Parenting: Teaching Courage

Dinner Topics for Tuesday


What does a Chicken have to do with courage? See this post:

Parenting Value: Courage

Methods for Teaching Courage

Richard and Linda Eyre


“Daring to attempt difficult things that are good. Strength not to follow the crowd, to say no and mean it and influence others to try it. Being true to convictions and following good impulses even when they are unpopular or inconvenient. Boldness to be outgoing and friendly.”

Method for Preschoolers: Teach Small Children to Look People in the Eye

This can help children learn a useful habit that takes courage and that gives you a good opportunity for praise. Establish a family tradition of looking people in the eye. Explain to small children that if you look right at people, they will like you and know that you like them. Practice looking in each other’s eyes as you say, “Hello,” “How are you?” “Thank you,” or as you ask questions: “Where do you live?” “What school do you go to?” And so on. Have little contests to see who can look into the person’s eyes the longest while having a “made-up” conversation. And have “staring contests” (who can look into the other person’s eyes the longest without blinking).

Explain that being brave means not having anything to hide — and when we look right at someone, it is like saying, “I trust you and you can trust me.” Learning to do this helps us not to be afraid to ask people questions or start conversations.

Method for Elementary Age: “Hard and Good” – The Relationship Between Them

This activity will help children begin to relish rather than resist hard challenges. For this game set up two sides with at least one child to a side. Say that you are going to mention certain actions and you want one side to write either “hard” or “easy” to define each action. The other side should write “good” or “bad” about each action. (Each side needs a paper numbered from one to ten and a pencil.)

1. Get up early and study for a test.
2. Say you’re sorry to someone even though it’s embarrassing.
3. Try smoking with your friends so they won’t call you chicken.
4. Make friends with the new kid at school, even though everyone else is ignoring him.
5. Sleep in on Saturday instead of getting up to do your household job.
6-10. Add your own (try to draw from real experiences).

When the game is over, match up the two team lists. Show how “hard” almost always matches up with “good.”

Method for Adolescents: Decisions in Advance

This can help adolescents make right — and courageous — decisions before they are in situations conducive to wrong choices. Explain to adolescents that many decisions are best made early — before we’re confronted with pressure to decide. Help them to make a list (preferably in the back of a journal or diary) of “decisions in advance.” For example, I will not smoke. I will not cheat. I will not be cruel or rude even if others around me are, and so forth.

With each “decision in advance” help the adolescent to imagine a future situation where it would be very difficult to keep the decision. Think it through together. Point out how much easier it is to do the right thing when the decision has been made in advance.

To illustrate the point tell them the story of Abraham Lincoln, who was riding in a coach with an important and influential man who was insistent that Lincoln smoke with him. He said he would be offended if Lincoln did not.

Abraham Lincoln said he had made a decision twenty years before not to smoke. He had committed himself to that decision and had even made the commitment to his mother. Because he had made the decision in advance, courage to keep it came easy for Lincoln, and his friend did not push him further.


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!

History Heroes: How did the Greatest Generation conquer 20th Century Terrorism?

History Heroes:

Terrorism Facts Part 2

greatest-generation4-much-owed-fewHow did the Greatest Generation conquer 20th Century Terrorism?

In Part 1 of this article we learned a reason for the inexplicable behavior of many people in our society—that is, going over to the dark side, to join with or defend Islamic terrorism. This state of mind and emotion in which we are vulnerable to being converted “at the point of a sword” is called the Stockholm Syndrome. Islamic terrorism has been around for centuries, had connections with Nazism in the 20th century, and exists as Islamo-fascism today. Here, in Part 2, we learn how the Greatest Generation conquered terrorism. We can benefit by learning lessons from great history heroes.

Terrorism Facts, Part 1: How does a Society first abhor, then embrace Terrorism?


Of Terror and Courage, Part 2:

What would the ‘Greatest Generation’ Do?

keyThese are the kinds of measures the WWII generation would have implemented, at least for starters. Call it tough love on a national scale. But that in turn requires two things in short supply today: courage and moral clarity. ~David Kupelian


IS THERE A CURE FOR THIS TERRIBLE SYNDROME? Yes, and since Americans have a history of vanquishing tyrants, let’s explore the powerful lessons they’ve bequeathed to us.

First, let’s look at how the “Greatest Generation” managed to vanquish major evil “isms” like Nazism and Japanese imperialism.

Judeo-Christian Values

greatest-generation1To understand how the WWII generation was able to deal so effectively with monstrous totalitarian movements, it’s essential to realize the fundamental difference between America then and now. For all our problems back then, America had tremendous national unity and a strong sense of identity. Judeo-Christian values were still paramount at work, play and everyday life—they comprised the cultural “air” we all breathed. We weren’t yet crippled by national guilt, self-doubt and self-hatred like we are today. There’s no way we could have been bamboozled into thinking same-sex marriage is perfectly normal, or that slaughtering innocent babies in the womb is moral and constitutional, or that posting the Ten Commandments on a courthouse wall somehow violates the First Amendment.


greatest-generation3-vs-entitledIn other words, we were not corrupted with the anti-biblical philosophies and utter confusion that have suffocated our modern era and robbed it of genuine moral strength. Back then, the unified national character and confidence of the “Greatest Generation” allowed us to make the tough decisions that were necessary to preserve our nation, rescue our allies, and end a terrible war.

Perhaps the most controversial action in U.S. military history was dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to break the will of the maniacal Japanese war effort. Decades later, arguments still abound both for and against this use of the A-bomb.

But whatever you may think in retrospect about the destruction of those two Japanese cities, what is undeniable is that doing so accomplished more than end the war with Japan. It broke Japan. It confronted the “evil spirit” that had possessed that nation—a totalitarian, emperor-worshipping military cult obsessed with expansion—and violently exorcized it.

greatest-generation2-ww2Having neutralized the evil that had captivated Japan, America became that nation’s friend and helped massively reconstruct it, ultimately turning Japan into the civilized, successful, First World economic power it is today. Think how utterly amazing that is.

For that matter, after the Allies annihilated Hitler’s war machine and along with it the german capacity and will to conquer its neighbors, the U.S. also helped a newly sober Germany become a great Western power. Our enemies, Japan and Germany, became our friends.

No, I’m not saying “Nuke Mecca.” I am simply affirming what Arial Sharon said years ago: We must create in the enemy “a psychology of defeat, to beat them every time and to beat them so decisively that they would develop the conviction they could never win.

appeasement-quoteRemember, moral weakness—appeasement—whether in individuals or nation states, always encourages violence.

Just as with communists and Nazis, today’s Islamo-fascists regard goodwill gestures and concessions as contemptible weakness and an irresistible invitation to take advantage. Hitler, shortly after the appeasing Neville Chamberlain arrived home proudly displaying his worthless peace treaty, turned around and attacked Britain.

So, what would the U.S. Congress of the WWII era do today about frequent threats by radical Islamists to commit further terror on the U.S. homeland?

The “Greatest Generation’s” lawmakers would probably—after making a brief apology to all law-abiding Muslims living here—announce immediate and severe restrictions on immigration into the U.S. from Muslim countries. No more Muslim chaplains in our prisons to act as recruiters.

no-shariaNo more Saudi-funded, anti-American Islamic schools here. If a mosque in the U.S. is proven to have been used for storing terror weapons and fomenting revolution, it gets bulldozed—immediately. You get the idea. We’re at war. These are the kinds of measures the WWII generation would have implemented, at least for starters.

Call it tough love on a national scale. But that in turn requires two things in short supply today: courage and moral clarity.


Terrorism Facts, Part 3: Courage and Moral Clarity

Terrorism Facts, Part 1: How does a Society first abhor, then embrace Terrorism?


Theme Quotes: Faith in Action, Courage

Theme Quotes:

Faith in Action, Courage


quote-Isaiah-eagles-wings“… They that wait upon [Him] shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. …“For … the Lord … God will hold [their] right hand, saying unto [them], Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 40:28, 29, 31; 41:13.

Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever. ~Jeffrey R. Holland

Courage as well as cowardice is contagious. ~Pat Buchanan


Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their quote-soares-stand-firm-moral-couragecouragereviling. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation. ~Isaiah 51:7,8

I do know that whosoever shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.

There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day. They prepare, they purge, they purify, and thus they bless. ~James E. Faust

Out of the refiner’s fire can come a glorious deliverance. It can be a noble and lasting rebirth. The price to become acquainted with God will have been paid. There can come a sacred peace. There will be a reawakening of dormant, inner resources. A comfortable cloak of righteousness will be drawn around us to keep us warm spiritually. Self-pity will vanish as our blessings are counted. James E. Faust

quote-Jesus-atonement-oaks-anguishDivine covenants make strong Christians. I urge each one to qualify for and receive all the priesthood ordinances you can and then faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant. In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing wavering, according to your need, and God will answer. He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth his hand to you, saying, “Here am I.” ~D. Todd Christofferson

When the devil reminds you about your past, you just remind him about his future.

No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. … He will [always] stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them.”9 ~George Q. Cannon

The Sacrifices Made by the Signers of the Declaration of Independence

The Sacrifices Made by the Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Michael Sabo

Michael Sabo is a research assistant for the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation.

Const-signers-AmericansWhoRiskedAllWhen reading the Declaration of Independence, it is easy to focus only on the sweeping language of the second paragraph and skip over the names and mutual pledge of the signers at its conclusion.

Though the principles enunciated in its opening paragraphs, such as the self-evident truth that all men are created equal, provide the moral and philosophical foundation on which the American regime rests, it is important to acknowledge that declaring principles alone secures nothing.

Principles need to be enforced by individuals who have the habits of character necessary to fight for them, and perhaps even die for them, if need be. In a time where talk of rights dominates our political discourse, a focus on duties is indispensable in order to teach citizens the responsibilities they owe toward each other and their posterity.

The signers’ mutual pledge to themselves to sacrifice their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for the cause of independence shows that these men took seriously their duties to the people of the new nation.

A look at the historical record will show this to be beyond dispute.

Of the 56 men who signed the declaration, 12 fought in battles as members of state militias, five were captured and imprisoned during the Revolutionary War, 17 lost property as a result of British raids, and five lost their fortunes in helping fund the Continental Army and state militias battle the redcoats.

Below we will explore the sacrifices the signers made on behalf of the American cause.

Thomas Heyward Jr., Edward Rutledge, and Arthur Middleton

Thomas Heyward Jr. of South Carolina was a signer of both the declaration and the Articles of Confederation. Heyward drew the ire of the British when, as a circuit court judge, he presided over the trial of several loyalists who were found guilty of treason. The prisoners were summarily executed in full view of British troops. In 1779, he joined the South Carolina militia as a captain of artillery.

Heyward’s compatriot in the South Carolina delegation, Edward Rutledge, also served in the state militia. At age 26, Rutledge was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. After returning home from attending the Second Continental Congress in 1777, he joined the militia as captain of an artillery battalion.

decofindependenceBoth Heyward and Rutledge aided their country in the battle at Port Royal Island, where they helped Gen. Moultrie defeat British Maj. William Gardiner and his troops.

Arthur Middleton, the last of the South Carolina delegation who served in the militia, took up arms against the British during the siege of Charleston in 1780. His fellow signers, Heyward and Rutledge, fought in that battle as well.

Upon the surrender of Charleston, all three men were captured by the British and were sent to a prison in St. Augustine, Florida, which was reserved for people the British thought were particularly dangerous. They were held there for almost a year before being released. On route to Philadelphia for a prisoner exchange in July 1781, Heyward almost drowned. He survived his fall overboard by clinging to the ship’s rudder until he could be rescued.

During the British occupation of Charleston, Commandant Nisbet Balfour ordered the seizure of many estates in Charleston, including those owned by Heyward and Middleton.

During his imprisonment, Heyward’s wife died at home, and his estate and property were heavily damaged. Rutledge’s estate was left intact, but his family had to sell many of their belongings in order to make the trip to Philadelphia to reunite with him after his release. Middleton’s estate was left relatively untouched, but his collection of rare paintings was destroyed during the British occupation of his home. 

Thomas Nelson Jr.

Thomas Nelson Jr. of the Commonwealth of Virginia was appointed to the position of brigadier general and commander-in-chief of the Virginia militia by Gov. Patrick Henry in August 1777. At that time it was thought that the British would be making a full scale invasion of the state. Nelson was able to muster only a few hundred men to defend Virginia, but the British instead decided to attack Philadelphia.

Nelson inherited a vast family fortune, much of which he used to support the American effort. He personally paid for the return journey home of 70 troops he had led to meet the British in Philadelphia during the summer of 1778. In the spring of 1780, Nelson signed his name to a loan for $2 million that was needed to purchase provisions for the French fleet that was coming to America’s aid in the war.

As then-governor of Virginia, during the Battle of Yorktown he ordered American troops to fire upon his mansion, which had been commandeered by Gen. Cornwallis and his men. 

Richard Stockton

A member of the New Jersey delegation, Richard Stockton, had his estate commandeered by the British for use as a headquarters. As they left, British troops burned all his personal effects—including his library, private papers, furniture, and clothes.

Though Stockton was in hiding at the time, he ultimately did not escape capture; a traitor led the British to his position in November 1776. He was held captive in Amboy, New Jersey, and was then sent to New York City where he was imprisoned in a jail reserved for common criminals. Incensed by his treatment, Congress worked with British Gen. William Howe to obtain his release.

George Walton

Because of his small build and stature, George Walton was thought to be the youngest of the signers of the declaration (he was actually in his mid-30s). He hailed from Georgia and served as colonel in the first regiment of the state militia in 1778. During the siege of Savannah, a cannonball broke Walton’s leg, which led to his being captured. He was held captive for nine months and was released in the early fall of 1779 in a prisoner exchange for a British navy captain.

At the same time Walton was held prisoner, his wife Dorothy was captured by the British. She was imprisoned on an island in the West Indies and was eventually freed after a prisoner exchange. During the Waltons’ confinement, the British ransacked their home.

George Clymer

British troops destroyed the home of George Clymer of Pennsylvania in September 1777 when they captured Philadelphia. Though his home was outside of the city, it was right in the middle of the path of the British march. American loyalists pointed out to the British homes belonging to patriots, which of course included Clymer’s estate.

Clymer also contributed to the war monetarily. He converted his entire fortune into continental currency, a risky move considering the likelihood that the currency would be rendered worthless. He also told wealthy friends to contribute to the American cause.

Robert Morris

A delegate from Pennsylvania, Robert Morris helped insure Washington’s victory at Yorktown by using his own credit to obtain the supplies necessary to defeat the British. He spent more than $1 million (not adjusted for inflation) of his own money to accomplish this.

While serving as superintendent of finance of the United States, Morris regularly used his own financial resources to obtain much needed supplies. Using his own funds, for example, he purchased one thousand barrels of flour for Washington’s men in late spring of 1778.

Lewis Morris

Lewis Morris of New York served as a major general in the state militia. Morris devoted himself to recruiting men to serve in the militia and to help keep supplies up, which was a constant problem. For almost the entire length of the war, the British occupied his home, Morrisania, and used it as their headquarters. This forced Morris to live off of his close friends and associates until the war ended in 1783.

John Hancock

John Hancock of Massachusetts, the man with the largest signature on the declaration, served in the militia as major general in 1778. Hancock was put in command of approximately 6,000 men during the Rhode Island campaign. That campaign was ultimately unsuccessful because the French failed to carry out their end of the bargain.

Caesar Rodney

Caesar Rodney served in the Delaware militia as well, attaining the rank of brigadier general. Rodney famously road on horseback straight from Dover to Philadelphia to cast his vote in favor of declaring independence (the Delaware delegation was split). He was with his men in the field during the brutal winter of 1776, helped quash an uprising in Delaware (there were a large number of loyalists within the state), and helped in George Washington’s effort to defend Philadelphia from being taken by the British.

Carter Braxton

Carter Braxton of the Virginia delegation accumulated massive personal debts helping the American effort in the war. He loaned 10,000 pounds sterling to Congress, which was never repaid. He also spent much of his wealth outfitting American ships so that they could carry more cargo. Due to the British capturing some of his vessels and others being lost out on the high seas, he suffered great financial calamity. These accumulated losses left him bankrupt by war’s end.

Oliver Wolcott

A delegate from Connecticut, Oliver Wolcott served as captain and then major general in the state militia. In 1776, he was appointed to lead 14 regiments in defense of New York City. He also commanded thousands of men in the Battle of Saratoga. Wolcott worked tirelessly to recruit for the Connecticut militia, which, like the army in general, was sorely lacking in numbers within its ranks. 

William Whipple

William Whipple of New Hampshire served as brigadier general in the state militia. He fought against Gen. Burgoyne at the battles of Stillwater and Saratoga (commonly pointed to as the turning point for Americans in the war) in 1777. The following year, Whipple participated in the retaking of Rhode Island.

Thomas McKean

Thomas McKean of Delaware served as colonel in the Delaware state militia. Once McKean was appointed to the office of President of Delaware in 1777, he was targeted by the British (the British captured John McKinley, the previous president). He had to move his family on five occasions because of raids by both the British and local Indian tribes.

Francis Lewis

Francis Lewis of New York signed the declaration on August 2, 1776. Although he was present when independence was declared a month earlier, the New York delegation did not get permission from the state’s legislature to sign the document. A few months after affixing his signature on the declaration, British troops destroyed the Long Island estate of Lewis. They took Lewis’ wife and put her in prison where she was tortured on a regular basis. Under the direction of George Washington, she was finally returned in a prisoner exchange two years later.

quote-ben-franklin-tyrannyBenjamin Franklin

Known as the sage of Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest of the signers of the declaration. Prior to setting sail for France in late 1776 to ask the French for assistance in the war, Franklin gave his entire fortune to Congress to help fund the war.

John Hart

Hessian mercenaries plundered signer John Hart’s 400-acre farm outside of Hopewell, New Jersey. Prior to his farm being captured, Hart was forced to leave his family because of advancing British troops. During his absence, his wife died, and his children were sent to live with neighbors.

William Ellery

The estate of William Ellery of Delaware was burned down during the British occupation of Newport, Rhode Island. Ellery served in the Second Continental Congress until the British left Newport, which they held for three years. He returned home in order to salvage what was left of his property.

Joseph Hewes

With his fortunes built on trade, Joseph Hewes of North Carolina was a vigorous proponent of the decision of the First Continental Congress to cut off all imports and exports with the British. This of course had the effect of drying up his wealth. Interestingly, Hewes also renounced his Quaker religion in order to support the war.

James Smith

A delegate from Pennsylvania, James Smith served in the Pennsylvania militia as captain, colonel, and then as brigadier general. He was one of the first to raise men for the possibility of defending his home state, a duty he took up beginning as early as 1774.

Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison of Virginia, whose son and grandson both served as U.S. presidents, complained in a letter to Gov. William Livingston of New Jersey that his debts had accumulated substantially because of the “ravages” and “plunderings” of the British.

William Floyd

While William Floyd of New York served as a delegate in the Second Continental Congress, the British sacked his estate, forcing his family to flee. Though they made it safely to Connecticut, his family was left without a home for the duration of the war.

William Hooper

William Hooper of North Carolina outlasted British raiders who were looking to capture him and his family. In 1782, he and his family fled Wilmington after it fell to the British. Though much of his property was destroyed, he and his family were reunited at the conclusion of the war.

Lyman Hall

The British destroyed the home and plantation of Lyman Hall of Georgia. Luckily, his family escaped before the British arrived and moved up North to be with him.

Gospel Teachings: Becoming True Millennials

Gospel Teachings:

Becoming True Millennials

Russell M. Nelson

millennialsWe are thankful for your devotion to the Lord and His restored gospel. We are grateful for each time you stand up and speak up for truth—especially when it is not popular.

Many people refer to you as Millennials. I’ll admit that when researchers refer to you by that word and describe what their studies reveal about you—your likes and dislikes, your feelings and inclinations, your strengths and weaknesses—I’m uncomfortable. There is something about the way they use the term Millennial that bothers me. And frankly, I am less interested in what the experts have to say about you than what the Lord has told me about you.

When I pray about you and ask the Lord how He feels about you, I feel something far different from what the researchers say. Spiritual impressions I’ve received about you lead me to believe that the term Millennial may actually be perfect for you. But for a much different reason than the experts may ever understand.

A True Millennial is a man or woman whom God trusted enough to send to earth during the most compelling dispensation in the history of this world. A True Millennial is a man or woman who lives now to help prepare the people of this world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His millennial reign. Make no mistake about it—you were born to be a True Millennial.

You are living in the “eleventh hour.” The Lord has declared that this is the last time that He will call laborers into His vineyard to gather the elect from the four quarters of the earth.2 And you were sent to participate in this gathering. Again and again I have seen firsthand the powerful influence of True Millennials as they bring others to a knowledge of the truth. This is part of your identity and your purpose as the seed of Abraham!3

True Millennials know who they really are. They are devout disciples of Jesus Christ who instinctively seize every opportunity to help themselves and others prepare for the millennial reign of our Savior.

Therefore, my first recommendation is to learn for yourselves who you really are. Ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, how He feels about you and your mission here on earth. If you ask with real intent, over time the Spirit will whisper the life-changing truth to you. Record those impressions and review them often, and follow through with exactness.

I promise you that when you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same!

faithjourney1Expect and Prepare to Accomplish the Impossible

My second recommendation: Expect and prepare to accomplish the impossible.

God has always asked His covenant children to do difficult things. Because you are covenant-keeping sons and daughters of God, living in the latter part of these latter days, the Lord will ask you to do difficult things. You can count on it—Abrahamic tests did not stop with Abraham.4

Opening Eastern Europe for the Preaching of the Gospel

berlinwall2I know how unnerving it can be to be asked to do something that seems far beyond your capacity. I had been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for only 19 months when President Spencer W. Kimball passed away. In the first meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles following President Ezra Taft Benson’s ordination, he gave specific assignments to the Twelve. His instructions to me included, “Elder Nelson, you are to open the countries of Eastern Europe for the preaching of the gospel.”

That was 1985. During those politically frigid years that we refer to as the Cold War, not only did a literal wall divide the city of Berlin, but all of Eastern Europe was under the oppressive yoke of communism. Churches were closed, and religious worship was strictly limited.

I had spent much of my professional life opening hearts to perform life-saving operations, but I had no experience that would lead me to believe I could open countries for the preaching of the gospel. And yet, a prophet had given me an assignment, so I set out to do what seemed utterly impossible.

From the outset, obstacles were placed in my way. I arrived in most countries not knowing where to go. Even when I was able to find the name of an appropriate government official, it was not unusual for a meeting to be canceled at the last minute or to be postponed. In one country, when an appointment was delayed for two days, a number of temptations were intentionally placed in my way to test me—including traps for black market money and other illicit activities. On another occasion, a meeting was opened with the demand that I depart immediately!

But the Lord is able to do His own work,5 and I was privileged to watch the unfolding of one miracle after another—always, and only, after I had brought my best thinking, my most courageous efforts, and my most fervent prayers to the task.

Recognition of the Church was granted by some of those countries before the Berlin Wall came down. Others came later. In the year 1992, I was able to report to President Benson that the Church was now established in every country in Eastern Europe!

As a True Millennial whom the Lord can count on, you will make history too! You will be asked to accept challenging assignments and become an instrument in the Lord’s hands. And He will enable you to accomplish the impossible.

How will you accomplish the impossible? By doing whatever it takes to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ by increasing your understanding of the doctrine taught in His restored Church and by relentlessly seeking truth. As a True Millennial, anchored in pure doctrine, when you are asked to do impossible things, you will be able to step forward with faith and dogged persistence and cheerfully do all that lies in your power to fulfill the purposes of the Lord.6

Pray for Courage Not to Give Up

quote-soares-stand-firm-moral-courageYou will have days when you will be thoroughly discouraged. So, pray for courage not to give up! You will need that strength because it will become less and less popular to be a Latter-day Saint. Sadly, some whom you thought were your friends will betray you. And some things will simply seem unfair.

However, I promise you that as you follow Jesus Christ, you will find sustained peace and true joy. As you keep your covenants with increasing precision, and as you defend the Church and kingdom of God on the earth today, the Lord will bless you with strength and wisdom to accomplish the impossible.

Learn How to Access the Power of Heaven

My third recommendation: Learn how to access the power of heaven.

Every one of us has questions. Seeking to learn, understand, and recognize truth is a vital part of our mortal experience. Much of my life has been spent in research. You too will learn best by asking inspired questions.

At this very moment some of you are struggling to know what you should be doing with your life. Others of you may wonder if you have been forgiven of your sins.

Perhaps many of you are not sure how to get answers to your prayers.

Our Heavenly Father and His Son stand ready to respond to your questions through the ministering of the Holy Ghost. But it is up to you to learn how to qualify for and receive those answers.

Prayer is a Key

Prayer is a key. Pray to know what to stop doing and what to start doing. Pray to know what to add to your environment and what to remove so the Spirit can be with you in abundance.

Plead with the Lord for the gift of discernment.

forgiveness4doveThen live and work to be worthy to receive that gift so that when confusing events arise in the world, you will know exactly what is true and what is not. 7

Serve with love. Loving service to those who have lost their way or who are wounded in spirit opens your heart to personal revelation.

Spend more time—much more time—in places where the Spirit is present. That means more time with friends who are seeking to have the Spirit with them. Spend more time on your knees in prayer, more time in the scriptures, more time in family history work, more time in the temple. I promise you that as you consistently give the Lord a generous portion of your time, He will multiply the remainder.

My dear brothers and sisters, you have as much access to the mind and will of the Lord for your own life as we Apostles do for His Church. Just as the Lord requires us to seek and ponder, fast and pray, and study and wrestle with difficult questions, He requires you to do the same as you seek answers to your own questions.

You can learn to hear the voice of the Lord through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.8 As helpful as Google, Twitter, and Facebook may seem, they simply do not provide answers to your most important questions!

My dear young friends, you can know the mind and will of the Lord for your own life. You do not have to wonder if you are where the Lord needs you to be or if you are doing what He needs you to do. You can know! The Holy Ghost will tell you “all things what ye should do.”9

rattlesnakeAround 41 B.C., many Nephites joined the Church, and the Church prospered. But secret combinations also began to grow, and many of their cunning leaders hid among the people and were difficult to detect. As the people became more and more prideful, many of the Nephites made “a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation.”11

Those same threats are among us today. The somber reality is that there are “servants of Satan”12 embedded throughout society. So be very careful about whose counsel you follow.13

Sailor w-Jesus by Warner Sallman

Sailor w-Jesus by Warner Sallman

My beloved brothers and sisters, you were born to be True Millennials! You are a chosen generation,14 fore-determined by God to do a remarkable work—to help prepare the people of this world for the Second Coming of the Lord.

Now, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bless each one of you, as though I had my hands upon your heads, with the ability to become the True Millennial you were born to be. I bless you to have the desire and ability to learn your true identity and purpose, that you will expect and prepare to do “impossible” things, that you will be undaunted in your efforts to learn how to access the powers of heaven to help you solve your problems and answer your questions. And I bless you to follow the prophets of Jesus Christ with exactness, to feel peace in your heart as you do so. I bless you to know and feel how much the Lord loves you and how much confidence He has in you.

Will Senate Republicans have Courage to Stop Obama from Replacing Justice Scalia?

Will Senate Republicans have Courage to Stop Obama from Replacing Justice Scalia?

Rush Limbaugh

GOPStopObamaPIXThis is what presidential elections are all about, Supreme Court justices.  This is going to add a new focus to the presidential campaign. Even though Supreme Court nominations already are an integral part, this is going to hyperfocus it.  It’s going to eliminate it even more greatly.  The reason that that’s important is because there is yet another opportunity, and there have been many of them, and this is a great opportunity for the Republican Party once again to contrast itself with the Democrats.  Who would the Democrats pick, what kind of justices, and what does it lead to, versus the justices that conservatives would pick.  So it’s gonna be a big deal.

Now, let’s go to the McConnell’s statement.  “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday signaled there would be no vote on any appointment picked by President Obama to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia — setting the stage for a dramatic political showdown in Washington that will likely result in gridlock for the remainder of the year.” McConnell is not planning on bringing to the floor for a vote any nominee Obama selects to succeed Scalia, according to a Senate GOP aide.

Now, what is another word for “gridlock” here?  Another word for “gridlock” is “government shutdown.”  The magic words, are they not?  How many times have you heard a Republican elected official, or even a member of the Republican media commentariat, wring their hands and lament that we cannot have another government shutdown. We cannot be held responsible for it.  If there’s a government shutdown, we are going to get blamed for it, and we will lose elections, that people like their government, they want their government open and operating. They want their government cutting checks. They want their government providing benefits, unemployment, welfare, you name it.

And if I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard it a gazillion times, Republicans say, “We can’t do this. We cannot do anything that will shut down the government,” which has always meant we can’t oppose Obama. We can’t stop Obama on the budget or anything else because the Democrats then start wailing about a government shutdown, and the Republicans can’t deal with it.

So, anticipating — and believe me here, folks, when I tell you, there is no compromise candidate, there is no meeting halfway.  That’s not who Obama is.  It’s not who the Democrats are.  And a Supreme Court justice is the place, if there’s one place above all where there will be no compromise, it’s the Supreme Court and a seat thereupon.  There will be no compromise.  Obama is going to find he’s got a chance to replace a textualist originalist.

Was Justice Scalia’s death suspicious? The situation certainly reeks of clintonesque odor.

Scalia found dead with ‘pillow over his head’

Justice Antonin Scalia 1936-2016

Justice Antonin Scalia 1936-2016

By dinner’s end at about 9 p.m., Poindexter said, “he seemed in good spirits.”
“He stood up and said he was tired, he had had a long week and he would see us in the morning,” he said.

Yet just hours later, after missing both breakfast and lunch, Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes. Later, media outlets reported he had suffered a heart attack.

Poindexter knocked on Scalia’s door about 8:30 the next morning. The door was locked and the judge did not answer. Three hours later, Poindexter returned from an outing and determined Scalia was still missing.
“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled,” said Poindexter.

“He was lying very restfully. It looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap,” he said.

“His hands were sort of almost folded on top of the sheets,” Poindexter told the New York Times. “The sheets weren’t rumpled up at all.”

It then took hours for authorities in remote West Texas to find a justice of the peace, officials said Sunday. When they did, she pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes without seeing the body and decided not to order an autopsy. A second justice of the peace, who was called but couldn’t get to Scalia’s body in time, said she would have ordered an autopsy.

As late as Sunday afternoon, there were conflicting reports about whether an autopsy would be performed, though officials later said Scalia’s body was being embalmed and there would be no autopsy. One report, by WFAA-TV in Dallas, said the death certificate would show the cause of the death was a heart attack.

As late as Sunday afternoon, for example, there were conflicting reports about whether an autopsy should have been performed. A manager at the El Paso funeral home where Scalia’s body was taken said his family made it clear that they did not want one.

Meanwhile, Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara acknowledged that she pronounced Scalia dead by phone, without seeing his body. Instead, she spoke to law enforcement officials at the scene – who assured her “there were no signs of foul play” – and Scalia’s physician in Washington, who said that the 79-year-old justice suffered from a host of chronic conditions.

Terrorism Facts, Part 3: Courage and Moral Clarity

Terrorism Facts, Part 3:

Courage and Moral Clarity can prevail against Cowardly Terrorists

It is documented that some ISIS terrorists, when captured, cried like babies, like the cowards that they are.[1] We’ve seen courageous people stand up for the truth against intimidating fascists in our society. Here, in Part 3 of these excerpts adapted from David Kupelian’s insightful book, How Evil Works, we learn how this same courage on our part will guard against being overcome by the dark side. ~C.D.

Terrorism Facts, Part 1: How does a Society first abhor, then embrace Terrorism?

Terrorism Facts Part 2: How did the Greatest Generation conquer 20th Century Terrorism?


Of Terror and Courage, Part 3:

David Kupelian

What Would Reagan Do?

keyoldFor God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. ~2 Timothy 1:7

What counterforce, then, can effectively oppose such a soulless, destructive power? Only men and women with great courage and moral clarity—and a calm, fearless determination to do what’s right no matter what. ~David Kupelian

FAST-FORWARD A COUPLE DECADES BEYOND THE WWII GENERATION and its battle with Nazism and fascism. One of the best examples of courage and moral clarity in dealing with totalitarian evil was Ronald Reagan and his 40-year war against communism.

A Hero mocked and Reviled

reagannosurvive-without-GodFirst and foremost, recognize that, like Churchill and other prominent non-appeasing leaders, Reagan was widely reviled in his day. America’s establishment elite had nothing but contempt for him.

As Peter Schweizer, author of “Reagan’s War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph over Communism,” recalls:

Historian Edmund Morris, in his 874-page authorized biography, concludes that Reagan is simply incomprehensible, an airhead who has lived a charmed life. Diplomat Clark Clifford has called him an “amiable dunce,” and Nicholas von Hoffman said it was “humiliating to think of this unlettered, self-assured bumpkin being our president.” Tip O’Neill flat out said in public, “He knows less than any president I’ve ever known.” Anthony Lewis of the New York Times claimed he had only a “seven-minute attention span.” Author Gail Sheehy declared he was “half asleep” while he was president.

That’s how the Washington and New York elite regarded Ronald Reagan, and many still do.

Cold War History

Now consider the villain: communism, the utopian super-cancer that seduced and enslaved large parts of the world. Over 100 million people were killed during the last century because of this Marxist fantasy enforced by guns, gulags and nuclear-armed ICBMs.

Reagan—from his acting days, when he stood up to the communist take-over of Hollywood, through his years as California’s governor and later as president—remained steadfast in his mission.

That’s “moral clarity.”

reagan-peace-strengthSetting the stage for Reagan’s presidency was Jimmy Carter, one of America’s weakest and most overtly appeasing presidents, more interested in being loved as a great peacemaker and winning Nobel prizes than in effectively confronting evil. His term as commander in chief greatly encouraged Soviet expansionism around the globe, from Afghanistan to Central America.

Once Reagan was elected, however, he spearheaded a comprehensive plan to win the Cold War, while gracefully bearing the insults and mockery of know-nothing Beltway critics.

Ignoring the advice of “experts” even in his own administration, Reagan personally mapped out a four-part plan—not just military, but economic, political and psychological—to crush the Soviet Union.

This will be news to many people, who have been indoctrinated by public education and the new media to believe that Reagan, the “amiable dunce,” the “cowboy actor” with the “million-dollar smile,” just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and reaped undeserved credit for winning the Cold War.

reagan-sdiI remember when I first realized Ronald Reagan was doing something extraordinary. It was March 23, 1983. I happened to be in K-Mart’s electronics section, in front of a whole bank of televisions, all tuned to the same channel. While I stood there, on came Ronald Reagan, who proceeded to deliver his historic speech announcing for the very first time his plan to build the Strategic Defense Initiative.

I couldn’t believe my ears. Here was a president who, for the first time in decades, talked about actually defending America—protecting it from a Soviet nuclear first strike. At that moment, hope for America was reborn in me, and in millions of others.

Reagan had kept Congress in the dark about SDI and gone directly to the American people—and Congress never forgave him for that. SDI was immediately derided as “Star Wars” by Teddy Kennedy, and the rest of the establishment elite picked up that lable, using it to this day to mock the idea of missile defenses.

And yet, history has shown it was Reagan’s “Star Wars” that broke the back of the Soviet empire. When Reagan and Gorbachev were on the world stage at the 1986 Reykjavik summit, Gorbachev offered to eliminate all nuclear weapons from the earth within 10 years—if only Reagan would give up SDI. When Reagan said no and ended the summit, the media and the mainstream political establishment at this stupid, warmongering cowboy actor who blew the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rid the world of nuclear weapons. “Reyjkavik Summit Ends in Failure” blared headlines the world over.

But Reagan, guided by courage and moral clarity the rest lacked, knew exactly what he was doing.

Three years later, we all turned on our TV sets to watch the evening news and witnessed something unimaginably wonderful. The Berlin Wall—the hated symbol of totalitarian brutality Reagan had visited more than any other president—came tumbling down. Not only the Berlin Wall, but the entire Soviet Union was tumbling down! Nation after nation was set free from the Evil Empire, which was self-destructing before our eyes.

Reagan-Quote-BDespite the denigration of Reagan by small, envious, inconsequential people, he presided over the defeat of the greatest evil of the 20th century. But then, Reagan didn’t really care what others said—and that was his secret and his strength. (He kept a plaque on his Oval Office desk that read: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”)

“While others were distracted by short-term considerations,” said former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, “President Reagan single-mindedly pursued his vast strategic goals—and he succeeded.”

And Lech Walesa, the heroic former president of Poland, said: “Ronald Reagan played an invaluable role in bringing about the fall of communism and ending the Cold War without resorting to military solutions. This is not something easily found in the world of politics.” And when Reagan visited newly freed Poland shortly after the end of his presidency, Walesa’s parish priest presented him with a sword. “I am giving you the saber,” said the priest, “for helping us to chop off the head of communism.”


What if Reagan were President today?

“He would insist that America stay on the offensive,” said Schweizer, “recognizing that it is the nature of extremist Islam that is the real problem. Terrorism is but a grizzly symptom. Until the totalitarian nature of this ideology is destroyed, terrorism is inevitable; peaceful coexistence is simply not an option.”

Somehow, a prescription like this doesn’t quite resonate with today’s seemingly more enlightened, multicultural sensibilities. And although history will likely judge George W. Bush’s aggressive military response to the 9/11 attacks, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, as having been just wars led by an unfairly demonized president, his much weaker successor, Barack Obama, has cancelled the “Global War on Terror” by rebranding it under the muddled name, “Overseas Contingency Operations.”

Once again, the denial and deference we display toward forces intent on destroying us is actually great weakness—evidence of our loss of courage and moral clarity—disguised as virtue.

Whatever outreach the West employs to champion the virtues of freedom and tolerance—and likewise whatever appeals moderate Muslims make to their more radical brothers and sisters—all are useless and doomed to failure if we appease, rather than effectively confront and neutralize, the violent jihad movement.

reagan-isisWorldwide totalitarian movements—the terrible “isms” of communism, fascism, Nazism and Islamism that seduce millions with insane ideologies wedded to great hatred—have something in common. They share the will to utterly dominate other human beings and enslave nations,—to impose their rule indiscriminately, to subjugate, and to do so through utter ruthlessness. Human life means nothing. Hundreds or even millions can be sacrificed to further the particular totalitarian “ism.”

What counterforce, then, can effectively oppose such a soulless, destructive power? Only men and women with great courage and moral clarity—and a calm, fearless determination to do what’s right no matter what.

Reagan had it. In the sphere of everyday life, it’s called grace under pressure, and it’s the anti-terror (and anti-intimidation) antidote we’re all looking for—the ability to withstand cruelty and craziness without becoming twisted up emotionally inside.

Strength and patience—a rare combination of qualities that emanates from genuine faith—impels to “hate the sin,” so to speak, “but not the sinner.” When we discover how to do that, we are immune to the Stockholm syndrome, and to a great deal of other evil in this world.


Excerpts from WorldNet Daily: “Of Terror and Courage,” by David Kupelian, Whistleblower, December 2015, 28-34

[1] ISIS Extremists Turned Crybabies after Caught and Slapped around by Soldiers (When ISIS terrorists are captured by Iraqi government forces in June, they’re reduced to blubbering and crybaby tears after just a tiny taste of their own medicine. A video uploaded by Live Leak shows the purported ISIS terrorists on their knees crying and wailing. There are other videos on Live Leak showing ISIS captured in Iraq.

The same tough guys terrorizing the Middle East by decapitating American journalists, crucifying Christians and so-called “infidels,” burying women and children alive, and murdering small kids, are in a puddle on the ground after a little bit of roughing up at the hands of their captors.



Character, Standard of Morality, and Courage

Character, Standard of Morality, and Courage

keyoldHearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their reviling. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation. ~Isaiah 51:7,8

“May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe, and if we must stand alone in the process, may we do so courageously, strengthened by the knowledge that in reality we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven.”7 ~Thomas S. Monson

by Thomas S. Monson

kacher-choices-192x192Scarcely an hour passes, but what we are called upon to make choices of one kind or another.

To make wise choices,  we need courage—“the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny.” 1

bednar-truth-192x192In the following excerpts, Thomas S. Monson reminds us that we need courage to stand for truth and righteousness, to defend what we believe, and to confront a world that is rejecting eternal values and principles.

“The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be. 2

Courage Brings God’s Approval

couragenotcompromisethomas-s-monson“We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully but also as the determination to live decently. As we move forward, striving to live as we should, we will surely receive help from the Lord and can find comfort in His words.”3

Withstand with Courage

robbins-overcome-fear-men“What does it mean to endure? I love this definition: to withstand with courage. Courage may be necessary for you to believe; it will at times be necessary as you obey. It will most certainly be required as you endure until that day when you will leave this mortal existence.”4

Have Courage to Stand for Truth

“[May] you have the courage to stand firm for truth and righteousness. Because the trend in society today is away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, you will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which you believe. Unless the roots of your testimony are firmly planted, it will be difficult for you to withstand the ridicule of those who challenge your faith. When firmly planted, your testimony of the gospel, of the Savior, and of our Heavenly Father will influence all that you do throughout your life.”5

We Need Spiritual and Moral Courage

fish-diamond_courage_inl“The messages portrayed on television, in movies, and in other media [today] are very often in direct opposition to that which we want our children to embrace and hold dear. It is our responsibility not only to teach them to be sound in spirit and doctrine but also to help them stay that way, regardless of the outside forces they may encounter. This will require much time and effort on our part—and in order to help others, we ourselves need the spiritual and moral courage to withstand the evil we see on every side.”6

May We Ever Be Courageous

“As we go about living from day to day, it is almost inevitable that our faith will be challenged. We may at times find ourselves surrounded by others and yet standing in the minority or even standing alone concerning what is acceptable and what is not. …

“May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe, and if we must stand alone in the process, may we do so courageously, strengthened by the knowledge that in reality we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven.”7

Character: Moral Courage and Faith, or Fear?

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

Building Character: Which Way Do You Face?


keyold“Fear ye not the reproach of men” (Isaiah 51:7

Lynn G. Robbin

Roman god Janus

janus“Which way do you face?” President Boyd K. Packer surprised me with this puzzling question while we were traveling together on my very first assignment as a new Seventy. Without an explanation to put the question in context, I was baffled.

“A Seventy,” he continued, “does not represent the people to the prophet but the prophet to the people. Never forget which way you face!” It was a powerful lesson.

Trying to please others before pleasing God is inverting the first and second great commandments (see Matthew 22:37–39). It is forgetting which way we face. And yet, we have all made that mistake because of the fear of men. In Isaiah the Lord warns us, “Fear ye not the reproach of men” (Isaiah 51:7; see also 2 Nephi 8:7). In Lehi’s dream, this fear was triggered by the finger of scorn pointed from the great and spacious building, causing many to forget which way they faced and to leave the tree “ashamed” (see 1 Nephi 8:25–28).

lehigreatspaciousbuildingThis peer pressure tries to change a person’s attitudes, if not behavior, by making one feel guilty for giving offense. We seek respectful coexistence with those who point fingers, but when this fear of men tempts us to condone sin, it becomes a “snare” according to the book of Proverbs (see Proverbs 29:25).

The snare may be cleverly baited to appeal to our compassionate side to tolerate or even approve of something that has been condemned by God. For the weak of faith, it can be a major stumbling block.

Decisions of character are made by remembering the right order of the first and second great commandments (see Matthew 22:37–39). When these confused missionaries realize they are accountable to God and not to their companion, it should give them courage to do an about-face.

At the youthful age of 22, even Joseph Smith forgot which way he faced when he repeatedly importuned the Lord to allow Martin Harris to borrow the 116 manuscript pages. Perhaps Joseph wanted to show gratitude to Martin for his support. We know that Joseph was extremely anxious for other eyewitnesses to stand with him against the distressing falsehoods and lies being spread about him.

Whatever Joseph’s reasons were, or as justified as they may appear, the Lord did not excuse them and sharply rebuked him: “How oft you have transgressed … and have gone on in the persuasions of men. For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God” (D&C 3:6–7; emphasis added). This poignant experience helped Joseph remember, forever after, which way he faced.

When people try to save face with men, they can unwittingly lose face with God. Thinking one can please God and at the same time condone the disobedience of men isn’t neutrality but duplicity, or being two-faced or trying to “serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24; 3 Nephi 13:24).

daniellionsdenWhile it certainly takes courage to face perils, the true badge of courage is overcoming the fear of men. For example, Daniel’s prayers helped him face lions, but what made him lionhearted was defying King Darius (see Daniel 6). That kind of courage is a gift of the Spirit to the God-fearing who have said their prayers. Queen Esther’s prayers also gave her that same courage to confront her husband, King Ahasuerus, knowing that she risked her life in doing so (see Esther 4:8–16).


Courage is not just one of the cardinal virtues, but as C. S. Lewis observed: “Courage is … the form of every virtue at the testing point. … Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”1 King Herod was sorrowful at the request to behead robbins-overcome-fear-menJohn the Baptist but wanted to please “them which sat with him at meat” (Matthew 14:9). King Noah was ready to free Abinadi until peer pressure from his wicked priests caused him to waver (see Mosiah 17:11–12). King Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord by keeping the spoils of war because he “feared the people, and obeyed their voice” (1 Samuel 15:24). To appease rebellious Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai, Aaron crafted a golden calf, forgetting which way he faced (see Exodus 32). Many of the New Testament chief rulers “believed on [the Lord]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42–43). The scriptures are full of such examples.

Now listen to some inspiring examples:

First, Mormon: “Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear” (Moroni 8:16; emphasis added).

Nephi: “Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world” (1 Nephi 6:5).

Captain Moroni: “Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country” (Alma 60:36).

captainmoroni2Moroni had such great courage in remembering which way he faced that it was said of him, “If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men” (Alma 48:17).

Prophets through the ages have always come under attack by the finger of scorn. Why? According to the scriptures, it is because “the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center” (1 Nephi 16:2), or as President Harold B. Lee observed, “The hit bird flutters!”2 Their scornful reaction is, in reality, guilt trying to reassure itself, just as with Korihor, who finally admitted, “I always knew that there was a God” (Alma 30:52). Korihor was so convincing in his deception that he came to believe his own lie (see Alma 30:53).

mockingpeopleThe scornful often accuse [Biblical] prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior, which in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, will “develop self-contentment instead of seeking self-improvement”3 and repentance. Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy. Many of the churches among the Nephites two centuries after the Savior’s visit to them began to “dumb down” the doctrine, borrowing a phrase from Elder Holland.4

The Savior, our great Exemplar, always faced His Father. He loved and served His fellowmen but said, “I receive not honour from men” (John 5:41). He wanted those He taught to follow Him, but He did not court their favor. When He performed an act of charity, such as healing the sick, the gift often came with the request to “tell no man” (Matthew 8:4; Mark 7:36; Luke 5:14; 8:56). In part, this was to avoid the very fame which followed Him in spite of His efforts to eschew it (see Matthew 4:24). He condemned the Pharisees for doing good works only to be seen of men (see Matthew 6:5).

robbins-face-christThe Savior, the only perfect being who ever lived, was the most fearless. In His life, He was confronted by scores of accusers but never yielded to their finger of scorn. He is the only person who never once forgot which way He faced: “I do always those things that please [the Father]” (John 8:29; emphasis added), and “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30).

Between 3 Nephi chapter 11 and 3 Nephi chapter 28, the Savior used the title Father at least 150 times, making it very clear to the Nephites that He was there representing His Father. And from John chapters 14 through 17, the Savior refers to the Father at least 50 times. In every way possible, He was His Father’s perfect disciple. He was so perfect in representing His Father that to know the Savior was also to know the Father. To see the Son was to see the Father (see John 14:9). To hear the Son was to hear the Father (see John 5:36). He had, in essence, become indistinguishable from His Father. His Father and He were one (see John 17:21–22). He flawlessly knew which way He faced.

May His inspiring example strengthen us against the pitfalls of flattery from without or of conceit from within. May it give us courage to never cower or fawn at the feet of intimidation. May it inspire us to go about doing good as anonymously as possible and not “aspire to the honors of men” (D&C 121:35). And may His incomparable example help us always remember which is “the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:38). When others demand approval in defiance of God’s commandments, may we always remember whose disciples we are, and which way we face, is my prayer.