Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Latter-Day Zion

I just finished a book, the story of which I know will stay with me for a long time--I hope forever. It's not a new book--or a new story for that matter. It's the "Fire of the Covenant - A Novel of the Willie & Martin Handcart Companies", by Gerald Lund. Using journals and historical records, the author places a few fictional characters amongst the stories of the real people to help tell the story of actual events. It is moving, disturbing, inspiring, and uplifting all at once. Don't worry, this post is not going to be a book review. I do HIGHLY recommend this book, but that's not what I wanted to write about here.

A thought occurred to me as I read about the horrendous, truly heart-breaking experiences and difficulties these early LDS immigrants endured. Beyond the obedience to the call of a prophet, beyond their desire for refuge, safety and peace. At first I questioned--WHY? Why did they forsake EVERYTHING--their homes, possessions, wealth, native countries, languages, health, protection and their very lives in many cases. Why were they willing to do it?

The author called it the "Fire of the Covenant", in reference to an explanation given by Brigham Young about the covenant we have all made to further the work of the Lord, which is to build up the Kingdom of God on earth. In those days as the Gathering of Israel commenced it required a literal gathering to a physical place. There was not the global communications and ease of travel that we enjoy today.

So, there is the answer. They were willing because it was what the Lord required of His people. He, in His wisdom and omniscience, required them to forsake all and begin anew amongst their fellow Saints. We can be assured that whenever the Lord requires sacrifice, great or small, His promised blessings far outweigh the cost. He is more than just, more than fair; for His mercy is perfect and generosity boundless.

In the case of the early Saints, those whose sacrifice included their lives, I'm sure have earned a great reward in Heaven. And those who survived, who made it to "the Valley" as they affectionately referred to it, they were blessed to see an end to persecution, to bigotry and violence. They were free to worship amongst friends and live peaceably as brethren and sisters, children of God. They could safely teach their children the Creator's Great Plan of Happiness and see them put it into practice in their daily lives. This was Zion.

After pondering these things,the thought that occurred to me was self-centered in nature.

I have not been asked to suffer for my faith. God has not required that I forsake all--some, yes, but by no means all. I think I can speak for most of us in the US, when I say He has blessed us temporally--we live in comfort, rarely know serious physical discomfort that cannot be remedied fairly quickly or easily. We are not called on to leave our homes, lands, possessions and endure physical trials that push us to our limits and beyond. What then, will He require of us that we may earn a place next to these great early Saints in Heaven? How is it that we may find our Zion? Is it in the daily struggles to endure a wicked world that we plod along? It this where we show our willingness? by not murmuring? by maintaining a grateful heart? by showing kindness when none is earned or returned?

Are our toilings, struggles, and never-ending hills to climb emotional and spiritual, rather than physical? Are we to endure and stave off the frost bite of evil influences that surround us, threatening to destroy bits of us piece by piece? Are the howling winds of deception threatening to chill our spirits to a willfull death? Are we burdened with handcarts full of sorrow for the horrors we see, fear we must live with daily for our children and others and temporal worries? Are we to trudge through the heavy snows of injustice, hate and anger until our feet fail? Are we to hunger for goodness, kindness, & wholesomeness until our strength is gone? Is this what the Lord is requiring?

I keep waiting to be called upon to do something BIG. You know, something monumental that will once and for all allow me to earn my place with the early saints and other great disciples of Christ or perish in the effort. That day may come. I certainly believe that hard times are ahead of us.

But the realization that I had tonight was that Zion is not to be found for me in one bold act of sacrifice. It is the daily struggle of life in a wicked, wicked world that wears me down, saps my energy and chinks away at my spiritual armor. And yet, for each of us in these days, Zion is not a destination, not a place. Our Zion is in the Gospel itself.

We can find rest and refuge. In the scriptures. In our homes. In our families. In our wards. In our callings. In service. In our temples. In prayer.

We do struggle on, day by day. But we also have places of safety to which we can go. Places of peace. Places of rest. The Lord in His infinite wisdom has seen fit to bring Zion to us, because He knows we can't survive without it.

I believe that, if given the choice, the early Saints would not have been willing to trade places with us in these last days of the evil of the world. I believe that they would rather have suffered again as they did, than to send their children out into the world we do each day. I believe they would be terrified to live and raise children in our reality.

That said, it says something about us that the Lord let us come at this time. I believe it means He knows we can make it. But the stakes are higher than ever. To succumb to the elements in our day means spiritual death. There will be no reward for this. So, with everything to lose and yet, "everything the Father hath" to gain--we must press forward. Day by day. Hour by hour. Supporting and caring for each other. With courage. With faith. With conviction. And grab hold of Zion at every opportunity.

"...Fresh courage take,
Our God will never us forsake
and then we'll have this tale to tell,
all is well. All is well!"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Jefferson Quote

Thanks Melinda, for inviting me to join this blog.

I have another quote from Thomas Jefferson, on the proper role of government, that I'd like to share:

"A wise and frugal government shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." - Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

I agree.

My Christmas wish this year is that our governmnet today would take heed to what Jefferson said then.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thomas Jefferson Quote

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent they conquered." -Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 5, 2008

Neal A. Maxwell

Orson Pratt Quote

I might dwell still longer on the judgments to come upon this American nation, according to modern revelation. In 1832 the Lord foretold to the Prophet Joseph Smith that there should be a great war between the Northern and Southern States. This revelation is published in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, a standard work of the Church, and also in many languages, many years before the war commenced. At that early period we were told that the Southern States would rise against the Northern States, and the Northern against the Southern States in war, terminating in the deaths and misery of many souls. We were told also that this war would begin with the rebellion of South Carolina.

When I was a boy, a little over 20 years of age, I had the privilege of taking a copy of that revelation, and I carried it around with me, often times reading it to the congregations that I preached to. Its subject matter formed a text from which I many times preached, as well as a topic of conversation with strangers, whose acquaintance I would happen to make in traveling from place to place.

How do you think such information was received by the people to whom it was imparted? They would not believe it; they had no idea of its being a revelation from God to them; they considered it one of the impositions that the "Mormons" had gotten up to delude the people. To tell them that this great government would be divided and go to war with each other, was something entirely foreign to their minds; it was something to which they paid heedless regard, oft times treating it with ridicule and laughter. I preached in the New England States, and in various portions of the Union, and such was the way these things were received. The shedding of blood was then one of the remotest feelings of the American people; yet it came to pass precisely as predicted, and we all know the results of that dreadful war. That war, we must remember, was only one solitary judgment, compared with what will come, and that, too, in the near future. It has been revealed that the time will come in the history of our nation, that one State will rise against another, one city against another, even every man's hand shall be against his neighbor, until the whole Republic will be in general commotion and warfare. How and when this will take place, the Lord, in his wisdom, has not told us; but it is sufficient for us to say, that he has told us of the facts that such and such will be the case.

For aught we know, the fulfillment of this prophecy may grow out of politics. If the people are very nearly equally divided in politics, this feeling may run so high, in years to come, as to be the direct cause of war. And if this should be the case, it would very naturally spread to every neighborhood in the Union. One class of political opponents would rise up against the other class in the same city and country, and thus would arise a war of mobocracy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Interesting thought

I was reading in the Journal of Discourses a sermon that Orson Pratt gave and this particular section really struck me as significant. I thought I'd share it here:
" the examination of that great event, the second coming of Christ, to refer to some of the predictions of inspired writers in regard to the time of our Savior's revelation from the heavens. I do not mean to say the day nor the hour of his coming, for that is unknown, no man that lives on the face of the earth knows anything about the day or the hour; neither will there be any man on the earth prior to the coming of the Lord who will know the day and the hour, for it is hidden from mortal man. However, the age in which that great event will take place is very clearly revealed in both the Old and the New Testament. That age is to be characterized by certain events, predicted by the inspired writers, which are unmistakable in their nature, and which can be easily understood by all, both learned and unlearned. These events are to be so conspicuous that I presume there will not be a nation, people, kindred or tongue upon the face of the whole earth but what will know that, according to the Scriptures, some great event is about to take place, for every people in that day will be more or less enlightened in the Scriptures, for before that great day shall come, missionaries will be sent to the uttermost parts of the earth, to testify to all people concerning the Gospel of the Son of God, and they will cry in the ears of all living, saying unto them-"Prepare ye, prepare ye, for the great and coming day of the Bridegroom." They will have a preparatory message to deliver to all nations.

When the Lord, in the meridian of time, came and took upon himself a mortal body, he saw proper to send as his forerunner one of the greatest Prophets that ever was born into our world-John the Baptist, and he went, announcing, by the inspiration of the Spirit and by the power of his holy calling, that there was one to come after him who was mightier than he, whose shoe latchet he was not worthy to unloose; and that when he should come he would thoroughly purge his floor, and that he would baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost. Said John-"I merely come to prepare the way. I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord and make his paths straight. I come preaching unto you repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, but he who comes after me, holding higher authority and a greater Priesthood, shall baptize you with a baptism that is greater than that of water-the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost."

Now, if the Lord, when he came the first time, in his humility and meekness, born in a manger, of parents of low estate, saw that it was necessary to prepare the way before him by raising up one of the greatest Prophets that ever came into the world, why should it be thought unreasonable that he should also raise up a latter-day Prophet to prepare the way before one of the mightiest and grandest events that ever has taken place, or that ever will take place on our earth in its temporal condition? If the heavens are to be revealed; if the face of the Son of God is to be unvailed; if the glory of his countenance is to outshine the sun in his strength; if he is to come in flaming fire, while the very heavens themselves shall shake by his power, and the earth reel to and fro like a drunken man, the mountain themselves, feeling his power, are sunk and the valleys are raised up; if all these grand events are to attend the second advent of the Son of God, is it unreasonable that he should raise up a great Prophet in the latter days to make preparations for so great an event? Or will he let the world pass on in blindness and darkness without any signs of the times, without any warning voice, without any inspired man sent of God to wake them up from their condition, and to prepare the way for his coming? To me it looks consistent and reasonable that such a preparatory work should be sent forth among the children of men, and it looked consistent to the ancient inspired writers, hence they have left an abundance of testimony on record in this good book (the Bible) concerning this preparatory work.

One of the means which God will use to prepare the way before his second coming, is to send angels from heaven with a proclamation, not to benefit a few individuals, not for one nation alone, but to all the inhabitants of our globe, and that too before he comes. Do you want to know where this prediction is recorded? Let me refer you to the fourteenth chapter of the revelations given to St. John on Patmos. Did St. John behold, in vision, the coming of the Son of God? He did. How does he describe it in that fourteenth chapter? He said, as you will find by reading the chapter through, that he saw one sitting on a white cloud, having a sharp sickle in his hand. He had reference to the time when Jesus should come in the clouds of heaven; however, before John saw the personage sitting on the cloud, he saw a preparatory work commence, as it is declared in the sixth verse, in which the Prophet says-"I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, unto every nation and kindred and tongue and people," declaring that the hour of God's judgment was come.

Now if that angel does not come and bring the Gospel, then the Son of Man will not come; no trumpet will sound and call forth the nations of the righteous from their sleeping tombs; there will be no destroying the wicked as stubble from the face of the earth; no shaking of the heavens and causing the earth to tremble and to remove to and fro. None of these events will transpire if no angel comes, for one is just as certain as the other; and to show that one is to precede the other, there must be a time for this everlasting Gospel to be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue and people after the angel appears with it. That will take some length of time, however rapidly it may go forth, for the mere preaching of the Gospel would be of no benefit, unless there were persons authorized to administer its ordinances. The angel might preach, but who could obey it? No one. It is true that we might repent if we heard the angel proclaim it by his own voice, as he flew from nation to nation and from kingdom to kingdom; and we might also believe in Jesus Christ, but how could we be baptized for the remission of our sins? Would the angel come down from heaven and take every believing penitent person and baptize him himself? How long would it take an angel to go over all the nations and baptize all the penitent believers? It would take ages and ages for him to do it personally. But it is very evident to every one who reflects upon these passages, that when that angel comes with the everlasting Gospel, there will be authority given to man on the earth to administer the ordinances of that Gospel, to build up the Christian Church again on the earth as it was built in ancient times, a Christian Church organized according to the pattern that God has given in the New Testament; a Christian Church having Apostles inspired from heaven; a Christian Church with Prophets called of God to prophesy future events; a Christian Church possessing the gifts and graces of the ancient Gospel in all their beauty, power and fulness, as they were possessed in ancient times. These works and these ordinances must be administered by man, and not by the angel who brings the Gospel. Will that be a preparatory work?

What a magnificent privilege it is to live in this great land where the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth and to see the fulfillment of so many prophetic events. To even be a part of this "errand of angels" is so humbling.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Statements of Fact for LDS Supporters of Proposition 8

"In the aftermath of the recent election, we may find ourselves oddly on the defensive regarding our support for the Yes on Proposition 8 cause. Our young people have been especially subject to mean spirited comments by high school friends and teachers. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We did nothing wrong. In fact, we did everything that a civic minded American can and should do. I have put together a few facts that help me to appreciate our position better. For example:

Mormons make up less than 2% of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million.

Mormon voters were less than 5% of the yes vote. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then LDS voters made up 4.6% of the Yes vote and 2.4% of the total Proposition 8 vote.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated no money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Individual members of the Church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.

The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $32 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.

Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.

The majority of our friends and neighbors voted Yes on 8. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Yes on 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Yes on 8.

African Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70% of Black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.

The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).

The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims – all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.

Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or her self. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.

The Church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years.

The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process, to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that Churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The Church has always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.

Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support, and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair, and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars, and worse. The fact is, we simply did what Americans do – we spoke up, we campaigned, and we voted.

Hold your heads up high – you did a great job on this most important cause. We will have more opportunities in the future to participate in our democratic process. Let's remember the lessons learned and do an even better job next time.

These are my personal opinions and thoughts; any errors are mine and in no way reflect official Church policy or doctrine.


Kevin Hamilton"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Great site for a patriotic pick-me-up. Thought I'd share it -

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Article that pretty much sums it up for me...


By Joel C. Rosenberg

(Washington, D.C., November 5, 2008) -- Congratulations to Sen. Obama. His victory last night was an historic moment, further evidence of how far Americans have come in moving beyond the racial divisions of the past. This is good, and should not be underestimated.

It is now our solemn responsibility to pray faithfully and consistently for him, his wife, his family, and his advisor. We must pray for their safety, their wisdom, and their discernment. This is the right thing to do and honors the Lord. As the Apostle Paul teaches so clearly in I Timothy 2:1, "I urge that entreaties, prayers and petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."

We must also pray faithfully for the safety of our nation, for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the advancement of freedom and security throughout the world, and particularly in the Middle East. I am very concerned about what the next year to 18 months may hold. Vice President-elect Biden warned us that the world will test this young new president. We must therefore pray for peace while we prepare for war.

I'm paying particular attention this morning to how people in the epicenter are reacting to Sen. Obama's victory. Leaders in Iran are thrilled since the likelihood of decisive U.S. action to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program has just dropped dramatically. Leaders in Iraq, by contrast, are trying not to be worried given that the likelihood of rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces has just increased dramatically.

Palestinians seem to be thrilled, since they seem Obama as pro-Palestinian and open to dividing Jerusalem and pressuring the Israelis to make further concessions of "land for peace." Many Israelis feel quite unsettled this morning, concerned that they will be all alone in the Middle East as the U.S. begins to pack up and go home from Iraq. They are also concerned that Obama and his team do not appear to fully understand or appreciate the seriousness of the threat of Radical Islam. Sen. Obama told us during the campaign that Iran was a tiny country that did not pose much of a threat. Israelis are not convinced he will stand with them in a nuclear showdown with Tehran.

A senior political strategist in Israel emailed me last night with this thought: "The State of Israel is now facing the most unfriendly American administration ever….Israel's will to live will be tested in ways that will not e pretty. Many of Obama's foreign policy team and Middle East advisors see Israel as the obstacle to peace. And we can not count on Jewish supporters of Obama to have any standing in setting policy in this administration." A new poll released yesterday also caught my attention: 46% of Israelis would have voted for McCain, while only 34% would have voted for Obama. That tells us something about the concern from Eilat to Haifa and from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem about losing a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people in President Bush to someone who has not indicated convincing support for Israel in the past.

I know many of you are very worried about the direction of our country. I certainly understand this sentiment, but as I wrote yesterday, let us not lose heart. The Lord knew who would win. He allowed it to happen. He has a plan. He has a purpose. And now He is calling us to serve Him faithfully - to do whatever He tells us to do, to go wherever He tells us to go, to say whatever He tells us to say. Now is the time to draw close to Christ, to advance His kingdom, and prepare for His return. He is, after all, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Now is certainly no time to forget, or to be discouraged.

To visit Joel's new weblog site and get the latest developments in Israel, Russia and the epicenter -- including links to stories on epicenter leaders reacting to the Obama victory -- please click here

Monday, October 20, 2008

Legalized Gay "Marriage": Its Impact on Religious Freedom in America

This article was published at LDS Living Online 10/17/08. It is written by Susan Noyes Anderson about the Gay Marriage Amendment in her state. Many states (including mine, AZ) have similar measures on their ballots this election. Her points about the ramifications of legalized gay "marriage" are poignant and frightening. Here is her article:

"Warning: This is not a "politically correct" post, at least where I live, but I feel obligated to make a statement of my beliefs and concerns about Proposition 8 due to its critical importance in this election.

I'll begin by affirming that I have no bias against gay individuals or groups per se and that I respect them as friends and associates. Neither do I oppose domestic partner statutes affording them any and all legal rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples in a marriage relationship. (Family Code 297.5) What I do oppose, specifically, is changing the legal definition of marriage to anything other than between a man and a woman. Here's how I see it. Domestic partnership is a newer status, engendered (and rightfully so) to support/protect the rights of same-sex couples. Marriage, on the other hand, is an ancient institution with well-established parameters developed more years ago than any of us would want to count and supporting/protecting not just the relationship between a man and a woman but the children that naturally result from the biological nature of such a union.

It is my deeply held belief that marriage is ordained of God as a sort of three-way contract with Him, made by a man and a woman who wish to welcome God's spirit children into their home. It is also my deeply held belief that no man or woman has a "right" to expand or redefine an institution as set forth by God. His law is not ours to change. We have no authority, as the California Supreme Court apparently believes it has, to "legislate from the bench."

Of course, I understand that not every American or Californian agrees with me, and I have no problem with that at all. There are many, however, who do agree. A number of people in our country (myself included) view marriage as a sacred estate whose purpose, at base, is procreation. Countless more, while not seeing this as a religious issue, are simply opposed to the idea of making marriage an umbrella category for every type of pairing entered into by committed individuals. In their purely secular view, marriage is marriage and domestic partnership is domestic partnership...historically, two different things. Indeed, why imbue an already established word, "marriage," with new definitions? It becomes confusing. Such new definitions, arguably, are best served by an equally new word. Should an e-mail address have the same nomenclature as a url? They are both internet addresses, but the dynamic, the process, and the end result of their use differs. Specificity in naming them, therefore, makes sense.

Other groups who support Proposition 8 are concerned about the manner in which a liberal state Supreme Court stepped in to overturn a law voted on and put in place by the people of California. Furthermore, a number of legal experts feel that the Court's ruling has established gay individuals as a "protected class." This status would likely make it difficult for individuals who are not gay to prevail in lawsuits where religious rights and gay rights come into conflict. Recently a doctor, whose personal religious views and conscience did not permit him to inseminate a lesbian woman, was sued by her and lost, even though another doctor agreed to perform the procedure. She had alternatives, in other words, but she was not satisfied with them. This suggests to me that the purpose of her suit was to satisfy one thing and one thing only: the need to see her rights as a gay person prevail over this man's right to freedom in practicing his religion according to his conscience. In all fairness, whose rights would be most violated here? Does his choice keep her from being inseminated as a lesbian woman? No. Does her choice to sue him (and win) keep him from practicing his beliefs (and medicine) as a religious man? Yes. She has other options. He does not. And yet, her rights prevailed...a harbinger, many people believe, of things to come. At the very least, a legal precedent has been set.

Another potential problem has been seen in Boston, where gay marriage is already legal. Catholic Charities has closed down operations there because it cannot arrange adoptions for same-sex couples and still maintain integrity with Catholic beliefs. Even though same-sex couples could have used other adoption agencies, the operative agenda was to see a gay person's right to adopt win out over the Catholic church's right to practice its religion and manage its adoption agencies in accordance with its core beliefs. Once again, religious rights lost the battle where there should be no battle at all. In essence, the right of gay couples to adopt at ANY agency they might want to approach was deemed more important than the right of an agency (run and based upon the Catholic religion and its tenets) to self-determine in accordance with its core beliefs. The Church was forced to either surrender its own rights or shut down. In this instance at least, gay rights trumped the rights of a religious group or individual. Where is the justice in that, especially if it becomes the national precedent? Where is the justice in having schools (at best) validate and (at worst) present ideas of marriage and family that are directly contrary to parents' religious beliefs? Should churches be sued if they refuse to allow same-sex marriages in their religious buildings that are open to the public? These are all concerns of mine.

More than a few opponents of Proposition 8 label any person who supports the idea that only a man and a woman should be eligible for marriage as a "hater." Those who espouse same-sex marriage too frequently view those who oppose it as (best case) homophobic and (worst case) bigots who want to deny the rights of fellow citizens simply because their lifestyle does not agree with more traditional views. Both of these assumptions are patently unfair. What's more, they worry me, for they suggest that views based upon religion are now being classed with views based on racism, ageism, or other prejudices. Religion is not a prejudice, it's a right, as valid and sacred as any other. Yet, opinions based on religious belief have become suspect, and the right to exercise religion is becoming somehow "less worthy" than other rights. People do have a right to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, and those beliefs should be respected, not suspected.

Contrary to (some) popular opinion, it is entirely possible to believe that men should not "marry" men and women should not "marry" women without bearing any malice at all toward the men and women in question. I fully support their right to form loving, committed unions under the protection of fair and equitable domestic partnership laws. For me, supporting Proposition 8 is simply about believing that marriage as an institution is ordained of God, between a man and a woman, with procreation as its greatest end. Period."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Pride Cycle

The pride cycle as it applies to democracies. Where would you say we are right now?

"1. From bondage to spiritual faith;

2. From spiritual faith to great courage;

3. From courage to liberty;

4. From liberty to abundance;

5. From abundance to complacency;

6. From complacency to apathy;

7. From apathy to dependence;

8. From dependency back into bondage.”

I'd say number 7, teetering on the plunge to number 8. Heaven help us. Please.

Read the source for this quote here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One Man, One Woman

I hadn't considered the ramifications that legalized gay marriage would have on our schools. Absolutely frightening.

Watch your credit card statements for fraud

NORTH KANSAS CITY, MO. -- A North Kansas City couple has been left scratching their heads after they became the victims of a political scam.

Steve and Rachel Larman say a strange credit card charge appeared on their statement this month -- a $2300 donation to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The Larman's say they don't want this to be about their political affiliation, but they say they're not about to give the Obama campaign any help from their pocketbook. Read the rest of the story...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

3rd Nephi

One particular scripture stood out to me today as I was reading. I thought I'd share it with you.
"Therefore, all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren, the Nephites, and were compelled, for the safety of their lives and their women and their children, to take up arms against those Gadianton robbers, yea, and also to maintain their rights, and the privileges of their church and of their worship and their freedom and their liberty." 3 Nephi 2:12

Monday, October 13, 2008

General Conference

General Conference was a spiritual feast. It usually is, but I found this one to be particularly edifying. I'm so thankful for inspired leaders. Here are a few quotes I found particularly interesting:

"It is my purpose to show that in troubled times the Lord has always prepared a safe way ahead. We live in those “perilous times” which the Apostle Paul prophesied would come in the last days.1 If we are to be safe individually, as families, and secure as a church, it will be through “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel".” President Boyd K. Packer of The Quorum of The Twelve Apostles, General Conference Oct. 2008

"We see increased conflict between peoples in the world around us. Those divisions and differences could infect us. That is why my message of hope today is that a great day of unity is coming. The Lord Jehovah will return to live with those who have become His people and will find them united, of one heart, unified with Him and with our Heavenly Father.

I bear you my solemn witness that the unity we now experience will increase. God the Father lives. He hears and answers our prayers in love. The Savior Jesus Christ, resurrected and glorious, lives and reaches out to us in mercy. This is His true Church. President Monson is the living prophet of God. If we are united in sustaining him with all our hearts, with willing obedience to do what God would have us do, we will move together in power to go wherever God would have us go and to become what He wants us to be." President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, General Conference, Oct. 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Excerpt from an Article in Meridian Magazine

....It's not your imagination, grocery prices are up, up, up. Experts expect this trend to continue for at least the next five years. ....

The consumer price index for food increased 0.7 percent in August and is now 7.5 percent above last August. ... (continue reading stats)

We have known the Lord's stand on preparedness since long before the restoration. Paul wrote to Timothy, “ If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."
- 1 Timothy 5:8.

Every modern day prophet since Brigham Young has warned us that we need to be storing food and preparing for a time of scarcity. I have thought of the Latter-day Saints during the "great depression" and wondered if to some degree they, like so many of us, ignored the prophet's counsel.

Referring to the plague of crickets which nearly destroyed the crops of the early saints, Brigham Young advised:
“View the actions of the Latter-day Saints on this matter, and their neglect of the counsel given; and suppose the Lord would allow these insects to destroy our crops this season and the next, what would be the result? I can see death, misery and want on the faces of this people.

“ But some may say, ‘ I have faith the Lord will turn them away. ' What ground have we to hope this? Have I any good reason to say to my Father in heaven, ‘ Fight my battles, ' when He has given me the sword to wield, the arm and the brain that I can fight for myself? Can I ask Him to fight my battles and sit quietly down waiting for Him to do so? I cannot. I can pray the people to hearken to wisdom, to listen to counsel; but to ask God to do for me that which I can do for myself is preposterous to my mind. ”
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, quoted in Victor L. Brown, “Prepare Every Needful Thing,” Ensign, November 1980.

More recently we have been warned:
“ Should evil times come, many might wish they had filled all their fruit bottles and cultivated a garden in their backyards and planted a few fruit trees and berry bushes and provided for their own commodity needs. The Lord planned that we would be independent of every creature, but we note even many farmers buy their milk from dairies and home owners buy their garden vegetables from the store. And should the trucks fail to fill the shelves of the stores, many would go hungry.”
Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 6; or Ensign, Nov. 1974.

There is still time to fill our fruit bottles. For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere you need to start now to plan and plant. For those of us approaching winter we need to hurry and seek out opportunities to glean or share with those who have canned all they need from their gardens and are now ready to give food away. Don't be afraid to knock on the door of a neighbor whose fruit is falling on the ground. They might love some help getting the fruit or veggies picked and be more than willing to let you keep part or all of it. No time or resources for canning - then create a plan and begin buying.

President Hinckley warned us immediately following the attack of September 11th that hard times were coming. He knew our economy was going to take a dive, and now it has. Did we listen? Some did.

"Occasions of this kind pull us up sharply to a realization that life is fragile, peace is fragile, civilization itself is fragile. The economy is particularly vulnerable. We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift. So many of our people are heavily in debt for things that are not entirely necessary. When I was a young man, my father counseled me to build a modest home, sufficient for the needs of my family, and make it beautiful and attractive and pleasant and secure. He counseled me to pay off the mortgage as quickly as I could so that, come what may, there would be a roof over the heads of my wife and children. I was reared on that kind of doctrine. I urge you as members of this Church to get free of debt where possible and to have a little laid aside against a rainy day. We cannot provide against every contingency. But we can provide against many contingencies. Let the present situation remind us that this we should do. As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son."
Gordon B. Hinckley , “The Times in Which We Live,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 72.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

America's Faith

Regrettably, the War of 1812 is known as the “forgotten war.” Though it is true that it may not be as well remembered by our people, its effects upon our county still echo throughout our land every day. It was out of those dark and bleak circumstances that we defined America and her future. The War of 1812 not only gave birth to our national anthem, but it defined our identity and solidified that fervent patriotism that would become the legacy of our young country. We found the strength of character in our victory and proved to the world that we would endure; that this American experiment was no longer an experiment but the beacon that would lead the world in the pursuit of freedom and prosperity.

During the War of 1812, our morning of hope came only after a long night of darkness. That darkness culminated in the “Burning of Washington” where the British invaded Washington, D.C. and burned many public buildings including the White House. That night a hurricane moved in as if by the hand of God with entrenching rains and even a tornado to put out the fires and push the British back to their ships.

The next move for the British was to mount what they expected to be a fateful attack on Baltimore. On September 11, 1814 the British fleet arrived by sea signaling the land attack by the awaiting troops on land. The British troops attacked at 10:00 AM that morning of September 11 but were surprisingly beaten by the American troops. The British troops retreated and awaited the sea attack by the Navy. However, the British ships were unable to enter the Baltimore Harbor to mount an attack on the city. In anticipation of the British attack, the Americans had sunken 24 of their valuable merchant ships across the mouth of the harbor to prevent the British entrance. Being unable to enter the harbor, the British attacked Fort McHenry instead. On the morning of September 13th, nineteen British ships began the assault on Fort McHenry. Throughout the day and on through the night, for the next 25 hours the British ships fired on the American fort. During the attack a small American “storm flag” flew over Fort McHenry. But the following morning, the Americans hoisted the huge 30’ x 42’ American flag which had been specially made for the anticipated British attack. It was that morning of September 14th, with giant Old Glory flying over Fort McHenry, that the Americans won the decisive battle of the War and turned the tables of fate to victory.

It was also that morning of September 14th that Francis Scott Key caught a glimpse of the massive Old Glory and penned the poem that would eventually become our national anthem. Key had been held by the British on one of their ships until the attack was over. He had to wait out that long night of bombing. “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there.” Although he could not see the flag during that night, Key knew that as long as the attack continued, the Americans were not defeated. The continued attack was a continued sign of the American’s determination to win the battle.

One cannot recall these accounts of the War of 1812 and not think of their paralleled events of recent. It was also on September 11 at 10:00 AM that the first of the two twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed due to the awful attack on our country. We suffered much doubt, fear, and pain in the days following. Just as Francis Scott Key found hope in the flag waiving over the fort, it was also on September 14th that we pulled from the wreckage of rubble a surviving American flag. It was the flag that was flying over the main plaza of the World Trade Center when it collapsed. Though tattered and torn, we held that flag as a sacred survivor. We also hung two giant flags, one on a building at ground zero and one on the Pentagon, just as the soldiers of Ft. McHenry, in defiance to our enemies and as a symbol of our eventual victory.

These experiences, both from September of 1814 and 2001, are gems for the generations of America. They are tangible evidence of our national character and faith. We know that victory comes at the cost of sacrifice. Our country has always been filled with patriots who were willing to sacrifice for the good of the whole. We have been willing to “sink the ships” of sacrifice to secure the victory. And we have.

We should never forget what makes America exceptional and what has carried us through to victory time and time again. America will always face three different kinds of enemies: enemies foreign, domestic, and economic. With the current problems we face, we should never doubt. We should never despair. We have been in impossible times before facing each of these three seemingly impossible enemies. Victory has been our legacy and it will be our future if we can hold fast to the faiths that have made us great.

America has always held to three great faiths for strength in defeating our three enemies. The first is our faith in God. From the Declaration of Independence and through each storm we have passed, we have trusted in the “Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.” Our motto, “In God We Trust,” is not meant to be idle lip service but a sacred declaration of our faith. If our founders recognized God’s sustaining influence in the birth of our country, how could we ever doubt after witnessing our long legacy of prosperity and blessings. In our troubled times, we have always trusted God for our protection, preservation, and prosperity. We have placed our motto on our currency, and our continued trust in God’s hand and acknowledgement of his sustaining power is the currency by which we can purchase our future protection, preservation, and prosperity.

Our second source of power is our continued faith in our people. We carry a faith in the virtue of our people. We know that ordinary Americans are exceptional, and that they, not our government, are the true source of our greatness. The collective contributions of everyone and not a select few create our national synergy. We believe in each other. We know that when the American people are united in a common cause, no road block will stop us. Our persistence and hard work can accomplish the seemingly impossible and trump overwhelming foes. The day we lose faith in our people to govern ourselves is the day we are shattered into helpless multitudes of floundering factions. We must not fail to have faith in our neighbors across our country. We must remember that although many shall fall from our lofty responsibilities, the backbone of our country is good and that opposition will bring out the heroic in our people.

Our third great faith is placed in our system: freedom. Our system is not pure anarchic freedom, but is coupled with a strict moral code, responsibility to the whole, and accountability. Our system is that of equal opportunity and not equal outcome. Freedom and opportunity are the mother of our ingenuity and success. With these as our tools, there is not a problem for which we will not find a solution. We realize that great success can be born of lessons learned from failures. It is not the extremely talented, the gifted intellect, or the noble birthright that are blindly rewarded in our system but persistence and hard work. Though our economic system is inherently cyclical, it is successful. We have in the past and will in the future pass through tough economic and political times. But, the answer to our trials is not to change the system, but to weather the storm and find the real solutions that will lead us through and on to prosperity without breaking the system. Our economic system is living and it changes directions and shifts resources from one sector to another. We need to have the faith in it to allow it to make these changes and adjustments. No, it is not comfortable, but it is necessary if we want to progress. For over two hundred years, we have experienced that on the other side of every downturn is an upturn. Consistently we have been carried from one valley to a peak, from one slump to the next breakthrough. Our pattern is a forward consistency of growth and success. May we leave it alone, and it will ever be so.

Our future path to victory over our enemies foreign, domestic, and economic has been paved by our past. Though the enemies may change, the victory will always be forged with America’s faith and determination. We must secure and strengthen our faith in God, our people, and our system. Each time we see Old Glory, may we remember what three faiths keep her flying over our land. If we will secure America’s faith, we may be assured that no matter how dark and bleak the night, no matter how ferocious and long the attack, when the morning dawn breaks we will see Old Glory flying over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Jared Kimball Turner

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thoughts of a conservative Christian

I found this article very interesting. Here's a snippet...

"...predictions in the event the junior Senator from Illinois becomes President and especially if the House and Senate are veto proof.

1). Strict new gun laws will be enacted even though he promised he would not.

2). The phrase “In God We Trust” will be removed from all currency.

3). He will back away from his pledge to Israel and leave them to the wolves of Islam.

4). Hillary Clinton will be named to the Supreme Court.

5). Tax rates will return to their highest levels in 30 years.

6). The capital gains tax will be at least double current levels.

7). Retired Army General Wesley Clark will be named Secretary of Defense.

8). The borders will be ‘basically open’ to all comers. Especially those from the Middle East and South America.

9). Amnesty will be granted to all illegals now in the U.S

10). The war in Iraq will be brought to an abrupt end and the results will be tragic and the consequences to our military will be devastating."

Read the whole article...

Friday, September 26, 2008

My LDS abortion argument

I was thrilled with Elder Russell M. Nelson's article in this month's Ensign on abortion.

My elation was a bit deflated, however, as I visited some of the other LDS online discussion groups and read some rather nit-picky justifications being made in defense of the practice, or debating the situations that might make it excusable to snuff out an innocent life. When exactly does life begin? When does the Spirit enter the body? What about if this or that? I find it astounding when I hear Latter-Day Saints debating the finite details of abortion. As if the matter would finally be settled if God would just reveal the exact moment when life begins. He has! D&C 56:9

Just as we (meaning members of The Church, under the guidance of a living prophet) do not condone the practice of euthenasia for the terminally ill because we believe it is wrong to confer the power to end life upon doctors; it is the same principle with abortion. Just because the Supreme Court of the United States decreed it legal, does not make it allowable in God’s court.

To me, this means that the question of when life begins is moot. Once a man and a woman have CHOSEN (and that’s the key, here) to commit the act of creating life, whether intentionally or not–-it is the only means by which life can be created-–they are bound to the consequences of that choice. There is now the possibility for a new life to begin; a life which should be respected and given it’s agency to choose as well. Who are we to take upon ourselves the authority of God to determine who gets a chance to live and who does not?

Two words . . .

I have only two words for you today...

Food Storage

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fantastic article

I just read an article that gave me goosebumps. Here it is:

The Undefended City
No despair.

By Bill Whittle

When I first got to college, back in the last few weeks of the Seventies, I finally got a chance to see an ordinary game of Dungeons and Dragons. My immediate inclination was to play as a Paladin: the pinnacle of Lawful Good, a character required to dash in and fight overwhelmingly powerful evil forces anywhere and at whatever odds. These contests were short, depressing and hilarious, but all D&D really came down to in the end was slaying small monsters, taking their gold, buying slightly better gear and then slaying slightly larger monsters. Why not just save some time and become a Vorpal Sword distributor? Then you get the weapons and the gold, and people bring them both to you. And so a larval conservative was born. And I never played again.

That was the attitude I took into The Lord of the Rings when the first of the trilogy appeared in 2001, just a few months after the Two Towers actually did fall and the idea of good and evil suddenly became — to me and no doubt to you too — a great deal less ironic and a great deal more real.
And there, in the darkness, staring up at that screen, I marveled at this monumental font of deep and eternal ideas: the aversion to facing danger, even when it is right in front of us; the value of old and true allies; the corrosive force of addiction; responsibility forsaken, then reclaimed… and through it all the fear that we may be lesser sons of greater fathers, and that we may no longer have the courage or the will to defend the City entrusted to our care.

This, and more, what was what John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was trying to teach me, down that dark river of the future — and he ought to know. The Lord of the Rings was written between 1937 through 1949… years of dark waters, indeed.

A few years before Tolkien put pen to paper, an event took place that a man of his education would have undoubtedly been aware. On February 9th, 1933, the ruling elite of the world’s great Civilization held a debate in the Oxford Union. With thunderclouds growing dark across the English Channel, at a time when resolute action could still have averted the worst catastrophe the world has ever known, these elites resolved that “This House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country.”

The Resolution passed by a vote of 275 to 153. Needless to say, this vote did not avert the fight. It guaranteed it.

How much of the weight of that, I wonder, sat along side him as he penned page after page about the decline of the Men of the West. For taken in its entirety, The Lord of the Rings is about the collective regeneration of the will and courage of a previous age, and ends with the hope that the greatest days of the City lie yet ahead.

I live a few miles from Santa Monica High School, in California. There, young men and women are taught that America is “a terrorist nation,” “one of the worst regimes in history,” that it’s twice-elected leader is “the son of the devil,” and dictator of this “fascist” country. Further, “patriotism” is taught by dragging an American flag across the classroom floor, because the nation’s truest patriots, as we should know by now, are those who are most able to despise it.

This is only high school, remember: in college things get much, much worse.

Two generations, now, are being raised on this poison, and the reason for that is this: the enemies of this city cannot come out and simply say, “Do not defend the city.” Even the smartest among us can see that is simple treason. But they can say, “The City is not worth defending.” So they say that, and they say that all the time and in as many different ways as they are able.

If you step far enough back to look at the whole of human history, you will begin to see a very plain rhythm: a heartbeat of civilization. Steep climbs out of disease and ignorance into the light of medicine and learning — and then a sudden collapse back into darkness. And it is in that darkness that most humans have lived their lives: poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

The pattern is always the same: at the height of a civilization’s powers something catastrophic seems to occur — a loss of will, a failure of nerve, and above all an unwillingness to identify with the values and customs that have produced such wonders.

The Russians say a fish rots from the head down. They ought to know. It may not be factually true that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the saying has passed into common usage because the image as the ring of truth to it: time and time again, the good and decent common people have manned the walls of the city, and have been ready to give their lives in its defense, only to discover too late that some silk-robed son of a bitch has snuck out of the palace at midnight and thrown open the gates to the barbarians outside.

And how is this done, this “throwing open of the gates?” How are defenders taken off the walls?

Well, most of what I learned about Vietnam I learned from men like Oliver Stone. This self-loathing narcissist has repeatedly tried to inculcate in me a sense of despair and outrage at my own government, my own culture, my own people and ultimately myself. He tried to convince me — and he is a skillfull man — that my own government murdered my own President for political gain. I am told daily in those darkened temples that rogue CIA elements run a puppet government, that the real threat to the nation comes from the generals that defend it, or from the businessmen that provide the prosperity we take for granted.

I sit with others in darkened rooms, watching films like Redacted, Stop-Loss, and In the Valley of Elah, and see our brave young soldiers depicted as murderers, rapists, broken psychotics or ignorant dupes –visions foisted upon me by bitter and isolated millionaires such as Brian de Palma and Paul Haggis and all the rest.

I’ve been told this story in some form or another, every day of every week of the past 30 years of my life. It wasn’t always so.

But it is certainly so today. And standing against all this hypnotic power — the power of the mythmakers in Hollywood, the power of the information peddlers in the media, the corrosive power of America-hating professors on every campus in America… against all that we find an old warrior — a paladin if ever there was one — an old, beat-up warhorse standing up in defense of his city one last time. And beside him: a wonder. A common person… just a regular mom who goes to work, does a difficult job with intelligence and energy and grace and every-day competence and then puts it away to go home and have dinner with the family.

Against all of that stand these two.

No wonder they must be destroyed. Because — Sarah Palin especially — presents a mortal threat to these people who have determined over cocktails who the next President should be and who now clearly mean to grind into metal shards the transaxle of their credibility in order to get the result they must have. Truly, they are before our eyes destroying the machine they have built in order to get their victory. What the hell is so threatening to be worth that?

Only this: the living proof that they are not needed. Not needed to govern, not needed to influence and guide, not needed to lecture us on our intellectual and moral failings which are visible only from the heights of Manhattan skyscrapers or the palaces up on Mulholland Drive. Not needed. We can do it — and do it better — without all of them.

When all is said and done, Civilizations do not fall because of the barbarians at the gates. Nor does a great city fall from the death wish of bored and morally bankrupt stewards presumably sworn to its defense. Civilizations fall only because each citizen of the city comes to accept that nothing can be done to rally and rebuild broken walls; that ground lost may never be recovered; and that greatness lived in our grandparents but not our grandchildren. Yes, our betters tell us these things daily. But that doesn’t mean we have to believe it.

Ask the common people of all politics and persuasions aboard Flight 93 whether greatness and courage has deserted America. Through this magical crystal ball — the one we are using right now — we common people can speak to one another. And by reminding ourselves and those around us of who we are, where we came from, what we have achieved together and of the marvels we have yet to achieve, we may laugh in the face of despair and mock those people that think a man with an MBA from Harvard knows more about running a gas station than the man that actually runs the gas station.

It is the small-town virtues of self-reliance, hard work, personal responsibility, and common-sense ingenuity — and not those of the preening cosmopolitans that gape at them in mixed contempt and bafflement — that have made us the inheritors of the most magnificent, noble, decent and free society ever to appear on this earth. This Western Civilization… this American City… has earned the right to greet each sunrise with a blast of silver trumpets that can bring down mountains.

And what, really, is a Legion of Narcissists and a Confederacy of Despair against that?

Friday, September 19, 2008

A good discussion...

I wanted to share an interesting discussion with a visitor to the blog. I really appreciate comments and feedback. My aim with this blog is to get people thinking and talking about the critical issues of our day, so I love it when I get to discuss these topics with others. Here are a few comments that came in today and my responses. Keep 'em coming, everybody. Thanks to SJCooper!

In response to post titled "Last Chance for Life", SJCooper said:

For six long years the republicans were the majority in the senate and the house of representatives. We had a self professed pro-life president in office for those 6 years (2000-2006). Every year Ron Paul tried to get a bill in motion to overturn Roe v Wade. every year of the republican majority rule it failed to ever make it to the floor. If you are expecting the Republican party to come to the rescue of life, you will be disappointed. McCain will not be the hero. To vote for him as a lesser of two evils, or as a vote against Obama is reckless at best. we all will be held accountable for whom we cast our vote. McCain is no patriot, the republican party has betrayed us all. Chuck Baldwin for Pres.

My Response:

I don't realistically expect Row to be overturned by Republicans or anyone else. I doubt a society (nevermind government) as morally corrupted as ours is will have the fortitude and compassion necessary to end the practice of abortion. However, with an Obama presidency and a 2/3rds majority Democrat controlled congress we can guarantee the slaughter of the unborn will be championed and the right to oppose it smothered. That is why a McCain vote is necessary. Simply to stop Obama. I don't find this reckless. In fact, voting for a third party candidate almost ensures Obama the win. That is what we must fight against and a vote for McCain is the only realistic way to do it.

In response to the 2008 Voter's Guide post,
SJ Cooper said:

You are so wrong about John McCain. He will neither defend the unborn or this nation. Have you never heard of the North American Union, or its predesesor the security and prosperity partnership? I find it hard to believe someone from Az ( as I myself am; but now living in VA) has not heard of it. Check out the John Birch society or eagle forum to learn more. McCain will hold no loyalty to the constitution or to defend and preserve our sovereignty. And I'm sure he will do nothing to help overturn Roe V Wade just as our recent " pro-life" president has done nothing. I so want to find the silver lining in this election too. By the way your blog is great.

I responded:

Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it.

Like I indicated in my response to your previous comment, I don't expect McCain to overturn Roe or even to uphold the Constitution in any serious way. We are past that. Just like in Helaman, when Nephi gave up the judgment seat to go about preaching the gospel because the government was too corrupt--I believe we are there, too. The only way to change things is to change the hearts of the people--unfortunately, I think that will not be possible on a large scale until the Lord returns. But individually, we can effect renewal by helping others in our individual lives. My vote for John McCain is simply a vote to buy us some time to do just that. I believe the damage Obama would do to freedom of speech and every other liberty we have would be catastrophic. As much as I have to hold my nose to do it, I have to vote against him by voting for McCain.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

By The Way...

We should all take this information into consideration.

We must not remain silent!

Yesterday, in Elko, Nevada, Barack Obama called on the crowd of about 1,500 to "sharpen their elbows".

    "I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face," he said.

    "And if they tell you that, 'Well, we're not sure where he stands on guns.' I want you to say, 'He believes in the Second Amendment.' If they tell you, 'Well, he's going to raise your taxes,' you say, 'No, he's not, he's going lower them.' You are my ambassadors. You guys are the ones who can make the case."

For a look at what might be ahead for us on election day, please take the time to watch the videos at

The website contains testimony and documentation by Hillary Clinton supporters of aggressive and intimidating techniques used by Obama supporters to perpetrate voter fraud during the Democratic Primaries this summer.

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
Thomas Jefferson

Monday, September 15, 2008

Poignant article- "Last chance...for life."

    "Near the end of a town hall meeting in Johnstown, Pa., a woman arose to offer a passionate plea to Barack Obama to "stop these abortions."

    Obama's response was cool, direct, unequivocal.

    "Look, I got two daughters -- 9 years old and 6 years old. ... I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."

    "Punished with a baby."

    Obama sees an unwanted pregnancy as a cruel and punitive sanction for a teenager who has made a mistake, and abortion as the way out, the road to absolution and redemption.

    The contrast with Sarah Palin could not be more stark. At the birth of her son Trig, who has Down syndrome, Gov. Palin said: "We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives.

    "We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."

    Between the convictions and values of Palin and those of Barack, then, there is a world of difference. In the culture war that is rooted in religious faith, they are on opposite sides of the dividing line.

    But more crucial than their conflicting beliefs is the political reality. This election is America's last hope to reverse Roe v. Wade. Upon its outcome will rest the life, or death, of millions of unborn children. The great social cause of the Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus, of the Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, of the entire right-to-life movement, hangs today in the balance.

    Why? It is not just that Obama is a pro-choice absolutist who defends the grisly procedure known as partial-birth abortion, who backs a Freedom of Choice Act to abolish every restriction in every state, who even opposed a born-alive infant protection act.

    Nor is it because Joe Biden is a NARAL Catholic who has been admonished by bishops not to take communion because he has, through his career, supported a women's "right" to abortion, the exercise of which right has ended the lives of 45 million unborn.

    Nor is it even because McCain professes to be pro-life, or Gov. Palin is a woman who not only talks the talk but walks the walk of life.

    No. The reason this election is the last chance for life is the Supreme Court. For it alone -- given the cowardice of a Congress that refuses to restrict its authority -- has the power to reverse Roe, and because that court may be within a single vote of doing so.

    Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts appear steeled to overturn Roe and return this most divisive issue since slavery to the states, where it resided until January 1973.

    And John Paul Stevens, the oldest and perhaps most pro-choice justice at 88, is a likely retiree in the next four years. And there is a possibility Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 75, a survivor of cancer, could depart as did Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

    Thus, in the first term of the next president, there is a strong probability that one or two of the most pro-Roe justices will leave the bench. Replacement of even one of these two liberal activists with a jurist who has a Scalia-Roberts-Alito-Thomas record on the U.S. appellate court could initiate a challenge to Roe, and its rapid reversal.

    Not only would that decision be a stunning perhaps irreversible victory for the pro-life cause, it would return the issue of abortion to Congress and the states, where numerous legislators are prepared to curtail if not outlaw abortion on demand in America.

    Overturning Roe would re-energize the right-to-life movement in every state. In some, like California and New York, where it could not wholly prevail, some restrictions -- i.e., no abortions after viability -- might be imposed. Requirements such as for parental notification before a teenager has an abortion and that pregnant women be informed of what the procedure means and the trauma that often follows could be written into law.

    If Roe goes, all things are possible. If Roe remains, all is lost.

    Is there any certainty that John McCain, who set up the Gang of 14 to give Democrats veto over the most conservative of Bush judges, would nominate an Alito or a Roberts? No.

    But there is a certainty that a President Obama would move swiftly to replace a Stevens or Ginsberg, or any other justice who steps downs or dies, with a pro-choice jurist. For support for Roe v. Wade is a litmus test in today's Democratic Party, where the right to an abortion has been elevated to the highest rank in the Constitution.

    Bottom line. If Obama-Biden wins, Roe is forever. If McCain-Palin wins, Roe could be gone by the decade's end.

    As Catholics are the swing voters who likely will decide this election, one awaits the moral counsel of the Catholic hierarchy."

I would add that there are over 5 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the US, certainly we should be on the side of our unborn brothers and sisters who deserve the same chance on earth as we have had.

While, I don't always agree with Pat Buchanan, in this article he really defined the dire nature of this election to the sanctity of life in America.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Yesterday was sad. I don't really know how to put it in words. Maybe the memory of September 11th, 2001 defies words. So much destruction, so much sorrow, such tragedy. But the sadness I felt yesterday was more than just for the people who lost so much that day. My sadness was is for the America that we have lost since. The world, really.

I am a mother. And as a mother, I can say that the most distressing sound to me is the sound of my children fighting. I HATE it. Nothing makes me more upset, more discouraged or more like a failure as a parent.

I'm sure that as Heavenly Father watches (and has since Cain killed his brother) the contentions of His children, He has the right perspective on it. But it must be sad--even to Him. With His perfect knowledge of each of us and our parts in His plan, His perfect understanding of the impending outcome, His perfect dealings with all of His children. He will not remove our agency, and therefore He must watch as we bicker and fight amongst ourselves--as some choose evil and others suffer the effects of it. And it must make Him sad.

So, even with the knowledge that the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives me--an understanding that God is at the helm, that ultimately evil will be overcome and made to recompense it's destruction, and that The Lord Himselfwill return and govern His people with pure justice and righteousness--even with this knowledge, I am still sad. I feel as Mormon of old when he lamented the wickedness of his people, "O, ye fair ones."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Latter-Day Secret Combinations

"We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." (Article of Faith #8)

That stated, it has always seemed interesting to me that so many members of the Church today seem to scoff at the idea that the very same secret combinations Satan has always used to bring about his evil agendas is currently a major driving force for so much of what is going on around us. It's a great thing, to want to think the best of all people. But it is a foolish thing to ignore the facts in an attempt to "take the higher ground". While it is not for each of us to pass judgement on others, we ARE advised to "judge righteously" when necessary.

In that light, please consider the words written by one of Barack Obama's mentors, Saul Alinsky:

Did you get that? HE DEDICATED HIS BOOK TO LUCIFER! This is an influential mentor to the Democratic nominee for President of The United States!! Still think secret combinations are a thing of the past?

It is also important to note that Saul Alinsky's life and writings were the subject of Hillary Rodham Clinton's senior thesis. She also considered Alinsky the father of the modern progressive movement and a personal "idol" of hers. Still think secret combinations are only the stuff of the past?

I also find it fascinating that so many members of the Church seem to separate their moral and political beliefs from their political ideologies. If you would never consider having an abortion because of religious objections to it, how can you support political candidates who support the tax-payer funding of the practice? Let alone, the full-fledged infantacide that Barack Obama supports. If you personally believe in self-reliance, personal accountability and freedom from bondage, how then can you possibly vote for a candidate that supports the practice of "redistribution of wealth" through widespread government taxation and social programs? How can you not see that this is an exact extension of Lucifer's original plan--to restrict agency and give your freedoms to another entity "for the common good" or so that "not one soul will be lost"?

The principles are the same. Book of Mormon prophets did not separate their religious beliefs from their civic duties. The government of the people was as important a topic for them as the government of the Church.

As unpleasant and confusing as it may seem sometimes, we absolutely MUST make ourselves aware of the world in which we live. I believe we will be held accountable for our choices in both our private and civic responsibilities. If we are to live according to our beliefs--doesn't it stand to reason that we should also vote as such?

Monday, August 25, 2008

National Security Voters Guide

While I'm of the opinion that either way this presidential election goes the US is essentially screwed, I feel it is still our responsibility to make our voices heard on behalf of that which is right.

Article of Faith 13 states..."If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

While I find just about nothing virtuous, lovely or of good report about John McCain, he does seem committed to defending the rights of the unborn and to the defense of the United States of America. And, as we learn from the example of Captain Moroni:

Alma 46:12 "And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it— 'In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children' —and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land—"

Apparently these were the issues that mattered most to Moroni and so they should be for us...the "band of Christians [that] remain to possess the land".

Please take a moment to review the Family Security Matters National Security voter's Guide.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The 545 people who rule the world.

By Charlie Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a pres ident to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility.&n bsp; I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way .
There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Inspired Founding Fathers

"We know the signers of the sacred Declaration of Independence and the Founding Fathers, with George Washington at their head, have made appearance in holy places. Apostle Wilford Woodruff was president of the St. George Temple at the time of their appearance and testified that the founders of our republic declared this to him: 'We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.' (Journal of Discourses, 19:229.) "Later, after he became President of the Church, President Woodruff declared that 'those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men who labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord.' (Conference Report, April 1898, p. 89.)"

Ezra Taft Benson, "Our Priceless Heritage," Ensign, Nov. 1976, 34

Excellent article...

Take a minute and read this short article. Excellent message.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A few quotes to ponder

The following is an excerpt from a fantastic blog called Check it out for the full article.

...Barack Hussein Obama’s
economic plan is nothing more than a remake of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s class-warfare proclamation: “Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle.”

In fact, Roosevelt’s “principle” was no more American than Obama’s. Not to be confused with the biblical principle in the Gospel according to Luke, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required...” (which, ironically, some Leftist do-gooders cite as justification for socialist policies), Roosevelt was essentially paraphrasing the gospel according to Karl Marx, whose maxim declared, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

Jesus used parables to enlighten the heart, in this case, about our personal responsibility. Marxist methods are a bit more coercive—rejecting God and anointing the state as the supreme deity.

Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev said of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” paradigm shift, “We can’t expect the American people to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism.”

Perennial Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas (the grandfather, incidentally, of Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas), echoed that sentiment: “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

We are much closer to that day in 2008.

Obama insists we have “an economy that is out of balance, tax policies have been badly skewed, and wages and incomes have flatlined.” To resolve this he says we need a “tax policy making sure that everybody benefits, fair distribution, a restoration of balance in our tax code, money allocated fairly—we’re going to capture some of the nation’s economic growth... and reinvest it.”

Obama says that free enterprise is nothing more than “Social Darwinism, every man or woman for him or herself... tempting idea, because it doesn’t require much thought or ingenuity.”

Obamanomics is nothing more than a Marxist echo, and Obama himself a “useful idiot,” a Western apologist for socialist political and economic agendas advocating Marxist-Leninist-Maoist collectivism.

Obama’s campaign theme, like that of all useful idiots before him, is built on “The Politics of Disparity,” class warfare...

Contrast that information with the following quote from The Great Ronaldus Magnus:

“How can limited government and fiscal restraint be equated with lack of compassion for the poor? How can a tax break that puts a little more money in the weekly paychecks of working people be seen as an attack on the needy? Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes—one rich, one poor—both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?” —Ronald Reagan

Friday, July 11, 2008

Excellent article on the Constitution

Friend of the blog, Gabriel, just posted an article on his blog Proclaim Liberty about the 17th Amendment to the Constitution that is very enlightening as to our current problems in Congress. I highly recommend it!

Thanks, Gabriel--Excellent work!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Glenn Beck's Speech at America's Freedom Festival

I just watched America's Freedom Festival on BYU-TV's website. It is worth taking a few minutes to watch. Glenn Beck was the featured speaker and gave a truly inspirational, uplifting speech. It was fantastic--with a great message for each of us.
Here's the link to watch it:


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Cause of Human Freedom

Reagan’s Remarks on Lighting the Statue of Liberty Torch (July 3, 1986):
"For love of liberty, Americans championed and still champion, even in times of peril, the cause of human freedom in far-off lands." Read Reagan's inspirational speech in it's entirety.

Monday, July 7, 2008

You Could Have Heard A Pin Drop

When in England , at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of "empire building" by George Bush.

He answered by saying, 'Over the years, the United
States has sent many of its fine young men and women
into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders.
The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return
is enough to bury those that did not return.'

You could have heard a pin drop.

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of theFrench engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?'

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly:
'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several
thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'

You could have heard a pin drop.


A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries.

Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.' He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?'

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied 'Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.'

You could have heard a pin drop.


Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes
to locate his passport in his carry on.

You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously

'Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.'

The American said, ''The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it.

'Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!'

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, ''Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to.'

You could have heard a pin drop.