History Facts, Homeschooling, and Rush Limbaugh Books

History Facts, Homeschooling, and Rush Limbaugh Books

Homeschool Mom Says Thank You for Rush Revere

keyIf more people had a thirst or a hunger for the genuine history of the founding of this great country, we wouldn’t have as many problems as we have today. ~Rush Limbaugh

05-rushrevere4books-5-booksCALLER:  Listen, I called to tell you thank you.  You don’t talk a whole lot about this, but I feel like somebody needs to be your voice, and just thank you so much for what you do.  We’re a homeschool family, and you do so much stuff for families like us for homeschool families.  We have all of your books. We use them in our classrooms.  When I go to homeschool conferences I hear families talk about how they use your books for kids that need inspiration reading, and the kids all of a sudden start reading voraciously.  I hear people talking about how they use your books like we do for launching pads for historical deep dives.

But not only that, I’ve never heard you talking about your website, Rush Revere and your team that Rush Revere has set up.  We use it in our classroom.  And it’s not just for homeschool kids, but it’s for any kids that are interested in history.  But it’s amazing, your website is amazing.  Not only that, Rush, but I want to thank you personally because our daughter is one of four of the scholarship winners that you picked this fall for your Rush Revere homeschool scholarship. That scholarship means the world to us, so I just want to thank you personally from the bottom of my heart for everything that you do. It’s wonderful.

RUSH:  Thank you very much.  I occasionally, when I talk about the book series, and we had a new one out in November, I often suggest that people go to the Revere website or the Revere Facebook page because we have a great relationship with a lot of the readers. They send pictures of the books arriving from Amazon, say the box-opening videos and the kids that get into the characters and dress up like them.  But you’re right, I probably don’t talk about them enough.

CALLER:  They’re spectacular.  And the challenges, you guys put challenges on there to get the kids involved, and it’s absolutely amazing.  We’re blessed with two kids that love, love, love history, and I hear about families whose kids don’t, and it’s your website and it’s your books and your stuff that actually is able to the turn page in those families’ homes, and we need it so desperately. We need kids that understand the Constitution and love history and want to go in and find the truth.

RUSH:  Amen.  That’s exactly why we do it, and that’s why you’re making my day here.

CALLER:  I can’t thank you enough.

RUSH:  One thing I do not talk about very much at all, and it’s simply because it’s not why we do this, is to be talked about, but we have an extensive involvement, relationship with the entire homeschool community.  We have a presence in, I don’t know how many, homeschool conventions during the year. And we donate books to some associations and some libraries because, you’re right, if more people had a thirst or a hunger for the genuine history of the founding of this great country, we wouldn’t have as many problems as we have today.

Here’s Why this Genuine History is so Needed: Millennial Ignorance

Homeschool Mom Says Thank You for Rush Revere

Champion of Liberty: Charles Montesquieu

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

key“Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”~ William Penn

Charles Montesquieu

Famous for his theory of Separation of Powers

montesquieuCharles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (/ˈmɒntɨskjuː/;[1] French: [mɔ̃tɛskjø]; 18 January 1689 – 10 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French lawyer, man of letters, and political philosopher who lived during the Age of Enlightenment. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He did more than any other author to secure the place of the word despotism in the political lexicon,[2] and may have been partly responsible for the popularization of the terms feudalism and Byzantine Empire.[citation needed]

Montesquieu’s early life occurred at a time of significant governmental change. England had declared itself a constitutional monarchy in the wake of its Glorious Revolution (1688–89), and had joined with Scotland in the Union of 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. In France the long-reigning Louis XIV died in 1715 and was succeeded by the five-year-old Louis XV. These national transformations had a great impact on Montesquieu; he would refer to them repeatedly in his work.

Montesquieu withdrew from the practice of law to devote himself to study and writing. He achieved literary success with the publication of his Lettres persanes (Persian Letters, 1721), a satire representing society as seen through the eyes of two imaginary Persian visitors to Paris and Europe, cleverly criticizing the absurdities of contemporary French society. He next published Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence (Considerations on the Causes of the Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans, 1734), considered by some scholars, among his three best known books, as a transition from The Persian Letters to his master work. De l’Esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Laws) was originally published anonymously in 1748. The book quickly rose to influence political thought profoundly in Europe and America. In France, the book met with an unfriendly reception from both supporters and opponents of the regime. The Catholic Church banned l’Esprit – along with many of Montesquieu’s other works – in 1751 and included it on the Index of Prohibited Books. It received the highest praise from the rest of Europe, especially Britain.

Montesquieu was also highly regarded in the British colonies in North America as a champion of liberty (though not of American independence). Political scientist Donald Lutz found that Montesquieu was the most frequently quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America, cited more by the American founders than any source except for the Bible.[9] Following the American revolution, Montesquieu’s work remained a powerful influence on many of the American founders, most notably James Madison of Virginia, the “Father of the Constitution“. Montesquieu’s philosophy that “government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another”[10] reminded Madison and others that a free and stable foundation for their new national government required a clearly defined and balanced separation of powers.

Besides composing additional works on society and politics, Montesquieu traveled for a number of years through Europe including Austria and Hungary, spending a year in Italy and 18 months in England where he became a freemason, admitted to the Horn Tavern Lodge in Westminster,[11] before resettling in France. He was troubled by poor eyesight, and was completely blind by the time he died from a high fever in 1755. He was buried in the Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris.

Read more about Charles Montesquieu

 

 

History Facts: Israel and Palestine

Truth Matters:

Top 10 Differences between Israel and “the Palestinians”

History Facts:A quick summary of how 3,300 years of turbulent history has ended up

keyIt was hard to see then how our lives would be changed by that event [September 11 attacks], but I felt then, and feel now, that the solution to savagery is the free flow of truth. ~Marilyn Faulkner

Don Feder

WND Whistleblower, September 2014, 36-38

While we’re waiting for the latest Gaza cease-fire to unravel, consider the following news you won’t get from the Hamas Ministry of Disinformation (the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, etc.) …

 

1. Israel is a country. Palestine is a lie.

israelmapIsrael was reestablished in 1948. It became a country 3,300 years ago. There has been a continuous Jewish presence in the land for the entire time. Even the modern State of Israel is older than half of the nation on earth.

The term “Palestinian is a creation of Arab propagandists. In the past two millennia, there has never been an independent Arab state on the land. When the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza, were occupied by Jordan and Egypt (1948-1967), any talk of a Palestinian homeland would have been met with summary execution.

When they lost the Six-Day War, Arab states decided to hitch their campaign of annihilation to the star of national liberation. In a 1977 interview with a Dutch newspaper, Zahir Muhsein, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, admitted: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.”

 

2. Israel is a modern nation. Its economy has a strong high-tech sector. If terrorism was a commodity, the “Palestinians” would have one of the world’s largest GDPs.

EGYPT-POLITICS-UNRESTOf 187 countries, Israel (with 7.7 million people) ranks 16th on the U.N.’s Human Development index (a composite which includes life expectancy, education and income). It has the highest number of scientists, technicians and engineers per capita in the world. It pioneered voice-mail and developed a technology that helps paraplegics to walk. Since 1994, 12 Israelis have won Nobel Prizes.

The word “Palestinian” is synonymous with terrorism—as in suicide bombers, as in rockets, as in kidnappings, as in deliberately targeting women and children. Quick, name anything else for which the West Bank and Gaza are known.

Israel uprooted 10,000 of its citizens to create a Palestinian enclave in Gaza. In return, the Palestinians have fired over 15,000 rockets at Israel since 2001 (3,500 in the last few weeks alone).

When Israel kills noncombatants, it’s unintentional. When the Palestinians kill civilians, it’s by design. The purpose of terrorism, after all, is to terrorize. That isn’t done by killing enemy soldiers. The June 12 abduction/murder of three Israeli teens was a Hamas operation.

The latest refinement in this dirty war is the 40 terror tunnels destroyed by the IDF, running from Gaza to Jewish communities in Israel. On the High Holy Days this year, the tunnels were to disgorge hundreds of heavily-armed fighters near civilian targets. Hamas planned to place dynamite under kindergartens, to initiate an orgy of murder and kidnapping.

 

israel_flag3. Israel is a democracy, the only one in the region. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are to democracy what Chicago is to good government.

 Israel has been a democracy since its inception. All transitions of power have been peaceful. A dozen Arabs sit in the Knesset. One is on the Supreme Court. Arab Christians and Muslims have the same rights as Jews. (Jews aren’t even allowed to live in most of the Arab world, and Christians are treated as untermenscehen. )

Israel has an independent judiciary that often rules against considerations of national security. It’s the only nation in the Middle East whose citizens can hold rallies protesting their government and be protected by the police. Anywhere else, it would be the big adios.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, though with the support of most residents. This followed a civil war in which Hamas fighters dragged Fatah members into the streets of Gaza City and shot them point-blank. What little resistance there is to Hamas among the people of Gaza is dealt with swiftly and brutally.

4. Christians thrive in Israel. Christians are disappearing from the West bank, as they are in the rest of the Muslim world.

bible1Israel is the only nation in the region whose Christian population is growing—from 34,000 in 1949 to 155,000 today, an increase of 345 percent.

Bethlehem was once a Christian city. Its Christian population fell from 54 percent in 1967 to 40 percent in 1995 to 10 percent today. In a few year more, there will be no Christians living in the place of Jesus’ birth. This parallels religious cleansing throughout the world of Islam.

 

5. Israel tries to minimize civilian casualties. The Palestinians try to maximize them—their own and Israel’s.

Even though its survival is at stake, Israel tries to avoid collateral damage. It uses leaflets, flares and phone calls to warn residents of targeted areas to evacuate. It risks the lives of its soldiers by sending ground troops into densely populated neighborhoods, instead of using air strikes.

israelmourns2Dead children are the most effective weapon Hamas has. It uses Gaza’s death toll, dwelled on endlessly by the “mainstream” media, to generate sympathy among the credulous. (By the way, of the 1,800 Gazans killed in Operation Protective Edge, roughly half were Hamas fighters.)

Hamas places its rocket launchers near schools and in residential areas, where the chance for dead kids is greatest. It puts command centers in mosques and stockpiles rockets close to hospitals.

Israel tells civilians to leave; Hamas tells them to stay. It boasts of its people “confronting Israeli warplanes with their bare chests.”

The media pay a PR bounty for every dead child.

 

us-israel-flag6. Israel is an American ally. The Palestinians are America’s enemies.

In response to the deaths of 3,000 Americans on 9-11, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon extended his nation’s sympathy and pledged solidarity: “At this most difficult hour, Israelis stand with you ready to provide any assistance. The government declares tomorrow a day of national mourning as we bow our heads and share the pain of the American people.”

When word of the World Trade Center attacks reached the West Bank, thousands poured int o the streets of Ramallah and Nablus to celebrate the slaughter, distributing candy and changing “Allah is great.” A daily newspaper controlled by the Palestinian Authority lauded the hijackers as “the engines of history … the most honorable among us.”

 

7. The left hates Israel. The left loves the Palestinians.

ObamaCommunistWhether it’s the news media left, the Hollywood left (like Danny Glover, Rosie O’Donnell and John Cusack), mainline churches (The United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church, USA) or campus storm troopers, the left loathes Israel and venerates the Palestinians, now its favorite victim group.

The New York Times cries itself a river over “the beleaguered population of Gaza, where whole neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble.” ‘Israel must Stop Its Reign of Terror” whined an editorial in The Nation. Jimmy Carter (who used to say the U.S. has “political prisoners”) calls Hamas a “legitimate political actor.” And Penelope Cruz signed an ad accusing Israel of “genocide.” She should be forced to crawl on her hands and knees to Yad Vashem to see what real genocide looks like.

Those who thought the Cold War was due to American paranoia, who love Fidel Castro, who believe opposition to Obama is racially motivated, and who think the concept of American exceptionalism is obscene, hate Israel. Big surprise.

 

8. Israel is willing to live with the Palestinians (such as they are). The Palestinians want to annihilate Israel.

MuslimWarriorIsrael’s government has made it quite clear that it will negotiate almost anything with the Palestinians—including a sovereign state—if it can ever get them to the bargaining table.

For Hamas, hatred of Israel and the Jews is an item of faith. Its charter declares: “Israel, by virtue of being Jewish and having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.” It’s not about “occupation” or self-determination, but about any challenge (however modest) to Muslim hegemony.

A recent Friday sermon broadcast on Hamas-controlled Al Aqsa TV warned the people of Israel: “We will not leave a single one of you alive. Our doctrine in fighting you is that we will totally exterminate you.” And you wonder why Israel is wary of these sweethearts. [Hamas.]

At anti-Israel rallies in Europe, organized by Hamas and its allies, cries of “Hitler was right” and “Kill the Jews” are de rigeur.

 

Epic Hero resize med9. Israel fights for civilization, as well as its own survival.

“Palestine” is one front of a world war.

Irqi Christians have received an ultimatum from ISIS: Convert to Islam, pay tribute or leave. So far, 300,000 have fled. In Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast, Christians are tortured, murdered, raped and exiled in the name of the religion of peace.

The Palestinians adhere to the same murderous creed. If Israel loses, everyone from the Taliban and al-Qaeda to Boko Haram wins.

 

10. The Palestinians can lose many times and keep fighting. Israel can lose only once.

 

Israel fights to defend itself. Once a threat is eliminated (rockets, tunnels, terrorist command posts),the operation ceases.

The Palestinians are fighting a total war—a war of annihilation. Against such a foe, Israel can’t afford to lose even one battle.

Think about it the next time someone you know starts babbling about Gaza’s “civilian death toll.”

Patriotism: Constitutional Government and Character Education Part 2

Patriotism:

Constitutional Government and Character Education

A More American Conservatism

Larry P. Arnn

Part II

Government Education

I prefer to be hopeful about the future, and I am hopeful about the Trump administration. His campaign and his appointments at this early stage give us some information upon which to speculate. Take one example about which I know something: education.

Abolish the Department of Education

culture-war3-reaganTrump has called for the abolition of the Department of Education, as did Reagan. By contrast, both Presidents Bush sought to strengthen that Department. Trump has nominated the splendid Betsy DeVos to be secretary of the Department, and she is a fighter for every kind of school choice.

The federal government spends seven or eight percent of its money on education, and its method is typical of the federal intrusion into local matters: it gives money from the federal treasury to states and localities on condition. The conditions are myriad, confusing, and usually ugly when they can be understood. Title IV of the Higher Education Act governs federal student aid, and it numbers around 500 pages. A lawyer for our college told me once that I would be unable to read it, because he himself cannot read it, for which reason his firm keeps a specialist who is the only person he knows who understands what it says. For this reason alone, it would be a grand thing to get rid of the Department of Education.

Teachers’ Job is to Help Children Learn

There are also some excellent intermediate steps. If one changed the conditions of the federal education money that goes to states, localities, and schools, there could be an immediate influence. Education is one of those things that is easy enough to understand, but hard to do. The first thing to understand is that human beings are made to learn, and they desire to do it naturally.

Parents and Teachers Care More Than Government

homeschoolThis means the job of teachers, like the job of parents, is to help children learn, not to make them or cause them to learn. Good schools are built around this fact. It also means that authority over the schools can best be exercised by those who are closest to the students. What if the federal government required states to pass charter laws that delegated wide latitude and real authority to schools, not to the Department of Education or to state departments of education or to school districts? What if it relied, not upon high-stakes centralized testing as in Common Core, but in the simple fact that parents and teachers are much more likely to care for students than strangers, even if those strangers are highly trained federal bureaucrats?

Hillsdale K-12 Guidelines;

characteredThe chairman of our education program at Hillsdale College has written a series of standards that states might adopt for K-12 education. For each grade, they take up about half a page. But if a child can do the things on that half a page, the child has learned a lot. Here is a way for higher levels of government to be sure that any money they give to lower levels is well spent in education. It involves hardly any management of details. That is the constitutional model, the model that comes from our Founding.

To follow this practice would liberalize the system. It would mean that there would be plenty of bad charter schools, just as there are plenty of bad schools now. But it would also mean that there would be a proliferation of good ones.

Hillsdale Charter School Students Learn Latin, History, Literature

Hillsdale College has helped to found 16 charter schools, with more coming, and they are all doing well. Everybody wears a uniform and signs an honor code. Everybody—indeed everybody in kindergarten—learns to read. Everybody studies mathematics at least through pre-calculus. Everybody learns Latin, history, literature, philosophy, physics, biology, and chemistry.

Test Scores Excel in Relation to Public Schools

commoncore-scores-crashEverybody is admitted by a lottery system. For the inner-city schools, care is taken to advertise only in the immediate area, to make the opportunity available to the children who live in poor areas. The students in these schools make on the average excellent scores on the ubiquitous state standardized tests, and they do this without class time or curriculum set aside to prepare for those tests.

They do very well even in relation to the legions of public schools that now take months to cram only for those tests, which means the students know little more than what is on those tests, and all the adults get raises and promotions if the students do well. That’s why there have been spectacular instances of cheating—by teachers and school administrators!—on those tests.

Charter Schools Not by Federal Mandate, but Voluntary

The kind of education going on in Hillsdale’s charter schools is not something that could be advanced nationally by a federal mandate. Key to the success of these schools is that the school leaders, the parents, and the teachers are all glad to be there and all help willingly to make it work. In other words, they are all volunteers. It is a partnership. Partnerships are cooperative, not imperative. If you force people who are unwilling to do something, they will not do it very well, which is the encapsulation of human freedom.

Nowhere is this freedom more evident than in the process of learning. At Hillsdale College the curriculum is rigorous and the standards of behavior are high. But they are not imperative.

Character Education, Self Government

hillsdalecollege2The ultimate penalty is simply this question: are you sure you want to be here, when there are so many other options, options generally not quite so difficult or strict? The student who responds yes to that question is self-governing, which is the aim. That is why we at Hillsdale would not support a national law that everyone had to do what we do. We know too much about human beings to think that would work.

Department of Education can Lead by Example, not by Force

Let us say that the Department of Education began to reform itself along these lines. It is in a real position to lead if it will do so, because it would be setting a profound example: it would be teaching the governments below not to give people orders all the time. It would be teaching them that parents do after all love their children in the great majority of cases, and that the strongest institutions are built on love. It would be teaching them that schools can do better without a national engineering project to take over their work, to set their tests, to prescribe their behavior. And this would lay the ground for the Department’s abolition.

Are Many Other Departments Needed?

If this is possible in education, it might work in other places too. Since the Founding, twelve cabinet offices have been added to the federal establishment. In the original federal government there was a Secretary of State to handle the relations of the American people with other countries. There must be such relations. There was a Secretary of War (now Defense) to manage the defense of our nation from enemies. We have such enemies, and we must defend ourselves. There was a Secretary of the Treasury to manage the budget and the money of the federal government. To operate, the federal government must collect taxes and spend money. And there was an Attorney General (not originally overseeing a department) to enforce the laws of the federal government. One can see that these functions are necessary to the federal government in a way that the functions of other departments are not.

hillsdalecollege1The Department of Education was founded in 1979, whereas Hillsdale College was founded in 1844. Educa­tion was a thing to behold in the United States long before there was a Depart­ment. Likewise people had houses before we had a Department of Housing and Urban Development; they traveled before we had a Department of Transportation; they traded before we had a Department of Commerce.

You can see the line of thought. A federal government with four cabinet officers would be a federal government doing what it was built to do. That is why it is breathtaking that Trump would call for the elimination of departments, and breathtaking that he would appoint some and interview others who at least want to restrict the activities of those departments so people can be free.

We do not know what this election means. That is in the future. If it means that we will return to constitutional government, it means the most important thing that it can mean.

Our Country Belongs to Its Citizens

Trump-Make-America-Great-MAPSome say it will mean the denigration of immigrants based on race or religion. Trump has not said that: he has said that our country belongs to its citizens. Think of consent of the governed, the principle of the relationship between the people and the government in America. That cannot mean just the will of the people, that they can do whatever they want. Otherwise they would be giving consent to governments that would immediately take away their right to consent. It must mean, if it means anything, that consent is rightly given only to governments that protect their right to consent.

Moreover it cannot mean that anyone has a right to be a citizen of the United States, even if it is truly said that the principles of the nation are universal. It means rather that the United States, alone among the nations of the earth, is a set of practices and beliefs, available in principle to every people to believe those beliefs and adopt those practices.

King George Expanded Canadian Border into America

It means also that citizens have the right to determine who becomes a citizen. In the Declaration of Independence, one of the complaints against the King is that he expanded the borders of Quebec down into the American colonies, having given that province a government by his fiat alone. The King was attempting to choose the people, whereas the people have the right to choose the government. Trump and the American people seem to favor the latter, and in that vital respect they are on the side of the Founders.

Restoring US Government’s Principle Role: Protecting the Rights of the American People

globalismSome say that Trump will turn us toward “isolationism” and away from “internationalism.” These are not principles to which one can assign any meaning. The purpose of the government of the United States is to protect the rights of the people of the United States. If we mean by internationalism the practices and institutions that Winston Churchill helped to build, including NATO, I revere them. Also I know that Churchill helped build those according to his best judgment how to protect the actual life of freedom, responsibility, and prosperity of the British people, first and foremost, because he worked for them.

Russia may be a problem today, but not the problem that the Soviet Union was. Western Europe may be an ally today, but is it so good an ally as it was before it built an unaccountable Europe-wide government, in defiance of the popular votes of several countries still subject to it? The United States can be the leader of the world only if it is strong, and it now for the first time is deeply in debt. Lincoln said, “As our case is new, so we must think anew.” The case is new today. I for one would stay close to Britain and Israel, old friends who have the art of self-government. But everything including that must be thought through. We seem to have a chance to do that now.

The polls tell us that the American people today live in fear of the government. Now they have elected someone new, and we will soon know if he is good. It is a simple fact that he has never done anything like this before, and very great people have found such things difficult. But I would be hopeful for many reasons. One of the main ones is that he wrote this, on January 16 of this year:

The United States of America is a land of laws, and Americans value the rule of law above all. Why, then, has our Congress allowed the president and the executive branch to take on near-dictatorial power? . . . What is needed in Washington is a president who will rein in the executive branch and work with Congress to make sure the legislative branch does its job.

Trump has said that these are his purposes. Pray that he achieves them.

Patriotism: Constitutional Government and Character Education Part I

 

Patriotism: Constitutional Government and Character Education Part 1

Patriotism:

Constitutional Government and Character Education

A More American Conservatism

Part I

Larry P. Arnn
President, Hillsdale College

Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American EducationThe Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution; and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

keyThings in the past are like things in the present: they must be judged. ~Dr. Larry Arnn

The astonishing political campaign of 2016 involved much debate about whether Donald Trump is a conservative. constitutional-convention-foundersHe was not always facile with the lingo of conservatism, and he pointed out once that he was seeking the nomination of the Republican, not the conservative party. Yet there is a lot we can learn from him about conservatism.

What is conservatism? It is a derivative term: it refers to something outside itself. We cannot conserve the present or the future, and the past being full of contradiction, we cannot conserve it entire. In the past one finds heroism and villainy; justice and injustice; freedom and slavery. Things in the past are like things in the present: they must be judged. Conservative people know this if they have any sense.

It’s the Principle of the Thing

What then makes them conservative? It is the additional knowledge that things that have had a good reputation for a long time are more trustworthy than new things. This is especially true of original things. The very term principle refers to something that comes first; to change the principle of a thing is to change it into something else. Without the principle, the thing is lost.

Original Documents

constitution1If American conservatism means anything, then, it means the things found at the beginning of America, when it became a nation. The classics teach us that forming political bonds is natural to people, written in their nature, stemming from the divine gift they have of speech and reason. This means in turn that the Declaration of Independence, where the final causes of our nation are stated, and the Constitution of the United States, where the form of government is established, are the original things. These documents were written by people who were friends and who understood the documents to pursue the same ends. Taken together they are the longest surviving things of their kind, and under their domain our country spread across a continent and became the strongest nation on earth, the bastion of freedom. These documents do not appeal to all conservatives, but I argue that they should, both for their age and for their worthiness.

It follows then that if Donald Trump helps to conserve these things, he is a conservative in the sense that matters most to the republic of the Americans. Will he?

He will have a hard road. Today the authority of these two documents is in obvious decline for obvious reasons. In the academy they are rejected as obsolete or evil, and this opinion spreads throughout the talking classes, most everywhere in education, journalism, and entertainment. It has spread widely and deeply into the law. As a result our government has swollen beyond recognition, and it is centralized to a degree unimagined in the Constitution.

Laws Are Now Made by Regulatory Agencies, Not Congress

keyI’ve proposed a moratorium on new fedral regulations that are not compelled by Congress or public safety, and I will eliminate all needless and job-killing regulations now on the books. ~Donald Trump, Time, 9/15/16

On the first day of my term of office, my Administration will immediately pursue …  a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.” ~Donald Trump’s Contract for the American Voter, ” 10/22/16

bureaucratscautionsign Laws are made now chiefly by regulatory agencies that combine in themselves all three powers of government. The popular or elected branches may overturn these regulations only when they unite to do so, and this is increasingly rare. So every institution in society is in principle subject to comprehensive regulation. Every employer, every school, many clubs, and family life itself are now the subject of rules too complex for the lay person to grasp. These rules are not always enforced, nor can they be, but Americans sense that they better be looking over their shoulders, careful of what they say.

Constitution makes Ruler and Ruled Equal

3-branches-govtThis has changed the way we live. Compliance increasingly replaces law-abidingness as the public goal. Laws, the Founders held, must be simple, few, and constant. Then we may all know what they are, live under them, and help to enforce them. This makes us equal, ruler and ruled. It means that we do not quail before the forces of the law. We are the forces of the law.

Compliance Means Conforming to Arbitrary Decrees

obama-cartoon-congressCompliance, by contrast, means adapting constantly to changing and complex instructions from central authorities, and it means the employment of specialists to interpret the regulations and make sure others conform. In addition to this, whole populations, and not only in the inner city, live in long-term dependence on the government (read Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance). It means that the government is separate from the people, and it means that the government grows.

These new features of American government present a danger implicit in the manner of our Constitution. Ours, wrote Madison, is the first nation to adopt purely representative forms. This means that all sovereignty or authority to rule is located in the governed or in the people. But at the same time, the people do not occupy the offices of government—as they did, for instance, in Athenian democracy. America’s pure or simple “republicanism,” as Madison called it, makes possible the separation of powers both between the governed and their government and also inside the parts of the government. The sovereign people delegate their authority to government, separately to separate places.

This separation is both horizontal, among the branches of the federal government, and vertical, between the states and the federal government. The people themselves are outside the government, and they may intervene only at election time. Between elections, they watch, judge, and argue—in other words, they think before they act. Over time, but only over time, they may replace the whole lot. This system limits both their power and the power of those in government.

Bloated Government Has a Will of Its Own

Ben Garrison

Ben Garrison

Today, however, the government has grown so large that it is a major factor in everything, including elections, and is in the position of taking on a will of its own. It is on the verge of being too big for private people to manage. This is the political crisis of our time. No policy question, with the exception of imminent major war, which we do not have right now, can matter so much.

Trump has addressed this problem more directly than anyone since Ronald Reagan—in some ways, more than anyone including Reagan. He would drain the swamp. He would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. He has rallied the people in direct opposition to their governing elite. He has appealed to the people directly in opposition to their government.

And what has he achieved?—from nothing, a constitutional majority that controls all the popular branches at the federal level, soon to have a profound effect on the judiciary. In addition, his party advanced from a strong position in state legislatures and governorships. The party of Trump, if the Republican Party is that party, is in a position to make changes, as good or better a position as it has enjoyed since the Great Society.

Political Correctness got  trumped by Moral Courage

TrumpPCMoreover, Trump ran in utter defiance of the political correctness that enforces this new system of government. He did not bend his knee to identity groups. He claimed to represent all “citizens,” a favorite term, by which he means citizens who hold that status under the law. He said he would represent their interest and their country, which he will make great again, and not the interest of any others. He did not care that this intention was conflated with racism. He saw that conflation as another sign of corruption, which it certainly is. Unless he is insensate, which he does not seem, Trump is possessed of moral courage as much as assertiveness, and his assertiveness is a sight to behold.

Mobs Created by Liberalism, Not Trump

But can he do anything? Many conservatives have been doubtful of Trump and many others opposed. There are reasons for this. He is the first man elected president as his first significant public service. He is sometimes vulgar. He is a celebrity, star of his own show, which is playing wherever he goes. His is not the understated sort of elitism. Consistent with this, he is a populist: he likes ordinary folk, and they like him.

This has made some conservative and libertarian people fear mobs with pitchforks. I fear them myself because I see them on so many college campuses, but not on my own, and not among the Trump supporters. I think these mobs are the product of modern liberalism and the bureaucratic state, not the product of Trump.

Part II: What would Happen if the Department of Education were Abolished?

Truth Matters: Fake News, Media Lies, and Smear Campaign

Truth Matters:

Fake News, Media Lies, and Smear Campaign

keyThe Art of the Smear: It’s an old method that has been used by tyrants throughout history—character assassination. It’s called Disinformation. The corrupt media has used it against Republicans and Republican presidents for decades, and it has succeeded wildly in making establishment Republicans cower in fear. Now they have defined deviancy down exponentially, beneath all decency, stooping to blatant lies, in an attempt to bring down President-elect Trump. But this time it isn’t working, because Trump is not afraid of the lying, corrupt media. ~C.D.

fake-news-mediaYou could tell blog by blog who hoped it to be true, who wanted it to be true, who held out possibilities it was true.  Others, like John Podhoretz, slammed it for what it is:  The most pathetic descent into unprofessionalism in his experience for the Drive-By Media.  And that’s exactly what this is.  They are so desperate, they are so ineffective with Trump, they are so at their wits’ end.  Every bit of technique and ammunition that they have been able to use any time they want to destroy anybody (usually Republicans), doesn’t work on Donald Trump and so they don’t know what to do.

Rush Limbaugh: Establishment Attempts to Smear Trump with Fake News

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus called the report “offensive crap that we shouldn’t even be talking about. This is garbage … shameful is what it is.”

media2-liesPerhaps the most damning evidence that the news is fake comes from the apparent source of the story, the website 4Chan, which now claims it fabricated the entire story as a hoax.

Part of the story alleges Trump aide Michael Cohen went to Prague to coordinate activities with Russian agents.

However, all the main characters involved in the story are adamantly denying it.

Trump tweeted: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

He added, “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

And, “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”

Putin denied his country had collected or was holding any incriminating evidence on Trump.

Cohen produced his passport on MSNBC to show he had never even been to Prague.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2017/01/trump-blasts-fake-news-on-russian-dossier/#tQiZDqEXtBmv5Af1.99

 

Ted Cruz Awesomely Rebuts Democrat Smears Against Jeff Sessions! – January 10, 2017

 

keyHistory facts: The democrats succeeded in destroying Robert Bork, Supreme Court nominee. Hence the term “Bork” has entered the dictionary. They used vile, filthy lies against Clarence Thomas as well. Now the democrats are trying their abominable smear campaign against the Honorable Senator Jeff Sessions. This time their lies are being exposed. The truth is that the democrats are guilty of all the very accusations they are making.  At last. Truth matters, and it will prevail. ~C.D.

 

 

RUSH LIMBAUGH:  All day the Democrats had spent pontificating and lecturing Jeff Sessions on whether or not he followed the law, whether or not he’d be rogue in there, whether or not he would use the position of attorney general to implement the president’s agenda like Loretta Lynch and Holder did, which was fine with them, but when it came to Sessions, he better not do that.

So Cruz is pointing out — oh, yeah.  He also mentioned Fast and Furious.  When the president and the previous attorney general concocted a program to sell weapons to Mexican drug cartels out of American gun stores, the Democrats on this committee were silent.  Just nailed ’em to the wall, also nailed Al Franken to the wall.  Here’s the next Sessions sound bite.

ObamaWreckingBall2TED CRUZ shows the pattern of Obama lawlessness:

  • When the Department of Justice used Operation Choke Point to target legal businesses because they disagreed politically with those businesses, the Democrats on this committee were silent. 
  • When the Obama Justice Department sent millions of dollars of taxpayer monies to sanctuary cities that were defying federal immigration law, the Democrats on this committee were silent. 
  • When the Obama administration refused to enforce federal immigration laws and unilaterally rewrote those laws, the Democrats on this committee were silent. 
  • When the Obama administration released tens of thousands of criminal illegal aliens, including rapists and murderers, into the general population, Democrats on this committee were silent. 
  • When the Department of Justice signed off to the Obama administration paying a nearly $2 billion ransom to Iran, contrary to federal law, the Democrats on this committee were silent.
  • When the Obama administration ignored and rewrote provision after provision of Obamacare contrary to the text of the law, the Democrats on this committee were silent. 
  • When the Obama administration signed off on illegal recess appointments that the Supreme Court had to strike down unanimously, the Democrats on this committee were silent. 
  • And when the Obama administration released five Guantanamo terrorists without the required notification of Congress, the Democrats on this committee were silent. 

 

That pattern has been dismaying for eight years, but I take today as a moment of celebration.  If once again this committee has a bipartisan commitment to rule of law to following the law, that is a wonderful thing and is consistent with the tradition of this committee going back centuries.

 

Trump Cabinet Picks (And Ted Cruz) Are Smokin’ It in Confirmation Hearings

Book Report: Real History vs. Government Control of World News

Book Report: Real History vs. Government Control of World News

This book reveals a history of massive deception disseminated by leaders in the Soviet Empire, as they controlled news outlets during the Cold War. Many lies parroted in the mainstream news media are straight from the socialist disinformation strategy which is not only flourishing in the world today, but steadily increasing in power. ~C.D.

keyI give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations—Doctrine and Covenants 52:14

 

DisinformationDisinformation

Former spy chief reveals secret strategies for undermining freedom, attacking religion, and promoting terrorism

By Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa

And Professor Ronald J. Rychlak

Available at World Net Daily Book Store

Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa served as acting chief of communist Romania’s espionage service and top adviser to President Nicolae Ceausescu. In July 1978, he was granted political asylum by the United States, where he continues to live as a proud American citizen. His first book, Red Horizons, brought down Romania’s communist dictator and was subsequently republished in 27 countries. His later book, Programmed to Kill, was judged a “must read for everyone interested in the assassination of President Kennedy.” Having survived several communist assassination attempts and still vigorous in his 80s, Gen. Pacepa remains an astute and uniquely insightful writer on current affairs.

 

In Disinformation, You’ll Discover:

  • How destroying the reputation of good leaders has been developed into a high art and science.
  • How Pope Pius XII—a generation ago the world’s most high-profile Christian leader, who personally saved countless Jews from Hitler’s Holocaust—was transformed, through the magic of disinformation, into a Nazi sympathizer.
  • How Christianity and Judaism have been targeted for constant denigration and defamation through an ongoing campaign of disinformation.

  • How the Soviet bloc planted 4,000 agents of influence in the Islamic world, armed with hundreds of thousands of copies of the most infamous anti-Semitic book in history, to fan the flames of ancient Arab resentments against the U.S. and Israel and sow the seeds of anti-Semitism that would later bloom in the form of violence and terror toward Jews and Christians.

  • How the defamatory attacks on American soldiers John Kerry made before Congress upon his return from Vietnam—charges later discredited and repudiated—were identical to a contemporaneous KGB disinformation campaign concocted to turn Americans against their own leaders.
  • wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-150x150How supposedly respectable institutions like the World Council of Churches have long been infiltrated and controlled by Russian intelligence.
  • How much of the world came to believe that the U.S. government itself masterminded the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
  • How the Soviet Union has been transformed into the first intelligence dictatorship in history.
  • How disinformation is still very much alive in the age of Obama, remaining a powerful engine in the ongoing socialist transformation of America.

 

The book, Disinformation available at WND.com

Praise of Disinformation

Disinformation is a history of a still-hidden part of the Cold War—the part hidden as deeply as the KGB’s moles in Western intelligence services—which has to be studied to truly understand how communism sought to subvert everything in its path. Like Whittaker Chambers’ Witness, any study of the Cold War without Disinformation would be profoundly incomplete.” ~Je Babbin, former deputy undersecretary of defense and author of In the Words of Our Enemies, and Inside the Asylum: How the U.N. and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think

“Challenging false histories and subtle slanders, Pacepa and Rychlak take us on a journey through the Empire of Disinformation. Here we learn the theory and practice of the Big Lie deployed against Christianity—against popes and bishops. We learn how the Kremlin, even after the collapse of Communism, continues its war against the West; we learn how dezinformatsiya is used to inspire a deep hatred of the Jews in order to mobilize Islam as a battering ram against Israel and America—to the benefit of Russia. If you want to understand the forces at work behind the decline of Christianity and the rise of militant Islam, you must read this book.” ~Jeffrey Nyquist, author Origins of the Fourth World War, columnist, and radio talk show host on WIBG (Ocean City, NJ)

“As a Jew growing up in New York, I hated even hearing Pope Pius XII’s name. but after seven years of investigating and 46,000 pages of pertinent documents collected, I came to the startling discovery that Pius XII was revered and praised as a hero by all Jews during, and just after, the war. If you want to know how 1 billion people were tricked into hating him, read this book by Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ron Rychlak about the Kremlin’s still-secret dezinformatsiya. That immense machinery accomplished the worst character assassination of the twentieth century, and caused great strain between Jews and Catholics. But let me warn you: this book is scary! When you read it, you will discover how you were maneuvered like a chess piece to achieve a specific goal. You will also learn that the dezinformatsiya enterprise is still dividing the Judeo-Christian world with deadly international consequences.” ~Gary Krupp, chairman of Pave the Way Foundation, dedicated to reconciling relations among the world’s religions

“Written by two foremost experts, this book is an eye-opening, demystifying work of political and historical archeology, a passionate and captivating endeavor to highlight the communist techniques of cynical deception, vicious plots, and perversely skillful concoction of propaganda legends masquerading as historical evidence. The authors display impressive erudition and unique insights into the deep secrets of the Soviet and post-Soviet disinformation machine. As a former highest-level intelligence officer within the Soviet Bloc who broke with the system for moral reasons and courageously exposed its terrorist underpinnings, Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa is a formidable witness to and a respected analyst of the communist intrigues, schemes, and manipulations.” ~Vladimir Tismaneanu, author of Stalinism for All Seasons: A Political History of Romanian Communism, director of the university of Maryland’s Center for the Study of Post-Communist Societies, and president of Romania’s Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes

The book Disinformation is available at WND.com

 

Truth Matters: Is Meaningful Life possible in Post-Truth World?

Truth Matters:

Is a Meaningful Life possible in Post-Truth World?

Do We Really Live In A “Post-Truth” World?

keyFreedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. ~Thomas Paine

by Sean Mcdowell

It’s official. The 2016 word of the year is “post-truth.” Last year it was an emoji. In 2014 the word was “vape.” And in 2013 it was “selfie.”

post-truth-defineWith the truth twisting, emotional appeals, and personal attacks that characterized this past election season, Oxford Dictionaries selected “post-truth” as the word for 2016. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. While modern technology and social media certainly contribute to the phenomena of emphasizing style over substance—just read Amusing Ourselves to Deathtwo thoughts stood out to me when I first heard that “post-truth” was the word of the year.

Idea of Changing Truth Not New

First, the idea of changing, avoiding, or moving beyond truth is not new. Judges 17:6 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” In other words, there was no standard the people were accountable to, and so they decided for themselves what they believed was true. No doubt they followed their experience and feelings to determine what was right. And by doing so, they demonstrated a universal human proclivity—the denial of truth. Humans always have, and always will, find ways to avoid truth.

Truth Is Inescapable

truth-not-altered-simplySecond, we don’t really live in a post-truth world. In fact, a post-truth world is impossible. Not too long ago I was speaking at a youth event. Afterwards, a student came up to me and said, “You talked about truth a lot. What’s the big deal? Why is truth even important?” I looked at him and simply asked, “Do you want the true answer or the false answer?” He clearly valued truth, even though he didn’t realize it. The same is true for all of us.

We make daily decisions based on what we think is true—waking up at the right time, taking the correct medications, and choosing the right directions to get to work. Truth is inescapable.

Trying to ultimately deny truth is like pushing a beach ball under water. Push it down on one side, but then it pops up the other. Each time you push it down it comes back up. Its nature is to float to the surface, even when we try to submerge it.

Truth is the same way. We may live in a “post-truth” world, in which people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact, but the reality is, truth simply won’t disappear. Truth will keep popping to the surface and reminding us that it’s important.

We Need Truth to Live a Meaningful Life

Deep inside the human heart is the knowledge that we need truth to live a meaningful life. We know that truth matters. In fact, that’s why we’re so quick to correct those we feel are mistaken. We may choose experience and emotion over truth, but deep inside the human heart is an awareness that we should follow and believe what is true.

Let me know if you think I got something wrong in this post. But just realize that if you do, you’re making my point for me—Truth really does matter. And we ought to get our facts right, even if Oxford dubs “post-truth” the word of the year.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 18 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

Gospel Teachings: Choose Repentance, Choose Joy

Gospel  Teachings:

Choose Repentance, Choose Joy

Repentance: A Joyful Choice

By Dale G. Renlund

keyRepentance is not only possible but also joyful because of our Savior.

 

When I was 12 years old, my family lived in Göteborg, a coastal city in southern Sweden.

firecrackerFifty years ago, we attended church in a large remodeled home. One Sunday, my friend Steffan,2 the only other deacon in the branch, greeted me at church with some excitement. We went to the chapel’s adjacent overflow area, and he pulled from his pocket a large firecracker and some matches. In an act of youthful bravado, I took the firecracker and lit the long gray fuse. I intended to snuff out the fuse before it blew up. But when I burned my fingers trying to do so, I dropped the firecracker. Steffan and I watched in horror as the fuse continued to burn.

The firecracker exploded, and sulfurous fumes filled the overflow area and the chapel. We hurriedly gathered up the scattered remnants of the firecracker and opened the windows to try to get the smell out, naively hoping that no one would notice. Fortunately, no one was hurt and no damage was done.

As members came to the meeting, they did notice the overpowering smell. It was hard to miss. The smell distracted from the sacred nature of the meeting. Because there were so few Aaronic Priesthood holders—and in what can only be described as dissociative thinking—I passed the sacrament, yet I did not feel worthy to partake of it. When the sacrament tray was offered to me, I took neither the bread nor the water. I felt horrible. I was embarrassed, and I knew that what I had done had displeased God.

After church, the branch president, Frank Lindberg, a distinguished older man with silver-gray hair, asked me to come to his office. After I sat down, he looked at me kindly and said he had noticed that I had not partaken of the sacrament. He asked why. I suspect he knew why. I was sure everyone knew what I had done. After I told him, he asked how I felt. Through tears, I haltingly told him I was sorry and that I knew I had let God down.

President Lindberg opened a well-worn copy of the Doctrine and Covenants and asked me to read some underlined verses. I read the following out loud:

“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

“By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.”3

I will never forget President Lindberg’s compassionate smile when I looked up after I had finished reading. With some emotion, he told me that he felt it would be fine for me to resume partaking of the sacrament. As I left his office, I felt indescribable joy.

Meaning of Repentance

repentance1-u-turnSuch joy is one of the inherent results of repentance. The word repent connotes “to perceive afterwards” and implies “change.”4 In Swedish, the word is omvänd, which simply means “to turn around.”5 The Christian writer C. S. Lewis wrote about the need and the method for change. He noted that repentance involves “being put back on the right road. A wrong sum can be put right,” he said, “but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.6 Changing our behavior and returning to the “right road” are part of repentance, but only part. Real repentance also includes a turning of our heart and will to God and a renunciation of sin.7 As explained in Ezekiel, to repent is to “turn from … sin, … do that which is lawful and right; … restore the pledge, … [and] walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity.”8

Faith in Christ and His Atonement

Jesus-gethsemane-Greatest-of-All-Del-Parson-211887Yet even this is an incomplete description. It does not properly identify the power that makes repentance possible, the atoning sacrifice of our Savior. Real repentance must involve faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith that He can change us, faith that He can forgive us, and faith that He will help us avoid more mistakes. This kind of faith makes His Atonement effective in our lives. When we “perceive afterwards” and “turn around” with the Savior’s help, we can feel hope in His promises and the joy of forgiveness. Without the Redeemer, the inherent hope and joy evaporate, and repentance becomes simply miserable behavior modification. But by exercising faith in Him, we become converted to His ability and willingness to forgive sin.

President Boyd K. Packer affirmed the hopeful promises of repentance in April 2015 at his last general conference. He described the power of the Savior’s Atonement to heal in what I consider the distillation of the wisdom gained in half a century of apostolic service. President Packer said: “The Atonement leaves no tracks, no traces. What it fixes is fixed. … It just heals, and what it heals stays healed.”9

He continued:

“The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, [the Savior] has promised that He would atone. And when He atoned, that settled that. …

“… The Atonement … can wash clean every stain no matter how difficult or how long or how many times repeated.”10

Repentance is a Choice

repentance3-ldsThe reach of the Savior’s Atonement is infinite in breadth and depth, for you and for me. But it will never be imposed on us. As the prophet Lehi explained, after we “are instructed sufficiently” to “know good from evil,”11 we “are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death.”12 In other words, repentance is a choice.

Blaming Others Turns Us into Hapless Victims

We can—and sometimes do—make different choices. Such choices may not seem intrinsically wrong, but they prevent us from becoming truly penitent and thus preclude our pursuit of real repentance. For instance, we may choose to blame others. As a 12-year-old in Göteborg, I could have blamed Steffan. He was the one who brought the big firecracker and the matches to the church in the first place. But blaming others, even if justified, allows us to excuse our behavior. By so doing, we shift responsibility for our actions to others. When the responsibility is shifted, we diminish both the need and our ability to act. We turn ourselves into hapless victims rather than agents capable of independent action.13

Minimizing Mistakes Removes Motivation

Another choice that impedes repentance is minimizing our mistakes. In the Göteborg firecracker incident, no one was hurt, no permanent damage occurred, and the meeting was held anyway. It would have been easy to say that there was no reason to repent. But minimizing our mistakes, even if no immediate consequences are apparent, removes the motivation to change. This thinking prevents us from seeing that our mistakes and sins have eternal consequences.

What We Do Matters

repentance2-gods-wayYet another way is to think that our sins do not matter because God loves us no matter what we do. It is tempting to believe what the deceitful Nehor taught the people of Zarahemla: “That all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, … and, in the end, all men should have eternal life.”14 But this seductive idea is false. God does love us. However, what we do matters to Him and to us. He has given clear directives about how we should behave. We call these commandments. His approbation and our eternal life depend on our behavior, including our willingness to humbly seek real repentance.15

Additionally, we forgo real repentance when we choose to separate God from His commandments. After all, if the sacrament were not sacred, it would not matter that the smell of the firecracker was disruptive to that Göteborg sacrament meeting. We should be wary of discounting sinful behavior by undermining or dismissing God’s authorship of His commandments. Real repentance requires recognizing the Savior’s divinity and the truthfulness of His latter-day work.

jesus-repentanceInstead of making excuses, let us choose repentance. Through repentance, we can come to ourselves, like the prodigal in the parable,16 and reflect on the eternal import of our actions. When we understand how our sins can affect our eternal happiness, we not only become truly penitent but we also strive to become better. When faced with temptation, we are more likely to ask ourselves, in the words of William Shakespeare:

What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?

A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy.

Who buys a minute’s mirth to wail a week,

Or sells eternity to get a toy?17

If we have lost sight of eternity for the sake of a toy, we can choose to repent. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have another chance. Metaphorically, we can exchange the toy we so ill-advisedly purchased in the first place and receive again the hope of eternity. As the Savior explained, “For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.”18

Jesus Christ can forgive because He paid the price for our sins.19

Our Redeemer chooses to forgive because of His incomparable compassion, mercy, and love.

Our Savior wants to forgive because this is one of His divine attributes.

jesuslambmedAnd, like the Good Shepherd He is, He is joyful when we choose to repent.20

Even as we feel godly sorrow for our actions,21 when we choose to repent, we immediately invite the Savior into our lives. As Amulek taught, “Come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.”22 We can feel godly sorrow for our actions and, at the same time, feel the joy of having the Savior’s help.

The fact that we can repent is the good news of the gospel!23

Guilt can be “swept away.”24 We can be filled with joy, receive a remission of our sins, and have “peace of conscience.”25 We can be freed from feelings of despair and the bondage of sin. We can be filled with the marvelous light of God and be “pained no more.”26 Repentance is not only possible but also joyful because of our Savior. I still remember the feelings that washed over me in the branch president’s office after the firecracker episode. I knew I had been forgiven. My feelings of guilt vanished, my gloomy mood lifted, and my heart felt light.

christs-outstreched-hand-lindsleyI invite you to feel more joy in your life: joy in the knowledge that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real; joy in the Savior’s ability, willingness, and desire to forgive; and joy in choosing to repent. Let us follow the instruction to “with joy … draw water out of the wells of salvation.”27 May we choose to repent, forsake our sins, and turn our hearts and wills around to follow our Savior. I testify of His living reality. I am a witness and repeated recipient of His incomparable compassion, mercy, and love. I pray that the redeeming blessings of His Atonement may be yours now—and again and again and again throughout your lives,28 as they have been in mine.

Selected End Notes

  • C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (1946), 6. In the preface to the book, Lewis wrote that some try to unify heaven and hell instead of choosing one or the other. He says that some of us think that “development or adjustment or refinement will somehow turn evil into good. … This belief I take to be a disastrous error. … We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the centre. …

“I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road. … Evil can be undone, but it cannot ‘develop’ into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, … or else not” (5–6).

True repentance includes “godly sorrow” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Elder M. Russell Ballard has taught: “For those who have strayed, the Savior has provided a way back. But it is not without pain. Repentance is not easy; it takes time—painful time!” (“Keeping Covenants,” Ensign, May 1993, 7). Elder Richard G. Scott also taught, “Sometimes the steps of repentance are initially difficult and painful” (“Finding Forgiveness,” Ensign, May 1995, 77). While godly sorrow and pain are involved in the process of repentance, the eventual outcome is joyful when forgiveness of sin is felt.

See Mosiah 26:29–30. While God promises to freely forgive, willfully sinning and counting on the Savior’s mercy to allow easy repentance is abhorrent to God (see Hebrews 6:4–6; 10:26–27). Elder Richard G. Scott said: “The joyful news for anyone who desires to be rid of the consequences of past poor choices is that the Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion. Whereas the Lord warns that unrepented rebellion will bring punishment, when the Lord speaks of weaknesses, it is always with mercy” (“Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 83).