disparities, we should just scrap the requirement for test scores.”

The theory did not work, just as many people could see. If we want “the best universities … the best students … a fair and equal process,” doing away with requirements does not work. Rufo indicated that some universities are pulling back and reinstituting SAT requirements. Some of them have done away with “their DEI statements voluntarily.” Seven red states have “abolished the DEI bureaucracies,” and “upwards of 20 states” are expected to follow them.

“Public opinion has also shifted,” and people are recognizing that things do not work according to their theory. However, Rufo admitted that the fight is just beginning even though conservatives are now in a better position for fighting the battles.

Bluey asked for practical advice for students about the worth of attending colleges and universities. Is education worth the cost? Rufo answered that it was a “hard question” as well as “a very personal question” that each family must answer for themselves. However, he gave “two components to the right answer.

The first is that there is a popular line or meme in some conservative circles: Don’t go to college, go to trade school, drop out of college. College is not a good investment. College is indoctrination center. College is not the right way.

Frankly, some of the trades are very lucrative, and the highest paying trades are probably more lucrative than the lowest paying college majors. But still, in general, there is a return on a college education. Politically speaking, a good functioning and successful conservative political movement has to have college graduates and elite college graduates. That’s a fact.

[Rufo emphasized that the Founding Fathers were college graduates – “lawyers, large landowners, physicians, scientists, merchants. Those are high prestige, high education, high intelligence kinds of fields.”]

Given that we’re now 250 years later in a more complex economy with higher levels of general education with larger post-secondary institutions, the idea that we could have a successful political movement without a large number of very smart, very educated people, I think is misguided. It’s actually a completely wrong position.

The second part of the answer is then, therefore, what do you do as an individual? Then it becomes a little more complex. But what I would say is that if you are a child or if you’re a young person, if you have intellectual gifts, you should absolutely go to college, and you should absolutely go to the best college that you can get into for your desired field of study for whatever personal calculations you have to make.

If you have your head on straight, if you’re independent-minded, if you can connect with the right people, it’s still a worthwhile endeavor and we should not give up on universities. We should fight to make universities better. That’s my view.

The discussion went on to cover K-12 public schools with Bluey asking if there is any hope for reform in public schools. Rufo explained that parents are looking at their alternatives and options. Parents are also “demanding an education that reflects their values, not the values of university humanities departments.” Rufo indicated that we are seeing some changes.

Parents have more options for educating their children now than at any previous time in America. The public schools must be reformed, according to Rufo, because they are not going away. However, states are beginning to allow “parents to take their education dollars anywhere to any school of their choice. That is a game changer. It changes the whole system.” Rufo continued, “it makes public schools better and more competitive, and it gives parents this great resource where they can take typically between $7,000 and $8,000 per year per child to any institution of their choice. That’s going to, over the long term, create better options.”

Bluey told Rufo that his “investigative reporting and activism” led to the changes. Rufo then admitted, “It’s still hard as a parent. The policy fight is much easier, but the fight still “requires a huge effort” that must be adapted to “your kids’ personalities and whatever struggles and challenges they’re facing.” Rufo advised parents to “Do the best that you can, except that no school and no system is going to be perfect,” just try to do the best that your means can do.

I encourage you to stay tuned because I may have more information from Rufo in the following days.


Monday, May 27, 2024

Who Is Heather Idoni?

My VIP for this week is pro-life activist grandmother Heather Idoni (59) who has been sentenced to 24 months in prison for trying to stop abortions from taking place in Washington, D.C., in October 2020. According to Mary Margaret Olohan at The Daily Signal, Idoni was convicted, along with other individuals, of federal conspiracy against rights and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act charges. 

Biden’s Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division “has charged dozens of pro-life activists for attempting to stop women from aborting their unborn babies.” Several pro-life activists have already been sentenced to time in prison for the same October 2020 event: pro-life activist Lauren Handy (57 months), John Hinshaw (21 months), William Goodman (27 months), Jonathan Darnel (34 months), Herb Geraghty (27 months), and Joan Bell (27 months).

On Monday, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on Monday against seven pro-life activists and two pro-life organizations alleging that the pro-life organizations, Citizens for a Pro Life Society and Red Rose Rescue, as well as activists Laura Gies, Lauren Handy, Clara McDonald, Monica Miller, Christopher Moscinski, Jay Smith, and Audrey Whipple violated the FACE Act when they sought to stop abortions from taking place at Ohio abortion clinics. The DOJ’s complaint seeks “compensatory damages, monetary penalties and injunctive relief as provided by the FACE Act.”

Idoni is the mother of fifteen children, five of whom are her biological children and ten of whom were reportedly adopted from Ukraine. Idoni believes that she will die behind bars because she did not receive proper medical treatment. The reason for her belief is that she was in the custody of the U.S. Marshals office and did not receive adequate medical treatment for a stroke.

Olohan wrote about the federal government weaponizing the FACE Act against pro-life supporters while neglecting to do anything about hundreds attacks on pro-life facilities.

Critics have accused President Joe Biden and the DOJ of weaponizing the FACE Act against pro-lifers while failing to charge pro-abortion criminals for the hundreds of attacks on pregnancy resource centers since the May 2022 leak of the draft Supreme Court opinion indicating Roe would soon be overturned.

Some, among them Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, have called for the repeal of the FACE Act, arguing that it serves no purpose but to target pro-life activists. “The Biden administration is using the FACE Act to give pro-life activists and senior citizens lengthy prison terms for nonviolent offenses and protests – all while turning a blind eye to the violence, arson, and riots conducted on behalf of ‘approved’ leftist causes,” Lee told The Daily Signal earlier this month.

“Unequal enforcement of the law is a violation of the law,” he added, “and men and women who try to expose the horrors of abortion are being unjustly persecuted for their motivations.”

Tyrants seek control of the citizens. One of their ways is to silence them to keep them from sharing their ideas. One of the reasons that the tyrants in the Biden administration is persecuting the pro-life activists is because they are using the activists to scare other people from not getting involved.

Who wants to spend time in prison? No one. However, if no one speaks up for life of the unborn, for freedom of speech, or for other freedoms, the tyrants will take total control. In such a case, all Americans will lose freedoms, liberties, and opportunities to succeed.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

How Do You Remember Those Who Make Freedom Possible?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is Memorial Day, a day set apart to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in service to America. Much of this post will come from an article published today by the editorial board of The Deseret News.

In a world where we are hearing of wars and rumors of wars, we need people who will stand between America and the enemies of freedom. We should honor those brave and courageous people and be grateful for their service. We should also be grateful for their parents, spouses, siblings, children, and grandchildren who also make sacrifices to support their heroes and particularly those survivors who lost their loved ones.

We currently have a war between Russia and Ukraine, a war between Israel and Hamas, the threat of war between China and Taiwan, and similar threats from North Korea and Venezuela. Too many nations now have or will soon have nuclear weapons – “human-made devices” that could cause a global catastrophe. The editorial board said it this way:

Which is to say that Memorial Day will likely continue to be a somber event as freedom and liberty continue to demand the “last full measure of devotion,” as Abraham Lincoln put it, of the nation’s bravest and ablest young men and women.

The nation can do much to avoid war by remaining vigilant and strong, and yet national security continues to require the ultimate sacrifice from too many.

Memorial Day demands a certain measure of devotion: a duty to honor those who offered their lives in exchange for our own ease and prosperity. To treat it only as the unofficial first day of summer seems profane….

Nearly 1.4 million Americans have given their lives in combat or in other military related ways since the American Revolution. Their sacred sacrifice puts today’s worries and conflicts in perspective. We have free and open elections because of their blood. We enjoy the right to speak our minds because of their valor. We dishonor them by treating members of the opposite political party as enemies or by threatening violence.

Perhaps the truest words in Washington are found etched into the Korean War Memorial: “Freedom is Not Free.” …The lust for power, whether fueled by phony national emergencies, promises to rid the world of class distinctions or the need to avenge this movement or that ethnic group, seems to reinvent itself constantly in the world. To those who would hold onto tyranny, real and imagined enemies abound, and oppression is often the most prescribed form of quackery.

It is a measure of American optimism that people once labeled the First World War as the “war to end all wars.” Once liberty had triumphed over her enemies, the thought was, tyranny would be subdued forever. That brand of naiveté no longer exists.

And yet it would be wrong to ignore how liberty’s triumphs, fueled by each successive generation of brave men and women, have kept freedom’s flame burning strong in many corners of the world and here at home.

Certainly, the threats posed by nuclear weapons make doomsday’s midnight toll an ever-present lurker. But because of Memoria Day, those 90 seconds until midnight seem much brighter and less menacing than many would have you believe.

All Americans should take at least a first minutes on Memorial Day to recognize the sacrifices made to protect our freedoms and liberties. Approximately 1.4 million Americans have died to make freedom possible for more than 340,000,000 Americans today. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

What Is the Importance of Covenants?

My Come Follow Me studies for this week took me to Mosiah 18-24 in a lesson titled “We Have Entered into a Covenant with Him.” The lesson was introduced by the following information. 

The account of Alma and his people in Mosiah 18; 23-24 shows what it means to “come into the fold of God” (Mosiah 18:8). When Alma’s people were baptized, they made a covenant with God to “serve him and keep his commandments” (Mosiah 18:10). While this was a personal commitment with God, it also had to do with how they treated one another. Yes, the journey back to Heavenly Father is individual, and no one can keep our covenants for us, but that doesn’t mean we are alone. We need each other. As members of Christ’s Church, we covenant to serve God by helping and serving one another along the way, “bear[ing] one another’s burdens” (Mosiah 18:8-10). Alma’s people definitely had burdens to bear, just as we all do. And one way the Lord helps us “bear up [our] burdens with ease” (Mosiah 24:15) is by giving us a community of Saints who have promised to mourn with us and comfort us, just as we have promised to do for them.

The principle for this week is “When I am baptized, I make a covenant with God” (Mosiah 18:1-17). In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, baptism is a sacred ordinance performed by priesthood holders. There are several key points related to baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ, but they are easy to understand.

The purpose of baptism is to be an essential step for individuals to enter the fold of God and become members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Through the ordinance of baptism, individuals take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ and make a covenant to follow His teachings.

Individuals make specific covenants as part of the baptismal ordinance. The covenants include: (1) coming into the fold of God or becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ; (2) taking upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ; (3) bearing others’ burdens, comforting those in need, and mourning with those who mourn – helping others.

The baptismal prayer is pronounced by the priesthood holder who performs the ordinance. The prayer is as follows: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:73).

Only individuals with the necessary priesthood authority can perform baptisms. Both the person being baptized and the priesthood holder must be worthy to participate in the ordinance. Two members of the Church of Jesus Christ are official witnesses of each baptism. Individuals must be at least eight years old to be baptized, but people of all ages over the age of eight are baptized.

Baptism is a significant step in the spiritual journey of members of the Church of Jesus Christ. It symbolizes their commitment to follow Christ and to receive His blessings.

In Mosiah 18-24, we learn of Alma the Elder and how he believed the words of the prophet Abinadi. He wrote Abinadi’s words and then taught about the coming of Jesus Christ. Alma baptized more than 460 people, and this scriptural block tells of the many blessings that came to them because of the covenants that they made with God. We also learn of another group of people – the people of Limhi – and how they covenanted with God but were not baptized until later. We learned of how God deals with His covenant people.

To end this post, I encourage you to watch a video titled “The Lord Delivers the People of Limhi and Alma.” The video depicts the people of Limhi and Alma – two separate groups of people – who are taken into bondage and captivity by the Lamanites. Both groups made covenants with God and had their faith tested and tried. In the end, both groups were delivered from their bondage but in separate ways. 

Friday, May 24, 2024

Is Boredom Good?

Families are stronger when children, teenagers, and adults understand that boredom is a good thing. Most people “find boredom uncomfortable and strive to avoid it,” according to Megan Feldman Bettencourt who wrote about boredom in an article published in The Deseret News. 

It is safe to say that many people prefer to be entertained. However, this is not true for children.

When my older children were starting school, I lined up activities for them every day of the week. One day they would twirl batons, another day they would have dance lessons, and the other days they were involved in some other activities. This went on for several weeks before my oldest daughter said to me, “Mom, do we have to go somewhere every day. We never have any time with our friends in the neighborhood.” I thought that I was doing a good thing for my children, but I was not. We soon narrowed the activities to one or two days per week, and everyone was much happier.

Being on the go all the time is not good for children, teenagers, and adults. We all need “rest, relaxation, hobbies, unstructured time, in-person social connection and even boredom itself” in order to be happy.

American workers are reporting record-breaking rates of burnout and stress, while skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety and suicidality in kids have prompted children’s hospitals to declare a national state of emergency for youth mental health. Bettencourt continued her report:

… Americans workers are reporting record-breaking rates of burnout and stress, while skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety and suicidality in kids have prompted children’s hospitals to declare a national state of emergency for youth mental health. It turns out that boredom is important for stimulating creativity and problem-solving, as well as for giving our busy brains some much-needed rest. When we notice the stillness or disinterest that most of us characterize as boredom, responding in constructive ways pays dividends in productivity, creativity, social connection and mental wellness.

So if boredom really is good for us, then how can we learn to incorporate it into our lives despite the constant pressure to avoid it?

In psychiatric literature, boredom is defined as a state of mind featuring disinterest or lack of stimulation or challenge. Ironic, since being bored these days is a challenge itself. Boredom often arises from repetitive tasks or a lack of novelty, and can make us feel restless. We ideally learn to tolerate and productively manage that restlessness, starting in childhood. Being bored prompts kids to make imaginary games, initiate play with other children and take a proactive role in their own activities. This builds creativity and problem-solving skills, as well as social acumen, resilience, independence, initiative and self-esteem.

School is out for the summer recess all over America, and parents are busy trying to find enough activities to keep their children busy. According to Bettencourt, busyness is not necessary. Parents who allow their children to become boredom will help them to learn better problem-solving skills and develop more creativity.

Wise parents will encourage their children to learn to enjoy reading for the fun of reading. If such children are bored, they can always pick up a book and read – thus improving their reading capabilities and gaining knowledge. I was with one of my granddaughters one day, and she was sharing all kinds of information with me. I asked her where she learned so much, and she replied, “I read, and I remember what I read.” She is a current high school graduate and is starting college soon. She has never been truly bored because she knows how to entertain herself.

Since we now know that boredom is a good thing, we should allow the rising generation to be bored once in a while. Wise parents who encourage their children to have some down time could be helping their children to avoid mental health problems. Wise parents will help their children to be healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Healthy children and wise parents create strong families, and strong families strengthen their communities, states, and nations.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Should More Illegal Immigrants Receive Amnesty?

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns open borders as a tactic to push amnesty. In the past, both Democrats and Republicans were against open borders and used the term “illegal alien” to identify anyone who crossed the border illegally but not now. First, Democrats insisted that illegal aliens be identified as “undocumented immigrants.” Now, the White House calls them “newcomers.”

Simon Hankinson, a senior research fellow in the Border Security and Immigration Center at The Heritage Foundation, wrote a series titled “Three Reasons the Left Wants Open Borders.” In his third article, he wrote that he had already covered ideology and electoral politics, and then he wrote about extortion. 

By turning on the taps of illegal immigration, open-borders proponents hope to create bargaining chips to negotiate amnesties and increased immigration flows. Since he took office, Joe Biden has paroled a million and a half inadmissible aliens under bogus premises, caught and quickly released into the U.S. the better part of 7 million more, and allowed at least 1.8 million more to evade Border Patrol – the “gotaways.”

As Jason Riley wrote in The Wall Street Journal last year, “The White House knows that an overwhelming majority of the people coming aren’t fleeing persecution but are economic migrants gaming our asylum laws. They know that there will be no serious effort to deport people whose claims are denied.”

Nonetheless, the roughly 10 million inadmissible foreign nationals who the White House calls “newcomers” will be new leverage to push immigration “reform,” which means massive amnesties and new “pathways” into the U.S. outside and on top of the legal immigration system authorized and numerically limited by Congress. Biden’s threat is to leave the taps wide open.

Under this pressure, wavering conservatives might concede to ineffective or even counterproductive legislation like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s D-N.Y., bill that claimed to be a solution but did nothing to reduce the illegal flow. Fortunately, it failed on Thursday.

Hankinson called the failed bill “a trap” and quoted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) as stating correctly that the bill “would actually codify many of the disastrous Biden open-border policies that created this crisis in the first place.” The failed bill, if made into law, would make “it difficult for a future conservative president to reverse,” according to Hankinson. He then provided some history.

… The relevant lesson is the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. The deal was that about 3 million illegal aliens would be amnestied, but that the government would work to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and keep another amnesty from happening again. To achieve this, employers would have to confirm the legal status of people before hiring them or face penalties.

The first part of the bargain (the amnesty) happened, but the second part did not in any comprehensive manner. Almost 40 years later, the number of illegal aliens present in the country is perhaps five times as great as in 1986.

President Joe Biden and/or his administration claim that Biden needs the bill to be passed to give him the “power” to secure the border. However, former President Donald Trump used the same power available to Biden to secure the power. Biden does not need more “power” and should not be given it.

Forty years ago, Congress promised to secure the border if 3 million illegal aliens were amnestied. The border is not secure yet. Therefore, there should be no discussions about amnesty for more illegal aliens. First, secure the border. Second, revamp legal immigration as needed. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Can Congress Do Something About the Unrest on College Campuses?

Antisemitism has risen across the nation, but it is most noticeable on college campuses since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023. The massacre of Jews – mostly civilians – ended with more than 1,200 people being killed and more than 100 taken hostage. How did students and professors on America’s campuses react to the terrible news? They cheered the terrorists! Suzanne Bates reported on the events in an article published in The Deseret News. 

“In nearly 50 years of @Harvard affiliation, I have never been as disillusioned and alienated as I am today,” former Harvard President Lawrence Summers wrote on X on Oct. 9. “The silence from Harvard’s leadership, so far, coupled with vocal and widely reported student groups’ statement blaming Israel solely, has allowed Harvard to appear at best neutral towards acts of terror against the Jewish state of Israel.”

The U.S. House of Representatives and/or the U.S. Senate have passed several resolutions condemning the Hamas attacks (412-10 vote) and/or “condemning Hamas for sexual violence, calling on Hamas to release hostages, and condemning antisemitism on college campuses.”

Representative Burgess Owens (R-UT) “has spoken out repeatedly about the rise in antisemitism” both publicly and in committee hearings in the House with another hearing scheduled for tomorrow. Bates reported on an interview that Owens had with the Deseret News today when he said the following.

“We need to continue to let people know that what we’re up against is not just something that happened on Oct. 7. We have administrators, we have people in DEI offices, and indoctrination of divisiveness and hatred. We have allowed them to come into our college campuses, and increase what it costs to go to college,” he said.

Owens said he doesn’t think things will change until the American people “educate themselves” on what is going on, and he thinks Republicans in the House, by shining a light on the issue, are doing their part to increase understanding of the issue….

Owens said he thinks Congress should withhold funds from college campuses that allow antisemitism and other bigotry to fester. But while legislation along those lines may pass the Republican-controlled House, it is unlikely to clear the Democratic-controlled Senate or White House….

“We are at a time now where we understand our education is at risk,” he said.

Americans are losing trust in universities after witnessing the protests on campuses, he said.

“We’ve got to end this, taxpayer dollars shouldn’t pay for that kind of craziness,” he said of DEI programs, which he said also teach Black Americans to hate white Americans. “I have seen it. But we just call it teaching – one race to hate another, not matter what race, what religion. That’s not the American way.”

Owens criticized the student protests of the war in Gaza. He said that the “vandalism associated with student encampments on campus shows they “feel entitled, they don’t understand respect for other people’s property.” He concluded, “And this is where it’s up to us to make sure that we’re teaching accountability.”


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Will America Follow the Path of European Nations?

The media and other Leftists have left no stone unturned to convince us that our little boys and girls, our young men and young women will commit suicide if they are not allowed to cut off their sexual parts. They claim that gender-transition procedures save lives. They insist that we “follow science” until science goes against their agenda. S.A. McCarthy at The Daily Signal reported the following information. 

A study published last month entitled “Risk of Suicide and Self-Harm Following Gender-Affirmation Surgery”” evaluated patient data from nearly 60 U.S. health care organizations, comprising millions of patients.

Over 1,500 patients, called “Cohort A,” were described as “adults aged 18-60 who had gender-affirming surgery and an emergency visit;” nearly 16 million patients, called “Cohort B,” who were a “control group of adults with emergency visits but no gender-affirming surgery.”

Almost 150,000 patients, “Cohort C,” were described as “adults with emergency visits, tubal ligation or vasectomy, but no gender-affirming surgery.” A fourth group, “Cohort D,” was examined to “validate the results from Cohort C.”

Data analyzed covered 20 years, from Feb. 4, 2003, to Feb. 4, 2023. The study concluded: “Individuals who underwent gender-affirming surgery had a 12.12-fold higher suicide attempt risk than those who did not.”

Those who had undergone gender-transition surgeries were nearly five times more likely to attempt suicide than those who had undergone tubal ligations or vasectomies, the study found. It warned: “Gender-affirming surgery is significantly associated with elevated suicide attempt risks, underlining the necessity for comprehensive post-procedure psychiatric support.” [Emphasis added.]

The findings are in line with the conclusions of numerous other studies. For example, research published in the journal BMJ Mental Health earlier this year found that gender-transition procedures such as hormone drugs and surgeries have “not been shown to reduce even suicidal ideation, and suicidal ideation is not equal to actual suicide risk.”

And in Sweden, an extensive 30-year-long study concluded that suicide rates increase after gender-transition surgeries, rising to at least 20 times the suicide rate of the general population.

A report from the U.K. last year found that over a third of children who were prescribed puberty blockers and hormone drugs suffered worsened mental health. And a study from Finland discovered that those who identify as transgender typically manifest “many more common psychiatric needs” than the general population, but that gender-transition procedures don’t alleviate or cure those mental health issues.

Countless other studies have shown that gender-transition procedures are harmful, especially to children. A study published in March suggested that puberty blockers have numerous harmful effects on children, including an increased risk of cancer in boys.

As it turns out, transgenderism activists have been aware of the “debilitating” effects of gender-transition procedures for years. Leaked internal files from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, or WPATH, demonstrated that members of the organization were acutely aware of the “debilitating” and “potentially fatal” effects of gender-transition procedures, which they also implied they didn’t “fully understand.” This was further confirmed earlier this year with publication of a series of video presentations from WPATH’s 2022 Global Education Institute.

In those videos, WPATH “experts” discussed how they know little about the long-term effects of hormone drugs, other than the permanent damage done to fertility.

The organization’s experts also discussed how puberty blockers are irreversible and may have devastating impacts on both future fertility and current brain development; how gender-transition procedures don’t alleviate mental health issues and may make them worse; and the dangers associated with surgical interventions, including high complication rates, severe damage to healthy tissue, and potential side effects such as healing delays or necrosis. Lately, experts outside the U.S. have sounded the alarm over the potential and largely unstudied dangers of gender-transition procedures, especially for children.

Several nations, including England and Scotland, no longer allow prescriptions to be written for puberty blockers and hormone drugs to minors. In fact, the U.K., France, Sweden, Finland, and Norway have all warned about “insufficient evidence to support puberty blockers, hormone drugs, and surgeries for children.” This makes the U.S. a “outlier” because we continue to endorse the practice.

The U.S. happens to have Rachel Levine, Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary, who is a biological man who identifies as a woman. He/she claims that “gender-affirming care is health care, gender-affirming care is mental health care, and gender-affirming care is literally suicide prevention care.” When asked to provide evidence of such great care, Levine produced “a single, two-page PDF document” that cited “one study conducted by an LGBTQ activist group.”

Other nations are getting wise to the lie being told about gender-affirming care being a good thing. This means that there is hope for America throwing off the shackles of the lie.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Who Is Adaleia Cross?

My VIP for this week is a young woman named Adaleia Cross who loves sports and was excited to become a member of the track and field team at her middle school. However, she lost her enthusiasm because a biological male who thinks that he is female was allowed to join the girls’ team and is outperforming her.

Virginia Allen at The Daily Signal reported that Adaleia’s parents met with the leadership at her Bridgeport, West Virginia, middle school about their concerns of a biological male competing alongside their daughter in athletics. Their visit did no good because “Nothing changed,” according to Adaleia’s father.

Adaleia is not only losing opportunities to compete, but she has experienced sexual harassment with this biological male saying things like, “You have more testosterone than I do, and I’m still beating you.” This is “incredibly insulting,” according to Adaleia’s mother. The male pretending that he is female also taunted Adaleia, saying, “You just need to work harder. I work harder than you. That’s why I’m beating you,” the mother recalled.

Adaleia is not the only young woman who has lost opportunities to compete. She joins “an ever-growing group of young women who have lost out on sports opportunities because of boys and men entering girls and women’s sports.” They have also been “subjected to having to share locker rooms with males and have even faced harassment from males who identify as females.

The females of across America will continue to face similar risks because the Biden administration change a rule in Title IX that is scheduled to take effect on August 1. Allen reported the following:

The Biden administration has rewritten the definition of sex in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to include gender identity and sexual orientation. The change swings the door wide open for males to enter female-only spaces and compete in girls and women’s sports.

A number of lawsuits have been filed since the Biden administration officially announced the new rule, including one by the conservative legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom.

Alliance Defending Freedom is working to block the Title IX rule change on behalf of women and girls such as Adaleia Cross, and ADF attorney Rachel Rouleau says she is “very hopeful that this rule will be stayed and won’t go into effect on [Aug. 1], at least while the litigation in these cases goes on.”

My mother had the opportunity to participate in high school sports. Sometime between when my mother was in high school and when I went to high school (37 years), rules had changed, and my generation of girls did not have the opportunity to play school sports.

I am grateful that Title IX came along because my daughters had the opportunity to play for their schools. One of my daughters went on to play college soccer. Now, my granddaughters may lose the opportunity to compete because some biological males are mentally ill and think that they are females.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Who Should Trump Choose for His Vice President?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the choice of a vice president for Donald Trump. The choice of a vice president for any presidential candidate is important. If anyone has anyone doubts about the importance of this choice, they should just take a long look at the current vice president – Kamala Harris. She was chosen for all the wrong reasons: she was a woman of color. She has no other qualifications. In fact, she had to drop out of the 2020 Democrat presidential campaign because no one voted for her.

The choice of a vice president is critical because he or she stands next in line for the leadership of the United States of America. The qualifications for vice president are laid out in the Constitution, and they are exactly the same as those required for the president. “The vice president must have been born in the United States or on U.S. soil abroad, must be at least 35 years old, and must have spent at least 14 years of his or her life in the United States.” 

Trump has a brief list of choices for his vice president, but I am not certain about who is on the list. One of the possible contenders is North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. He was in New York City to support Trump at the hush money trial. He was at a recent Trump rally in New Jersey. In early May, Burgum and his wife Kathryn attended a fund-raising event held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

One of Trump’s requirements for a vice president is that Trump must like the person “regardless of what they bring to the ticket.” This makes sense because Americans want their president and vice president to work well together. According to an article at MSN by Vivian Salama and Alex Leary, Trump likes Burgum because he is “rich, loyal and good looking” and “a rich guy with rich friends.” 

Anyone can see that Trump surrounds himself with good-looking men and women. When they are rich with rich friends, they have the ability to bring more funding to the campaign. Loyalty should be important to anyone.

More important qualities to me are: Can he execute an intelligent conversation? Is he capable of leading the nation should something happen to the president? Does he love America? Will he serve Americans rather than himself? What kind of experience can he bring to the office?

Saturday, May 18, 2024

What Does “Apply My Heart to Understanding God’s Word” Mean?

My Come Follow Me studies for this week took me to Mosiah 11-17 in a lesson titled "A Light … That Can Never Be Darkened” The lesson was introduced by the following information.

Large fires can start from a single spark. Abinadi was only one man testifying against a powerful king and his court. His words were rejected for the most part, and he was sentenced to death. Yet his testimony of Jesus Christ, who is the “light … that can never be darkened” (Mosiah 16:9), sparked something inside the young priest Alma. And that spark of conversion slowly grew as Alma brought many others to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The flames that killed Abinadi eventually died out, but the fire of faith that his words created would have a lasting influence on the Nephites—and on people who read his words today. Most of us will never face quite what Abinadi did because of our testimonies, but we all have moments when following Jesus Christ is a test of our courage and faith. Perhaps studying Abinadi’s testimony will fan the flames of testimony and courage in your heart as well.

The principle that I have chosen to discuss is “I need to apply my heart to understanding God’s word” (Mosiah 12:19-37). King Noah’s priests were familiar with the word of God. They could quote passages of scripture and claimed to teach the commandments. And yet, their lives seemed unaffected by the Savior’s gospel. Why was that? We will begin by discovering what this scripture block says.

19 And they began to question him, that they might cross him, that thereby they might have wherewith to accuse him; but he answered them boldly, and withstood all their questions, yea, to their astonishment; for he did withstand them in all their questions, and did confound them in all their words.

20 And it came to pass that one of them said unto him: What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying:

21 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth;

22 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;

23 Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem;

24 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God?

25 And now Abinadi said unto them: Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?

26 I say unto you, wo be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if ye understand these things ye have not taught them; therefore, ye have perverted the ways of the Lord.

27 Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?

28 And they said: We teach the law of Moses.

29 And again he said unto them: If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?

30 Know ye not that I speak the truth? Yea, ye know that I speak the truth; and you ought to tremble before God.

31 And it shall come to pass that ye shall be smitten for your iniquities, for ye have said that ye teach the law of Moses. And what know ye concerning the law of Moses? Doth salvation come by the law of Moses? What say ye?

32 And they answered and said that salvation did come by the law of Moses.

33 But now Abinadi said unto them: I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved; yea, if ye keep the commandments which the Lord delivered unto Moses in the mount of Sinai, saying:

34 I am the Lord thy God, who hath brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

35 Thou shalt have no other God before me.

36 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing in heaven above, or things which are in the earth beneath.

37 Now Abinadi said unto them, Have ye done all this? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not. And have ye taught this people that they should do all these things? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not. [Emphasis added.]

What do you think it means to apply your heart to understanding God’s word? The following information from Scripture Central might help all of us to better understand the situation with Abinadi and the priests of Noah and what Abinadi was teaching them. 

… In the proverbial wisdom tradition of ancient Israel, applying one’s heart to understanding, knowledge, and instruction was a prerequisite for students or learners to gain wisdom and knowledge of the Lord’s ways. The priests of Noah presumed to be teachers of the Lord’s law, and yet they themselves had not applied their hearts in the requisite ways needed to gain wisdom and understanding from the Lord. In the dualism of biblical literature, this made the priests fools who could not know the Lord’s wisdom and thus could not teach it to others.

This would not necessarily mean that they were unintelligent. Rather, the priests of Noah were like those spoken of by Nephi’s brother Jacob: “When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not” (2 Nephi 9:28). As one pair of gospel educators put it, “Undoubtedly the priests of Noah were men of learning and intellect, yet they had no wisdom, no understanding of the heart.”

As noted, “understanding heart” in Hebrew thought combines heart and mind in modern vernacular. For the priests of Noah, however, interpreting scripture was a purely intellectual exercise—what Hugh Nibley called “a lawyer’s interest … [to] manipulate and interpret the words” of Isaiah for self-serving and predetermined purposes. They lacked the desire to truly know and eagerly receive the Lord’s teachings that comes when one humbly and submissively applies the heart to full understanding.

Abinadi thus drew on a traditional saying about true wisdom to correct the priests of Noah who were misinterpreting Isaiah…. 

True knowledge and wisdom is not just the accumulation and recall of facts but the sanctifying of a broken heart and a contrite spirit by aligning oneself with the loving purposes of God’s holy mind and will. Readers and gospel learners today can better open themselves up to the Lord’s wisdom, teachings, laws, truths, and even the spirit of prophecy by seeking and applying an understanding heart—combining heart and mind, study and faith (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:118; 109:7, 14), with an attitude of eager receptivity toward all the wise teachings and instructions of the Lord.