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Isaiah Identifies the Latter-day Archtyrant

It always amazes me how we acknowledge the historical certainty of the rise and fall of nations in the past, but we don’t seem to think that the same fate is an eventuality today.

Sure, men wanted to take over the world back then, but not today.

Sure, there were men trying to take over the world in the last century, but not today.

Sure, the newly appointed (unelected) “President” of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, recently stated: “2009 is also the first year of global governance, with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet.”

To think that we will ever be at the mercy of power hungry men bent on world domination and global plunder is surely just some kind of crazy conspiracy theory isn’t it?

I could not more highly recommend Read Full Post

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Seventy-three Percent

In the September 2012 edition of the Latter-day Saint publication The Ensign, David Brent Marsh wrote:

God foresaw our day and called the Prophet Joseph Smith to bring forth the Book of Mormon to help us. Of the 239 chapters in the Book of Mormon, 174 (73 percent) deal with war, terrorism, murder, political conspiracies, secret combinations, threats, family collusions, and other hostilities. [source]

Consider Ezra Taft Benson’s words:

The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 3; or Ensign, May 1987, 4)

Consider how each of these realities apply today: Read Full Post

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Justice and Mercy: A Unique Teaching Moment With my Kids

Meet “Peter” the Lego Friends character who also happens to be the object of the latest source of contention in the Reed household.

I’m going to try my best to accurately capture a discussion that just transpired minutes before writing this article involving myself, my seven year old and five year old. For the sake of privacy, I will refer to the 7 year old as “Mary” and the 5 year old as “Tina” (I let them pick the names).

There was a conflict over a toy that belonged to Mary, the toy was “Peter” as pictured above. Tina had come along and picked up the toy while Mary had momentarily been distracted and small riot ensued as Mary realized that her toy had been seized without her permission. It just so happens that I had spent the afternoon pondering the principles of justice and mercy, so I declined my initial instinct to barge into the room and fulfill Bill Cosby’s uncomfortably familiar observation that “Parents are not interested in justice — they want QUIET!”

I decided to be interested in justice…and mercy and take this unique time on a Sabbath-day afternoon to try and teach about both.

I gathered them both together and told them that Read Full Post

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There are two consequences in history…

There are two consequences in history: one immediate and instantaneously recognized; the other distant and unperceived at first. These consequences often contradict each other; the former come from our short-run wisdom, the latter from long-run wisdom. The providential event appears after the human event. Behind men rises God. Deny as much as you wish the Supreme Wisdom, do not believe in its action, dispute over words, call what the common man calls Providence “the force of circumstances” or “reason”; but look at the end of an accomplished fact, and you will see that it has always produced the opposite of what was expected when it has not been founded from the first on morality and justice.

– Vicomte François René de Chateaubriand, Memoirs from beyond the Tomb (Chateaubriand was a forerunner of the romantic movement in French literature, and a royalist of the Bourbon stamp in politics. He served the restored Bourbon monarchy, after Napoleon’s fall, as ambassador to England and Germany and as Minister of Foreign Affairs. His most famous works were The Genius of Christianity andMemoirs from beyond the Tomb.).

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George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address

Friends and Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the same time, to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages Read Full Post

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Let Us Have Peace by J. Reuben Clark Jr.

by J. Reuben Clark, Church News, November 22, 1947.

The international gospel of the Founding Fathers was forecast by Jefferson in 1793. It was voiced by Washington in his Farewell Address in 1796, when he declared we should have “as little political connection as possible with Europe,” because Europe has a “set of primary interests” with which we had “none or a very remote relation,” wherefore “must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concern;…why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice? It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” The Monroe Doctrine declaring against the future colonization of the American continent by Europeans, against the extension therein of their political system, against interposition by European powers to control the destinies of the Latin Americas, implemented the principles of the Address. And Jefferson, commenting in 1823 on the Monroe Doctrine Read Full Post

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Persuasion vs. Force

by Mark and Jo Ann Skousen

Copyright 1992 by Mark and Jo Ann Skousen. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

A version of this essay originally appeared in the September, 1991, issue of Liberty magazine.

Sometimes a single book or even a short cogent essay can change an individual’s entire outlook on life. For Christians, it is the New Testament. For radical socialists, Karl Marx’ and Friedrich Engels’ The Communist Manifesto is revolutionary. For libertarians, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is pivotal. For economists, Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action can be mind-changing.

Recently I came across a little essay in a book called Adventures of Ideas, by Alfred North Whitehead, the British philosopher and Harvard professor. The essay, “From Force to Persuasion,” had a profound effect upon me. Actually what caught my attention was a single Read Full Post

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Was 9/11 our Mormon 3:10?

Today is the 10th anniversary of the horrific events that began with the deaths of over 3000 people here in the United States and that continues to this day with a total human death toll that has climbed well over one million dead, 4.5 Million Displaced, 1-2 Million Widows, 5 Million Orphans and almost 5000 dead U.S. soldiers. [source]

Are we any closer to justice or peace? Where is the end to all of this? How does one win a war that is not declared on any nation but on individuals we arbitrarily identify as “terrorists”.

As a Latter-day Saint, I refer often to the Book of Mormon which has much to say on the situation of war. I have learned that is it just to fight to defend certain things:

Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church. And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies. And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed… – Alma 43:45-47

Preemptive/Offensive Wars

Innocent people were killed on 9/11 and we declared ourselves as a nation under attack. If we look to the Book of Mormon for perspective, we will find recorded in 3 Nephi an account of a band of “terrorists” living out in the wilderness who threaten the Nephite civilization. The people conclude that the best decision is to fall upon them in the wilderness and destroy them in their own lands Read Full Post

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60 Great quotes on war

These are a few quotes on war that I feel express great wisdom that we would do well to understand and practice. Pay attention to #42 and #43.

  1. If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” – James Madison
  2. The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” – James Madison
  3. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. ” – James Madison
  4. “Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” – James Madison
  5. The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.” – James Madison
  6. It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” – James Madison
  7. “The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars, with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other.” – Thomas Jefferson
  9. “Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.” – Thomas Jefferson
  10. If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.” -Thomas Jefferson
  11. Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.” – Thomas Jefferson
  12. “War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.” – Thomas Jefferson
  13. “Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.” – Thomas Jefferson
  14. “I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.” – Thomas Jefferson
  15. “Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” – George Washington
  16. The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.” – George Washington
  17. “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” – George Washington
  18. It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” – George Washington
  19. “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force…Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” – George Washington
  20. “My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.” – George Washington
  21. “All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.” – Benjamin Franklin
  22. “There never was a good war or a bad peace.” – Benjamin Franklin
  23. Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin
  24. “Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.” – John Adams
  25. “Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak…” – John Adams
  26. The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor.” – Ronald Reagan
  27. “History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.” – Ronald Reagan
  28. Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan
  29. “…no mother would ever willingly sacrifice her sons for territorial gain, for economic advantage, for ideology.” – Ronald Reagan
  30. “People do not make wars; governments do.” – Ronald Reagan
  31. “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  32. “How far can you go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
  33. We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
  34. Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
  35. “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  36. “There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
  37. “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  38. “Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
  39. “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  40. Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing.” – Ayn Rand
  41. All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.” -Alexis de Tocqueville
  42. If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road.” – George W. Bush, (before becoming president and doing exactly what he promised not to.)
  43. “Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other. Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.” – George W. Bush (I wish he had governed according to the principles in this quotation.)
  44. War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” – George Orwell
  45. “Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” – George Orwell
  46. “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” – George Orwell
  47. “What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.” – Aldous Huxley
  48. A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  49. “A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over…is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen.” – G.K. Chesterton
  50. “War is the greatest plague that can affect humanity; it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.” – Martin Luther
  51. “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” – The Mahatma Gandhi
  52. “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?” – The Mahatma Gandhi
  53. “Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood.” – The Mahatma Gandhi
  54. “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” – The Mahatma Gandhi
  55. “All forms of violence, especially war, are totally unacceptable as means to settle disputes between and among nations, groups and persons.” -The Dalai Lama
  56. “The best defense is no offense.” – Dr. Ivan Eland
  57. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  58. “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  59. “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  60. “‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.” – F.A. Hayek
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Joseph Smith on Three Truths

“We say that God is true; that the Constitution of the United States is true; that the Bible is true.” (TPJS 147-48)

I love the simplicity in that statement. Joseph Smith it seems was trying to make a powerful statement about the importance and divine origins for the Constitution of the United States by placing it between God and the Bible and thereby elevating it to the level of scripture.

The Constitution of the United States has brought more than just liberty and good government to the world, the results of liberty have spawned technological revolutions that have launched mankind by leaps and bounds into prosperity and knowledge.

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