Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas is a Season of Lights

Lighting of the Arrowhead: December 2 through 15, 2016

Christmastime is a Season of Lights as well as it should be since Jesus is the Giver of Light: and He has given of His light to every human soul.

Jesus is "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9)

At Christmastime, I feel certain that He is pleased that we share light with each other, and it’s His hope that we always will.

There are those who would like to destroy light and thwart the spread of His Good News. We've seen that in terrorist activity throughout the world. But His light cannot be dimmed nor destroyed. 

Legend of the Arrowhead

There is a natural landmark very close to where I live in San Bernardino. “This important landmark has for centuries been a symbol of the San Bernardino Valley to the Native Americans and then to the pioneers and settlers that followed…

“Many legends exist about the Arrowhead. The most ancient legend, perhaps, is one handed down from the Native Americans. The story goes that the Great Spirit had an arrow, which, like the Israelite's Pillar of Fire, was to guide them to the spot where they were to live. The Great Spirit having selected the place, fixed the arrow to mark it forever.

“It has been said that Native Americans who inhabited the San Bernardino Valley believed that the Arrowhead pointed the way to the hot springs below, with healing qualities, and thus considered it holy ground. Through the years, numerous forest fires have caused some erosion. However, the Arrowhead landmark continues to preserve its uniqueness and remains a symbol of the 'pioneer spirit' of the San Bernardino Valley.”

A year ago, an extremist couple brutally attacked citizens of San Bernardino as they were attending a company Christmas party. Unfortunately, fourteen lives were snuffed out prematurely. But their memories live on in and through their loved ones, and their souls continue on through Jesus Christ as they wait for the glorious Resurrection Day. 

This year the San Manuel Tribe in San Bernardino chose to honor these fourteen men and women by lighting the Arrowhead. How appropriate a representation of life is light! For fourteen nights in a row, we can see the arrowhead lit up in the night sky honoring these people, and honoring the Father of Lights. I hope that it will become a Christmas tradition, to honor those whose lives have been taken and to honor the Light of Christ in all of us.


I chose to post this picture because the lights look like crosses.
And to me, those crosses represent hope in the midst of chaos. 

The Arrowhead and the Moon shining above the city of San Bernardino, California.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Managing our Demands with our Resources

Managing our Demands with our Resources

In our busy lives, we are constantly engaging in a balancing act. How well we do this highly depends upon active assessment and personal self-control. We have many roles to play and many responsibilities, plus many interests that also vie for our attention. In other words, there are demands. Sometimes it can be overwhelming for us, which might leave us with a feeling of helplessness. But that need not be so.

Demands are just part of the picture. We need to remember that in this balancing act, we also have resources; and, they are many. That is why active assessment and self-control become a vital part of balancing. If we only feel the weight of our demands, then we may blind-side ourselves to the many resources available to us.

So we can begin by making a list of our demands and a list of our resources. This may be the last thing that we feel like doing, because it only feels like one more demand on our time. But that’s not the case. If we allow ourselves this few minutes of planning time, this assessment activity will empower us and give us more time to meet our demands successfully, instead of desperately or despairingly.

One way that writing a list of resources can be most beneficial is that we will see we are not alone, and we will find that we do not need to face our challenges alone. In other words, the Lord is our greatest resource and He will help us, and we can be guided through His Holy Spirit as we turn to Him and ask Him to be our Partner. We will also find that we have support in our spouses and family members and in our friends. As we properly engage each other towards common goals, we will find that our burdens or the weight of our demands will become significantly lighter and far easier to manage.

When we still feel out of balance, we probably are. So what can we do? What is necessary for us to do? Yes, this will also require more assessment. That’s okay. We should be happy to get to know ourselves and to value ourselves enough to make our own lives happier and more pleasant.

When we find that balance is still lacking, we need to shuffle through our demands to see what is most important. It may very well be that we find that we are carrying unnecessary demands. We need to reduce unnecessary demands either by eliminating them or setting them aside for a more appropriate time in our lives. In that way, we will not feel so weighed down, and we will have increased capacity to carry our necessary demands and fulfill them with greater success.

There is another important thing that we can do to find the balance we need. Not only can we reduce unnecessary demands; we can also increase our resources. What are the desired resources that we want in order to meet the demands that we have? Are they available? How can we enlist them? Sometimes, this is as simple as asking someone else for help or giving ourselves time for a restful reprieve. Sometimes, this may require some active learning and hard work, so that we build a new reservoir of available resources in newly gained knowledge and ability. Of course, if this is the case, then we do need to set aside other demands for later, or enlist others for help with those demands, or to allow them the privilege of carrying them for a time.

We need to remember that we all need renewal. The Lord knew that. He gave us the Sabbath day for that. What a great resource. We can set aside many of our particularly draining demands for one day in every week and refuel ourselves. Then we can meet those demands with the promise that we will always have His spirit to be with us if we always remember Him. The very faith that we actively engage in on the Sabbath day provides us with rich renewal and should be considered as a most valuable and incomparable resource. As we sing hymns together, pray and worship, teach, instruct, discuss, and learn, we are strengthened and renewed to meet the challenges of the week.

And then there is the Gift of the Atonement. As we seek the Lord’s approval, acceptance, and forgiveness through the covenants we renew in partaking of the Sacrament, we can be forgiven of our sins and blessed with his Spirit. In other words, He will help us carry our burdens and lighten our loads; our demands will not feel so heavy because He is by our side as our most valuable resource.

Balance is important. Anyone who has ridden a bicycle knows that. And balance takes a certain amount of vigilance or steadfastness. Steadiness in our life will help us to feel calmer and more in control. As we work to achieve the balance that is necessary in our lives, we will see that we are becoming more constant people with emotions that are kept in check, instead of having highs that are too high and lows that are too low. As we seek to manage both our demands and our resources, we will find that we are far better equipped to serve the Lord, to serve our fellowmen, and to feel greater peace and joy in our lives. 

This post was inspired by President and Sister Dixon as they taught in a Zone Conference in San Bernardino, California, for the Latter-day Saint Missionaries who are serving there on 22 November 2016. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Life is Not Static, But Love and Devotion Can Be.

I have felt true joy in my life, and I have felt real sadness and even anguish. I will tell you that the joy has come from associations with friends and family; through serving, loving and getting to know people. Even with sadness, and anguish felt in losses, I have still been able to be comforted when I have turned to the Lord, because He delivers peace and sustains us through each hour that we are in need.

When we realize that our greatest joys come through our associations with one another, and through hard work that family members do to support and sustain one another, and when we realize that the very love that we develop through those associations will feed us with joy even in times of sorrow; then our greatest efforts should be in nurturing our relationships, building one another up, and sustaining each other through all our joys and sorrow, whether the road is rocky, we are on a roller coaster, or we are experiencing smooth sailing.

True anguish and despair need not debilitate us or rob us of our hope and joy. If they do, then we have chosen to put trust (or lack of trust) in man rather than showing faith in God; and we have also chosen to wallow instead of to climb. If we choose to climb, there will always be a hand that reaches out for ours to pull and lift us higher until we can break through the clouds and enjoy the sunlight once again.

It might help for each of us to take inventory or our own lives. What brings us joy? What causes us sorrow? What things can we change? How can we feel happiness and peace? Is it unrealistic to want everything to go just our way all the time? What do we choose to do when things are beyond our own control? How do we respond when we are disappointed? How do we respond when others attain success? Have we learned how to have hope and trust in good things to come? Do we place unrealistic projections on others or on the future? Do we choose to be humble? Do we choose to place our faith in God? Do we move forward with certainty even when we don’t feel certain? Do we have enough courage to give ourselves and others the benefit of the doubt? Do we know that we can get up again even with skinned knees or broken teeth? Do we lash out at others when we feel uncertain? Or, do we hold hands and move forward together? 

Life is not static, but love and devotion can be. And therein lies our happiness. 

Life is Not Static, But Love and Devotion Can Be.

I have felt true joy in my life, and I have felt real sadness and even anguish. I will tell you that the joy has come from associations with friends and family; through serving, loving and getting to know people. Even with sadness, and anguish felt in losses, I have still been able to be comforted when I have turned to the Lord, because He delivers peace and sustains us through each hour that we are in need.

When we realize that our greatest joys come through our associations with one another, and through hard work that family members do to support and sustain one another, and when we realize that the very love that we develop through those associations will feed us with joy even in times of sorrow; then our greatest efforts should be in nurturing our relationships, building one another up, and sustaining each other through all our joys and sorrow, whether the road is rocky, we are on a roller coaster, or we are experiencing smooth sailing.

True anguish and despair need not debilitate us or rob us of our hope and joy. If they do, then we have chosen to put trust (or lack of trust) in man rather than showing faith in God; and we have also chosen to wallow instead of to climb. If we choose to climb, there will always be a hand that reaches out for ours to pull and lift us higher until we can break through the clouds and enjoy the sunlight once again.

It might help for each of us to take inventory or our own lives. What brings us joy? What causes us sorrow? What things can we change? How can we feel happiness and peace? Is it unrealistic to want everything to go just our way all the time? What do we choose to do when things are beyond our own control? How do we respond when we are disappointed? How do we respond when others attain success? Have we learned how to have hope and trust in good things to come? Do we place unrealistic projections on others or on the future? Do we choose to be humble? Do we choose to place our faith in God? Do we move forward with certainty even when we don’t feel certain? Do we have enough courage to give ourselves and others the benefit of the doubt? Do we know that we can get up again even with skinned knees or broken teeth? Do we lash out at others when we feel uncertain? Or, do we hold hands and move forward together? 

Life is not static, but love and devotion can be. And therein lies our happiness. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Opinion Piece in Response to Voting this Election--Don't Read if You Hate Those Who Don't Think the Same as You Do

I wrote this as a response to a comment in a thread on someone else's wall. But I have been thinking through so many things. Some people have thanked me for the things I've shared. Other have been overly angry with me and even blasted me. So please, if you disagree, hide the post and move on. So far, we should still respect freedom of speech and press, and also freedom to censure our own walls and self-control in using civility to our family and friends.
Friend's Caption: Remember Utah, every vote you cast for Evan McMullin is a vote for Hillary Clinton

Mutual Friend's Reply: Trump is the worst most incompetent narcissistic candidate the Republicans have put up EVER. If he loses, which he will with or without Utah, at least the good people there can say I told you so. If he wins, with or without Utah, he and the rest of the evil Republicans will take it out on the Never Trumpers and there will be hell to pay. Vote for whomever you want but as for me and my house...

My Reply: That attitude I disagree with. I am not choosing to not serve the Lord because I voted Trump. I'm voting in favor of the Constitution and freedom, and I'm voting against the evil that is rampant in Washington.

The question of evil Republicans may very well be in usurpation, not in a citizen's vote.

When I had time later in the evening, I gave a longer reply, which is the essence of this post:

This is an election that has tried the hearts of men. I'm not going to say who's right in voting for Trump or for McMullin. But I am going to have my say from my angle.

I was upset when the tape came out, and I thought who am I going to vote for now? But I was able to keep it in perspective too, instead of letting the media tell me it was rape culture, or the women who popped out of the woodwork tell me that Trump accosted them in public.

I agree it was locker room talk, and it's not even appropriate for middle or high schoolers. It was braggadocio and lustful, but it wasn't rape culture. From what he said, the woman denied him.

With that said, do I like it? No. Nor do I like some allegations against him. But neither do I like the real criminal activity of Hillary: the email scandals that put and may still be putting our country at risk; and the deaths in Benghazi; plus, the allegations of people being picked off if they have any info against the Clintons.

So much for the manure we all need to sift through.

But I actually believe in Trump's patriotism, and when he looks at the camera and talks to America, I feel he is telling the truth (even if I'm proven wrong some day); I sure do know that Hillary is not.

I originally liked Ben Carson, and I'm glad Ben and Mike Pence are sticking with Trump. They are really good men. And you know what? Trump is a really good judge of character, because he picks good men to get the needed jobs done. Wouldn't that be a great plus in a President, as far as Supreme Court Justices and cabinet members? Wouldn't it be wonderful to see more Pro-lifers and be on the road to repealing Roe vs. Wade? I've never heard a politician since the 70's when that passed say any such thing. I love Trump for that! There is no excuse for 58 1/2 million or so abortions that have taken place in our Country since Roe vs. Wade, and I for one am glad to be voting policies and principles towards that end, and towards protecting our Constitution along with The Bill of Rights.

Then on to McMullin. I did not appreciate him entering the race at all. I thought it unethical. I think the right thing to do is to back up the Republican nominee. You know what it speaks to me? Not only does Hillary think I'm deplorable, so does Romney, McMullin, and the rest of the Never Trumpers. We have Republicans sitting in high places who would rather put Hillary into office, even though the FBI and all of America know how guilty she is. Sounds like usurpation and secret combinations to me.

Bob and I both thought of when King Mosiah helped his people set up judges, and then some turned into kingmen and didn't want to allow the people the responsibilities that go along with freemen. Yeah, it's pretty clear that the Never Trumpers aren't going to allow their own countrymen and their own party to support their nomination, because they are so much better than we are. Or are they? Or does Trump actually see the corruption that is there and want to make a difference?

Okay, so now that all sounds harsh. I listened to McMullin back in August, and like I said, we thought his timing and reasons for entering the election were unethical. I did listen to one of his ads the other day and it was impressively done, and I saw some of the people who are backing him and their excitement in doing so. They believe they are doing what is right, and I can't fault them for that.

But I've listened to him since, and my opinion is the same. He is telling people to send a message to Washington that they don't want a candidate like Trump. So who is the message going to? It is going to the very people that they are supporting through voting for McMullin. In other words, their message is one of endorsement for the current administration and the state of affairs in Washington. If you want to make a statement that you are fed up with how things are, it seems that you'd swallow your Never Trump pride and vote for the candidate who wants to clean things up and make Washington accountable to the people again. Now I don't need to fault anyone for a choice that differs than mine for whatever reason. The backlash of a Hillary presidency will fault us all with severe repercussions.

I just think it's a shame that the false quote about the lesser of two evils is still voting evil. That's ridiculous. I didn't vote for a sexist any more than people who are voting for Hillary are doing so because she's a murderer, or people that are voting McMullin are doing so because he's a spoiler. Everyone brings his or her own schemata to the voting board, sifts and reasons (hopefully), draws conclusions, prays and seeks inspiration (hopefully), and makes a decision.

But the arrogance of those who believe the lesser of two evils lie either can't count above two, or they think that anyone who thinks differently than they do must not be inspired of God.

Ridiculous. Voting is about agency and responsible choices. We aren't going to be eternally condemned if we are following our conscience, listening to the Spirit, and doing the best we can. There is no true candidate, as there is a true Book of Mormon or a true Restoration. We are all fallible people and also gifted people, but a candidate is not an eternal truth we are praying about. We may bring swift judgment upon ourselves though, if we choose a candidate that does not care about upholding the Constitution, wants to impose liberal agendas through Pro-choice Supreme Court Justices and other venues, and is entangled with people and governments that seek to harm us and destroy our Country.

In other words, there will not be consequences to our votes. I do not want Hillary in office, and I heard from McMullin's own mouth that he'd rather have that happen than have Trump. Trump has a vision and has outlined what he'd like to do in office and it's exciting and I respect him for it. McMullin doesn't have a vision of what to do, because he isn't running for president, he's just running to keep Trump out.

So I am voting for someone who actually wants to be president; wants to clean up Washington; wants to serve the people; and he loves America.

Monday, October 24, 2016

McMullin's Shady Run

What do we know about Evan McMullin?

McMullin is a 40-year-old unmarried man. We know very little about him other than he was reared as a Latter-day Saint and that his run for the presidency is only to stop Trump from being President. We know that his backers are also just "Never Trump"ers.

McMullin says he is pro-life; but he would rather put Hillary into office than Trump, even though Trump will choose Pro-life Supreme Court Justices and seeks to repeal Roe vs. Wade; and Hillary believes that we've "come too far" to go back, and that it is a woman's and her family's decision to murder full-term babies before they are born if they want to.

McMullin says that as a member of the Church he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, but he respects the decision of the Court and the Amendment to the Constitution, and that he feels it's time to move on. Since his own mother is a lesbian married to another woman, this could certainly influence his decision to leave that alone.

Many people are voting McMullin because they think he is a conservative, LDS candidate and because they do not like Trump's brashness or the allegations against him. But we have seen the mounting evidence of real criminal behavior in Hillary and the media's lack of balance in reporting. 

Some are voting McMullin because they want to make a statement to the Republican Party. But there are no longer clear lines in seeing whose allegiance is where, so the only statement that will be made in a vote for McMullin is that the voter prefers Clinton to Trump, but does not want to cast a vote for Clinton. In this way the voter abdicates the responsibility for his vote to the"Never Trump" society, which thinks that they are too elite to allow the people's choice from the primaries to become President. 

McMullin says he thinks that Trump is a great threat to our Country. I think the greater threat is the uninformed citizen, who casts his votes against his own beliefs.

Very soon we will know who the new President will be. I know it won't be McMullin, and I certainly hope that it will not be Hillary Clinton.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

This Election and Another Look at the Great Plan of Happiness

Since this piece contains my political views for this Presidential Election, I want the reader to know that the views are mine. The Great Plan of Salvation is taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The suggestion to vote for the Presidential candidate whom I see as supportive of principles in that Plan is mine.

I firmly believe in our Father’s Great Plan of Happiness. In our Pre-mortal lives, we lived with our Heavenly Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. When Father presented His Plan for us to come to this earth, gain bodies, have a testing period, learn obedience, and have the chance to become like Him, we all shouted for joy. We were excited to be born into families and gain a body and help our Father in accomplishing His great plan.

We learned that we would all fall short in our abilities and sometimes our desires to do right. We would be lost forever from returning to live in our Father’s presence if it weren’t for the perfect gift of His Son Jesus Christ and His willingness to suffer and die for us, and be resurrected again. Because of the gift of His Atonement, we can all repent, be forgiven, progress, find happiness here through the Spirit that God sends the obedient, and have joy in the eternities forever with Him.

We accepted our Heavenly Father's Plan. We chose life! Whenever there is a viable choice, I believe that we should choose life. When we consider that we accepted God’s Plan while we lived with Him in heaven, we should consider again now what we can do to help further that Plan on earth.
The family has been under attack for years; and the sacred means by which children enter the world has also been under attack. Abortion remains the most barbaric and greatest evil of our day. 

Our Country has become increasingly wicked. The world has become much less safe for everyone; but, in the last while, we have seen that it is becoming increasingly dangerous for believers in Jesus Christ. So we need to assess what we can do to make sure that we are faithful ourselves in keeping the commandments of God, and also that we are seeking leaders, who want to uphold those principles of righteousness, even if they do not have an understanding yet of God’s Plan and our role in it.

Our government has become increasingly corrupt. We see those in power, upholding and defending each other in their wickedness, so that they do not have to bear accountability for their actions. This was also true in The Book of Mormon times. We also see citizens who do not value the freedoms that this Country has had to offer, but seek more and more for government entitlements; which will actually enslave them and rob them of their freedom. The more accountable we are able to be, the more free we become. One measure of our accountability is taking responsibility for our vote. 

We have an election coming up very shortly. Some have felt certain that one Latter-day Saint candidate came into this race with the intent to do good, “because it is never too late to do the right thing,” he said. We know that our Prophet and Apostles do not endorse candidates, but ask us to study the issues and prayerfully consider whom we should vote for. There is not a perfect candidate, and all of them are tainted in some way to some degree. So the erroneous quote that if we vote the lesser of two evils, we are still voting for evil, is just wrong here, for a number of reasons.

First , of all, as stated already, each candidate is flawed. Second to that, I believe that we can all count higher than two. If we were looking at two candidates and didn’t like either of them, then we should not just accept a third one because he is a member of the Church. What is his purpose in running? He obviously, did not make a serious commitment to do so through thoughtful planning and prayer. He did so as a last resort move among the Society of “Never Trump”. He did not give the citizens of the United States a chance to even know who he is; and, he has told his following that they will not win, that he will not be President, but that they will be able to stop Trump.

Now, I am not endorsing any evil that anyone who is running has done. But let’s face the facts: Hillary has a long record of criminal activity for which the government, the media, the FBI, and half the Country is turning a blind eye. McMullin, a rather unknown single man without the experience gained from having a family of his own and without any real leadership experience entered the election solely to stop Trump from winning the Presidency.

Now, this is the principle I am endorsing: Trump has said that he wants to appoint Pro-life Supreme Court Justices and, with that, he seeks to reverse Roe vs. Wade. Do we believe in our Heavenly Father’s Plan? Do we believe that abortion is a great evil? Do we know that there are spirits waiting to come to earth and get a body? Abortion was legalized in my youth. Since then, I have not heard of one politician who has said that he wants to repeal it. Most politicians only seek to make each other happy and keep the status quo, and take us spiraling down with them.

Ask yourself, "When will another President seek to end abortion in our Country?" We may not get the chance to see a leader committed to doing so again.

Not only does Trump want to end abortion, he wants to help families through the creation of more jobs and economic growth, better education, and better insurance. He also wants to support and sustain and build our law enforcement and our military. And he wants to ensure that our Constitutional freedoms, as found in the Constitution and The Bill of Rights, are protected. We should also seek to safeguard those freedoms, including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, and all other freedoms that we hold dear which have been under attack.

Hillary has shown that she is dishonest. McMullin and the “Never Trump”ers have shown that they are Kingmen who do not want the average citizen voting in a way with which they disagree. We as citizens, need to defend our freedoms in every way we can: first, through righteous living, keeping the commandments, being faithful, and serving; but also, we must take the chance when an opportunity presents itself to vote against the establishment which we already know is evil.

I have had so many losses in my life. Sometimes I really am saddened by them. Then I remember my God and His Son Jesus Christ and the promise of those I love being restored to me again. Indeed, it is a Great Plan of Happiness. But, if we think that we can just have faith that God will protect our freedoms without taking thought to do what we can to defend them, we are wrong. Freedom has never, ever been free. Jesus paid a great price; our military has paid a great price over and over; our Forefathers paid a great price; and, if we do not do what we can now to support these principles of freedom, we will also find ourselves paying a great price. If we do not value the cost of freedom, we will have to learn it.

More than anything, I see this election as a chance to give our voice to the desire to support those principles which will aid in furthering our Father’s Plan for our happiness. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Vote is My Right; Your Vote is Your Right

I have seen a marked air of superiority among citizens who believe that their candidate is the best. We need to remember that voting is a sacred right and privilege, and we need to remember that we are seeking to be The "United" States of America.

The intolerance, hate and division over moral agency is truly sad. Like most others, I do not take my vote lightly, and way more is put into the equation than one mere candidate. Principles, surrounding people, whom I think will have the ability to influence the Country for the most good in the next four years, fighting socialism, defending the family, strengthening the military, defending the Constitution along with The Bill of Rights, and many other factors come into play.

While voting, we should be humbly looking to the Spirit to guide us of course; but, do not think that because your conscience dictates that you vote one way, that others who disagree with you are wrong. This election itself will not be the real test of who is right and who is wrong. It is what we all choose to do afterwards, and between elections, that will determine what type of citizens we really are.

We need to stop looking for our identity in our candidates, sports team, and the like. We are more than that. We are children of God who has given us all the ability to think and reason, and the agency to do so.

Those who think that they are justified in bashing others because they believe that they are following prophetic counsel; please stop accepting newspaper articles, opinion pieces, individual interpretations, of what may or may not have been said, as the final word. They aren’t. Follow the dictates of your own conscience, and allow all other citizens to do the same.

For those who are fellow Latter-day Saints, and for all other individuals of strong faith, the following is what has been said by The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For those who post anything other than their official statement, rest assured that it does not come from the Church, no matter how well-intended you may think it is.

Please note the underlined portion. 

First Presidency 2016 Letter Encouraging Political Participation, Voting in US

The following letter was issued by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 5, 2016, to be read to Church congregations throughout the United States:
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Political Participation, Voting, and the Political Neutrality of the Church
As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs.
We also urge you to spend the time needed to become informed about the issues and candidates you will be considering. Along with the options available to you through the Internet, debates, and other sources, the Church occasionally posts information about particular moral issues on which it has taken a position at
Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties, and members should seek candidates who best embody those principles.
While the Church affirms its institutional neutrality regarding political parties and candidates, individual members should participate in the political process. The Church also affirms its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues.
Sincerely yours,
Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The First Presidency

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Now, How Will I Vote?

8 October 2016

Last night I watched the video that surfaced, which puts Trump and his campaign in a very poor light; but, it is not so condemning as the words reported without context given. By no means can his behavior be justified as acceptable. It just is another load of crap for voters to trek through in making their decision on whom to vote for.

I am at a loss of what to do at this point; not so much just over the video, but over the reaction from Trump and from America concerning the video. First off, individuals should claim responsibility for their own actions without pointing fingers to anyone else. It’s a hard thing to do, but until we can do that America is going to remain weak. Second of all, there are those who still praise this man and brush aside his faults as if they don’t matter at all; while on the other hand, there are those who flatly condemn him without considering whether he has grown, changed, or improved. So either way, we have those who are severely lacking in judgment or those who are quick to judge severely. And this seems to be the trend in our Country over everything, from top leaders to average citizens; which probably goes to show that we are all found lacking for the most part.

I am also amazed that the citizens of the United States view their politic responsibilities pretty much in the same way that they do their preferred sports’ teams. They accept or excuse behavior solely because they have chosen a team and may all others lose and be damned. This has certainly be proven time and time again with what has been accepted during the past umpteen years and the blinders that have been put on by citizen and representatives of citizens. The lies and evil that have been perpetuated in and by our government officials are blatant, but we seem to have come to accept them as normal, and some even seem to uphold the injustice of it all.

I really tire of seeing all those who compare current situations to President Richard Nixon, saying that he was forced to resign. Because of his cover up of Watergate happenings, he chose to resign. He still wanted the best for our Country. With all the scandals we’ve seen in government since, no one has willingly left office, not even when impeached. Certainly, top officials and even the American populous should not uphold, back, or cast a vote for someone whom they know has broken the law repeatedly and has put our Country and our military at great risk, even costing lives.

When I do vote, rest assured that I will vote my conscience. That means that I will cast my vote thinking about my accountability to God and to my country as I do so. That also means that I will vote for the person whom I think is best positioned to do the most good for our Country in the next four years. And I suggest that we all allow each other the sacred right to do so without condemnation or judgment of our own superiority and their stupidity. We need to do what we can to once again make or nation The United States of America.

 I watched the video in question last night. Not at all pretty, but it was important for me to see for my own evaluation. In sharing the link, I am not promoting the reprehensible nature of the content, but trying to put into context what happened then with who Trump may or not be now.

From Donald J. Trump's Page:

Here is my [Trump’s] statement.
I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me, know these words don’t reflect who I am.
I said it, it was wrong, and I apologize.
I’ve travelled the country talking about change for America. But my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future. I have gotten to know the great people of our country, and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down.

Let’s be honest. We’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we are facing today. We are losing our jobs, we are less safe than we were 8 years ago and Washington is broken.
Hillary Clinton, and her kind, have run our country into the ground.
I’ve said some foolish things, but there is a big difference between words and actions. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.

See you at the debate on Sunday.

My Response to Trump:

Mr. Trump, it is disgusting that a grown man would talk like a middle school boy trying to impress his friends. Whether or not what you said is a reflection of what you would really do, you were willing to make a few others think so to somehow prove your manhood. It didn't work.

I was actually going to vote for you, even though you weren't the Republican candidate that I favored in the primaries. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt. If nothing else, I've told others, you have proven that you are willing to work with others for the good of the country; even those whom you debated strongly against in the primaries. 

Listening to your apology was sad. I agree that Bill Clinton's actions were really wrong. But using his actions to justify your own words and actions really isn't the morally responsible thing to do. 

To make America great again, we need morally good, clean, and straight citizens, who are willing to bear responsibility for their actions, including those in office who are supposed to represent us. It's too bad that you've lost the faith and trust of so many who actually believed that you wanted to make America great again. 

The America we need is not a reality TV show, nor is it the posh rich or the crass rich, which really seem to be one and the same; they just put on airs in different ways.

From Dr. Ben Carson's Page:
It is obvious that the media has decided who the winner of this election should be; but by so grossly overplaying its hand, the media has lost all credibility as a source for objective facts and surrendered its role as a neutral arbiter of political discourse.

My Response to Carson:

just wish that Trump had apologized without a comparison to someone else's wrongs. We don't need any "sorry buts(s)". The main problem with America is having citizens and leaders who are unwilling to face consequences for actions. Until we can do that, America will not be great again.

I find it sad that the populous just falls in line to defend a candidate in the same way they do a sport's team. It shows that not only are these candidates immoral, so are We the People.

The thing that seems redeemable about Trump is that he appears to be willing to work with great people like Carson and others who were past opponents. He's picked a good running mate. I thought he'd pick better judges and cabinet members. That is what was holding me to vote for him in the past. But the reality check now is that this is not a reality TV show and there is no way of telling what kind of presidency he'd have.

I am undecided again. I don't want Hillary as president ever, but I also want a clear conscience before God concerning my vote.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

O Say Can You?

O Say Can You See?

(Happy Anniversary)

We have been given a beautiful anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Those citizens who choose not to acknowledge our flag, those who choose division over unity, and those who choose to bring attention to themselves or their special interest groups, rather than accrediting the lives spent to give them liberty; those people are blind. When asked the question, “Oh Say Can You See?, the answer would have to be “No”. They don’t see, and we can all pity them for their blindness.

We cannot wait to teach our children to see until we think that they are old enough to comprehend the whole picture. If we do, we are guaranteed that they will not see. As parents and leaders we have a purpose and a duty to the rising generation. We have to dig back to our roots. Whether we are seventh generation Americans or new to America, we need to know the history of The United States of America and pass that on to our children.

My parents were both born in Europe and chose to become United State’s citizens. I am thankful. Their lives and their gratitude have much to do with my feelings of patriotism for this great Country I call home because of them. I also have my third grade teacher, Miss Nakahara, to thank for instilling in me a love for Country. She taught us "The Star Spangled Banner" and the other great hymns that show reverence for and love of Country and fellowmen. Because of people like them, I am not blind; but, I do see.

Is there ugliness in history? Yes, there can be. But our freedom and our patriotism centers in and commemorates the beauty of our freedoms, gained, regained, and sustained by men and women who love freedom.

When we look back to our beginnings, we know that there really were many who sacrifice their lives and their sacred honor and all their worldly goods to establish this new nation and give us freedom from the oppression we felt from England. They could see. They had a vision of the importance of our freedom, and that America would be a beacon on a hill and a light to the world, in helping many others obtain freedom.

So from before 1776 to 1812, our forbears were willing to keep fighting to maintain the freedom they had secured. England would not let go so reluctantly and kept trying to suppress us in any way possible, with their own forces and with paid mercenaries.

Some argue that Francis Scott Key’s poem, “Defence of Fort M'Henry,” (which was written on 14 September 1814—nearly 200 years ago) should not have become our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” While we have other patriotic songs that do serve us well, none is so clear about our history, our mission, and our destiny. The very words that Key used in his poem, “O Say Can You See?”, concerning our flag still waving after our troops were bombarded by the British at Fort McHenry, are the words which echo today. Our flag and our Country have gone through some terrible setbacks, but we are not defeated. The flag is still waving.

Some think that she is not waving triumphantly any more, but that is because they have lost focus on what is most important. They don’t view our history with gratitude, nor do they envision our future with hope. We have to remember that the lenses through which our forebears saw our Country and our future were pricey. Their determination came with the cost of work and constant vigilance.

We owe a debt of gratitude to them and to the many men and women since then who have served to protect us and keep us free. There cannot be any patriotism without gratitude. There may be those who confuse patriotism with prideful arrogance, but patriotism is born of humble gratitude to those who have done for us that which we could not do alone for ourselves, who have given us that which we could not obtain ourselves.

In order to see, we need to remember. We need to remember those who serve and thank them. We need to remember to be good role models and to clearly point out who the true heroes are. 

The coach in the following video made sure that his team had an understanding of that. He helped them see. 

I love our flag and I love our anthem. Why? The reason is clear. It is because I can see that they represent so much more that a piece of cloth and a song. They represent our beginnings, and they represent ever drop of blood spilled from every wounded and dying soldier, and ever tear shed from every soldier’s wife or mother, son or father.

We have been given a beautiful anthem and a precious flag which can serve to bind us together in these The United States of America, if we choose to remember, and if we choose to see. But we need to open our eyes. If we open our eyes, our hearts should follow.

O Say Can You See?

  1. 1. Oh say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
    O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof thru the night that our flag was still there.
    Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
  2. 2. On the shore, dimly seen thru the mists of the deep,
    Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
    What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
    As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
    Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
    In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
    'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh, long may it wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
  3. 3. Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
    Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
    Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
    Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Text: Francis Scott Key, 1779-1843
Music: John Stafford Smith, 1750-1836

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Good and Evil is Clearly Defined

We, as citizens of the United States, have been given a world full of knowledge and truth, goodness and opportunity, progress and wealth. For the most part, we have all been “instructed sufficiently that [we] know good from evil” (2 Nephi 2:5).

Hillary Clinton quoted John Wesley’s words,

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you ever can.”

That sounds like wonderful advice for all of us. But, then she went on to say,

“That’s a tall order. And of course, one of the interpretive problems with it is, who defines good” (Keynote Address)?

How anyone can know that those are her words and still want to vote for her is beyond me. A leader should have a grasp on reality and what is good and what is evil. Yet she has demonstrated that she does not know the difference between truth and lies, reality and fiction, life and death, good and evil.

I for one do not want Hillary Clinton to define anything more in this Country. What a cop-out. It’s easy to not take responsibility for one’s actions when one can’t acknowledge truth from error. So she has shirked the responsibilities for her lies by saying, “I misspoke.” She has avoided her responsibility for the lives lost in Benghazi by saying that some solitary person who made a video enraged those who believe in the Prophet Mohammed. As if that would be a reason for our government to stand down while our Country’s heroes are sacrificed as an appeasement to our enemies. And she has shredded the evidence of her indiscretions leaving our Country’s security accessible to enemies throughout the world.

Our Founding Fathers knew the difference between good and evil. And even with their faults, they worked to make the world a better place to live in and gave us a promising future. They studied the civilizations of the past and the best literature available to construct a good and righteous governing body. (With all the good that has been given to us by them, it becomes meaningless to toss around the faults of the dead; we need to open our eyes to the immorality of the living.)

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other" (John Jay).

“I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of [Christianity] have not a controlling influence” (Noah Webster).

“Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other” (James Wilson).

“Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society” (George Washington).

“Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness . . . it is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof” (Continental Congress, 1778).

Source for Quotes

Since we can all see that our Country was founded and upheld on and by religious principles, I will also look to define “good” from the scriptures. In doing so, I am only choosing a few verses. We can all search them for ourselves; and if we want to know what “good” means, I suggest that we do.

“For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil” (Alma 5:40).

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:1).

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

Lastly, I turn to some of Mormon's last words to his people. It seems that our civilization, like his, needs a refresher course in discerning between good and evil.

Moroni 7:12-19:

12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

15 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.

16 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.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.

Since we are all entitled to discern between good and evil, we should look to find good in the way our Father and His prophets have shown us. If we say that there is a different standard for good, we have judged wrongfully, and in so doing, we are denying ourselves the light of truth.

I am not writing this to be combative, or as an endorsement for any other candidate, or for any specific religion. Indeed, I believe that all men are born with the light of Christ (See John 1:19).  

I am writing this, because Hillary Clinton is clearly not a leader or a person of vision. She does not even have a grasp between right and wrong. To sit back and say nothing, in a Country of free speech and government by and for the people, would be an endorsement for her; and that is something that I will not do.

All in all, it is up to We the People to live the definition of good. We need to be a virtuous and a moral people, and in so doing, we will elevate our Country once again and choose better leadership, with the desire to be more responsible in our own citizenship and in our individual everyday lives.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).

Jesus went about doing good (See Acts 10:38). Let's do the same. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and Peace Be with You

Jesus is the Prince of Peace

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He who created all things and gave us life also allows us to live our lives. His desire is for us to grow in goodness and prosperity, to learn to love and trust Him, and in so doing, to love and help each other. But as always, He gives us choice. 


Freedom. What is it? Jesus has told us that the truth shall make us free (See John 8:32).

Those who embrace His truths with trust in Him feel this freedom. We can be free from hate, free from addictions, free from idleness, free from greed, free from loneliness, and free from ignorance. The thing about that is that all these freedoms take work. Our free will is a gift to us, but these other things take work and are a result of our choices and how we exercise our agency.

Our chances for lasting peace and freedom are void without Him and everlasting abundant through Him. There may be seasons of rest from wars and strives, but there will never be lasting freedom without people choosing to work within the boundaries of laws, especially His laws. He who said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments" (
John 14:15), did not say so because He wants to control us, but rather because He wants to free us. 

Many of us long for the promised day when Jesus will return and the inhabitants will be at peace with one another. It will be lovely, beautiful, and supernal. But we do not have to wait until then to feel His love, His peace, and His presence in our lives now. Today.

Peace Can Be Felt Today

Jesus promises us as He did His disciples of long ago,

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (
John 14:27). 

We Must Love God and Love Each Other (See Matt 22:36-40)

We cannot keep this peace if we feel anger, hate, and revenge towards our fellow brothers and sisters. Here’s what the Lord says about that:

"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also" (
1 John 4:20-21).

This extends to all humanity with which we share this planet, whether we have met each personally or not. We cannot love God without loving His children as well, who come from Him.

Also, here is good counsel from the Apostle Paul, who reminds us that the Lord said vengeance belongs only to Him, He who desires not to give it.

"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:17-21).

How can we know when we are free? We will feel the Holy Spirit with us. And what is the fruit of the Spirit?

"...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" 
(Galatians 5:22-25).

Jesus Has Done All

We are not asked to do anything that Jesus will not help us do. Neither are we asked to do anything that He hasn’t already done for us. From the cross, He still loved us all. Every one.

The words He spoke resound through the universe still,

"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

He who was wronged for all of our wrongdoings and none of His own, He who suffered for me and for you and bled from every pore; He it is who was free from all evil, and He alone can make us free as well.

Peace be with you.

And peace be with you as well.