Greetings, Gentle Reader,

This earth life will never mete out much fairness, so things work out better if we just stop whining and go to work. Each of us will get a raw deal from time to time, as does every other person on this planet. Whiners not only make themselves miserable, but everyone who has to live around them.

Heavenly Father has put us on a fallen planet. He would not have done that to us, unless He knew it would be good for us. When we whimper and whine, complain and bellyache, we are telling Him that He just does not measure up to our idea of a loving father. We want smooth sailing, and He has given us storms and wild tempests.

So, who is right, Heavenly Father or us? If we are right in our desire to have a life of ease, then Heavenly Father has to be wrong. If He is right, and what He has put us into is best for us, then we are just being ungrateful brats. Neither of these scenarios is pleasant, but one of them has to be right.

Most of us know better than to rant and rail at Heavenly Father, but do we feel the same about endless whining? We should. It doesn’t help, and it always hurts.

Remember the young mother whose husband came in, unexpectedly, from the fields and was dead within hours? We read of it in the Church News. She was not prepared to support her two small sons. She hadn’t the schooling to do so. But she had no choice. She could have whined her life away, but she buckled down, got her degree and supported her two boys through childhood and into adulthood. Then she went on missions and, finally, did endless work for others in the temple. She worked her way through life, rather than whining her way through life. What a difference attitude makes!

Once upon a time, when one of my sons was playing basketball, I remember sitting on the sidelines, shouting, "Fight harder! Fight harder!"

His team was not winning, and it was obvious the boys were simply not fighting with all their hearts. They were going through the motions, but they were not paying the full price, and as a result, they were losing. Life is like that. We have to play it with all our heart, otherwise, the vicissitudes of life, some of them downright gruesome, will roll right over the top of us, grinding our face into the dirt in the process.

After a game like that, some teams sit around and assure each other that the loss was not their fault. The referee wasn’t fair, the court wasn’t properly maintained, the coach did a lousy job. No! The kids didn’t fight hard enough. They failed themselves.

That’s the story of many people’s lives. They have failed and are continuing to fail themselves. This is human nature at its most irresponsible. It doesn’t matter what my problem is, it isn’t my fault. If all else fails, I’ll blame it on my ancestors for giving me lousy genes.

In modern America, one of the worst instances of our failing ourselves, our mate and our children, and even our grandchildren, is the overwhelming divorce rate. It is too easy to throw in the towel, so to speak, and sue for divorce. The wife isn’t as pretty as she used to be. He is going bald, and besides, he’s a grouch, an overweight grouch. He has an overhanging gut he didn’t used to have.

Okay. So he no longer looks like a movie hero. She no longer looks like a movie queen. So what? Get used to it!

A dear friend’s oldest daughter began to have trouble with her marriage. Her husband of many years became verbally abusive, and openly let her know that he really didn’t like her anymore. My friend had reached the point of advising her daughter to end her temple marriage, but she approached me about the subject before she did so. She was surprised when I told her the statistics concerning unhappy marriages turning around within approximately a five year period, about 80% of the time, IF the couple determinedly sticks it out.

A short time ago, I asked her how her daughter’s marriage was coming along. She happily stated that her son-in-law had ceased to be abusive and once again had become a loving husband.

There is no way to know what had happened in that marriage, but the wife had refused to end it, though her husband seemed to be attempting to push her to do so. Her determination to honor and continue to value her temple marriage had paid off. More than anything else, she knew the Lord would not want her to walk away from her eternal vows and commitments, so she had simply chosen to be obedient. She didn’t whine and blame anyone else. She didn’t really know what was wrong, so she just buckled down and stuck it out. We LDS must try to follow her lead.

Sometimes a mate simply walks out and no one can stop him or her. Sometimes an offspring walks away from the church, from his or her vows and from all responsibilities. We can’t win them all, all of the time, but we can always determine within ourselves to fight to the very end. The Prophet Joseph did that. He was the best of the best, and we can and should follow his lead. We simply need to put our head down, like any good work horse, and pull our load. We can do it, and it will be eternally worth it.

Gentle Reader,

This fake world of ours is run by plastic people, who want our money... all of it. To accomplish this, they must convince us that products that have no real value are indispensable. They have to create discontent within us. They must convince us that we are too fat, too thin, smell bad, wear unfashionable clothes, aren't sexy enough, etc. Creating dissatisfaction opens our wallets. Let's watch them in action.

When I turn the TV on, chances are that I will see someone pumping iron or running. (He may be unable to tell right from wrong, but my, oh my, does he look good!) Perhaps, he is working at one of those weird machines that exercises every part of the body. They are capable of finding and torturing muscles that didn't even exist when I was a kid. And, that's because a sadist invented those muscles the day I turned forty.

Next, an expert cautions me to count the grams of fat and sodium in everything I eat. This is followed by an admission that the cholesterol obsession of the last several years may have overstated the problem, that eating foods high in fiber cause gas, and that the wonders of science
include a new chemical that will make my yucky, fake food taste delicious. Of course, I know that next year the wonders of science will include a discovery that this new chemical causes cancer. (Hey, Guys! I know this is asking a lot, but could you find which delicious foods are going to kill me and, then, stick with your story (about how they're going to kill me) longer than it takes to eat a Big Mac, please?)

The commercials start the moment I sit down, with a bowl of buttered popcorn. (Eating this is supposed to give me a guilty conscience, but, contrary to what is implied, eating butter is not worse than lying, cheating and stealing. )

My first bite coincides with the first commercial. It tells me that if I spend a fortune, I can lose all of the ugly fat that my popcorn will produce. I don't fall for the first commercial, so the second one is served up with my second bite of popcorn. In this one, a sexy girl and an unbelievably ugly
guy are preparing to eat dinner. The girl sprays something awful on their food and coos, " I can't believe it's not butter." Maybe, I should tell her that it isn't, but since I'm eating real butter on my popcorn, and she is eating runny, plastic goo on her dinner, I haven't the heart to set her straight.

Right after the runny, plastic goo succeeds in making my tummy feel funny, a gorgeous girl begins to sing the praises of a new phone system. (No! I don't want it!) The camera starts to swing and sway. I keep looking around for the Hawaiian dance band that's causing this undulating motion, but there isn't one, and it doesn't matter anyway, because if they don't come up with a dramamine commercial in just about ten seconds, I'm in big trouble, because the bathroom has been taken captive by a veritable hoard of little scrubbing bubbles, singing at the top of their tiny bristles, and I can't get in there, and I am going to toss my cookies (popcorn )!!

By now, I am so traumatized that I turn the TV off, go to bed and pull the covers over my head. I would consider taking two aspirins, but I'm sure that I saw a commercial warning me that aspirin causes obesity, or maybe it causes hair loss. No, I think it's bad breath, or, it could be constipation. I am becoming confused! Maybe if I take two aspirins, I will get my ZZZs. Help! I think I'm losing my grip.

I don't think I am up to the modern, glitzy world of con men who want to sell me everything from fake butter to fake hair, fake eggs to fake people. Each guarantees me that if I buy his product, I will become leaner, younger, more attractive and rich. Very rich. Right after I get the formula for becoming rich, very rich, the financial news tells me that everything is going to crash, and that I'm going to have to live in a grass hut on a tropical island, because I will be broke. Is that a promise?

Do you suppose that the experts could spend less time on the less important details of our diet and more time on the more important details of our society? For instance: A walk in a big city park is going to kill me a lot faster than a walk into McDonald's. Knives and bullets are faster than cholesterol. And, since most students think that there is nothing wrong with cheating, maybe we could concentrate a little less on their flabby muscles and a little more on their flabby sense of honor. In addition, If we don't want teens to have babies, maybe we should stop teaching them to have sex. That is what causes it. Remember?

Is it possible that we are spending too much time fiddling with things of lesser urgency, while Rome (America) is burning down around our ears?

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

Recently, we had a fascinating experience at our house, or, to be more precise, in our barn. I had gone to the barn to do morning chores when, to my surprise, I discovered that someone had been there during the night.

The signs were everywhere. The fascinating part of this hilarious episode was the criminal's apparent goal, which seems to have been to feed a baby animal (an orphan?) some goat's milk. Now, it is true that goat's milk has saved many an orphan, but it is unusual for the young critter to be brought to the goat in the middle of the night, without the owner's knowledge.

Our desperate criminals (well, maybe not too desperate) seem to have been good farm kids. They carefully kept the goats (probably little ones), which they seem to have let out into the runway, from getting into any grain. (Grain could have killed them.) They even covered a bucket of grain which I had left sitting out. They tried to do no damage, and they succeeded. They took one package of gum and two baby animal nipples.

This episode has brought us a lot of fun and laughter, and because of that, I would like to address this column to the young rascals who committed this not-too- serious crime.

Dear Young Men,

You needn't have turned off the intercom; we would not have been able to hear you through it anyway, unless you had pushed the "talk" button. If you need more milk, I will teach you how to work the head locks on the stanchion, saving both of us a lot of aggravation. Thank you for blocking the way to the grain so that the goats could not get into it. Unfortunately, neither could I. You did too good a job. (The 100 lb sack of bran, two sacks of 4-way and two bales of straw were too much for my astonished, bemused body to handle.)

I think I know which goat you took out of the stall and put on the stanchion. The amount of "sign" all over the milking room gave me a clue. She is a pretty tough customer, and can teach a grown man what bandaids and chiropractors are for. If I had been able to get a grip on your bodies, I would have made you clean it up. She sprinkled it liberally and most abundantly, and I cleaned it up, but not without some grumbling.

I am not sure whether SHE climbed the wall and dumped supplies of every type onto the floor (yes, you did find and pick up almost all of them), or whether she just arranged to make YOU climb the wall and dump the supplies. As I said, she is a pretty tough customer.

Now kids, what you did was not harmful, but neither was it strictly right. If you had called, I would have crawled out of bed and helped you. (Oh, I know it wouldn't have been anywhere near as much fun if I had been there, but I would have seen to it that you had colostrum milk too, if you needed it.)

I don't have to question what kind of parents you have. Your behavior has given them away. They have taught you to be responsible and decent. (Unfortunately, there is no cure for adolescence, except time.) If I could find out who your parents are, I wouldn't tattle on you, because I know that they would kick your cans so hard that you would have to take your meals standing for at least a week. (Yes, you do deserve it, but you have given me so much fun that you have softened me up.) What I WOULD make you do is pay for one package of gum and two lamb nipples. That's what you owe us. Now, let me tell you what we owe you.

I.O.U. for:

1) A reminder that there are good, strong parents who teach their children, and good (albeit dingy) children who learn what they are taught.

2) A much needed reminder that kids will be kids, and that they still get involved in the same kinds of rattlebrained, but hilariously funny, antics that we did when we were kids.

3) A renewed faith in American youth. (Any young squirt who would go to the lengths you went to, in order to care for a small animal, is admirable and deserving of praise, and the praise should come right after you get your cans kicked.)

4) A reminder that some crimes are very real, and both serious and important, while other crimes (?) are none of the above.

5) A reminder that kids are only young once, and that they should not to be expected to behave as though they are adults, until they truly become adults.

You did well kids. If you need more milk, just call. The number's in the book.

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Greetings, Gentle Reader,

In the 1700's and early 1800's, liberty was on the minds of the world's truly great people. John Curran said, "The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." Those are strong words, but they are true, and they will never cease to be true.

When Benjamin Franklin was asked, "What have you given us, Mister Franklin?" He replied, "A republic, Ma'am, if you can keep it." He also said, "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher, said it perfectly: "The republican form of government is the highest form of government, but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature - a type nowhere at present existing."

Edmund Burke was of like mind when he said, "Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites... Society cannot exist , unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

In 1776 John Adams wrote, "The only foundation for a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty."

Does that make you feel a little discouraged? We already have considerably less freedom than our grandparents had, but by and large, we are a considerably less virtuous people than our grandparents were, and if those who gave us our freedom knew what they were talking about, and they did, the two are closely connected.

They were convinced that we would not, that we could not, keep our freedom, unless we gained a level of virtue that the people of their day did not have. Not only have we not attained that level, we have abandoned our ancestors level of virtue, preferring instead to rate our pleasures by their degree of stimulation, rather than their virtue. We have embraced the notion that each of us has the right to define virtue for ourselves, using whatever standard we choose.

That concept presupposes that there is no such thing as absolute right or wrong, an idea that, from their writings, was anathema to those who created this nation. Most unnerving are these words, uttered by a man named William Sprague, "In the same proportion that ignorance and vice prevail in a republic, will the government partake of despotism." Unfortunately, the truth of that utterance is being borne out in every corner of our country.

Judges are legislating from the bench, when their appointed task is to interpret laws written by others and to judge whether those laws have or have not been broken. Our Congress has become a maze that is almost impossible for our lawmakers to negotiate, but even so, too many serve their own interests, rather than their constituents and their country. A man named John Hall left us this bit of priceless wisdom, which applies to this problem: "Men do things which their fathers would have deprecated, and then draw about themselves a flimsy cordon of sophistry, and talk about the advance of humanity and liberal thought, when it is nothing after all but a preference for individual license."

One of my earliest memories is of a young man saying, "Laws were made to be broken." And yet, Will Durant, historian, says, "man became free when he recognized that he was subject to law." The Romans refined that concept by creating a system in which both the people and the rulers were subject to the law, and that was a novel thought! Our own John Adams invoked the philosophies of the Greeks, Romans and even the British when he defined a republic as "a government of laws and not of men." That is the type of government our forefathers created for us.

Benjamin Franklin stated his philosophy concerning the rights of man in this manner, "Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature." Since it is a right bestowed upon us, it is ours to use or abuse as we choose.

Unfortunately, the great men of our country have warned us that a depraved people cannot keep their freedom, and yet, moral and social depravity are the most visible driving forces in our country today. It seems that we have chosen to abuse our freedom.

How important is freedom to the people of this country? What price are we willing to pay to keep our freedom? We already know how important it was to our ancestors, because we know what price they paid to secure it and keep it. They knew the difference between freedom and a life of servitude, and they were determined to have freedom for themselves and their descendants. But is it important to us?

John Randolph said, "The principle of liberty and equality, if coupled with mere selfishness, will make men only devils, each trying to be independent that he may fight only for his own interest." Are we willing to bring more than selfishness to our desire to retain our liberty? If we have nothing more to offer than self interest, George Hillard's words apply to us: "If liberty with law is fire on the hearth, liberty without law is fire on the floor."

Though we have been playing with fire for more than half a century, where our liberty is concerned, it is not too late to accept that we will not enjoy our freedom much longer, unless we halt our slide into a moral sewer. In short, while fire on the hearth is great, few are so naive as to think that fire on the floor will be the same. But that is where it will be shortly, and unless we take action, it will burn our country down around our ears.

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

We Americans are living in an increasingly wicked world. It wasn’t supposed to be this way in the Land of The Free and The Home of The Brave, but it is.

Our courts are mandating the acceptance of lifestyles that we LDS know are forbidden by our Heavenly Father. We know it is never good to go against His will, because He only tells us not to do things that are harmful to us. Therefore, by extrapolation, our courts deliberately are ordering us to accept things that will hurt us. That is diametrically opposed to the mandate the Constitution gives them, but many 21st century judges don’t see it that way. They see those Constitutional requirements as basic guidelines laid down by a bunch of old fashioned fuddy duddies, who were entirely too religious for modern America.

Now, if you tell your small child not to jump off the dining room chairs, and he continues to do it, you know it is only a matter of time before he will get hurt. You know you have given him a mandate that will keep him from hurting himself. He doesn’t see it that way. In his eyes, you are telling him you don’t want him to have fun.

That is how supporters of these destructive lifestyles look at Heavenly Father’s laws. He just doesn’t want them to have fun. In fact, that is an accusation leveled at parents by some of their teenage boy’s friends. "You just don’t know how to have fun, so you don’t want him to have fun." Teenage boys are especially susceptible to such blandishments. That abundant testosterone tells them to stand up to any tyranny, whether real or imagined, and what could be more tyrannical than an order to eschew all fun.

Could we say we have our work cut out for us? I think so! So, how do you defeat this dragon? You know which dragon, the one that is determined to steal not only your child’s virtue, but his very eternal life.

This is no easy task, but some parents have been much more successful than others. Why? It has to do with the degree of love and guidance, strong protective love and guidance, they show their children. Will it always succeed? No, but it is vastly better than allowing them too much room.

Remember that most teenage boys are made up of 95 parts of testosterone and foolishness and 5 parts of good sense. Am I saying they are bad? Of course not. I’m saying they don’t have enough wisdom and experience to recognize danger when they see it. Nor do they have enough natural fear to turn tail and run when they are in genuine danger.

Some of our bravest soldiers, throughout our nation’s history, have been teenage boys. In December, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked, they left school in droves to enlist. They lied about their age and went off to war. Am I finding fault with such bravery? I’m sitting at this computer and crying as I think of it, which should settle that question. But their bravery often outweighs their wisdom, which is where wise fathers and mothers come in.

Make sure your children genuinely like you. Never, but never, belittle them. Make sure they respect your knowledge. Keep up with the dangers of this age, and never hesitate to teach them what to fear. Do your homework. They will know if you are uneducated concerning the drugs they are being offered, the sexual enticements they face. Teach them about sexually transmitted diseases. Tell them about the elevated chances of marriage failure for couples who live together before they marry.

More than anything else, once they are married, teach them to watch their tongue with their spouse. One of the nastiest marriage destroyers is that mind set that says, "Hey, I have a license!" when they are spoken to about their mean verbiage.

Teach them about living within their means, which so often means they must not use credit cards. Irresponsible behavior where money is concerned is a surefire marriage killer, and if it doesn’t kill the marriage, it will keep the couple in abject bondage, yet all the while, they will continue to be barraged by credit card offers.

Teach them it is not a compliment to be offered a credit card, though they will be told it is. In truth, it is a fishing expedition to see whether they are sufficiently gullible to fall for the line of a good con-man.

Finally, make them understand that we are living in the day of Satan’s last stand. There is nothing he won’t try. There is no war he will hesitate to facilitate. There is no tyrant he will fail to support. There is no vicious social system he will fail to engender, especially if it will abuse Heavenly Father’s beloved daughters and degrade his equally beloved sons.

We do, indeed, live in a spiritually dangerous age, and we parents are on the front lines. Let us take a page from our teenage sons’ book and fight to the last day of our mortal probation for those sons and daughters. Heavenly Father expects no less, and, indeed, He deserves no less.

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

Back in Scottish/English history, the never-ending raids over the Border, from first one side and then the other, finally culminated in the Battle of Culloden. The English won and, being in power, decided to put a stop once and for all to the fighting. Now, Scotland had a system of Clans which kept families firmly organized and fighting as a unit.

The English, understanding the strength and power which came from the tight, loyal families, took drastic measures to rip the Clans apart. The plaid, the Clan's tartan, could no longer be worn, and the wearing of kilts was outlawed because kilts were made of the individual Clan's tartan. The Scots didn't have to ask which Clan a person belonged to; the tartan was adequate identification. Use of the Clan names became illegal and the Scots resorted to other names, many names per Clan, code names of a sort. The Scots knew all of the substitute names, but the English did not. The playing of the bagpipes was even outlawed since the Scots, the "Ladies from Hell," used the pipes as a powerful rallying call to inspire the Scottish fighting men.

The English had been fighting the Scots for many centuries. They knew the power of the Clans. They knew that family solidarity gave the Scots strength that nothing else could. The English strategy worked. With the Clans dismembered, the Scots ceased to act as a cohesive unit and, having lost much of their fighting strength as a result, they were never able to regain their freedom.

With the leadership, authority, structure, responsibility and sense of duty and obedience gone, the Clan was crippled and very quickly lost the power and the drive to act decisively and effectively. This is precisely what has happened to the American family of today. The old history of the Clan and the new state of the American family have everything in common.

Some blame for the perilous condition of the family can be laid at the door of the parents themselves, but the bulk of the guilt must be on the heads of those social engineers who have chosen to change the identity, the purpose, the degree of authority, the structure, the responsibility of the modern family. The very word, family, has ceased to mean what it did in past years. It now has an official definition which is foolish and silly.

Americans do not have to tolerate this official dismemberment of the family. It is time for us to force government to butt out of our families' lives; they will never do it voluntarily.

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Return to the Neighborhood.

I wrote this letter to the Editor of my local newspaper, the Cortez Journal. I doubt it will have much effect as they are so liberal, but a voice speaking out is a voice counted. I thought I would share my letter with you today:

To the Editor,

Oil is at $138.54, and it isn’t through climbing. Are speculators to blame? An investigation says not.

We produce half as much oil in this country as we did in the 70s. Why? The villains are on Capitol Hill. We could have been drilling in a number of places for decades, but our Senators and Congressmen are afraid of the other villains, the environmentalists, including the Global warming con-men, the ones who call drilling for oil "raping and pillaging." Never having lived in Darfur, Afghanistan or other places where raping and pillaging are the real thing, they describe extracting natural resources from the earth in those preposterously hyperbolic terms.

Our problem is supply and demand. We have more oil within our boundaries than they have in the Middle East, but we can’t use it. We should be drilling in ANWR and off our shores and continental shelf, but China is drilling there, instead, because our lawmakers know the nuts will accuse us of raping and pillaging if we drill there. So we make Ethanol, and have the elevated food prices to prove it.

"Coal to oil" technology is ready. It’s being used elsewhere. It’s said we are the "Middle East of coal" and could supply much of our need with that resource, so why are we not using it?

The shale oil deposits in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming would solve the lion’s share of our problems, but Congress won’t let us develop that, either.

We haven’t built a refinery in 30 years. Why? Raping and pillaging, remember? Our lawmakers are sniveling cowards, and we Americans are playing the "see, hear, speak-no-oil-drilling monkeys." Maybe $5.00 plus a gallon will force us to stop playing games and get serious.

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

There are few Americans who wouldn't prefer to draw within our borders, cushioned by two oceans, and live our lives in peace. It is doubtful we could find enough gung ho warrior types to start an old timey blood feud, much less a real war. Too bad we so rarely get our druthers. Too bad there are truly evil people in this world, determined to subjugate their fellow humans, shedding as much blood as possible in the process. Twas ever thus. Too bad so few Americans know real history. Too bad so many have the need to tweak reality, doggedly fabricating their own version.

As I hear them shouting, "Give peace a chance," I wonder how they can live in this world without noticing that people who refuse to fight for freedom have none. How can they not see that countries who want freedom, and are willing to fight for it, lose it, if they haven't the military muscle to back up their hopes and dreams?

As a schoolchild I watched the Soviets annihilate the aspirations of the Hungarians. I watched tanks rumble through the streets of Budapest. I watched Russians slaughtering peace-hungry Hungarians, crushing the liberty movement in its cradle.

As we young teenagers witnessed the horrifying attacks, we saw no naive Hungarians carrying signs demanding their leaders "give peace a chance." These people lived in the real world. They lived under crushing tyranny. They knew, when fighting evil people, peace comes only through the barrel of a gun. They knew their dreams of freedom could come to fruition only if they were strong enough to fight the behemoth Soviet Union. They were not, and no marching, sign-carrying herd of nitwits could have changed that reality.

When General MacArthur took the job of turning Japan into a free country, he had absolute power. He knew what had to be done, and he had the power and authority to do it. He wrote Japan's constitution, modeling it after ours. He dragged a medieval, predatory society into the 20th century in roughly half a decade, but only because he had the power to do so. If he had been forced to accommodate the incomprehensibly irresponsible crazies of modern America, he could never have done it.

Our tragedy is that we have so many people eager to attack their own country, their own leaders, because they have no interest in, nor comprehension of, reality. They have been tutored by crafty doctrinarians, who know how to obtain their goals through persuasive arguments and slogans, however nonsensical and unrealistic.

This is not new. We have seen the hysterical devotion of Hitler's followers, as he harangued them. To this day we watch in unbelief as the crowds cry, wave and salute, shouting "Heil Hitler" to that depraved animal. The banners, the music, the cry of racial and national superiority were all it took to persuade a plurality of Germans to commit incomprehensible atrocities.

Some Americans steadfastly refuse to believe the horrors committed by the Nazis. To such, I say: Ask my husband what happened. He was there. He watched the blood flow in living color.

To today's mental midgets I say: All it takes for a replay of the bloodletting of Hitler, Togo, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, etc., is for Americans to deny truth, deny history, defend evil, and attack righteousness and virtue.

Some Americans eagerly line up to do precisely that. We created them ourselves, by wallowing in irresponsible selfishness and self-righteousness, leaving them to grow up unattended or in daycare centers. We trained them in our schools and universities. We made them what they are.

May the God whom we have denied forgive us.

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

A Cherokee Elder was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said, "A fight is going on inside me... it is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

"The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith."

"This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

One of the children asked, "Which wolf will win?"

Grandfather replied, "The one you feed."

Are Americans feeding the wrong wolf? Let's see: Do you lock your doors at night? Why? Do you let your children walk home alone at night? Why not? What do you fear? What will happen to the rapists and murderers currently on trial? Chances are they will be out in twenty years. And they won't be Lone Rangers; there will be plenty of their ilk with them. Why? Because we are no longer a civilized people.

Instead of producing fewer criminals and controlling the ones we have, we buy bigger locks. We used to leave the keys in our cars, now we lock our cars, then put them in locked garages.

Why are we producing so many vicious criminals? We are determinedly, even defiantly, feeding the wrong wolf. We used to kill bears that threatened us. Last summer, a bear chased our stock. I called the Division of Wildlife and was told we could do nothing unless the bear attacked us. Hmm... How do I shoot a bear that's tearing me to pieces?

Some national agencies are run by half-civilized people with no sense of value. To such, humans are of lesser value than animals, plants and bugs. Nor is a little girl more valuable than the animal who rapes and murders her.

People in other countries think we are terrible. Why? Few know many Americans, but they see our movies, and in most, Americans are awful. They spend the entire movie attacking other people and hopping in and out of bed with anyone available. They prove to viewers, in living color, that Americans are both repulsive and repulsively uncivilized.

Citizens used to be safe on our streets, because criminals were locked up. Now citizens are locked in minifortresses, because criminals are safe on our streets. If a criminal attacks with a gun, he will be back on the street before his victim is out of the hospital. If a victim defends himself with a gun, he is likely to find himself punished more severely than his attacker.

We are a civilized nation. Or are we? That is the crux of the matter. We are not only uncivilized, we wear our incivility like a badge of virtue.

Writers of letters to editors make politically motivated charges they know are lies, but they also know most readers won't know they are lies. In their minds, if a falsehood is not exposed, it's as good as truth. Stalin said a lie repeated often enough is accepted as fact. Every dictator of the past century - most of them mass murderers- operated on the same principle.

Candidates tell outrageous lies to cheering followers, most of whom, knowing they are false, repeat them anyway.

Large numbers of schools produce functionally illiterate children; when officials are called to account and threatened with competition, they fly into uncivilized hysterics. It's everyone's fault but theirs. All they need is more money.

We have become a violent nation. Why? Because, we have devalued virtue, elevated expediency and wealth, and belligerently, even self-righteously, fed the wrong wolf.

Greetings Gentle Reader,

A mother of my acquaintance, in an attempt to keep her twin sons from fighting, told them that brothers only fight back to back. The boys tried mightily to follow her instructions. Soon, in a state of extreme frustration, they returned. Turning their backs to each other, they demonstrated the impossibility of landing a blow no matter how they tried, and, oh, how they tried!

Even though we all had a good chuckle, the principle remains intact. Brothers should never fight, except back to back. To whom does this apply? Obviously, it applies to siblings and, yes, their parents as well. All homes would benefit from parents who never fight with, but only for, each other even though that principle (a correct one) has little credibility these days.

There are things which the children of quarreling parents assume to be acceptable, one is that petty bickering is okay, another is that negotiation is not necessary, still another is to neither compromise nor take turns, but the saddest thing they learn is that family cohesiveness and loyalty always take a back seat to personal whims. How can any child feel secure when he knows that parental wants are more important than he is?

If brothers shouldn't fight and parents shouldn't fight, how about fellow Americans? Can perpetual nastiness between citizens be acceptable? We modern Americans need to relearn the meaning of fighting back to back. We are being taught from all sides, by both precept and example, that fighting is not only acceptable, but that it pays very well.

Benjamin Franklin said to a colleague, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." The basic meaning of this is "We must fight back to back or we will be so vulnerable that 'they' will pick us off one at a time."

We ask decent, honorable people to run for public office, and then we abuse them with very little provocation. We have some truly loyal Americans in some of our state capitals and in Washington, and yet the slander to which they are subjected is something of which all Americans
should be deeply ashamed.

The best, the finest are, too often, unwilling to tolerate the attacks they would attract if they were to accept a term as a public servant. Since we do want the best, and we do need the best, we are going to have to change the way we treat loyal, hard-working citizens who are in our service. We do have some good ones to practice on, and since we are not going to learn this skill any younger we had better get started, hadn't we?

Do we gain by listening to the teachings and warnings of our predecessors? Did they know things that we have yet to learn? Can their hard-won wisdom save us from committing critical errors that will cause us grief and misery? Yes, especially if we have enough sense to act on their warnings.

Let's examine the writings of some wise men of the past: John Adams our second President, and the man primarily responsible for shepherding our Declaration of Independence through Congress, said: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

H.R. Haweis, an 1800's English clergyman, left this ominous warning, applicable to America's growing ranks of lawless and violent citizens: "It is useless to make good laws for bad people."

Edmund Burke saw the horrifying excesses of the French revolution and, rather than romanticize them, as was and is the norm, he recognized them for what they were. He warned, "Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without... It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free... Their passions forge their fetters. "

Grover Cleveland, our President in the early 1880's, said: "A government FOR the people must depend for its success on the intelligence, the morality, the justice, and the interest of the people themselves."

Considering the above, I would say we are in big trouble. So, is there a solution? Indeed, there is: For a starter, we had better become good enough people to be governed by our Constitution, because it, and it alone, stands between us a growing cadre of government officials who are anxious to: 1) relieve us of our freedoms and 2) destroy our sovereignty.

We must cease to be apathetic. Americans seem not to care about much of anything anymore, especially if it takes place outside their TV screens. An amazingly small number of people bother to register and vote, even though the very life of our nation depends, according to Grover Cleveland, on the interest the American people take in their government. When common, everyday citizens abdicate their sacred responsibility to their nation, political predators in the states and in Washington eagerly take advantage of their sloth.

Let's make those who want to govern us meet Haweis' and Adams' standard; they must be moral, honest and decent, free of greed, ambition, and a desire to see the world at the taxpayer's expense. They must be willing to forego the temptation to implement a social agenda contrary to the values of the majority of those whom they govern. Let's vote for individuals eager to be public servants, while avoiding giving power to those who can't wait to become public parasites, predators and/or social engineers.

James Garfield, elected President in 1881, said, "The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them..."

That's the answer; let's apply the Adams, Haweis, Burke, Cleveland and Garfield test; if we have a Representative, Senator or even a President who measures up, let's keep him; otherwise, let's put him out to pasture.

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

Several decades ago a very old woman in a large Eastern city was evicted from her apartment. She was put out on the sidewalk with all her meager belongings. She seemed confused. She simply sat there on a chair, doing nothing, saying nothing.

The people walking by began to take her belongings. By the time the TV cameraman got there she appeared to have little left but the chair on which she sat.

This awful scene, observed from coast to coast, horrified the rest of America, but the people who passed by the old lady, as she was being robbed, seemed not to have taken any interest in her plight.

If this were to happen today, what would be the reaction of the people in America’s heartland? I would want them to be horrified, as we were back then. I would want someone to stand up to the predators and defend her. In fact, what I would like to see is some tall man in a military uniform take her under his arm and warn off all those who were preying on one so helpless.

That’s the America I know. That’s the America I have always loved. That’s the America I will love until the day I die, after which I will no doubt tell everyone in the Spirit World that America is the sweetest country on the face of the earth. And, yes, that’s the America I yearn for us to be, even when we fall short.

Can you imagine anyone in the rural Rocky Mountain West walking by such a scene, without doing something to help a confused old lady? I cannot.

The fact that she had been thrown out on the street, in her condition, was truly evil, but to have others strip her of everything she owned is beyond comprehension. It might well happen in a big city, but not in rural America, especially western America.

So, now to the big question. If those of you who live in big cities were to observe such a horrifying scene, what would you do? Think it over. Think through all the details. What would you do?

The people stealing from the old woman were not aggressive. They were not attacking her. They were simply taking everything a totally helpless old woman owned.

Would you defend her? Would you be sufficiently aggressive in her defense that the human trash preying on her would back off?

Sometimes we have to take a stand in defense of the helpless, but if we have never contemplated having to do so, there is a chance we would take no action. There is a silly commercial that says, "Life comes at you fast." The grammar may be wanting, but the concept is intact. Life does come at you "fast", so it pays to contemplate potential circumstances and decide how we would react to them before they happen. That is why the military drills and drills and drills. Anything less is an open invitation to failure, and failure means dead soldiers and Marines. It especially means death to those who fly airplanes at the speed of sound. So think it over. What would you do?

Somehow, we need to be prepared to defend the defenseless anytime their plight is put before us, but we need to do it without letting it sour us on our fellow humans. Our soldiers in Iraq must fight and kill, yet be ready to be kind to innocent Iraqis, especially the children, who are as much victims as are our soldiers.

We must be the same. We must fight for the weak when it is time to do so, but we must extend love when that is right.

The Lord needs a cheerful people. He wants them to be brave and willing to do what is needed, but we must be cheerful as well.

When our people came west, life was hard and not without danger, but at the end of the day, Brother Brigham wanted them to sing and dance. Why? Because it helped them to be cheerful. It helped them to like each other. It helped them to see each other’s good side. It reminded them that they were all in this together, and when a team all pulls the same way, they get the job done.

We can be strong and faithful. We can be brave and kind. Perhaps the hardest part is to defend the defenseless without becoming estranged from our fellow beings. By extrapolation, that means we must live with neighbors of different political persuasions, different races and different religions without ill will. It means we must behave as the Lord told us He wanted us to behave. The Book of Mormon calls it railing, and the Lord wants us not to do it.

Let us be determined to do as He commanded us.

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