02/24/15
Networking

Spinning the Circles

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

NetworkingMany years ago a friend of mine invited me to become a part of a multilevel marketing business, a chance to start something on the side and provide extra income.  This wasn’t some get rich quick scheme and would require effort and acquiring new skills to become moderately successful.

One of the first skills was learning to ‘spin the circles’, my friends way of saying that you had to stand in front of an audience with a chalkboard and invite them to share their dreams, dreams which were in fact goals worthy of extra effort needed to start their own business and join your group.

A random sampling would include new cars, home improvements like remodeling the kitchen, fancy jewelry, travel to exotic vacation spots and so on.  Inevitably there would be one person who was above ‘material things’, a person who dreamed of ‘World Peace’; the perfect beauty pageant answer that said absolutely nothing.  This individual wore a holier than thou smirk as if to say he was satisfied with a twelve year old beater and didn’t appreciate being challenged beyond the 40 hour work week; life was more than filling a toy box with more toys.  Next!

This came to mind as I went over the lessons shared at church yesterday.  During Sunday School we’d talked about  Miracles and how they were presented in the New Testament.  Class members shared some of their experiences which they considered to have been miraculous to some degree.

One brother had been involved in what could easily have been a fatal traffic accident; but for the ‘grace of God’ he some how survived and was able to regain full use of his body.  Another talked about a relative who’d been given six months to live after being diagnosed with cancer; but two years later is cancer free.

An older brother added to the discussion by mentioning that when he purchased tires for his car they came with a sixty thousand mile warranty.  He paused and formed his next thought carefully, “If I’ve calculated correctly…, I only need to purchase one more set of tires based on how many miles I drive a year”.   Now that’s a sobering thought; recognizing the inevitable ‘jumping off place’ as you approach mortality’s finite limits.

But what about those who die unexpectedly; step in front of a fast moving truck or have a sudden heart attack?  How do these individuals plan out their mortality, or does finality enter into the equation as they meander through life much as a leaf blown hither and thither?

spinning2I should mention that the last hour of study was tied to a General Conference talk given by Thomas S. Monson,  Guided Safely Home, wherein we were challenged to figure out our ‘purpose’; an extremely broad topic requiring a bit of thought.

Depending on what level of ‘purpose’ you were thinking about the answers could be as trivial as obtaining a new car, better employment, writing a best selling novel or…, the top prize, exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom sitting in the presence of our Father in Heaven.   What level of ‘purpose’ was/is worth altering your life style choices?

If you wanted to improve your relationship with your wife or children what would you consider doing?  If you wanted to become successful at work how would you go about improving your chances?  If you wanted to improve your relationship with God what have the prophets told us?

The more I thought about the lessons, putting the two together as I contemplated my own ‘purpose’, it came to me; these lessons had been presented much the same as ‘spinning the circles’, not much different than multilevel marketing.

I’m no spring chicken and recognize the time limits placed on my mortality.  What do I wish to accomplish with the time given me; assuming I don’t step in front of the proverbial truck or have that unexpected heart attack that takes me before I’ve planned my own funeral?

To ‘spin the circles’ and grow your own business you needed to find out your prospect’s short term, mid range and long term goals.  These goals must be strong enough stimulate a prospect into acting upon them.  If you couldn’t bring out a worthy challenge then the likelihood of bringing the prospect on board were greatly diminished.

I remember hearing about a fellow who when asked what he might do to improve his lot in life responded, “Hey, I’ve got a television and a six pack of beer; what else do I need?”  Not everyone will respond to an invitation to grow.

I’d love to have a new truck with all the bells and whistles.  My house in Buffalo is coming along; but wouldn’t it be great to have top of the line appliances instead of entry level Sears?  I’ve been slowing down my hours in business intentionally as I get closer to retirement; wouldn’t it be great to have some kind of supplemental income other than my police retirement and social security?

spinning3My creative writing has slowed down; isn’t it worth a little extra effort to share some of the thoughts that are lined up in that fog of a brain?  Spending more time at the temple, to be fully immersed in scripture study gaining a better understanding of what the Lord would have me do; that would be the sweetest thing of all…

A tune from Fiddler on the Roof invades my thought process.

…If I were a rich man,
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard.
Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man.
Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.

As I close my thoughts, pausing to breathe out and proclaim quietly, “Oye”…, the question remains, what is my purpose, my goal to accomplish in the time allotted me?   What will I do differently to bring about those changes necessary to accomplish my life’s mission?

More importantly, what will you do?  Will you take a few moments to consider your purpose?

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

02/10/15
Obama and Obamacare

Never let facts interfere with a lie

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

AA - Obama Not Done Lying

Shakespeare had a line in his play, Hamlet; most are familiar with, “To be or not to be, that is the question”.  Taking considerable liberties with this, “To lie or not to lie, that is the question”.  Hamlet would have been a success either way; but for today’s purposes let’s have some fun.  Brian Williams of NBC might come forward on his nightly news forum claiming he was at the performance and might have the original Playbill in his files.

What’s the big deal, everyone lies or exaggerates; at least that’s the rationalization from those who idolize Brian Williams, the leftist agenda offered at NBC and other major media outlets.  What ever it takes to get the job done; lie a little, cheat a little and if we get caught we’ll admit that it was only a miscommunication or that we accidentally forgot to include a little just like everyone else does.

“You like your doctor, you get to keep your doctor! You like your plan, you get to keep it!”  Obama said that or something similar no less than 12 times; but we have learned that Obama knew from the get go that it was a lie, that most folks would not get to keep their doctor or their original health plan.  Obama knew this prior to twisting arms to pass Obamacare.  Is telling the truth important?

Then there’s the United Nations IPCC report which intentionally left out two fairly important statements which were supposed to be in the final draft regarding Global Warming.  If you’re not up on the IPCC report, that’s the focal point used by most of the nation’s leaders to justify and combat the man made global warming crisis.  (It’s sometimes referred to as the man made global warming hoax since that is a more accurate assessment of this scheme to redistribute wealth on a global scale.)

“None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases.”

“No study to date has positively attributed all or part of the climate change to man–made causes”

And yet the U.N. continues to push for a global government based on impending catastrophic events which will certainly befall humankind due to man made global warming.  Based on intentionally misleading IPCC reports, would this be considered a lie?

Internet search engines can find most anything; but when you find what is offered can anyone be assured that the information supplied is of any worth?  Looking for graphs and charts regarding air pollution turns up some interesting; useless but interesting charts.

There were so many charts on CO2 levels as to be a bonanza; that is until you figure out that the ‘settled science’ on CO2 being the cause of global warming isn’t settled.  CO2 isn’t a pollutant at all; in fact it is a required component for plants to grow.  Turns out the increase in CO2 is helping plant life to flourish, thereby helping to feed those in need across this planet; but you won’t hear environmental alarmists talking about that little tidbit.

Then there’s the ‘climate change blame game’, which countries are at fault for the world’s miseries and how much should the ‘world court of opinion’ exact for their alleged crimes against Mother Earth and her inhabitants?

“South Africa, on behalf of a broad group of developing and poor nations, called for a show of good faith — including for rich countries to show how they intend to keep a promise to scale climate assistance up to $100 billion (88 billion euros) by 2020.”

China vs US top ten pollution citiesThere were a couple of interesting charts on general air pollution which caught my attention.  It became painfully clear that cities in Communist China far out ‘performed’ cities in the United States as the worst polluters based on suspended particles in the air, nearly 10 to 1.

Why would that be interesting?

It’s important because the so called environmental movement here in our country has been hiding, at least until recently, their close associations with communism and their desire to transform America into a pure socialist state.

“Until recently, those attacking the capitalist system as the cause of global warming were intentionally a little vague as to what will replace it if we are to solve the problem. But on Sunday in Oakland, that curtain was drawn back and the new system was finally revealed: Communism. Or at least hardcore socialism as Marx defined it — the necessary transitional phase before true complete communism (i.e. no private property, no families, no individualism). Most countries we tend to think of as “communist” actually self-defined as “socialist”: The USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, for example, was (as its name reveals) socialist. I point out this detail in case anybody reading this article thinks that the “socialism” advocated at the rally was merely some kind of squishy soft-hearted semi-capitalism; no, it is the same type of socialism one finds in places generally thought of as communist.”

Wait a second; didn’t the chart show that Communist China was almost 10 times worse at polluting the planet than our capitalistic nation?

Never let facts interfere with a perfectly good lie; that’s how the left gets away with their tall stories, their yarns and the evening news.

01/30/15
Shariah Will Dominate

U.S. Courts of Law – Sharia Courts?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Shariah Will Dominate There’s a news item on the internet about Sharia courts being used in Texas.  It would appear that what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander; or something like that.  Having read the article it would appear these ‘Sharia’ courts are well within the framework of religious courts, similar to those used by other religious orders.

“Brietbart Texas confirmed Tuesday that “an Islamic Tribunal using Sharia law” is indeed operating in Texas.  But not to worry: an attorney for the tribunal assures us that participation is “voluntary,” and one of the Sharia judges, Dr. Taher El-badawi, says it’s devoted only to “non-binding dispute resolution.”’

That sound less than threatening to our justice system; however, some folks aren’t entirely at ease, saying this is “just the first step”.

This is how it starts. This is how it started in the United Kingdom. When Sharia courts were instituted there, Muslim and non-Muslim officials alike all assured the British public and the world that they would be voluntary, restricted to matters involving non-criminal matters, and subject to the British courts. Any areas in which British law and Sharia law conflicted would be referred not to the Sharia courts, but to the British courts.

That is not how it worked out…”

The article goes on to indicate that, “Many Sharia law bodies rule on a range of disputes from domestic violence to child residence all of which should be dealt with by UK courts of law.” Instead, “they operate within a misogynist and patriarchal framework which is incompatible with UK legislation.”

The solution to these issues becomes self evident, pardon the use of an antique phrase.  If Sharia courts are in violation of the law of the land then enforce the law of the land; it’s that simple.

I’m not at all sure how Sharia Courts operate; but if they are similar to a Bishop’s Court, as are conducted to hold members accountable in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), then their purpose is not to usurp powers designated to the State and serve only to improve the lives of members of the church. 

In the LDS Church, if someone has been unfaithful to their marriage vows, less than ‘up front’ in dealings with others or some other character flaw which requires more than a simple apology; and, if that individual wishes to repent and resume his/her eternal progression toward becoming more like Jesus, then a Bishop’s Court is convened. 

Priesthood courts of the Church are not courts of retribution. They are courts of love. Oh, that members of the Church could understand this fact.”

The Bishop’s Court is not a replacement for Civil or Criminal Courts.  Bishops are required to notify the proper authorities when it becomes apparent that state law has been broken, such as rape, incest or bodily injury.  The purpose of a Bishop’s Court is to permit the repentance process to take effect, an opportunity for individuals to ‘get right with the Lord’; not hide violations of law. 

Sharia Courts should not pose a threat to society, if they are indeed what they claim to be…and yet…

There is a certain amount of distrust generated toward Islam/Muslims; and rightly so.

The Koran teaches its followers that to lie is permissible under a variety of circumstances. (Such as swearing to uphold the constitution of the United States?) 

There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman. These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam – in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.”

When a representative of the “religion of peace” tells us there is nothing to be concerned about, a religion that calls for and murders innocent Christian women and children, sends drugged up teenagers on suicide bombing missions and beheads those who don’t ‘voluntarily’ join their ranks…let’s just say I have my doubts as to the sincerity of their promises.

There’s an old Russian proverb that comes to mind, “Trust, but verify”.   In the case of Sharia Courts being held anywhere in the United States I’d prefer Lady Justice not be blindfolded.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

01/19/15
School Board

What is the school board afraid of?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Education and Religion Apple on Books

A recent news item had to do with the Goochland County Public School Board demanding home schooled children justify their religious beliefs.  When I read this on the internet my first reaction was, “Really? This could become very interesting”.

“A policy approved by the Goochland County School Board in 2013 has several parents who home school their children upset.

The policy requires children ages 14 and up who want to be home schooled to provide a statement about their religious beliefs to the school system.

As part of that, the board reserves the right to bring the child and his or her parent in for a hearing.”

It should be pointed out that the Goochland County School Board has no ‘rights’; rather, they have ‘powers’ given them by the citizens who have placed this board in charge of their school district.  Their assumed or presumed responsibility to govern all aspects of family life beyond what is taught in classrooms becomes a can of worms.

Paul Newman played the part of a washed up ambulance chasing lawyer looking for a chance to redeem himself in, The Verdict.  His client sought damages for negligence against two doctors who treated a patient, a patient who died as a result of their being too tired to read the patient’s admission chart.  During the course of the trial the lawyers for the hospital and doctors began asking questions to a nurse who’d been on duty the night of the incident; but the answers she provided were unexpected and all but buried the hospital and the doctors for having been incompetent and negligent.

My reason for bringing up this up, as the Newman character pointed out, “Never ask a question for which you do not already know the answer”.

What purpose would it serve the Goochland County School Board to obtain answers about any student’s religious beliefs, much less singling out home schooled children and their families?

The supposed purpose of any school board is to administer the secular teachings of children, costs of education, maintenance of buildings and other property associated with such schooling.  There really is no function of the school board which provides any governance with regard to a family’s religious beliefs or lack thereof.

Looking beyond their poorly worded ‘right’ to demand the ability to interrogate home schooled children and their parents, what is the school board afraid of?

It is a given that the school board represents the all powerful State; but at what point is the State interfering with the sanctity of the family unit?  Are they afraid that a clear line would be established, a line separating where the authority of parents and educators was shared or flat out ended?

“Sir William Blackstone, in 1769, captured this shared responsibility when he articulated the doctrine of in loco parentis, literally “in the place of the parent.” Blackstone asserted that part of parental authority is delegated to schoolmasters.”

CommonCoreLogo-color2Many schools have thrown in with Common Core as the foundation for all aspects of teaching, and by design, Common Core is nothing more than communist indoctrination, a method of transforming our society into a totalitarian Utopia wherein the State replaces the family unit, something which has been deemed a threat to the state, no longer necessary or wanted.

Indeed, family values constitute a threat to government agencies that usurp powers never granted nor intended by the citizenry.

As of January 16, 2015, the Goochland County School Board reversed its decision to have home schooled children and their parents justify their religious beliefs; but, “the school board still maintains the right to demand a hearing with homeschooling families”.

Just for fun what could/would happen in such a hearing?

If the school board demanded a child account for his religious teachings at home, perhaps a child from an LDS family, a child who had been taught proper principles as found in church handbooks?  There’s a strong probability that the youngster would explain the need for a moment of prayer and supplication to the Lord prior to moving forward.

“I’d say that when you start a meeting that way (with prayer), people aren’t stuck up with the pride of their opinions. You pretty quickly come to an agreement as to what ought to be done in any situation.”

I can’t imagine the members of any school board sitting still and listening to a young person in such a manner; it violates elitist arrogance, their demanding a ‘right’ they never had to begin with.   What an opportunity to teach the Plan of Happiness, the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Another movie comes to mind, People Will Talk, where a prominent doctor and member of the teaching staff had been accused of an unsavory and even criminal behavior.  During the ‘informal hearing’, a hearing which would be used to remove the good doctor from his teaching position, the board directed the accused to voluntarily make an accounting of his actions.   Dr. Praetorius calmly explained that he had no intention of voluntarily explaining anything and that he considered ‘this trial to be a trial’.

Can you imagine the home schooled child of a local attorney pointing out to the school board that they were in violation the law, that they never had the power to do anything other than regulate the secular education of any child, much less interrogate anyone about their religious beliefs?

No, it wouldn’t do to be shown up by some kid who’d been home schooled, not good at all.  So what are they afraid of?

They are afraid everyone would find out that home schooled children are receiving a well rounded education, one which meets or exceeds anything the State can provide.

Members of public school boards which attempt to shut down home schooling are afraid that their ‘powers’ really are limited, at least for now, they are restricted from interfering with the family unit and its sanctity.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

12/31/14
DWI

Try not to kill anyone…

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

DWIThe year is ending and a new one’s just around the corner.  Tennyson touched on the topic, Ring Out, Loud Bells, the passing of moments, change and hope all rolled into a cautiously cadenced hymn.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

You’ve likely seen infomercials warning folks not to drink and drive, images of police painted to blend in with their surroundings as inebriated individuals stagger down the sidewalk on the way to the parking lot without care.

A few moments later the irresponsible individual is driving down the road, crossing the double yellow stripe into on coming traffic and weaving back at the last moment, the lights and siren bring the warning home as the driver is placed in the back of a police cruiser in handcuffs.  Don’t let this be you.

While working night shift as a police officer I had my share of DWI arrests.  The tell tale signs would present themselves; trouble holding the vehicle in one lane, poor reactions or inappropriate reactions alerted me to follow and observe a little longer.

One fellow was driving well below the speed limit down the main lanes of Interstate 10 from downtown.  He caught my attention when he began braking for traffic lights that were on the service road.  He’d stop and wait for the light to turn green prior to continuing down the freeway as other drivers figured out how to get past without tangling fenders.   Thank goodness it was four in the morning and traffic was very thin.

Then there was a rare ‘foot chase’ DWI; not making this up, stopped a DWI on foot.  The suspect was bouncing from one curb line to the other all the way down Kempwood in an industrial area; but headed for a residential area.   My rookie was on his 2nd week of night shift so he’d earned the opportunity to actually drive the police unit.  He wasn’t sure what to do as we followed the DWI suspect at speeds reaching between 3 to 5 miles an hour; but wouldn’t stop.

The red lights and siren hadn’t gotten his attention so I stepped out of the police car and ran along side the suspect, tapping on his window to get his attention.  The look on his face was priceless as he came to a stop; believing his vehicle had been traveling at posted speed he must have thought he’d been arrested by Superman.  He was actually relieved as his nightmare ended without anyone being killed.

Of course there are other threats on New Year’s Eve, idiots shooting guns into the air as they ring in midnight.  The laws of gravity make this type of behavior doubly dangerous as pieces of lead can be heard falling through the leaves on trees all about.

I did my best to be tied up on some unimportant incident requiring a police report, a very long police report that would last until well after midnight and most of the insanity; you don’t make it to retirement by being stupid.

We had a ‘gung-ho’ new night shift sergeant one year who wanted to impress everyone with his bravado.  Several units, myself included, were told to meet about a block or so from a major low income apartment project where several fireworks complaints had been reported.  Off in the distance we could hear shotguns going off, an occasional rifle being discharged; all this mixed in with bottle rockets and other sundry fireworks that lighted up the night sky.

We were about to get under way when some fool let go with a fully automatic 9mm machine pistol in the middle of the project followed by a few more shotgun blasts into the air.  It was about that time when our fearless leader realized how futile our presence would be; but beyond that, furnishing some tanked up idiot to use our police cars for target practice.

DWIIt was decided that we’d hold off until such time as an actual complaint from one of the citizens was lodged.  Until that time we were instructed to remain in service and to ‘be careful’.

It’s become even more serious in our present day world, a world where a certain element of our society has declared war on police officers.

What’s to keep these degenerates from using the chaos of New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to take out an unsuspecting cop responding to a fireworks complaint?   The suspect can claim it wasn’t him, must have been a stray bullet from some other fool’s gun.  The world has gotten much more dangerous for the ‘thin blue line’.

I’ll pass the same instructions on at this time, y’all be careful out there.  Happy New Year; and oh, try not to kill anyone and make sure you get home at the end of shift.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

12/15/14
Nativity Scene

What drives a Latter Day Saint?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Nativity SceneThis evening my wife and I attended a Christmas Devotional Service for Temple Ordinance Workers who serve in the Houston Texas Temple.  For us it’s become something of a tradition, a means of kicking off the Christmas Season.  This year was no different as we heard talks which touched our hearts from members of the Temple Presidency and their wives, short explanations of gratitude for all who serve along with insightful messages as pertain to the workings of the Temple.

President Brad Crane addressed us near the close of the meeting with an historical perspective based on his attending the Nauvoo Temple’s dedication.   I should mention this was the 2002 dedication for a replacement Temple for one which the Saints had to abandon in 1846 when they were driven out of their homes in the middle of winter and began their 1250 mile trek which eventually brought them to the Salt Lake Valley.

LDS TemplePresident Crane wondered aloud what could provide enough motivation for a family to leave their home in the middle of winter, cross the frozen Mississippi River and plod along in the wilderness day after day and continue to rejoice in the Lord?  Thousands were starving, sick or died as they faced hardships along the way and yet they persevered and even flourished upon reaching their new ‘home’ in the desert where nothing grew.

How could this be so?

It must have something to do with what the Saints learned in the Nauvoo Temple, a place they would only get to visit once prior to being forced to leave everything behind.  What could you learn about God and your relationship from ordinances which are performed in the Temple?

I pondered what was being offered at the Christmas Devotional as it became clear that each Saint who crossed the Great Plains under extreme conditions, many lost family and friends along the way; these Saints learned of God and His love for each them to such an extent that their testimonies were strengthened beyond their physical weaknesses and permitted them to complete the journey.

There’s an account as recorded from the Family Record of Francis Webster Written by William R. Palmer which documented the testimony of a surviving member of the ill fated Martin Handcart Company.  (please take the time to read the included link)

Many years later during a Sunday School lesson a discussion was being held on the foolishness and lack of planning that went into the Martin Handcart Company and tragic consequences that befell so many Saints.  An old man who had been sitting quietly through the discussion could take no more as he stood up and silenced the class by explaining that he had been one of the survivors.

“We suffered beyond any thing you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation; but, did you ever hear a survivor of that Company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that Company ever apostatized or left the church because every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities. I have pulled my hand cart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said I can go only that far and there I must give up for I cannot pull the load through it. I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the Angels of God were there.

Was I sorry that I chose to come by hand cart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Hand Cart Company.” The speaker was Francis Webster, and when he sat down there was not a dry eye in the room.”

I suppose my original question, “What drives a Latter Day Saint?”, has an answer; but even so, few outside the Church can wrap their arms around it.  The driving force behind Latter Day Saints has to do with understanding their eternal relationship with our Father in Heaven, His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

The ordinances available in the Temple are of an eternal nature.  The blessings enumerated in these ordinances are combined with covenants with the Lord which detail our responsibilities and commitment to building up the kingdom here on Earth.  If an individual understands his/her place in the eternities along with the rewards for faithfully adhering to the covenants made in the Temple; then hardships, sickness and even death have little power over such a testimony.
In closing I’m reminded of a particular Hymn,  Come, Come Ye Saints.

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
‘Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
‘Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—
All is well! All is well!

We’ll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We’ll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we’ll tell—
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell—
All is well! All is well!

Text: William Clayton, 1814-1879  Music: English folk song

May this Christmas bring you closer to your Father in Heaven and the gift He gave us through His Only Begotten Son, our Savior, even Jesus Christ.  Amen.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

12/10/14
Black Lives Matter

Only Certain Lives Matter

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

Black Lives Matter poster

Being Politically Correct has become a mandate, one which you had better take seriously.  Take for instance the push for Social Justice; you must be aware there is a concerted effort to establish a particular mindset intended to prosper a Black generation far removed from slavery.  We are to believe and act in a manner which presupposes Certain Blacks are exempt from personal responsibility in any way, shape or form.

Entitlement programs which have been established and augmented over the years have been used as a spring board to bolster a prevailing minority opinion that Certain Lives have been dealt a losing hand and therefore deserve recompense from the taxpayers general fund; but also exemption from the Rule of Law which has dealt harshly and disproportionately with Certain segments of society.

The Civil Rights Movement in the 50s and 60s placed a national spotlight on some of the inequities which needed to be corrected.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acted as a unifier of the human race as his Dream Speech touched the soul of America.  He envisioned children of all color playing and growing up peacefully together in a manner pleasing to the Lord.  King’s hope for the downtrodden came with a warning:

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

Flash forward to the present and it becomes painfully clear how the Dream has been transformed into a Nightmare.  Instead of unifying people of all races we have observed prominent leaders of the Black community driving a wedge into the heart of society.

In only a few short years the United States of America has been transformed into the Segregated States of Promised Hope and Change; and not by accident.  President Obama has gone out of his way to lead this dividing process; having been raised under the teachings of Black theology, he sees America only for its faults.  The only Hope and Change Obama considers and fosters is for people of his own race; demeaning Whites, whose success must have been gained at the expense of poor descendents of the slavery era which ended long before any of us took our first breath.

Is it any wonder a generation of Black individuals has come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with taking what they haven’t earned even if it means becoming a thief, robber or even murderer?

If ‘Whitey’ has something it must have been stolen from someone of color by virtue of ‘White Privilege’, isn’t that what is being preached?   That translates into the social upheaval which has Certain young Black individuals walking into convenience stores to take whatever they want, rough up the owner when confronted and then get shot resisting a police officer; but that police officer should have been trained to understand the new order of society.

It’s that police officer’s fault; better still, it’s all of White America’s fault because Certain Lives are exempt from the Rule of Law and shouldn’t be held accountable to society as a whole; only to the cause which elevates Blacks to make up for hundreds of years of oppression.

That sets up an interesting headline story headline story out of Northampton, Massachusetts, where Kathleen McCartney, president of Smith University has found herself apologizing because she didn’t employ Politically Correct verbiage as she counseled students and faculty following the Ferguson and New York police incidents and subsequent martyrdom of two beacons of Black society.

“We are united in our insistence that all lives matter,”

So began her heartfelt message intended to stir a sense of…

What the hell was she thinking?  Unified…all lives matter?  Apparently McCartney didn’t get the memo from Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton or any of the race baiters parading around the nation to stir up animosity, hatred and civil unrest.  Certain Black folks don’t want unity; they want retribution and superiority.

Having tendered her immediate apology, McCartney then added:

“I regret that I was unaware the phrase/hashtag “all lives matter” has been used by some to draw attention away from the focus on institutional violence against Black people,”

There you have it, America as dreamed about by Martin Luther King Jr., a land where children of all color and belief can live in peace and harmony; as long as Black thugs say you can because only Certain Lives Matter.

11/27/14

It’s a day of Thanksgiving – Not Turkey Day

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

dayofthanksFolks calling Thanksgiving Day, ‘Turkey Day’ grinds on me.  I know they don’t mean any harm by it, toasting their glasses while enjoying a fine meal prepared with all the trimmings prior to watching football on the HD television screen that covers an entire wall in the den.

In spite of colorful band uniforms, clowns, entertainers and all that is involved with a parade marching down Main Street, we aren’t paying homage to a major department store chain for having great products to purchase as we enter the “holiday season”.   Some of you are looking at the clock anticipating your favorite department store that has promised it will open at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day so shoppers will have a jump start on Black Friday sales items.

Is it just me or isn’t that about the same as leaving church before the closing prayer so as to be home in time to watch the opening kick off?

Thanksgiving Day is much more than a feast, more than getting together with family and friends.  Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day we acknowledge all the tender mercies and blessing which our Creator has provided.  Think of Thanksgiving Day as the 53rd Sunday of the year, a bonus day to thank the Lord for any and all blessings.

America was founded by deeply spiritual individuals who based everything, including the formation of government on the Bible.  Everything we have is a direct result of Providence, the Hand of the Lord assisting the Pilgrims, early colonists and those who stood up to the King and declared our independence.   A careful study of America’s Revolutionary War victories point to many instances of divine intervention, nothing short of miracles as a rag-tag army, much of which was composed of farmers and shop keepers, defeated the most powerful military force in the world.

America was founded on Christian principles and divine intervention played a major role in our separation from Great Britain and the King; but this is no longer taught in our public schools, Atheists and communist sympathizers find these historical facts annoying.

Our children and grandchildren now are taught that George Washington was a terrible military leader who was just very lucky; nothing about his being protected by the Lord so that he might lead a fledgling nation.  Teachers can’t mention anything about God being at the foundations of our great country because of the Supreme Court’s ruling on separation of church and state.  Never mind that no such clause is found in our constitution; the Supreme Court said it’s hidden in an umbrella somewhere, so it must be.

Some of us were taught that the first Thanksgiving was started by Pilgrims to thank native Indians for showing them how to plant corn, how to fish and to survive the rugged environment.   Sounds nice, even logical; but it would be wrong.  The Pilgrims understood that their lives were in the hands of the Lord and that each day was a gift regardless of the challenges placed before them.

I recently read where second grade children at a school in Fairfield, Connecticut are taught that individual rights come from government.  That’s news to me; all this time I was under the impression that inalienable rights are a gift from God, the Eternal Father, our Creator and Lord.

Public schools are indoctrinating our children in this matter; and, with little help from parents to correct these fallacies, it’s only a matter of time, perhaps only one generation before the lies become accepted.  Once these lies have been advanced and accepted, individual God given rights will become only a memory, a vague memory.   Government entitlements, permissions, permits and preferences are a poor substitute; but the rest of the world seems to think they’re okay so what’s the big deal…

If the State succeeds in their goal of replacing God, declaring the State as a suitable replacement, America becomes a mere footnote in future history books, a failed Great Experiment in self governance.  Obama’s posturing and apologies to the world will come home to roost; isn’t that what he wants?  After all, America really wasn’t exceptional, no better than any other nation, we were just lucky and our luck ran out.

As you sit down with family and friends to celebrate on this Day of Thanksgiving, take a few minutes to count your blessings, blessings the Lord has provided.  Enjoy your turkey dinner; but praise God and thank Him for the roof over your head, for family and friends in this nation that was designed and prospered by heaven above; and give thanks and credit where credit is due.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

11/25/14

The Real Ferguson Indictment

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Chaos in Ferguson headline AP photo

Last night marked a place in time for America; but I’ll get around to that in a bit.  The Grand Jury followed the law and decided there wasn’t sufficient (any) evidence to justify charging a Ferguson police officer with criminal charges because all the evidence established that he’d acted in self defense when he shot and killed a young man, a young man who had robbed and assaulted a business owner only minutes before, a large man sized youth who had attacked him and tried to take away his service pistol.

The news media, if they can still be called that after the way they’ve abused their privileged status and lost the trust of the American public…the news media has been building up for a race riot ever since the day of the shooting.

They painted the officer as a white hate mongering racist who shot a defenseless innocent boy simply because he was black.  The only reason the cop shot a black kid was because white cops have always shot black kids; and on top of that, white cops don’t like having a black president; it’s the story to run with, and boy did they run with it.

Race pimps from around the country joined in building the bonfire pyramid; a chance to have a monumental burning down of the ‘old’ while ushering in the ‘new’.   Social Justice would take the place of the rule of law and the undeserving would be rewarded for being undeserving as a means of righting that which had gone on from the beginning of history; isn’t that the definition of Social Justice?

Interestingly, while the scum of the earth was looting and burning down business after business in Ferguson, all in the name of justice…a message showed up on my Facebook page.

The instructions were to post a picture of the Lord’s House and then challenge anyone who hit the ‘like’ button to do the same.  If we offset the negative with something positive then it will show that we have our priorities in the right place.

Houston Temple at Night Spring 2008 015I was supposed to wait until the name of a specific temple was sent; but the idea of supporting a great idea wouldn’t wait, I posted a picture of the Houston Temple.  Later, after receiving the ‘challenge’ I posted a picture of that temple as well.

This morning over 35 individuals from my ‘friends’ list had stopped by to check out the challenge.  Before long Facebook could have quite a different feel to it; hundreds of folks posting pictures of the Lord’s House to offset the garbage being reported and over-reported from around the world.

As we go before our ‘Grand Jury’, what evidence will we supply to support an indictment?  There will always be plenty of evil, enough to go around and then some.  It will be up each of us to choose this day whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

11/17/14

Shakespeare’s Thoughts on the Ferguson Riots

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

I-Love-Ferguson

The Grand Jury will hand down its findings very soon regarding the police shooting in Ferguson.  The community has been in constant turmoil since the tragic event took place; much of the unrest coming in the form of rioting, looting and burning down store front businesses.  Waiting to find out whether or not the police officer will be charged has most everyone on edge.

An article appearing in the Conservative Tribune doesn’t do anything to make the public feel any more comfortable, Alert: New Video Shows Ferguson Protesters Training to “Shut Down” a Community.

“Protests have been ongoing since the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury has been investigating the shooting and leaked testimony points to it exonerating the officer of any wrongdoing. Some have promised violence, even civil war, if Wilson is not indicted for Brown’s murder despite there being seemingly no evidence for such a charge.”

In an article posted to Time.com’s website a similar tone was set, Ferguson Braces for the Worst Ahead of Grand Jury Decision.   Fear has gripped the residents of the area and the sale of firearms has skyrocketed as the threat of chaos takes hold.

“Throughout the St. Louis area, citizens fear the riots that engulfed the city over the summer are about to return. A grand jury deliberating whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown is expected to come to a decision this month, perhaps as soon as late this week. And amid a steady drip of leaks that appear to corroborate Wilson‘s account of the encounter, protesters are readying for the possibility that the officer won’t be indicted on murder or manslaughter charges.”

Switching gears a bit…

Yesterday during one of our several meetings at church the lesson material was, Love and Concern for All Our Father’s Children, as found in the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, who served in that capacity from 1970 – 1972.

My thoughts immediately returned to the civil unrest going on in and around Ferguson.  Two paragraphs in the lesson manual leapt off the pages and distracted my thoughts, coming back to me over and over as the day pressed on.

“The God we worship is a glorified Being in whom all power and perfection dwell, and he has created man in his own image and likeness, with those characteristics and attributes which he himself possesses.

And so our belief in the dignity and destiny of man is an essential part both of our theology and of our way of life. It is the very basis of our Lord’s teaching that “the first and great commandment” is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”; and that the second great commandment is: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (See Matt. 22:37–39.)”

ferguson-police-cartoon-mckeeI suppose the good folks in Ferguson wish those who place themselves above the law, those who intend to shut down society, riot, loot and burn…the good folks in Ferguson hope they don’t have to confront any of these individuals in the next day or so; let the findings of the Grand Jury represent the voice of the people, all the people.

During our church discussion my friend, Mike Hunter, raised his hand and shared, “Most of us are jumping to our feet demanding justice, when we should be dropping to our knees pleading for mercy”, though he couldn’t recall who should get credit for the original quote.  Wouldn’t it be so much better if, instead of going head on into the fray looking to get even, wouldn’t we be better off getting on our knees and thanking our Father in Heaven for the tender mercies we’ve been shown?  (forgive me while I preach to the choir)

I tried to find the ‘author’ of the quote Mike supplied by doing a Google Search.  The closest idea, as pertain to the protests in Ferguson, was by William Shakespeare from his play, Romeo and Juliet.

“You think you are getting justice but really all you are doing is causing havoc…”

Shakespeare had it right, then and now; the protesters in Ferguson aren’t looking for justice.  They are looking for social justice, which isn’t justice at all; it’s revenge of the dirtiest sort.  They want to destroy all that is good around them so that everyone will be as miserable as they are.  In short, the protesters in Ferguson are following Satan and have no interest in the teachings of our Savior.

The Golden Rule teaches that we should treat people as we wish to be treated; something to think about as events in Ferguson unfold in the days ahead.

The good folks up Ferguson way, being afraid for their safety and well being, have recently armed themselves preparing for those who might do them harm.  Your choice, the Golden Rule… or should we bone up on a line from Shakespeare’s, Julius Caesar, “Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war”.