Upcoming 2014 Utah Legislation-
Ending Compulsory Education

Utah state senator Aaron Osmond has announced that in 2014 he’ll sponsor a bill proposing to end compulsory education in Utah. The announcement got national attention, as Utah would be the first state to have this in a hundred years if it passes.  

There is a bit of panic and a lot of misunderstanding about this. 

“Compulsory education” is not the same as “public education”, and under his proposal, public education would remain solidly in place.  What would change is the parents’ ability to determine what is best for their child, would give teachers more respect by not forcing those who don’t want to be there on them, and would return the role of the state as a supporter of the family—the basic unit of society-- rather than the current view of the family being the supporter of the state. 

The principle involved here is whether or not we will allow parents to make decisions based on their own projected outcomes, or whether they’ll be compelled to do what bureaucrats think best for their children.  I believe the purpose of life is for each person to learn from their own choices and learning and the consequences that naturally follow.  We are much less likely to learn –or value the chance to learn- when we’re forced into anything.  Our current system’s promise is that every person will turn out to be ‘educated’, without regard to individual preference, agency, or voluntary dedication.  They fail, as they must.

I have children in public school, in a charter school, and homeschool.  Even though I’m ‘allowed’ to homeschool, the state requires me to get their permission to take care of my own children’s education, to promise to have them in ‘school’ for a certain number of hours and days, and to teach them the same topics the state Board of Education determined were most necessary.  This is wrong for a few reasons. 

  • Do individuals and families exist to serve the state, or does the state exist to protect natural rights of individuals and families?  
  • My children, not having to compete for attention with 30 other students in a class, can get their work done in fewer hours.  
  • There are multiple reasons for education- and the UBOE’s objectives are not the same as mine.
  • There’s never enough time to get everything done that anyone would like; I want to spend the limited time with my children teaching them things I think most important in helping them be hardworking, loving, responsible people who search for wisdom and reach out to others on their own initiative.

Before acting on your fears that Utah will suddenly be a hotbed of juvenile delinquents and welfare recipients if this law passes, please research the history of compulsory education and what the alternatives yield.  Some good places to start are (please at least watch the video! the same one as embedded above):

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In addition, this will help relieve the huge financial burden that comes with our local student population predicted to double over the next 15-20 years.

  According to http://boostup.org we currently have a 24% dropout rate in Utah. I think that this will not change much when ending compulsory education.  Others are worried that some parents are lazy and will not have their children attend- but I believe these parents are highly motivated to have the children at school where others take care of them and leave the parents with free time during the day. 

What about those who worry that children not educated at a school (home-schooled) will end up on the welfare rolls?

Look at the track record of those who ARE in public education!  Two years ago (2011) we had about 32 million households who receive means-tested government assistance like school lunches, Medicaid, and food stamps, and 49% of American household have at least one member who receive some sort of government assistance.  And the numbers continue to climb.  We have a government that discourages personal initiative and effort, and protects us from the natural consequences of our actions, which would yield growth, understanding, and drive.

Here's something else that Oak (the guy from the vid above) has said:
"Why don't parents parent? Because once the state takes that authority from a parent, they are absolved of responsibility. If you want parents to parent again, give them back the authority and responsibility so they are empowered. If their child doesn't want to go to school, it's not the state's job to call the child a criminal and force him/her to school, it's then the parent's job to teach the child (perhaps with the help of concerned family and neighbors) the value of an education. If the child doesn't see the value, he/she won't learn. You can't teach someone who refuses to learn and you only hinder those who are there to learn. Removing compulsory education will help children become self-motivated just like we expect of them in college. It's not going to introduce child labor and sweat shops. It's going to open up new paths in education as educators innovate to provide a reason for those children to be in school."

 “Many people want the government to protect the consumer.  A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.” –Milton Friedman

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." — James Madison

In the War in Heaven, some were willing to trade their agency to choose, for promises of security. Christ’s plan is for agency, personal effort, and learning from natural consequences-- the path that leads to personal, meaningful growth; Satan’s plan is of control and coercion.

"We must be careful that we are not led to accept or support in any way any organization, cause or measure which, in its remotest effect, would jeopardize free agency, whether it be in politics, government, religion, employment, education, or any other field. It is not enough for us to be sincere in what we support. We must be right!” -Marion G. Romney


Summary of my thoughts- I see this as an issue of whether the parents or the state is the ultimate authority over each child, and also as a perfect example of the continuation of the War in Heaven. In addition, scaling back the arm of government to its proper role here will have cost benefits.

 
 
Earlier this month there was a news story about a Florida father who found a note composed by his son as a school assignment where the boy wrote that he is willing to give up natural rights in exchange security. The dad is fuming.  On a related note, Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC recently turned heads by declaring that not only do our children belong to the community instead of the parents, but that citizens can vote “to impinge on individual freedoms in order to advance a common good."  Wait, others get to choose what my children are taught, in the name of what’s good for the collective?  That’s what’s happening now, and promising to become worse.

Many of us are upset because of the indoctrination in the schools.  

Want to fix it?  Here's the first problem:  there is no way to avoid "indoctrination"; the word literally means to teach or impress some kind of doctrine or principle.  There's no escaping it when any kind of teaching is the goal.

So, do I indoctrinate my children?   You bet! --if you're looking at the original meaning.  Any time you teach something, you 'indoctrinate'.  One of my parental responsibilities is to teach: to raise my children in light and truth. Because of this, my freedom of religion is also inextricably tied to how and what my children are taught:  I'm accountable to God for what I do or don't teach.  Nowadays most people only think of the negative connotation of ‘indoctrinate’- which has become the politically correct definition- the kind of teaching that stifles critical thinking.  More than one side sees the other as being guilty of this.

What we're actually upset with, then, is WHO is teaching WHAT to our children.  That leads to the main problem- our school system and its curriculum is set up with little to no local input, answerable to officials in varying levels of government.  Even more concerning, Common Core makes this issue increase dramatically.   One solution to the issue is to homeschool, but that is not an attractive or viable option for many people.  In addition, Common Core even stretches its tentacles into homeschooling through its database tracking system for all children, preschool through age 20, and by rewriting pre-college tests like the ACT.  

Here's what would solve the problem:  (1) return to local control of schools- and by this I mean the principal and the teachers of any one particular school, who will now make their own curriculum choices, including -gasp!- whatever religious instruction is wanted, and answer directly to the children's parents instead of government, and (2) allow parents to have their child attend whichever school they wish to attend; since each school will develop its own flavor of 'indoctrination', the parents can choose what is closest to their own beliefs.    Instead, now government arrogantly glosses over parental responsibility and attempts to replace God by making us all accountable to them. 

The family is the basic unit of society, with parental rights and responsibilities, and as such, parents should have the ultimate say in how the children are raised and what they are taught.  Let the schools be directly accountable to parents and recognize that the parents will eventually answer to God for how they teach, train, and treat their children.  As parents and citizens, please stand up for your rights to keep the federal government of our domain.
 
 
September 17th is Constitution Day; the United States' Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787.

How big a deal was this?  Well, Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, recently pointed out, "After two centuries, every nation in the world except six have adopted written constitutions, and the U.S. Constitution was a model for all of them. No wonder modern revelation says that God established the U.S. Constitution and that it ‘should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles’ (D&C 101:77)” (“The Divinely Inspired Constitution,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 68) 

The same magazine, this month, asks, "Do Latter-day Saints believe the U.S. Constitution is a divinely inspired document? The Lord Himself answered that question when He declared, “I established the Constitution … by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80).  Since the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who called the U.S. Constitution “a heavenly banner” (in History of the Church, 3:304), latter-day prophets have said the Constitution is divinely inspired, declaring that America by divine design was prepared as the place for the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. The freedoms and protections enumerated in the Constitution—including freedom of speech, assembly, and religion—made the Restoration possible.

The Church respects the rule of law and constitutional government in every nation and expects Latter-day Saints to adhere to the law, to use their influence to promote and preserve their God-given rights, and “to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 5:286)."

Modern scripture also affirms "that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;  And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil." (D&C 98:5-7)

Another modern prophet, David O. McKay, declared "Next to being one in worshiping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this church should be more united than in upholding the Constitution of the United States! (1956, The Instructor, 91:34) 

Considering the importance of this founding document, both for political and religious reasons, shouldn't we study, understand, and teach this to our children and others?

There is a booklet produced by the LDS church, with "Family Home Evening" lessons about the Constitution, see this post for more on that.  It's out of print, but the post has a link to a pdf.  It's a great place to start.  For links to  ideas, games, videos, and more, see below.  There are lots; pick what will best help you and your family!

Videos and music


Activities

Teaching materials/lessons

Talks/articles

Scriptures (links from a search on http://www.lds.org/scriptures/)
  •  constitutional law should be befriended, D&C 98:5–6
  • the Lord caused Constitution to be established, D&C 101:77, 80
  • prayer that Constitution be maintained, D&C 109:54
  • Governments are instituted of God for the benefit of mankind, D&C 134:1–5 
  • Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, Matt. 22:21 (D&C 63:26).
  • Be subject to the higher powers, Rom. 13:1
  • Pray for kings and all in authority, 1 Tim. 2:1–2
  • Be subject to principalities and powers and obey magistrates, Titus 3:1
  • Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, 1 Pet. 2:13–14
  • Jesus Christ shall be the ultimate governor of the earth, Rev. 11:15

 
 
Most of you come to my website to get recipes, project or sewing ideas, or information on storing food or saving money.    None of these things matter much if we lose our freedom.  Much of it has been lost already, with red tape, beauracracy, convoluted taxes, corruption in business and individual lives, disregard for the Constitution and an ever-increasing burden of legislation.  Now is the time to look around, pay attention, and learn what will bring real freedom and happiness.

Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejectedknowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

2 Chronicles 7:14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Below is a commercial made for the Catholic church.  While I'm not a Catholic myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the principles in this short video and stand with them.  For too long, too many of us have been apathetic; financial bondage, national bankruptcy, and loss of freedom have been the result.  If we turn back to God, learn more about HIS way, he will be our Savior- both spiritually and for our nation.
Pass it on.
 
 
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photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/
Today I read an article detailing Nestle's 'horrific' discovery that children are actually helping harvest the cacao in Ivory Coast.  They pledged to help end the practice, and bewailed the fact that the practice still exists despite industry's discouragement of it.  They mentioned in passing that the recent political and economic turmoil (civil war) in Ivory Coast has made it necessary for everyone, including children, to work, and that farmers had to work "excessively long hours".  The FLA (Fair Labor Association)'s brainy solution is to end child labor by... ending poverty.

I'm sorry, Nestle and others are misguided. 

You cannot end poverty without the people improving their own situation- which can only be done by either consuming less than you earn, or earning more than you consume.  Where do the money and goods come from, without lots of individual effort? 

I grew up on a farm.  I wasn't happy with that fact until the year before I graduated, when I realized how much of a blessing that hard work had been.    I also saw my parents work harder than I had.  When it was hay-baling time, that hay had to be baled at exactly the right stage or it lost nutrition.  On top of that, we had to work around the weather.  If it rained, we had to either wait for the hay to dry out, or bale it quickly before the storm hit.  My dad worked 16-hour days during the summer to begin with, and that extended up to 24-30 hours straight during baling.  We older kids had to be out the door by 6 a.m. the whole summer to move sprinkler pipes: quarter-mile long systems made of forty-foot lengths of aluminum, each needing to be unhooked, carried forward 40 feet through tangles of knee-high alfalfa, hooked back together, and turned on.   I drove tractors, planted acres of grain, learned to shoot a rifle (at ground squirrels destroying our irrigating system), tossed heavy hay bales, bottle-fed calves in minus-30-degree weather, slogged through early-spring mud, lost boots and socks to mud holes in fields-- and learned to stop, think, notice, and appreciate better what was around me.  The summer of my junior year in high school, I saw that not only had the work helped shape my attitude and outlook, it also gave me a chance to work together with my family, strengthening ties and accomplishing mutual goals.

Too many times our good intentions, forced on others, lead to serious deterioration of a nation.  The extent to which our own nation has mandated child labor laws has resulted in a nation of young and middle-aged people with a serious entitlement mentality.  They don't understand that progress and prosperity have long, hard work at their core, and believe too often that someone else should provide for them.  Take the Occupy Wall Street group, for instance.  Or nearly any liberal/progressive.

I wish that my children had the opportunity  to spend long days harvesting cacao pods- or strawberries- or whatever else bureaucrats think is "too hard".   It's difficult for me, as a citydweller, to find enough work for them to keep their minds and bodies healthy.  They can't get official "jobs" until they're 14 or 16, by which time many of their lifetime habits have already been developed.  I've been surprised when my children think it's "too hard" learning to ride a bike, or to learn their math facts, or anything that has delayed gratification.   Hard work not only develops muscle and sinew but character and tenacity.

Justice William O. Douglas stated, “Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good from their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation."

Nations go through challenging times,  it's required of everyone to work or to stay in spiraling poverty.

Work is not a bad thing.  People emerge stronger. 
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More than 150 years ago, a French economist wrote about the same thing, declaring that only bad economists confine themeselves to the visible effect.  Here's an excerpt from Frederic Bastiat's "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen".  It's brilliant.  You can read the entire excerpt at http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/what-is-seen-and-what-is-not-seen-2/  or the whole essay at http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

This excerpt is from the first chapter of
Selected Essays on Political Economy, translated by Seymour Cain and edited by George B. de Huszar, published by the Foundation for Economic Education.

In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.[1]

There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.

Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.

The same thing, of course, is true of health and morals. Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are its later fruits: for example, debauchery, sloth, prodigality. When a man is impressed by the effect that is seen and has not yet learned to discern the effects that are not seen, he indulges in deplorable habits, not only through natural inclination, but deliberately.

This explains man’s necessarily painful evolution. Ignorance surrounds him at his cradle; therefore, he regulates his acts according to their first consequences, the only ones that, in his infancy, he can see. It is only after a long time that he learns to take account of the others. Two very different masters teach him this lesson: experience and foresight. Experience teaches efficaciously but brutally. It instructs us in all the effects of an act by making us feel them, and we cannot fail to learn eventually, from having been burned ourselves, that fire burns. I should prefer, in so far as possible, to replace this rude teacher with one more gentle: foresight. For that reason I shall investigate the consequences of several economic phenomena, contrasting those that are seen with those that are not seen."


What's an example that you have seen of this principle?
 
 
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Little purple pansies...

Did you know that both the flowers and leaves are edible? They're nice in a salad.

Hey, it’s that time again- the snow has melted, the soil is drying, and some things can be planted!  Depending on where in the yard your garden is, it may be dry enough to till, at least as soon as yesterday's rain dries up.  A way to tell is- walk on it or stick a shovel in it.  If big chunks stick to your shoe or shovel, it’s not ready.  If you tilled now you’d compact the soil and have big hard lumps all over.  My garden area used to be a sandbox, so it has good drainage-- yes, I had to add a bunch of good stuff to it!--, and it was absolutely beautiful tilling condition this week, at least until it rained.   Early season crops that can be planted outdoors now include potatoes, peas, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, radishes, onions, asparagus, and rhubarb.  Most of the nurseries, both big-box and local- now have seed potatoes, asparagus, rhubarb, onion sets, and bare-root  berries (strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries) and fruit trees waiting for you.     For a GREAT information sheet you can print out, listing when to plant different seeds here on the Wasatch Front (USDA Zone 5), go to http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/Horticulture_Garden_2009-01pr.pdf   If you live elsewhere, look up your state's extension office- they'll likely have a list for your area.  For a list of what you can plant without having to go buy seeds, see my blog post, More Seeds From Your Kitchen.

Next week I’ll send “Gardening 101”, info on finding a good spot for your garden, how to prepare the soil, and when to plant what.

After the recipes is a condensed version of an essay, "The Proper Role of Government", that President Benson wrote while an apostle.  It is classic, timely, and every American, LDS or not, would be better off reading it.  Please look it over.  I know the principles in it are true.

-Rhonda

Honey Butter (simplest version)
8 oz. (2 sticks) butter, softened
8 oz. (3/4 c.) honey, room temperature
 
A tiny bit of salt and vanilla is good, too.  Stir or whip until all smooth. Whipping it will give you a fluffier texture. Refrigerate.
 
This kind sometimes separates.  Just stir it again to recombine.  Or to keep it from separating, add either ½ c. powdered sugar or one egg yolk.  The Lion House recipe calls for the egg yolk.  It makes it silky-smooth, too.  Make sure to use an egg with no cracks, then wash and dry it well before using in the recipe.  Then using it raw will be safe.  
 
Canadian White Honey 
3 lbs (1 qt.)  honey   warmed just till softened
2 (7-oz.) jars  marshmallow cream   
1   cube   softened butter or margarine   
 Combine all and whip until blended. Makes about 2 quarts. 
 
 To make true creamed honey, (which is EASY, just takes time for it to sit) see the page at
http://www.betterbee.com/resources/creamedhoney.html 
 
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The Proper Role of Government
by The Honorable Ezra Taft Benson (excerpts)
Former Secretary of Agriculture to President Eisenhower
Published in 1968

see full text at
http://www.bigeye.com/The_Proper_Role_of_Government.htm 

THE MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT  It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. But, what are those rights? And what is their source? Until these questions are answered there is little likelihood that we can correctly determine how government can best secure them. Thomas Paine, back in the days of the American Revolution, explained that:
"Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another… It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man." (P.P.N.S., p. 134)
Starting at the foundation of the pyramid, let us first consider the origin of those freedoms we have come to know are human rights. There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise. As the French political economist, Frederick Bastiat, phrased it so succinctly, "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." (The Law, p.6)

A  FORMULA FOR PROSPERITY

1. Economic security for all is impossible without widespread abundance.

2. Abundance is impossible without industrious and efficient production.

3. Such production is impossible without energetic, willing and eager labor.

4. This is not possible without incentive.

5. Of all forms of incentive – the freedom to attain a reward for one’s labors is the most sustaining for most people. Sometimes called THE PROFIT MOTIVE, it is simply the right to plan and to earn and to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

6. This profit motive DIMINISHES as government controls, regulations and taxes INCREASE to deny the fruits of success to those who produce.

7. Therefore, any attempt THROUGH GOVERNMENTAL INTERVENTION to redistribute the material rewards of labor can only result in the eventual destruction of the productive base of society, without which real abundance and security for more than the ruling elite is quite impossible.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NEEDY?  On the surface this may sound heartless and insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate individuals who are found in any society, no matter how affluent. "What about the lame, the sick and the destitute? Is an often-voice question. Most other countries in the world have attempted to use the power of government to meet this need. Yet, in every case, the improvement has been marginal at best and has resulted in the long run creating more misery, more poverty, and certainly less freedom than when government first stepped in.

THE BETTER WAY  By comparison, America traditionally has followed Jefferson’s advice of relying on individual action and charity. The result is that the United States has fewer cases of genuine hardship per capita than any other country in the entire world or throughout all history. Even during the depression of the 1930’s, Americans ate and lived better than most people in other countries do today.

FIFTEEN PRINCIPLES WHICH MAKE FOR GOOD AND PROPER GOVERNMENT

(1) I believe that no people can maintain freedom unless their political institutions are founded upon faith in God and belief in the existence of moral law.

(2) I believe that God has endowed men with certain unalienable rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and that no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these; that the sole function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property and anything more than this is usurpation and oppression.

(3) I believe that the Constitution of the United States was prepared and adopted by men acting under inspiration from Almighty God; that it is a solemn compact between the peoples of the States of this nation which all officers of government are under duty to obey; that the eternal moral laws expressed therein must be adhered to or individual liberty will perish.

(4) I believe it a violation of the Constitution for government to deprive the individual of either life, liberty, or property except for these purposes:
(a) Punish crime and provide for the administration of justice;
(b) Protect the right and control of private property;
(c) Wage defensive war and provide for the nation’s defense;
(d) Compel each one who enjoys the protection of government to bear his fair share of the burden of performing the above functions.

(5) I hold that the Constitution denies government the power to take from the individual either his life, liberty, or property except in accordance with moral law; that the same moral law which governs the actions of men when acting alone is also applicable when they act in concert with others; that no citizen or group of citizens has any right to direct their agent, the government to perform any act which would be evil or offensive to the conscience if that citizen were performing the act himself outside the framework of government.

(6) I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the Federal Government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship and pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property.

(7) I consider ourselves at war with international Communism which is committed to the destruction of our government, our right of property, and our freedom; that it is treason as defined by the Constitution to give aid and comfort to this implacable enemy.

(8) I am unalterably opposed to Socialism, either in whole or in part, and regard it as an unconstitutional usurpation of power and a denial of the right of private property for government to own or operate the means of producing and distributing goods and services in competition with private enterprise, or to regiment owners in the legitimate use of private property.

(9) I maintain that every person who enjoys the protection of his life, liberty, and property should bear his fair share of the cost of government in providing that protection; that the elementary principles of justice set forth in the Constitution demand that all taxes imposed be uniform and that each person’s property or income be taxed at the same rate.

For the other principles see
http://www.bigeye.com/The_Proper_Role_of_Government.htm
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Ezra Taft Benson

 
 
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(originally from 6/11/10)
This last week I moved my bookcases around (thanks to a great organizing suggestion from a neighbor) and found a treasure:

In 1987, to celebrate the Bicentennial of the signing of the Constitution, the Church published a 14-page booklet with Family Home Evening lessons on the Constitution and the Founding Fathers.  I had a copy hiding amongst our books.  It's also available online.  The lessons are great for teaching simply and powerfully what is at the heart of our country's existence.  At the following website, halfway down the page you can click to download this in pdf format. http://www.latterdayconservative.com/articles/family-home-evening-lessons-for-the-bicentennial-of-the-constitution    

Use it, teach it, spread it around!  We've been told often (especially the last couple LDS General Conferences)  to teach our children truth; this is a great way to see that they are being taught the truth about our nation's birth.

Here’s what lds.org had to say about the booklet (Ensign, Nov. 1987, 102–3)

Booklet Published

The Church has published for its members in the United States a special booklet explaining the divine significance of the U. S. Constitution and its principles.

The First Presidency has asked that the booklet be used as the subject of family home evening lessons by all member families in the United States.

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 were inspired men the First Presidency said—men who produced a document that the Prophet Joseph Smith called “a glorious standard” and “a heavenly banner.”

In a preface to the new booklet, the First Presidency stated the purpose of the publication:

“In commemoration of this important event, we are providing this booklet, which contains three family home evening lessons, activity ideas, and a copy of the Constitution. We encourage you to prepare and teach each lesson prayerfully so that family members may feel the divine significance of the Constitution in their minds and hearts.”

Some 1.3 million copies of the booklet have been printed and are available to congregations throughout the United States. Local leaders may order copies through the Salt Lake Distribution Center.

TV Special

“America, the Dream Goes On,” was the title of a one-hour variety special spotlighting the U. S. Constitution. The show was produced by Church-owned Bonneville Media Communications.

The television special featured singing by the Tabernacle Choir and Marie Osmond. LDS actor Gordon Jump portrayed Benjamin Franklin. Another prominent actor, Harry Morgan, was host and narrator. The show was televised nationally in September (1987)."

* * * * * * *
Chicken Nachos     6 servings

1 can cheddar cheese soup (or make 1 cup of white sauce and stir in ½ c. cheese)   
1/2  c. salsa   
1   c. cooked chicken,  diced  (I use my frozen or canned chicken)
1   10 oz bag   tortilla chips    
        chopped tomato, optional    
        sliced olives   
On low, heat together soup, salsa, and chicken.   Serve over chips; top with tomato and olives.
 
 
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Hi everyone,

Are you ready to vote? I felt I should share some statements our church leaders have made.  Below, you will find some great web resources to help you be informed on the candidates, ballot items, and judges in our area.  I’m sure there are more out there; these are the ones I’m aware of.

Joseph Smith said: "Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction."  In other places, Joseph referred to this time being when the Constitution would hang by a thread.  What is this last thread that is holding up the Constitution?  President Ezra Taft Benson told us that this “our franchise (a right granted) to vote."

John Taylor said that the Elders of Israel (remember that women couldn’t vote, yet) should “understand that they have something to do with the world politically as well as religiously, that it is as much their duty to study correct political principles as well as religious” (Journal of Discourses, 9:340)


“It is time, therefore, that every American, and especially every member of the priesthood, became informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism. This becomes particularly important when it is realized that communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic- communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation—the very plan which we fought to uphold during ‘the war in heaven.’” (Ezra Taft Benson, Secret Combinations, Conference Report, October 1961.)

Also see Ezra Taft Benson, The Constitution- A Heavenly Banner, and D&C 98:6-10 

This year there are four proposed amendments to the Utah Constitution, a number of races including the State Board of Education, a proposition for a bond, and 37 judges to vote on. If you go to https://vote.utah.gov/  you will find a box at the bottom of the page that says "What's On My Ballot?".  Click on this and it will ask you some basic questions that verify if you are a registered voter.  After this, it takes you to a screen that shows exactly what will be on your ballot when you go to vote.  There are lots of links there to learn more about everything on your ballot.

Vote.Utah.gov - you can click on race by judicial district. You can find your district at https://secure.slco.org/clerk/elections/index.cfm    

 Full Listing of Utah Candidates 

Project Vote Smart 2010 Ballot Measures,  or  Constitutional Amendments 

2010 Voter Information Pamphlet

As for voting on the judges, they each have a 'scorecard', found online on the Utah Voter Information Pamphlet, staring on page 37.  The scores are determined by the Utah Judicial Council, see http://www.utcourts.gov/committees/members.cgi?comm=1 for who this includes.  Please read what their definitions are, because that affects the judges' scores (for instance, their definition of 'integrity' doesn't completely match mine).     Good luck, do your homework, and go vote!

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Here are some simple things to do with Halloween candy, from Living On A Dime.com:

"After the kids are done Halloweening, I grab 24 candies for each child to save for a countdown to Christmas instead of buying the calendars in the stores. I usually keep them in a bag but you can get the kids to decorate shoe boxes or stick the candy to a calendar with tape."

 
Candy Bar Milk Shakes

1 cup mini candy bars, chopped
2 cups (1 pint) ice cream (chocolate or vanilla)
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 1/4 cups milk

Chop candies in a blender or food processor.   This is easier if they are partially frozen. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until blended. This makes a thick shake. Add 1/4 cup milk for a thinner shake. Makes 2 milkshakes, about 16 oz. each, or 5 shakes if you make them 6 oz. each!

 
 
 
 Happy Constitution Day!   It was signed on September 17 in 1787. For a wonderful article on it, see “The Divinely Inspired Constitution”, Dallin H. Oaks, at http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=729d94bf3938b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD     It has three main sections: its amazing creation and ratification, inspiration (what parts in it are divinely inspired?), and citizen responsibilities.  You’ll finish it with a renewed sense of appreciation and wonder.

 Shifting over to food now, are you finding enough things to do with all the wonderful produce right now?  I had to laugh when I saw a big, abandoned zucchini right in the middle of the road last week.  All those urban legends came to mind about people’s desperation to get rid of the squash.  (Freeze it!  Dry it!  Slice it and pretend it’s pasta in recipes!)

 I have two main recipes I make when I need to use up odds and ends:  soup, and pizza.  You can make pizza just about as fast as running down to Little Caesar’s, and it’s much better.  I make a batch of bread every week (the six-loaf batch holds us, and fills the oven), and as often as not, bread-baking day is Pizza Day.  This way I already have the dough, so it’s a no-brainer for dinner.  If you make the dough in the morning, you can keep a chunk in the fridge until almost dinner time.  If you’re making the dough that afternoon, you can let it rise, punch it down, let it rise, punch it down,….repeat until you’re ready for it!  Or even just use it without letting it rise first.   One loaf’s worth of dough (1 to 1 ½ lbs) is a good amount to fill a 12x18 cookie sheet.  To keep it from sticking to the pan, either grease or oil it, or sprinkle it with cornmeal or Cream of Wheat (coarsely ground wheat).  If you like a crispy crust, preheat the cookie sheet with 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil on it.  Or bake it on a  pizza stone.  Roll the dough out, and bake it at 425 degrees (really, any temperature between 325 and 450) until it’s just set (no longer doughy), then add toppings and bake or broil until the cheese is melted.  You can even bake some crusts ahead of time; bake for 5-10 minutes at 425, cool, wrap, and freeze.  The Basic Bread recipe is also posted on this site.
 

My basic pizza sauce is:  

one (8 oz) can tomato sauce

garlic powder (1/2 tsp.) or minced garlic (1-2 cloves)

a couple shakes of black pepper

spices: total of around 1 tsp. of whatever sounds good- oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seeds (great but go LIGHT on this one), rosemary

 
But what it really looks like, when I cook, is: open one can of tomato sauce, and to the top of the can add a couple shakes each of garlic powder and black pepper (if I feel like it), and then a few shakes each of 2-3 kinds of my ‘green spices’ (the ones listed, above).  Stir it, kind of, then spread it on the baked crust.  Sometimes I have part of a jar of spaghetti sauce sitting in the fridge.  That makes a good pizza sauce, too. So does barbecue sauce.  Or Alfredo.  Whatever you have that needs used.

 
If you have a bunch of tomatoes, you can use a bunch of them on the pizza, sliced or diced,  and skip the sauce.  You already know the standard toppings; other topping ideas are:

-       Shredded zucchini (yes, really.  Especially if it’s hidden under the cheese)

-       Shredded carrots (hides  especially well under Cheddar)

-       Chopped up spinach or chard leaves

-       Onions or green onions,  bell peppers

-       Leftover bits of meat  (whatever lonely thing is sitting around gets added to our pizzas)- ham, deli meat, bacon, summer sausage from last Christmas (those things last forever!), crumbled hamburger patties, chicken, etc.

 
And of course you can always look at your favorite pizza chain’s menu to get more topping ideas.

                                               
You can also make breadsticks or dessert sticks/pizza out of the dough.   To make simple breadsticks, roll out the dough, cut into strips with your pizza cutter.  Bake, then brush with melted butter, sprinkle with Parmesan and garlic powder.  Dip in spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce.  For dessert sticks, roll and cut them the same, but roll in melted butter and then in a mix of cinnamon and sugar.  Then bake.  Dip in applesauce or drizzle with glaze (1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1-2 Tbsp. milk or water)

 

 

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Sep