Greetings, Gentle Reader,

During my years as a young mother, I dearly loved a trip to the library. There was a veritable treasure trove of books, many very old, that were downright delightful. Oh, sure, there were the few modern writers who couldn’t remember to keep their mouths (typewriters?) clean. They were vulgar and simply low-class, but they didn’t matter to readers such as I. We all knew who those writers were, so we simply refused to read their books.

Then things began to change: previously clean brands of books began to have sex scenes in them. It was quite a surprise for those of us who had no interest in reading such cheap, trashy scenes. We were told that publishers had changed their policies, and if a writer did not include at least some type of sex scene, the publisher would insert one written by a writer employed by the company. I’m not sure that was precisely how it worked, but it seemed to explain the unexplainable change in the tenor of the newer books. It also was the beginning of the end of my buying what previously had been light, quick reading. By now, in the decade of the 2000s, vulgarity is the norm and downright filthiness is often the rule.

Now, things have taken another step downhill. Some LDS writers, advertised as acceptable to LDS teens and older readers, have taken to writing works that can only be called the scrapings off the latrine floor. Think that’s too harsh? Think again!

Now, a simple sex scene is not good enough for such writers. Such scenes must involve the bishop and his wife. After all, if you want to sell sewage, why sell garden variety sewage? Crank it up a notch! Anyone can write a sex scene, but to take it to a higher level, such writers make it a scene between lesbians or male homosexuals, and if that isn’t sufficiently depraved to offend any and all decent people, especially LDS people, make it a scene between the bishop and his wife. Worse, include vampires, and have the vampires calling the shots. "The shots" include selling ones soul to save lives of the innocent.

These kinds of books are written to make money, and more money can be made if the author is selling more than just a book. The really big bucks come if the author is selling depravity. After all, depravity has been the all-time best seller for as long as there have been books. Why? Because we human beings become what we put into our minds and hearts. If we input virtue and righteousness, we become more virtuous, more righteous. If we input adventure, we become hungry for exciting adventures and more willing to stretch ourselves, in order to enjoy the adventures we have been putting into our minds.

The natural order of the human mind and nature is to want more of whatever is stimulating us, and there are few things as stimulating as sexual filth. How else could pornography addict its consumers to such a degree?

The process of this is astonishingly simple: If we eat some delicious pie, we want more. If we watch a delightful comedy, we want to see another one the next day. Those are innocent and enjoyable activities, but they are not as addictive as something that stimulates the body, such as alcohol or drugs. Neither, tragically, are they as addictive as sex, especially illicit sex. Somehow that "illicit" part makes a very big difference.

Since all of the above circumstances are well known, surely LDS publishing houses would avoid sexual filth at all costs. Except that some of them do not. Why not? Money. The almighty dollar is so seductive, they cannot resist doing whatever it takes to get more. And when they finally reach the point of selling their souls for money, nothing else matters. They have sold their all for a mess of potage, only to find that potage is bitter, indeed, to their grief, it is eternally bitter.

Until next time,
Muriel Sluyter

Return to the Neighborhood.

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

Do humans become deprived because they are depraved, or do they succumb to depravity because they are deprived? This dichotomy has plagued mankind for thousands of years! This is no philosophical argument posed for the entertainment of debating teams. It is, rather, the basis for the opposing philosophies of the two primary political parties of this nation.

The one party, convinced that poverty is the basis for depravity, gears up to provide housing, food stamps, medical care and most other human needs in an attempt to stop crime, illegitimacy, drug use, alcoholism and every other form of depravity. It is unfortunate that, in the attempt to deal with social problems in this manner, the individual is absolved of all responsibility for his or her actions, and society and the predominant culture are instead declared to be the cause of all anti-social behavior. Many a court case is being won on that premise alone. Common sense and experience argue that the outcome of such thinking can be predicted with pinpoint accuracy.

The incidence of crime increases so rapidly that it can only be referred to as an explosion. Drug use, alcoholism, fatherless homes and their concomitant disease, illegitimacy and delinquency become a flood, indeed an incoming tide, which destroys everything in its path. Our NATION is in its path.

The opposing philosophy, which declares that depravity begets deprivation, requires that humans, all humans, young, middle-aged and elderly, take responsibility for their own actions... that no segment of society parasitize any other segment of society... that broken homes are too often the precursors of societal decay, characterized by the adoption of juvenile male values as the standard for acceptable behavior... that mothers are the primary trainers of the rising generation and that nothing less will produce a sufficiently healthy, productive human product...that prison populations are made up, to a great extent, of inadequately fathered and/or mothered offspring who are, as a result, insecure and have become firstly unproductive, then violent and, finally, devoid of conscience, capable of destroying even their own children on occasion.

These opposing philosophies are at the heart of our national value system. Each of our political parties has its value system imbedded in its platform. First, one set of values is implemented, then the other, as the political parties come to power by way of elections. We must individually choose which value system we will espouse and then take responsibility for its implementation on a local, state and national scale. It is not responsible for us to neglect to vote and then complain about the values imposed on the nation by the triumphant political party. We must expect no one else to do the work which is rightfully ours. We've tried that, and the resulting mess is rapidly destroying us.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Return to the Neighborhood.

A trip down memory lane took me back to a time when my mother lived with us. I wrote this article when the importance of having a father or husband in the home was really spotlighted in our own home:

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

My mother, at 91 years young, is now residing with us, and what an education we are getting! I am learning many things, but one especially has caught my attention: Women and children think very differently from men. More to the point, women and children need that differing viewpoint to balance their world.

Now, I know this is not an earthshaking discovery, but in today’s world, it is most reassuring and, yes, refreshing. How did I arrive at this conclusion? It was this way: As I knelt to replenish the wood in the fireplace, with my back to the door, I heard my husband coming into the front porch. To my utter surprise, the words, "The man of the house is home. All is well.", came into my mind. In astonishment I asked myself, "Where did that come from?" As I pondered this amazing experience, I realized that I was verbalizing an eternal truth, not just where I was concerned, but for every member of the family. Children cannot verbalize their need to have a father who comes home each night; they just cry when he does not come home. Wives often do not know that they, too, have such a need, not simply as a matter of companionship, but for the protection inherent in the presence of the man of the house.

My husband and I recently watched a news show in which the newsman told of a house in which an invader killed all the occupants, husband, wife and children, with no apparent resistance. My husband exploded in frustration, "Why didn’t the man fight? I don’t understand why he didn’t fight." Obviously we knew nothing of the circumstances surrounding the incident, except that, for whatever reason, the husband didn’t fight.

In response to his frustrated questioning, I realized that a woman would almost always tell her children, "Hide! Run!

Hide!" whereas a man would rally any sons old enough to help defend the home. If there were none, he would fight it out alone.

How does that pertain to my mother’s presence? I have discovered that when she hears my husband’s voice, it calms her, even when she is frustrated by her diminished capacities.

Additionally, analyzing myself, I realize that when I am in a potentially threatening position, I sense myself drawing physically closer to whatever seemingly "in charge" man I see, and as I contemplate that, I realize why my husband’s voice calms my mother. This part of her life is difficult. She needs comfort, and she responds instinctively to a voice that promises protection, just as she has done since childhood.

Now, to the strange world in which we presently live, a world in which perhaps half of America’s children have no father who comes home each night. They have the same instinctive need of a father’s steadying presence as other children, but they don’t have that presence, and children who don’t have it show it.

Modern Americans have been taught, ad nauseam, that women and children don’t need men. That men are chauvinists, insensitive clods. How long has it been since we have been able to enjoy a TV program in which the father is anything but a useless incompetent? The answer, unfortunately for the mental health of Americans, is about 40-plus years. Even Bill Cosby was continually put down by his super-capable, super-smart, all-knowing wife.

There are a couple of words for this type of thing: It’s called propaganda. It’s also called brainwashing, and it has been deliberate, rather than inadvertent.

We have tolerated this toxic garbage for over 40 years. Isn’t it time we grew up and began to live in a real world again? Families need responsible fathers and husbands. Neighborhoods need responsible male residents.

An airline pilot reported that he has asked many passengers what they would do, post 9/11, if they were on a plane that was hijacked. He said that, to a man, they said they would not submit. At the first sign of a hijacking, they would fight. Never would any of them allow such a thing to happen again.

Feminists are trying to turn our little boys into girls, insisting they must be drugged, if that’s what it takes to make them less aggressive. It’s time we fought back against them, too. We must stop allowing them to destroy the male half of our population. We need our men and boys to be men and boys, not pretend girls. My mother, at 91 years and counting, can explain that to us, if only we have enough sense to listen.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Return to the Neighborhood.

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

In the 1950s science fiction stories were all the rage. Not only did the reading public love them, writers were crazy about them as well. There were no real boundaries; they could think up the most unlikely scenarios, because anything was not only possible (sort of), but acceptable, when they were not tied to reality.

In the 21st century we are dealing with what could be called "science fiction on steroids, with no holds barred," so let me retell a story that applies to today’s world.

It begins with the hero running and hiding from alien invaders. The entire story is taken up with his strenuous and successful efforts to stay ahead of his potential captors. He is alone, because everyone else on earth has been captured, and he must be constantly running and hiding so he can avoid the fate of the entire rest of the population.

The end of the story could have been thought up by no one but an O’ Henry fan: As the man is about to be captured, the story abruptly goes to an alien who is tending to the inanimate body of the hero. It is in a drawer in a vast warehouse filled with drawers holding the bodies of all the other earthlings. There is an electronic feed going into his brain, playing the movie of him constantly running and escaping. He is not really doing anything. He has been a captive for some time, as have all other earthlings, but he thinks he is running and successfully eluding his pursuers, because the movie attached to his brain allows him to think he is free, though being relentlessly pursued.

An assistant asks the attendant why they are playing this particular movie for this supine, totally immobile occupant of the drawer. The attendant explains that this earthling needs to think he is successfully eluding his captors, so that is what they allow him to believe.

Now back to the 21st century: We have thousands of interactive video games. They allow the player to be a part of the story. In some of them, he wins only if he blows the head off other characters. Rape has become common in some of these games. One particular game has the player assassinating President Bush.

These games tend to be addictive, causing the player to crave the interaction just as an addict does a substance.

How are these games different from the science fiction story? They pull the player into a fictional world and entice him to engage in abusive or violent activities that his brain begins to tell him is reality. Studies have shown that players of these types of games are vastly more prone to violent and/or abusive behavior than are non-players.

We haven’t exactly been invaded by aliens from another planet, but Americans have been invaded by aliens from another culture: The National Anthem is forbidden in some schools, a simple prayer can get a student expelled or a teacher fired. A Ten Commandments display can earn a city a very expensive law suit, one that most cities cannot afford. A cross sends some of our citizens into a state of near apoplexy.

We know we have been warned that the time would come when our Constitution would hang by a thread. It is there now. Brother Brigham warned us the time would come when the Constitution would be upheld by the Saints only. Are we up to that task? Our modern prophets are, but are we?

Our elected representatives make decisions for the rest of us. That is how our Republic functions. It is an inspired form of government, by which I mean mankind didn’t think it up. It came to our founding fathers from the real Father of us all, as did our form of Church government.

How are we carrying out the mandate given to us by our Heavenly Father? He expects us to govern ourselves according to His patterns. Are we doing that? Are we seeking out representatives who will do all in their power to support and maintain the Constitution?

Unfortunately, too many of us are easily persuaded by sweet words to vote for representatives who are only too eager to finish off our Constitution. We must learn to look at what a man or woman has done, rather than just to listen to what he says he will do in the future. People cannot hide their past actions, but the skillful can charm us into a state of mindless comfort, causing us to ignore their true goals.

We are not exactly in drawers in a warehouse, but we are becoming frighteningly close. Let us turn to the prophets of God for our wisdom. We need that wisdom more than we ever have in the past.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Return to the Neighborhood.

Abel Keogh's book, Room For Two, is the touching story of a young husband, whose mentally ill wife takes her own life and that of the unborn little girl she is carrying. This book chronicles the young husband's struggle to understand the horror of her suicide and to forgive her, whom he adored, for killing not only herself, but their little girl.

His writing is so exceptional that he allows the reader to be a part of his healing, as he tries desperately to move forward after this devastating interlude. His writing style is not lyrical, but somehow he is so skilled that he allows the reader to be a silent part of his life, without causing them any sense of discomfort, as though they were watching events that should be too private for others to see.

I came away from this book with a deepened sense of compassion for those whose mates have committed suicide, something with which I had no experience.

From the backliner we read:

"Sweetie, I'm home." I tried to put as much kindness into my voice as possible. I didn't want to have another argument - at least not right away.



A gunshot echoed from our bedroom, followed by the sound of a bullet casing skipping along a wall.

Everything slowed down.


When a life is destroyed, when guilt says you played a role in its destruction, how do you face the days ahead?

Twenty-six-year-old Abel Keogh chooses to ignore the promptings he receives concerning his wife's mental illness, and now he feels he is to blame for her choices. If only he had listened . . .

At some point in our lives, each of us face devastating afflictions and must eventually cope with loss. Regardless of how it happens, the outcome is still the same - we are left isolated, alone, wondering what we could have done differently, and where we can turn for peace.

This is Abel's story in his own words. His search for peace and the miracle that follows is proof that love and hope can endure, despite the struggles and tragedies that shape each of our lives.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort (August 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599550628
ISBN-13: 978-1599550626
Average Customer Review:
5.0 out of 5 stars (6 customer reviews) Sales Rank: #216,141 in Books

Purchase Room for Two here.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

I was given the opportunity to review Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Phillips', is a truly delightful read. Written in a lighthearted, self-deprecating manner, the author allows us to benefit from his wise advise, while enjoying the gentle fun with which he bombards himself. It's hard not to learn in such an enjoyable environment. With a foreword by radio and television personality, Glenn Beck, there was no way it was going to be poorly written. And it wasn't. This is definitely a book worth reading.

From the backliner:

Have you ever gotten what you wished for, only to discover that it's not really what you wanted after all? We've all had those deer in the headlights moments when we realize we've been chasing after the wrong things. Caught in the Headlights is a frank, insightful look at 10 key goals most of us think we want - only to discover our eyes are on the wrong prize. Barry Phillips not only entertains but also examines common values and enlightens us to the goals we should seek, and what to do differently now that we know better. From goals such as happiness, self-esteem, protecting our pride, or the perfect physique, Phillips takes a closer look at those aims prized by society and explores how we can pursue higher goals. A thoughtful, funny, and at times profound look into the real reasons we all have for the things we do, this book will entertain, enlighten, and inspire.

Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort (June 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599551675
ISBN-13: 978-1599551678
Average Customer Review:
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews) Sales Rank: #713,810 in Books

Purchase Caught in the Headlights here.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Greetings Gentle Reader,

For some reason I am taken back to the birth of my daughter, Heather's, first son. Connor is now 10-years-old and a strapping young man. But I remember when he was born. This was what I wrote eleven years ago.

A tiny, exciting, sweet-smelling creature has come into our lives, a brand-new, precious little grandson; to say we are ecstatic is to understate the case. One of our daughters, Heather, has had her first child; a large, very healthy boy. This little one tried to be born the traditional way, but a childhood injury his mother had sustained during a tubing party left an unexpected barrier, and he was forced to be born by caesarean section.

As I held this tiny creature, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, I remembered the joy I had felt when I held my own little miracles. I examined this little boy's fingers and toes in great detail, just as I had done with his adorable, and much adored, mother. I couldn't resist kissing them and
brushing them across my face. They felt as though they were of softest velvet, but smelled the way only a little baby can smell. As I changed his diaper, ever alert to the threat of an unexpected geyser, a silly little game that we play at our house came into my mind.

Often, after my husband shaves, he comes to me and invites me to rub his chin, asking, "How's that?" Dutifully, I run my hand over his newly shaven face and reply, "Soft as a baby's bottom; just smells better." I couldn't help smiling as I thought of that ritual, especially since I was far from home and wishing he could be with me, to share the wonder of this new life.

This little baby's bottom probably doesn't smell a bit better than that of any other baby, but I didn't care. And when I let my guard down for no more than a matter of a few seconds, and he gave me a free shower, it didn't bother me anymore than it had when my own newborn sons volunteered the same service. To tell the truth; it had always been a source of great hilarity with me, when a new little boy, with unerring aim, provided me with a free shower. I have always tried with great diligence to keep them from hitting me right in the face with that little stream, though I have failed many times over the years.

As I held this little creature and attended to his needs, I was so overwhelmed with love for him, that I just sat there and cried. At the same time, I felt a great sadness for every woman and every man who has been deprived of this experience, whether that deprivation has been voluntary or involuntary.

We have loved our wonderful son-in-law from the very beginning; not only is he a decent, honorable man, but he is so good to our beloved daughter. Now a new dimension has been added, and I can say with great satisfaction, that he is also going to be a good father. He was a football player, and though I don't know what position he played, he is a huge man. To watch this human powerhouse hold such a tiny creature with so much confidence and tenderness makes me think that he must have been quite a ball handler. It is a comfort to me to know that this is the man who will stand between the harshness of the world and our sweet daughter and grandchildren.

He works at a job that he hates, because he still has two classes to take, in order to get a degree, and he knows that he needs to continue to tolerate these terrible working conditions, in order to get the wage he receives and to be free during the late afternoons and evenings, to take classes. That level of self-sacrifice and responsibility is a great virtue.

As I contemplate the world into which this little one has been born, I feel an even greater need to do everything in my power to stem the tide of viciousness, of depravity, and of irresponsibility that is poised to wash over his unsuspecting little head. When he goes to school, he will enter an environment in which he will be taught that newborn babies, such as he, are a threat to the survival of the world. He will be taught, even before he is taught to read, that babies are not to be thought of as future scientists, surgeons, great physicists, and noble humanitarians, such as Mother Teresa, but as liabilities to be destroyed at all costs. And by the time he is old enough to father a child of his own, he may have been so thoroughly persuaded by those teachings, that he, too, will readily kill his own newborn son, as many young parents are doing today.

He will have to deal with predators who want to destroy him by selling him drugs, that they may profit from his destruction. He may have to get his schooling in a facility that is an armed camp. When he goes into his school's library, he will be welcomed into a world in which appealing garbage is available on every side, because that is already the case. And he will be required to read much of that garbage, in order to get scholastic credit. Voting for courageous school board members who despise such trash is the only answer to this deplorable form of pollution.

If one looked only on the negative side of this young man's future, it would be easy to accept the urgings of those who are determined to keep such as he from ever seeing the light of day. But this young man can be a power for good in this degenerate old world, as was Mother Teresa. If his parents train him well, he will willingly pay whatever price is required to stand between this world and its determined destroyers.

My husband has now passed from this world. My grandchildren now number in the double digits. America is in dangerous waters and life is very precarious. But my grandchildren give me great hope as they grow into strong, noble sons and daughters of god. It is all that a grandmother could hope for.

Return to the Neighborhood.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Greetings Gentle Reader,

Rabbi Boteach, who teaches at Oxford University in Cambridge, England, asked his students if any of them would like to be President of the U.S.A. They ALL wanted to be President. Then, he told them that he had no desire to become President, rather, he would like to be the man to whom the President turns when he needs advice. They were surprised, because today's students are taught that cream rises, and, if you don't rise to the top, you are not the cream. (I'm not sure what that makes you, skim milk, I guess.) The Rabbi's message is that facilitators, those who forward the fortunes of others, at the apparent expense of their own, are accorded little value in today's world, because they have no ambition to be top dog.

This "rising to the top" can have disturbing ramifications. For one thing, we have discarded our supposedly outmoded value system and become a society that measures human worth in fortune and/or fame. The most depraved of humans now enjoys extreme adulation, if he is a famous star. His followers require neither integrity nor human decency; their only demand is that they be allowed to worship him; worse, in the minds of many of his devotees, his status is sufficient to acquit him of the most reprehensible wrongdoing.

Within the family, there are tragic and far-reaching consequences to what Professor Boteach calls the "nadir of the facilitator:" When careers are actively pursued by both parents, there is, too often, a shipwreck on the horizon, because no ship can remain afloat when it has to answer to two captains. In real life, someone has to play the part of executive officer, but our modern teachings forbid such a role and demand the presence of two captains, with no executive officer. Too many of our teachers are convinced there is no other way that a wife can enjoy equal status with her husband, and they make very sure their students learn this lesson, false though it is. Though this pattern has been aggressively presented as a desirable family structure in almost every American institution of higher learning, our divorce statistics reflect its abysmal failure.

When we were kids, everyone wanted to be captain of the team, because, if our team won, we were sure the captain would be the one to get the glory, and kids like glory. Okay, but we were kids back then; we were supposed to be dumb!! Kids have an intrinsic right to be dumb; they have no experience, no maturity and precious little deductive reasoning, but, by the time those kids have become old enough to get married and produce a family, they should have outgrown such childish "me first!" behavior. Unfortunately, the higher the level of a mother's education, the more pressure she experiences to embrace, rather than discard, " me first!" behavior. She is, too often, the target of accusations that she is wasting her education on motherhood.

Many women are persuaded that they must pursue a career in case their marriage fails, and they are left to support their children. In today's society, the fear is logical, but this thinking pattern tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By stressing their marriage to the breaking point, they are dramatically increasing the chance that they will subject both themselves and their children to the very circumstance for which they are apprehensively preparing.

In order to be fully successful, most careers absorb the time and effort of more than one person. Someone has to be on the front line, and another someone has to be available in a support capacity. But when there are two careers in one family, no one is left to play the part of support officer, because each of the parents is vying for the position of captain.

Another casualty of the two-career family is communication time for the husband and wife: Pop comes home from work, and Mom has already left to go to work. Mom comes home, and Pop is sound asleep. Pop wakes up next morning, but Mom is groggy and uncommunicative. Pop has the weekend free, but Mom's days off are Wednesday and Thursday. Neither parent receives their MDR (minimum daily requirement) of emotional nourishment under such stressful circumstances. By the time complete emotional exhaustion sets in, the marriage has often reached a state of terminal deterioration.

Common sense tells us that the family and marriage suffer terribly when both parents are working in " top dog " positions, and, yet, the forces that keep a mother in the workplace are very compelling. For instance, the pressure to retain a satisfactory insurance package can be a deciding factor in a women's decision. Just one member's serious accident can throw a family into a devastating state of bankruptcy, from which they may be unable to extricate themselves.

There are no simple answers; it would be much nicer if there were. Sometimes, we must make value decisions, and, in today's complex world, the temptation to undervalue our spouse's and children's welfare is overwhelming. After all, how do you enter damage sustained by a child, a spouse or a marriage on a balance sheet? It can't be done; and, when an indeterminable factor (damage to the family ) must hold its own against a readily determinable factor (simple dollars and cents ), the children, the spouse and the marriage often come second. So, Mom goes back to work, and the chips fall where they will.

There is overwhelming evidence that there has been very real, very critical damage done to our society by our willingness to devalue the worth of what Rabbi Boteach calls the facilitator, those who choose to defer to, rather than compete with, a spouse.

Our grandparents knew that a team of horses was worthless, unless they could be trained to pull the same way. Perhaps, we would be wiser, if we applied that very basic, very simple reality to our calculations, when faced with these difficult decisions.

Return to the Neighborhood.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

The other day I received a package with three books in it. I hadn't ordered any books and called my daughter, Candace, to see what was going on.

"Oh, didn't I tell you? I signed you up to review these books on your blog. You'll like 'em, I promise!"

Well, I'm never one to turn down a good book so I grabbed the first one which caught my attention, Barbara Salsbury's Preparedness Principles.

I love to garden. I love to tend my orchard and my greenhouse. A natural by-product of that is the harvest every fall and the subsequent canning of every single thing I've grown during the season. I am a farmer by trade and being prepared is something deeply ingrained in my DNA. So Barbara's book looked interesting. Fortunately for me, it was.

From the backliner we read:
How, What and Why to Prepare

News of Calamity, disaster, and war got your down? Afraid of how you'll survive if you lose your job? Wondering what to do when the "big one" hits?

Wonder No More.

Personal Preparedness Expert, Barbara Salsbury, brings together years of research and experience, giving you the know-how to set up an organized, practical, personal preparedness program that will provide for most wants and needs in any emergency situation.

Preparedness Principles, the most comprehensive preparedness guide ever published, offer exclusive details about:
  • Four new categories of preparedness
  • New bare-bones basics
  • The Pantry Principle
  • Storm shelters, safe rooms and safe havens
  • Indoor farming
  • And much more!
If you're serious about a personalized preparedness action plan, this quintessential reference book is for you!
She's not kidding. Barbara covers every aspect of preparedness that could ever arise.

The first section of the book covers what the authors calls "Essential Elements" such as the basic principles of preparedness, preparing within your budget, food storage is possible, even in a home or apartment with limited space, what to do with "food" storage once you get it and planning a food storage while making it delicious and nutritious.

Next we come across "Surviving Worst-Case Scenarios." Writing with the voice of experience, Barbara helps her readers to be prepared to survive with the bare-bones basics. This section is where she teaches you the principle of "indoor farming."

The next section discusses "Provident Living." In other words, these are scenarios we could face every day of our lives: job loss, extended illness, disease, etc. My children have often found themselves in these situations, i.e. Candace's husband has end-stage renal failure, and Barbara's book walks the reader through preparing for and surviving these types of crises.

Then comes the section on "Dealing with Disasters." Storm shelters, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods. pandemics, war . . . when all services are cut off and you left in your home to survive without heat, water or electricity. How will you survive? She walks you through it and helps you make an untenable situation bearable.

Lastly comes the scenario where you are evacuated from your home. She helps you compile "a home away from home" in the kits you will grab before you run. She says, and I agree, the ready made 72-hour kits are a nice place to start, but do they cover your families immediate needs. Dietary restrictions, medications and more are what 72-hour kits should be built around. Barbara walks you through this process. According to the nation's foremost leading expert on disaster preparedness: "Don't forget the chocolate!" should be your mantra.

All in all, I was very impressed with this book and pleased to add it to my library. I can safely recommend it to everyone I know.

Candace pulled this bio of Barbara Salsbury off for me:
Best-selling author Barbara Salsbury, a nationally recognized personal-preparedness expert, is one of America’s leading authorities on self-reliance. For more than twenty-five years, she has been teaching self-reliance and showing people how to get more for their money. In November 2002, Family Circle Magazine named her one of the “Top Five Penny-Pinchers in America.” She has produced two national newsletters and three videos. In addition, she is the author of seven books, including Just Add Water, Just in Case, and Plan, not Panic. Active in church and community, Barbara serves as a personal preparedness consultant for Sandy, Utah, and has served as assistant director for San Francisco Key Cities Area Public Affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She and her husband, Larry, live in Sandy, Utah. They have two children, seven grandchildren, and one spoiled dog.
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort Inc. (August 1, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0882908065
ISBN-13: 978-0882908069
Average Customer Review:
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review) Sales Rank: #562,671 in Books

Purchase Preparedness Principles here.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

In all societies, there is an implication, even an acceptance, that some people are of greater value than others. My question is simple; is it true? Are some people, intrinsically, more valuable than others? Is a constructive, hard-working, sober, responsible citizen of greater intrinsic value than a destructive, lazy, drunken or stoned, irresponsible one? No. Let's see why:

The answer is no, because when dealing with intrinsic value, as opposed to extrinsic value, we can't count one's worth to the community; much as we might want to, we cannot even count one's tendency toward virtue or vice. In fact, we can neither add to nor subtract from intrinsic value, because, being a constant, it is unaffected by behavior.

To better understand, let's go to a hospital's newborn nursery and stand over the bassinets, without knowing where the babies' fathers work or even whether some of the fathers or mothers are criminals. As we look down on those tiny, squalling bundles, can we assign greater value to some and lesser value to others? I think that we cannot. Each is a 100% human being, bringing with him nothing but potential - potential for good and potential for bad.

Therefore, the intrinsic value of each baby is identical to that of his tiny neighbor, whether he is the offspring of the President of the United States or a prisoner on death row.

I am not saying that the babies' potential is the same, because it is not; I am only saying their actual value as human beings is the same, and when we ignore or deny that, we begin to think as the Hitlers of this world think. We begin to decide which child we would throw overboard first, if we were all floating on a lifeboat and rapidly running out of drinking water. Remember, when those who think like Hitler are in a lifeboat-type situation, the strong dispose of the weak; their only dilemma being which of the weak is the weakest and, therefore, the most readily disposable. It is an unnerving fact that the weakness we are talking about is physical and/or political. If Sister Teresa were in a boat with 10 huge drug dealers, she would be the weakest and would be thrown overboard first. Like it or not, with that type of thinking, the law of the jungle applies.

There is another factor: If one of the babies in the nursery is anencephalic, meaning that its brain is only partially there, is its value the same as it would be if its brain were perfect? What if one of the babies is irreversibly blind, does that lessen its value? What if the baby is blind, but is curable; does its curability affect its worth? Suppose it can be cured, but at an astronomical cost - then what? Difficult questions, indeed.

If our sample babies are of differing worth, who determines the worth? The parents? The government? The Doctor? Let's face it; once we decide that humans have differing degrees of value, SOMEONE must determine it.

My conviction is that each of the babies has the same intrinsic value; their futures may be markedly different, but their value is not. This thinking is outdated today. Now, school children are often led, by their teachers, through the lifeboat scenario and are required to decide who must die first.

The world assigns importance according to one's ability to make money, therefore, a rich man is greater than a poor man. But, if we accept that concept, it means that a filthy rich, murderous drug dealer is greater than a poor, honest, hardworking man with a wife and two kids. Do we agree with that? Is that really what we think, or has our value system become so complicated, so confusing, that, though we reject such an evaluation consciously, we have acquiesced to it subconsciously? Have we been enticed into thinking that a big-time drug dealer is to be admired,
provided he gives millions to charity? Likewise, have we come to the point of thinking that an innocent person is expendable, if his continued existence creates a level of inconvenience that cannot be tolerated with ease?

These kinds of questions cause confusion, if our value system is relative - in essence, floating free of any concrete convictions of the intrinsic worth of humans. Society's expanding level of corruption causes its citizens to abandon the concept of intrinsic value and, instead, define value by using increasingly selfish parameters. "What's in it for me?" " What's it going to cost me?" "How long am I going to have to put up with this?"

This confusion of values is visible elsewhere: Violence is often classified as entertainment. When the Romans used to throw people to the lions, they did it for entertainment. Now, if throwing people to the lions was entertaining, did that make it right? Does a particular activity change its properties, depending on whether the spectators and/or participants are paying customers? No. If it is good when we pay to be entertained by it, then it is still good when we become its victims. If it is evil and we hate it when we're its victims, it is still evil when we seek it out and call it entertainment.

Human life is sacred; it always has been and it always will be. Each of us is of inestimable value, and we ignore that irrevocable truth at great national peril.

Return to the Neighborhood.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

A Doctor who specializes in helping infertile parents have a child has said that the various procedures involved can cost many tens of thousands of dollars. Parents who have the money needed and who spend that money to have their very own baby do not ever think of the chance that this much-wanted child could turn out to be a Jack The Ripper or, perhaps, a Ted Bundy or even a Charles Manson. No parent would ever have a child if he or she thought that the longed-for little one could turn out in such a way.

Since Americans are more concerned about crime, and especially violent crime, than anything else perhaps an analysis of the causes of crime would be in order. After all, people who only succeed in having one baby would give anything to keep that child from becoming a violent criminal.

We now have endless varieties of movies and shows in which fun, clever, charming actors and actresses say and do irresponsible, vulgar, violent, even vicious things. Of course, these things are justified by the story line which, supposedly, makes such behavior acceptable to the audience.

It is impossible for any people to suffer an endless assault upon their eyes and ears without their absorbing that with which they are assaulted. It is equally impossible for any people to absorb something without becoming that which they have absorbed. Sexual promiscuity, vulgarity, violence, viciousness, lawlessness, filth and addictions of every sort are what vast numbers of Americans are absorbing. The chances that these same Americans will avoid becoming sexually promiscuous, vulgar, violent, vicious, lawless, filthy and addicted are not good.

Mothers know that when Johnny plays with kids who fight, Johnny becomes more aggressive and wants to fight. When Jimmy plays for a long enough time with kids who shoplift, Jimmy will shoplift. If Bobby's friends tell crude jokes, Bobby will begin to tell them, too. If Mary's friends cheat on tests, Mary will cheat. If Stephanie's friends are using drugs, it is only a matter of time before she will use drugs. If Jody's friends are drinking and having sex, Jody will not hold out very long.

Rearing children is a long, hard job... a job which is done very badly by baby sitters and day-care centers. It is totally illogical for Americans to spend a large fortune to have a child, only to turn that child over to a less-than devoted parental substitute. There is now a heartening trend toward mothers caring for and rearing their own children once again. It is a trend which allows the parent, the child's strongest advocate, to keep an eye on their Johnnys and Marys. Johnny's most devoted ally is a tough, loving father who won't put up with any nonsense. Mary's best friend is a Mom who isn't afraid to make her daughter angry if she, Mom, is convinced that her little girl's welfare is at stake.

Since we do absorb what we see and hear, and since we do become what we absorb, let's go back to a more stable system where parents watch what their own children absorb and, thereby, reduce their little rascal's shenanigans to a minimum, not only for the sake of said little rascal but
for the sake of our entire society. It is imperative that parents of the 90's not forget the hard-earned wisdom of their parents and grandparents which reminds us that when aberrant behavior becomes very visible, aberrant behavior also becomes very fashionable.

As we are absorbing what is on that screen, in that book, magazine or paper, as we are absorbing the message of that music, let's ask ourselves, "Is this REALLY what I want to become and to have my children become?"

If the answer is no, then our course of action is clear.

Return to the Neighborhood.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

Do Americans remember these words? "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

How about these? "... America! America! May God thy gold refine, Till all success be nobleness, And every gain divine ... God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea."

Compare those with the German national anthem, "Deutschland, Deutschland, Über Alles!" Translated straight across, those words mean, "Germany, Germany, Over All." Americans think that means the same as "Girls rule!" or maybe "We’re The Greatest!" Not so. They refer to the royal, racial right of Germany to rule the entirety of humanity. When they say "rule," they actually mean "rule."

Compare "Give me your tired, your poor," with, "(T)he only person who matters is Allah – and the only question he will ask me is, ‘How many infidels did you kill?’ "

When Neville Chamberlain came back to England, he said he had secured "peace in our time" by giving Czechoslovakia, a country "...of which we know little" to Hitler. Then at war’s end, Roosevelt gave Eastern Europe to Stalin, because Roosevelt was sure, "...Uncle Joe will do the right thing." These two, the Brit and the American, had the worldly understanding of babes in the woods.

When American "human shields" went to Iraq before the war, they were astonished Saddam put them around his strategic systems, instead of in front of his vulnerable citizens. They naively supposed he cared about the welfare of Iraqi people, though a minute amount of research would’ve informed them he and his sons had killed – and were continuing to kill – Iraqis by the millions. Sometimes he killed for entertainment, sometimes for military research, sometimes as minefield sweepers (It was their job to be blown up by Iranian land mines.).

These idealistic Americans had no clue. They were acting on the propaganda they so eagerly had swallowed. They’re still doing so.

Why are those words, "Give me your tired, your poor,..." written at the statue of liberty? Why is, "..till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine...and crown thy good with brotherhood..." different from "Über Alles" or, "How many infidels did you kill?"

The French shouted, "Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!," then they cranked up the guillotine and shed French blood until it actually ran down the streets. Then they wondered why their gains were anything but divine.

Many Americans think we did the same to the Indians. That’s what they see on TV. Those who were taught American history by teachers who knew nothing of their own ancestors’ struggles – and few do – or by the Ward Churchill types, don’t know both sides of the story. And there were two sides.

When the Pilgrims arrived on these shores, they were peaceful Christians. They came not to harm, but to worship their God and to teach the Indians Christianity. They bought land from tribes eager to establish the naive newcomers as a buffer between them and the ferocious tribes that consistently preyed upon them. That afforded peaceful tribes a degree of safety, and allowed them to teach the inexperienced Pilgrims to survive both climate and predacious tribes. Still, each exacted a tragic toll.

One entire group of settlers, surrounded by both peaceful and warlike Indians, disappeared without a trace. Since kidnaping and selling captives into slavery was a lucrative business for some tribes (It happened in my ancestors’ family.), the disappearance wasn’t an unheard of occurrence.

It’s time we Americans, though inheritors of noble rather than base intent, shed our politically-correct naivete and discover the real world. There are bloodthirsty tyrants and idiotic young martyrs out there. If we want to survive, we’d better understand our enemies and learn to fight smart, as well as hard.

Return to the Neighborhood.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

When I hear that music, my heart swells, then my tear ducts begin to work overtime. That shouldn’t happen after all these years. Should it? I should be blase’ about that flag and that music. I’m a big girl, now. Ah well. I may be a big girl, but I’m still a bloomin’ crybaby when I hear that music and watch that flag whip in the breeze.

Though I was just a toddler when WW2 started, three of my cousins were young men. They all enlisted, as did millions of other brave young Americans. One became a medic, one a sailor, and one a paratrooper. They all saw combat, much of it, and though they all returned, it left its stamp on each of them. Subsequent wars have done the same to others, many of whom live to this day, including many who have lived with injured bodies from that day to this.

My ancestors have fought in every war this country has had. If they had not, my life would not be what it is today. Would we have a king, if they had not fought the British? Would we be forced to belong to the national church, whatever that might be? Would the class system be so firmly enforced that we would have no choice of occupation? All of those conditions exist in many countries around the world, even now.

So many LDS families have sent beloved sons off to war, and those sons have not all returned. Their sacrifice is the reason I can walk into the chapel door without fear. I can pray without endangering myself or my family.

We LDS have one more thing for which to be grateful to this country, and that is the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is very true, as we have been told, that the Church could not have been restored in any other country. Even here, the persecution was intense, as we know. If not so, the Prophet Joseph would have lived to a ripe old age. He would have had the joy of raising his children to adulthood. The Church would have remained in the Midwest. It would not have moved to the tops of the mountains.

Somehow, it seems to me we owe a debt of honor to those who fought and gave their lives to keep us free. Indeed, we have young people all around us in this day, who have prosthetic legs, arms, hands, etc. Do we owe them a debt of honor? I think so.

What do we owe them? We owe them more than respect, more than gratitude. If we sit around and waste the freedom which their sacrifice has guaranteed us, if we choose not to vote, are we showing them respect and gratitude? I don’t think so. So how do we express our thanks?
Are there people around you who need help? Will someone else help them if you do not? Are there those who need love and support? Will someone else take your place if you do nothing? Will someone else vote in your place, if you choose not to do so?

Let’s take it to the lowest common denominator. Have you smiled at someone today? Have you encouraged them? Have they seen that you are concerned for their welfare? Have you gently, respectfully helped them make a choice that will redound to their benefit? Some people need support in order to make the decisions that will lift them up, encourage them to reach higher, give them a sense of security.

Let’s begin to count the smiles we give others. Let’s count the times we encourage. Let’s count our good deeds. Did you mow the neighbor’s lawn? Count it. Did you tell the neighbor’s teenager he was destined for greatness? Count it. Did you tell a Sunday School teacher she was doing a super job? Count it. Did you let the Bishop know how much you appreciate his devotion and expenditure of time? Count it.

Let’s count the times we cheer others on, and let them know they have done something good. Now let’s do that at home, as well as in our neighborhoods. Our parents, our teens, our little ones need that too.

What do we owe our fighters, who have sacrificed for us? We owe them a better country, a kinder country, a country filled with responsible people of honor. Now let’s start with us, each of us, right at home. Just don’t forget to count it. We need encouragement, too.

Happy Fourth of July!

Return to the Neighborhood.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

Americans spend their time, energy, and freedoms in many ways. The possibilities are endless. A young man can help an old lady cross a street, or knock her down and steal her purse. He can wear a t-shirt that says "Jesus Loves You," guaranteeing a trip to the principal’s office, courtesy of ACLU lawsuits. Or he can wear a shirt that says, "Bush Is A Terrorist," which the ACLU will vehemently defend as free speech.

He can go to the polls and vote his conscience, or plan to "shut this city down!" when other people gather to do the same. He can go to college and earn an honest degree, or binge drink, march in protests, and cheat his way through college.

He can marry, remain faithful to spouse and children, work hard, and put his children through college, or shack around, produce children he refuses to care for and become a useless drug addict and drag on society. He can join the Boy Scouts and do good, or sue the Scouts for discrimination and do harm.

He can follow the lead of two California boys: Each was born in Romania and would normally have been placed in an orphanage, become mindless, half-starved, and useless to themselves or anyone else.

That didn’t happen. They were adopted as infants, before they could be put in a orphanage, by a couple who preferred positive choices to negative ones. They grew up in America, healthy, well fed, loved, and nurtured. Now, as Scouts, they are working on their Eagle, and have chosen as a project to give what they can to other Romanian orphans, those who were not as blessed as they were.

They not only collected supplies for orphans, they persuaded their father to take them to Romania to deliver them in person. Since it was their Eagle project, not his, he required them to put it together. They contacted various media, spoke to service clubs and worked like proverbial
beavers to pull it off, not realizing that compassionate Americans–who couldn’t do this on their own–would jump on their bandwagon with gusto.

People brought goods to their home, then more goods, then even more. Soon their house overflowed to the point that the trip to Romania came not a moment too soon.

In addition to goods, they collected thousands of dollars. Orphans Around The World, a service organization, and FedEx agreed to do the shipping. But best of all, they delivered much in person, to both hospitals and orphanages. Can you imagine how these boys reacted to seeing pathetic children whose fate they did not share, but only because they had been adopted and brought to America? America the good!

Yes, indeed. Americans have choices, and an astonishing percentage, whom we can only call the "negatives," see greater virtue in negative than positive ones.

The abundance we enjoy is a direct result of the sacrifice of American soldiers’ lives over our 300 plus years of history. The deprivations Romanians suffer come from many times that 300 years spent in war, very little peace, and absolutely no freedom. But these "negatives" have little global memory and even less understanding. Reality for them extends only to the 1940s, when their grandfathers bled and died to spare them Romania’s fate.

May heaven send us fewer negatives and more Eagle Scouts!