Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I’ve ordered a set of the Constitution booklets for friends to share. On last reading of the Declaration of Independence, I was deeply moved, even more than ever before, by the clarity, intent, and purpose of this exquisite document.
In few words, our founders express our uniquely American ideal of freedom. They speak of a freedom born of unalienable rights; rights bestowed upon all people by their Creator, a Heavenly Father, a real Being, even God (This idea alone has become a foreign commodity around the globe in a secular field of fatalism and futility). And, as Keven Stratton notes well, “They speak of a government whose purpose is to protect – not grant – those rights.”
As you prepare to celebrate the freedom you and I enjoy liberally and treasure, I invite you to reread the Declaration whose signing we celebrate this week. It only takes two minutes to do, and I promise you, it’s worth it. Please pass this on.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.Read More
Latter-day Saints, also known as “Mormons” as a result of a powerful volume of scripture witnessing of Jesus Christ’s divinity and saving power (The Book of Mormon), deliver regular inspirational devotionals and messages to the world. Here is a smattering of some new and faith-promoting Mormon messages for you to share with your social network and enjoy.Read More
The former president of the American Psychological Association says political correctness and homosexual ideology rule the organization, and that leaving the homosexual “lifestyle” is indeed a possibility, a position contrary to that of the APA. Dr. Nicholas Cummings, the man who led the movement to have homosexuality removed from the category of “mental illness,”told an interviewer with NARTH, an organization of psychology professionnals dedicated to helping homosexuals stop their self-defeating behavior, leave the GLTB “lifestyle,” and lead productive lives as normal adults, that homosexuals can change, challenging the current stance of the APA that homosexuals cannot change. That stance, he posits, is false.
Quoting the piece in The New American:
Cummings Latest Remarks
Psychologist Joseph Nicolosi interviewed Cummings, APA president 1979-1980, who said it is “absurd” to say homosexuals cannot change. He flatly stated that leaving the homosexual lifestyle is quite possible.
‘I’ve experienced more than one,’ he said. In the past, he has said 20 percent of the homosexuals who came to him to change did so.
Cummings said he had to ‘latch on’ to a patient’s determination, such as that energized by their religion. But he said the “gay rights” movement and others claim these patients should leave their religion and accept their “lifestyle.” Those who push for patients to dump their desire to stop the erotopathic, he said, do not respect the patients’ psychological needs.
Cummings said some homosexuals leave their lifestyle and return, much like ‘falling off the wagon’ in a manner similar to an alcoholic or drug addict. But ‘there are successes.’
Cummings said: “[T]he APA has become a monolith. …The APA has become politically correct. Political correctness rules not science.’
In a second interview, Cummings described his resolution to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses. ‘I made the resolution that being gay was not a mental illness, that it was characterological,’ he said.
And it passed the Council of Representatives. And that was the first issue that came up. I also said with that, that the APA, if it passes this resolution, will also vote to continue research that demonstrates whatever the research demonstrates. Unbiased, open research. It was never done.
Is it because it is politically incorrect to question challenges to traditional marriage? A woman has a right to be a single mom, but do we not have an obligation to help her make an informed decision about pregnancy?
Teenage girls who are sexually active are three times more likely to be depressed and three times more likely to attempt suicide than girls who are not sexually active. Where is the psychological research on why? Is it because it is politically correct to counsel teenage girls to use latex but incorrect to encourage them to refrain from early sex?
Interesting that this article mentions the fact that a mere 10% of on-university-campus-psyhology professors are believers in God. I would that we can share with them the implications in worldview between Biblical/extra-Biblical scriptural vs. the secular psychological take on human nature, man’s purpose, man’s quest, and best outcomes for happiness in life. They are in most areas, diametrically opposed, and have served us only in undergirding a self-worshipping society and rearing a generation devoid of meaning, purpose, morality, and belief in a Moral Lawgiver and Healer.
Bottom line: The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. Not easy, not pat, but true. For those struggling with same-gender attraction or other self-defeating lifestyles, we hope Latter-day Saints are reaching out with compassion and yet not indulging in counter-productive ways of thinking that may emotionally lock some in to thinking there is no hope for change or that gender is just a preference anyway.
Fatherhood Video Playlist
The Mormon Channel has created a special YouTube playlist that includes 16 videos celebrating fatherhood, a timely resource for this upcoming Father’s Day. The videos include Mormon Messages, interviews with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (General Authorities) and Latter-day Saint General Conference addresses. General Conferences are bi-annual instructional meetings of the global Church, with friends of other faiths invited to participate.
As of February 2012, according to a Pew study, some 15% of online adults use Twitter, and 8% do so on any given day. Overall Twitter new user rate reamins steady, as the 15% of online adults who use Twitter is similar to the 13% of such adults who did so in May 2011. At the same time, Pew reports, the proportion of online adults who use Twitter on a typical day has doubled since May 2011 and has quadrupled since late 2010—at that point just 2% of online adults used Twitter on a typical day. The rise of smartphones might account for some of the uptick in usage because smartphone users are particularly likely to be using Twitter.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 20 to February 19, 2012, among a sample of 2,253 adults, age 18 and older, and from March 15 to April 3, 2012, among a sample of 2,254 adults, age 18 and older.
Telephone interviews for the February survey were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,352) and cell phone (901, including 440 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,729), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
Telephone interviews for the April survey were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,351) and cell phone (903, including 410 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,803), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.Read More
Mormon youth (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) strive to follow Jesus Christ and to progress spiritually in their divine nature and character. The young men of The Church of Jesus Christ (members are nicknamed “Mormons”) are involved in tracking their progress through an inspired initiative of the Church, known as The Duty to God.
The Duty to God website has been made available in Spanish and Portuguese. In this new site, young men can create and maintain their plans online. They must first create an LDS Account, which can be easily done using the birth date and Membership Record Number. The site contains videos and other materials that will help the young men complete their program requirements.
The young women of The Church of Jesus Christ have an analogous program known as Personal Progress. This website in those languages will be available in the coming weeks. For more information on members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please visit Christ.org, AboutMormons.org, Mormonbeliefs.com, WhyMormonism.com, or mormonyouth.org.
For the official Church website, please visit lds.org or mormon.org.
He is Risen: Inspirational Easter Messages of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)
Just in time for Easter, watch and share a new Christ-centered message,”He is Risen.” Ponder what the Savior means to all humanity—and to you personally. And then share the good news.
The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos: He is Risen
There’s been some waning in our secular culture of the significance of sacred days and a disappearance of reverence for or understanding of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We live our lives on the surface of frenetic activity, quick fixes, shorter attention spams, abbreviated communications, and sometimes lose the depth of seeking and communication with the spiritual truths that matter most. This week has often been a time to slow down and ponder and remember the story of Christ, in particular, the victory over death and sin that He alone has provided for each of us! It’s a glorious time of hope and remembrance. It’s a time when new blossoms dot the tree-lined avenues and when flowers push forth from the ground, urging us to see and walk in the newness of life provided by Christ. I witness that He has provided that newness for me–and continues to refresh my life and add colors unimagined 30 plus years ago, when I first really encountered Him.
This week is special in Christianity, and among Latter-day Saint Christians particularly, since it draws our focus to the events leading up to the Savior’s crucifixion and resurrection. We reflect on this week the Savior’s final mortal week, known as Holy Week by many Christians: His willing ride into Jerusalem on a donkey as the Passover Lamb, mistaken, rejected, and misunderstood by many; His agonizing suffering for you and I in the Garden; His voluntary submission to the most barbaric and tortuous death on the cross; and His glorious and literal resurrection of the dead. With other Christians, we, as Latter-day Saints (Mormons) attest that He lives! In spite of Resurrection Summits and deconstructionist doubters of the historical accounts, we witness personally and collectively that we know that He lives today, that He is capable of and does intercede to redeem those of the ‘uttermost’ depths of sorrow and sin, as they come unto Him and that He has a glorified resurrected body of flesh and bones, seen personally by Mary, Cleopas, ancient and modern apostles and hundreds of those to whom He appeared in His day (Hebrews 7: 25; Acts 1:3). We witness that He has also appeared in our day and that He lives!
Recently, a living prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson addressed the world and affirmed these salient core, saving truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.In his prophetic words, The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed “Mormons”), related his special witness of the reality of the resurrected Lord:
My brothers and sisters, we know that death is not the end, this truth has been taught by living prophets throughout the ages. It is also found in our Holy Scriptures. In the Book of Mormon we read specific and comforting words, “Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow” (Alma 40:11-12).
After the Savior was crucified, His body laid in the tomb for three days, the Spirit began entered, the stone was rolled away, and the Resurrected Redeemer walked forth, clothed with an immortal body of flesh and bones. The answer to Job’s question, “if a man die, shall he live again?” came when Mary and the others approached the tomb and saw two men in shining garments who spoke to them “why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen” (Luke 24:5). As the result of Christ’s victory over the grave, we shall all be resurrected. This is the redemption of the soul. Paul wrote, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another” (1 Corinthians 15:40).
It is the Celestial glory, which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings are earned through a lifetime of striving, seeking, repenting and finally succeeding. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after this life? No longer need we these universal questions remain unanswered. From the very depths of my soul, and in all humility, I testify that those things of which I have spoken are true. Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, the delinquent parent. Tenderly, the Master speaks to these and indeed to all, “come back, come up, come in, come home, and come unto me.”
As His special witness, I testify to you that He lives and that He awaits our triumphant return, that such a return will be ours, all of us, I pray humbly in His Holy name, even Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer. Amen.
The Church of Jesus Christ has a series of inspirational videos and messages for you and loved ones for Easter: He is Risen is a video compilation of special Bible videos prepared by the Church for the world. To view some of these Mormon Easter messages and share these devotionals during Holy Week or Easter Sunday, please see below:
Mormon Identities: Reflections on Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Resurrection
Prepare for the Easter holiday by listening to a Mormon Channel episode of Mormon Identities, “Reflections on Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Resurrection.” Andrew Skinner, a professor of ancient scripture at BYU, expounds upon the sacredness of these holy places and events.
Mormon Messages: None Were with Him
Watch and share Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s Easter thoughts on Christ in this Mormon Message, “None Were with Him.” One of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so.
Stories from General Conference: The Resurrection
Listen as various stories are shared from past general conference sessions about The Resurrection. You’ll hear President Gordon B. Hinckley and other Church leaders
describe the miracle of the Resurrection and what it means for us.
Mormon Messages: His Sacred Name – An Easter Declaration
This Easter, remember the sacred name, life, and sacrifice of our Savior, and watch and share this Mormon Message, “His Sacred Name – An Easter Declaration.” Read President Thomas S. Monson’s full address, “He Is Risen!”