Category Archives: Freedom

LDS Holistic Living: Vaccines and Autism

Aug 30, 2014

Because parents everywhere find immunizations to be an agonizing decision, one that must now be made over and over from the birth of a child until it’s time to fill out mission papers, I am passing on this free offer from LDS Holistic Living because I believe the information is critical.  Whether you choose to immunize of not, the real issue is our freedom to make our own medical decisions.

LDS Holistic Health is offering two free audios and a free viewing of a documentary through Monday night.  These are about the dangers of vaccinations.  Go here to read their post and offer (you need to enter your credit card information, but the code they give you will override the card):  LDS Holistic Living.   

If you would like more information on health and diet, visit our other blog, LDS Diet and Health.

Independence Day: Have you celebrated it yet?

July 12, 2014
In recent years I have celebrated America’s Birthday by watching the movie 1776.  I watch it alone, in the early morning or when everyone else is at the fireworks.  Much of the language is objectionable.  My dvd (the 1972 G-rated version) has been edited to remove the inappropriate use of the Lord’s name, although there are still some other inappropriate things that have prevented me from inviting my family to watch it.  (The later version in which footage originally cut has been restored is rated PG and is longer.  It may be the only one available.)The characters are often incorrectly portrayed, of course, but the inaccuracies move me to study a little bit every year to get to know our Founders. This year I found a particularly good book (hiding in plain sight on my bookshelf) that tells the story of the Declaration and gives the biographies of the signers.  It is a reprint of an 1848 publication entitled The Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, by Benson Lossing, republished by David Barton at Wallbuilders.  I strongly recommend the book.The portrayals of John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin are what I love most about the movie; however, although far less literary license taken with them, what is taken may be much more egregious.  For instance, at one point shortly before the final vote we have this conversation, which appears on the 3-minute trailer:Dickinson: …why do you refer to King George as a tyrant?
Jefferson:  Because he is a tyrant.
Dickinson:  I remind you, Mr. Jefferson, that this “tyrant” is still your King.
Jefferson:  When a king becomes a tyrant he thereby breaks the contract binding his subjects to him.
Dickinson:  How so?
Jefferson:  By taking away their rights.
Dickinson: Rights that came from him in the first place.
Jefferson:  All except one – the right to be free comes from nature.

This conversation appears on the 3 minute trailer.

What does “comes from nature” mean?  The actual line in the Declaration is, “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” Apparently the writers wanted to leave God out of the story except when using His name as a pejorative.

What did the words “nature and nature’s God” mean to the Founders?  William Blackstone (1723-1780) explained:

  • As man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his Maker’s will. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature. . . . This law of nature, being coeval [coexistent] with mankind and dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this. . . . The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures [i.e., the “laws of nature’s God”]. . . . Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered [permitted] to contradict these.
When I went on Amazon today I discovered over 600 reviews of 1776.  I only read a few pages, but I found that many people watch this movie on the Forth of July.  I had thought I was the only one!  I also learned that nearly everyone in my small sample who commented was moved by the movie, most accepted it as a true representation, and only one mentioned that it was not necessarily accurate.  No wonder our country is so confused.  Storytelling is powerful, and this story is especially so.  Because I know that the Founders were inspired, religious men, I hadn’t realized that other people might not.This year I did attend the fireworks because we had family visiting from out of state.  A few days later Glenn Beck commented that he and others of his staff and audience had felt differently this year watching fireworks; something was missing.  His comments made me think about what I have felt in rcent years, and I can now put my own feelings into words:  After so many generations of false teaching of American history in our homes and schools, I don’t think most people know what we should be celebrating.  Maybe some are celebrating fireworks and possibly a vague idea of “free,” but not the Declaration of 1776 and all that goes with it.  How can we celebrate what we don’t know?  If we were to light candles on a decorated cake to celebrate the birthday of someone we’ve never met and isn’t present, would it be soul-satisfying?  Candles are fun, cake tastes good, but having nothing to connect us to a reason for the celebration makes the event shallow.Have you celebrated Independence Day yet?  If you watched the fireworks and came away feeling empty, or if you want to celebrate again, may I suggest that you watch President Hinckley’s 1997 Freedom Festival presentation, made available by Zion Tube, my favorite video resource.And then may I suggest that we all commit to learning our nation’s founding documents, history, and principles.  This is not just something nice to do; it is imperative if we want to save our country.  And it’s not just for homeschoolers; it’s for all Americans. We should teach our neighbors.  The time is short.

Someday we may have the privilege of meeting our nation’s founding patriots, and it might please them if we knew them accurately and appreciated their contributions.  We surely need their help now.

Celebrating the 4th of July should be a rich spiritual experience.  I don’t know whether 1776 should be part of your celebration, but try this closing scene, with my apologies for any bad words.

Common Core: Our Destruction or Our Opportunity, Part 1: America

May 4, 2013

From a Latter-day Saint Perspective
Part 1: America
by Joyce Kinmont

America was formed as a Christian country. All religions were welcome and free to practice their religion, but America was Christian. She was not to be an Anglican country or a Catholic country or a Buddhist country, but a Bible-based Christian country. Our Founders were clear about this — the most quoted source in their writings is the Bible. Their message is permanently preserved in our founding documents and in the architecture of our early American buildings and monuments: The national Capitol building itself is replete with messages; the Ten Commandments are chiseled on the Supreme Court building; scriptures are engraved on our monuments to Washington and Lincoln and others. And the entire pattern for a Christian life is revealed in a little known but very large monument in Plymouth. I wonder if it was hidden there for our day.

American education was always about Christianity. Harvard, our first university (1636), expected nothing less than Christian scholarship: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus which is eternal life, John. 17:3, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. . . . Everyone shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such and account of his proficiency therein.”

Yale (1701/1718) proclaimed itself a college “for the liberal and religious education of suitable youth” and required: “Seeing God is the giver of all wisdom, every scholar, besides private or secret prayer . . . shall be present morning and evening at public prayer.”

And Princeton (1746) said succinctly: “Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”

Of the first 106 American universities, 103 were founded by ministers. (see David Barton, Education and the Founding Fathers, Wallbuilders)

For children in early America education and religion were synonymous. So, also, was it in Christ’s childhood. Our Bible Dictionary tells us, under Education: “The ‘religious question’ could not exist in Jewish education any more than in Church schools today, for the whole purpose of education was religious. Nothing was regarded as worth learning except as it illustrated scripture.” So also, was it in early Utah where all churches had their own schools. Even after tax-supported schools came as a condition of statehood in Utah, Bible reading and a Christian feeling continued for some time.

Early Americans recognized that everything oppressive that had happened in the Old World happened because people did not have access to the Bible, and that everything changed once the could read the scriptures for themselves. The first school law in America, passed in 1642, was called “Ye Old Deluder Satan Act.” “It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the scriptures, as in former time . . .”  We could say that education to enable citizens to read scripture was the primary national security plan.

In the 1770’s America was forced by the mother country’s abuse of power to stand and declare her right to liberty through the Declaration of Independence (which was also a declaration of their dependence on God). Then American citizens fought for the rights of free men, rights established and ordained by God. Shortly after the War for Independence was won, Americans recognized the need for a charter or constitution to establish and declare the role of government.

In 1787 a Constitutional Convention was called in Philadelphia. (Heaven help us if we try to do that now!) Deliberations began on May 25 and ended with the signing of the new Constitution on September 17 (a day few pause to remember). The First Congress of the United States of America was seated on March 4, 1789, and on April 30 (another sacred day) George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States. As he held his hand on the Bible and kissed it, some people believe that he, like Moses him and Lincoln after him, made a covenant with God that so long as the people would served God, God would protect and bless the land. (see Timothy Ballard, America’s Sacred Covenant)

What a celebration these formative years on earth must have cause beyond the veil! Where were we? Were we watching President Washington from somewhere, gathered around Moroni, waiting for what we knew was soon to come? Thirty one years later all was ready, and Moroni stepped into a humble home in America to begin teaching young Joseph Smith. Did we shout for joy, and our children with us?

In the December 2012 Ensign Elder Perry wrote:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly a worldwide Church. Nevertheless, it is important to realize that the Church could never have become what it is today without the birth of a great nation, the United States of America. The Lord prepared a new land to attract the peoples of the world who sought liberty and religious freedom. This new land was blessed with strong leaders who felt duty bound to establish a government that allowed individuals to worship according to their own conscience.

“The Founding Fathers of the United States believed that religious faith was fundamental to the establishment of strong government. Many people in the world, however, have forgotten the central importance of religious beliefs in the formation of the policies, laws, and rules of government. Many Americans, for example, do not understand that the founders believed the role of religion would be as important in our day as it was in their day. The founders did not consider religion and morality an intellectual exercise—they forcefully declared it an essential ingredient of good government and the happiness of humankind. . . .

“The United States is the promised land foretold in the Book of Mormon—a place where divine guidance directed inspired men to create the conditions necessary for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the birth of the United States of America that ushered out the Great Apostasy, when the earth was darkened by the absence of prophets and revealed light. It was no coincidence that the lovely morning of the First Vision occurred just a few decades after the establishment of the United States.”

Everything . . . absolutely everything of value to us and to our Savior was riding on the United States and the guarantee of religious liberty. We whose scriptures recognize the Constitution as a sacred doctrine are particular stewards of religious liberty. How important would it be, then, that the true story of liberty be passed down from parent to child through all generations? How significant, how costly would be the loss of that knowledge to our posterity? And how would that loss multiply over the years?

Sadly, we all know that America is in trouble. We feel it in our hearts. Does it not seem obvious that what brought us to the edge of the precipice on which we now stand — and over which we may soon tumble — is the cessation of the teaching of true Americanism in America’s families and schools — and the opportunity that gave Satan to fill the void?

Enough generations have gone untaught that there are few people today who know the founders’ story or the critical importance of religion or the proper role of government well enough to effectively teach the upcoming generations or repair our government.

Elder Perry said, “As I read and watch the news each day, I am shocked at the difficulties we are creating for ourselves. As times and conditions change and become more complex, there seem to be fewer and fewer individuals capable of shouldering the responsibilities of leading positive change.” His sentiments were originally given in a Jan 2012 Devotional at BYUI, so I assume he wrote them in late 2011. Is he watching better news stories today?

Yet, it may just be that the flame of liberty is being kindled again. Maybe we need adversity to fan the fire. Would the Revolutionary War ever have happened if the King of England had not violated the principle of citizen representation? From that attempt at unrighteous control came “the times that try men’s souls,” the travail which birthed a free nation with a sacred Constitution meant for the blessing of all men (see D&C 101:76-80).

President Benson sometimes spoke of America as “the Lord’s base of operations.” He used that expression in the early 70’s when he dedicated a chapel in Pleasant Grove UT and said, “The first rule of warfare is to protect your base of operations.” American Latter-day Saints have a particular responsibility to know and protect the Constitution and the Lord’s gospel base.

The enemy of God and Liberty and Agency is Lucifer, himself, and he is a clever devil. Surely he didn’t simply show up for that one grand council in pre-mortality with a brilliant new plan; surely our struggle with him had been going on for some time. That last battle in pre-mortality over whether there would be agency on this earth is a battle we won! President Benson would tell us to continue to fight – and we will win again!

But what does winning mean? Does it means we are to reclaim a religious education for our children? Does it mean we have to become different kinds of learners and teachers? Does it mean recognizing the damage done to our children and our country by God-less education? Does it mean finding ways of healing that damage and reclaiming the wounded? Does it mean taking responsibility for our children’s upbringing, becoming less dependent on government and more dependent upon God? Does it mean we must be willing to pay whatever price is extracted of us?

Our precious gifts from God — religious liberty, traditional marriage, parental authority, private property, the right to bear arms, and so much more — are all vital to our survival as a free and religious people. In this paper we are particularly concerned with just one issue, the unconstitutional nationalization of education and the absolute control over curriculum, testing, teachers, students, and family by the elements of Common Core. That is what we will discuss in Part 2, coming soon.


For family study and discussion:

1. Please learn about the Matrix of Liberty monument which sets out the pattern for a Christian life. It is amazing. Search on line to rent, download, or purchase the documentary Monumental: The Search for America’s Greatest Treasure. The documentary begins with the story of the Pilgrims as I’ve never heard it taught before, which will cause us to search the depth of our faith and courage. Then the movie explains the story the monument tells. From it we see God’s plan for us.
Here’s a blog my daughter found about the monument although it doesn’t talk about the meaning of it. For that, you need to watch Monumental. Please!

2. Then you might want to watch two episodes of The Joseph Smith Papers on BYUTV: Joseph Smith The Statesman and Joseph Smith for President. And if you want to keep going, watch Land, Joseph, & “Justice” in Missouri, The Pure Religion of Joseph Smith, and others — Legal issues are hidden here and there.

3. Search the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants for the principles and lessons on education and government.

4. Introduce your family to history teacher Stan Ellsworth of American Ride, on Stan rides his motorcycle to historic sites; he is a great storyteller.

5. Visit the website, under Articles, where you will find much good information from prophets. This is not a church website so I can’t necessarily endorse everything on it. The three below are probably also on; I just happened to find them on this site and thought they would be a good start for family study:
The Constitution, A Heavenly Banner by President Ezra Taft Benson
The Divinely Inspired Constitution by Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Joseph Smith: Campaign for President of the United States an Ensign article by Arnold K. Garr, Feb 2009, 48–52.

6. If you want to know more about Joseph Smith’s candidacy, here are some articles from the BYU website.

Which Presidents’ Day?

February 16, 2013

Abraham Lincoln and George Washington’s of course!

We used to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 and Washington’s on February 22. In my childhood, way long ago, decorations were in every home and elementary schoolroom. The “5-and-10 cent” stores, affectionately called the “5 and 10”, had a nice variety of knickknacks and flags and pictures. Silhouettes were popular. The holiday was important to Americans. 

There was no question then that Washington and Lincoln were our greatest presidents. I knew their faces well from my childhood, but until recently I never knew about the covenants they made with God.

I learned this from Timothy Ballard, who teaches that both of these men understood that America was a Promised Land.  Both understood the covenants made between God and ancient Israel.  Both made covenants with God.

Abraham Lincoln:  You can read Tim Ballard’s fascinating article, “Joseph Smith, Abraham Lincoln, and the Call for Repentance” in Meridian Magazine.  You will learn of the religious struggle Lincoln had and the covenant he made that led to the call for emancipation.  It’s an inspiring and amazing article!

George Washington: You can purchase the video of Tim Ballard’s presentation “The Covenant” about Washington’s miraculous experiences and his walk with God.  The presentation was given at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Love event.  I wasn’t there, but I love, love, love this video. 

Order the video this week:  Tim’s publisher has agreed to give us a special price of $10 for the video (regular price $17.76) just for the coming week. I am not making any money on this and neither is the publisher; we just want to make this year a special celebration for two former Presidents whose stories need to be told. 

We will do this special “group buy” offer through PayPal.  Just send me an email at by Saturday, Feb 23, at noon.   Tell me how many copies you want and I will send you a bill which you can pay on your credit card.  A PayPal account is not necessary.  Postage will be $3.95 (unless you want more than two copies), and there is tax if you live in Utah.  I will do the work — I’ll go into Salt Lake on Monday the 24th to pick the videos up, and I’ll have them in the mail in padded envelopes that day or the next.  Obviously you’ll have to celebrate Washington’s birthday a bit late, but I promise it will be worth it.  (I have two copies of the video, one for myself and one that I am passing around the neighborhood.  I’m also having a family party on Feb 22, projecting the video on the wall, and serving cherry cake.)

Tim Ballard has researched and written two wonderful books, one about Washington and the newest one about Lincoln.  If this group buy is successful, I will ask if we can do one for the books in March or April.

Remember, the Lincoln article is free, and the Washington video is only $10 until noon on Saturday.  Send your order and address by Saturday at noon to  (I’ll buy envelopes Saturday afternoon and get them addressed.)

Was the founding of the United States of America a fulfillment of biblical prophecy?  Did George Washington defeat the greatest military power of his day by making a covenant with God? Was the Civil War a holy war?

Timothy Ballard has brought together a narrative of America that has never been told before. He has searched the depth and breadth of American history, revealing for sure about America what some Americans already knew, and many hoped to be true…. that God is the author of this nation.

Have a wonderful, extended Presidents’ Day,


The Election is the Lesson: “for such a time as this”

Joyce Kinmont,
LDS Home Educators Assn, since 1990

Many years ago, Diane Hopkins from wrote an article titled “The Baby is the Lesson.”  I don’t remember what the article said, but the title said volumes.  Regular schoolwork goes on auto-pilot or minimum schedule or is set aside all together while the most important lessons of life are learned.  What better teaching experience could there be?

Americans seem to have come alive with the recognition that the upcoming election is the most important election of our lifetime.  The presidential debates — the first one is being held tomorrow — is important and homeschoolers should watch and discuss it. 

Over the weekend I received a message from my good friend, Gayle Ruzicka, who is as constitutionally-minded a lady as you will ever meet and a long-time homeschooler and protector of homeschooling rights.  Her powerful influence can be measured by the way the media is always interviewing her about legislative matters, by the editorials written for and against her, and by the threats and hate mail she gets from certain groups.  Gayle was never a strong Romney supporter because Romney was not a strong conservative.  Now she, like so many others, has taken a deeper look and is wholeheartedly supporting him. Her endorsement means a lot.

I am also satisfied that Romney is the man for our day.  President Benson used to say that America is the Lord’s base of operations, and the first rule of warfare is to protect your base.  I have to think that if there are enough good people and the Constitution is to be saved, surely the Lord would want a spiritual, faithful leader?  Romney may need some informed citizen pressure here and there, and he needs a constitutional congress to work with him, but he is up to the job and the alternative is unthinkable.  Here is Gayle’s email note (emphasis hers):

Dear Friends,

Please join Don and myself as we join with thousands of good people across this nation in a special day of fast and prayer for Mitt Romney on Sunday, September 30. 
Mitt and his family need our prayers and support.  The first presidential debate will be [tomorrow], October 3, and we need to pray for Mitt’s success at the debate.  We need to pray that Mitt will have the strength and endurance necessary to survive the next 6 weeks.
We must have a change in the White House.  I am concerned that freedom cannot not survive for 4 more years if the current administration remains.

God loves the United States of America and he wants us to be successful as a nation. I believe if we do all that we can through our hard work and prayers in behalf of Mitt Romney that miracles will happen and through God’s grace this nation will be saved.
Can you imagine the power of a fast with thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people from all religious beliefs and churches joining together in prayer for the salvation of our country through the election of Mitt Romney?  Remember Esther Chapter 6 when Esther asked her people to “fast for me?”  They did and a nation was saved.
Please contact all your friends and family everywhere and ask them to join with us in this special day of fast.  Ask them to contact all of their friends.  Take this message to the churches. You can forward this email or compose your own.
I am so excited to be a part of this time in history, to have this special opportunity to stand for liberty.  Who knows that just maybe we are here for “such a time as this.”
Thank you,
Gayle Ruzicka

I received Gayle’s message a second time when it was forwarded by Oak Norton, a former Ron Paul supporter.  You may not know Oak, but he is probably the leading voice in opposition to Common Core.  You may not know what Common Core is, but you can learn about it on Oak’s website, Utah’s Republic .  Just look for articles on the right sidebar.  Common Core is the complete nationalization of education, which is the complete antithesis of liberty.  It will result in the end of homeschooling, and I can hardly think about what it will mean to our children.  Mitt Romney does not support Common Core.  Here is the note Oak added to Gayle’s email:

For any of you that feel like participating in this, I will be. Many of you are Ron Paul supporters like myself. Many of you were frustrated at the treatment he received by the GOP. I know I was. However, one thing is clear and that is the president has a definite motive to destroy America. His agenda is to tear us down and implement a fundamental change that would negate the constitution. Mitt Romney has some big government tendencies but he loves America. He’s also a good person at heart who loves God and I believe with that characteristic in the office of President, he will be open to inspiration because this country needs it more than ever if we are going to turn things around. Mitt turned around Massachusetts’ finances while he was in office, and my hope is that he can do the same for this country. We all know we need it and we all know we’re not going to get it from our current president who is actively trying to push us further into debt.

I was not home on Saturday so I couldn’t send this message out on time, but fasting and prayer is going on all over this country and will continue.  There are many perspectives out there, so please be patient where there are disagreements.  And please be very serious about the consequences of this election.

Incidentally, Gayle was at the Republican convention and was well aware of the mischief that happened there against Ron Paul.  It was not Mitt’s doing; he was campaigning in a different state at the time.

I will post as much information as I am able between now and the election. I hope you will take it in the spirit in which it is offered.  We are living in a historic time.

On 9-11 you probably spent the day in front of your television, maybe many days.  You may remember that flags were seen everywhere; you probably put one up in your front yard.  My daughter Tina was homeschooling in Salt Lake City at that time, and life stopped for them.  Even though they knew no one in the buildings, they clung to every piece of information. The event became the lesson. To focus her children, who were fairly young, on something positive, she had them make thank you cards for the New York City police and firefighters.  Then they put out a call for other children to make cards.  They put drop boxes in local libraries.  The tv news reported the effort.  Twelve hundred cards were collected by Tina and her children and sent to New York City through the Red Cross.  

This year an ambassador and three others were killed on 9-11 and the White House lied about it.  This month the election is the lesson.  We fought a spiritual battle over liberty before and we were valiant then; we are fighting for liberty again here on earth, both spiritually and physically.  Who shall be our Captain?  Who shall be his warriors?

Study from true sources, pray, fast if you can, and ask the Lord what you should lay on the altar.  The election is the lesson.  Our role in saving the Constitution and all that it stands for is the lesson. God bless us.

Why Homeschoolers Must Study the Constitution, Part 2

Joyce Kinmont, ..
LDS Home Educators Assn, since 1990..

We will be finished here with the Hatch/Liljenquist story which has begun to look quite petty compared with some of the outrageous statements we’ve been hearing elsewhere lately.  But it is not petty because we are talking about church members and our disagreements with each other.  

In Utah where we have caucus meetings to elect delegates to vote in a primary convention, there was much contention over the Hatch race.  Caucus meetings that have been sparsely attended in past years were suddenly swamped with people this year, and utter chaos resulted.  The Church had written a letter encouraging participation is caucus meetings, and the letter was read in Sacrament meeting the two weeks before the meetings.  Actually, the same letter has been read every election year, but this year people actually listened.  Local leaders were eeven ncouraged to participate, which was a new direction.  Everyone seems to understand that November’s elections are critical, that everything from employment to health care to religious freedom, and even our right to homeschool, is on the line.  The Saints did participate; we overwhelmed facilities and the preparations. 

Unfortunately, few people did their due dilligence.  Many seemed to feel that Romeny and Hatch will “save” us.  That would be nice, but I don’t think it will work that way, as we will see in Part 3.  My concern is that much of the voting was shallow, that we have not yet learned the lessons the Lord wants us to learn because we haven’t done the studying and the soul searching that is required. 

There is also much disagreement among the various political organizations who sometimes attack each other.  All freedom-loving people ought to be moving forward, with their eyes fixed on the doctrines of liberty, not on each other.   Let’s assume that others are fulfilling their personal missions as they are inspired and as best they can.  Course corrections will be made until we all find the exact path and meet on the road to Zion.  Yes, we must watch and evaluate those to whom we have given a portion of stewardship, but we have no responsibility to crush those who are on their own errand for the Lord.  Our criticism of each other can’t be pleasing to the Master.

Brigham Young said “Every man in the Kingdom of God would give the same counsel upon each subject, if he would wait until he had the mind of Christ upon it.”  That is our goal.

I remember a time, a decade or two ago I guess, when the apostles frequently made statements such as, “Never have we been so united.”  It seemed strange to me that they could be anything but united.  Then I realized that some of those leaders were alive not long after the Wilson years when Church members  — and the Church was mostly in Utah at the time — were very much divided over President Woodrow Wilson and his League of Nations.  (I’ll share that story later.)  So as unity increased it might have felt remarkable to them.

I don’t recall hearing any comments about unity lately, which might mean it’s the common state now among our leadership.  In his Oct. 1988 Conference address, “I Testify,” President Benson said, “As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested.”  Every test we pass, every alignment we make, will make us more unified until we get to where our leaders are.

I’ve added a video at the end of this message which shows us how the Prophets work in unity.  You’ll love it, I promise.  So please read on to finish up what we started in Part 1 and then watch the video to prepare for Part 3. We’d love to hear your comments, especially as you teach your children these things. 

The Costs of Deception

Destroyed Reputations

As a result of the “attack ad” mailer against Dan Liljenquist sent out by Senator Orrin Hatch, was a reputation destroyed? Was Utah denied the Jr. Senator who might have led the charge to re-empower the states in the pattern set by the Founding Fathers? Probably not specifically by this single ad, but the total impact of deceptive ads may well have.

For example, one video ad by FreedomPath[1] correctly states that Dan Liljenquist was absent from the Senate 24% of the time and missed 227 votes. We hear a frustrated voice calling him, as if no one knows where he is. In truth, Dan wasn’t absent from the Capitol or from his legislative job. He sponsored two landmark bills that session and he was actually working with leadership and spending a lot of time in the House chambers educating the members there about his legislation. He missed no critical votes and was nationally recognized for his legislation: “A legislative analysis projected that the new law could save the state as much as $10.5 million in the long run. Liljenquist’s efforts won praise from the Wall Street Journal and Governing Magazine, which named him one of its Public Officials of the Year in 2011.”[2]  Certainly Senator Hatch knew this. (And maybe Utah’s Senate leadership wanted former State Senator Liljenquist to win the U.S. Senate seat so he could work on repealing the 17th Amendment. What a blessing that would have been to the states.)

Liljenquist is no longer a candidate this year, but he deserves to have his reputation defended. Earlier in the election cycle the delegates who had been chosen in local caucus meetings were invited to a debate which included Senator Hatch and two challengers, Dan Liljenquist and Chris Herrod. That debate is available on YouTube.[3]  Both challengers are good men — and Utah has many more like them, but we have to wonder, How do false accusations affect the candidate pool for future elections?

  • Lesson #2: Bearing false witness against another candidate may destroy that candidate’s reputation and deprive him, and the citizens, of the leadership of good men.   (Lesson #1 is in Part 1)

Destroyed Friendships

The inappropriateness of the 17th Amendment attack against a good man led Bert Smith, a highly respected Utah businessman, to place an advertisement in the Salt Lake Tribune withdrawing his 36 year endorsement of Senator Hatch.[4]   The “36 years” clues us that Mr. Smith was one of the original Hatch supporters and financial backers. He is one of the most beloved men in our state and a true patriot. This must have been a sad day.

  • Lesson #3: Character matters. Candidates must put integrity above the desire to win.  Lapses in integrity have consequences.

Fiscal Responsibility

A great deal of money is spent on political campaigns, and money certainly played a part in Senator Hatch’s winning of the Primary. While Liljenquist spent $613,608 on his campaign, Hatch “raised and spent more than 10 times that.”[5]  (Since Liljenquist received one vote for every two cast for Senator Hatch, it appears that Liljenquist did get more votes for his dollars.)

If we are to become a better society, we must make a moral connection to campaign spending. We don’t want more government control, but we do want the repulsion of the people to both the financial waste and the immorality of false campaigning to influence candidates.

Shortly after the election of Ronald Reagan, I heard Stephen Covey suggest that Reagan should go into “education mode.”  Wouldn’t it be nice to hear a President or a candidate quoting the Constitution when discussing an issue?  Last night we watched the FreedomWorks event at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Love Rally.  Senator Mike Lee from Utah was one of the speakers, and we were excited when he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a booklet with a picture of George Washington on the front and the text of the Constitution and the Declaration inside.  My daughter had just given out nearly thirty of those that morning to a group of Chinese foreign exchange students, two of whom are staying with her family.  She had taught a class for them about American government.  (The pocket Constitution booklets are published by the NCCS,

  • Lesson #4: If campaign money is being spent to honestly enlighten the voters and to discuss differing viewpoints, fine; spending money to mislead voters or to disparage opponents is not appropriate, especially for candidates who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

Candidate Responsibility

Was Senator Hatch Responsible for the Deceptive Mailer?

The 17th Amendment mailer says it was “paid for by Hatch Election Committee, Inc.”  It doesn’t say who prepared it, but I assume it was prepared by Freedom Path,[6] an organization to which the Senator has had ties. To be fair, I wanted to know if Senator Hatch actually knew about the mailer and what it said, so I talked to his local field office, his local campaign office, and his Washington office.  I was told that absolutely the Senator did know about the mailer and did sign off on it.

  • Lesson #5 Candidates are responsible for ads sent out in their names and for the tone and substance of their own campaigns. Campaign advertising reveals character.

Did the mailing reflect Senator Hatch’s views?

I was well assured that the 17th Amendment mailer did, in fact, reflect the Senator’s views, and that:

  • he “believes the common person is smart enough to know who he wants to represent him in Congress”
  • “direct election of senators was passed over a hundred years ago and he doesn’t want to go back to that”
  • “he doesn’t want legislatures to pick the senators because it creates cronyism” and legislators “do not look out for the good of the people”  [The Founders intendent the state legislators to look out for the good of their state and to do so with integrity.  The Constitution only works for a moral and religious people.  Today the states are forced to fight Washington overreach directly, and we aren’t doing so well.]

The staffer in the Washington office said he had talked with the Senator several times about the 17th Amendment and the Senator believes:

  • there is “no chance of the 17th Amendment being repealed because the states wanted it and voted for it”
  • it’s really a non-issue because “no one is talking about doing that”

He also assured me that the Senator had signed off on the ad and does stand behind the statement that repeal would “set America back 100 years” (which means, of course, that the 1913 amendment moved us forward).  He said the Senator believes in the concept of Federalism but wants to go about it in different ways.  I ask, “What ways?” and he referred me to an op-ed piece on the subject co-authored by the Senator and Utah’s Governor Herbert. I found that article on the Senator’s website.[7]  Here are two sentences:

  • Utah is one of a growing list of states, now numbering at least 39, proposing legislation or constitutional amendments to resist various aspects of the proposed federal takeover of the healthcare system. . . . Americans are revisiting the words of the nation’s founders such as James Madison, who wrote that the federal government’s powers are “few and defined” while those retained by the states are “numerous and indefinite.”

The article was an interesting piece of doublespeak.  It says that in May of 2010 at least some of 39 states were considering some kind of Constitutional amendment.  A constitutional amendment would require ratification by 3/4’s of the vote of the 50 states, or 38 states. There may be more frustrated states by now.  The article speaks of  looking to the “founders such as James Madison” for guidance.  James Madison is the Father of the Constitution, but the Senator who emphatically does not want to go back to Madison’s way says doing so would “set America back 100 years and introduce more corruption and backroom deals.”

If the Senator thought the 17th Amendment was an important issue, he could have simply given factual reasons why he didn’t agree with repealing it: repeal is not wanted by the states because . . ., he has a better way of fixing the problem than the original Constitution, which is . . . .  There was no need to accuse his opponent of malicious motives and the legislature — to whom he should be reporting — of future misconduct in “corruption and backroom deals.”

  • Lesson #6: Candidates should debate the facts and express their views clearly, with honesty and integrity, so voters can measure those views against the views of other candidates and against the principles of proper government.
  • Lesson #7: No more personal attack ads, please, on all sides. They are a symptom and revealer of the state of our culture. They may buy votes but they don’t buy eternity, as men may be held accountable for the harm they do to other candidates.

I have picked on Senator Hatch because he is the one who is in Washington.  The Utah State Senate has no authority over him, thanks to the 17th Amendment.  He has said he will not seek another term, so he doesn’t have to worry about what the voters think or how his record will look for another election.  For the next six years the only pressures on him will be from his colleagues and the special interests groups in Washington — and from we, the people.  Because he expects to head a powerful finance committee, his political behaviors are the business of all Americans.

Actually, I don’t know that Mr. Liljenquist, or most of us, could behave any better after 36 years in Washington.  We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get . . .  to Washington to drink the Potomac Punch. (see D&C 121:39)

Next time we’ll talk about what we can do as citizens.   Now I will share the President Wilson story, but you must promise to watch the video after; otherwise you might be left with a bruise to your testimony.  Obviously Joseph Smith had many dissentions in his administration, and they didn’t end until the Saints felt the mantle fall upon Brigham Young after Joseph’s death.  The Church is always moving forward.  The low point in one area is described below, and the current high point is described in the video.  So watch it and let’s keep moving forward!!!

The Story of the Divide over President Wilson

According the book Presidents and Prophets, by Michael K. Winder, there was much dispute in the Church over President Wilson who served from 1913 – 1921.  Winder quotes Historian James Allen, who said, “Perhaps at no time in [Church] history had there been such divergence of opinion among its leaders.”

According to Winder, Apostle/US Senator Reed Smoot considered Wilson “autocratic and bull-headed” and “arrogant, sanctimonious, hypocritical, and a poor statesman.”  “He and other GOP Apostles also complain that the Church-owned Deseret News is too sympathetic toward Wilson.” [Constitutionalists still find the paper lacking.]

Utah loved Wilson, and he did say and do all the right “Christian” things.  Utah gave him 59% of the vote, which, according to Winder, caused Joseph Fielding Smith to write in his journal, “In my judgment the Latter-day Saints show a wonderful lack of good sense in elections.” Winder continued, “Yet, Mormon laborers and railroad men appreciate[d] Wilson’s eight-hour workday law, and Utah’s many farmers enjoy[ed] relative prosperity under Wilson’s first term.”  [Did the Saints not know that laboring men and farmers are not the responsibility of the President?]

In 1918 Wilson announced the League of Nations.  He came to Utah in 1919 to promote it and was received with a “great street parade.” He spoke in the Tabernacle.  President Heber J. Grant “firmly endorsed the League of Nations at a quarterly conference of the Salt Lake Stake. However, he made it clear that he was speaking as an individual and not as a Church leader; that scriptures were not to be used on either side of the argument; that neither side represented an official Church position; and that the issue should not divide the Church.”

Ultimately, with the help of Senator Smoot who felt that “Wilson was overly ambitious and power hungry, the U.S. Senate blocked American membership in the League of Nations.”

“Seventy B. H. Roberts avidly supported the League and declared that the scriptures supported the ideas.  State Department official (and future First Presidency member) J. Reuben Clark Jr. spoke passionately against it.” Apostle George F. Richards said in Stake Conference, “I believe that the president of the United States was raised up of the Lord. . . .  I believe that the League of Nations is inspired of God.” And “BYU’s faculty and student body vocally supported the League.” [Constitutionalists still find BYU lacking.]

So that was the great divide.  Now here’s the great unity for which we must also reach:

Cleon Skousen & Henry B. Eyring learn how Church leaders arrive at consensus.

to be continued

[1] The ad was still there at the time of this writing.
[6];  Liljenquist was helped by, to which he has no connection; has information on both organizations, but who checks FactCheck?
[7] U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, “Washington Takeover of Healthcare Shows Need to Recommit to Federalism,” Deseret News, 5-13-2010

Why Homeschoolers — and every home is a school — Must Study The U. S. Constitution, Part 1

In a recent discussion with homeschoolers, I asked the question:  What really is core? What really matters most? My own simple answer is:  Whatever is on the test.  And on what are we now being tested?  Is it not faith and freedom?  And after that whatever is needed for our personal missions.

Let’s talk about Freedom first, then faith.  What if we were to be transferred through the veil this very day, welcomed by a Heavenly being, and asked, “What is your understanding of the proper role of personal, family, and civil government?  How have you lived the principles?  What have you taught your children about governing?  What have you done to protect liberty in America?

The United States Constitution is a divinely inspired document, like unto scripture, that should take us into the Millennium if we will only follow it.  The journey will require us to become Christlike in our political decisions and discussions.  It would require us to be educated.  This article is a call for citizens to know the principles of good government and live by them to avoid being deceived and to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands.

Our discussion will center on Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and the 17th Amendment to the Constitution because his final campaign mailer is what caught my attention, but the call is for all elected leaders and all citizens.  Hatch is a nationally known Congressman who is closely aligned with Mitt Romney.  If Romney is elected – and he is certainly the best of the two choices — we cannot assume that a burden has been lifted and go back to sleep.  Our duty as citizens is to be ever vigilant in protecting our freedoms.  We can’t all watch everything, but we can all do our parts.  The hope for our country is not in political power but in the power of knowledge and righteousness and prayer.   We have a long way to go.

The 17th Amendment to the Constitution

Do you know how the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution changed our government?
Do you know who backed that 1913 Amendment and why?
Do you know how the Founders originally wrote that section of the Constitution and why?

  • Section III, 1st Clause.
    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each State,  chosen by the legislatures thereof, for six years ;  and each senator shall have one vote.
    – The Constitution as punctuated in an 1873 schoolbook.
    (The Declaration and Constitution were once included in all school history books.)
  • Amendment XVII, 1913
    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

If we are going to be able to discern truth and avoid being deceived as our Constitution hangs by a thread, we must understand America’s foundational documents and the intent of the Founding Fathers who birthed our nation.  The following story provides many lessons:

About a week before the June 26, 2012, Utah Primary election, incumbent U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, who was being challenged by former Utah State Legislator Dan Liljenquist, sent out a final mailer, this one about the 17th Amendment.  Senator Hatch knows the Constitution well.  When he was a young lawyer, about forty years ago, his strong commitment to the Constitution was noticed by wise men who vetted and supported him in a successful challenge to an incumbent U.S. Senator who had been in office 18 years.  Hatch was a Constitutional hero in those early years.  But what now?  After 36 years as a Senator, and as a 78-year-old Latter-day Saint, he should be the pinnacle of respectability, honesty, and integrity.  Sadly, the mailer tells a somewhat different story, that of a basically good man with a touch of arrogance.

One side of the 8 ½ x 11 glossy print mailer has a dark graphic and says:

Dan Liljenquist wants your vote – literally.

He wants to take away your right to vote for U.S. Senator and
and [sic] give it to the legislature.

The other side headlines with:


A paragraph follows:

  • Dan Liljenquist wants to repeal the 17th amendment, taking away your right to directly vote for U.S. Senators and give your vote to his former colleagues and friends in the state legislature.  Changing back would [sic] to the old system for electing senators would set America back 100 years and introduce more corruption and backroom deals.

Then there is a quote from a published article:

  • New American
    Utah’s Liljenquist Pledges to Work to Repeal 17th Amendment
    “Later in the interview, in a surprising answer to a question, Liljenquist
    informed The New American that he supports the repeal of the 17th Amendment.   Liljenquist explained his opposition to the popular election of the U.S. Senate that was effected by the ratification of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.”
    April 25, 2012

The tone of this mailer[1] suggests that Mr. Liljenquist was doing something horrible.  Was he?  Senator Hatch did not tell us anything about the New American. We are not told whether the New American was pleased or disturbed by the “surprising answer.”  Nor were we told what Liljenquist’s explanation was.  Had the Senator continued to quote, the next paragraphs would have been:

  • “There is a disconnect between the state legislatures and the state delegations in Washington, D.C.”  “I commit that if I ever lose the support of the Utah State Legislature, I will come home and not return to Washington,” he continued.The candidate is correct in his view of the proper relationship between state government and federal Senate as established by our Founders in the Constitution. History is on Liljenquist’s side, as well.

    Edmund Randolph, Governor of Virginia and representative of that state at the Constitutional Convention, said that the object of the particular mode of electing Senators was to “control the democratic branch.” Recognizing the terrors historically accompanying any government with even a slight tincture of democracy, Randolph admonished that “a firmness and independence may be the more necessary in this branch, as it ought to guard the Constitution against encroachments of the Executive who will be apt to form combinations with the demagogues of the popular branch.”

    James Madison, known appropriately as the Father of the Constitution, said that “the use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system, and more wisdom than the popular branch” and to “protect the people against the transient impressions in which they themselves might be led.”

    During the debates on the matter in the Convention, Luther Martin of Maryland said it plainly: “The Senate is to represent the states.”  Finally, Roger Sherman, an influential delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, wrote in a letter to John Adams: “The senators, being … dependent on [state legislatures] for reelection, will be vigilant in supporting their rights against infringement by the legislative or executive of the United States.

    ”With Sherman’s assessment in mind, is it reasonable to regard the abolition of this check on the legislative and executive branches of the central government as a purposeful tactic of the enemies of our Constitution? That is to say, with the “artillery” of state legislatures silenced by the 17th Amendment, the ability of the legislative and executive branches to collude in the usurpation of power would be significantly increased. Indeed, the “combination” of demagogues in the executive and legislative branches has formed and has thrived in the post-17th Amendment electoral environment.

    In his comments, Liljenquist displayed a remarkable and noteworthy comprehension of other fundamental aspects of federalism, as well. In response to a question from The New American regarding his interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, enumerated powers, and the right of states to be self-governing, Liljenquist answered in a frank and well-informed manner that should please all supporters of the Constitution in the Beehive State.[2]

The New American did find fault with Liljenquist on a few issues but was obviously very pleased with his Constitutionalism.  The New American is a publication of the John Birch Society, a favorite organization of past President Ezra Taft Benson and others of the General Authorities of the LDS Church.

Dr. Cleon Skousen is the man who mentored the young Orrin Hatch and helped him break into politics.  In The 5,000 Year Leap, published in 1981, Dr. Skousen wrote:

  • Originally, the states could protect themselves because U.S Senators were appointed by the state legislatures, and the Senate could veto any legislation by the House of Representatives which they considered a threat to the rights of the individual states. Unfortunately, the protection of states’ rights by this means was completely wiped out by the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913. . . .Sometime in the not-too-distant future, the people may want to take another look at the present trend and consider the advantages of returning to the Founders’ policy of having state legislatures [choose who would represent them] in the United States senate. It might give us another generation of Senators like Daniel Webster, John Calhoun, and Henry Clay.[3]

The forward for this 1981 book was written by Senator Orrin G. Hatch (it has not been included in the most recent printings):

  • . . . these precepts are precisely what America needs today.  It is alarming to think of the billions of dollars which we are expending each year trying to solve problems by methods which the Founders knew were fallacious.  They attempted to warn us, to share their wisdom with us.  Too often their counsel has been ignored.  Now we must return to them.I am also pleased that this book is easy to read . . . . it is the kind of stimulating book I should like to see being studied in all of our high schools and universities.  It would be equally profitable reading for members of Congress and Justices of the Supreme Court.  I would recommend it to the White House staff and the officers of executive agencies who are seeking guidance in solving the complex problems which face America today.[4]

So, what are we to think?  Did Senator Hatch just forget why the Founders wanted the State Legislatures to select the Senate?  Did he purposely misrepresent the issue?  If so, he purposely deceived many good citizens and belittled a good man in order to further his own ends.

Lesson #1:  We need to be Constitutionally literate to avoid purposeful or
accidental deception and to be able to make wise judgments.

Part 2 coming soon