America, Liberty, and Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville: Life and Quotes

Dinner Topics for Monday

Alexis_de_tocquevillekeyOne reason Tocqueville, as a Frenchman, took such interest in America is the comparison between the American and French revolutions. The Founding Fathers loved the God of the Bible, and respected the Judeo-Christian moral values. The French were just the opposite. They totally rejected God and all His attendant values, resulting in murder, immorality, and anarchy. Note that  Tocqueville understands the difference. This is why it is so important to know and understand history—to learn from the choices, good and bad, made by people in the past and then apply those lessons today. ~CD

Alexis de Tocqueville

From Wikipedia

America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

  • This has often been attributed to de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, but erroneously … There’s an earlier variant, without the memorable ending, that dates back to at least 1886:

I went at your bidding, and passed along their thoroughfares of trade. I ascended their mountains and went down their valleys. I visited their manufactories, their commercial markets, and emporiums of trade. I entered their judicial courts and legislative halls. But I sought everywhere in vain for the secret of their success, until I entered the church. It was there, as I listened to the soul-equalizing and soul-elevating principles of the Gospel of Christ, as they fell from Sabbath to Sabbath upon the masses of the people, that I learned why America was great and free, and why France was a slave. (Empty Pews & Selections from Other Sermons on Timely Topics, Madison Clinton Peters; Zeising, 1886, p. 35)

Read on for more thoughtful statements from de Tocqueville. CD

Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville 29 July 1805, Paris – 16 April 1859, Cannes) was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America (appearing in two volumes: 1835 and 1840) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856). In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societies. Democracy in America (1835), his major work, published after his travels in the United States, is today considered an early work of sociology and political science.

Alexis de Tocqueville came from an old Norman aristocratic family with ancestors who participated in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. His parents, Hervé Louis François Jean Bonaventure Clérel, Comte de Tocqueville, an officer of the Constitutional Guard of King Louis XVI, and Louise Madeleine Le Peletier de Rosanbo, narrowly avoided the guillotine due to the fall of Robespierre in 1794. After an exile in England, they returned to France during the reign of Napoleon. Under the Bourbon Restoration, his father became a noble peer and prefect.[citation needed] Tocqueville attended the Lycée Fabert in Metz.[1]

 

Tocqueville, who despised the July Monarchy (1830-1848), began his political career at the start of the same period, 1830. Thus, he became deputy of the Manche department (Valognes), a position which he maintained until 1851. In parliament, he defended abolitionist views and upheld free trade, while supporting the colonisation of Algeria carried on by Louis-Philippe‘s regime. Tocqueville was also elected general counsellor of the Manche in 1842, and became the president of the department’s conseil général between 1849 and 1851. According to one account, Tocqueville’s political position became untenable during this time in the sense that he was mistrusted by both the left and right, and was looking for an excuse to leave France.[2] In 1831, he obtained from the July Monarchy a mission to examine prisons and penitentiaries in America, and proceeded there with his lifelong friend Gustave de Beaumont. While Tocqueville did visit some prisons, he traveled widely in America and took extensive notes about his observations and reflections.[2] He returned in less than two years, and published a report, but the real result of his tour was De la démocratie en Amerique, which appeared in 1835.[3]

Apart from America, Tocqueville also made an observational tour of England, producing Memoir on Pauperism. In 1841 and 1846, he traveled to Algeria. His first travel inspired his Travail sur l’Algérie, in which he criticized the French model of colonisation, which was based on an assimilationist view, preferring instead the British model of indirect rule, which avoided mixing different populations together. He went as far as openly advocating racial segregation between the European colonists and the “Arabs” through the implementation of two different legislative systems (a half century before implementation of the 1881 Indigenous code based on religion). In 1835 de Tocqueville made a journey through Ireland. His observations provide one of the best pictures of how Ireland stood before the Great Famine 1845-1849. The observations chronicle the growing Catholic middle-class and the appalling conditions in which most Catholic tenant farmers lived. De Tocqueville’s libertarian sympathies and his affinity for his Irish co-religionists are made clear.[4]

After the fall of the July Monarchy during the February 1848 Revolution, Tocqueville was elected a member of the Constituent Assembly of 1848, where he became a member of the Commission charged with the drafting of the new Constitution of the Second Republic (1848-1851). He defended bicameralism (the existence of two parliamentary chambers) and the election of the President of the Republic by universal suffrage. As the countryside was thought to be more conservative than the labouring population of Paris, universal suffrage was conceived as a means to counteract the revolutionary spirit of Paris.

During the Second Republic, Tocqueville sided with the parti de l’Ordre against the socialists. A few days after the February insurrection, he believed that a violent clash between the Parisian workers’ population led by socialists agitating in favor of a “Democratic and Social Republic” and the conservatives, which included the aristocracy and the rural population, was inescapable. As Tocqueville had foreseen, these social tensions eventually exploded during the June Days Uprising of 1848. Led by General Cavaignac, the repression was supported by Tocqueville, who advocated the “regularization” of the state of siege declared by Cavaignac, and other measures promoting suspension of the constitutional order.[5] Between May and September, Tocqueville participated in the Constitutional Commission which wrote the new Constitution. His proposals underlined the importance of his American experience, as his amendment about the President and his reelection.[6]

A supporter of Cavaignac and of the parti de l’Ordre, Tocqueville, however, accepted an invitation to enter Odilon Barrot‘s government as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 3 June to 31 October 1849. There, during the troubled days of June 1849, he pleaded with Jules Dufaure, Interior Minister, for the reestablishment of the state of siege in the capital and approved the arrest of demonstrators. Tocqueville, who since February 1848 had supported laws restricting political freedoms, approved the two laws voted immediately after the June 1849 days, which restricted the liberty of clubs and freedom of the press. This active support in favor of laws restricting political freedoms stands in contrast of his defense of freedoms in Democracy in America. A closer analysis reveals, however, that Tocqueville favored order as “the sine qua non for the conduct of serious politics. He [hoped] to bring the kind of stability to French political life that would permit the steady growth of liberty unimpeded by the regular rumblings of the earthquakes of revolutionary change.″[7]

Tocqueville had supported Cavaignac against Louis Napoléon Bonaparte for the presidential election of 1848. Opposed to Louis Napoléon’s 2 December 1851 coup which followed his election, Tocqueville was among the deputies who gathered at the 10th arrondissement of Paris in an attempt to resist the coup and have Napoleon III judged for “high treason,” as he had violated the constitutional limit on terms of office. Detained at Vincennes and then released, Tocqueville, who supported the Restoration of the Bourbons against Bonaparte’s Second Empire (1851-1871), quit political life and retreated to his castle (Château de Tocqueville). Against this image of Tocqueville, biographer Joseph Epstein has concluded: “Tocqueville could never bring himself to serve a man he considered a usurper and despot. He fought as best he could for the political liberty in which he so ardently believed-had given it, in all, thirteen years of his life [....] He would spend the days remaining to him fighting the same fight, but conducting it now from libraries, archives, and his own desk.”[8] There, he began the draft of L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution, publishing the first tome in 1856, but leaving the second one unfinished.

A longtime sufferer from bouts of tuberculosis, Tocqueville would eventually succumb to the disease on April 16, 1859. He was buried in the Tocqueville cemetery in Normandy.

Tocqueville’s professed religion was Roman Catholicism.[9] He saw religion as being compatible with both equality and individualism, and felt that religion would be strongest when separated from politics.[2]

Quotes by Alexis de Tocqueville

Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.

Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?

Muhammad brought down from heaven and put into the Koran not religious doctrines only, but political maxims, criminal and civil laws, and scientific theories. Beyond that, they teach nothing and do not oblige people to believe anything. That alone, among a thousand reasons, is enough to show that Islam will not be able to hold its power long in ages of enlightenment and democracy, while Christianity is destined to reign in such ages, as in all others.

The Gospels, on the other hand, deal only with the general relations between man and God and between man and man.

The principle of equality does not destroy the imagination, but lowers its flight to the level of the earth.

I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it.

As the past has ceased to throw its light upon the future, the mind of man wanders in obscurity.

 

Movie Report: America, Liberty, and World News

A message from Jon Voight and Jeremy Boreing

keyHere in these western lands men were fighting again the age-old struggle for freedom and for civilization, which is one that always must be fought for. The weak and those unwilling to make the struggle, soon resign their liberties for the protection of powerful men or paid armies; they begin by being protected, they end by being subjected. ~ Louis L’Amour

The movie we went to see is Dinesh D’Souza’s pivotal documentary, AMERICA.

americathemovieWe say pivotal because the film literally takes the narrative of the left – that America is a land founded on theft and genocide – and turns it completely around.

In just over an hour and a half, AMERICA re-establishes the moral case for our great country, and it does it on the battlefield that the liberty-movement has too often ignored – the culture.

As our dear friend, the late-Andrew Breitbart often declared, ‘politics is downstream of culture.’ In the end, people vote based on what they believe, and in a culture where the most religious among us spend only an hour or two in church, but the average young person consumes close to 40 hours a week of film, TV and video, much of what we believe comes to us through the movies. If we don’t take the fight to the culture, we will lose. Dinesh D’Souza has done just that.

If his film is successful, it will be seen by countless people who don’t read blogs or attend rallies.

If it’s successful, it will be seen by young people who still haven’t made up their minds about their political beliefs and who are being told every day by their professors and the media that America is a force for evil, not good.
And if it is successful, AMERICA will help prove to investors and audiences alike that there is a place in our country for movies that represent the values of the rest of us.

For those reasons, we wanted to take a minute and encourage each of you to go see this terrific film. We know you each have tremendous influence in your communities, so please take your friends. Take your kids, and take their friends too. Let’s help make this movie a huge success and help equip our fellow citizens with the same love for America that we all share.

Thank you for your time,

Jon and Jeremy

Now Fred Thompson sounds government alarm

Former senator talks with WND about his latest role

With a provocative title like “Persecuted,” WND asked Thompson and Carlson just how realistic is the film and the concept of “persecution” of Christians in America?

“More realistic than some of the space movies that get popular,” Thompson joked. “But it’s realistic certainly to the extent that these things are possible. The idea of those in government and powerful positions being able to carry out nefarious activities is more than possible, and in this particular case, though we haven’t seen anybody go to the extent they go to in this movie, the notion of a religious person preaching the gospel running up against the government and governmental policies – or those who want to carry out a business and running up against governmental regulations and rules – is not far-fetched at all. In fact, we’re seeing that happen as we speak in the Hobby Lobby case and in some other cases coming down the pike.”

PERSECUTED - In theaters July 18th.  (PRNewsFoto/One Media LLC)“Over the last decade, I do believe there has been more emphasis on trying to strip our society of certain things that have been in existence for a long time,” added Carlson, “such as lawsuits to take crosses down in the western part of our country, lawsuits to take out the word ‘God’ from our money or not allowing our kids to say it in their valedictorian speeches, forces pushing for atheists to lead campus Christian groups and petitions at state governors’ offices during the Christmas season to put up a ‘Festivus pole’ – from the made-up holiday of ‘Festivus’ from the ‘Seinfeld’ TV show – next to a Christian crèche on public lands.

“As a journalist, I see these stories frequently,” she said, “and I just want to make sure Americans realize if you don’t stand up and take notice of some of these things happening, before you know it, our heritage starts to erode.
“For me, during the Christmas season, I don’t want to take my kids around in the car to see all the crèches in the town where I live in and hear them say, ‘Mom, where are they? I don’t see them anymore,’” Carlson said.
Her concerns are widely shared, but do those stories actually rise to the level of “persecution”?

“In most countries in the world, we’re seeing persecution [against Christians] in the extreme – people are losing their lives,” Thompson told WND. “While that sort of thing is not happening in the United States, we have the potential. Sooner or later, it can be done.

“As long as we have people in power, there will never be a dearth of things to be concerned about, because power corrupts,” he continued. “There’s a reason why our Founding Fathers wanted to address this in the Bill of Rights. It wasn’t just because of things happening in their day and time; they were talking about the future. So it’s not a question of what’s happening today or the things you can foresee, but the things you can’t foresee and the ways you can’t necessarily predict that you have to be mindful of.”

“The movie carries a message,” Thompson told WND, “and that is the need to protect our First Amendment rights, the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and how sometimes it’s tough to do that when you have the government coming down on you.”

“This film is incredibly thought provoking,” Carlson added. “It’s not compelling people who see it to believe in Christianity or believe in any faith for that matter; it’s about the rights people fought and died for to make this nation arguably the greatest on earth.

“Often times, those rights can be taken for granted,” Carlson said, before sharing a story she thought was particularly timely.

“When I was in Washington, D.C., just recently with my children, seeing the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, we had an interesting experience,” Carlson related. “Our tour guide noted security guards standing next to the Declaration and Constitution, and that’s where the long lines of people were, but when you go over to the Bill of Rights, there are no security guards and the lines start to diminish.

“Our guide, who was an Afghani national who became a naturalized U.S. citizen years ago – and I have never met a more proud American – said this is where guards should stand, [at the Bill of Rights], and this is where long lines of people should be, because these are the rights that people fought and died for,” she said. “He had an amazing point, so poignant for me, to hear right before ‘Persecuted’ comes out, because this is the message of the movie: Do not take for granted the rights we have in this country.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/now-fred-thompson-sounds-government-alarm/#fwcAwgiHpOzx7yS1.99

Book Report: Rush Limbaugh, Liberty, and American History

Dinner Topics for Friday

Rush Revere and the First Patriots

Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans

By Rush Limbaugh

keyRush Limbaugh makes history fun and interesting for families, young and old. In a time when it is fashionable to bash America, Limbaugh revives appreciation for our great heritage. If we don’t teach our children about the importance of liberty and everyone’s responsibility to preserve it, they will learn it nowhere else. Limbaugh’s book series is a huge help in this vital effort. ~C.A. Davidson

 

rushandLiberty“Whoa there, young historians! Before we go rush, rush, rushing off anywhere, I’d like a moment. I’m Liberty, Rush Revere’s loquacious equine companion—his trusty talking horse! Always at the ready to leap from the twenty-first century into America’s past, that’s me. When he says ‘Let’s go!’ I’m so there. I’m jazzed. I’m psyched, I’m—”

“Ah, excuse me, Liberty?”

“Yeah, Rush?”

“Usually you say ‘oh no, not again!’ and ‘while we’re in colonial Boston, can I try the baked beans?’”

“Okay, fine—you do the talking. I’ll just be over here, if you need me. . . .”

Well, he’s sulking now, but I couldn’t be your tour guide across time without Liberty! His name says it all: the freedom we celebrate every July Fourth with fireworks and hog dogs (and maybe some of those baked beans). But how did America get free? How did thirteen newborn colonies tell the British king where he could stick his unfair taxes?

 

The First Tea Party

rushbook1stpatriotsJump into the bustling streets of Boston in 1765, where talk of revolution is growing louder. I said LOUDER. You’ll have to SHOUT to be heard over the angry cries of “Down with the king!” and “Repeal the Stamp Act!” that fill the air. You’ll meet fierce supporters of liberty like Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and my idol, Paul Revere, as they fearlessly defy British rule. It’s an exciting, dangerous, turbulent, thrilling time to be an American . . .and exceptional young patriots like you won’t want to miss a minute. So let’s ride!

Bible Standard: Word of God vs. World

Dinner Topics for Thursday

keyYou must remember that if we leave the governing to others, then others will govern, and possibly not as we would like. In a country such as this, none of us is free of responsibility. Good government is everybody’s business. ~ Louis L’Amour (Rivers West, 29)

A man’s only king as long as folks let him be.~ Louis L’Amour (Ride the Dark Trail, 87)

You’ve got to make a stand somewhere. We are making a decision here today whether this community is to be ruled by justice and by law or by force and crime.~ Louis L’Amour (Law of Desert Born. 218)

Hold Fast to the Word of God

Let Us All Press On in the Cause of Truth

ShieldresizeLet us all press on in the work of the Lord, that when life is o’er we may gain a reward;

In the fight for right let us wield a sword, the mighty sword of truth.

We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few when compared with the opposite host in view; But an unseen power will aid me and you in the glorious cause of truth.

If we do what’s right we have no need to fear, for the Lord, our helper, will ever be near; In the days of trial his saints he will cheer, and prosper the cause of truth.

Fear not, though the enemy deride; Courage, for the Lord is on our side.

We will heed not what the wicked may say, but the Lord alone we will obey.

~Evan Stephens

 

mockingpeopleThere will be times during your journey when the road will get rough. You will have to choose which road you will take. With either choice, you must pay a price. According to the Word of God, the broad road leads to destruction, so you are advised to take the straight and narrow path.

That path leads straight past those who will point a finger of scorn at you for guarding your purity; they will ridicule you for believing that God created the earth; they will deride you for believing that you were created in the image of God; they will scoff at you for holding life sacred.

There is no way around it. This is the price you pay when you hold to the Word of God. So just prepare yourself ahead of time.

But it’s worth it.

Epic Hero resize medJust when you think you can’t continue,

You’ll find the epic hero within you.

Honor and virtue will be your choice.

Return home triumphant, and rejoice.

 

Dinner Talk Topic: Those who hold to principle choose to pay a price, but cannot be bought.

1. What happens if we yield to pressure from those who scoff and scorn us and turn away from God’s standard of morality?

2. Revelation 2:25-26 What does it mean to “endure to the end?” How do John’s words apply to   us?

3. How can faithfully obeying the word of God help us stay strong and lead to true happiness in the long run?

Copyright ©2010 by C.A. Davidson

Christian Character: Game, Movie, or God?

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

Are we selling our liberty for a mess of games and movies?

AFA Journal

by Teddy James

Uh … welcome to our future, dude

keyHold local and statewide elected officials accountable. The power of one is formidable if you are educated on the issues, firm and persistent.”

Friedeman said believers must get focused so they can fight against tyranny on the local level. He said, “Get involved in at least one major issue in your community at the compassionate ministry level. It tones the whole life. Go minister in a prison, work at your crisis pregnancy center, fight illiteracy, become active serving the poor. Remember that God can’t steer a parked car.”

 

apathydudeHas the good life resulted in American Christians who are shallow and apathetic?

Modern literature, television shows, movies and video games love telling stories of dystopian futures. From the oft quoted 1984 to recent blockbusters such as Hunger Games, America has a love/hate relationship with bleak futures where freedom is all but lost and only a handful of people are able or willing to fight for it.

Many of these stories tell of overgrown governments that are oppressing more than governing. Others tell of apathetic citizens who have traded freedoms for entertainment.

The real story

Whatever dystopian future is your favorite, it is fiction. Each story shows a world quite different than the one we see today.

Matt Friedeman, professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, author and former radio host for AFR, said a world without America is an inevitable future. He said, “No nation, culture or empire is permanent. No people group is immortal. Put another way, America will someday die. When we will die is not known. But how we die is a bit easier to prophesy.

Thucydides said, ‘The secret to happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.’ We die when we lack the courage to fight for liberty. I suspect we will lack the courage (if it hasn’t already happened) when we are overtly enamored with ease and comfort and are too distracted by the technology that captures our attention through television, games and entertainment.”

One of the largest threats to America right now isn’t terrorism or invasion or even liberalism or conservatism, regardless of what pundits may say. Friedeman said one of the biggest threats to American freedom today is pleasure.

 “Wealth and pleasure impact our ability to listen,” he said. “A similar situation occurred in ancient Israel in the time of David and Solomon. The nation and its kings grew wealthy enough that they forgot to heed the moral and spiritual demise which, basically, sent the nation into a civil war and a form of the dark ages that led to the Exile.”

With all the progress mankind has made, it is logical to assume man has matured beyond the simple nature of his ancestors. Søren Kierkegaard, known as the father of existentialism, said modern man is still easily distracted by comfort and amusement. He once told a parable of a clown in front of a theater warning the people of a fire. The people believed his message to be part of the entertainment and were too busy laughing to heed his warning.

Friedeman said, “It could easily be argued today that a destructive moral and spiritual fire is raging in America. Instead of grabbing the proverbial water buckets, we are too captivated with television, iPods, iPads, cell phones, sports or listening to our favorite talk show hosts to take the real threats seriously.”

The real threat


It is easy to dismiss those speaking about real and present dangers to American freedoms today. Sadly, those talking about the dangers often use hyperbole and thus dilute their arguments.

Friedeman said there are three major areas of freedom that Americans should be watching with great care: religion, economy and politics.

First, he said, “Christians have had it so good for so long in America, we haven’t paid much attention to religious freedom until a few recent threats. With those threats it feels as if a snowball is headed downhill and growing with every turn. But religious freedom isn’t the only concern.”

When polled, Americans say the number one issue they feel most uneducated about is the economy. Friedeman shows the natural consequence of that reality. He said, “The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have been tracking economic freedom for 20 years. America has slipped in the standing every year. They measure economic freedom on 10 quantitative and qualitative factors, grouped into four broad categories: rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency and open market. America has dropped to the 12th freest economy in the world and fallen from the category ‘free’ to ‘mostly free’ due to deteriorations in property rights, fiscal freedom and business freedom. This is shameful and it is the outcome of us wanting government to do the hard work of freedom instead of individuals, churches and businesses shouldering that responsibility.”

signers3The Founding Fathers had a great fear of powerful government. They recognized that because of human nature, even a small and limited government could grow exponentially if citizens didn’t keep it in check. That is why the American government was designed to run through the consent of the governed. But Friedeman noted that this foundational freedom is being threatened daily in the U.S.

He said, “Political freedom in the American context is the ability for the will of the people through a republican form of government to guide and direct the future of this country. Political freedom requires constant diligence. Without that consistent oversight, politicians and the burgeoning bureaucracy around them win, and politicians/bureaucracies are in the business of gathering power to themselves, not reserving it for the people.”

The real hope
Perhaps part of the reason people enjoy dystopian books and shows is that they believe such atrocious forms of government could never happen here. But the reality is that without an educated and engaged electorate, it is an unavoidable future.

biblereadmeFriedeman said this future does not have to sweep the American landscape. There is hope. “The first thing we as Christians need is to love God. If that priority is out of whack, then it is mind-boggling what horrendous things can follow.

“The next priority is the family. Disciple them. A nation is no stronger than its families. It is almost impossible to make a logical argument that a nation with the breakdown of the nuclear family that we are now experiencing is ready to meet future challenges. We need to fight for strong marriages that pour their health into their children.”

Moving beyond families, Friedeman said to focus on churches. “A culture with healthy local churches that affirm the orthodox distinctives of the Christian faith is hard to bully from without and, perhaps more importantly, from within. Local churches are strong, however, not because they just build themselves up, but as they exercise their gifts beyond the church walls.”

To make strong families and strong churches, individuals must be focused. He said, “Fight distraction. We all need to simplify our lives, and families need to examine what they allow into their minds. None of the things we consider essential for our lives today really are essential. Indeed, to separate from them for a season will provide a happiness that transcends our ‘plugged-in’ existence. Ditch the television and significantly restrict other forms of media. Parents lead, and expect the children to follow.”

Friedeman said believers must get focused so they can fight against tyranny on the local level. He said, “Get involved in at least one major issue in your community at the compassionate ministry level. It tones the whole life. Go minister in a prison, work at your crisis pregnancy center, fight illiteracy, become active serving the poor. Remember that God can’t steer a parked car.”

Friedeman said after getting focused and involved in the community, “Become involved in politics. Find something that piques your interest and lobby for it. Run for office. Hold local and statewide elected officials accountable. The power of one is formidable if you are educated on the issues, firm and persistent.”

___________________

 

Matt Friedeman is the author of multiple books and Bible studies including:

 Discipleship in the Home (DVD and book combo) Available at afastore.net or 877-927-4917

The Accountability Connection*

LifeChanging Bible Study*

In the Fight*

Mark: A Study of Discipleship*

*Available at mattfriedeman.com

- See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/june/features/uh-%E2%80%A6-welcome-to-our-future,-dude.aspx#sthash.ma9GrvTx.dpuf

 

Christian News: Bible still Popular; Internet Control; Social Media vs. Moral Standard

News from American Family Association Journal

keyoldFor behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil. ~Moroni 7:16

 

Religious protection bill passed in Mississippi

justice gavelThe Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by the state legislature and signed into law in April by Gov. Phil Bryant. The law will protect the religious freedom of corporations, individual Christians and churches.

A storm of protest hit the state as the bill neared passage – similar to the outcry that torpedoed similar bills in Kansas and Arizona.

AFA urged its Mississippi supporters to contact their legislators in Jackson and ask that the measure be passed. AFA encouraged legislators not to be misled by what it described as “fabricated fear tactics” being employed by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest homosexual pressure group.

“In the world of HRC, homosexuals are always victims, and Christians are always the oppressors,” said AFA president Tim Wildmon after the bill was signed into law. “I think many people are starting to see that the opposite is true.”

Wildmon pointed to instances in other states in which Christian business owners are sued or otherwise charged under law for refusing to take part in same sex marriages, even though the Christian faith regards only man-woman unions as legitimate.

- See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/june/issues/religious-protection-bill-passed-in-mississippi.aspx#sthash.4rRQIV5I.dpuf

 

Gifts show extremes of Pelosi

PelosiU.S. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) received special attention this year for her pro-abortion activism – Planned Parenthood’s annual Margaret Sanger Award. Sanger was a radical eugenicist who “consistently promoted racist ideals with a contemptuous attitude,” according to LifeNews.com. In particular, Pelosi has spearheaded efforts to direct more tax dollars to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards described the Margaret Sanger Award as “our highest recognition of leadership, excellence and outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and rights movement.”

Pelosi also recently received recognition in a very different way. When President Barack Obama presented Pelosi with a rosary that had been given to him and blessed by Pope Francis during the president’s recent visit to the Vatican, pro-life Catholics were offended. Both Obama and Pelosi are aggressively pro-choice in disregard of the traditional Catholic position.

- See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/june/issues/gifts-show-extremes-of-pelosi.aspx#sthash.IlZ8o8OA.dpuf

 

 

Abstinence funding survives

President Barack Obama’s proposed 2015 budget would have eliminated funding for abstinence education. Under that budget plan, current funding for sexual risk avoidance, or SRA, programs in schools would have expired on September 31 this year.

However, the House and Senate reallocated the funding as part of a larger appropriations bill. The president was forced to approve abstinence funding as part of the necessary larger bill. The funding for abstinence programs will now continue until September 2015.

According to the latest stats from National Abstinence Education Association, a large number of teens were among those who gathered on Capitol Hill in early April to urge their congressional representatives to continue funding for abstinence programs. According to NAEA, 75% of 15-to-17-year-olds have not engaged in sexual intercourse, and those who have say they regret it.

- See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/june/issues/abstinence-funding-survives.aspx#sthash.K8P9KydH.dpuf

 

Muslim disinformation

wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-150x150“Jesus is Muslim,” reads a billboard in Columbus, Ohio. The message on the billboard, placed by an Islamic group called Ask a Muslim, also refers viewers to “seek the truth” at the Muslim organization’s website. Another billboard message from the same group claims, “Mohammad is in the Bible.” Muslims believe Jesus is a prophet, and they consider all prophets to be Muslims.

The Ask a Muslim website states, “Muslims are Christians, if ‘Christian’ means someone following the teachings of Christ, so by learning about Islam, you are not disobeying Jesus.”

Alex McFarland, Christian apologist and co-host of AFR’s Exploring the Word, said the billboard represents a campaign to “convert America to Islam and part of the strategy for doing this is to spread misinformation and disinformation about Christianity.”

- See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/june/issues/muslim-disinformation.aspx#sthash.bDVFq46y.dpuf

 

KJV still most popular bible

KJV BibleA recent study called The Bible in American Life found that more than half of all Bible readers use the King James Version.

While the NIV is the bestselling Bible translation, only 19% read it, compared to 55% for the KJV. The percentages of those who read other Bible translations are in single digits. A 2011 Lifeway study found that 62% of all Americans own a copy of the KJV. 

Interestingly, 53% of KJV readers and 39% of NIV readers agreed that the Bible is the literal word of God, while 70% of NIV readers responded that they read the Bible weekly compared to 54% of KJV readers.

christianitytoday.com, 3/13/14

- See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/june/issues/kjv-still-most-popular-bible.aspx#sthash.h5Z5f5dQ.dpuf

 

Heavy social media use linked to risky behavior

RushSocialMedia2PIXAberrant and unhealthy behavior among teens has been associated with excessive use of technology according to a study from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

The study found that nearly 20% of teens surveyed from a cross section of urban Midwestern high school students send more than 120 text messages during each school day. These “hyper-texting” students were at least 40% more likely to be binge drinkers, use drugs and smoke cigarettes. In addition, they were 90% more likely to have had four or more sexual partners and 55% more likely to have been in a physical fight.

Furthermore, 11.5% of these students reported hyper-networking – more than three hours of a school day on social networking sites – and were 94% more likely to have been in a physical fight, 84% more likely to have used drugs, 79% more likely to have used alcohol, 69% more likely to have had sex, 60% more likely to have had four or more sexual partners and 62% more likely to have smoked cigarettes.

case.edu, 3/20/14

- See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/june/issues/heavy-social-media-use-linked-to-risky-behavior.aspx#sthash.6iz1ofja.dpuf

Recently the London Telegraph reported that rising numbers of toddlers are so addicted t iPads they are unable to play with toy building blocks. Young kids increasingly “lack the motor skills needed to play with building blocks because of an ‘addiction’ to tablet computers and smart phones,” revealed the story, citing school teachers’ observations that “many children aged just three or four can ‘swipe a screen,’ but have little or no desterity in hteir fingers after spending hours glued to iPads.”

Whistleblower, June 2014, p. 4

Who should control the Internet?

internetThe Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has managed the Internet’s  domain-name system under contract with the U.S. government for more than a decade. It is responsible for assigning, authorizing and protecting the names of each website on the Internet. But the Los Angeles-based company is working to transform itself into a global organization free of U.S. ties.

In March, the Obama administration made the decision to relinquish oversight of the group when the current contract expires in 2015. Exactly who would oversee ICANN is unclear, but conservatives warn the decision could allow the United Nations or authoritarian countries to step in and seize control of the up-to-now free Internet.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted, “Every American should worry about [President Barack] Obama giving up control of the Internet to an undefined group. This is very, very dangerous.” Other lawmakers have long warned about the dangers of ceding ICANN’s authority to the International Telecommunication Union, a U.N. agency. Senate Commerce Committee ranking member John Thune (R-SD) said, “There are people who want to see the Internet fall into the grip of the U.N. or who would allow ICANN to become an unaccountable organization with the power to control the Internet, and we cannot allow them to determine how this process plays out. I trust the innovators and entrepreneurs more than the bureaucrats – whether they’re in D.C. or Brussels.”

politico.com, 3/17/14

- See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/june/issues/who-should-control-the-internet.aspx#sthash.viyuepD2.dpuf

World News: Obama Ego vs. Russia and downed Plane

The President’s Profound Statement on the Downed Plane in Ukraine

keySometimes a man’s ego gets so inflated that other people … are to be brushed aside.~Louis L’Amour

 

Rush Limbaugh

RUSH: Here’s President Obama, by the way, Wilmington, Delaware, port of Wilmington, he spoke about the downed Malaysian Airlines passenger jet in Ukraine.  Listen to the profundity here of the opening line.  Are you ready?  Just listen.  It’s about 27 seconds, but just listen. I mean, this is raw intelligence.

obamaegozipcodeThis is the kind of intelligence, folks, that we expected back in 2008.  This is what they all meant when they said, “He’s a man unlike any who has ever walked among us!  This is a man who is so much above us that we can just barely strive to keep up, knowing full well we never will.

We are always going to be in his wake!

“He’s always going to be so far ahead of us that we’ll be scratching our heads, but thankfully so that we are at least in his midst and alive at the same time he is.  He is what we all waited for!”  Here, you’ll hear it. It’s encapsulated here as a response to the jet being shot down in Ukraine, the opening line of the statement.

obama-ego-kingsizeOBAMA:  It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.  Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board.  That is our first priority, and I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government.  The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why.  And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home.

He goes out there and says, “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,” and then he goes perfunctory for the rest of the 25 seconds and then he started telling jokes and going lighthearted and yuk-yuk about why he was in Wilmington, Delaware, in the first place.  So it was clear that his statement on the jet was a perfunctory thing.

“It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. … The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why.  And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home,” and bam! He was off.  So much so that even that paragon of journalistic talent Piers Morgan has tweeted his abject shock and dismay that Obama would be so cavalier about this.

 

PiersMorganPlane

 

Background: Russian crimes

Now, the Chechens, I know they’ve got a grievance.  Let’s not forget something here.  Way, way back in the early days of Vladimir Putin the Chechens kidnapped and held hostage a bunch of kids in a Moscow opera house.  Putin was so ticked off by this that he mass murdered everybody in there, including some of the kids.

They tried to get as many of them out as they could, but what he did was, they found a way to weaponize fentanyl.  Now, fentanyl is a really powerful opiate.  It is used for pain relief for end-of-life cancer patients in the form of a patch on the arm.  Sometimes it can be injected IV, but it’s really strong, and they found a way to weaponize it by making it a gas, and they pumped weaponized fentanyl (which a chemical weapon) into the place.

Nobody knew that this had been done.  I think we’ve probably done it, the United States has done it, but it’s never been used, and I don’t think anybody had any proof heretofore that Russia or anybody else had succeeded in weaponizing this substance.  But the way it kills is it shuts down the respiratory system. You stop breathing.  So that’s what they did. The Russians just pumped it through the ventilation system of, I think it was, the opera house.

Now, obviously the Chechens have been holding a grudge and they’ve been angry since before that happened.  But this is curious. When I start trying to figure who could make this happen in order to provoke other action, that’s the long shot.  ‘Cause you have a commercial airliner shot down.  Granted it’s provocative.

Government Control vs. People’s Law

Dinner Topics for Monday

Month-Defining Moment

keyToday it is popular in the classroom as well as the press to refer to “Communism on the left,” and “Fascism on the right.”

These terms actually refer to the manner in which the various parties are seated in the parliaments of Europe. The radical revolutionaries (usually the Communists) occupy the far left and the military dictatorships (such as the Fascists) are on the far right. However, Communism and Fascism have turned out to be different names for the same thing—the police state.

 

Excerpts from W. Cleon Skousen: The 5000 Year Leap

seal-of-the-united-states-originalIt was the original intent of the Founders to have both the ancient Israelites and the Anglo-Saxons represented on the official seal of the United States. The members of the committee were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. They recommended that one side of the seal show an Anglo-Saxon profile, and the other side a portrayal of ancient Israel going through the wilderness led by God’s pillar of Fire. This turned out to be too complicated, so a simpler design was adopted. Obviously, this is a segment of America’s rich heritage of the past which has disappeared from most history books.

Political Party platforms change from one generation to another, so it doesn’t work to measure people’s ideas based on political parties.

Government is defined in the dictionary as “a system of ruling or controlling,” and therefore the American Founders measured political systems in terms of the amount of force or control a government imposes over its people.

 Three Heads of the Eagle

Three separate branches of Government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial

Eagle3headed

Left and Right: the Two Wings of the Eagle

eagleleftright

Left: the Problem-Solving Wing

This wing dreams of elaborate plans to solve problems.

 

Right: the Conservation Wing

This wing has the responsibility of conserving the nation’s resources and the people’s freedom.

 

If both of these wings fulfill their assigned function, the American eagle will fly straighter and higher than any civilization in the history of the world. But if either of these wings goes to sleep on the job, the American eagle will drift toward anarchy or tyranny. (Skousen, 25-26)

 

The Founders measured types of government not by political parties, but political power.

W. Cleon Skousen, The 5,000 Year Leap, pp.9-10

Ruler’s Law

As Defined by the Founders

 

  1. Authority under Ruler’s Law is nearly always established by force, violence, and conquest.
  2. Therefore, all sovereign power is considered to be in the conqueror or his descendants.
  3. The people are not equal, but are divided into classes and are all looked upon as “subjects” of the king.
  4. The entire country is considered to be the property of the ruler. He speaks of it as his “realm.”
  5. The thrust of governmental power is from the top down, not from the people upward.
  6. The people have no unalienable rights; the “king giveth and the king taketh away.”
  7. Government is by the whims of men, not by the fixed rule of law.
  8. The ruler issues edicts which are called “the law.” he then interprets the law and enforces it, thus maintaining tyrannical control over the people.
  9. Under Ruler’s Law, problems are always solved by issuing more edicts or laws, setting up more bureaus, harassing the people with more regulators, and charging the people for these “services” by continually adding to their burden of taxes.
  10. Freedom is never looked upon as a viable solution to anything.
  11. The long history of Ruler’s Law is one of blood and terror, both anciently and in modern times. Under it the people are stratified into an aristocracy of the ruler’s retinue while the lot of the common people is one of perpetual poverty, excessive taxation, stringent regulations, and a continuous existence of misery.

W. Cleon Skousen, The 5,000 Year Leap, pp.11-12

 

People’s Law

(Characteristics based on Anglo-Saxon or Common Law)

  1. The considered themselves a commonwealth of freemen.
  2. All decisions and selection of leaders had to be with the consent of the people.
  3. The laws by which they were governed were considered natural laws given by divine dispensation.
  4. Power was dispersed among the people and never allowed to concentrate in any one person or group. Even in time of war, the authority granted to the leaders was temporary and the power of the people to remove them was direct and simple.
  5. Primary responsibility for resolving problems rested first of all with the individual, then the family, then the tribe or community, then the region, and finally, the nation.
  6. They were organized into small, manageable groups where every adult had a voice and a vote. They divided the people into units of families, ten families, fifty, hundred, and thousand families, respectively; each unit voting for a leader.
  7. They believed the rights of the individual were considered unalienable and could not be violated without risking the wrath of divine justice as well as civil retribution by the people’s judges.
  8. The system of justice was structured on the basis of severe punishment unless there was complete reparation to the person who had been wronged. There were only four “crimes” against the whole people: treason, by betraying own people; failure to defend country; desertion; and sexual perversion. These were considered capital offenses. All others required reparation to the person who had been wronged.
  9. They always attempted to solve problems on the level where the problem originated. If this was impossible they went no higher than was absolutely necessary to get a remedy. Usually only the most complex problems involving …the whole people, ever went to the leaders for solution. (Skousen, 13-14)

 

Contrast between Ruler’s Law (all power in the ruler) and People’s Law (all power in the people)

Rulerslawtriangle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rulerslawpeopleslawlge

Bible Story: God is with Israel

Dinner Topics for Friday

keyoldThis is the last day in which the great consummation of God’s purposes will be made, the only dispensation in which the Lord has promised that sin will not prevail. ~Ezra Taft Benson

elisha2Christians faced with persecution in the 19th century were reminded by their leader: “Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. ” ~Doctrine and Covenants 128:22; 123:17

9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.

10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.

11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?

12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

13 ¶And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.

14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

 elisha416 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Christian Leader: Faith in God vs. Bondage

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage

By  Quentin L. Cook

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

keyGod intended that men and women would be free to make choices between good and evil. When evil choices become the dominant characteristic of a culture or nation, there are serious consequences both in this life and the life to come. People can become enslaved or put themselves in bondage not only to harmful, addictive substances but also to harmful, addictive philosophies that detract from righteous living. ~Quentin L. Cook

Early in our marriage my wife, Mary, and I decided that to the extent possible we would choose activities that we could attend together. We also wanted to be prudent with our budget. Mary loves music and was undoubtedly concerned that I might overemphasize sporting events, so she negotiated that for all paid events, there would be two musicals, operas, or cultural activities for each paid ball game.

Initially I was resistant to the opera component, but over time I changed my view. I particularly came to enjoy the operas by Giuseppe Verdi.1 This week will be the 200th anniversary of his birth.

jeremiahIn his youth Verdi was intrigued with the prophet Jeremiah, and in 1842, at the age of 28, he achieved fame with the opera Nabucco, a shortened Italian form of the name Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. This opera contains concepts drawn from the books of Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Psalms in the Old Testament. The opera includes the conquest of Jerusalem and the captivity and bondage of the Jews. Psalm 137 is the inspiration for Verdi’s moving and inspiring “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves.” The heading of this psalm in our scriptures is very dramatic: “While in captivity, the Jews wept by the rivers of Babylon—Because of sorrow, they could not bear to sing the songs of Zion.”

My purpose is to review many forms of bondage and subjugation. I will compare some circumstances of our day with those in the days of Jeremiah before the downfall of Jerusalem. In presenting this voice of warning, I am grateful that most Church members are righteously avoiding the conduct that was so offensive to the Lord in Jeremiah’s time.

The prophecies and lamentations of Jeremiah are important to Latter-day Saints. Jeremiah and the Jerusalem of his day are the backdrop to the beginning chapters in the Book of Mormon. Jeremiah was a contemporary of the prophet Lehi.2 The Lord dramatically informed Jeremiah of his foreordination: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”3

Lehi had a different calling, mission, and assignment from the Lord. He was not called in his youth but in his maturity. Initially his was a voice of warning, but after faithfully declaring the same message as Jeremiah, Lehi was commanded by the Lord to take his family and depart into the wilderness.4 In doing so, Lehi blessed not only his family but also all people.

During the years before the destruction of Jerusalem,5 the messages the Lord gave to Jeremiah are haunting. He said:

“My people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. …

“… They have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed … out … broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”6

Speaking of the calamities to come upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Lord lamented, “[For them] the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and [they] are not saved.”7

consequences

Choices have Consequences

God intended that men and women would be free to make choices between good and evil. When evil choices become the dominant characteristic of a culture or nation, there are serious consequences both in this life and the life to come. People can become enslaved or put themselves in bondage not only to harmful, addictive substances but also to harmful, addictive philosophies that detract from righteous living.

Turning from the worship of the true and living God and worshipping false gods like wealth and fame and engaging in immoral and unrighteous conduct result in bondage in all its insidious manifestations. These include spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage and sometimes bring destruction. Jeremiah and Lehi also taught that those who are righteous must help the Lord establish His Church and kingdom and gather scattered Israel.8

These messages have echoed and been reinforced across the centuries in all dispensations. They are at the heart of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this, the final dispensation.

hebrewslavesThe captivity of the Jews and the scattering of the tribes of Israel, including the ten tribes, are prominent doctrinal factors in the Restoration of the gospel. The ten lost tribes made up the Northern Kingdom of Israel and were carried away captive into Assyria in 721 B.C. They went to the north countries.9 Our tenth article of faith states, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes.”10 We also believe that as part of the covenant the Lord made with Abraham, not only the lineage of Abraham would be blessed but also all the people of the earth would be blessed. As Elder Russell M. Nelson has stated, the gathering “is not a matter of physical location; it is a matter of individual commitment. People can be ‘brought to the knowledge of the Lord’ [3 Nephi 20:13] without leaving their homelands.”11

Our doctrine is clear: “The Lord scattered and afflicted the twelve tribes of Israel because of their unrighteousness and rebellion. However, the Lord also [utilized] this scattering of his chosen people among the nations of the world to bless those nations.”12

We learn valuable lessons from this tragic period. We should do everything within our power to avoid the sin and rebellion that lead to bondage.13 We also recognize that righteous living is a prerequisite for assisting the Lord in gathering His elect and in the literal gathering of Israel.

Bondage, subjugation, addictions, and servitude come in many forms. They can be literal physical enslavement but can also be loss or impairment of moral agency that can impede our progress. Jeremiah is clear that unrighteousness and rebellion were the main reasons for the destruction of Jerusalem and captivity in Babylon.14

4 Ways that Lead to Bondage

Other kinds of bondage are equally destructive of the human spirit. Moral agency can be abused in many ways.15 I will mention four that are particularly pernicious in today’s culture.

1. First, addictions that impair agency, contradict moral beliefs, and destroy good health cause bondage. The impact of drugs and alcohol, immorality, pornography, gambling, financial subjugation, and other afflictions imposes on those in bondage and on society a burden of such magnitude that it is almost impossible to quantify.

apathydude2. Second, some addictions or predilections, while not inherently evil, can use up our precious allotment of time which could otherwise be used to accomplish virtuous objectives. These can include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, recreation, and many others.16

How we preserve time for family is one of the most significant issues we face in most cultures. At a time when I was the only member of the Church in our law firm, one woman lawyer explained to me how she always felt like a juggler trying to keep three balls in the air at the same time. One ball was her law practice, one was her marriage, and one was her children. She had almost given up on time for herself. She was greatly concerned that one of the balls was always on the ground. I suggested we meet as a group and discuss our priorities. We determined that the primary reason we were working was to support our families. We agreed that making more money wasn’t nearly as important as our families, but we recognized that serving our clients to the best of our abilities was essential. The discussion then moved to what we did at work that was not necessary and was inconsistent with leaving time for family. Was there pressure to spend time in the workplace that was not essential?17 We decided that our goal would be a family-friendly environment for both women and men.

Let us be at the forefront in protecting time for family.

3. Third, the most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message.

mockingpeopleWhen the Apostle Paul visited Athens, he tried to teach of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of this effort we read in Acts, “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.18 When the crowd realized the simple religious nature of Paul’s message, which was not new, they rejected it.

This is emblematic of our own day, where gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual philosophies. If we are not careful, we can be captured by these trends and place ourselves in intellectual bondage. There are many voices now telling women how to live.19 They often contradict each other. Of particular concern are philosophies that criticize or diminish respect for women who choose to make the sacrifices necessary to be mothers, teachers, nurturers, or friends to children.

A few months ago our two youngest granddaughters visited us—one each week. I was at home and answered the door. My wife, Mary, was in another room. In both cases, after a hug, they said almost the same thing. They looked around and then said, “I love to be in Grandma’s house. Where is Grandma?” I didn’t say it to them, but I was thinking, “Isn’t this Grandpa’s house too?” But I realized that when I was a boy, our family went to Grandma’s house. The words of a familiar song came into my mind: “Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go.”

Now, let me say unequivocally that I am thrilled with the educational and other opportunities that are available to women. I treasure the fact that the backbreaking work and domestic drudgery required of women has been reduced in much of the world because of modern conveniences and that women are making such magnificent contributions in every field of endeavor. But if we allow our culture to reduce the special relationship that children have with mothers and grandmothers and others who nurture them, we will come to regret it.

4. Fourth, forces that violate sincerely held religious principles can result in bondage. One of the most invidious forms is when righteous people who feel accountable to God for their conduct are forced into activities that violate their conscience—for example, health providers forced to choose between assisting with abortions against their consciences or losing their jobs.

The Church is a relatively small minority even when linked with people who are like-minded. It will be hard to change society at large, but we must work to improve the moral culture that surrounds us. Latter-day Saints in every country should be good citizens, participate in civic affairs, educate themselves on the issues, and vote.

Our primary emphasis, however, should always be to make any necessary sacrifices to protect our own family and the rising generation.20 The vast majority of them are not yet in bondage to serious addictions or false ideologies. We must help inoculate them from a world that sounds a lot like the Jerusalem that Lehi and Jeremiah experienced. In addition, we need to prepare them to make and keep sacred covenants and to be the principal emissaries to help the Lord establish His Church and gather scattered Israel and the Lord’s elect everywhere.21 As the Doctrine and Covenants beautifully reads, “The righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.”22

Our challenge is to avoid bondage of any kind, help the Lord gather His elect, and sacrifice for the rising generation. We must always remember that we do not save ourselves. We are liberated by the love, grace, and atoning sacrifice of the Savior. When Lehi’s family fled, they were led by the Lord’s light.

JesusChristresizeIf we are true to His light, follow His commandments, and rely on His merits, we will avoid spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage as well as the lamentation of wandering in our own wilderness, for He is mighty to save.

Let us avoid the despair and sorrow of those who fall into captivity and can no longer bear to sing the songs of Zion.

  1.  Many Verdi operas, like Aida, La traviata, and Il trovatore, are among the most popular operas performed across the world today.
  2.  See 1 Nephi 5:13; 7:14.
  3.  Jeremiah 1:5.
  4.  See 1 Nephi 2:2–3.
  5.  The destruction of Solomon’s temple, the downfall of Jerusalem, and the captivity of the tribe of Judah occurred in about 586 B.C.
  6.  Jeremiah 2:11, 13.
  7.  Jeremiah 8:20. Jeremiah previously recorded the Lord crying for repentance, “I am pained at my very heart” (Jeremiah 4:19) and pleading, “Find a man … that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it” (Jeremiah 5:1).
  8.  See Jeremiah 31; 1 Nephi 10:14.
  9.  See 2 Kings 17:6; Doctrine and Covenants 110:11.
  10.  Articles of Faith 1:10; see also 2 Nephi 10:22.
  11.  Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon and the Gathering of Israel” (address given at the seminar for new mission presidents, June 26, 2013).
  12.  Guide to the Scriptures, “Israel”; scriptures.lds.org.
  13.  The Lord, speaking in our day, said, “The whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin … because they come not unto me” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:49–50).
  14.  Innocent people can, of course, also be enslaved.
  15.  Doctrinal principles don’t change, but the means of bondage, subjugation, and destruction have accelerated in an unprecedented fashion.
  16.  This was aptly and somewhat humorously noted on the cover of the New York Times Magazine last year (Apr. 8, 2012) referencing the addictive nature of digital games. It read, “The Hyperaddictive, Time-Sucking, Relationship-Busting, Mind-Crushing Power and Allure of Silly Digital Games.” And then in small print: “(Which is not to say we don’t love them too.)” This, in a lighthearted way, emphasizes the necessity of exercising wisdom in our use of the marvelous technological inventions of our age.
  17.  The common mantra in many work environments is “We work hard, and we play hard.” While employee cohesion is important, when “work and play” crowd out family time, it is self-defeating.
  18.  Acts 17:21; emphasis added.
  19.  See Keli Goff, “Female Ivy League Graduates Have a Duty to Stay in the Workforce,” Guardian, Apr. 21, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/21/female-ivy-league-graduates-stay-home-moms; Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (2013); Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” The Atlantic, June 13, 2012, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020; Lois M. Collins, “Can Women ‘Have It All’ When It Comes to Work and Family Life?” Deseret News, June 28, 2012, A3; Judith Warner, “The Midcareer Timeout (Is Over),” New York Times Magazine, Aug. 11, 2013, 24–29, 38; Scott Schieman, Markus Schafer, and Mitchell McIvor, “When Leaning In Doesn’t Pay Off,” New York Times, Aug. 11, 2013, 12.
  20.  The Church has encouraged bishoprics to assist families by spending more time with young men, young women, and young single adults. Bishoprics have been encouraged to delegate more responsibilities in ward council to the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums, to auxiliaries, and to members who have special abilities to assist others appropriately.
  21.  See Doctrine and Covenants 29:7.
  22.  Doctrine and Covenants 45:71.