Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Storm is the Lesson: Self-Reliance, Service, and Economics

November 5, 2012

Here is a talk about service called The Celestial Nature of Self Reliance by President Marion G. Romney given in 1982.  You can actually listen to it in his voice.

President Obama sees the East Coast disaster as an opportunity in which to create jobs and improve the economy. Not so. If you have never read the works of by Frederic Bastiat, particularly the lesson of the broken window from the book, “That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen,” this would be a good time. You can find Bastiat’s writings online to download in text or audio, and I will post the broken window essay below. Your children can understand this too.

In the neighborhood of my early youth a young adult woman went outside to take pictures of the storm and tripped over a power line that had been broken by a fallen tree. She was immediately electrocuted. Please prepare your children for disasters.

Here is a video that brought me to tears but might be exciting to your children, especially the boys. It is a rooftop rescue by the NYPD helicopter team. (It’s actually in four parts, so look for the other three.)

That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen
Frederick Bastiat


Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James B., when his careless son happened to break a square of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact, that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

Let us take a view of industry in general, as affected by this circumstance. The window being broken, the glazier’s trade is encouraged to the amount of six francs; this is that which is seen. If the window had not been broken, the shoemaker’s trade (or some other) would have been encouraged to the amount of six francs; this is that which is not seen.

And if that which is not seen is taken into consideration, because it is a negative fact, as well as that which is seen, because it is a positive fact, it will be understood that neither industry in general, nor the sum total of national labour, is affected, whether windows are broken or not.

Now let us consider James B. himself. In the former supposition, that of the window being broken, he spends six francs, and has neither more nor less than he had before, the enjoyment of a window.

In the second, where we suppose the window not to have been broken, he would have spent six francs on shoes, and would have had at the same time the enjoyment of a pair of shoes and of a window.

Now, as James B. forms a part of society, we must come to the conclusion, that, taking it altogether, and making an estimate of its enjoyments and its labours, it has lost the value of the broken window.

When we arrive at this unexpected conclusion: “Society loses the value of things which are uselessly destroyed;” and we must assent to a maxim which will make the hair of protectionists stand on end – To break, to spoil, to waste, is not to encourage national labour; or, more briefly, “destruction is not profit.”

What will you say, Monsieur Industriel — what will you say, disciples of good M. F. Chamans, who has calculated with so much precision how much trade would gain by the burning of Paris, from the number of houses it would be necessary to rebuild?

I am sorry to disturb these ingenious calculations, as far as their spirit has been introduced into our legislation; but I beg him to begin them again, by taking into the account that which is not seen, and placing it alongside of that which is seen. The reader must take care to remember that there are not two persons only, but three concerned in the little scene which I have submitted to his attention. One of them, James B., represents the consumer, reduced, by an act of destruction, to one enjoyment instead of two. Another under the title of the glazier, shows us the producer, whose trade is encouraged by the accident. The third is the shoemaker (or some other tradesman), whose labour suffers proportionably by the same cause. It is this third person who is always kept in the shade, and who, personating that which is not seen, is a necessary element of the problem. It is he who shows us how absurd it is to think we see a profit in an act of destruction. It is he who will soon teach us that it is not less absurd to see a profit in a restriction, which is, after all, nothing else than a partial destruction. Therefore, if you will only go to the root of all the arguments which are adduced in its favour, all you will find will be the paraphrase of this vulgar saying – What would become of the glaziers, if nobody ever broke windows?

The Election is The Lesson: What Do We Learn from The Storm?

November 3, 2012

It could have been worse, but Sandy was horrible. We are left with sadness for the losses, but with hope and faith — the missionaries are there helping and the Lord’s healing has begun. It will be a long recovery.

We are also left with questions: Why did this natural disaster occur at this time? Why in this place? Is Divine Providence involved? If so, what is the purpose?


In his April 2004 Conference address, “Preparation for the Second Coming,” Elder Dallin Oaks said, “the accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous.” Indeed.

The September 2012 issue of National Geographic has an article about Extreme Weather in the United States. The article included a chart of the disasters caused by drought/heat waves, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornados, or blizzards and that caused over $1 billion in damages over two 16 year periods in the United States:

  • 1980-1995 46 disasters – total losses $339 billion
  • 1996-2011 87 disasters – total losses $641 billion
  • 2011 had the most $1 billion disasters: 14
  • Hurricane Katrina alone cost $146 billion.

Imagine what the costs will be after Sandy, and imagine the costs if we considered earthquakes and terrorist attacks and drug wars and all the pestilences increasing throughout the world.


Quoting D&C 43:23, 25, Elder Oaks said, “. . . some of these signs are His voice calling His people to repentance.”

Some people blame climate change for weather disasters. New York Mayor Bloomberg, udoubtedly distraught by the horror, took time to formally endorsed Obama for president in hope that he will lead out on climate change, as if a man could decide how to stop what has been prophesied.

The National Geographic considers global warming as a contributing factor. “As the oceans warm, they’re giving off more water vapor. ‘Everybody knows that if you turn up the fire on your stove, you evaporate the water in a pot more rapidly.’”

Everybody needs to know that the true cause of commotion on earth, and the cause of any “global warming,” is sin. “Let the people be holy, and the earth under their feet will be holy.” (Brigham Young. Teachings of Presidents of the Church, p. 333.)

The solution is repentance.


I’m a New York native, born in 1941 in the Queens borough of New York City. I don’t actually remember the area, but all the names I was hearing reported during the storm were familiar to me. The places where we lived when I was very young are inland enough that the sea did not heave itself beyond its bounds that far, but there was plenty of wind and water and the area was without power.

Atlantic City in New Jersey was a lovely beach resort when I was a child. The ice cream on their cones came wrapped in paper in a cylindrical shape. You pulled the paper off and dropped the ice cream into the cone. Since I only remember the ice cream, I can only imagine the boardwalk, and I see it with young lovers strolling there in turn-of-the century costume. Unfortunately, today Atlantic City is the Gambling Capital of the East Coast.

Only two states have not legalized gambling: Hawaii and Utah.

Wikipedia reports that to deal with hard economic times, in 2010 Governor Chris Christie made the city into a state-run tourism district, over the objections of 43% of the citizens. “The district would include heavier police presence, as well as beautification and infrastructure improvements. The CRDA would oversee all functions of the district and will make changes to attract new businesses and attractions. New construction would be ambitious and may resort to eminent domain.”

I am no expert on eminent domain, but the Constitution is pretty clear that it was never intended for the taking of private property for tax revenue. This is unconstitutional and immoral, and it is being done in Utah too.

So there are two things going on in New Jersey: gambling and the forced redistribution of property. That’s for starters.

What about New York? What evils go on in the United Nations headquartered there? In the stock market? In the major banks? On the Broadway stage? And everywhere else?

There is actually a town named Babylon on Long Island where over 200,000 people live. Those close to the beach were evacuated, and the town was without power as of Friday.

Worse of all, how did most of our 13 original colonies, the cradles of liberty, become “blue,” socialist, big government states? How did those people lose the gift their ancestors fought for? How do the Founding Fathers and the Armies of Heaven feel about this?

While we don’t want to judge the people individually, there is much about these areas that is out of order with the heavens. There is much room for repentance in all states. We might start by cleaning up the earth and planting trees. Trees cool the earth.


Certainly there is not much anyone can do to prepare for the sudden destruction of their home, but citizens should be prepared as well as they are able and have extra to help their neighbors. Governments should also be prepared.

On video I saw a desperate, hungry woman in a neighborhood of rubble ask the officials on tour, “When is the government coming? Will they bring gas for our generator? Are they bringing food? We’re cold. We are going to die.” She could have been you or me. She had prepared; she had a generator. Her food may have been washed away. She is not going to die; she was walking. But with ineffective disaster preparation and ineffective leadership, help may be slow in coming.

We should be as self reliant as possible. Beyond what we can do, the next step should be the city government. After that, the county. Then the state. And along with this comes the private citizen who wants to help out and the private businesses (Wal-Mart and Home Depot sent trucks to Katrina, as did individual businessmen.) Churches and other non-profits are often the first responders. Our missionaries were already there and went to work immediately, and other Saints will be coming. Our trucks are probably on their way from Salt Lake. Glenn Beck’s charity organization, MercuryOne, has also been there and is sending trucks.

Is there a time for the Federal government to step in? When the disaster covers more than one state? Only in a coordinating role? When there is Federal property involved? I don’t know. Which brings us to FEMA, the federal disaster agency. Until now, I hadn’t given much thought to FEMA.

In a blog article connected to, but necessarily representative of, the Akron Ohio Beacon Journal on Friday, Romney was quoted from a previous CNN interview about the “devastating tornadoes at the time in Joplin, Missouri and elsewhere.” Romney said:

Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.John King countered….”Including disaster relief?” Romney was unmoved….

“We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids,” Romney replied. “It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.”

In a nutshell, that exchange….combined with Mitt’s reprehensible, faux-food collection photo op stunt on Tuesday….tells you all you need to know about how Mr. Romney would lead our nation.

Romney spoke well, but the text does read a bit like a cut-and-past job, possibly because the Beacon article was written by “The Reverend.” He ended with this:

Is there anyone out there who actually believes that disaster relief following Katrina, Irene, tornadoes in Missouri, or Superstorm Sandy would have been “better” if individual states, alone, were responsible for providing relief?

Further, does anyone think that sub-contracting state-led, disaster relief to private, for-profit businesses (assuming they exist) could get the job done more effectively and efficiently than FEMA?”

A friend who makes annual visits to DC tells me that FEMA does contract to private industry and does so on a no-bid basis. He speaks of the “lines of pinstripe suits” with outstretched hands, standing ready — cronyism at its worse. He says none of the rebuilding jobs will go to those in the disaster area. all will go to the president’s union friends. Let’s watch that and see.


President Oaks said, “There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current “commotion” is spiritual.”

Spiritual preparation we can all do, and it doesn’t cost anything!

I have known much of fear over the past couple of years in seeing where our government was going, but I am stronger for having been through the process. I’m not alone in believing that we stand in real danger if the election does not bring us a change of leadership, and I’d love to throw the covers over my head; but we were sent for these days. If we want to be spiritually prepared, we have to put in the time. Pray for courage and faith.


In my study of the election over the past months, I have learned that this is truly Satan’s kingdom and he is always busy. The Lord said, “For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.” (D&C 1:35)

Historically, our “perfect” government did not last long; freedom has been eroded away in waves, over two and a half centuries. Every era has its challenges, and prophets have continually warned. It seems that every person must be given the opportunity to make choices about freedom and force in government and about the closeness of his own walk with God.

Every organization of our government, the best government in the world, is crumbling to pieces. Those who have it in their hands are the ones who are destroying it. How long will it be before the words of the prophet Joseph will be fulfilled? He said if the Constitution of the United States were saved at all it must be done by this people. – President Brigham Young, delivered in the New Tabernacle, afternoon, April 8, 1868

I do believe that Tuesday represents our final vote, or at least our most serious one. Freedom, including our freedom to homeschool, may be washed away in one last storm as the costal beaches just were. President Benson once said the Constitution would be saved, but “what remains to be seen is how heavy the chains and how deep the blood.” That is the question on the ballot on Tuesday.


There will be many more disasters in the future; that we know. There may be terrorism and war. In our fears and tribulations, will we fall back to our position of dependence on the big government we are used to? Can we become more self-reliant? Do we want to go through more national disasters with ineffective leadership? Do we want the priesthood in the oval office? Do we want Godly men and women in the Houses of Congress? In our State Legislatures?

How will this storm effect the election? Some say it works in Obama’s favor. Obama has been in the spotlight and Romney is out. Most media, busy protecting the president’s image, will follow him around and ignore the suffering on the coast that might make him look bad.

There is one day of prayer left, and one day of action. Beyond what we can do, the event is in the hands of God. If the Lord wants Mitt Romney in office, He seems to be going about it in a strange way; but then His ways are not our ways. If not, we will keep repenting and keep praying and keep working for liberty in spite of the heaviness of the chains and the deepness of the blood, and we will do so with courage and faith — and we will be expecting miracles. There are many, many good people in the Lord’s army. We know how the story ends.

“And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst . . .” (D&C 1:36)

Expect miracles, no matter what.

The Election is the Lesson: Our American Christian Heritage, Geography, and American Exceptionalism

October 29, 2012

Note: I’ve been working on this email for a week, and it seems almost insensitive now to be talking about elections and maps as I make a final proofread today. All of us have people we care about on the East coast. Some of our readers may be without electricity and won’t be able to read this message. Worse, I can’t imagine how it would be to sit through a dark night and be cut off from the latest news and communication. I will finish up and send the message out with a heavy heart. I’m reading Elder Oaks’ April 2004 talk, “Preparing for the Second Coming” and wondering what the “message” might be. I’m sure there is a purpose here and we will soon see it.

Our American Christian Heritage

We’re running out of time here — the election is almost upon us. One thing I hoped everyone would understand is the importance of restoring the religious depth of our early American Christian Heritage, The best teacher of that information is David Barton from Wallbuilders who has an huge collection of old books and original documents and knows our history well.

Here is a linkto several short videos David put out, some just before the Primary elections this past summer, and others recently added. The “Test of Fire” shows the courage of the Catholic Church in the face of the president’s attack on religious liberty, a subject on which our church leaders have confidently taken a strong stand. In “Voter Responsibilities” Barton quotes President Garfield:

Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.

If the next centennial does not find us a great nation it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.

Amen. I really think we lost America when we stopped educating our youth in American in religion and government. If we have good outcomes in the election and if we follow that with a restoration in education, we may be able to save our Constitution. More homeschoolers = more educated Americans. More educated Americans = the blessings of the Constitution.

Here is a link to an eight minute video of a tour of the Capitol, hosted by Barton. You will see that we were, without question, once an openly Christian nation. Religious Liberty is our freedom to discuss our religion, to pray, and to behave according to Christian religious principles. Without religious liberty we will only be able to speak about our religion within our own church buildings as is the case under dictatorships. This video would be great for the family to watch for Family Night. You might also send it out to your social media friends.

Geography and American Exceptionalism

We will all certainly be watching the map come election day, which is a great time to teach geography. While you have your maps out, here is an interesting article from Meridian about American geography and how it influences the greatness of our country.

An Adventure in Ohio Geography

In the “Voter Responsibilities” video David Barton said James Garfield was our 20th President and a minister of the gospel in the Second Great Awakening. The Second Great Awakening? Where did I hear that term before? Oh, yes, in Elder Cook’s article about Religious Liberty in the September Ensign. I was soon off on a quest for knowledge. What was the “Awakening”? And did President Garfield cross paths with Joseph Smith in Ohio?

I learned that the The First “Great Awakening was from about 1720 to about 1750 and was a precursor to the American Revolution. The Second Great Awakening was from about 1800 to about 1860 and was a precursor to the end of slavery and the beginning of the Civil War. I wonder if a Third Great Awakening is happening now as Christian congregations throughout our country are fasting and praying with mightiness for good results in the upcoming election which is critical to freedom itself.

I also learned (in a nutshell here) that James Garfield was born to Campbellite parents in Chester, Ohio, in November 1831, the same year Joseph had arrived in Kirtland. Kirtland is about 250 miles north-west of Chester. Garfield was in elementary school in Chester when Joseph left Kirtland in 1838. We recognize the Campbellite church from our own church history; they considered Joseph a false prophet. Garfield attended high school and/or college in the Campbellite school in Hiram, 30 miles east of Nauvoo. Then he went East to finish college and came back to Hiram to teach in the same school, which had become a college. He became the president of the college. Later he went into the military, then government, and then served only four months as President of the United Sates before he was assassinated. He was a good and righteous man.

I spent a couple of hours making search after search as new questions arose. I had 20 pages of notes by the time I decided to quit. The bottom line is that while it seems unlikely that Garfield ever met Joseph Smith, it does seem likely that his parents would have read the Campbellite article about the Mormons, and the boy may have heard the story and followed it in his adult life. I’m sure he knows Joseph now.

I’m telling you about this block of time in my life not because of what I learned but because of the enjoyment of the journey. I began with two questions. I acted on my own. There was no assignment, no test, no grade, no one hovering over me to correct my grammar, and I’ll probably never look at my unorganized file of information again. The reward was intrinsic: the satisfaction of the quest for knowledge. This is what education should be about. I hope you and your children are having experiences like this in your homeschooling experience.

The Election is the Lesson: Asking the Right Question

October 21, 2012

After the first presidential debate, a good man in Idaho wrote, “I honestly don’t know how you can possibly have a debate about the economy without talking about the Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, the trade deficit, Europe, the decline of the U.S. dollar. . . .”

He can’t, but can uneducated citizens? He is really questioning the Constitutionality of candidates. Is that the right question?

Since the Constitution is only possible for a moral and religious people, or in Book of Mormon terms, for the righteous, the first questions need to be about our worthiness and our ability to be blessed with an inspired Constitutional government.

The same good man also said neither candidate will “do much to change the direction of this country one way or another.” That is because he believes the Gadiantons have gotten above us. He forgets that the Lord can get above them – if He judges us to be deserving.

In a September Ensign article, Restoring Morality and Religious Freedom, Elder Quentin L. Cook mapped out the events that prepared our country for the Restoration of the gospel and charged us to work in our families and communities to “improve the moral fabric of society and protect religious freedom.”

Here is the sequence of events:

“1. A unique and profoundly important group of achievements occurred during the 1500s and early 1600s.“
This includes Tyndale’s translation of the Hebrew and Greek versions of the Bible into English so it could be read by the people. Then, “With the enhancement of the English language by Tyndale and Shakespeare, wise and noble scholars produced the magnificent King James Version of the Bible in 1611. This great book of scripture has endured and is as important to us today as it was 400 years ago.”

“2. English common law and the U.S. Constitution.”
“At about the same time as the events just described, Sir Edward Coke produced the consolidation of English law in written form. His work was to law what the King James Bible was to religion. His volumes covered every conceivable legal topic and stated what the common law was on each.”

“Many consider the provisions of the common law produced by Coke as a foundation for several provisions in the U.S. Constitution, which celebrates its 225th anniversary this year and is viewed by Latter-day Saints as both inspired and necessary to the Restoration. Five elements of the Constitution have been identified as being particularly inspired:

1) Separation of powers into three independent branches of government.
2) The Bill of Rights’ guarantee of freedom of speech, press, and religion.
3) Equality of all men and women before the law.
4) The federal system, with a division of powers between the nation as a whole and the states.
5) The principle of popular sovereignty—the people are the source of government.”

It is very refreshing to see an apostle remind us of such important, basic, fundamental underpinnings of the Constitution. I take this article very seriously.

3. Scientific achievements, including the Industrial Revolution, the communications revolution, and advancements in medicine. . . . “
Elder Cook quotes historian Daniel Walker Howe: “During the thirty-three years that began in 1815, there would be greater strides in the improvement of communication than had taken place in all previous centuries. A second communications revolution has occurred during our lifetime. The most significant part of this involves the Internet.”

The Lord has given us the tools with which to do His work.

“4. A return to Judeo-Christian moral principles.
This was especially necessary for the Restoration of the gospel. A renewed emphasis on morality occurred in both England and the United States. It involved fervent religious awakenings, including those associated with the area of western New York State.”

Elder Cook’s article is about protecting our right to freely express our religion. Just as fish are the last to notice water, we have not paid attention to our religious liberty. Freedom of worship is not the same as freedom of religion. This warning from Francis Cardinal George, Catholic Archbishop of Chicago was recently published in the Deseret News:

“Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship– no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flows naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.”

Are we asking ourselves the right questions? Might the right questions include some of these?

Is our first national priority the restoration of religious liberty?
I think Elder Cook is pleading with us, from the Savior, to make it so.

Are we or are we not a moral and religious people?
Some of us are and some of us are not, but none of us is perfect – so we don’t know where the Lord draws the line. Are we righteous enough, and are there enough of us, to merit our Divinely inspired Constitution?

Who are the candidates most likely to protect religious liberty?
Our current president is working to destroy religious liberty and freedom of conscience. America does not understand this man. I suggest you go
here for a video trailer and CPAC speech by Dinesh d’Souza and consider watching his movie, 2016. To learn about the president’s mentor, go here, Also go here for Beck’s inspiring story of the Churchill incident mentioned by d’Sousa. Until d’Souza put the puzzle together for us, we could not have understood why the Churchill bust was returned.

Also search YouTube for “The Real Mitt Romney Glenn Beck” for Beck’s September 14, 2012 interviews with several families about Mitt Romney’s character. You’ll find four or five clips. Then for fun, here is Romney’s hilarious “roast” at the annual Albert Smith dinner.

What changes do we need to make to bring full Constitutionality back to our country?
Regardless of the outcome of the elections, our job is to work on ourselves, and then to work in our families and communities to become a more educated, moral, and religious people. We need to cleanse our hearts of entitlement dependencies on government and our behaviors of actions that are not in conformity with the Constitution. It may take us some time to do this.

Is there an order in which these things need to happen?
I don’t know the answer to that one. Maybe we work on all at once.

The current political battle is about good vs evil. If we do not elect enough good candidates, we will see religious liberty continue to be lost and along with it, morality and freedom. Morality includes proper financial practices, proper statesmanship, proper conduct in war – all the things that are part of good government.

Frequent days of fasting and prayer called for by government are a long held tradition in our country, or at least the used to be. A great deal of fasting and prayer is going on in our country today in what might end up being a Third Awakening.

There are many good candidtates running for offices right now who truely want America to be restored; but can they do it? Will they be led or forced astray by the Gadiantons as the patriot in Idaho predicts? If so, we will be in bondage. Let’s accept Elder Cook’s plea and give it a good fight.

Another article in the same Ensign magazine, How Disciples of Christ Live in Times of War and Violence, tells us “We live in a season of war.” That’s a quote from President Hinckley. The first three section titles highlight his words:

“Obedience Invites Deliverance
War Can Be a Call to Repent
God Provides Relief during War”

In the sidebar of this article we see what may also happen: “Amlici lost a contentious but legitimate election yet refused to relinquish his desire to reign over others.” That could happen in more than one of the current political races.

It is time to get serious and increasingly prayerful.

For further study listen to or read a very special article, America’s Fate and Ultimate Destiny, by Marion G. Romney, then second counselor to President Kimball, given at Brigham Young University on 2 May 1976. Notice the year; it was the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. I listened to the talk several times before I made the last name connection. Duh!

The Election is the Lesson: Times of Fasting and Prayer

October 14, 2012

Millions of Americans from thousands of Christian congregations are fasting and are on their knees frequently these days to plead for miracles in an election that is coming down to the choice between good and evil. David Barton, who is our favorite historian, taught a lesson on Glenn Beck’s program (October 11) about the practice of fasting and prayer in our nation’s history. I was amazed at how many times a time of prayer, or of fasting and prayer, was called by our country’s leaders. David also taught us about Abraham Lincoln’s religious experience and how his strong conversion changed the course of the war (sort of like how the King’s attack on religious liberty changed the course of his country.)

Please, please, please watch this program from Friday, October 11, on the Glenn Beck show, on The Blaze TV. The Blaze is the name of Beck’s on-line tv station. Your first two weeks are free, and you can watch previous shows in the archives without limit. Your children can watch Liberty Tree House. There are also a couple of news programs, with a lively group of young broadcasters. But most important, watch that Friday, Oct. 11, program and consider joining with millions of others in prayer if you aren’t already. Beck said his prayer right before the first debate was that the Lord would help people recognize good and evil. He does not consider Romney a perfect man, but he is a very good man, who, like Washington, would really rather not do this. He is a man the Lord can work with.

And please be sure you have registered to vote. The most important election of our day is only a few weeks away.

The Election is the Lesson: Protecting Religious Liberty

October 14, 2012

In the Vice President debate, Joe Bidden said no church would be forced to pay for birth control, which I knew was not true and I’m sure is a concern to our leaders. I went to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty to read their answer to that lie. Then, looking around the site, I found a picture on their “Our History” link which shows Thomas Beckett being martyred. The text read:

The Becket Fund is named after Thomas A. Becket (1118-70 AD), who stood resolutely at the intersection of church and state. As a friend of King Henry II, Becket served as Chancellor of England and oversaw the laws of the kingdom. But as Archbishop of Canterbury, he steadfastly refused to allow the King to interfere in the affairs of the Church and was martyred by the King’s knights for defending the principles of religious liberty.

The artist, Michael D. O’Brien, wrote:

After Becket’s death, Henry II’s reign became increasingly destabilized . . . . At the same time the Church in England flowered. In striving to amass power for the throne, the king had lost it. In losing his life, St. Thomas had gained it. These lessons remain unchanging to our own day.”

Religious liberty is necessary for our gospel to survive. (See Elder Cook’s article in the August Ensign), and it is being challenged in our day. Our apostles have written about it several times. We have a presidential candidate who has been destroying religious liberty. Do we have one who will protect religious liberty? Do we have Congressional candidates who will?

“Come, Follow Me,” A Gift from our Prophets

October 14, 2012

I’m excited! What a wonder the Lord’s church is! What a gift our leaders have given us!

Some time ago it occurred to me to make a mental audit of the priesthood among my grandchildren. In spite of the best efforts of their parents, the picture was bleak. The oldest of our grandsons had refused missions, and more seemed headed in that direction. I was shocked; I had never expected this.

My husband and I were young when we married, and completely ignorant of the Plan of Happiness. Then we joined the church and started on an upward path in full commitment to a gospel that challenged us. We also went from not being interested in having children to joyfully welcoming all the children the Lord would send us, then from being just the two of us to a posterity of 44. We had moved slowly, steadily forward for nearly half a century, and I had unconsciously assumed the trajectory would continue. The realization that “forward” wasn’t necessarily happening left me feeling ambushed, sabotaged.

Our family is not alone; this has been happening throughout the church and in other churches as well. So many youth have been lost! But now everything has changed by a plan so simple and logical and so obviously inspired that we are stunned. As thrilled as I was by the announcement itself, I was completely overwhelmed by the level of excitement I’m seeing in my grandchildren and their friends, and by the stories of young men and lining up at their bishops doors and Institute teachers joking that they won’t have a job next year. This must be somewhat like the calling up of the Sons of Helaman, yet very different because the Youth of Zion are mustering under happier circumstances.

Now, a year or two since my “audit,” we have grandchildren who are celebrating. I didn’t expect that! In the spring a granddaughter will be going, and another will be putting in her papers a year from now. They both have brothers who will leave while they are gone, and more plan to follow.

Beyond the boost in missionary work and the personal benefits to these young missionaries, here’s what else I see happening:

1. Teenage — the curse of extended childhood — will change. There will be more purpose in the lives of our youth, more maturity. In my inventory, I didn’t even count the girls, but one granddaughter said she has no problem with a mission at 19 and marriage after. She always wanted to serve but thought she would probably marry first. A nebulous goal is now a fixed one. She also mentioned that the pressure of dating would be greatly lessened. Hurray! The young men can now think high-school-to-mission without the distractions, a fixed goal for them as well. One young man who is barely sixteen said he could see he has some maturing to do. The whole culture will change for the youth of the Church.

2. As we all become more serious about those high school years, the high school education may be forced to change, especially in heavier Mormon populations. What mission-focused student will want to put up with the current school situation, either the immorality or the poor coursework? I can’t wait to see what happens.

I recently attended an Innovations in Education conference hosted by Utah Parents for Choice in Education. The conference was mostly about the cutting edge of technology in the classroom with somewhat about “blended” school options (using brick-and-mortar schools concurrent with public on-line charters). The ideas of these innovative people may not mesh well with our nation’s present march toward Common Core (the nationalization of education in the hands of social planners). This innovative work is being done to improve the public schools, so I will remain cautious, but I do think whatever they achieve will benefit us all. I assume some folks at BYUI know about all this because one of the presenters, Michael Horn, co-authored Disrupting Class with Clayton Christensen, and Clayton Christensen co-authored The Innovative University with Henry J. Eyring, an administrator at BYUI. It’s got to be The Lord’s work!

Meanwhile, the BYUI Pathway program, which allows students to complete the first two college years at home, is in place in locations around the world. There is now a post-thirty program, which my daughter is in and loves. She works mostly on-line, then meets with other students at the Institute once a week where they take turns making presentations. Will the next Pathway step be an early college program for our high school youth?

3. The educational delivery method in the Church has been changing, and I’ve been writing about these changes for the past few years as we’ve been taught by Elder Holland, Elder Jay Jensen, Elder Bednar, and the current and previous Sunday School presidencies. When I watched some of the new training links on the Church website and saw a teacher say, “I am more of a facilitator to help [students] actively learn,” I thought about the homeschoolers and hoped our readers are already doing this. We are the best laboratory for practicing “acting as free agents rather than being acted upon as objects.” If we aren’t mastering this method, we should be.

We have been given an exciting new youth curriculum, Come, Follow Me, which “is designed to help youth leaders pattern their teaching after the Savior’s methods, with the goal of helping youth become more converted to the gospel.” It is a “living, breathing resource—because it is Internet-based, it can regularly be updated with the latest words of the Brethren.” Sunday School President Russell Osguthorpe said, “These new learning resources will help us all learn and teach in the Savior’s way, in our homes and in our classrooms.” The Church is not doing this FOR us; we all do this together. It is a very different learning culture.

Public schooling families who embrace the new youth curriculum – and the new mindset — may decide to find agency-driven academic options as well, even if they don’t think of themselves as homeschoolers. Thus our motto: Every Home a School.

4. Another more subtle change we might see in coming years is that new marriages will begin on a stronger foundation. Our three oldest daughters married young. One mentioned already that a mission would have better prepared her. Our three youngest daughters, like so many these days, have married later. They were all endowed several years before their marriages. (Actually the youngest isn’t quite married yet but will be in December.) In the two sealing sessions of long-endowed, temple-attending adults, I felt a huge difference — a depth, maybe, or a maturity. Maybe it was because of the bride’s comfort in the temple. Whatever, we may soon see the maturity without sacrificing so many of the child-bearing years, and over time we may see more strong marriages and the raising of more strong children. We may see a whole culture shift.

A word of caution: We can expect this new church program to result in miraculous changes only if we follow the whole plan. The sending out of younger missionaries is not the program; the program is the preparation of young priesthood and sister missionaries through better teaching and stronger conversions. The program, in my opinion, will only work if the body of the church accepts the teaching aspects of it. Then we will all become much more than we now are. So let’s be leaders in this movement.

When the Savior taught, the learner’s agency was paramount. He showed us not only what to teach but also how to teach. He focused on the needs of the learner. He helped individuals discover truth for themselves. He always listened to their questions. – Elder Russell T. Osguthorpe