Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reflections on Christmas Morning

No blanket of snow to cover the land
No winds from the south to torment
No deep winter freezes or hot summer breezes
Just rain to both cleanse and begin

No baby to cry in the cradle close by
No toddler to peek through the door
No loud speech to mark the day as unfriendly
Just three quiet breakfasting kin

No stranger to stagger in at the door
No traffic to slow down the pace
No loud interruption of still celebration
Just memories of relinquished sin

And humbly we enter to sit near the tree
With song in our hearts and our voices
Wrapped presents exchanged and
Unwrapped with delight
Warm smiles imparted as each soul rejoices

Glory to the Newborn King
The babe in the manger nearby
The toddler fleeing from Egypt
Brings comfort to our fireside

The twinkling light of the new star
Fragmented through time and through space
Our tree is  aglow and we inwardly know
The joy that’s expressed in His face

The Giver of all the good gifts of this life
The Giver of all that will be
The Giver of life to those who are blessed
Pierced, suffered, and died on a tree
And suffering once and for all, he atoned
And still He caresses just me.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Living Prophets Today

I was reviewing some conference notes found in earlier blogs, and I came across
Elder Claudio R. M. Costa's talk from October 2010 General Conference.
Along with Elder Costa, I feel to say,

"What a great blessing it is to have prophets in our day!"

Here are my notes from that conference:

After I read, pondered, and prayed, the Lord gave me the assurance that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that all his successors are prophets.

Prophet—a person called by God to speak in His name. It is a great blessing to receive the word the Lord.

He will reveal his will to us and He will instruct us through His prophets. If we believe in Him, we will follow His prophets and do what He asked us to do. When I accepted baptism into the church, I covenanted to always follow the prophet. 

Points made by President Benson

1. The prophet is the only man that speaks for the Lord in everything.
2. The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
3. The living prophet is more important to us than the dead prophets.
4. The prophet will never lead the church astray.
5. The prophet doesn’t need to have any special credentials.
    The Lord called a young man, Joseph Smith, to lead the Church. He was chosen by the Lord, and he     
    received from the Lord the gifts he needed to do His work.
6. The prophet doesn’t need to say “thus saith the Lord” to be speaking for the Lord.
7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
8. The prophet is not limited by man’s reasoning.
9. The prophet can receive a revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
10. The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
11. The two groups who have difficulty following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud
      who are rich.
12. The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
13. The prophet and his counselors make up the first presidency, the highest quorum in the church.
14. The prophet and the presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.

Elder Costa testified of true prophet, counselors, and quorum of the twelve.

Now for my testimony:

I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the first time when I was 12. I remember praying early one evening to know if the Book is true. The warmth and power of the Spirit filling my bosom was enlightening and expanding. I had never experienced the Spirit to that degree before, and I knew that The Book of Mormon is true. My heart felt it and my mind comprehended it. I remember wanting to hold onto that feeling. I did not want to participate in any other earthly activity that evening. I had received a witness from the heavens.

A couple of years later, my older sister Sheila invited me to go with her to a play. I believe that it was called A Day, a Night, and a Day. I had been fasting to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I remember having a strong witness in answer to my prayer at the end of that day, and following that production, that Joseph truly was a prophet. 

I have felt the Spirit many times confirm to me that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I have felt the witness of the Spirit on many occasions as I have sought for the Lord's direction and to do His will. 

In one of my saddest times, after the death and temporary loss of our son Robby, I had a witness, in a very real and personal way, that Jesus Himself is aware of me and that His love for me knows no bounds. At this time, I felt these words from Him, "Thy sins are forgiven thee." Indeed, it is when our hearts are broken and we exercise faith in Him that we are not only healed from our emotional and spiritual wounds, but we receive a remission of our sins. (See Matthew 9:2-8)

I can also testify that when our most recent prophet Gordon B. Hinckley passed away, I saw the mantle of authority shift to our new prophet Thomas S. Monson. As he spoke in a news' address, I indeed knew that he is a prophet of God. 

In our confusing world today, there are important things that we must do to not be deceived. We must pray; we must fast if we are able (and, if not, we must carry the spirit of the fast); we must study our scriptures; we must partake of the sacrament worthily; and we must support the prophets of God. 

It is a wicked and adulterous generation that must have everything shown unto them before they believe that it is from God. (See Matthew 12:39Matthew 16:4) It is sad to note that even when the Lord Jesus Christ was on the earth, not only as God's Prophet, but as His Son, there were people who demanded proof that the things He taught were true. 

God has placed prophets on this earth for instruction, for counsel, and to issue His calls and commandments. Some try to separate the commandments from the counsel, like the one is from God and the other is merely opinion. This is not so. We need to accept the words from the prophets as though they are God's own words, which they are. (See Doctrine and Covenants 1:37-38) And we need to trust that the Lord knows all things and that it is His right to counsel us through prophets. We should accept His counsel and stop seeking to counsel Him. (Jacob 4:10)

We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet

I am thankful to my Heavenly Father and to His Son Jesus Christ for their remarkable love for me. Because they know all things, and because I do not, I will put my trust in them as a daughter. It is through the Spirit that I do know that I am a literal spirit child of my Heavenly Father; it is through the Spirit and through obedience to the principles and ordinances of the gospel that I also became a child of Jesus Christ and took upon me His name. It is through the Gift of the Holy Ghost that I can continue in faith and virtue, keeping the commandments and putting my trust in the Lord and His prophets until the perfect day. Without prophets both ancient and modern, I would not know of God's great love for me. I indeed am thankful for living prophets!

I am thankful for the counsel and teachings of all the prophets during my lifetime. I know that they were called of God just like the prophets that we revere in the scriptures.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Sacrament, A Sacred Memory

This Do in Remembrance of Me

I have always equated the sacrament with a sacred memory. "This do in remembrance of me," is what the Lord has told us to do. When we attend Sacrament meeting, we should do so wearing a broken heart and a contrite spirit. As we do so consistently, we will receive His image in our countenances. We commemorate the Lord's Last Supper and His Atonement in our behalf. We also commemorate our baptism and renew our covenants with Him, and we promise to "always remember Him." In exchange, He promises that we shall always have His Spirit to be with us, and if we continue faithful to the end, we will obtain Eternal Life.  One of the most important words in the scriptures is "remember." Another one is "hearken." Let us hearken unto the counsel of the prophets, and let us always remember who we are and what God expects us to do. Also, let us remember Jesus and never forsake Him.

Please read Elder Oak's talk: 

This small article addresses so many simple ways that we can prepare. Following are my ideas paraphrased from what I have read and what I understand: 

I. Because the sacrament is so important, there is absolutely no other meeting in the church which is more  important. All the details of the meeting should be planned in order to preserve the dignity of the sacrament.

II. There needs to be personal preparation for the sacrament to have efficacy in our lives. Our day-to-day thoughts and actions should reflect that we remember Him; we should come with a broken heart and a contrite spirit: meaning we should feel sorrow for our short-comings and feel humble enough to ask the Lord's help yet again; we also should feel sorrow for the trials and sufferings of others; and we should ever be aware of the Lord's sacrifice, atonement, and resurrection on our behalf, that can make us at one again with Him and with our Heavenly Father. We should arrive to the meeting early and be seated and relaxed and prepared to worship. 

III. Our attitude, our dress, and our personal choice to be reverent are important. These things can aid in our concentration or distract from it; they can also provide an atmosphere that helps other people feel either worshipful or distracted.Our focus should be on the Savior during the sacrament, and we should remain attentive, reverent, and respectful throughout the meeting, not giving way to things that would distract us from our purpose--to worship and to be edified by the Spirit.

IV. The Sacrament is important. We must learn that it is. We must remember that it is. The Sacrament is about our sacred memories: memories of the Lord's sacrifice; memories of our covenants and the Lord's promises; memories that because of Jesus, there is no other sacrifice necessary, except for us to remember Him and present our will to Him so that He can help us return to our Father. If we take the sacrament worthily, we will be built upon Christ's firm foundation and be able to withstand the wiles of the devil. Also, Jesus will forgive us and baptize us with fire and the Holy Ghost.

V. The Bishop or the Presiding Priesthood Authority oversees the administration of the sacrament. Members must maintain a level of righteousness that is compatible with participating in the sacrament. Young men who prepare, bless, and pass the sacrament must remain clean and worthy to do so.

I will ever be thankful to the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood for their diligence in being clean in these trying time. I witnessed a most beautiful scene. When my sister was undergoing cancer treatment and could not be to church, I was with her at her home when she had returned from the hospital from an intense round of chemotherapy. Two priests, under the direction of the Bishop, came to her house to offer her the sacrament. They did so most graciously. After which, Kathy took the time to thank them, and she also taught them. She told them that they came to her home in the Savior's place to offer her his Sacrament. Her sincerity and clarity, even in her weakened condition, touched the hearts of those young men deeply, and I would not be surprised if they remember it always. 

I also remember that after being bed-bound for six weeks in a pregnancy, I was delighted to return and take the sacrament. Even though our little one only lived 2 1/2 hours, I had missed taking the sacrament, and it was a necessary part of my healing. I do not think that most people know that the sacrament not only helps us recover from sin, but also from sorrow, misunderstandings, and deep hurts and scars. 

I know that my comments do not compare to that of an Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful for Elder Oaks teaching and testimony. I am also thankful that I have been blessed through the sacrament for as long as I can remember. I am not nearly reverent or gracious enough, but I am striving to be. As I have written before, "The Lord's sacrifice for all of us is beyond comprehension. He loves us all so much. For me, Sacrament meeting is about honoring His sacrifice and seeking to align myself to do His will. It is a time when we are to seek edification and fellowship." I hope that I will do better at showing my love for Heavenly Father and for His Son Jesus Christ through preparing more fully before taking the sacrament. I also hope that I will be a member that contributes to the reverence of the chapel and one who helps others to invite and feel the Spirit in their lives.

This I say, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Your Holy Scriptures are Important


Holy Writ is Meant to Be Read

I was told by someone a few months back that it doesn't matter how many times I have read the Book of Mormon; all that matters is if I keep the commission of Jesus to do well unto others: things that are found in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25.

I want you all to know that it is through reading scriptures that are found in Holy Writ that I have come to understand how I can live a more Godly life and how I can serve as Jesus would have me do. Do I fall short? Yes. But I can attest that I do make better decisions because I do value what is written in the Book of Mormon, and in the Old and the New Testaments, in the Doctrine and Covenants, and in the Pearl of Great Price. And these books remind me of who I am and who my Heavenly Father is and what my relationship is to Him. They give me hope, joy, comfort, direction, and peace.

In a day when having secular sophistry is more valued than having faithful humility, I would encourage everyone who believes in Holy Writ to not abandon your sacred books. They will bring you confidence to face the challenges of today's world, and they will serve to lead you in righteous paths and bring you peace. Also, they will fortify you against the attacks of those who deem your religious choices as folly. We cannot be dressed in the armor of God to stand against the wiles of the devil without reading our scriptures (See Ephesians 6).

I also believe in modern-day prophets. President Monson is the current prophet in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I value what he says, because I believe that he speaks to us directly for the Lord, just like the prophet Moses did anciently. It seems that most prophets are not accepted during their own times and among their own people. But I feel the Spirit when he speaks to the church, and so I value what he has to say and accept it as the Lord's words and His will. Having a lighthouse in the midst of a constant tempest is a valuable thing. We can stay rooted and directed and keep moving in the right direction.

This blogpost is not so much an invitation for you to believe as I believe, even though I would welcome questions or be happy to talk to you about that; it is more of a plea for you to hold onto the things that you know in your heart are right and correct--the things that you value as sacred; the things that you've proven to be of value. Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked from what you know to be true; plus, embrace truth wherever you find it, and shun those things that you know are contrary to truth.

So if you have Holy Writ or scripture that you esteem as sacred, hold to it and read it. Don't let anyone dissuade you from the Word of God and tell you that it is not important to read His words. You cannot know His words without reading them, and you cannot remember them and incorporate them into your soul and your being without reading them many times. Listen to the Spirit within you. When you are prompted by Light and Truth, do not ignore it, but follow the impulses you have to do good.

Never has there been a day when it is more important to be literate and to choose uplifting things to read. Your soul needs the spiritual nourishment and enrichment found in the scriptures in order for it to thrive or even survive these morally challenging times. I believe that if we could all recommit ourselves to prayer, scripture study, and mediation, we could bring about a mighty change in this world, beginning with ourselves and circling outward to embrace so many others. If your Holy Books are on a shelf or in a box, will you locate them and make them a part of your daily life? Miracles will happen if we all do that. Let's do it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Christmas Newsletter 2012                                                                          

I am looking forward to all of my family being together to welcome in the New Year. I know that there may not be many Christmas holidays where we are all together again. Thank you Eliza Bitter and Alex Bitter for making the trip from Texas. We are all looking forward to meeting our newest addition, Amanda Lorraine Stevenson.

So 2012 is already at a close. It's been a good year. I've been looking over some pictures and just reminiscing on all the great times we've had. John graduate from Laverne in January 2012 with a Master of Education degree. He and Megan were engaged in February.

Bob, Christine, and I had a wonderful family vacation in March and traveled up the Coast to Monterey Bay. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. We stopped at so many vista points and the scenery and wildlife were always incredible.

Alex graduated from Brigham Young University in April with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science. Then both he and Eliza were accepted into Texas A & M, and moved to College Station, Texas in August. Alex is working on his Master's degree in International Affairs, and Eliza is working on her Master's degree in Public Service and Administration. Both of them were awarded full-tuition scholarships.

John decided to take the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT).  This he did in April. As soon as he took it, he moved to Utah as well. His cousin Paul helped him get a job as a manager at the Subway in University Mall. Megan has a teaching job in Spanish Fork, and John wanted to have a steady job so that he could pay for his honeymoon and meet his expenses. He'd been substitute teaching until then. Needless to say, John scored super high on his test. He was called by a recruiter and his application for Officer's Training was begun. He had a month to get his packet together, and that was the month before his marriage. But he got it in.

John and Megan were married on 15 June 2012. I am so glad that we could all be there for that. It was a beautiful day. Everybody looked so beautiful. Megan's family is lovely, and they absolutely adore our John. It was great for me to have my extended family at this wedding since they were married in Salt Lake City.

And we had a wonderful week with family. I made Father's Day dinner. I knew that my Dad would like brautwurst with potatoes and sauerkraut, so that's what we made, and I made sure that it was gluten free for my mother. Eliza and Alex made the dessert. The little cupcakes with brownies looked just like hamburgers, and the sugar cookies looked just like fries. Then there was frosting for dipping that looked like catsup and mustard.  We also had beautiful day outings to Thanksgiving Point (Thank you, Sheila), and to the top of Millcreek Canyon.

Soon after that, Tom and Whitney moved to Utah. We were glad that Jacob's birth father had allowed Jacob to go with for John's wedding, but we were thrilled when he agreed that Jacob should move there with Tom and Whitney, because Tom had a job. He even thanked Tom for being a good dad to Jacob and said that he hopes someday Jacob will consider him a friend. He has agreed to let Tom adopt Jacob.

Christine and I were back to Utah again in August. We wanted one more chance to visit Eliza and Alex before they moved to Texas. And we helped them pack and saw them off. We stayed at Tom's and Whitney's until they were gone and had much time together with all our Provo and Orem families. It was so grand to be met with a great big hug from Jacob. Cathy came to stay with us as well so that we could all celebrate her birthday together. Then we visited my parents and family for a few days as well. Melinda and her boys were there, too!
Josh turned 9 already. His brothers Jesse and Jeffrey are 6.

We were back again in September. My mother had appendicitis and, therefore, emergency surgery. I was sad I couldn't help when she had had shoulder surgery in January because I had a severe cold. So I was determined to be there in September if my parents wanted my help. Christine and I were there for nearly two weeks, and it was a wonderful experience to have that time to visit with my parents. A highlight for many years to come. Plus, I had time with my children and extended family again. And all the while, poor Christine had to keep up on school.

Well John was accepted for Officer Training back in September, but he was told that it might be up to a year before he was called up. He has still been preparing and getting ready for that. Federal agents have been interviewing some of John's contacts, including me. Very recently, he received word that he will start Officer Training on 15 January 2013 in Alabama. This is a two month's training, and he will be trained as a Combat Systems Officer, which includes being the navigation pilot. After that he will have two years of flight school in Florida.

Cathy is doing well in her work and in her schooling. She is working on a Master's degree in Library Science through San Jose State. She experienced the severe pain of having kidney stones a couple of months ago. I'm glad that they dissipated and that she is doing well again. She is constantly serving others: babysitting for Tom and Whitney and friends of hers; treating people to dinners or activities. We are very proud of our Cathy.

Christine has continued to work at the library. She has now volunteered there over 380 hours. She is treated much the same as a trusted paid worker. She is the president of her young women's group. And she is a beautiful young lady. This fall has been exceptionally crazy as far as schoolwork. But she is pulling through it all so well.

Preparing for a Stake Dance

Bob and I are doing well. Bob is still in the Bishopric. I was released as Primary President on 18 November. I have still been helping out in Primary as one of the teachers just had a baby; plus, I've been playing the piano. I do have a new calling for the New Year though. Bob has been doing a wonderful job as a managing partner at Western U, along with creating awesome PowerPoints and lecturing, including creating and teaching the Jurisprudence and Ethics course.

Amanda Lorraine was born 29 November 2012. I am delighted to  see all the photos. It will really be Christmas when we get to Utah and see Jacob and Amanda, and everyone else too, of course. Children at Christmas really brings the Spirit of the whole thing home. So Merry Christmas all.

We love you and hope your Christmas Season is full of wonder and joy. And best and warmest wishes for 2013.

The Stevensons

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ungrateful Valedictorian

Heather posted the following link:

Valedictorian's Speech (uploaded 5 August 2010)

And she posed this question:Which is more important: school or learning?

I thought that this girl's speech was really improper for the setting, so I posted some remarks.

Also, can't school and learning be synonymous?

My comment: What an ingrate.Two of my children were Valedictorians, and I am certainly glad that they didn't display such arrogancy and self-centeredness. Does public education need reform? Certainly. But her speech was totally out of line and inappropriate for the setting.

Anna: I thought she was wonderful and gave a very well thought out speech that came from her heart! How brave of her to speak her mind and try to make a difference!

Mark: I find it very interesting that this young lady was educated enough to articulate so wittingly and well in a system that she was condemning. Her speech seemed to express a sort of disappointment with a degree of influence from an outside source. Everybody knows that the public school system is an institution designed to educate a wide range of students with varying I.Q.’s., Though not perfect, the public school system has a better track record than home schooling. Yes, there are the occasional exceptions but in general more students by percentage attend Harvard or Princeton after public school than that of home schooling students. Having seven children I have noticed a big change over the years with public school in that they have become more flexible and dynamic in there course study, giving students a wide range of class option as opposed to when I attended. Nothing is perfect, but I think we would have a better chance of finding a teacher in the field of interest at the public school as opposed to home schooling with only two choices, mom or dad. Not to mention the interpersonal skills attained interacting with other classmates and teachers. Just a thought.

Anna: Homeschooling is never limited to two choices. There are no limits to education when homeschooling. The teachers do not have to be living under your roof. They can be acquired by many different avenues. You can go right to a professional in any subject. The education can be tailored to the student, no matter what subject or interest. It's just to difficult to give such an education in a public school setting. Homeschoolers have tons of opportunities to socialize! With their peers and all ages alike in unlimited situations. I had the delight of both styles of education growing up. Just so happens, I was completely bored in high school public education.

My comment: This was a student who attained high academic achievement. I don't care how bright she is, or how well-thought out her speech, or even if she was bored. What a slap in the face to the many teachers over the many years who helped her attain her goal, and I guarantee it was her goal. So essentially she despises herself for "playing the game."

A Valedictorian speech is supposed to be a congratulations to the student body and a bright look to the future. Her speech really missed the mark. Graduation is not the time or the place to voice what you think education's ills are. She sounded like a spoiled brat to me.

Mark, four of my children attended public school, and so did their parents. I have been home schooing our youngest using an on-line public charter school. I think that accountability and structure are vitally important no matter what system is chosen. Also, for our family, the second main advantage to home schooling is to give our child a cutting edge in this ever increasingly competitive world. That definitely means that we excpect her to meet and exceed high standards. Our first reason is so that we have control over our family time and can teach the values that we think are important, and so that she doesn't have hours of homework beyond the school day.

Anna, no matter how many homeschooling families say that their children get plenty of socialization, it is not the same as being in a classroom setting day after day and having the benefit of group discussions and interaction. Teachers are really not there to entertain, but hopefully to teach.

Educational models have really improved. We live in exciting times when there are so many choices. I hope that this girl's poor attitude will not cut her off from any of these choices. If I were on a panel to interview her for scholarships or acceptance into a particular field of study, I would not hestitate to dismiss her readily if she displayed the same cockiness and ingratitude as shown in her speech.

I know that she was trying to embarrass the educators at the school she attended, but she was happy to use them to accomplish her goals. She's young. I'm hoping that gratitude becomes part of her nature and vocabulary in the future. Hard knocks usually offer assistance for that.

Jennifer: Heidi saying "I don't care" says it all...just stop there; you don't have to say anything else, and we got it...thank you for your lack of are the issue I have with most "standardized" people..

My Comment: Jennifer, I care deeply about education. But I will stick by my sentiments that she picked the wrong time and place to express what she did. As for lack of understanding, education would be much better if everyone tried to understand each other more and communicated more appropriately. In the past, there was the network of family, church, and school all working together for a common good. There is distrust at almost every corner now. But posting "my way is better than yours" is never going to help anyone. There are so many avenues to choose from, and as parents we have the right to choose what we think is most appropriate for our children. I'm sorry that you think you know me so well, that you feel to express animosity towards me and call me a part of your labeled group: standardized people.

I certainly do believe in standards. Whether or not you agree with the public school systems standards, I'm hoping you believe in standards, too. They help us set goals and give us direction. There are religious standards; parents set standards for their children; if you are involved in sports, you must follow rules and live up to standards. In the workplace, you must meet standards, or you are out of a job. Standards should be individualized according to a person's ability, certainly. But to take away standards is basically saying, I don't believe in you or your abilities to achieve your goals.

(I was going through my blog and found this draft and decided to publish it after all.)
20 March 2011 Sunday Session of Stake Conference
Today Presidents Poulsen, Avarell, and Ewell released.
New Stake Presidency: Presidents Garvin, Kinser, and Andrews
President Poulsen
Expressions of love and appreciation for us as his brothers and sisters. Testimony of the restored church of Jesus Christ. It is true, brothers and sisters. If we follow the brethren and the Spirit, we will find peace and joy. Expressions of love and appreciation for his counselors and others he has worked with and for the Bishops. How I love my Savior. I know that He lives. I know that He is my Redeemer.
Be more loving to each other and to our children. If we truly love one another and care for each other, the blessings will flow.
Every morning, on bended knee, petitioning our Father to help us and our families. Morning Devotionals. We will know what we are to do, what we will say, who we are to serve.
Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, and I love him with all my heart. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.
Expressions of love and appreciation for his mother.
Sister Poulsen
Gratitude for members of the stake, for the stake presidency and wives. She wants us all to know that they love us. She has seen the hand of the Lord in all of our lives in the past nine years. She is grateful for the opportunity and that she was able to support her husband.
President Avarell
As we read the scriptures and find something new, the Holy Ghost testifies that it is true. That’s how He knows that Heavenly Father lives, that Jesus lives and atoned for us, that we have a prophet.
President Ewell
Keep your white shirts. It’s not about your white or your blue shirt. You represent Jesus Christ. You are preparing yourselves now for the very thing that you see today—to become like the two men that are here visiting us. They are men of God. The Spirit of God has worked upon them. Your new stake presidency is called of God. I endorse them to you. Stay on the path. How our family has been blessed by service in the church! How the Spirit of God has moved over our family to provide what is needed for their growth! Grateful to his wife for understanding and knowing that the gospel is true. Loves parents and ancestors who died for this church. “I know that God lives, and I do know that He is directing this work.” If miracles have ceased, it is because of lack of faith. But we have seen miracles in our stake. “Those miracles are to confirm to us His reality, so that we can continue on.” We have a prophet on the earth; there is a prophet today visiting us. Joseph was a prophet. The Book of Mormon is true.
Sister Garvin
We have some tall shoes to fill. Grateful for past presidency. She felt prompted to get ready for the evening meeting right away. Elder Christofferson were so kind and genuine; it was like they had always known them. “Maybe we shouldn’t be driving for the next couple of days…I promise that we will get a grip.” Testimony of God’s love for us. Jesus Christ Is our Savior; He loves us, and I love Him. The scriptures are true; the Book of Mormon is true. President Monson reads and prays daily. Testimony of prophet. Thankful for her wonderful parents. Grateful for family and children and for Kirk’s children. “I love them; they are my own.” I hope that you will accept Kirk and me and that we will do everything that we are supposed to do, and more.
President Garvin
Gratitude to Sister Poulsen. We need look no further than to the members of this stake to see examples of righteousness. Grateful to the outgoing presidency. I don’t know how I can fill their shoes. I know that there are 15 to 20 members of the stake that can serve better than I. (No, there are probably more like 25 to 30). He was called by a prophet of God. He has learned some things before he came here, but he knew the gospel truths before that. Gratitude for his wife. “I would not be here without her.” Gratitude for the sealing ordinances of the temple. The Book of Mormon is the word of God; it is a shield against the power of the destroyer. Joseph Smith was indeed as the prophet of God, holding all of the keys of all those who proceeded him. “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me.” Until your testimony is strong enough, look to the brethren and trust in their testimony. Jesus lives, and with His stripes we are healed.
Sister Godwin
The change of leadership in the stake is a testimony to observe and see the workings of the Spirit. President Monson is a true prophet of God. It is a testimony to see how smoothly things go in a change of leadership. The first presidency and quorum of the twelve are inspired of God. No success in life can compensate for failure in the home. We have seen the deterioration of the family. Follow the counsel given by the prophets. They see far into the future and into the past. We are extremely blessed to be the recipients of their seership. Scriptures are true.
President Godwin
What a privilege to receive counsel from a prophet. He testified that the outgoing presidency has loved and served us. He’s looking forward to working with new presidency. White shirts and ties are the uniform of the Priesthood. The gate is narrow and the path straight. The Gate is Him. He is the Redeemer of the world and our personal Savior. It is a gift from the Spirit that he knows that Jesus is the Savior. The boy Joseph knelt in the Sacred Grove in humble prayer seeking—the Father and the Son appears to him. The restored gospel is here; we are led by a prophet today. As we follow the prophets, we are shielded and protected. The Book of Mormon is here for us not only as a second witness of Jesus Christ, but to give us direction.
Sister Morgan
What a blessing to be President and Matron of the Redlands Temple. Her heart broke over the devastation in Japan. She lived in Japan with her parents when she was 18 and 19. People sold their land to be able to go to Hawaii to be sealed as a family. It broke her heart to see so many lose their homes and the land. Thank you for going to the temple regularly. I know it is the House of the Lord; I feel His presence. I’ve never seen Him; I’ve never seen anything from the other side, but I know they’re there. Please go to the temple.
President Morgan
He still expects President Poulsen to come and give him a hug when he goes to the temple. Every day is a good day in the temple. The ordinances performed in the temple are ordinances of exaltation. (The ordinances prior to that are ordinances of salvation.) His parents were married and sealed in the Logan Temple; he was born in the covenant. He had the faith that it was true when he was a young missionary. As he testified, he found that he knew. Ordinances are valid as long as we keep our covenants.
Elder Packer
A welcome to investigators. He loves seeing the missionaries sitting with investigators. Much has been spoken of the Holy Ghost. Through the power of the Holy Ghost the stake presidency was changed in the last 36 hours, and the loyalty of the members has changed like a snap of the fingers. Where else do you see that? Through the power of the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of all things.
1. I can see, hear, and know, and watch the mysteries of the gospel unfold through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Why wasn’t the young man bitter? His burden was lifted by the power of the Holy Ghost and the testimony that he already had.
There is a member of the Godhead.
Paul said, “The fruits of the Spirit are…” You don’t have to have the waves of intelligence constantly. Can you feel the fruits of the Spirit in your life? I knew when I had the Holy Ghost with me because of Paul. Equate the fruits of the Spirit with having the Holy Ghost with you. “I know that I have the Holy Ghost when I treat my wife (people) the way that I am supposed to.” (The man that he was speaking to was abusing his wife.)
Elder Christofferson
Expressing thanks to all who have participated in the preparations of the conference. “Please speak slowly; you are being translate…It didn’t work. I guess I didn’t speak slowly enough.” Words in Spanish. “If you don’t know Spanish, take it on faith that that made sense. That’s what I do.”
Expression of gratitude for other speakers. The Lord draws near and grants an extra blessing of His presence to those released and those sustained. Deepest thanks to outgoing presidency and their wives and families. The Lord has magnified you and given you added gifts and capacity to serve.
The Lord is the source for those who are called. He knows that the Lord has manifested His will for the new presidency. Pray for these men frequently in your homes. The Lord has added blessings to bestow on us and the stake as we pray for them. Petition the Lord for their sake and for our own.
He gets to see President Monson up close. He doesn’t give us a long list of to dos. He does a few things. Pay close attention. Take note and respond.
1. We need more missionaries; well prepared and faithful; YM and YW and couples! You can serve as church missionaries from your home. Couples do so much good, even if they don’t speak the language. “The worse they spoke, the more the people loved them.” Moroni at the top of the Tokyo Temple turned 90 degrees.
2. More attention to marriages and family. Some divorces are urgent and necessary and open doors for a better future. Difficult cases for the prophet to cancel sealings. Teach again and again and again the importance of what happens at home and between couples: honorable, faithful, fidelity. Guard against those things that will separate an eternal union. Brethren, lead out in spiritual things at home. You and your wives work together, but husbands lead out. You take the lead. Let that be your legacy.
(13 year old whose father was shot on Sunday called his family together for morning prayer and scripture reading, because of his father’s example.)
D&C 18:34-36 “You can testify that you have heard my voice and know my words.” Scriptures help us learn the language of the Spirit and recognize the voice of the Lord. Even when we can’t be with our children, they can have the voice of the Lord.
3. Look after one another; minister to one another; rescue both temporally and spiritually. Even with President Monson’s heavy responsibilities, he finds time to minister personally. Apostle of Compassion. He acts in faith. He does what he can now—smile, handshake, blessing, prayer. He is a wonderful model for us to follow. Do what we can now and have faith that the Lord will provide.
D&C 123:13 Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power. And then we can stand still with the utmost confidence that we will see the hand of the Lord. (Florence, though homebound, saved the life of someone who was near suicide through visiting teaching by mail.)
We can all have access to the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the witness of the Holy Spirit. Jesus asked the Apostles to wait until they received the Holy Ghost. He is essential to help us remember what we know, what we’ve been taught; essential to help us understand; essential to give expression with a divine witness of the truth of what we receive or speak. More powerful than seeing or feeling or touching. It is possible to doubt your senses. The witness of the Spirit cannot be doubted or forgotten. More powerful than any other form of testimony. Available to everyone who will seek it.
Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten. The Father and the Son came to boy Joseph when he asked for guidance. They commissioned him as the prophet of the restoration. Joseph was faithful despite all of the challenges and sacrifices, even to death, in maintaining the cause of the Father and Son. He bore witness of the Savior that is incomparable. “Joseph, this is My Beloved Son.” We can all receive this same witness through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will be with the new presidency in all they do. It will make your testimony powerful and convincing. As you follow that Spirit, in your home there will be food, enough for you, and a little extra so that you can share. You will know that the Lord knows you and is looking after you. You will feel His love more than ever before. You will have a sense of His approval as well as His love.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Integrity--to me this means much more than honesty. Integrity means to be true.            

Let me give you an example in a building. For a building to have integrity it needs a firm foundation. I believe that it is the same for a person.

It took many years for the Salt Lake Temple to be built. When the first foundation was laid, President Brigham Young realized that there were flaws in the foundation. Can you see how tragic it would have been to continue to build at this point? The foundation had to be dug up and completely reset. Can you see where I am going with this? We need a sure foundation. "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." (Helaman 5:12) There are many people who approach integrity in the modern sense of the word, because they are true to a set of standards, but if those standards are incorrect, if that foundation is not firm, everything contingent upon it may soon fall. So integrity is something more than being the same person in private and public matters; it must include being true to a true set of standards.

During WWII, my Grandfather John Jamison was commissioned by the British Air Force to oversee the building of runways on an American Air Force base that was located in England. He was from Northern Ireland. He arrived at the site when a crew was ready to pour the cement for a runway. They did not know who he was, but he overheard them say, "Let's hurry and get this poured before that damned Irishman gets here." Upon gathering that the materials were not up to standard, my grandfather did not introduce himself, but allowed them to pour the cement. After which he told them that he was that damned Irishman and asked them to take it all out. It is my experience that it is always more expensive to be dishonest, even though it usually does not seem so in today's world. We cannot afford the cost to our own progression and spiritual safety to be dishonest.

Think of the excitement that came about when steel was introduced into building structures. Iron wasn't nearly as effective. Why is that? Iron is very brittle. It couldn't support many stories or withstand too much weight without breaking. Steel had the right amount of give. I guess in this sense that having integrity would approach or almost be equivalent to having charity. We cannot become too boastful as our abilities increase, or the level of our building becomes substantial. We need to learn to be flexible without bending on the important things that help keep us structurally sound.

This brings to mind the musical Fiddler on the Roof. I love Tevia. He is a good man. In the sense of building upon the traditions and faith of his people, one could certainly say that Tevia had integrity. Even when his workhorse becomes lame, Tevia delivers the milk to the town before the Sabbath introductory evening meal.  In his compassion to his daughters, we see his flexibility as he allows the two oldest daughters to choose their own mates to marry. The concept of love versus a matchmaker is new, but Tevia's steel allows him to bend. But because of the covenant nature of the Jewish people and the importance of marrying in the covenant, Tevia could not see the possibility of condoning Havilah's marriage to an outsider. He said that "If I bend that far, I will break." Whether we agree with his decision or not, this is a good example of staying true to those things that are going to help keep us structurally sound. I could bring up modern-day examples, but those would divert me from my topic.

Now let's look at integrity from the side of a linguist. The word integrity has the same root as the word integer. That root would imply whole or complete. When the Lord asked us to become perfect, He was in essence asking us to become whole or complete. This is something we cannot do on our own. Jesus is the only One who can make us whole or complete. When I think of integrity in this sense, it reminds me of the words in one of our hymns, "Constant He is and kind, love without end." (Hymn, 129) In this sense, while integrity is a goal, it is not a destination that is fixed yet for any of us, because we are still in a period of testing. I am not Constant yet, though I truly am striving to be a person of integrity.

By this I do not mean to say that integrity does not exist. Of course it does. But we have to be vigilant to keep our integrity with us. Also, I do not mean to imply that Latter-day Saints have access to integrity more than anyone else. Since we all our children of the Highest, we all have access to the gifts of the Spirit, to the power of the Holy Ghost, and to the ability to develop integrity. But integrity is only built as we consistently live principles that are in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so many non-Christians do that. For us as Latter-day Saints, it also means that we must make and keep our covenants. For all of God's children, it means that we have to be true to the light and knowledge that we possess. As we do so, we will be led to more light and knowledge. This way, we will become more fully finished, more complete, and have more integrity.

Now let's look at integrity from a mathematician's perspective. An integer is not merely a counting number or a whole number. On a number line, integers go in both positive and negative directions. So they include -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, and so forth in both directions. We know that God is infinite, complete, whole, and our true source of integrity. Integrity in this sense certainly implies wholeness and completeness. We are not left fragmented by either fractions or factions, and we are not decimated by decimals. In the sense of a mathematician, integrity would also imply congruity. Things will fit together and make perfect sense. There is not room from inconsistency from any angle. (This will also totally work with the analogy of the building.) So we need to take our compass, our protractor, and our right angles, and make certain that our lives are congruent with the Lord.

Joseph F. Smith is a prime example of integrity. His father Hyrum was killed at Carthage Jail when Joseph was only five. Then his mother Mary Fielding Smith died when he was only thirteen. But he was true to the faith of his fathers. He served a mission in Hawaii when he was still a boy.

After nearly four years in Hawaii, Joseph F. returned home. One morning when he and several other missionaries were returning to Salt Lake City, a group of rough Mormon-haters rode up on horses, firing their guns and cursing.
The leader jumped off his horse and shouted, “We will kill anyone who is a Mormon!” The other missionaries had fled into the woods, but Joseph F. bravely stood his ground. The man shoved a gun in Joseph F.’s face and asked, “Are you a Mormon?”
Joseph F. stood tall and said, “Yes siree; dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through!”
The man was surprised at his reply. He put the gun away, shook Joseph’s hand, and said, “Well, you are the pleasantest man I ever met! I’m glad to see a fellow stand up for his convictions.” He jumped back on his horse and rode off with his companions.

Then we have the example of Joseph F. Smith's Uncle Joseph Smith. He saw the Father and the Son. And because he gave a true account of the First Vision, he was persecuted by those who should have been his friends. Life was never easy for him. But he said that he had in all actuality "seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it." He pressed forward and was true to the faith, and he obeyed the Lord's commandments with exactness.  

Since we are on a roll, let's talk about one more Joseph. This Joseph was sold into bondage by his brothers because they were jealous of him. But because he was so talented and so good, he naturally was blessed and rose to the top. (Have you noticed that many are still jealous of people like Joseph?) Potiphar's wife thought he was pretty sexy and wanted him for herself, but he would not sin against the God of Israel and chose to be in jail rather than to lose his integrity before the Lord. He was blessed for his righteousness; in fact, all of Egypt was, his whole family was, and all of his descendents have been, including many Latter-day Saints.

Integrity must certainly mean that we stand up for our convictions. The Apostle Paul stood up for his convictions both before and after his conversion to the Resurrected Jesus Christ. He was honorable in his convictions, but it is always best to be on the Lord's side. Remember the scripture about the only true and sure foundation? That is Jesus Christ. That brings me back to Charity, which is the Pure Love of Christ. We are told that charity will never fail. So in order for our integrity to be valid and true and never fail, we must be built upon that sure foundation. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can be whole and complete and overcome the world and not fail.

We must also love our brothers and sisters as ourselves. Our integrity all but vanishes when we do not. If we do not treat our fellowmen as we would like to be treated ourselves, we don't have integrity. That's a double standard. Integrity is a tall order to fill. But it should be our goal, not just for the far distant future, but for every day of our lives.

In closing I would like to share some of Moroni's last words to us, found in Moroni 7:15-16. These words are a good yardstick for us in making our daily decisions and keeping us on the true path:

For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may  know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

In today's world, there will be many voices to lead us here, there, and everywhere. We need to keep our hearts, minds, and spirits tuned to the Lord so that we can be guided through the Holy Ghost. We need to carry our level with us, meaning our own testimony and our own oil, if we are going to make certain that our lives are properly balanced and in harmony with the Lord. Integrity means vigilance. We must be aware of anything that can erode our structure, and me must seek to strengthen and restrengthen ourselves and our families on a daily basis.

(I commit myself to doing so with these words taken from a fellow sister in Australia, "I will not and choose not to deter myself from doing the Lord's work.")

Friday, November 9, 2012

Romney Won


I am tired of reading everyone’s reasons for why Governor Mitt Romney lost. Romney did not lose, the United States did. The number one reason why Romney will not be our president is that he ran a clean campaign, and too many citizens do not want a clean, honest, moral man to lead our country. He kept his integrity and honor about him. Too many Americans were looking for a president who fed them fair promises and lies, because they are happy to be living in their lies. Too many Americans want a president who promises to take care of their every need. To think that a people can shift their personal responsibilities to one man is a blatant falsehood and a bizarre impossibility.

President Barack Obama will continue as President of the United States. This is not because he was the better or more qualified candidate. Romney was offering us a way to accountability and freedom: emotional maturity, financial security, and ethical freedom. Yet the American people, and that is not to say all of us, prefer bondage to freedom. So they sold themselves along with those of us who do value freedom, for a fairy tale. We have all witnessed that these socialist agendas, that have been going on for scores of years, not just the last presidential term, are failing in the United Sates just as they have everywhere else. History has proven the destructiveness of socialism, but now a good majority of our citizens are embracing it. As Rush Limbaugh pointed out, Mitt Romney did not lose the election; it’s just very difficult to beat Santa Claus.

I am so annoyed that citizens of the United States choose to be divided at every possible turn. Instead of citizens looking to the best good of the country as a whole, they look to support those of their race, their ethnic group, or their small self-interest group. It is also amazing to me that many citizens will vote for evil over good. In their determination to separate church and state, they have adopted policies and programs that are detrimental to both. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) It's sad when people choose evil over righteousness in the name of culture and sophistication. It only goes to show that we have not learned from history.

Governor Romney has an impeccable track record as a moral man and as a successful leader. We know his history and that it is common with all American citizens. Yet the president’s past is shady and secretive and unknown. Why would some of our citizens choose a man who may in all actuality be a usurper over a man of talent and integrity? It is because people are essentially lazy and want someone else to carry their burdens and abide the heat of the day for them. No president will ever be able to do that. While Mitt Romney offered to help us climb out of the pit we’re in, too many citizens are eager to sell their freedoms and security for momentary comforts, not realizing that soon there will be no way to hold onto even the most basic comforts and security. President Obama has not offered to help get us through the crisis by encouraging everybody to work; he has dug us deeper into the crisis. While the government, and all of us, should be tightening our belts, Barack Obama continues to pour money into pet programs at the expense of national security. He is selling our Country to China.

Everyone can see that these things are true, but many are choosing to close their eyes. Many still think that one leader can offer them freedom, but it is just not so. Not unless we are talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The One who said, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8: 32-32) Jesus is the One with the power to heal us and to make us free individually and as a nation. We are taught that, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) Governor Romney knows that, and what he was offering was a way for us to all return to principles of righteousness and the old American work ethic. But he couldn’t do it for us; we would all have to be engaged in a powerful effort through hard work. For those who say they don’ t share my religious views, that’s fine. But it is impossible to ignore that work on the part of all citizens is necessary to improve our current situation. Over half of American citizens voted against work for all.

We are encouraged to seek righteous men and women to represent us in government. Mitt Romney fits the bill. He had a vision of where we should be headed and an approach to stem the tide and turn us back in the right direction. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) And we are perishing. Our country is in dire straits both morally and financially, and we cannot fix it financially, without fixing our morality. “He that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 19:18) There are just sound principles that must be followed no matter what faith you are, or even if you are faithless. But it is difficult to speak of faith to the faithless.

Our Founding Fathers paid a great debt to give us this Country. It was born in blood, sweet, tears, and great turmoil. But freedom is never free. We have to live for it and fight for it, and often we have to die for it. Just like no Christian can claim to be “born again” once and then be saved permanently, our country could not just have the one birth and remain in a perpetual state of freedom. The land had to be redeemed in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.  We must live according to the Spirit of Truth and Righteousness, and keep fighting for truth and righteousness if we want to be free, if we want to be saved. Our Country is again in a most perilous condition, and we need to stand ready to redeem her.

In the words of Mitt Romney, "The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion...I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. And I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness." Our founding fathers indeed established this country on biblical principles of righteousness. John Adams said that "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

I believe that Governor Romney is a much better leader than President Obama. Too many people are not looking for a leader, but for a flatterer. The president has appealed to those who claim entitlement to everything regardless of ambition, moral goodness, and hard work. He has also scoffed at those who have been successful in their labors; also, saying that they should carry the load of the non-workers, instead of helping them rise above their current condition. A leader would help everyone rise above the current trends of unemployment, to personal financial security and to true feelings of self-worth. President Obama does not want the American people to feel successful and independent. If they were to become strong, he would lose his power.

In my view, Mitt Romney remains a winner because he did not abandon his moral integrity and because he ran a clean campaign. He is a charming and gracious man, but he refused to use his charm to deceive the people in any way. He could have lied to the people about his stand on different issues, or he could have attacked the character and validity of our current president. He did not. He presented himself as a servant to the people to serve his country out of love. This seems to be a foreign concept to most. But I am impressed with the man, his moral integrity, and his strength and valor. He demonstrated that he would act with immediacy when necessity arose. He put the people who were victims of the storm Sandy above his campaign for president. If people see that as a flaw, they know nothing of leadership.

I personally take heart that there are still people like Mitt Romney in the world. He did more for my morale as a United States citizen in just a few short weeks than the president accomplished in four years. He helped to restore my ambition in reaching a few. He’s made a difference, and so can all of us. More Christians and Jews and people of faith are coming together in our nation. That is another success story of his candidacy. We need to continue to build the unity in our homes, in our churches, and in our communities. We need to continue to build unity among religious denominations. As we move into the future, we will need to be unified and help restore the greatness of this country as “We, the people” lead shoulder-to-shoulder. Mitt Romney has demonstrated that he is one of us and cares about the future of America. Mitt Romney did not lose, and America doesn't need to lose either. We just have to work a lot harder. Are you choosing to be a winner?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Race for a Righteous Country is Ongoing

I need to re post what I posted  early on election day, because I still feel the same way:

I am happy that the Christians and Jews of our nation are coming together more. That's the best thing out of this election. Last go round, there were many that would not vote for a Mormon because of lack of understanding. This time, there is much more unity among denominations. We are going to need that in the future. Mitt Romney had already been a unifier. I hope he'll get the chance to continue.

Continued after the end of Election Day:

I think that Mitt Romney did a great job of stirring up our feelings of patriotism. Let's hang on to those. We need them. I also think that those with religious ethics and morals need to band together. We can make this country great by we the people leading from the front!

Let's take education back to real history and real moral teaching. No more liberals educating our children. We need to get involved. Let's stop supporting Hollywood's base, immoral, mindless entertainment, and look for something better. Or let's build something better. Let's read with our families, play board games, and go on outings. If gas prices are too high, let's walk with them! Let's teach them that there are absolute truths. That people should have standards. Let's teach them how to work. Let's pray with them, teach and learn with them, and play with them.

I have never been impressed with the adage that it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a family! I would no sooner trust our village with my children than throw an infant in a swimming pool. And it also takes people with moral conviction and stability. In past generations, the family, the church, and the schools may have worked together more. But I have found through years of experience that most teachers do not want parental involvement in the classroom. And most educators treat parents like they are not capable teachers of their own children. My husband has always been given respect, because he has a doctor title in front of his name. But I certainly have not been. And there are many teachers that are more concerned with breaking children than with building them up. I have seen my own children treated extremely unfairly with absolutely no due process that should be shown citizens of this country, not to mention involvement or permission from parents.

In writing the above paragraph, I apologize to you good teachers who care about your students. Unfortunately, you are no longer allowed to teach from your rich reservoir of experiences, no from your personal ethics. You have to bow to the administrators and unions above you. You also have to spend so much time trying to teach to the test, that any lasting learning is shaky at best. I would like to thank the teachers who have had a positive influence in my children's lives. God bless you. I hope you will band with the believers in righteous principles and patriots of this country to give our children something better.

I am not seeking division in writing this; I am seeking commitment. What can we do? We need to ask that and then ask that again. We need to find answers, and try them. We need to keep trying. This country has to improve. Since half the adults of the country choose wickedness, we need to help our children learn to choose righteousness. If you read this and it offends you, so be it. It's how I feel, and like Paul states, and I think that I have the Spirit of the Lord. Study your scriptures; study real history. We can learn from those of the past. We must learn from those of the past. Whether you read the Torah, the Bible, modern day scriptures like the Book of Mormon, or other writings of Holy Writ, they should be teaching you what the God and Father of us all expects from his children. Don't abandon those values.

It is sad to me to think that there are so many things that point to iniquity, and there are so many people that embrace it.  It's sad to me when people who should be fellow Christians are happy to have legalized abortion, legalized gay marriage, and legalized drugs. These are not the outcome of progress. They are the outcome of a retrograde society. It's sad to me when people think that some should have to work hard for their living and then be taxed heavily to support those who are unwilling to work. America needs to get back to work. One of the first and great commandments: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." (Genesis 3:19)

Fellow Judeo-Christians in California and across the Country, and all good people of faith and integrity: If you are not happy with the elections' outcome, decide what you will do about it. California is giving the country 55 electoral votes! If you are tired of the United States drinking the Kool-Aid, are you going to stop buying it? What can we do? We need to stop supporting Hollywood, the media, and the liberal agendas of public education.

We need to remember to work together and to have patience. Cain asked so long ago, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9) Yes, indeed we are. It is often said that the honest pay twice. But just think about that. That means that the Lord will multiply his blessings to us. "He that is righteous is favored of God." (1 Nephi 17:35) So, to all of you young liberals who do not currently worry about righteousness, we are voting and praying for your future, even if you are not. (But to you evil, old liberals who are leading our youth astray, be warned, you will bear the cost and the heat of the judgment day.)

I am sorely disappointed by the outcome of this election, but I am not surprised, nor am I in despair. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid." (Bible: Psalm 27:1)

I am thankful to Governor Mitt Romney and his wife Ann. I am thankful to Paul Ryan and his wife Janna. God bless you good people. Thank you for running your campaign on righteous principles and sticking to them. Please have the courage to do so in the future. We all look to you as the great leaders of this country, even though you are not in office. We love you. Thank you for your service. You did more for our Country's morale in the past few weeks than the president did in the past four years. Thank you, Brother Romney, for your grace, your love, your dedication, and commitment to your fellow Americans. We so wanted to see you lead this country. Please stay involved. Those of us who have made covenants to Israel's God need to keep them. Thanks for doing so.

More than anything else we need to remember that Jesus Christ is our only hope.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

We need to put God first, center, and forever. We need to spend more time in pray to our Heavenly Father in Jesus's name; we need to spend more time learning His word; we need to spend more time seeking His will and serving His children. We need to put aside our personal agendas and seek to be on the Lord's side at all times, in all things, and in all places we may be.

"Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you." (James 4:8)

Those who are righteous need to become God's leaven.

"The future is as bright as your faith." (President Thomas S. Monson, a Latter-day Prophet)

The next four years are going to be fantastic if  the covenant part of "We, the People" lead from the front! We can only do that by following the God and Father of us all.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Notes on a Documentary: "Agenda: Grinding Down America"

The material in this blog does not come from me. I watched a documentary that was completely fabulous, and I wanted to share it with you. Please watch it for yourself:

Agenda: Grinding Down America    Agenda: Grinding America Down

We need to become a country of faith and prayer once again, and then we need to bravely stand on our feet and push forward those principles of freedom which have made America great. We need to reestablish our direction and regain our freedoms so that we can fulfill our grand destiny and so that we can help prepare the world for the Lord's Second Coming. We need to be informed about the enemies that we have from within and, most especially, be aware of complacency. It is up to us to vote for leaders who will protect both our rights and our values. We need to rebuild the American Dream that was a gift from God and our fore-fathers and pass this great heritage on to our children and our grand-children, and so forth. We need to make the inner vessel clean, so that we can withstand the problems that face us from all directions. Please pray for our country, and remember that we really cannot pray for the Lords' blessings upon the United States of America if we continue to change her face so that it is beyond recognition to God and to everyone else. I am glad to have had a chance to watch this documentary. Please watch it for yourselves. (HSS)

The following are notes and screenshots for the documentary (and I do NOT claim them as my own presentation):    Agenda: Grinding America Down

It used to be that the Republican Party was just slightly right of center and the Democratic Party was slightly left of center. But with all the radical media, Hollywood, and the multitude of Marxist professors in the universities, both parties have shifted far to the left, and we have embraced the ideas of a socialist society. 

Reverend Jim Wallis is the spiritual advisor to President Obama.

William Ayers is a long-time friend and neighbor of President Obama.

It came out in 2009, that the book Dreams from My Father was written by Ayers.

The Frankfurt School was set up to brainwash children. John Dewey helped them establish a school here. They wanted to reach society with their agenda through school and through the media. Since the thirties, there have been those who have wanted to corrupt western culture so much that it would stink.

A main attack was on the fathers as the patriarchs of the home, with the intent to destroy the family, and have the government step in as a nanny state.

The Frankfurt School had the goal to implement a social Marxism to destroy religion, create chaos, and,ultimately, to move from cultural Marxism to traditional Marxism which is socialism.

Antonio Gramsci wanted to take down our Judeo-Christian society. This has been a main leftist goal ever since. He wanted to undermine the morals and the character of this country. He encouraged this through the media, the schools, the poetry, the novels, everything of value to our culture. The goal was to change the thinking of the rising generations. He wanted to take away the churches’ abilities to pass on culture and have government set the framework for everything.

Saul Alinski was a mentor of Barack Obama. He wanted the “haves” and “have nots” fighting with each other. His purpose was to produce agitators.

The tactics used in our country by the leftists to pit poor against wealthy, black against white, and the young against the old, are the same tactics that Hitler used in Germany. Most people do not want chaos so they will give over to authoritarianism. 

In Alisnki’s book—the dedication.

He has had an incredible amount of influence on President Obama and on American society.

The Cloward Piven Strategy—overload the system to destroy capitalism. Get everyone on welfare.

Overload system. Increase burden on middle class. Take society into socialism.

The Communist Party U.S.A.

William Z. Foster. He wanted to bring about a U.S.S.A.

Betty Friedan—the science of victimology. The Feminine Mystique. She was not just a suppressed housewife. 

She was a radical supporter of the communist party and a strong supporter of Stalin.

She was just doing her part to dismantle our families.

The Homosexual Movement.       

(Pictured: Dr. Noebel)

“The war is still against the family.”

Healthy and strong nuclear families are the greatest threat to the left carrying out their agenda. 

Antonio Gramsci realized that you couldn’t persuade a Judeo-Christian society to become socialists. The way to take society down was to change the institutions that would be persuasive to take the United States down from within.

Much of their agenda was to try to make us an immoral people. Then it would be easier to lead society where they wanted it to go. “Our enemies could see our morality was our greatest strength.”

A booming economy won’t take care of all problems we face. There are so many current social ills. 

Father of communism. Tries to dethrone God by deifying man, but devaluing certain human beings. He thought man existed for the state.

As families fall apart and the church loses influence, capitalism is destroyed. Society starts to crumble, and government expands to pick up the pieces.

To believe in freedom, you have to believe that every person is special. The founding fathers got their ideas of what is important from the Bible.

They have taken the religion that is part of our culture out of the schools, because Judeo-Christianity threatens their agenda. It is a rebellion against God and God’s laws.

“No example in history of big government that didn’t abuse its power over the people.”

The leftists are at war with God.

Tools to Make America

Media goes beyond biases. They decide what they think should be reported as news. Journalists have been trained to interpret the news, not to report the facts. This is advocacy journalism. This is carried over not just in news media, but in Hollywood, etc. Stalin said, “If I could control Hollywood, I could rule the world.”

Founder of the Soviet Union.

John Dewey believed that education should socialize the child to make him a willing tool of the state. He wanted to dumb-down the children so that he could have the children. Teachers were trained into this, unions, etc. We are losing most of our children to the leftists because of their teaching agenda of anit-America, anti-family, anti-God.

Government schools are not teaching logic or data of history or reasoning skills. If your education is limited, then you believe that government can be the solution to your problems. The children are being trained with a collective mindset and a dependent mindset.

The schools are controlled by the teachers’ unions. The push the feminist agenda, including abortion on demand; the gay rights agenda; whole globalism agenda; and they are extremely anti-parent. (I’ve personally witnessed that many times.) Their efforts are to get them to abandon the values of the parents.

“There is a battle going on in this country for the hearts and minds of our children.”

Social Justice that is taught in our schools is Socialism.

We need to get back to teaching our children that America, despite its faults, is the greatest country on earth. Until we do, we’ll continue on this downward spiral.

The socialists want nothing to do with the Pledge of Allegiance, because it is nationalistic. They’d rather have this recited: 

Gramsci wanted to have citizens that needed the government to take care of them.


Al Gore’s Global Martial Plan could only be implemented through socialism. The green movement’s goal is to destroy capitalism. Environmentalism, or everythingism, is used to promote socialism.

Obama has been mentored by Frank Marshall Davis. Obama is using all the tools that Gramsci wanted to use for social change and is the epitome of the movement.

Obama has been involved with all the wrong people, and they were part of his campaigning. The radical left have effectively put one of their own in the White House. 

The Left are using American tax dollars against us.

If it hadn’t been for Jesus Christ, there would have been no United States of America.
We have no time left to be casual about taking back the United States. This may be our last chance to push back.

The most profound thing that we can do to change America for the better is praying.
Be familiar with how are values are being attacked. Recognize social agendas.
Be familiar with the constitution and values of freedom. Stand up for those values. Speak up and make your views known.

Expand within your family and your church and with those with whom you have contact. Bring them up to speed and a knowledge of what is going on. We can make a difference.
“The organized minority will beat the unorganized majority every time.” (Lenin)
Use Youtube and Facebook and blogging. You can drive a message through society. Graciously and consistently make contact.

Teach our children and grandchildren the difference between truth and error. Teach them about Jesus Christ. Parents take responsibility for children’s education. Home school your children. They out test everybody. “Our minds should be the sharpest minds in the world.” Sacrifice whatever it takes to turn our country back to Him.”

We need to pay the price. “We will pay a price for what is right.” An American value. “Never ever lose sight of the power of one individual American.” (Richardson)

“Hope is not found in rhetoric; hope is found in God…. Our founders were in covenant with that God.”
We need to clean the inner vessel so that we can face all the problems within and without America.

If America goes down, the free world goes down.