YouTube Music: Classic Brahms

Dinner Topics for Friday

keyAbility may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.

Hungarian Dance number 5

Brahms Waltz

Johannes Brahms

From Wikipedia

BrahmsBrahms, Johannes 7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer and pianist.

Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene. In his lifetime, Brahms’s popularity and influence were considerable; following a comment by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow, he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the “Three Bs“.

Brahms composed for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, and for voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works; he worked with some of the leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim. Many of his works have become staples of the modern concert repertoire. Brahms, an uncompromising perfectionist, destroyed some of his works and left others unpublished.[1]

Brahms is often considered both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Baroque and Classical masters. He was a master of counterpoint, the complex and highly disciplined art for which Johann Sebastian Bach is famous, and of development, a compositional ethos pioneered by Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and other composers. Brahms aimed to honour the “purity” of these venerable “German” structures and advance them into a Romantic idiom, in the process creating bold new approaches to harmony and melody. While many contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by subsequent figures as diverse as Arnold Schoenberg and Edward Elgar. The diligent, highly constructed nature of Brahms’s works was a starting point and an inspiration for a generation of composers.

More about Brahms


Truth Zone: America First— Donald Trump Foreign Policy

Truth Zone:

news_flag_hdr5America First— Donald Trump Foreign Policy

7 Most Important Declarations in Trump’s ‘America-First’ Foreign Policy Speech

On Wednesday, Donald Trump delivered a remarkably nationalist, pro-Western foreign policy speech titled “America” in which the presidential candidate set out his defense and foreign policy goals.

keyWe’ve made the Middle East more unstable and chaotic than ever before. We left Christians subject to intense persecution and even genocide. We have done nothing to help the Christians, nothing, and we should always be ashamed for that, for that lack of action. ~Donald Trump

If you want to know whether or not Trump’s speech yesterday was a hit with the voters that he has energized, all you have to know is Trump said the following:  ‘We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism.’ That line, as far as Trump supporters are concerned, was all they needed to hear.” –Rush Limbaugh

Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – On Wednesday, Donald Trump delivered a remarkably nationalist, pro-Western foreign policy speech titled “America-First” in which the presidential candidate set out his defense and foreign policy goals.

Here are the seven most important declarations in his speech, enumerated in no particular order.

1 –Trump declared he “will always put the interests of the American people and American security above all else.”

It has to be first. Has to be. That will be the foundation of every single decision that I will make. America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.

2 – Trump made clear that Western civilization is at war with radical Islam as opposed to the dangerously obtuse “violent extremism” rhetoric that President Obama has deployed, largely ignoring the Islamic extremist motivations of our enemies.

trump-foreign-policy-speechOur actions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria have helped unleash ISIS, and we’re in a war against radical Islam, but President Obama won’t even name the enemy, and unless you name the enemy, you will never ever solve the problem. …

Hillary Clinton also refuses to say the words radical Islam, even as she pushes for a massive increase in refugees coming into our country.

Trump used the occasion to call for NATO, which includes terror-supporting Turkey among its ranks, to fight Islamic terrorism. “Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed the world,” he added.

3 – The billionaire singled out for reassessment “senseless” immigration policies that likely help to import Islamic extremists.

The struggle against radical Islam also takes place in our homeland. There are scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism. For every case known to the public, there are dozens and dozens more. We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies. We have no idea where these people are coming from. There’s no documentation. There’s no paperwork. There’s nothing. We have to be smart. We have to be vigilant. A pause for reassessment will help us to prevent the next San Bernardino or frankly, much worse.

reagan-quote-appeasement4 – Trump understands that U.S. “military dominance must be unquestioned,” and that under Obama, our once great military has been perilously weakened, with critical defense programs slashed.

We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build, and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.

He alluded to progressive plans, backed by Obama, to convert segments of the U.S. military into forces directed to fight so-called global warming.

President Obama has proposed a 2017 defense budget that, in real dollars, cuts nearly 25 percent from what we were spending in 2011. Our military is depleted and we’re asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming.

5 – Trump used clear language to declare a war on the “false song of globalism,” a tune that Obama has been singing since he came to office in 2008.

We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down and will never enter. And under my administration, we will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs. … Under a Trump administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of a foreign country.

ObamaHillaryLyingtoAmericaWhistleBlower6 – Trump used his speech to indicate he will go after Hillary Clinton regarding her role in the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks.

After Secretary Clinton’s failed intervention in Libya, Islamic terrorists in Benghazi took down our consulate and killed our ambassador and three brave Americans. Then, instead of taking charge that night, Hillary Clinton decided to go home and sleep. Incredible. Clinton blames it all on a video, an excuse that was a total lie, proven to be absolutely a total lie.

Our ambassador was murdered and our secretary of state misled the nation. And, by the way, she was not awake to take that call at 3 o’clock in the morning.

war-on-christianity7 – Trump rightfully slammed the Obama administration and international community for ignoring the plight of Christians in the Middle East, where they are being persecuted by the Islamic State and other radical Islamic groups.

We’ve made the Middle East more unstable and chaotic than ever before. We left Christians subject to intense persecution and even genocide. We have done nothing to help the Christians, nothing, and we should always be ashamed for that, for that lack of action.

Culture Wars: Target Restrooms are danger zone for Women and Children

Culture Wars:

Target Restrooms are danger zone for Women and Children

Boycott Target effort nears half million signatures

Top Twenty-Five Stories Proving Target’s Pro-Transgender Bathroom Policy Is Dangerous to Women and Children

Warner Todd Huston

dangerAs the boycott of Target stores over its pro-transgender bathroom policy grows, the question of just who such a policy puts in danger is a natural one to ask. As these policies proliferate across the country, the number of stories of predators threatening women and children in public restrooms is also growing by the day.

The Target department store chain drew the ire of millions of Americans after it announced it was opening its bathrooms to transgender shoppers and employees and allowing them to choose whatever bathroom they feel like using at any given time.

Days later a #BoycottTarget petition effort launched that drew over 200,000 signatures in a day and over 300,000 by the weekend.

The current imbroglio should not be a surprise, as for years Target has been a big purveyor and supporter of gay-friendly policies and causes. So, this current bathroom policy issue is not the first time the chain waded into left-wing issues.

On its corporate website, for instance, there are many posts and announcements celebrating the LGBT lifestyle.

Furthermore, last year, Target was a corporate sponsor of the “Out & Equal” conference, a summit aimed at forcing corporations into adopting gay-friendly workplace policies.

target-storeThe company was also praised by gay groups for its “It Gets Better” campaign meant to boost the status of homosexuality in the U.S.

In addition, Target raised the ire of many with its decision to re-engineer its kids’ sections, when in August of 2015 the chain announced it was eliminating “gender specific” labels and store signage for kids’ clothing and toy sections.

The radical homosexual agenda is not the only liberal issue Target has taken on. Two years ago the company demanded that customers “not bring firearms” into stores, despite legal concealed-carry laws saying gun owners may do so.

The company also has a long list of political causes and candidates it has donated to over the years.

GayPolitical-minoritiesStill, in defense of such policies, liberals ask what harm could come to anyone if bathrooms are opened up to men dressed as women, or others who claim to be transgender? On the other hand, those who reject these policies ask why the nation should put women and children in danger by allowing predators to more easily enter and install video cameras in bathrooms and changing rooms or otherwise threaten and harass people using the restroom?

Target itself has had incidents of predators threatening children in its bathrooms. Only weeks ago such an incident occurred in a Cedar Park, Texas store.

But there are dozens of such stories over the last 16 months or so highlighting the problem with setting policies that would make access to public restrooms easier for predators.

First up are five incidents in which predatory men were discovered committing criminal actions in public restrooms. Some of these men were arrested while dressed as women; others claimed to be transgender women.



Culture Wars: Indoctrination in Schools + Millennial Mindset= beyond Moral Relativism

Culture Wars:

Indoctrination in Schools + Millennial Mindset= beyond Moral Relativism


keyThese are the fruits of the godless institutions that came into being as a result of the Supreme Court decree in 1963 that kicked God out of the schools. ~C.D.

We are to judge righteously, never self-righteously, never unrighteously. ~Jeffrey R. Holland


Rush Limbaugh

Students refused to say anything was wrong

discernment-christianRUSH: The video I was referencing . . . about a guy who went out to the University of Washington, Washington state, and started engaging students and could not get them to say that anything he was doing or saying was wrong, it was fascinating to watch this. 

It answered some questions for me about the culture — what I call cultural rot, cultural decay, some people call it cultural evolution.  But there are many factors that combine to produce the phenomena where we are like students that are afraid of anybody that disagrees with them. This new concept called microaggressions, where we got students afraid of the word “Trump” written in chalk on a sidewalk that they have to pass. 

Unearned Self-Esteem

narcissism2You read these stories, “This is kind of exaggerated, it has to be.”  And it’s not.  Then you remember everything that has happened to college-age kids today growing up. They got trophies for just waking up. They got trophies for going to bed on time. They got trophies for participating in a sport, didn’t have to win diddly-squat. The self-esteem movement told them they were excellent, superb, special and the greatest ever when they hadn’t done anything to warrant any such thing, and it’s all led somewhere. 

You add the average, ordinary daily dose of liberalism to all of this, and you have the phenomenon, really, where nothing except Republicans and conservatives are wrong.  Everything else is to be tolerated.  And this whole instance of tolerance has been bastardized now into acceptance of virtually anything because it’s just not right to judge anybody.  I don’t have the right to say what you think or do is wrong.  I don’t have the right to think it. 

No Moral Absolutes

And what we end up losing is truth. 

It’s impossible for there to be true.  It’s impossible for there to be objective right and wrong.  Now, this is the first in what’s planned as a series of videos from the Family Policy Institute of Washington.  And in the video that I saw, the director of the Family Policy Institute has exchanges with students at the University of Washington.  And the context, the reason for this taking place is a law in Washington state allowing transgender people to use restrooms and locker rooms of whatever gender they happen to identify with that moment, that day, that month, however it is they decide to present on a given day.

So the guy conducting the interviews with the students on the video is named Joseph Backholm.  He’s Caucasian.  For those of you in Rio Linda, that means white guy.  He’s about five nine, and he walks up to these students and says, “What would you say if I told you that I’m a –”  Now, remember what got this going is people who one day, you know, “I feel like a woman, I’m gonna go to the women’s bathroom,” and it’s a guy.  It could be a 25-year-old six foot four-inch guy, wants to go to the women’s bathroom because he says he feels like a woman that day, and anybody who tries to stop this is ridiculed for not being tolerant.

Gay indoctrination in schools by one-tenth of 1% of the population

And it’s all happening under the rubric of the LGBT movement, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender movement, which exactly I predicted, by the way.  Once the gay community accomplished much of their agenda, they had to transfer it somewhere.  They can’t allow the agenda of the movement to die.  So the next group of victims became transgenders, one-tenth of 1% of the population.  But now we are having to right law and make adjustments as a society to accommodate that one-tenth of 1% of the population.

Nobody will say it’s wrong

quote-soares-stand-firm-moral-courageAnd the reason we’re doing it is because nobody will condemn it, nobody will say that it’s wrong, nobody has the guts because what happens to them when they do, as you can see happening in the state of Georgia, you can see happening in the state of North Carolina, in Indiana.  Whenever a society, via its elected representatives, attempts to pass legislation which it shouldn’t be needed to, by the way, that does not permit wanton use of opposite-sex restrooms just ’cause you feel like it, all hell comes down on you.

And it’s a very active movement that is very much into intimidation, threats of violence and so forth.  And people who have been trained to avoid confrontation, “Oh, that’s bad, it’s bad, we shouldn’t disagree at all. We should all be getting along.”  Then people that avoid confrontation cave, and the aberrants triumph yet again.

“I’m not comfortable judging you”

So that’s what starts this.  The guy asks young male students, young female students, and he says to one female student, “Okay, I walk up to you, I tell you right now I’m a 6 foot 5 Chinese male, what is your reaction?”  And the girl says, “Well, you know, like, if you, uh, it’s not for me to say that you’re not. I mean, if that’s how you feel then it’s not for me to tell you that that’s not who you are.  If that’s how you feel, fine.”

moral-fuzzy-youthAnd he comes up with other examples, not just how he looks, but invents behavioral things that he has engaged in.  “Well, if that makes you happy.  I’m just not comfortable judging you.” And you can tell with each example this guy gives them, they get more and more pained.  But they will not, in no instance do they tell the guy he’s wrong. In no instance do they tell the guy he’s not who he says he is.  And from this you can learn why it is, then when somebody says that they are 24 years old and they’re five nine, five ten, six two, and they feel like a woman that day and want to use the women’s restroom, “Why, if that’s who you are that’s fine. We all have to be who we are. If that’s what you have to do it’s not my job to say no.”

Beyond Moral Equivalence

And this video’s filled with example after example of this.  And, you know, this takes moral equivalence and just obliterates it.  This goes so far beyond moral equivalence. This is an obvious inability to stand for anything.  It’s an inability to condemn anything.  It’s an inability to have any notion of objective right and wrong.  So it’s bye-bye morality. It’s bye-bye right and wrong. It’s bye-bye value system. It’s bye-bye virtue, and it’s not just this one campus.  This is happening more and more, and particularly younger generations ’cause this is how they’ve been taught.

Rooted in Anti-Christianity

war-on-christianityA lot of this is rooted in anti-Christianity, because Christianity has been portrayed as the premiere judgmental religion, the premiere condemnatory religion, that all they do is judge and condemn and put people down and deny people the freedom to be who they are, and so we’re raising kids in certain sectors of the country that simply will not stand for anything.  And, by the same token, they use this as a license to do anything themselves, because none of their friends or colleagues or peers condemn what they do.

They sit around, they praise each other for their openness, and they praise each other for their tolerance while condemning others who are closed-minded and bigots.  One of the students on the tape says, a female student says, “I feel like it’s not my place as, like, another human being, to say someone’s wrong or to draw lines or draw boundaries.  It’s not my place.  I don’t have that right. I don’t have that right to say that you’re wrong.”  Think of what breaks down.  By the way, this didn’t just happen.  We have been trending in this direction for years.  I can think off the top of my head, think of countless examples. 

Plague of Permissiveness

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Alexander Pope

Parents condone fornication, but no smoking!

moral-relativism-generalI remember back in the nineties when the subject was condoms, and we had to make condoms available everywhere. We had to give ’em away — had to instruct people in their usage in junior, middle school, high school and so forth — on the theory that we can’t stop kids from having sex.  “They’re gonna have sex! You can’t stop ’em, Rush. I don’t care what you do, you can’t stop ’em.” So I’d take calls from parents who would agree with that premise.

“No, we can’t stop them.” I had calls from parents in Long Island who’d actually say, “Yeah, I let my daughter and her boyfriend spend the night in one of our guest rooms, ’cause it’s cleaner than the back of his car.” I’m sitting here as host, incredulous as what I’m hearing.  They think it’s virtuous, and they can’t stop them anyway. “So since they’re going to do it, let’s make sure that they have condoms and a clean bed.” 

So I suggested, “Well, how about a pack of cigarettes on the nightstand?” 

“What do you mean?” 

“Well, isn’t that what everybody does? After you have sex, you light up a cigarette?” 

“No, no, no! They can’t smoke in my house!”

“What do you mean? You think you can stop ’em from smoking?”

“Damn right! They’re not gonna smoke in my house.” 

“Really?  You can stop ’em from smoking — you’re not gonna permit that — but they can have sex like a bunch of minks, and there’s nothing you can do about it?” 

“That’s right, Mr. Limbaugh. That’s right.”


isaiah-good-called-evilSo this isn’t anything new.  It’s been trending in this direction.  And by the way, this is made to order for the left, because the left can only survive when they’re not being judged.  The left can only survive and prosper when they have bullied everybody into tolerating whatever behavior they want to engage in — and good behavior doesn’t require any tolerance. So we’re talking about aberrant behavior to begin with.  Good behavior, you don’t have to any tolerance for that.  Good behavior is laudatory.  Good manners, good behavior, that’s becoming an exception.

But, I mean, in the old days you wouldn’t need tolerance for it.  You would have appreciation for it, maybe, but you would have to tolerate it.  You build up tolerance for abnormal, destructive, and any other kind of behavior you want to describe.  But on this campus, University of Washington… I mean, I’m just giving you one example when he told ’em, “I’m a six-foot-five Chinese male.”  But he gave ’em a bunch of other examples about, you know, differing types of physical appearance and things that he says that he had done or wanted to do.

Some of it was reprehensible stuff, and nobody would condemn it. No, and they got tense. You could see them get tense.  You could see these kids getting all stressed out at the thought of condemning it.  They weren’t getting stressed out at the kind of behavior.  They weren’t getting stressed out at the fact that they were talking to some five-foot, nine-inch white guy who thought was like a six-foot, five-inch Chinese male.  That didn’t bother ’em.  They were getting stressed out over the notion that, “Oh, I might have to say something!”

Bottom, folks?

We’re in deep doo-doo is the bottom line here.

Parents: Teaching Kindness

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

 Teaching Kindness: Parenting Value: Kindness Part 1

Richard and Linda Eyre

Kindness & Friendliness

family4Becoming more extra-centered and less self-centered. Learning to feel with and for others. Empathy, tolerance, brotherhood. Sensitivity to needs in people and situations.


Sample Method for Preschool Age: The “Magic” Words

Intrigue small children with the notion of using polite words. Tell the children any story that involves magic words — abracadabra, Rumpelstiltskin — or any story you want to make up. Then ask them if there is such a thing as real magic words — words that make good things happen when they are used.

The answer is yes. “Please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “you’re welcome” make people smile, make them feel better, make the world work better.

Explain this notion several times and prepare your children for the simple correction or reminder, “Remember to use the magic words.”


Sample Method of Elementary Age: The “Catch an Eye” Contest

This gives children practice in the friendly art of direct eye contact. When you are going somewhere with one or more children, particularly to a public place, have a contest to see who can “catch the most eyes.” To count someone, you must look at them until they glance back, then smile as you catch their eye. Count the ones that smile back and count separately the ones that don’t. The “smile-backers” are worth two points, the “glance but don’t smile” people are worth one point.


We were at a shopping mall with three of our children (ages nine, eleven, and twelve) one day when we held our first “catch an eye” contest. The game got quite competitive, and each of the children ended up with a score or over one hundred.

Afterward, as we were driving home, Saydi observed, “It’s amazing how many people just look away the minute you catch their eye.”

Jonah added, “Yes, and they’re not near as fun as the ones who look back at you and smile. I think those are the happy ones.”
— Richard


Sample Method for Adolescents: Name Remembering.

It’s a good idea to help adolescents learn to remember the names of people they meet. Discuss with children the importance of people’s names. (The most important word to anyone is his own name!) Point out that remembering names is a great key in the art of making friends. Teach children to remember a name. One is to use the name several times in the conversation you have when you meet a person. Say, “Nice to meet you, Joyce. Where do you live, Joyce? Joyce, do you have a brother who works at Miller’s?” Another is to write the name down (on your planner, appointment book, notebook, etc.) as soon as possible after you meet. At the end of the day glance at the name again, associate it with the face, and it will be yours forever (or at least for some time).

Faith, Family, Forever and Always

Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families

By L. Tom Perry

keyIt is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides the foundation upon which we can find lasting peace and build eternal family units.

A Sure Foundation

buildingonrockOur journey through life has periods of both good times and bad. Each presents different challenges. How we learn to adjust to the changes which come along depends on the foundation on which we build. The gospel of our Lord and Savior provides a sure and solid foundation. It is constructed piece by piece as we gain knowledge of the Lord’s eternal plan for His children. The Savior is the Master Teacher. We follow Him.

The scriptures testify of Him and provide an example of perfect righteousness for us to follow. I have shared with the body of the Church at a previous conference that I have a number of notebooks in which my mother had recorded material she was using to prepare her Relief Society lessons. The notes are as timely today as they were then. One of these was a quote written in 1908 by Charles Edward Jefferson on the character of Jesus Christ. It reads:

“To be a Christian is to admire Jesus so sincerely and so fervently that the whole life goes out to him in an aspiration to be like him.

“… We may come to know him through the words he spoke, through the deeds he did, and also through his silences. We may know him also by the impression which he made first upon his friends and secondly upon his foes, and thirdly upon the general body of his contemporaries. …

“One of the notes of twentieth century life is discontent [and trouble]. …

Search for Peace

gavarret-follow-christ“… The world is crying out for something, it scarce knows what. Wealth has come, … [and] the world is filled with … inventions of human skill and genius, but … we are [still] restless, unsatisfied, [and] bewildered. … [If we open] the New Testament [we are greeted by these words], ‘Come unto me and I will give you rest, I am the bread of life, I am the Light of the world, If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink, My peace I give unto you, You shall receive power, You shall rejoice’” (The Character of Jesus [1908], 7, 11, 15–16).

Men and women are shaped partly by those among whom they choose to live. Those to whom they look up and try to emulate also shape them. Jesus is the great Exemplar. The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him and live.

What about Jesus is worthy of our study?

“The New Testament writers … cared nothing for [Jesus’s] stature, the clothes he wore or the houses he lived in. … He was born in a stable, worked in a carpenter’s shop, taught for three years, and then died on a cross. … The New Testament was written by men who were determined that we … fix our eyes on [Him]” (The Character of Jesus, 21–22) with an assurance that He truly was and is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.

One of the Savior’s parables, I believe, especially applies to our current day.

Parable: Wheat and Tares

It is contained in Matthew chapter 13, where we read:

wheattares“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

“But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

“So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

“He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

“But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (verses 25–30).

That old enemy of all mankind has found as many devices as he can think of to scatter tares far and wide. He has found ways to have them penetrate even the sanctity of our own homes. The wicked and worldly ways have become so widespread there seems to be no real way of weeding them out. They come by wire and through the air into the very devices we have developed to educate and entertain us. The wheat and the tares have grown close together. A steward managing the field must, with all his or her power, nourish that which is good and make it so strong and beautiful the tares will have no appeal either to the eye or the ear. How blessed are we as members of the Lord’s Church to have the precious gospel of our Lord and Savior as a foundation on which we can build our lives.

From the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi we read: “For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:5).

perry-small-voice-192x192We must never let the noise of the world overpower and overwhelm that still, small voice.

We certainly have been warned of events that we will be facing in our day. Our challenge will be how we prepare for the events the Lord has said are surely still to come.

Many in our worried society understand that the disintegration of the family will bring only sorrow and hopelessness into a troubled world. As members of the Church, we have the responsibility to preserve and protect the family as the basic unit of society and eternity. The prophets have warned and forewarned about the inevitable and destructive consequence of a deterioration of family values.

As the world continues to watch us, let us be certain that our example will sustain and support the plan the Lord has designed for His children here in mortality. The greatest teaching of all must be done by righteous example. Our homes must be holy places in order to stand against the pressures of the world. Remember that the greatest of all the blessings of the Lord come through and are given to righteous families.

Role of Mothers

teachingfamiaboutchristWe must carefully continue to evaluate our performance as parents. The most powerful teaching a child will ever receive will come from concerned and righteous fathers and mothers. Let us first look at the role of the mother. Listen to this quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“Women who make a house a home make a far greater contribution to society than those who command large armies or stand at the head of impressive corporations. Who can put a price tag on the influence a mother has on her children, a grandmother on her posterity, or aunts and sisters on their extended family?

“We cannot begin to measure or calculate the influence of women who, in their own ways, build stable family life and nurture for everlasting good the generations of the future. The decisions made by the women of this generation will be eternal in their consequences. May I suggest that the mothers of today have no greater opportunity and no more serious challenge than to do all they can to strengthen the [home]” (Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes [2000], 152).

Role of Fathers

Fathersblessing lupoadolfolasinphillippinesNow let’s look at the role a father plays in our lives:

Fathers give blessings and perform sacred ordinances for their children. These will become spiritual highlights in their lives.

Fathers are personally involved in leading family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings.

Fathers build family traditions by being involved in helping plan vacation trips and outings that will involve all of the family members. Memories of these special times together will never be forgotten by their children.

Fathers hold one-on-one visits with their children and teach them gospel principles.

Fathers teach sons and daughters the value of work and help them establish worthy goals in their own lives.

Fathers set an example of faithful gospel service.

Please remember, brethren, your sacred calling as a father in Israel—your most important calling in time and eternity—a calling from which you are never released.

Faithful Parents Needed Now More than Ever

callister-teach-home-192x192Sometimes we find ourselves in situations when we have the opportunity to teach children a lesson which will have a lasting effect on their young lives. A successful parent should never be too busy to capture a moment in a child’s life when an important lesson can be taught.

It is my firm conviction that there has never been a period in my many years of life when our Father in Heaven’s children have needed the guiding hand of faithful, devoted parents more. We have a great and noble heritage of parents giving up almost everything they possess to find a place where they could rear their families with faith and courage so the next generation would have greater opportunities than had been theirs. We must find within ourselves that same determined spirit and overcome the challenges we face with the same spirit of sacrifice. We must instill in future generations an ever stronger reliance on the teachings of our Lord and Savior.

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).

It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides this foundation upon which we can find lasting peace and build eternal family units.

Christian Lifestyle: Defend Family Now

Dinner Topics for Monday

Christian Lifestyle: Defend Family Nowfamily3generations

keyWe need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance of homes as sacred places—even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting, or no longer relevant. ~Bonnie L. Oscarson

By Bonnie L. Oscarson


familydefendmarriageLet us help build the kingdom of God by standing up boldly and being defenders of marriage, parenthood, and the home.

What a privilege and joy to be a part of this marvelous assembly of girls and women. How blessed we are as women to be joined together this evening in unity and in love.

I recently read the story of Marie Madeline Cardon, who, with her family, received the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ from the first missionaries called to serve in Italy in 1850. She was a young woman of 17 or 18 years of age when they were baptized. One Sunday, while the family was holding a worship service in their home high in the Alps of northern Italy, an angry mob of men, including some of the local ministers, gathered around the house and began shouting, yelling, and calling for the missionaries to be brought outside. I don’t think they were anxious to be taught the gospel—they intended bodily harm. It was young Marie who marched out of the house to confront the mob.

bible1They continued their vicious yells and demands for the missionaries to be brought out. Marie raised her Bible up in her hand and commanded them to depart. She told them that the elders were under her protection and that they could not harm one hair of their heads. Listen to her own words: “All stood aghast. … God was with me. He placed those words in my mouth, or I could not have spoken them. All was calm, instantly. That strong ferocious body of men stood helpless before a weak, trembling, yet fearless girl.” The ministers asked the mob to leave, which they did quietly in shame, fear, and remorse. The small flock completed their meeting in peace.1

Can’t you just picture that brave young woman, the same age as many of you, standing up to a mob and defending her newly found beliefs with courage and conviction?

Sisters, few of us will ever have to face an angry mob, but there is a war going on in this world in which our most cherished and basic doctrines are under attack. I am speaking specifically of the doctrine of the family. The sanctity of the home and the essential purposes of the family are being questioned, criticized, and assaulted on every front.

family3-silhouetteWhen President Gordon B. Hinckley first read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” 20 years ago this year, we were grateful for and valued the clarity, simplicity, and truth of this revelatory document. Little did we realize then how very desperately we would need these basic declarations in today’s world as the criteria by which we could judge each new wind of worldly dogma coming at us from the media, the Internet, scholars, TV and films, and even legislators. The proclamation on the family has become our benchmark for judging the philosophies of the world, and I testify that the principles set forth within this statement are as true today as they were when they were given to us by a prophet of God nearly 20 years ago.

The Lord’s Pattern

May I point out something obvious? Life rarely goes exactly according to plan for anyone, and we are very aware that not all women are experiencing what the proclamation describes. It is still important to understand and teach the Lord’s pattern and strive for the realization of that pattern the best we can.

familydefend1Each of us has a part to play in the plan, and each of us is equally valued in the eyes of the Lord. We should remember that a loving Heavenly Father is aware of our righteous desires and will honor His promises that nothing will be withheld from those who faithfully keep their covenants. Heavenly Father has a mission and plan for each of us, but He also has His own timetable. One of the hardest challenges in this life is to have faith in the Lord’s timing. It’s a good idea to have an alternative plan in mind, which helps us to be covenant-keeping, charitable, and righteous women who build the kingdom of God no matter which way our lives go. We need to teach our daughters to aim for the ideal but plan for contingencies.

black-family-dinnerDuring this 20th anniversary year of the family proclamation, I would like to issue a challenge for all of us as women of the Church to be defenders of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Just as Marie Madeline Cardon courageously defended the missionaries and her newly found beliefs, we need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance of homes as sacred places—even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting, or no longer relevant. Everyone, no matter what their marital circumstance or number of children, can be defenders of the Lord’s plan described in the family proclamation. If it is the Lord’s plan, it should also be our plan!

3 Principles

There are three principles taught in the proclamation which I think are especially in need of steadfast defenders.

familydefendmarriage11) The first is marriage between a man and a woman. We are taught in the scriptures, “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”2 For anyone to attain the fulness of priesthood blessings, there must be a husband and a wife sealed in the house of the Lord, working together in righteousness and remaining faithful to their covenants. This is the Lord’s plan for His children, and no amount of public discourse or criticism will change what the Lord has declared. We need to continue to model righteous marriages, seek for that blessing in our lives, and have faith if it is slow in coming. Let us be defenders of marriage as the Lord has ordained it while continuing to show love and compassion for those with differing views.

2-parentfamily-silhouette2) The next principle which calls for our defending voices is elevating the divine roles of mothers and fathers. We eagerly teach our children to aim high in this life. We want to make sure that our daughters know that they have the potential to achieve and be whatever they can imagine. We hope they will love learning, be educated, talented, and maybe even become the next Marie Curie or Eliza R. Snow.

Do we also teach our sons and daughters there is no greater honor, no more elevated title, and no more important role in this life than that of mother or father? I would hope that as we encourage our children to reach for the very best in this life that we also teach them to honor and exalt the roles that mothers and fathers play in Heavenly Father’s plan.

familydefendOur youngest daughter, Abby, saw a unique opportunity to stand as a defender of the role of mother. One day she got a notice from her children’s school that they were having Career Day presentations at the school. Parents were invited to send in an application if they wanted to come to school to teach the children about their jobs, and Abby felt impressed to apply to come and speak about motherhood. She didn’t hear back from the school, and when Career Day was getting close, she finally called the school, thinking they may have lost her application. The organizers scrambled around and found two teachers who agreed to have Abby come talk to their classes at the end of Career Day.

In her very fun presentation to the children, Abby taught them, among other things, that as a mother she needed to be somewhat of an expert in medicine, psychology, religion, teaching, music, literature, art, finance, decorating, hair styling, chauffeuring, sports, culinary arts, and so much more. The children were impressed. She finished by having the children remember their mothers by writing thank-you notes expressing gratitude for the many loving acts of service they received daily. Abby felt that the children saw their mothers in a whole new light and that being a mother or father was something of great worth. She applied to share again this year at Career Day and was invited to present to six classes.

Abby has said of her experience: “I feel like it could be easy in this world for a child to get the sense that being a parent is a secondary job or even sometimes a necessary inconvenience. I want every child to feel like they are the most important priority to their parent, and maybe telling them how important being a parent is to me will help them realize all that their parents do for them and why.”

Our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, is a wonderful example of honoring women and motherhood, especially his own mother. In reference to our earthly mothers, he has said: “May each of us treasure this truth; one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and [our earthly] mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.”3

family5prayingdinner3) The last principle we need to stand and defend is the sanctity of the home. We need to take a term which is sometimes spoken of with derision and elevate it. It is the term homemaker. All of us—women, men, youth, and children, single or married—can work at being homemakers. We should “make our homes” places of order, refuge, holiness, and safety. Our homes should be places where the Spirit of the Lord is felt in rich abundance and where the scriptures and the gospel are studied, taught, and lived. What a difference it would make in the world if all people would see themselves as makers of righteous homes. Let us defend the home as a place which is second only to the temple in holiness.

I am grateful to be a woman in these latter days. We have opportunities and possibilities which no other generation of women has had in the world. Let us help build the kingdom of God by standing up boldly and being defenders of marriage, parenthood, and the home. The Lord needs us to be brave, steadfast, and immovable warriors who will defend His plan and teach the upcoming generations His truths.

I bear witness that Heavenly Father lives and loves each of us. His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer.

Character Education: Rudyard Kipling and “If”

Dinner Topics for Friday

kipling-if6Character Education—


By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

kipling-if2If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

kipling-if1If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings

kipling-if3 And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,



And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

kipling-if5If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!