Friday, December 25, 2009

Know the Only True God, and His Son, Jesus Christ that He has Sent

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
Jesus Christ (excerpts) from the Book of John

But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 7

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Jeremiah 31

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be cone fold, and one shepherd.
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
John 10

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ephesians 3

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
John 14

For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
John 16

And the great and wonderful love made manifest by the Father and the Son in the coming of the Redeemer into the world;
D&C 138

Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.
Alma 26

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Charity Angel's Thoughts| Beware of Pride

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Charity Angel's Thoughts| The Spirit of Christmas

For the last 7 years our family has looked at Christmas differently, and celebrated it differently. While at times the changes that we have made have felt like we were one in a million, the spirit and benefits for our family were well worth it.

Seven years ago, we moved to Missouri. A great place, but foreign to us at the time. We both had come from the 'city life' mentality, and always hired someone else to do anything that we needed, and had learned to do little for ourselves. We tried to keep up with the Jone's and give our children all the latest and greatest things, and have new cars, a new house, and things that we really could not afford. That way of life, really hurt our family in many ways.

When we first moved to Missouri, we lived in a little place called Buffalo. The population sign said that it was a town of 3800 approximately. We had many miraculous experiences, that resulted in immediately being offered housing to rent, and then soon after that land. The people that we met in that area changed our lives forever. Never had I seen such humble circumstances, nor kind and generous people that seemed to have very little. No matter how little they had, they always were going about doing good.

We learned to live with less because of their examples. To make it do, or do without. While it took quite some time for us to adjust to the different cultures we ran into, it was the best choice we had ever made for our family. We learned how to live a simple life. We didn't have a lot of stuff, a lot of anything really, other then love for each other, the land, and our neighbors. We had many struggles, ones that surprise people when we talk about them still, but they were blessings.

Being around humble people, and having made the commitment to not go into debt, we lived on a cash only basis. We learned how to make use of what we had, and tried to fix it before buying anything, and when we bought, we tried to make sure that it was high quality and used.

Our Christmas changed dramatically. We focused on Christ only. No Santa, No huge long wish lists, and we turned off the TV forever during this time too.

Our new tradition was to have a manager that was empty, and to add pieces of yarn each time we did something for someone else, or someone had done something that we thanked them for, and filled the manager with the love we have for each other. Then on Christmas Eve, we put a baby in the manager, all nestled and snug in the love that we had shared. The children made homemade gifts, cards, artwork,, and other creative things, one of my favorite was toilet paper roll dolls and paper crowns and jewelry. My husband and I would make homemade gifts as well. I sewed many things by hand, since I did not have a sewing machine. All of us learned how to make blankets, scarves and hats on weaving looms, and besides that, we would give our children a treat.

We taught our children that Santa Claus represents Christ. And also how Heavenly Father gave us the greatest gift, and that was His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. Who willing atoned for each and everyone of us, because he loves us. Santa also represents that we should share that love with others. Now our children will often respond to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" with an "I don't Know" because they have been focused on what they want to give to others. Recently, after returning to Utah, they have had something they will say they like, but it is generally a very touching answer. Our oldest daughter last night, was asked what she wants for Christmas by a man dressed as Santa, and she replied "A Happy Christmas" that would be the gift that she wants for everyone, that they have a happy Christmas.

This year, things are harder then they have been in a long while, but the children really do not realize it because they are able to still give, and they are also being given to by others. It is quite humbling, and a blessing at the same time to be where we are now, and experiencing what we are, but our trials have always turned out to be blessings.

May you have a Happy Christmas!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Oh America, I Can Hear You Calling Me

I found this song on Thanksgiving day while working on my Principles of Liberty articles.  If you click on the title of this post, you will hear the full explanation of this song, which did not allow embedding, so if you like that sort of info, you can get it there.

This song really spoke to me, but from a perspective of politics, religion and spirituality.  I am going to type of the words with a few minor changes to how the words are spelled.  And I will add some additional insight into what speaks to me in this work.

Oh America you're calling. I can hear you calling me. You are calling me to be true to Thee, true to Thee I will be.

Oh America your weeping. Let me heal your wounded heart. I will keep you in my keeping til there be a new start.

And I will answer you, and I will take your hand and lead you to the Son. And I will stand by you, do all that I can do, and we will be as one.

Oh America I hear you. From your prairies to the sea. From your mountains grand and all through this land you are beautiful to me.

Oh America you call me. I can hear you calling me. You are calling me to be true to Thee, true to Thee I will be.

And I will answer you, and I will take your hand, and lead you to the Son. And I will stand by you, do all that I can do and we will be as one.

Oh America you call me.

I will answer thee.

Renounce War and Proclaim Peace

This post is shared to you from The Latterday Conservative.  You can visit his site by clicking on the title of this post.


War – First Presidency

A message from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and David O. McKay), delivered in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, April 6, 1942, during the closing session of the 112th Annual General Conference of the Church. The message was published in Conference Report, Apr. 1942, 88-97.

In these days of trial and sorrow, when Satan is “seeking to destroy the souls of men” (D&C 10:27), we send to the righteous everywhere our greetings with prayers for their blessing; to the Saints in all lands and on the islands of the Seas, we renew our testimonies and pledge our unselfish service, exhorting them to lives obedient to the gospel and the commandments of the Lord; we extend to them the hand of true and faithful fellowship, with deep and abiding love and blessing.

Our Testimonies

We bear witness to all the world that God lives, and still rules, that His righteous ways and His truth will finally prevail.

We bear testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, the First Fruits of the Resurrection, the Redeemer of the World, and that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

We solemnly declare that in these the latter days, God has again spoken from the heavens through His chosen Prophet, Joseph Smith; that the Lord has, through that same Prophet, again revealed in its fulness His gospel—the plan of life and salvation; that through that Prophet and his associates He has restored His holy priesthood to the Earth, from which it had been taken because of the wickedness of men; and that all the rights, powers, keys, and functions appertaining to that priesthood as so restored are now vested in and exercised by the chosen and inspired leadership of His Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, even as that priesthood has been exercised on the earth from the beginning until this day, whenever His Church was here or His work had place among the children of men.

These testimonies we bear in all soberness, before God and men, aware that we are answerable to God for the truthfulness thereof. We admonish all men to give ear to these testimonies and to bring their lives into harmony with the gospel of Christ, that on the day “when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him,” they may stand with those on his right hand, to whom He will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:31, 34)

We shall now speak first of some vital practical matters which should be uppermost in the minds of all Latter-day Saints.

Message to Parents

It is becoming increasingly clear that very many of our physicians and surgeons will be taken by the government for service in the armed forces. This is well, for we want our soldiers and sailors to have every care which it is possible to give them. But this will leave the civilians with curtailed and probably inadequate medical help. In some areas we shall be left with little more trained assistance than was available to our pioneer fathers. Yet it is our patriotic duty to be as fully effective in production at home as our boys are effective in combat in the field. Those in the front lines cannot be strong unless those behind the lines are strong also. To meet this patriotic duty and to prepare for this threatening condition, we urge all parents to guard with zealous care the health of their children. Feed them simple, good, wholesome food that will nourish and make them strong. See that they are warmly clad. Keep them from exposure. Have them avoid unnecessary crowds in close, poorly ventilated, overheated rooms and halls. See that they have plenty of rest and sleep. Avoid late hours. Keep them home in the evenings and remain home to enjoy them. Teach them strictly to observe the Word of Wisdom which is God’s law of health. You parents observe these rules yourselves, and keep the other commandments of the Lord. You bishops and presidents of stakes, first lead your people by example and then they will follow your precepts. Parents, prepare yourselves and your children for the times to come. So live, day by day, that you may with confidence ask the blessings of health with which the Lord clothes those whom, living righteously, He delights to succor.

Message to the Youth

To the youth of the Church we repeat all the foregoing advice, but above all we plead with you to live clean, for the unclean life leads only to suffering, misery, and woe physically—and spiritually it is the path to destruction. How glorious and near to the angels is youth that is clean; this youth has joy unspeakable here and eternal happiness hereafter. Sexual purity is youth’s most precious possession; it is the foundation of all righteousness.

Times approach when we shall need all the health, strength, and spiritual power we can get to bear the afflictions that will come upon us.

Welfare Work

We renew the counsel given to the Saints from the days of Brigham Young until now—be honest, truthful, industrious, frugal, thrifty. In the day of plenty, prepare for the day of scarcity. The principle of the fat and lean kine is as applicable today as it was in the days when, on the banks of the Nile, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. Officials now warn us, and warn again, that scant days are coming.

We renew our counsel and repeat our instructions: Let every Latter-day Saint that has land produce some valuable, essential foodstuff thereon and then preserve it; or if he cannot produce an essential foodstuff, let him produce some other kind and exchange it for an essential foodstuff; let them who have no land of their own and who have knowledge of farming and gardening, try to rent some either by themselves or with others and produce foodstuff thereon and preserve it. Let those who have land produce enough extra to help their less fortunate brethren.

The Welfare Plan should be carried forward with redoubled energy that we may care for the worthy, needy poor, and unfortunate, and many of us may hereafter enter that class who now feel we are secure from want.

As the Church has always urged since we came to the valley, so now we urge every Church householder to have a year’s supply of essential foodstuffs ahead. This should so far as possible be produced by each householder and preserved by him. This course will not only relieve from any impending distress those households who so provide themselves but will release just that much food to the general national stores of foodstuffs from which the public at large must be fed.

The utmost care should be taken to see that foodstuffs so produced and preserved by the householder do not spoil, for that would be waste and the Lord looks with disfavor upon waste. He has blessed His people with abundant crops; the promise for this year is most hopeful. The Lord is doing His part; He expects us to do ours.

False Political Isms

We again warn our people in America of the constantly increasing threat against our inspired Constitution and our free institutions set up under it. The same political tenets and philosophies that have brought war and terror in other parts of the world are at work amongst us in America. The proponents thereof are seeking to undermine our own form of government and to set up instead one of the forms of dictatorships now flourishing in other lands. These revolutionists are using a technique that is as old as the human race—a fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery and then enslave them.

They suit their approaches to the particular group they seek to deceive. Among the Latter-day Saints they speak of their philosophy and their plans under it as an ushering in of the United Order. Communism and all other similar isms bear no relationship whatever to the United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan. Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state to whom he must look for sustenance and religion; the United Order exalts the individual, leaves him his property, “according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs,” (D&C 51:3) and provides a system by which he helps care for his less fortunate brethren; the United Order leaves every man free to choose his own religion as his conscience directs. Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency; the United Order glorifies it. Latter-day Saints can not be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They will prove snares to their feet.

Gospel of Love

The gospel of Christ is a gospel of love and peace, of patience and longsuffering, of forbearance and forgiveness, of kindness and good deeds, of charity and brotherly love. Greed, avarice, base ambition, thirst for power, and unrighteous dominion over our fellowmen can have no place in the hearts of Latter-day Saints nor of God-fearing men everywhere. We of the Church must lead the life prescribed in the saying of the ancient prophet-warrior:

“I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country.” (Alma 60:36)

Hate Must Be Abolished

Hate can have no place in the souls of the righteous. We must follow the commands of Christ Himself which declare the true life:

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44–45)

These principles must be instilled into the hearts of our children, taught to our youth, given by way of instruction to our vigorous manhood and womanhood, lived in very fact and deed by the aged, ripened in experience and wisdom. These are the principles which God enjoins upon all who teach, in whatever capacity or in whatever place. The Lord has declared that those who “teach not their children light and truth, according to the commandments” shall be afflicted, the wicked one shall have power over them (D&C 93:42), and the sin shall be upon their heads (D&C 68:25). Woe will be the part of those who plant hate in the hearts of the youth and of the people, for God will not hold them guiltless; they are sowing the wind, [and] their victims will reap the whirlwinds. Hate is born of Satan; love is the offspring of God. We must drive out hate from our hearts, every one of us, and permit it not again to enter.

Mission of the Church

The Lord has established His Church in these latter days that men might be called to repentance, to the salvation and exaltation of their souls. Time and time again He told the Prophet Joseph and those with him that “the field is white already to harvest.” (D&C 4:4, 6:3; 11:3; 12:3; 14:3; 33:3, 7)

Over and over again He commanded them to preach nothing but repentance to this generation (D&C 6:9; 11:9; 14:8), finally declaring:

“And thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains and upon every high place and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see.

“And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers.

“And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.

“Behold, this is a great and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter; for this shall suffice for thy daily walk, even unto the end of thy life.

“And misery thou shalt receive if thou wilt slight these counsels, yea, even the destruction of thyself and property.” (D&C 19:29–33)

These commands we must obey that men shall come to know God and Jesus Christ whom He sent, “for this is life eternal.” (John 17:3)

For this cause was the Church organized, the gospel again revealed in its fulness, the priesthood of God again restored, with all its rights, powers, keys, and functions. This is the mission of the Church. The divine commission given to the Apostles of old (Matt. 28:16; Mark 16:15) has been repeated in this day, that the gospel shall be carried to all nations (D&C 38:33), unto the Jew and the Gentile (D&C 18:26), it shall be declared with rejoicing (D&C 28:16), it shall roll to the ends of the earth (D&C 65:2), and it must be preached by us to whom the kingdom has been given (D&C 84:76). No act of ours or of the Church must interfere with this God-given mandate. The Lord will hold us to this high commission and exalted duty, imposed by His commandment to us when He said:

“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” (D&C 59:21) We shall be excused from this divine commission, individually and as a Church, only if some power beyond our control shall prevent our obedience to God’s commands; then they who hinder must bear the penalty. (D&C 124:49) But to that point of hindrance, it is our bounden duty to carry on.

Sending of Missionaries

It is our duty, divinely imposed, to continue urgently and militantly to carry forward our missionary work. We must continue to call missionaries and send them out to preach the gospel, which was never more needed than now, which is the only remedy for the tragic ills that now afflict the world, and which alone can bring peace and brotherly love back amongst the peoples of the earth. We must continue to call to missionary work those who seem best able to perform it in these troublous and difficult days. Our duty under divine command imperatively demands this. We shall not knowingly call anyone for the purpose of having him evade military service, nor for the purpose of interfering with or hampering that service in any way, nor of putting any impediment in the way of government. These would be unworthy motives for a missionary life. Our people have furnished and we expect them to continue to furnish their full quota for those purposes, but we see no alternative, until new rules are made by the government, but to continue to call the best and most effective men into missionary work, if they are available therefor.

Having in mind that the worldwide disaster in material and spiritual matters has brought vital and difficult problems to the nation and to the Church—the nation because of need of manpower for the armed forces and defense works, and to the Church because of the imperative need it brings to us to employ in our missionary work the experience, testimony, and faith possessed by our more mature brethren—we have instructed our bishops, presidents of branches, and presidents of missions, to confine until further notice their recommendations of brethren for missionary service in the field to those who on March 23, 1942, were seventies or high priests. Furthermore, in recommending these brethren, none but those who are and have been living worthily should be chosen; and as to these, they should choose those only who have not received their notice of induction, who are not likely to receive it within a short time, and who have a real desire to do missionary work.

To preach the gospel under ordination from the priesthood of God is a great privilege, to be enjoyed by those only who are thoroughly qualified and who are and have been strictly living the commandments and attending to their Church duties. Every bishop will carefully examine every one whom he considers for a mission, to be sure he meets these requirements. No lukewarm or unworthy person should be recommended. The bishop must not in any way play favorites, thus avoiding giving just ground among the people of his ward for that unworthy, unrighteous thought, sometimes voiced by those whose sons have gone into the service, that because their sons have gone into the army, every other parent’s son should go into the army, and that none should be sent on missions. This feeling has behind it thoughts that do not comport with the teachings of our Heavenly Father. Moreover, those going on missions are amenable to selection for army service as soon as they return. A mission exempts from army service only for the term of the mission.

Church and State

The Church stands for the separation of church and state. The Church has no civil [or] political functions. As the Church may not assume the functions of the state, so the state may not assume the functions of the Church. The Church is responsible for and must carry on the work of the Lord, directing the conduct of its members, one towards the other, as followers of the lowly Christ, not forgetting the humble, the poor and needy, and those in distress, leading them all to righteous living and a spiritual life that shall bring them to salvation, exaltation, and eternal progression, in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and power.

Today, more than ever before in the history of the Church, we must bring the full force of the righteous living of our people and the full influence of the spiritual power and responsibility of the holy priesthood to combat the evil forces which Satan has let loose among the peoples of the earth. We are in the midst of a desperate struggle between truth and error, and truth will finally prevail.

The state is responsible for the civil control of its citizens or subjects, for their political welfare, and for the carrying forward of political policies, domestic and foreign, of the body politic. For these policies, their success or failure, the state is alone responsible, and it must carry their burdens. All these matters involve and directly affect Church members because they are part of the body politic, and members must give allegiance to their sovereign and render it loyal service when called thereto. But the Church itself, as such, has no responsibility for these policies, as to which it has no means of doing more than urging its members fully to render that loyalty to their country and to free institutions which the loftiest patriotism calls for.

Nevertheless, as a correlative of the principle of separation of the church and the state themselves, there is an obligation running from every citizen or subject to the state. This obligation is voiced in that Article of Faith which declares:

“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

For one hundred years, the Church has been guided by the following principles:

“We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

“We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

“We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.

“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

“We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.

“We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws all men owe respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man; and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker.

“We believe . . . that murder, treason, robbery, theft, and the breach of the general peace, in all respects, should be punished according to their criminality and their tendency to evil among men, by the laws of that government in which the offense is committed.” (D&C 134:1–6, 8)

Church Membership and Army Service

Obedient to these principles, the members of the Church have always felt under obligation to come to the defense of their country when a call to arms was made; on occasion the Church has prepared to defend its own members.

In the days of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion was formed, having in view the possible armed defense of the Saints against mob violence. Following our expulsion from Nauvoo, the Mormon Battalion was recruited by the national government for service in the war with Mexico. When Johnston’s army was sent to Utah in 1857 as the result of malicious misrepresentations as to the actions and attitude of the territorial officers and the people, we prepared and used measures of force to prevent the entry of the army into the valleys. During the early years in Utah, forces were raised and used to fight the Indians. In the war with Spain, members of the Church served with the armed forces of the United States with distinction and honor. In the World War, the Saints of America and of European countries served loyally their respective governments, on both sides of the conflict. Likewise in the present war, righteous men of the Church in both camps have died, some with great heroism, for their own country’s sake. In all this our people have but served loyally the country of which they were citizens or subjects under the principles we have already stated. We have felt honored that our brethren have died nobly for their country; the Church has been benefited by their service and sacrifice.

Nevertheless, we have not forgotten that on Sinai, God commanded, “Thou shalt not kill”; nor that in this dispensation the Lord has repeatedly reiterated that command. He has said:

“And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.

“And again, I say, thou shalt not kill; but he that killeth shall die.” (D&C 42:18–19; see also 59:6)

At another time the Lord commanded that murderers should “be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he hath no forgiveness.” (D&C 42:79) So also when land was to be obtained in Zion, the Lord said:

“Wherefore, the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you.

“And if by purchase, behold you are blessed;

“And if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.” (D&C 63:29–31)

But all these commands, from Sinai down, run in very terms against individuals as members of society, as well as members of the Church, for one man must not kill another as Cain killed Abel; they also run against the Church as in the case of securing land in Zion, because Christ’s Church should not make war, for the Lord is a Lord of peace. He has said to us in this dispensation:

“Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace . . . ” (D&C 98:16) Thus the Church is and must be against war. The Church itself cannot wage war, unless and until the Lord shall issue new commands. It cannot regard war as a righteous means of settling international disputes; these should and could be settled—the nations agreeing—by peaceful negotiation and adjustment.

But the Church membership are citizens or subjects of sovereignties over which the Church has no control. The Lord Himself has told us to “befriend that law which is the constitutional law of the land”:

“And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

“And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

“Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

“And as pertaining to the law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:4–7)

While by its terms this revealed word related more especially to this land of America, nevertheless the principles announced are worldwide in their application. and they are specifically addressed to “you” (Joseph Smith), “and your brethren of my church.” When, therefore, constitutional law, obedient to these principles, calls the manhood of the Church into the armed service of any country to which they owe allegiance, their highest civic duty requires that they meet that call. If, harkening to that call and obeying those in command over them, they shall take the lives of those who fight against them, that will not make of them murderers, nor subject them to the penalty that God has prescribed for those who kill, beyond the principle to be mentioned shortly. For it would be a cruel God that would punish His children as moral sinners for acts done by them as the innocent instrumentalities of a sovereign whom He had told them to obey and whose will they were powerless to resist.

God Is at the Helm

The whole world is in the midst of a war that seems the worst of all time. This Church is a worldwide church. Its devoted members are in both camps. They are the innocent war instrumentalities of their warring sovereignties. On each side they believe they are fighting for home and country and freedom. On each side, our brethren pray to the same God, in the same name, for victory. Both sides cannot be wholly right; perhaps neither is without wrong. God will work out in His own due time and in His own sovereign way the justice and right of the conflict, but He will not hold the innocent instrumentalities of the war, our brethren in arms, responsible for the conflict. This is a major crisis in the world-life of man. God is at the helm.

Righteous Suffer with Wicked

But there is an eternal law that rules war and those who engage in it. It was given when, Peter having struck off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest, Jesus reproved him, saying:

“Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matt. 26:52)

The Savior thus laid down a general principle upon which He placed no limitations as to time, place, cause, or people involved. He repeated it in this dispensation when He told the people if they tried to secure the land of Zion by blood, then “lo, your enemies are upon you.” This is a universal law, for force always begets force; it is the law of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20). It is the law of the unrighteous and wicked, but it operates against the righteous who may be involved.

Mormon, recording the war of revenge by the Nephites against the Lamanites, pronounced another great law.

“But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.” (Mormon 4:5)

But, we repeat, in this war of the wicked, the righteous suffer also. Moroni, mistakenly reproving Pahoran “for sitting upon his throne in a state of thoughtless stupor, while his enemies were spreading the work of death around him, yea, while they were murdering thousands of his brethren,” said to Pahoran:

“Do ye suppose that, because so many of your brethren have been killed it is because of their wickedness? I say unto you, if ye have supposed this ye have supposed in vain; for I say unto you, there are many who have fallen by the sword; and behold it is to your condemnation;

“For the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God.” (Alma 60:7, 12–13)

In this terrible war now waging, thousands of our righteous young men in all parts of the world and in many countries are subject to a call into the military service of their own countries. Some of these, so serving, have already been called back to their heavenly home; others will almost surely be called to follow. But “behold,” as Moroni said, the righteous of them who serve and are slain “do enter into the rest of the Lord their God,” and of them the Lord has said “those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them.” (D&C 42:46) Their salvation and exaltation in the world to come will be secure. That in their work of destruction they will be striking at their brethren will not be held against them. That sin, as Moroni of old said, is to the condemnation of those who “sit in their places of power in a state of thoughtless stupor,” those rulers in the world who in a frenzy of hate and lust for unrighteous power and dominion over their fellowmen, have put into motion eternal forces they do not comprehend and cannot control. God, in His own due time, will pass sentence upon them.

“Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Message to Men in Service

To our young men who go into service, no matter whom they serve or where, we say live clean, keep the commandments of the Lord, pray to Him constantly to preserve you in truth and righteousness, live as you pray, and then whatever betides you the Lord will be with you and nothing will happen to you that will not be to the honor and glory of God and to your salvation and exaltation. There will come into your hearts from the living of the pure life you pray for a joy that will pass your powers of expression or understanding. The Lord will be always near you; He will comfort you; you will feel His presence in the hour of your greatest tribulation; He will guard and protect you to the full extent that accords with His all-wise purpose. Then, when the conflict is over and you return to your homes, having lived the righteous life, how great will be your happiness—whether you be of the victors or of the vanquished—that you have lived as the Lord commanded. You will return so disciplined in righteousness that thereafter all Satan’s wiles and stratagems will leave you untouched. Your faith and testimony will be strong beyond breaking. You will be looked up to and revered as having passed through the fiery furnace of trial and temptation and come forth unharmed. Your brethren will look to you for counsel, support, and guidance. You will be the anchors to which thereafter the youth of Zion will moor their faith in man.

To you brethren and sisters who make up the body of the Church we send again our greetings and our blessings. We are grateful to our Heavenly Father for your loyalty, your devotion, and your righteousness. We love and bless you. We are grateful for your faithfulness in your tithes and offerings, the greatest in the last year in the whole history of the Church.

We remind you that as the Lord said to ancient Israel, so He says to us, in an eternal principle:

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

“And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:10–12)

We give thanks and praise to our Heavenly Father for the unselfish and righteous service of the officers of the stakes, of the wards, of the auxiliaries, of the priesthood, of the missionaries, and of every man and woman who is helping to advance the cause of truth. We give our blessing and love to all of you. We claim all of you as fellow servants of the Lord. To our Brethren of the General Authorities—the Twelve and their Assistants, the Acting Presiding Patriarch, the First Council of Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric—we give our love and trust. We thank them and our Heavenly Father for their loyal support, their faith, their righteous works, which they carry on with an eye single to the glory of God and to the progress of His work, so magnifying in righteousness their callings.

We exhort all the Saints to remember the great commandment which Jesus gave:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

“This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:37–40) And as King Benjamin, the Nephite prophet king, said to his people:

“Learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17)

May the Lord preserve the officers and the body of the Church in health and strength, increase our faith and our testimonies, endow us all with wisdom and understanding beyond measure, that we may all so live that when we are called home we may be saved and exalted in the celestial kingdom.

Our Heavenly Father: Hear us in our petitions before Thee: Let nothing stand betwixt us and Thee and Thy blessings; work out Thy purposes speedily; drive hate from the souls of men, that peace and brotherly love may again come to the earth and rule the hearts of Thy children, that nations may again live together in amity. Watch tenderly over Thy children in all lands; bless therein the sick and afflicted, care for those in distress; help us, their brethren bearing Thy priesthood, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give shelter to those who have no homes, comfort, Our Heavenly Father, with the full sweetness of Thy Holy Spirit, those who mourn, we humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The First Presidency

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Greatest of Thanksgiving| The Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

There are many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and each day I have been posting what I am thankful for on my Facebook, but above all of the blessings that I am thankful for, I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the hope and liberty that it brings to me, and all those who exercise faith, even a particle of faith, and believe.

These days, there are many that speak of Jesus Christ as a fable, a story. One of the greatest blessings that I have today, is a testimony of Jesus Christ, His divinity, His mission, and the reality that He does exist and that I have been blessed to have a personal relationship with Him. Through many trials, afflictions and heartache, He has always been there, to guide and direct, through the Holy Ghost. If I did not have this great blessing, I would be lost, and find myself full of fear in these perilous times, but there is a guide, a well lit path that has already been cleared for us. While we will not have a life free from thistles, briers or thorns, we have the greatest of all gifts given to us, that enables us to repent and be forgiven.

Anyone who has tasted of the sweet fruits of repentance and forgiveness cannot deny the power of the gift of the atonement that our Savior Jesus Christ wrought on our behalf. This is the season of thankfulness and gratitude, let us remember those things that bring us eternal joy, and show our thanks and gratitude, by living like we believe.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Truth Through Music

I LOVE music, especially when it has truths in it. Whether political or spiritual truths, music can speak to the heart, the spirit, and it can awaken people.

Music has been used for both good and evil throughout history. It is a weapon that people do not really think about. The lyrics set to a beat and a great tune can become the standards and truths that we start to live through the actions that we take. I think that we have to be careful about what we listen to. Music has been used to create violent thoughts, peace, love, and a variety of reactions, and really has shaped our society.

There are some songs that I think we should pay much more attention to, from a political activist standpoint. I am going to post a few of these. Perhaps tomorrow, I will go into some spiritual ones as well.

Early Morning Brain Storm

I awoke this morning way too early for how late I went to bed, but I could not stop my mind from running in order to go back into dreamy slumber.  This happens to me every now and again, and it is usually related to writing and topics that I should write about.  This morning, there were so many ideas flooding my mind that I was not sure how in the world I could cover them all with all the plans that I have for today with family and business.

While, I do need to write my articles for my other sites, I have felt strongly that I needed to write on these personal topics as well, which is what this blog is really for.  It is my outlet for my random brain storms and I post things that touch my heart, inspire me, as well as infuriate me.

My first thoughts this morning upon waking up were about my son's Auspergers, and the struggles that he has had recently.  After home schooling him, he made great advancements, that former educators told me he would never make, and I am proud of my son.  I know that he has to work that much harder just to be at the average level of children his age in some areas, and the fact that he has been able to do that, is truly miraculous to me.

My second thought was truth.  What is truth?  And how do we know it?  Truth can be the basic laws that we cannot defy in nature, like gravity.  Truth can be what we gain from personal experiences that we take in and accept as a part of ourselves.  Truth can come through words by enlightened individuals and through research of the facts.  But, the best truth are those that come through the light of Jesus Christ, that speak to your mind and heart in a moment.  This happens to me a lot, especially when I am reading the scriptures, and thinking about solutions for my life, and how to help others.  It also seems to happen to me when I am first awakening in the morning and in dreams.

The next thought was liberty, and how I am going to protect it today.  Anyone who knows me knows my passion and dedication to liberty, not just for myself, but for my neighbors, children, family, friends, and yes, even my enemies.  I see all people as being equal.  Equal under God, equal under the law, and valuable to the Creator.  I am a very tender-hearted individual that can easily feel for others.  I truly believe that just as Christ said all the laws hang on these two 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, might, mind and strength, and 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.  It is these two principles that I use to judge what is good, right and truth, especially when it comes to the political upheaval and the economic stresses of our day.

I tell you these things, so that you understand my motivation behind everything that I do.  While I am told that it is a rare motivation, it is truly mine.  I am motivated by love.  Love of freedom, love of country, love of family and love of God. 

While I do not always comment on everything that I post, because I want to encourage people to think for themselves, I think that we live in a time, where I need to do that more often, and explain what I think and why I think it.  It has taken years of research and emotional pain to learn the things that I have learned, and generally, I have learned them the hard way.  However, if sharing those things helps one person not go through them, or recover from them, or even helps others see people as individuals again, it is a success to me. 

One of the truths I would like to share with you today, is the video below.  I do not know how common this is, because there are no real studies that have been done that were not biased and created by those who want to be able to get us to buy and use these things, but I have personal experience, and for me, that is all I need.  The video below I was shown this morning on my Facebook page, and I cried while watching it.  This video reminded me of my experience with my oldest son after he got vaccinated.  He acted much like this boy, only he would not even walk, I had to carry him.  I called the Dr.  and they told me it was normal and to give him Tylenol.  I love my son, as any mother would, and I trusted the government that told me to immunize by two.  My son was premature, but developing appropriately, so we had waited longer to get the immunization.  I say this because some in the medical field argue that the symptoms of Autism show at these ages so it is not the vaccines, but my son was older.  I cannot tell you how I wish I would have listened to those gut instincts of mine that told me this was not good for my son.  I wish that I had never put him through it, but I was where I was at the time.  Young, trusting, naive and uninformed.  My son started to regress and acted younger then his age, he is not the same boy that I had given birth to, this changed him.  And as hard as it is to share this openly, I miss that little boy.  He is a good boy, a great boy, but I miss who he was before he had these side effects.  Now, I want you to see this boy.  Another mother's son.  I want you to think, I want you to study, I want you to make sure that we really are not having this happen to anymore of our precious babies. 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Principles of Liberty: Principle 17

The 28 Principles of Liberty: Principle 17

“A System of Checks and Balances Should be Adopted to Prevent the Abuse of Power”

After John Adams had sold the people on the separation of powers, it must have been shocking to him to see that they wanted to make the separation so complete that it would have made the system unworkable.

The individuals who took a puritanical view opposed the adoption of the Constitution because they wanted the separation complete and absolute. They missed the most important part, and that was that they were to be separate in their functions, but subject to the checks and balances of the other two departments in case it became abusive in performing those functions.

James Madison spent 5 of the Federalist Papers numbers, 47 to 51, explaining why the separation of powers should not be absolute, but should make allowances for a built-in system of checks and balances. He conceded that keeping the three departments separated was fundamental to the preservation of liberty.

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

The purpose of checks and balances is a constitutional control in the hands of each department of government to prevent any usurpation of power by another department or abusive administration of the power granted to it.

The failure to use the checks and balances effectively has resulted in allowing the judiciary to create new laws by pretending to be merely interpreting old laws. Failure to use checks and balances has also allowed the President to make thousands of new laws, instead of congress, by issuing executive orders. It has allowed the federal government to invade the reserved rights of the states on a massive scale. It has allowed the legislature to impose taxes on the people never contemplated by the Founders, or the Constitution. Each department of the government has the responsibility to rise up and protect its prerogatives by exercising the checks and balances which have been provided, and even more so, the people have the responsibility to be the watchmen over their representatives and elect ONLY those that will function within Constitutional boundaries.

James Madison said, “As the people are the only legitimate foundation of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter under which the power of the several branches of government is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory to recur to the same original authority whenever an one of the departments may commit encroachment on the chartered authorities of the others.”

How do the people protect themselves? Madison sought many different avenues and found that the only protection was within the machinery of checks and balances provided in the Constitution as written.

The three departments are independent, yet reliant on each other to fulfill their functions, so they are mutually dependent. Their resulting system was far more complex then Montesquieu. Here are their provisions:

1. The House of Representatives serves as a check on the Senate since no statue can become a law without their approval.

2. The Senate also serves as the check on the House of Representatives since no statue can become a law without its approval.

3. A President can restrain them both by using his veto to send back a bill not meeting his approval.

4. The Congress has on the other hand, a check on the President by being able to pass a bill over his veto with a 2/3 majority of each house.

5. The legislature also has a further check on the President through its power of discrimination in appropriating funds for the operation of the executive branch.

6. The President must have the approval of the Senate in filing important offices of the executive branch.

7. The President must also have the approval of the Senate before any treaties with foreign nations can go into effect.

8. The Congress has the authority to conduct investigations of the executive branch to determine whether or not funds are being properly expended and the laws enforced.

9. The President has a certain amount of political influence on the legislature by letting it be known that he will not support the reelection of those who oppose his program.

10. The executive branch also has further check on the Congress by using its discretionary powers in establishing military bases, building dams, improving navigable rivers, and building interstate highways so as to favor those areas from which the President feels he is getting support by their representatives.

11. The judiciary has a check on the legislature through its authority to review all laws and determine their constitutionality.

12. The Congress, on the other hand, has a restraining power over the judiciary by having the constitutional authority to restrict the extent of its jurisdiction.

13. The Congress also has the power to impeach any of the judges who are guilty of treason, high crimes or misdemeanors.

14. The President also has a check on the judiciary by having the power to nominate new judges subject to the approval of the senate.

15. The Congress has further restraining power over the judiciary by having the control of appropriations for the operation of the federal court system.

16. The Congress is able to initiate amendments to the Constitution which, if approved by three-fourths of the states, could seriously effect the operation of both the executive and judicial branches.

17. The Congress, by joint resolution, can terminate certain powers granted to the President such as war powers without his consent.

18. The people have a check on their congressmen every two years, on their President every four years, and on their Senators every six years.

The Founders Device for Peaceful Self-Repair

In other nations that copied our constitution, they forgot to incorporate adequate checks and balances. Instead, when a usurper takes over, they must use an army and result to machine guns and bombs to get them out. What the founders wished to achieve in the Constitution of 1787 was machinery for the peaceful means of self-repair when the system when out of balance.

During Watergate, this peaceful process was used. The Congress threatened to impeach, and the President who used his high office for purposes that were outside his scope of authority and the ramifications of legal conduct, he resigned. There was no command of the army to allow him to stay in power; it was a quiet and peaceful transition. This was the primary purpose of the United States Constitution, to have a peaceful means in order to repair distortions of power. While it requires more patience then the use of force, its outcome is much more certain.

The Principles of Liberty: Principle 16

This man is close to my heart, he is one of my ancestors. And During his life, he believed that no one would remember him, what he tried to do or what he stood for, and so, it is with great personal pleasure that I prove him wrong.

The 28 Principles of Liberty: Principle 16

“The Government Should be Separated into Three Branches-Legislative, Executive and Judicial.”

Polybius, recognized as the greatest of all Greek Historians, lived 204 to 122 B.C. When Greece was conquered by Rome, Polybius was deported to the Roman capital. This is where he quickly recognized the advantages of the Roman republic. He was the author of 40 books of history.

During his day, there were three main types of government discussed; Monarchy, Aristocracy and Democracy. Unfortunately, none of these systems, when allowed to govern, provided equality, prosperity, justice or domestic tranquility for the whole of society. He felt that he understood why this was. Each form carries within itself, the seed of it s own degeneration, if allowed to operate without checks or balances. Monarchy could easily become tyranny, aristocracy sink into an oligarchy and democracy into mob rule by force and violence.

Polybius felt that there were essential elements in each form and questioned why not combine them into a single system? This idea began its birth in the Roman system, but shortly after Polybius died, the Romans abandoned their principles of a republic and chose an emperor instead. So, Polybius’s idea of a system that restrained government from acquiring enough power to abuse the people died with him, until Baron Charles de Montesquieu determined to resurrect it. He wanted to submit this mixed constitution for consideration of modern man.

Montesquieu became one of the best-educated scholars in France. He wrote a book called “The Spirit of Laws”, which has been described as one of the most important books ever written. The final writing took him two solid years. It was greatly admired by the Founders. It documented the practical possibility of a government based on ‘separation of powers’ or a mixed constitution.

In book XI, Montesquieu set forth the ingredients for a model constitution. The Founders used many portions of it as a guide in their own work. The Founders joint effort far exceeded Montesquieu, but he does deserve credit for his contribution.

A single executive was ideal to Montesquieu due to what he witnessed as a weakness of the Roman system in setting up two or more consuls. Having a single person who can make decisions quickly and decisively and cannot escape either credit or blame for the consequences would be ideal.

It was John Adams that pushed the idea of the separation of powers. It was a very revolutionary idea and very unpopular when first presented. It was only Dr. Benjamin Rush that agreed with John Adams at first. In writing a letter to Benjamin Rush, John Adams mentions how Thomas Paine came to talk to him about it. John Adams felt that politics was a divine science and dedicated much of his life to studying it, so that his children and grandchildren may be blessed by his efforts. He started by planting his seeds of separation of powers in Massachusetts.

It was quite the struggle, but he did succeed, and for the first time in the world, a constitution read:

“In the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the legislative, executive and judicial powers shall be placed in separate departments, to the end that it might be a government of laws and not of men…”

Years later, he got his ideas incorporated into the U.S. Constitution, but was never able to gain genuine acceptance for himself. Even though he had been the first U.S. vice president and the second President, he very shortly disappeared into history and was nearly forgotten. It was when scholars started digging into the origins of American constitutionalism that he came into perspective. He, himself, thought that few would remember what he had attempted to accomplish. To a friend he wrote, “Mausoleums, statues, monuments will never be erected to me. Panegyrical romances will never be written, nor flattering orations spoken to transmit me to posterity in brilliant colors.”

His ideas however, did catch on. Pennsylvania revised their constitution to include a separation of powers and Benjamin Franklin, one of the last to be converted, acknowledged that the Constitution of the United States was as perfect as man could be expected to produce, and urged all members of the Convention to sign it.

We close with John Adams aspiration “To see rising in America an empire of liberty, and the prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them.”

The 28 Principles of Liberty are adapted from W. Cleon Skousen's book, The 5000 Year Leap and are brought to you by Fragrant Smoke.