Obama Government vs. Liberty, American Soldier

WHY IS HE STILL IN CHARGE???

keyRetired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, said the White House fails to take action or investigate its own, but finds it easy to fire military commanders “who have given their lives for their country.”

By  Paul

(General Paul Vallely)

militaryguttingWhat is wrong with this picture?

 

The picture is of the five first line US nuclear carriers docked together in one place. Just like Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor , December 7, 1941.

 

This picture was taken the February 2014 in Norfolk , Virginia … Obama ordered 5 nuclear carriers into harbor for “routine” (?) inspections. Heads of the Navy were flabbergasted by the directive but had to comply as it was a direct order from their Commander-in-Chief.

The carriers were all pulled out from the MIDDLE EAST and the Afghanistan support role leaving our land forces naked and exposed!


NORFOLK, VA. (February 8, 2014). This is the first time since WWII that five nuclear powered aircraft carriers were docked together. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are all in port at Naval Station Norfolk , Va. , the world’s largest naval station.

Knowledgeable Sources stated that this breached a long standing military protocol in the Navy meant to avoid a massive enemy strike on major US forces.
(U..S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ryan J. Courtade/Released).

Obama is ‘Commander in chief’.

 

This ordering of most of the Navy’s capitol ships into one place is unprecedented since Pearl Harbor !  This could be the creation of a false flag atomic incident too stupid for any enemy to pass up.

————————————————————————–

Also, why did the following happen?  Is this a routine changing of the guard?  Or what?

Military Purge

generalpaulvallelyRetired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, said the White House fails to take action or investigate its own, but finds it easy to fire military commanders “who have given their lives for their country.”

 

 

 

GenCarterHamBengaziCriticGen. Carter Ham, Army

Served as head of the United States African Command during the bloodshed in Benghazi, Libya when four American citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two retired Navy Seals, were murdered by militants on Sept. 11, 2012. Senior military officials told TheBlaze Hamm was extremely critical of the Obama administration, including when reinforcements were not sent to help the U.S. citizens under attack in Benghazi. Hamm “resigned and retired” in April 2013.

 

 

 

 

GenGurganusMarineMaj. Gen. Charles M.M. Gurganus, Marine Corps

Regional commander in the Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan. Highly decorated with a Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit with Valor, and three Meritorious Service Commendations. According to several military officials, Gurganus questioned having to use Afghan security patrols alongside American patrols after two officers were executed at their desk and a platoon was lead into an ambush on the front lines.

 

 

 

Major General Paul Vallely (Ret):

This long list of senior military officers and one sergeant major c omes at no great surprise to me because of the direction this c ountry is heading.

Here is the list of our military elite who have been purged or fired under Obama:

Commanding Generals fired:
·  General John R. Allen-U.S. Marines Commander International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] (Nov 2012)
·   Major General Ralph Baker  (2 Star)-U.S. Army Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn in Africa (April 2013)
·   Major General Michael Carey  (2 Star)-U.S. Air Force Commander of the 20th US Air Force in charge of 9,600 people and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (Oct 2013)
·   Colonel James Christmas-U.S. Marines Commander 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit & Commander Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response Unit (July 2013)
·   Major General Peter Fuller-U.S. Army Commander in Afghanistan (May 2011)
·   Major General Charles M.M. Gurganus-U.S. Marine Corps Regional Commander of SW and I Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan (Oct 2013)
·   General Carter F. Ham-U.S. Army African Command (Oct 2013)

  • Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon  (3 Star), Jr.-U.S. Army 58th Superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point , NY (2013)
    ·   Command Sergeant Major Don B Jordan-U.S. Army 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command (suspended Oct 2013)
    ·   General James Mattis-U.S. Marines Chief of CentCom (May 2013)
    ·   Colonel Daren Margolin-U.S. Marine in charge of Quantico ‘s Security Battalion (Oct 2013)
    ·   General Stanley McChrystal-U.S. Army Commander Afghanistan (June 2010)
    ·   General David D. McKiernan-U.S. Army Commander Afghanistan (2009)
    ·   General David Petraeus-Director of CIA from September 2011 to November 2012 & U.S. Army Commander International Security
  • Assistance Force [ISAF] and Commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan [USFOR-A] (Nov 2012)

    GenBryanRoberts

  • ·   Brigadier General Bryan Roberts-U.S. Army Commander 2nd Brigade (May 2013)

  • ·   Major General Gregg A. Sturdevant-U.S. Marine Corps Director of Strategic Planning and Policy for the U.S. Pacific Command & Commander of Aviation Wing at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan (Sept 2013)
  • Colonel Eric Tilley-U.S. Army Commander of Garrison Japan (Nov 2013)
    ·   Brigadier General Bryan Wampler-U.S. Army Commanding General of 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command [TSC] (suspended Oct 2013)

    Commanding Admirals fired:

    ·   Rear Admiral Charles GaouetteU.S. Navy Commander John C. Stennis  Carrier Strike Group Three (Oct 2012)
    ·   Vice Admiral Tim Giardina(3 Star, demoted to 2 Star)-U.S. Navy Deputy Commander of the US Strategic Command, Commander of the Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group 9 and Submarine Group 10 (Oct 2013)

Naval Officers fired: (All in 2011)
·  Captain David Geisler-U.S. Navy Commander Task Force 53 in Bahrain (Oct 2011)
·   Commander Laredo Bell-U.S. Navy Commander Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs , NY (Aug 2011)
·   Lieutenant Commander Kurt Boenisch-Executive Officer amphibious transport dock Ponce (Apr 2011)
·   Commander Nathan Borchers-U.S. Navy Commander destroyer Stout (Mar 2011)
·   Commander Robert Brown-U.S. Navy Commander Beachmaster Unit 2 Fort Story , VA (Aug 2011)
·   Commander Andrew Crowe-Executive Officer Navy Region Center Singapore (Apr 2011)
·   Captain Robert Gamberg-Executive Officer carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower (Jun 2011)
·   Captain Rex Guinn-U.S. Navy Commander Navy Legal Service office Japan (Feb 2011)
·   Commander Kevin Harms- U.S. Navy Commander Strike Fighter Squadron 137 aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln (Mar 2011)

  • Lieutenant Commander Martin Holguin-U.S. Navy Commander mine countermeasures Fearless (Oct 2011)
    ·   Captain Owen Honors-U.S. Navy Commander aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (Jan 2011)
    ·   Captain Donald Hornbeck-U.S. Navy Commander Destroyer Squadron 1 San Diego
    (Apr 2011)
    ·   Rear Admiral Ron Horton-U.S. Navy Commander Logistics Group, Western Pacific
    (Mar 2011)
    ·   Commander Etta Jones-U.S. Navy Commander amphibious transport dock Ponce (Apr 2011)
    ·  Commander Ralph Jones-Executive Officer amphibious transport dock Green Bay (Jul 2011)
    ·   Commander Jonathan Jackson-U.S. Navy Commander Electronic Attack Squadron 134, deployed aboard carrier Carl Vinson (Dec 2011)
    ·   Captain Eric Merrill-U.S. Navy Commander submarine Emory S. Land (Jul 2011)
    ·   Captain William Mosk-U.S. Navy Commander Naval Station Rota , U.S. Navy Commander Naval Activities Spain (Apr 2011)
    ·   Commander Timothy Murphy-U.S. Navy Commander Electronic Attack Squadron 129 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island , WA (Apr 2011)
  • Commander Joseph Nosse-U.S. Navy Commander ballistic-missile submarine Kentucky (Oct 2011)
    ·   Commander Mark Olson-U.S. Navy Commander destroyer The Sullivans FL (Sep 2011)
    ·   Commander John Pethel-Executive Officer amphibious transport dock New York (Dec 2011)
    ·   Commander Karl Pugh-U.S. Navy Commander Electronic Attack Squadron 141 Whidbey Island , WA (Jul 2011)
    ·   Commander Jason Strength-U.S. Navy Commander of Navy Recruiting District Nashville , TN (Jul 2011)
    ·   Captain Greg Thomas-U.S. Navy Commander Norfolk Naval Shipyard (May 2011)
    ·   Commander Mike Varney-U.S. Navy Commander attack submarine Connecticut (Jun 2011)
    ·  Commander Jay Wylie-U.S. Navy Commander destroyer Momsen (Apr 2011)

Naval Officers fired: (All in 2012):
·   Commander Alan C. Aber-Executive Officer Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71 (July 2012)
·   Commander Derick Armstrong- U.S. Navy Commander missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (May 2012)
·  Commander Martin Arriola- U.S. Navy Commander destroyer USS Porter (Aug 2012)
·   Captain Antonio Cardoso- U.S. Navy Commander Training Support Center San Diego (Sep 2012)
·   Captain James CoBell- U.S. Navy Commander Oceana Naval Air Station’s Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic (Sep 2012)
·   Captain Joseph E. Darlak- U.S. Navy Commander frigate USS Vandegrift (Nov 2012)
·   Captain Daniel Dusek-U.S. Navy Commander USS Bonhomme
·   Commander David Faught-Executive Officer destroyer Chung-Hoon (Sep 2012)
·   Commander Franklin Fernandez- U.S. Navy Commander Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 (Aug 2012)
·  Commander Ray Hartman- U.S. Navy Commander Amphibious dock-landing ship Fort McHenry (Nov 2012)

  • Commander Shelly Hakspiel-Executive Officer Navy Drug Screening Lab San Diego (May 2012)
    ·  Commander Jon Haydel- U.S. Navy Commander USS San Diego (Mar 2012)
    ·   Commander Diego Hernandez- U.S. Navy Commander ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming (Feb 2012)
    ·   Commander Lee Hoey- U.S. Navy Commander Drug Screening Laboratory, San Diego (May 2012)
    ·   Commander Ivan Jimenez-Executive Officer frigate Vandegrift (Nov 2012)
    ·   Commander Dennis Klein- U.S. Navy Commander submarine USS Columbia (May 2012)
    ·   Captain Chuck Litchfield- U.S. Navy Commander assault ship USS Essex (Jun 2012)
    ·   Captain Marcia Kim Lyons- U.S. Navy Commander Naval Health Clinic New England (Apr 2012)
    ·   Captain Robert Marin- U.S. Navy Commander cruiser USS Cowpens (Feb 2012)
    ·   Captain Sean McDonell- U.S. Navy Commander Seabee reserve unit Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14 FL (Nov 2012)
    ·  Commander Corrine Parker- U.S. Navy Commander Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 1 (Apr 2012)
  • Captain Liza Raimondo- U.S. Navy Commander Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River , MD (Jun 2012)
    ·   Captain Jeffrey Riedel- Program manager, Littoral Combat Ship program (Jan 2012)
    ·   Commander Sara Santoski- U.S. Navy Commander Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (Sep 2012)
    ·   Commander Kyle G. Strudthoff-Executive Officer Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 (Sep 2012)
    · Commander Sheryl Tannahill- U.S. Navy Commander Navy Operational Support Center [NOSC] Nashville , TN (Sep 2012)
    ·   Commander Michael Ward- U.S. Navy Commander submarine USS Pittsburgh (Aug 2012)
    ·   Captain Michael Wiegand- U.S. Navy Commander Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (Nov 2012)
    ·   Captain Ted Williams- U.S. Navy Commander amphibious command ship Mount Whitney (Nov 2012)
    ·   Commander Jeffrey Wissel- U.S. Navy Commander of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1 (Feb 2012)

Naval Officers fired: (All in 2013):
·   Lieutenant Commander Lauren Allen-Executive Officer submarine Jacksonville (Feb 2013)
·   Reserve Captain Jay Bowman-U.S. Navy Commander Navy Operational Support Center [NOSC] Fort Dix , NJ (Mar 2013)
·   Captain William Cogar-U.S. Navy Commander hospital ship Mercy’s medical treatment facility (Sept 2013)
· Commander Steve Fuller-Executive Officer frigate Kauffman (Mar 2013)
·   Captain Shawn Hendricks-Program Manager for naval enterprise IT networks (June 2013)
·  Captain David Hunter-U.S. Navy Commander of Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 12 & Coastal Riverine Group 2 (Feb 2013)
·   Captain Eric Johnson-U.S. Navy Chief of Military Entrance Processing Command at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, IL (2013)
· C aptain Devon Jones-U.S. Navy Commander Naval Air Facility El Centro , CA (July 2013)
·   Captain Kevin Knoop-U.S. Navy Commander hospital ship Comfort’s medical treatment facility (Aug 2013)
·   Lieutenant Commander Jack O’Neill-U.S. Navy Commander Operational Support Center Rock Island , IL (Mar 2013)

  • Commander Allen Maestas-Executive Officer Beachmaster Unit 1 (May 2013)
    ·   Commander Luis Molina-U.S. Navy Commander submarine Pasadena (Jan 2013)
    ·   Commander James Pickens-Executive Officer frigate Gary (Feb 2013)
    ·   Lieutenant Commander Mark Rice-U.S. Navy Commander Mine Countermeasures ship Guardian (Apr 2013)
    ·   Commander Michael Runkle-U.S. Navy Commander of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 (May 2013)
    ·   Commander Jason Stapleton-Executive Office Patrol Squadron 4 in Hawaii (Mar 2013)
    ·   Commander Nathan Sukols-U.S. Navy Commander submarine Jacksonville (Feb 2013)
    ·   Lieutenant Daniel Tyler-Executive Officer Mine Countermeasures ship Guardian (Apr 2013)
    · C ommander Edward White-U.S. Navy Commander Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (Aug 2013)
    ·   Captain Jeffrey Winter-U.S. Navy Commander of Carrier Air Wing 17 (Sept 2013)
    ·   Commander Thomas Winter-U.S. Navy Commander submarine Montpelier (Jan 2013)
    ·   Commander Corey Wofford- U.S. Navy Commander frigate Kauffman (Feb 2013)

Since Barack Obama has been in the White House, high ranking military officers have been removed from their positions at a rate that is absolutely unprecedented.   Things have gotten so bad that a number of retired generals are publicly speaking out about the ‘purge’ of the U.S. military that they believe is taking place.  As you will see below,   dozens of highly decorated military leaders have been dismissed from their positions over the past few years.  So why is this happening? What is going on right now is absolutely crazy especially during a time of peace.   Is there a deliberate attempt to reshape the military and remove those who don’t adhere to the proper ‘viewpoints’ ? Does someone out there feel a need to get officers that won’t cooperate out of the way.

Throughout world history, whatever comes next after a military purge is never good.

If this continues, what is the U.S. military going to look like in a few years?

Perhaps you are reading this and you think that ‘purge’ is too strong a word for what is taking place. Well, just   consider the following quotes from some very highly decorated retired officers:

Retired Army Major General Paul Vallely:   The White House protects their own.   That’s why they stalled on the investigation into fast and furious, Benghazi and Obamacare .   He’s intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower,  and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.

Retired Army Major General Patrick Brady:   There is no doubt he ( Obama ) is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him.
Retired Army Lt. General William G. Jerry Boykin:   Over the past three years, it is unprecedented for the number of four-star generals to be relieved of duty, and not necessarily relieved for cause.

Retired Navy Captain Joseph John:   I believe there are more than 137 officers who have been forced out or given bad evaluation reports so they will never make Flag (officer), because of their failure to comply to certain views.

A Pentagon official who asked to remain nameless because they were not authorized to speak on the matter said   even young officers, down through the ranks have been told not to talk about Obama or the politics of the White House. They are purging everyone  and   if you want to keep your job just keep your mouth shut.  Now this trend appears to be accelerating.

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/why-are-dozens-of-high-ranking-officers-being-purged-from-the-u-s-military

General Vallely’s comment:

barrymarxAbsolutely every communist regime on the planet did this as soon as they got in power.   I am surprised this communist traitor with his feet up on our furniture in the white house hasn’t done this until now!

Bible, Jesus Christ, and Marriage

Would Jesus Bake a Cake for Homosexual Wedding?

keyWhen Judaism demanded that all sexual activity be channeled into marriage, it changed the world. It is not overstated to say that the Torah’s prohibition of non-marital sex made the creation of Western civilization possible. Societies that did not place boundaries around sexuality were stymied in their development. The subsequent dominance of the Western world can largely be attributed to the sexual revolution initiated by Judaism, and later carried forward by Christianity. The revolution consisted of forcing the sexual genie into the marital bottle. ~Dennis Prager

 

Gary DeMar

“Arizona’s Legislature has passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.” If Gov. Jan Brewer signs it, the courts will rule it unconstitutional.

This all started when states passed anti-discrimination laws protecting people who engaged in same-sex relationships. This put some businesses in a bind. Once same-sex marriages were legalized, homosexuals wanted bakers, photographers, and flower shops to service their weddings.

Gov. Brewer is on track with this comment:

“I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don’t work with,” Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. “But I don’t know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don’t want to do business or if I don’t want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I’m not interested. That’s America. That’s freedom.”

Any business that refused to service same-sex weddings were hit with an anti-discrimination lawsuit. Fines were levied. At least one bakery was driven out of business. The government created the problem by redefining marriage and by passing laws that say businesses can’t discriminate based on the actions and views of other people.

In 2013, a same-sex “couple” in England has “launched a legal challenge to the right of churches to opt out of gay weddings.” No minister, priest, or civil official has ever just married anybody. There are many ministers that will not marry a couple if both of them aren’t Christians. Many ministers won’t marry people if he does not believe the couple is ready to be married.
There are churches that will not allow certain types of music at weddings. Some churches will not allow alcohol or dancing at the reception if it’s held at the church.

The courts have created this problem, and they’re not going to fix it with more laws. They’re going to make it worse.

Does anyone think that a Jewish baker should be forced to make a cake for a group that wants to celebrate the birthday of Adolf Hitler? Should a black photographer be forced to photograph a KKK-themed wedding?

Was it wrong for a supermarket in New Jersey to refuse to write the name of a couple’s 3-year-old son in frosting on a birthday cake? The child’s name is Adolf Hitler Campbell.

Of course, liberals want to attack Christians, so they’re calling on the Bible for help. [An example of mingling human philosophies with the scriptures.]
KJV BibleLiberals love the Bible except when they hate the Bible. Their favorite verse is Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” Their least favorite verse is Matthew 7:2: “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

Consistency in judgment is the biblical ideal. In John 7:24, Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” So what’s the right judgment on this issue?

The new pro-homosexual narrative is “What would Jesus do about homosexual marriage?”

For example, Erick Erickson at RedState.com writes, “Yes, Jesus Would Bake a Cake for a Gay Person.” Like the majority of Christians, I agree with Erick that Jesus would bake a cake for a homosexual and anybody else. As he notes, however, the issue isn’t about just baking cakes and photography:
marriage“The disagreement comes on one issue only — should a Christian provide goods and services to a gay wedding. That’s it. We’re not talking about serving a meal at a restaurant. We’re not talking about baking a cake for a birthday party. We’re talking about a wedding, which millions of Christians view as a sacrament of the faith and other, mostly Protestant Christians, view as a relationship ordained by God to reflect a holy relationship.”

Jesus defined marriage, following the creation account in Genesis 2:24 in exacting detail: “And He answered and said [to the Pharisees questioning Him], ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’” (Matt. 19:4-6).

Jesus would no more bake a cake for a same-sex wedding than He would bake a cake for a Roman centurion who wanted it to read “Caesar is God.”

jesusnadulterouswomanJesus would sit down with those who admit that they engage in same-sex sex, an act condemned by God in several places, and deal with them the same way he dealt with the Samaritan woman who was engaged in illicit sexual encounters (John 4:7-45, especially vv. 15-17) and the woman caught in the very act of adultery (John 8:1-11).

What did Jesus say to the adulterous woman?: “From now on sin no more” (8:11).

Neither the Bible nor Jesus can be called on to support homosexuals who want to marry.
 

 

Breaking from Newsmax.com

Mormon Leader Outlines Opposition to Gay Marriage
A top Mormon leader reiterated the church’s opposition to gay marriage over the weekend during the church’s biannual general conference. While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ stance on homosexuality has softened in recent years, this is the second consecutive conference in which leaders took time to emphasize the faith’s insistence that marriage should be limited to unions between a man and a woman.

“While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not,” said Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Christian Leader: Moral Standard of God brings Happiness

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

The Lord’s Moral Standard

By Tad R. Callister

keyoldOur choice to obey or disobey God’s standard of morality will largely determine our happiness in life.

Some years ago my father, an attorney, was trying a lawsuit. For his authority, he cited only one case—a California Supreme Court case issued many years before. His opponent cited a number of lower-court decisions of more recent vintage.

The judge said to my father, “Mr. Callister, don’t you have a more recent case than this?”

My father looked at the judge and replied, “Your Honor, may I remind you that when the supreme court speaks on a matter, it only needs to speak once.” The judge nodded with approval. He was reminded that the supreme court trumps all lower-court decisions, however numerous or recent they may be.

jesusjusticemedSo it is with God our Father—He needs to speak only once on the issue of morality, and that one declaration trumps all the opinions of the lower courts, whether uttered by psychologists, counselors, politicians, friends, parents, or would-be moralists of the day.

It is almost unbelievable to think that God has given to His children the power that is most prized and sacred to Him—the power to create life. Because God gave us this power, He, and He alone, has the right to prescribe how it should be used.

Contrary to much public sentiment, there is nothing negative or restraining about God’s moral standards. Rather, they are positive, uplifting, and liberating. They build relationships of trust, they enhance self-esteem, they foster a clear conscience, and they invite the Spirit of the Lord to bless individual and married lives. They are the proven standards for happy marriages and stable communities.

What, then, is the Lord’s standard for use of the sacred power of procreation—His standard of morality? In truth, the Lord’s standard of morality is not so much a list of do’s and don’ts as it is a principle, which can be expressed as follows: The procreative power is to be exercised in the marriage relationship for two key reasons: (1) to bind and strengthen ties between spouses and (2) to bring souls into the world. These uses have the blessing and endorsement of the Lord.

On the other hand, the procreative power is not to be exercised outside the husband-wife relationship. Accordingly, any conscious thoughts or voluntary actions that stimulate or result in the expression of the procreative power outside the marriage relationship are disapproved by the Lord.

I now cite some of the Lord’s standards of morality so as to minimize any misunderstanding or ambiguity.

Fornication and Adultery

Joseph resists TThe Lord forbids fornication and adultery despite how the world feels toward these behaviors. These acts constitute the ultimate use of the procreative power with someone of the opposite sex with whom we are not legally married. It is fornication if neither party is married; it is adultery if either or both parties are married.

The Apostle Paul said, “For this is the will of God, … that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3; emphasis added). He also said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators … nor adulterers … shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; emphasis added).

Sometimes people do not realize the seriousness of these transgressions or, in some cases, rationalize it away. Corianton did not seem to realize the seriousness of what he had done when he sinned with the harlot Isabel. Alma, his father, put it in perspective: “Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord?” (Alma 39:5). Joseph also spoke of this great evil when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife: “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).

Inappropriate Touching

Inappropriate touching arouses the procreative powers. Accordingly, in the premarital setting it is contrary to God’s moral standard to touch the private or sacred parts of another’s body, whether or not the person is clothed.1

Self-Abuse

The Lord condemns self-abuse. Self-abuse is the act of stimulating the procreative power of one’s own body. President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:

“Do not be guilty of tampering or playing with this sacred power of creation. …

“… It is not pleasing to the Lord, nor is it pleasing to you. It does not make you feel worthy or clean.”2

Same-Gender Relationships

We also believe in an infinite Atonement that has the capacity in this life or the life to come to endow us with every power necessary to convert our weaknesses and imperfections into strengths.

Some would have us believe that the Church’s stand against same-gender physical relationships is a temporary policy and not an eternal doctrine. Such a belief would be at odds with the scriptures, with the words of modern prophets, and with the plan of salvation, all of which teach the necessity of eternal marriage between a man and a woman as a condition to exaltation. A same-gender relationship is inconsistent with God’s eternal pattern that husbands and wives not only have children in mortality but also have eternal increase in their exalted condition.

We recognize that everyone is a son or daughter of God and deserves to be treated as such. We all struggle with imperfections, some not of our choosing. But we also believe in an infinite Atonement that has the capacity in this life or the life to come to endow us with every power necessary to convert our weaknesses and imperfections into strengths. The Lord promised us, “For if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

Those with same-gender tendencies have a duty to (1) abstain from immoral relationships and (2) do all within their power to avail themselves of the refining, perfecting powers of the Atonement. In the interim, however, those who have same-gender tendencies but do not act on them are worthy to hold Church positions and receive a temple recommend.3

Tentacles of the Adversary

Now I share some danger signals that precede some of the sins I have mentioned. In some regards, Satan is like an octopus trying to capture us. If one tentacle does not work, he will try another and another until he finds one that takes hold. Following are some of the tentacles of the evil one designed to cause us to break God’s standard of morality.

Pornography

God desires that His children not watch any movie or TV show, go to any website, or view any magazine that is pornographic in any way. Pornography is any picture or narrative that feeds the carnal man within. It is repulsive to the Spirit of the Lord.

No one can claim to be fooled by the effects of pornography, believing there is any such thing as an innocent glance. It is a poisonous, venomous, unforgiving snake that will strike the moment you take your first look and will continue to strike with a full portion of venom with each look thereafter.

If you are afflicted with this malady, you need to do all within your power to overcome it. It may require confession, intense prayer, fasting, immersion in the scriptures, replacing idle time with constructive time, putting strict boundaries on Internet usage, professional counseling, and the like, but you can overcome it. At some point willpower will be an indispensable ingredient—there is not a pill or counseling technique to solve every addiction.

Immodest Dress

The dress of a woman has a powerful impact upon the minds and passions of men. If it is too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts, even in the mind of a young man who is striving to be pure.4

 

dressmodestOur dress affects not only our thoughts and actions but also the thoughts and actions of others. Accordingly, Paul the Apostle counseled “women [to] adorn themselves in modest apparel” (1 Timothy 2:9).

The dress of a woman has a powerful impact upon the minds and passions of men. If it is too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts, even in the mind of a young man who is striving to be pure.4

Men and women can look sharp and be fashionable, yet they can also be modest. Women particularly can dress modestly and in the process contribute to their own self-respect and to the moral purity of men. In the end, most women get the type of man they dress for.

Unclean Thoughts

It has been said, “You can watch the birds fly by; just don’t let them build a nest on your head.” There is nothing wrong with noticing the pretty young lady or handsome young man as they walk by—that is normal. But if those thoughts turn to lust, then the nest is being built.

We cannot avoid seeing every improper billboard or immodestly dressed person, but we can drive out the improper thought once it arises. The sin is not in involuntarily seeing something improper; the sin is in entertaining the thought once it comes. The scriptures tell us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

In essence, our thoughts become the seeds of our actions. We do have the power within us to take control of our lives and our thoughts. Good and evil thoughts cannot coexist in our minds any more than light and dark can exist at the same time and in the same place. At some point we must decide which will be our invited guest.

If we so desire, we can drive out every evil thought and immediately replace it with an uplifting song or poem or scripture. Just as darkness flees at the presence of light, so evil flees at the presence of good.

Secluded Places and Tempting Friends

At certain times and places, no matter how strong we are, we have less resistance. Some of the best of men and women in the worst of circumstances have fallen. It happened to King David as he watched Bathsheba at nighttime, at first from a seemingly safe distance (see 2 Samuel 11:2–4). None of us should think we are too powerful or too immune to succumb. Secluded locations, late nights, and morally loose friends have incredible magnetic fields to draw us into Satan’s clutches.

Rationalization

Two oft-repeated rationalizations are used to support moral transgression. The first is “I loved her.” Satan is the great counterfeiter. He tries to palm off lust as love. There is a simple test to detect the difference. Love is motivated by self-control, obedience to God’s moral laws, respect for others, and unselfishness. On the other hand, lust is motivated by disobedience, self-gratification, and lack of discipline.

The second rationalization is “No one will ever know.” The Lord has dispelled that myth on multiple occasions. He declared, “The rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed” (D&C 1:3; emphasis added).

There is no field so dark or corner so secluded that no one will ever know. God will know, and you will know if you violate His moral law.

Repentance

It is always better to remain clean than to sin and repent afterward.

jesusforgivemedIf we have made moral mistakes in our lives, we can repent because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The first and foundational step to living a morally clean life for the future is to repent of past transgressions, to exchange a foundation of sand for a foundation of rock. Often that commences with confession.

Repentance, however, is not just a matter of time or forsaking a sin or making a confession. Most of all, repentance is an honest change of heart, a burning resolve to live a morally clean life—not because we have to but because we want to.

God made it clear that we cannot violate His standards without suffering the consequences, but because He is loving and compassionate beyond measure, He gives us this glorious hope:

“For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;

“Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven” (D&C 1:31–32; emphasis added).

To all honest souls who change their hearts and forsake their sins, He has promised, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

However, it is always better to remain clean than to sin and repent afterward. Why is that? Because certain adverse consequences of sin may remain even after repentance, such as disease or a child born out of wedlock or damage to our reputation. Our goal in life is not just to be clean but also to be perfect. The quest for perfection is accelerated when we are clean, but it is stymied when we are not.

compass liahonaAlma taught, “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10). We cannot break God’s moral laws with impunity and be happy because God, who created us, placed within our souls a moral compass known as our conscience. Anytime we violate God’s standard of morality, that conscience goes to work—it gnaws at us, it triggers feelings of guilt and remorse, and it acts as a divine witness testifying to the truth of that standard.

We may try to ignore it and we may try to suppress it, but we cannot escape it. God’s standard of morality cannot be dismissed; it cannot be diluted or compromised; it can only be obeyed or disobeyed. Eventually we either fight it or embrace it. Our choice will largely determine our happiness in life.

Blessings of a Moral Life

The blessings of living a clean and moral life are overwhelming. Such a life will bring self-confidence and self-esteem. It will result in a clear conscience. It will make us eligible for a spouse of like purity and will make the expression of the procreative power in the marriage relationship sweeter and more rewarding because we have reserved it for the time the Lord Himself has endorsed.

Because the Lord loves us immensely and wants us to be happy, He has announced His intentions for His children in these latter days: “For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness” (D&C 100:16).

May each of us be a part of that pure generation and embrace the Lord’s standard of morality.

Christian Leader: Stand for God

Dinner Topics for Monday

Time to take a stand for our faith

Dallin H. Oaks

February 25, 2014, to students at BYU-Idaho devotional

My fellow students: I have felt impressed to speak to you about the significance of our belief in God. I do so because we live in a world where many deny the existence of God or the significance of His commandments. I hope what I say will help you be more effective in your duty to witness of God and to act for truth and righteousness.

I begin with the first three of our Articles of Faith:

JesusChristresize“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:1-3).

A great Book of Mormon prophet taught these same truths:

“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

“And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you” (Mosiah 4:9-10).

In contrast, today many deny or doubt the existence of a God and insist that all rules of behavior are man-made and can be accepted or rejected at will.

Why do I speak of such basic truths as the existence of God and the reality of the absolutes of right and wrong that govern our behavior? Sometimes the most needed things we can teach are things we tend to take for granted. We can neglect simple basic truths because we assume they are understood by all, but they are not. We must stress the fundamental truths on which our beliefs are based. Ultimately, these include the existence of God and the eternal reality of the truths and the right and wrong defined by His teachings and His commandments.

The denial of God or the downplaying of His role in human affairs, which began in the Renaissance, has become pervasive today. The glorifying of human reasoning has had good effects and bad. The work of science has made innumerable improvements in our lives, but the rejection of divine authority as the ultimate basis of right and wrong by those who have substituted science for God has many religious people asking this question:

“Why [is] the will of any of the brilliant philosophers of the liberal tradition, or, for that matter, the will of the Supreme Court of the United States . . . more relevant to moral decisions than the will of God”?[1]

Those who have used human reasoning to supersede divine influence in their lives have diminished themselves and cheapened civilization in the process.

I am grateful to know that there are two methods of gaining knowledge — the scientific method and the spiritual method, which begins with faith in God and relies on scriptures, inspired teaching and personal revelation. There is no ultimate conflict between knowledge gained by these different methods because God, our omnipotent Eternal Father, knows all truth and beckons us to learn by them both.

Prophecies of the last days foretell great opposition to inspired truth and action. Some of these prophecies concern the anti-Christ, and others speak of the great and abominable church.

A.    Anti-Christ

The Apostle John uses the term anti-Christ to describe one who “denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). Today, those who deny the existence of God are called atheists. Some of these ridicule the faith of those who believe in what cannot be proven, even as they aggressively deny a godly existence they cannot disprove.

korihorWe are prepared for such denials of God by the Book of Mormon’s account of a man named Korihor. In terms reminiscent of the most atheistic writings of our day, Korihor, twice called an “Anti-Christ” (Alma 30:6, 12), taught:

“Ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.

“Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission [forgiveness] of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so” (Alma 30:15-16).

Korihor also declared “that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men” (verse 17). His description of the consequence of his rejection of the idea of sin and a savior is strikingly similar to the belief of many in our time:

“Every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime” (Alma 30:17; italics added).

B.    Moral Relativism

Today we call Korihor’s philosophy moral relativism. Two observers describe that philosophy as follows:

“When it comes to moral issues there are no universally objective right or wrong answers, no inappropriate or appropriate judgments, and no reasonable or rational ways by which to make moral distinctions that apply in every time, in every place, and to every person.”[2]

This is the belief applied by many in the popular media and in current peer pressure. “Break free of the old rules. Do what feels good to you. There is no accountability beyond what man’s laws or public disapproval impose on those who are caught.” Behind such ideas is the assumption that there is no God or, if there is, He has given no commandments that apply to us today.

C.    Secular Humanism

secularhumanistThe rejection of an unprovable God and the denial of right and wrong is most influential in the world of higher education. Secular humanism, a branch of humanism probably so labeled because of its strong alignment with secularism, is deliberately or inadvertently embodied in the teachings of faculty members in many colleges and universities.

For religious people, the objectionable element in the various humanist manifestos is their rejection of the existence of God and their denial of the moral absolutes rooted in His commandments. Thus, the 1973 Humanist Manifesto rejected “traditional moral codes” and “traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience.” It further declared, “We can discover no divine purpose . . . for the human species. . . . Humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”[3]

Of course, adherents of humanism, called humanists, have had many positive effects. For example, they have been supportive of democracy, human rights, education and material progress. So long as these advancements do not exclude believers, our issue with humanists is their rejection of divine authority and values. As BYU philosophy professor Chauncey Riddle has written, “Humanism makes a man to be god, the supreme being, and the educated human mind becomes the arbiter of all that is true, good and beautiful.”[4]

Riddle also reminds us that humanism “enjoys good press in the world today because most of the writers, publishers, scholars and media people are of this persuasion.”[5] Thus, my wife Kristen heard a recent interview in which a prominent figure in a major U.S. university proclaimed that he was a humanist. That was not surprising, except for the fact that he was his university’s chaplain. Whatever his beliefs, it is a regrettable fact that many of today’s Christian ministers cannot truthfully affirm their belief in God.

Many who deny or doubt the existence of God would probably disclaim the philosophy of moral relativism. They would see themselves as having some external standards of right and wrong, though absolute standards not based on belief in God are difficult to explain. Secular humanists, who formally reject “traditional religious morality” and declare their reliance on “the tests of scientific evidence,”[6] seem to fulfill a Book of Mormon prophecy of those who “live without God in the world” (Mosiah 27:31).

D.    The Great and Abominable Church and Other “Churches”

Book of Mormon prophecies describe the “great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil” (1 Nephi 14:17). This “church” is prophesied to have “dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” (1 Nephi 14:11). Called “most abominable above all other churches,” this church is also said to act “for the praise of the world” to bring “the saints of God . . . down into captivity” (1 Nephi 13:5, 9). Since no religious denomination — Christian or non-Christian — has ever had “dominion” over all nations of the earth or the potential to bring all the saints of God down into “captivity,” this great and abominable church must be something far more pervasive and widespread than a single “church” as we understand that term today. It must be any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God. And the “captivity” into which this “church” seeks to bring the saints will not be so much physical confinement as the captivity of false ideas.

In modern usage and in many scriptural passages the word church usually identifies (1) a house of worship or (2) a particular Christian denomination, including the true church of God. But if we apply either of those meanings to the scriptures describing the “great and abominable church of all the earth” (1 Nephi 14:17), we miss the intended meaning. For example, Nephi was told by revelation that there were only “two churches”: “the church of the Lamb of God” and “the church of the devil” (1 Nephi 14:10; also see 1 Nephi 13:4-6). This description suggests the contrast between those who believe in God and seek to serve Him according to their best understanding and those who reject the existence of God (see 1 Nephi 14:10).

Other teachings in the Book of Mormon also use the word church to signify belief or non-belief in God. The final chapters of 2 Nephi prophesy that in the last days the Gentiles will build up “many churches” that will “put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain” (2 Nephi 26:20). They tell of “churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord” (2 Nephi 28:3), which will “teach with their learning” and “deny the power of God” (2 Nephi 28:4-5). They will “say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today” (2 Nephi 28:5). In the Savior’s ministry among the Nephites, He warned against a church that “be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil” (3 Nephi 27:11). These warnings are not limited to religious organizations. In the circumstances of our day they include a multitude of secular philosophies and activities.

Lehi and Nephi had a vision of this. Those who partook of the fruit of the tree of life were looked upon with scorn and mocked by those who had entered a nearby “great and spacious building” (see 1 Nephi 8:26-33). This building was the “vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men” (1 Nephi 12:18); its occupants were “the multitude of the earth,” and together they represented “the world and the wisdom thereof” (1 Nephi 11:35). Many people who believe in God experience such scorn and mocking from worldly teachings and from the denial of God in many organizations, including educational institutions and media.

I have spoken of prophetic challenges faced by the diminishing numbers of God-fearing people who share our belief in God and the right and wrong that exist because of His commandments. This only repeats what existed at the time of the Savior. The Apostle John wrote that the Son of God, who made the world, “was in the world, . . . and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:10-11). So it is today.

Even as we are “troubled on every side,” we are “not in despair” (2 Corinthians 4:8). We know that our spiritual growth requires “an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). We also know that the Lord “seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith” (Mosiah 23:21). But the scriptures also teach that He will deliver those who put their trust in Him (see 1 Samuel 17:37, 45-46; Psalm 34:22; Proverbs 3:5-6; Alma 23:22).

witnessgodBelievers need to be witnesses of God. I will now suggest three kinds of things we can do in response to current conditions, beginning with what is easiest. All of these respond to a great Book of Mormon teaching that we should “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death” (Mosiah 18:9). My suggestions also try to fit within the teaching that our good works should be “done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength” (Mosiah 4:27).

A.    Private Prayers and Greetings

We are taught to “believe in Christ, and deny him not” (2 Nephi 25:29); to “look unto [Christ] in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36); and to “talk of Christ,” “rejoice in Christ,” and “preach of Christ” (2 Nephi 25:26). Two ways we can do this are in our private prayers and in our personal greetings.

In our private personal and family prayers we should ask God to help us and our neighbors and leaders recognize God our Creator and the right and wrong established by His commandments. We should do this for the good of His children everywhere.

We should also assert ourselves against the current trend to refrain from religious references even in private communications. In recent years the inclusion of religious symbols and reverent words in Christmas greetings and sympathy cards have almost disappeared. When we make choices on these kinds of communications, we should not participate in erasing sacred reminders from our personal communications. As believers, we have a duty to preserve the name and influence of God and Christ in our conversations, our lives and our culture.

B.    Publicly Recognize the Blessings of God

churchattendanceA second thing believers can do to stand as witnesses of God is to support public recognition of the blessings of God. This seeks to counter the diminishing mention of religious faith and references to God and His blessings in our public discourse. Contrast current public documents and the current rhetoric of government leaders with the similar documents and words of leaders in the first two centuries of our nation. In that contrast you will have evidence of deliberate efforts to edit out references to God and the influence of religion in our nation’s founding and preservation.

What can we do about this? First, we can set the right example in our family and Church teachings by acknowledging the blessings of the Lord in the establishment of this nation. To do this “in wisdom and order” we should not seem to deny that this nation includes and is blessed by citizens of Jewish, Muslim, atheist and other non-Christian persuasions. But we should speak truthfully of the fact that this nation was founded by persons and leaders who were predominantly Christians and who embodied the principles of their faith in the constitution, laws and culture of this nation.

Our friend John A. Howard, esteemed educator and thinker, explains why this is appropriate. His book Christianity: Lifeblood of America’s Free Society (1920-1945), describes the religious commitments of the heroic founders of this nation. He states:

“It is because a large majority of Americans during the next century and a half tried to lead a life according to the principles of Christianity, and expected others to do the same, that America succeeded so fully in establishing and maintaining a self-governing free society, juster, kinder and more lawful than any other.”[7]

A recent essay by our friend and highly honored teacher and thinker Clayton Christensen insists that religion is the foundation of both democracy and prosperity. He reminds us that democracy and capitalism both depend on large-scale obedience to the unenforceable and that this prerequisite is dependent upon religions that teach such fundamentals as “the equality of people, the importance of respecting others’ property, and personal honesty and integrity.” Secularism, which aspires to displace theistic religion in our country, has no power or program to provide what Christensen calls “the requisite foundation of extensive obedience to the unenforceable.”[8]

We should also contend for the inclusion in textbooks and teaching in school settings of accurate accounts of great historical documents that recognize and invoke the blessings of God in the founding and preservation of this nation. I refer to such as George Washington’s farewell letter to the 13 colonies when he retired as commander in chief of the Continental Army. He ended with a prayer to “Almighty God . . . that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection” and concluded, “Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”[9] Benjamin Franklin’s stirring call for prayer at the Constitutional Convention is well known.[10] Lincoln invoked the blessings of God in many of his formal communications, including the Emancipation Proclamation and his great Second Inaugural Address.[11] Such acknowledgements and pleas are part of our history and should not be omitted from our memories or our culture.

C.    Contend for the Free Exercise of Religion

abinadiMy third suggestion of what we can do to be better witnesses of God is to contend for the free exercise of religion. This is more difficult because it requires cooperative action by believers of various faiths. We should press officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of governments to honor the constitutionally guaranteed free exercise of religion. I am one of many in our Church who have spoken on this subject. Here I will emphasize only two examples of current concern.

The first involves public prayer. Prayer occurs when anyone addresses the Divine Being, whatever their concept of God and however they choose to address Him. Regardless of the content of a prayer, which will vary according to the belief of the one who prays, when a prayer is offered in a public setting it is important as an affirmation or symbol of a group’s common dependence upon and reverence for God. This is the nature of the prayers offered at the beginning of legislative assemblies or council meetings and in oaths administered to precede court testimony or official installations.

This symbol of prayer has been under legal attack for over 50 years, first in public school classrooms, where prayers were outlawed 50 years ago, and now in college graduations, city council meetings and other public settings. Whatever the designated pray-er’s concept of God and whatever his or her religious persuasion or language of prayer, I hope the citizens of this nation can continue to witness their belief in God by the symbol of prayer, wisely and tolerantly administered. That is worth contending for.

justice gavelSecond, we should be alert to oppose the potential significance of the fact that some government officials and public policy advocates are describing the First Amendment guarantee of the “free exercise” of religion as merely “freedom of worship.” But the guarantee of “free exercise” protects the right to come out of our private settings, including churches, synagogues and mosques, to act upon our beliefs, subject only to the legitimate government powers necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare. Free exercise surely protects religious citizens in acting upon their beliefs in public policy debates and in votes cast as citizens or as lawmakers.

We should also use our political influence to resist current moves to banish from legislative and judicial lawmaking all actions based on religious convictions and motivations. A dangerous recent example of this was the opinion of the single federal district judge who invalidated the California Proposition 8 constitutional amendment.[12] The precedent of his decision on the inappropriateness of presumed religious or moral motivations as a basis for lawmaking was used by the lawyers who persuaded another federal district judge to invalidate the Utah constitutional provision and laws affirming the traditional limitation on marriages to one man and one woman.[13] Then, when an eminent lawyer was hired to take the appeal, he was criticized by the Human Rights Campaign for having religious motivations for his decision to defend traditional marriage.[14] Where will this illogical attack on religious motivations end?

As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said in his powerful address to a nationwide audience of Christian leaders, we Mormons are “eager to join hands . . . to guarantee the freedom of religion that will allow all of us to speak out [and I would add to act out] on matters of Christian conscience regarding the social issues of our time.”[15] We should all agree with the Christian writer he quoted:

“All of our nation’s religious citizens need to develop a respect for other religious people and their beliefs. We need not accept their beliefs, but we can respect the people and realize that we have more in common with each other than we ever will with the secularizers of this country.”[16]

We need to support the coalitions of religious leaders and God-fearing people who are coming together to defend our nation’s traditional culture of belief in God and the acknowledgement of His blessings. As Clayton Christensen’s impressive essay reminds us, religion is essential to our nation’s democracy and prosperity.[17]

In conclusion, I say to my fellow Latter-day Saints — and I suggest to all believers everywhere — that we have a solemn religious duty to be witnesses of God. We must affirm our religious faiths, unite to insist upon our constitutional right to the free exercise of our religions and honor their vital roles in establishing and preserving and prospering this nation.

apostlescrollI remind my fellow Christians of the solemn teaching of the Apostle John:

“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:3).

The consequence of our failing to speak out as witnesses of God are evident in our Savior’s teaching about the salt that has “lost its savour.” Mixed with other substances — just as we can be diluted by the values of the world — it loses its unique influence on the mixture of the mass. As the Savior taught, it is “thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 5:13).

My fellow students, we are the “salt of the earth.” We must retain our savour by living our religion and by asserting ourselves as witnesses of God. When we do so, we associate ourselves with those who will enjoy the ultimate victory of truth and righteousness, when “every knee shall bow . . . and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11) and the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we worship and whose servants we are. I testify of Them and invoke Their blessings on all who witness of Them, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 

[1] Stephen L. Carter, The Culture of Disbelief (1963), 226. See chapter 11 generally.

[2] Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Kouki, Relativism (2007), 12-13.

[3] See Paul Kurtz, ed., Humanist Manifesto I and II (1973), 14-16.

[4] Think Independently (2009), 120.

[5] Id., at 121.

[6] Humanist Manifestos, note 3 supra at p. 16.

[7] John A. Howard, Christianity: Lifeblood of America’s Free Society (1920-1945), 51 (2008), 51.

[8] Clayton Christensen, “Religion Is the Foundation of Democracy and Prosperity,” see http://www.mormonperspectives.com/2011/02/08/religion-is-the-foundation-of-democracy-and-prosperity.

[9] Quoted in Howard, note 7 supra at 131.

[10] See Catherine Drinker Bowen, Miracle at Philadelphia (1986), 125-26.

[11] See An American Primer, vol. 1 (1966), 413, 423-24.

[12] Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921, 938, 985, 1001-02, (N.D. Cal. 2010), aff’d sub nom. Perry v. Brown, 671 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2012), vacated and remanded sub nom. Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S. Ct. 2652 (2013).

[13] Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment at xxviii, 21, 28-29, Kitchen v. Herbert, No. 2:13-cv-00217-RJS (D. Utah Oct. 10, 2013); Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Motion of the Governor and Attorney General for Summary Judgment at 3, 26-27, Kitchen v. Herbert, No. 2:13-cv-00217 RJS (D. Utah Nov. 22, 2013).

[14] “Why Is Utah’s Hired Gun Fighting Gay Marriage? It’s His LDS Faith,” Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 24, 2014, A5; “Lawyer Accused of Defending Amendment 3 for Religious Reasons,” Deseret News, Jan. 23, 2014, B2. Also see editorial, “Religious Conviction,” Deseret News, Jan. 24, 2014, A12.

[15] “Standing Together for the Cause of Christ” (Governor’s Mansion address to Christian leaders, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 10, 2011), 5.

[16] Id., at pp. 8-9, quoting Tim LaHaye, The Race for the 21st Century (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1986), p. 109.

[17] Note 8 supra.

Easter: Faith, Jesus Christ, and the Resurrection

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a Reality

keyoldGiven the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, doubts about the omnipotence, omniscience, and benevolence of God the Father—who gave His Only Begotten Son for the redemption of the world—are groundless. Doubts about the meaning and purpose of life are unfounded. Jesus Christ is in fact the only name or way by which salvation can come to mankind. The grace of Christ is real, affording both forgiveness and cleansing to the repentant sinner. Faith truly is more than imagination or psychological invention.

There is ultimate and universal truth, and there are objective and unchanging moral standards, as taught by Him. ~D. Todd Christofferson

 

jesusforgivemedI Stand All Amazed

Cecil Frances Alexander

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,

Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.

I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,

That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

 

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine

To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.

That he should extend his great love unto such as I,

Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

 

jesuswoundhandI think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!

Such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?

No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,

Until at the glorified throne I kneel at this feet.

 

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me

Enough to die for me!

Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

 

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

By Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

MarynresJesusresizeJesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer, and I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection.

A crushing sense of defeat and despair enveloped His disciples as Jesus suffered and died on the cross and His body was placed lifeless in the tomb. Despite what the Savior had repeatedly said of His death and subsequent rising again, they had not understood. The dark afternoon of His Crucifixion, however, was soon followed by the joyous morning of His Resurrection. But that joy came only as the disciples became eyewitnesses of the Resurrection, for even the declaration of angels that He had risen was at first incomprehensible—it was something so totally unprecedented.

Mary Magdalene and a few other faithful women came early to the Savior’s tomb that Sunday morning, bringing spices and ointments to complete the anointing begun when the Lord’s body was hastily laid in the sepulchre before the approaching Sabbath. On this morning of mornings, they were greeted by an open sepulchre, the covering stone having been rolled away, and two angels who declared:

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?

“He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

“Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”1

“Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

“And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.”2

As bidden by the angels, Mary Magdalene looked into the tomb, but it seems that all that registered in her mind was that the body of the Lord was gone. She hurried to report to the Apostles and, finding Peter and John, said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”3 Peter and John ran to the place and verified that indeed the tomb was empty, seeing “the linen clothes lying … and the napkin, that was about his head, … wrapped together in a place by itself.”4 John apparently was the first to comprehend the magnificent message of resurrection. He writes that “he saw, and believed,” whereas the others to that point “knew not the scripture, that [Jesus] must rise again from the dead.”5

Peter and John left, but Mary remained behind, still in mourning. In the meantime the angels had returned and tenderly asked her, “Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”6 At that moment the resurrected Savior, now standing behind her, spoke, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”7

Elder James E. Talmage wrote: “It was Jesus to whom she spake, her beloved Lord, though she knew it not. One word from His living lips changed her agonized grief into ecstatic joy. ‘Jesus saith unto her, Mary.’ The voice, the tone, the tender accent she had heard and loved in the earlier days lifted her from the despairing depths into which she had sunk. She turned, and saw the Lord. In a transport of joy she reached out her arms to embrace Him, uttering only the endearing and worshipful word, ‘Rabboni,’ meaning My beloved Master.”8

And so this blessed woman became the first mortal to see and speak to the resurrected Christ. Later that same day He appeared to Peter in or near Jerusalem;9 to two disciples on the road to Emmaus;10 and in the evening to 10 of the Apostles and others, appearing suddenly in their midst, saying, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”11 Then to further convince them “while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered,”12 He ate broiled fish and honeycomb before them.13 Later He instructed them, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”14

Other Sheep

jesuslambmedBeyond these confirmed witnesses in Jerusalem, we have the incomparable ministry of the risen Lord to ancient inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. In the land Bountiful, He descended from heaven and invited the assembled throng, some 2,500, to come forward one by one until they had all gone forth, thrusting their hands into His side and feeling the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet.15

“And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:

“Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.”16

Christ’s Resurrection shows that His existence is independent and everlasting. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.”17 Jesus said:

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”18

The Savior is not dependent on food or water or oxygen or any other substance or power or person for life. Both as Jehovah and Messiah, He is the great I Am, the self-existing God.19 He simply is and ever will be.

By His Atonement and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has overcome all aspects of the Fall. Physical death will be temporary, and even spiritual death has an end, in that all come back into the presence of God, at least temporarily, to be judged. We can have ultimate trust and confidence in His power to overcome all else and grant us everlasting life.

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”20

In the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “Christ’s victory over death ended the human predicament. Now there are only personal predicaments, and from these too we may be rescued by following the teachings of him who rescued us from general extinction.”21

jesusjusticemedHaving satisfied the demands of justice, Christ now steps into the place of justice; or we might say He is justice, just as He is love.22 Likewise, besides being a “perfect, just God,” He is a perfect, merciful God.23 Thus, the Savior makes all things right. No injustice in mortality is permanent, even death, for He restores life again. No injury, disability, betrayal, or abuse goes uncompensated in the end because of His ultimate justice and mercy.

By the same token, we are all accountable to Him for our lives, our choices, and our actions, even our thoughts. Because He redeemed us from the Fall, our lives are in reality His. He declared:

“Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.

“And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works.”24

Consider for a moment the significance of the Resurrection in resolving once and for all the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth and the great philosophical contests and questions of life. If Jesus was in fact literally resurrected, it necessarily follows that He is a divine being. No mere mortal has the power in himself to come to life again after dying. Because He was resurrected, Jesus cannot have been only a carpenter, a teacher, a rabbi, or a prophet. Because He was resurrected, Jesus had to have been a God, even the Only Begotten Son of the Father.

resurrected ChristmedTherefore, what He taught is true; God cannot lie.25

Therefore, He was the Creator of the earth, as He said.26

Therefore, heaven and hell are real, as He taught.27

Therefore, there is a world of spirits, which He visited after His death.28

Therefore, He will come again, as the angels said,29 and “reign personally upon the earth.”30

Therefore, there is a resurrection and a final judgment for all.31

Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, doubts about the omnipotence, omniscience, and benevolence of God the Father—who gave His Only Begotten Son for the redemption of the world—are groundless. Doubts about the meaning and purpose of life are unfounded. Jesus Christ is in fact the only name or way by which salvation can come to mankind. The grace of Christ is real, affording both forgiveness and cleansing to the repentant sinner. Faith truly is more than imagination or psychological invention. There is ultimate and universal truth, and there are objective and unchanging moral standards, as taught by Him.

Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, repentance of any violation of His law and commandments is both possible and urgent. The Savior’s miracles were real, as is His promise to His disciples that they might do the same and even greater works.32 His priesthood is necessarily a real power that “administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.”33 Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, death is not our end, and though “skin worms destroy [our bodies], yet in [our] flesh shall [we] see God.”34

President Thomas S. Monson tells of a Robert Blatchford who, 100 years ago “in his book God and My Neighbor, attacked with vigor accepted Christian beliefs, such as God, Christ, prayer, and immortality. He boldly asserted, ‘I claim to have proved everything I set out to prove so fully and decisively that no Christian, however great or able he may be, can answer my arguments or shake my case.’ He surrounded himself with a wall of skepticism. Then a surprising thing happened. His wall suddenly crumbled to dust. … Slowly he began to feel his way back to the faith he had scorned and ridiculed. What had caused this profound change in his outlook? His wife [had] died. With a broken heart, he went into the room where lay all that was mortal of her. He looked again at the face he loved so well. Coming out, he said to a friend: ‘It is she, and yet it is not she. Everything is changed. Something that was there before is taken away. She is not the same. What can be gone if it be not the soul?’”35

Did the Lord in reality die and rise again? Yes. “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”36

As the prophesied birth of Jesus drew near, there were those among the ancient Nephite and Lamanite peoples who believed, though most doubted. In due course, the sign of His birth arrived—a day and a night and a day without darkness—and all knew.37 Even so today, some believe in the literal Resurrection of Christ, and many doubt or disbelieve. But some know. In due course, all will see and all will know; indeed, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him.”38

Until then, I believe the many witnesses of the Savior’s Resurrection whose experiences and testimonies are found in the New Testament—Peter and his companions of the Twelve and dear, pure Mary of Magdala, among others. I believe the testimonies found in the Book of Mormon—of Nephi the Apostle with the unnamed multitude in the land Bountiful, among others. And I believe the testimony of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon who, after many other testimonies, proclaimed the great witness of this last dispensation “that he lives! For we saw him.”39 Under the glance of His all-seeing eye, I stand myself as a witness that Jesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer, and I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection.

Easter: Passion Flower and Christian Symbolism

Dinner Topics for Friday

Christian Symbolism

MarynresJesusEaster is the Sunday that celebrates the resurrection of Christ, and is one of the most holy days in the calendar of Christian churches. The Easter message is one of hope and victory over death, for it recalls that Christ rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter symbolizes the love of God and the promise that man’s soul is immortal.

In many languages, the name for Easter comes from the Hebrew word “pesah”, or passover; in fact, Easter was first associated with the Hebrew festival of the Passover, which falls in the spring. Easter was celebrated at different times by the early Christian churches until 325 A.D., when the Council of Nicaea fixed the day as the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21. This always places Easter sometime between March 22 and April 25. It is believed that the council probably set the date of Easter to fall near the time of a full moon so that pilgrims journeying to worship a shrine might have moonlight to help them find their way. (xmission.com)

 

 

passionflowerPassion Flower and Christian Symbolism

by Luba Ambrose

Passiflora, a passion flower [Lat. flos passionis], is an amazing example of beauty of nature created through Divine Intervention. The flower was first discovered in the New World in the 17th century and was presented to the Old World by Jesuit missionary priests. Its unique anatomy, not found on any other flower, symbolically represents the events our Lord and God Jesus Christ went through in His last two days of His earthly life – Passions.

A piece of exquisite yet passing beauty, it comes from a bell-shaped bud to open and live for only one day and then succumb to its fading death in the same bell-shaped form. The tropical vine it grows on is lavished with multiple flowers and draws one’s attention immediately by the flower’s perfect shape and hidden mystery. The colors vary from deep purple (the color of Orthodox priests’ vestments during the Great Lent) to scarlet red, yet the numerical constituents remain the same: 10 petals (5 petals and 5 sepals identical in shape and color), 1 column, 72 corona filaments, 5 anthers, 3 stigmas.

Let’s decipher the numbers above according to Biblical story of Passions:

10 – Biblical account of Christ’s suffering tells us about St. Peter who distanced himself from Christ during His last hours, neither was Judas; whereas, 10 is the number of remaining Disciples of Christ at the time of crucifixion;

1 – Column of flagellation;

72 – Traditional number of thorns on a crown of thorns set upon Christ’s head;

5 – Total number of wounds inflicted to Christ at time of crucifixion;

3 – Nails.

resurrected ChristmedAdditionally, the vine’s leaves are shaped like a spear used to pierce Christ’s side. Some even find representation to Judas’ 30 pieces of silver (dark round spots on the underside of some species). Ominous may it seem to some or not, this flower graciously and quietly speaks of the most inspiring, life-changing and soul-bending story ever told to mankind.

The Orthodox faithful in Columbus area will have abundant services during the remaining days of Holy and Great Week of Christ’s Passion (up until Holy and Great Friday).

He is Risen! View Video

 

Easter Story: Jesus Christ, Israel, and America

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Secrets of a Golden Age

keyoldAnd we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission [forgiveness] of their sins. ~Nephi

 

JesusteachesinAmerica resizeThe Book of Mormon recounts the visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ to Central America, as witnessed by 2,500 souls, among an obscure, scattered remnant of the house of Israel. This ushered in a marvelous 200 year golden age.

The Savior taught them many truths, but two vital principles stand out as powerfully applicable in every society, even today. First, He made clear what is not His doctrine.

There shall be no disputations among you . . . Neither shall there be disputations among you concerning my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention.

Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; such things should be done away. (3 Nephi 11:28-30)

Then, He made clear what is His doctrine.

I will declare unto you my doctrine. And this is the doctrine which the Father has given me . . .The Father commands all men, everywhere, to repent. . . and become as a little child . . . or ye can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God. (3 Nephi 11:32,37, 38)

He repeated this teaching three times.

In the fourth generation after the visit of Christ, the people fell away into disbelief. Why? They forgot to repent, and they failed to teach their children to do the same.

Christ compared this doctrine to building on the rock, because even after thousands of years, it is still true, and will always be true.

Jesus and ChildrenChildren of every age long to connect with their spiritual roots— to find something to hang onto throughout their lives. Where can they turn?

To society? To TV? To schools? There is no evidence that these have been sources of lasting family stability.

Children and youth can sink their roots deep at home, where the dinner talk parable is a way of life. As they are trained by daily example to repent, and hold fast every day to the word of God, they are building on the rock, finding an anchor to their soul.

Simply defined, “repent” means to turn from doing wrong and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life. People often become weary of hearing about repentance, which has been the unrelenting message of God’s prophets since the beginning of history. But contrary to popular perception of this little word, it is the hidden manna that will truly feed our children’s spiritual hunger and protect them from the poisonous effects of sin.

After Jesus partook of that unspeakably bitter cup, His personal message to all of us verifies the words of His prophets— adding weight that only comes from experience.

Gethsemane2For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer, if they would repent;

But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit— and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

Nevertheless. . . I partook.

Wherefore I command you again to repent. ~ Jesus Christ, Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-20

And thus we see that “repent” is a message of love, because it is the single key to divine mercy.

As parents pass this loving truth from generation to generation, families and descendants can enjoy a “golden age,” regardless of their circumstances.

This manna, shared, can go on to bless societies and nations, as well.

Dinner Topic Questions

The Author of salvation teaches a nation how to enjoy true and lasting peace. *Repentance, Unity

1. Why did the Savior say that contention must be “done away”?

2. What was the secret of the Golden Age for the remnant of Israel in America, and why did they perish?

3. How does our modern society compare to that ancient civilization?

4. What does it mean to repent?

5. Why is repentance a message of love?

Easter Story: Jesus Christ and Passover

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

The Passover Supper

keyoldThe first Passover prefigured Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and showed what it means to be God’s covenant people.

The final plague that fell upon the land of Egypt in Moses’s day brought death to all the firstborn in the land—even firstborn animals. But God provided a way for His people to be spared from this plague. By performing a symbolic ritual, the children of Israel showed that they were God’s people, and then through the Passover, God saved them from destruction, delivered them from bondage, and sent them to inherit a promised land. (See Exodus 12.)

Here is a brief description of the emblems of the Passover, in which we see many symbolic representations of Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and our covenant with God.

passovermealBitter Herbs

What were they? Possibly endive, chicory, wild lettuce, horehound, sorrel, dandelions, horseradish, parsley, snakeroot, peppermint, or other herbs with a bitter taste.

What was done with them? They were eaten along with the lamb.

What do they represent? Bitterness of slavery and captivity in Egypt; bitterness of slavery to sin; bitterness of Christ’s suffering for our sins.

Lamb

lambWhat was it? A year-old lamb without blemish.

What was done with it? It was killed and then roasted with fire, whole—no bones broken; head, legs, and edible inner parts attached. It was to be eaten during the Passover night, nothing remaining in the morning. If anything did remain, it was to be burned.

What does it represent? Christ as perfect and sinless sacrifice for sins; the sweet experience of coming unto Him, juxtaposed with the bitterness of sin; the complete dedication required of those under covenant to God.

Unleavened Bread

What was it? Bread made, most likely, from emmer wheat, barley, or sorghum without leaven, which makes bread softer but also more susceptible to mold and other decay. In addition, leavened bread takes much longer to make, since the dough needs time to rise.

What was done with it? It was eaten for seven days. Leaven (which was probably some kind of sourdough starter) was to be removed from each home during this time.

What does it represent? Purity; haste of flight from captivity; Christ as the Bread of Life.

Blood on Lintel and Posts

How was it applied? Hyssop (an herb later used in ritual purifications) was dipped in the bowl of blood from the lamb, and then the blood was placed on the lintel and posts of the door.

What does it represent? A sign identifying God’s covenant people, whom the destroying angel was to pass over; purification through Christ’s blood, which was shed to atone for our sins.

Loins Girt, Feet Shod, Staff in Hand, Standing While Eating

What do they represent? Readiness for hasty flight from captivity; desire for freedom from sin.

Significant Passovers with the Savior

jesus-cleanses-the-temple_11st Passover: Purification of the temple (“Make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise”)—see John 2:13–17.

 

 

 

Feeding the 50002nd Passover: Miracle of the loaves and fishes (“I am the bread of life”)—see John 6.

 

 

 

The_Last_Supper0023rd Passover: Last Supper (“This do in remembrance of me”)—see Luke 22:7–20.

 

 

 

 

kirtland2April 3, 1836: On Easter Sunday 1836, the second day of Passover, the Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple.

Our Passover

“Do we see [our weekly sacramental service] as our passover, remembrance of our safety and deliverance and redemption?

“With so very much at stake, this ordinance commemorating our escape from the angel of darkness should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is.” ~Jeffrey R. Holland

World News: History, Cuba, and Christian Africa

History Patterns in World News

keyThe Monroe Doctrine was meant to keep Europeans out of Latin America in the wake of regional independence movements from Spain.

History-Clues

NOTE: To find other time lines and patterns in History, enter History-Clues in the search bar of this site.

From Rush Limbaugh radio talk show

“You don’t need to go to the Roman Empire to find out why societies dissipate. You just need to look at Cuba. You just need to look at the Venezuela.”

“It was not inequality and lack of natural resources that doomed the Roman Empire. It’s crazy.”

“Well, here’s a headline that says it all: “Putin Redraws Russian Borders; Obama Unveils Bracket Picks.” Does that not say it all?”

“There are sugar shortages in Venezuela! Do you know who their client state is? Cuba! What’s their number one export in Cuba? Sugar!”

“There are none so blind as those who don’t listen.”

1. Monroe Doctrine

RushKerryMonroe2Depending on your age, you may not have been taught the Monroe Doctrine, because I guarantee you, the leftists in charge of education today hate it.  They thought it was arrogant and we don’t have any right to the Monroe Doctrine, who are we?  We don’t have any right to tell people that.  So they don’t even teach it, or if they do teach it, they teach it as an element of what’s wrong with America, our arrogance and our superiority.

The Monroe Doctrine was meant to keep Europeans out of Latin America in the wake of regional independence movements from Spain. It was later amplified by Teddy Roosevelt with an eye toward making the US the dominant player in the whole region, in this hemisphere.  It essentially was a doctrine which said you just can’t come in here and colonize without dealing with us, because anything you do in this hemisphere threatens us, and you don’t have carte blanche to do that.  Well, the left says, who the hell do we think we are?  We can’t tell people that.  Screw you.  I mean, we go all over the world, and we conquer and we take what we want. This is what’s taught.

They have no concept that we’re the good guys.  They have no concept that we are liberators, not conquerors.  They have no concept that we spread freedom and self-dependence, self-reliance, self-determination.  We liberate people from tyranny.  They don’t see that.

So this is last November, now.  “At a time when the Middle East, Afghanistan and China monopolize US foreign-policy, Latin America hasn’t received much attention. Until today, that is, when Secretary of State John Kerry declared the expiration of the nearly 200-year old,” Monroe Doctrine.  Kerry said in a speech at the Organization of American States in Washington, “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.”

Well, that is powerful.  When you have the secretary of state, you essentially have the president, saying the Monroe Doctrine is defunct, it’s not applicable any longer. Which means, ladies and gentlemen, in the real world our hemisphere is wide open to anybody who wants to move in, and the ChiComs are.  Do you recall all during the debate on the Keystone pipeline and not long after Obama was immaculated, the stories that he wouldn’t allow any domestic oil exploration. He wouldn’t permit it. He was making more and more off-limits, that we were nevertheless helping and paying Brazil to find oil. That we were helping the ChiComs drill for oil with the Mexicans.

There was even a report that the ChiComs were gonna get in bed with the Cubans and drill for oil 90 miles away from the Keys, all the while we are shutting ours down.  So even before Kerry made it official, this administration had sent the signal that this hemisphere’s wide open. If you want to come in, come on in.  You don’t need to go to the Roman Empire to find out what happens and why societies dissipate.  You just need to look at Cuba.  You just need to look at the Venezuela.  You don’t need to go back and understand what happened to the Roman Empire.

2. Kerry vs. Christian Uganda

persecutingchristiansMeanwhile, this is the kind of thing John Kerry, secretary of state, is worried about.  He is sending homosexual experts to Uganda.  The president of Uganda said some really, really politically incorrect things about homosexuals, and this we can’t tolerate.  Putin can do whatever he wants.  He can take over Ukraine, annex Crimea, make a move on Estonia, and we’ll make sanctions.

But you have president of a foreign country say bad things about homosexuals, and we’re gonna send our secretary of state and experts over there to get your mind right.  That’s what Kerry announced yesterday, and he wanted a bunch of gold stars for it.  This is what he called good foreign policy.  This is direct engagement.  This is exactly what we’re trying to do here.  Now, Uganda is probably the lone Christian country in the world that still has its antiquated attitudes about homosexuality.

But every Muslim country is worse than Uganda, and is John Kerry sending any experts there?  Is John Kerry gonna send any experts to Saudi Arabia to talk to the Wahhabis?  Is he gonna send anybody to Syria?  Is Kerry going to go to Chechnya?  Is Kerry gonna go, say, anywhere where there’s a Muslim government that is even worse when it comes to gays and women?  Nope.  He’s just gonna get that Ugandan president’s mind right

RUSH:  You know, Uganda’s the only Christian country that has homosexuality laws, but there are 10 Muslim countries that are worse. Why doesn’t John Kerry send his experts on homosexuality to any of the Muslim countries to get reversals or get their minds right, hmm?

History: Sin vs. Faith in God, Liberty

Dinner Topics for Monday

Consequences of a Refusal to Recognize Our Creator

by Connor Boyack

keyCan an ungodly society be a free society? Those who do not accept the yoke of Christ, as is readily evident, are led to bear the yoke of Caesar. ~Connor Boyack

Does Sin Cause National Bondage?

This question has kept busy both philosophers and pastors for ages. Whether the bondage of sin correlates to, or causes, the bondage of statism is a subject of significant importance. How necessary, really, is a belief in God?

biblereadmeOf course, a belief in God is rather irrelevant without corresponding behavior; actionable belief, or in other words faith in God, is what’s important. Too often faith is treated with tunnel vision, whereby people only consider its influence on their individual lives. But just as faith can move mountains, it can shape societies—and a lack of it can likewise leave a noticeable imprint.

It takes effort not to notice the many stains on society that surround us—news reports overwhelm us constantly with tales of government corruption, societal scandal, depravity, or corporate malfeasance. In systematic fashion, people use their rights in an irresponsible way or have them violated by others acting wrongfully. All of this stems from a rejection of our Creator.

decofindependence1The Declaration of Independence rightly recognizes that our Creator endowed us with unalienable rights. This acknowledgement of a pre-existing source elevates our rights over the state and suggests their importance. Can we ignore or outright reject this Creator without disregarding the endowments he gave us?

Closing our eyes to God’s role in our lives does not just impact our belief regarding, and attitude towards, our birthright of freedom. Abandoning a Creator-centric philosophy impacts our every action; if a person is not concerned about being judged for his behavior, then the natural course is to proverbially eat, drink, and be merry despite a higher, ignored life calling.

The Protestant traditions that influenced the foundations of the New World recognized the self-moderating nature of this future judgment and pointed to it often. Many philosophers of the time, along with the politicians that learned from them, understood the role of religion and morality in influencing civil government for the better—including restraining the abuse of power. Thus John Adams’ first draft of the Massachusetts Constitution stated that “the knowledge and belief of the being of God… and of a future state of rewards and punishments [are] the only true foundation of morality.”

Corrupt figures both past and present concern themselves primarily with whatever they think they can get away with. They take no thought of God’s approbation of their activity, but instead conceal their crime from their peers. They “seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord” and work “in the dark.” When their scandals are made public they consider themselves “caught,” but even then place little importance on the punishment their Creator may have in store for them.

creationhandsDiminishing our Creator’s role in our lives distorts how we understand, value, and exercise our rights. It also removes this future judgment as a factor in our daily decisions. A person who is considering an immoral action might subconsciously perform a cost-benefit analysis, weighing the pros and cons. Getting caught might entail angering the person’s spouse, jeopardizing employment, or risking social status, fines, or jail time. Pride or simple stupidity might give the person confidence that he can evade detection, increasing the likelihood that the action will be performed.

If this same person had faith in God and placed any sort of importance in His judgment, the Creator’s ever-present knowledge of our activities would surely be a factor in that same cost-benefit analysis. Spouses, friends, co-workers, and reporters may never learn of our behavior, but God sees everything and therefore can hold us accountable. This reality can restrain our individual behavior, but more generally, it “benefits society in a dramatic way when adherents engage in moral conduct because they feel accountable to God.”

President George Washington wrote that “reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.” Benjamin Franklin agreed: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” Patrick Henry listed “virtue, morality, and religion” as the “great pillars of all government.” He continued: “This is the armor… and this alone, that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed… so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger.”

The reason that many of the studious Founders encouraged faith in God was because they understood this concept: as we alienate ourselves from God, so too do we alienate the liberty He bestowed upon us. Contrary to Cain’s misguided claim, we cannot be free while being evil.

persecutingchristiansThis is not to say that we must all share a common theology, or pay tithes and perform service and otherwise engage in the positive behavior most such religions require. What has long been recognized as important and influential, rather, is an allegiance to God—a recognition of our role as stewards and a belief that we will one day be held accountable.

And it is our deficiency in this regard that has led our society to become as it is; sin has contributed to statism. If we wish to be free, we must understand that a future judgment will hold us accountable for our actions, whether or not those actions are recognized and rewarded or punished by our peers in this life. More importantly, that understanding must lead to self-restraint, personal responsibility, and submission to our King.

Those who do not accept the yoke of Christ, as is readily evident, are led to bear the yoke of Caesar.