Declaration of Independence

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.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Citizens of the USA

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside….”  This provision states that any person born in the United States or naturalized in the United States are citizens of both the United States and the state where they reside.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained this provision:  “The only exceptions are children born to foreign diplomats and children born to enemies during wartime occupation.
                “It is interesting that in spite of this amendment, American Indians living on reservations could not be citizens or have their children considered citizens until 1924.
                “This amendment was found to be necessary because in spite of the Thirteenth Amendment, which was ratified December 6, 1865, there continued to be a number of abuses of former slaves….
                “It was because of the serious abuses of civil rights among some of the states that a number of civil rights bills were launched – beginning 1963 – and these rapidly transferred a great deal of jurisdiction from the states to the federal courts.  This had been avoided in the past because many felt it would give the federal courts so much power that they might become abusive themselves.  Furthermore, many authorities expressed particular apprehension because the new laws would give the federal courts enforcement power over individuals as well as public and private institutions.  Nevertheless, Congress passed the laws hoping the courts would exercise restraint.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 721-722.)

                Edward Erler of The Heritage Foundation explained:  “Before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, citizens of the states were automatically considered citizens of the United States.  In 1857, the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision had held that no black of African descent (even a freed black) could be a citizen of the United States.  The Fourteenth Amendment was thus necessary to overturn Dred Scott and to settle the question of the citizenship of the newly freed slaves.  The Fourteenth Amendment made United States citizenship primary and state citizenship derivative.  The primacy of federal citizenship made it impossible for states to prevent former slaves from becoming United States citizens by withholding state citizenship.  States could no longer prevent any black from United States citizenship or from state citizenship either.”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 384).

                I personally believe that we will have to do something about the wording in the Fourteenth Amendment in order to stop illegal aliens from coming to the United States to have their “anchor babies.”  I believe that wording such as the following may have to be included in an amendment:  No children or posterity of persons in the United States of America illegally can ever become citizens of the United States without returning to their country of origin and making application to be admitted to the United States legally and lawfully.  I also believe that we will have to do something about the people who are already here illegally but hope we can do it without bestowing amnesty or citizenship upon them.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

God Is Our Heavenly Father

                God is the creator and ruler of our universe.  He is also our Heavenly Father.  President Joseph F. Smith taught, “All men and women are … literally the sons and daughters of Diety.  …  Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body” (“The Origin of Man,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1909 pp. 78, 80). 

                Every person on earth today, every person who has ever lived on earth, and every person who will live on earth were spirit brothers and sisters in heaven.  We are one very big family.  Jesus Christ was the first spirit born to our heavenly parents and is our elder brother.  Our heavenly parents have resurrected bodies, and we resemble them.  Through our heavenly parents, we have the potential to develop our divine qualities and become perfect as they are perfect.  We have agency and can choose to become like our heavenly parents – or not.

                In our heavenly home Heavenly Father called us all together in a Grand Council and presented to us his plan for our eternal progression.  He told us that we could become like Him if we followed His plan.  He told us that we would have resurrected bodies and have all the power in heaven and on earth.  He also told us that we could become heavenly parents and have spirit children of our own.

                Heavenly Father told us that He would prepare an earth where we could live and be tested.  In order to be tested, a veil would be placed over our memories and we would forget our heavenly home.  “This would be necessary so that we could choose good or evil because of our natural desire for good or evil.  We would not be influenced by the memory of living with our Heavenly Father.  Thus we could obey him because of our faith in him, not because of our knowledge, or memory of him.  He would help us recognize the truth when we heard it again on earth.”

                Another important thing we learned in the Grand Counsel was the person for education on earth.  Our Heavenly Father wanted each of us to receive a fulness of joy.  He told us that not all of us would want to have the fulness of joy and would make other choices.  He told us that we would have trials in our earthly lives such as sickness, disappointment, pain, sorrow, and death; He explained that these trials would give us experience and be for our good.  If we chose, our trials would purify us rather than destroy us.  We could learn endurance, patience, and charity through these difficult tests.

                Heavenly Father also taught us that we would all sin because of our weaknesses; however, He would provide a Savior that would overcome death with resurrection and provide a way that we could overcome our sins.  He told us that we could become exalted and become like our heavenly parents if we obeyed his word and followed his example.  Then we would receive a fullness of joy.

                While in our heavenly home, some of our spirit siblings prepared themselves to become leaders on earth.  There in our heavenly home, God foreordained some of children to become leaders on earth.  Jesus, Adam, and Abraham were some of these leaders.

                We were not all alike in our heavenly home.  We were given different talents and abilities, and we were called to different missions in our earth life.  Heavenly Father knows each of His children by name and loves each of us.  Even though we have forgotten who we were and what we did in our pre-earth life, Heavenly Father remembers.  He chooses when and where He will send His spirit children and does so where we can learn the lessons that we personally need.  We can use our talents and personalities to do good, but we will never be forced to do so.  He gave us our agency in that we can choose to obey our Father or not.  Our obedience or disobedience will determine the blessings we receive.

                We were happy in our heavenly home, but we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we went away to “school” for a while.  While we are away from our heavenly home, we are tested, tried and given opportunities to gain experience, particularly experience in choosing good over evil. 

                I know that our physical bodies are blessings to help us gain experience and knowledge here on earth.  I know that when our earthly education is complete and our physical bodies die, we will be reunited with them once again through resurrection.  Then our bodies will be immortal and never die again.  I know that we can receive fulness of joy like our heavenly parents if we pass all our tests here on earth. I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and desires that we return home to Him.  I know He is longing for each one of us to be there because I know that He loves us!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Righteousness and Wickedness

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that righteousness leads to prosperity and happiness while wickedness leads to misery and sorrow.  Our nation is quickly sliding down a very slippery slope because there is much wickedness in our nation, particularly among those who are doing their best to destroy our God-inspired Constitution.

                This week we watched videos of Ferguson, Missouri, being trashed and burned because rioters did not agree with the decision made by the grand jury investigating the death of Michael Brown.  For whatever reason the people apparently thought they had the right to destroy private property belonging to other people as well as public property belonging to the people as a whole.  Why were they rioting and trashing their community?   They believe that a white cop defending himself from assault shot a black man simply because he was black.  The cop feared for his life and testified that he would have shot the man even if he were white.  The rioters cry out for justice but will not accept justice when looking right at it.  Justice was done – just not the kind the rioters thought should happen.

                Glenn Beck  believes that the violence and unrest in Ferguson is “just the beginning of what will happen to our cities if we don’t change course.
                “The world is so screwed up.  You don’t know what up is and down is.  You have no idea what good and bad, right and wrong is….”

                After describing the rioting in Ferguson, Beck urged Americans to do what President Abraham Lincoln did.  He gave the Gettysburg Address
 and turned Americans to God.  President Lincoln gave this address at Thanksgiving time and “it turned the war.
                “We were losing everything up to that point, but it turned the world.  Because he said, `We need to humble ourselves.’  Are we not a nation that needs to be humbled?  My gosh, I don’t even know what we stand for anymore, except for money and power and greed and corruption.  That’s not the America I know or love.”

                Beck told his listeners the “biggest problem with our nation right now” is that political parties divide Americans to remain in power.  He said that radicals and revolutionaries are “trying to ignite an American spring.
                “That’s all they’re trying to do…. `If we can get the American people to riot, if we can just get them to stop being who the American people truly are…’  Don’t you see?  Everything about what they’re trying to do to us is to rip us away from the good peaceful, charitable, kind people we truly are.  That’s not how we always are, but historically, America always rights itself.  It always leans back towards decency, courage, and kindness and charity.  We always right ourselves.”

                Beck asked Americans to “look at our history and see who we truly are.”  Look for the good things and reconnect with God.  Beck knows and understands that civilizations that turn from God are eventually destroyed if they do not “right” themselves.  He too sees America heading down the slippery slope faster and faster, often with pushes by the President of the United States and other progressives working with him.

                The United States of America is not the first nation to exist on this continent.  At least two other civilizations lived here and were destroyed when they “ripened in iniquity.”  Will the USA follow the same path?  We will not if we will listen to the voice of prophets and be obedient to their counsel.  The following examples from modern scriptures exhort us to be obedient to God’s commandments and receive the blessings of prosperity and happiness; they also tell us that we cannot prosper or be happy in wickedness.

                After the Savior Jesus Christ visited the ancient inhabitants of the American continents, the people became very righteous.  “And the Lord did prosper them exceedingly in the land; yea, insomuch that they did build cities again where there had been cities burned.
                “And now, behold, it came to pass that the people of Nephi did wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast, and became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people….
                “And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people in all the land; but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus….
                “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people
                “And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 4 Nephi 1:7, 10, 13, 16-17).

                In King Benjamin’s speech to his people before his death, he included, “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.  O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 2:41).

                While a prophet named Alma was counseling his son, he taught about wickedness and happiness:  “Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness.  Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Alma 41:10).

                Even with all this counsel, the Nephites became so wicked they were battling each other.  They followed the Jaredites, a previous civilization, into complete extinct because they turned from God and broke His commandments.  Without obedience to the commandments, God cannot bless.

                In the latter days the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation including this information:  “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated –

                “And when we obtain any blessing form God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Freedom from Regret

                When I learned that Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman in Portland, Oregon, ended her own life, I thought of my friend Janet who also ended her life.  Brittany suffered from a terminal brain cancer and chose to die with “dignity.”  Janet chose to stop take dialysis and let her kidney disease take her.  Brittany apparently died quickly while Janet lived for a couple of weeks after she made her decision.  They both had the opportunity to gather their families around them to say goodbye.

                I do not know how I really feel about what either of them did or what I would do under similar circumstances.  I do know that I am not afraid of death.  I am a little scared of the dying process, but the idea of being dead does not concern me because I know this life is not all there is.  I know there is life after death.  I know that life on the other side will be richer and fuller than this life.  I hope to have no regrets when I reach the other side.

                The following information came to me in an email.  I do not know the author of it, but I agree with most of what is written.  My “winter” is fast approaching, and yet I have feelings of spring and summer.  I have a difficult time grasping that time has flown by so quickly.  It seems that my body is aging, but my spirit remains young.

                I understood more fully last summer at a family reunion that my winter is fast approaching.  Every time my siblings and I were in a group together, there was a photo session.  It seemed that everyone wanted pictures of us together.  I remembered doing the same with my parents and my husband’s parents.  Then I realized that my siblings and I are now the “older generation.”  It is good to reach this age without serious regrets about my life.  Sure there are some things I would have done differently, things I would still like to do, and places I would like to see, but none of them are important in the grand scheme of life. I have no regrets about my life. 

And Then It is Winter

                “And then it is winter you know…. Time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years.  It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my loving and beautiful mate.  Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went.  I know that I lived them all.  I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.  But, here it is … the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise….  How did I get here so fast?  Where did the years go and where did my youth go?

                “I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.  But, here it is …. My friends are retired and getting gray….  They move slower, and I see an older person now.  Some are in better and some worse shape than me … but, I see the great change…  Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant … but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be.

                “Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day!  And taking a nap is not a treat anymore … it’s mandatory!  Cause if I don’t on my own free will … I just fall asleep where I sit!

                “And so … now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!

                “But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last … this I know that when it’s over on this earth… it’s NOT over.  A new adventure will begin!

                “Yes, I have regrets.  There are things I wish I hadn’t done… things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done.  It’s all in a lifetime.

                “So, if you’re not in your winter yet … let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think.  So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly!  Don’t put things off too long!

                “Life goes by quickly.  So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!  You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life… so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember… and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!

                “`Life’ is a gift to you.  The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.  Make it a fantastic one.  Live it well!  Enjoy today!  Do something fun!  Be happy!  Have a great day!

                “Remember:  `It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.  Live happy in this year and every year!’
                “Lastly, consider the following:  Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, yet the youngest you’ll ever be – so enjoy this day while it lasts.  Your kids are becoming you….  Going out is good…. Coming home is better! 

                “You forget names…. But it’s OK because other people forgot they even knew you!!!  You realize you’re never going to be really good at anything – especially golf.  The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don’t care to do them anymore.

                “You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed.  It’s called `pre-sleep.’  You miss the days when everything worked with just an `ON’ and `OFF’ switch.  You tend to use more 4 letter words:  `what?’ … `when?’ … `what?’ …???

                “Now that you can afford expensive jewelry, it’s not safe to wear it anywhere.  You notice everything they sell in stores is `sleeveless’?!!!  What used to be freckles are now liver spots.  Everybody whispers.  You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet – 2 of which you will never wear. 

                “But Old is good in some things:  Old songs, old movies, and best of all, Old Friends!!  It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Give Thanks in All Things

                Thanksgiving Day is here once again, and our nation pauses to observe the day.  Thanksgiving means different things to different people.  For some, it is a day for feasting.  For others, it is a day for football.  For others, it is a day for family and friends to gather.  For all of us, it should be a day for giving thanks for our many blessings.

                The scriptures give many examples of people giving thanks.  When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, one of the first things they did was to build an altar and give thanks to the Lord.  When the Jaredites spent nearly a year in closed barges traveling to the Promised Land, one of the first things they did was to give thanks. 

                The Book of Mormon  - Another Testament of Jesus Christ teaches the importance of giving thanks in many areas.  During the days of King Mosiah the people who believed in God were persecuted by those who did not believe, and they were “suffering all manner of afflictions.”  In these dire circumstances, the Lord commanded them to “pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things” (Mosiah 26:38-39).

                This is not the only instance when the God commanded His children to give thanks for there are many instances in the scriptures
[1 Thessalonians 5:18; Alma 37:37; Doctrine and Covenants 78:19 are just a few of the references.]

                No matter what is happening in our lives, we have much to be thankful for.  All of us have air to breathe and most of us have water to drink.  We have pure air and clean water, we are truly blessed.  We all have this beautiful world for our earthly home.  We also have our knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation with its  commandments and ordinances.  We have the centerpiece of the plan of salvation, which is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Through His atoning sacrifice, our Savior made it possible for all of us to return to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father.

                Each November I see many posts on Facebook from friends and family members identifying some of their blessings and giving thanks for them.  This is one way to give thanks, but does it show true gratitude?  I remember when my youngest daughter was a young child and the lesson she taught me about being grateful.  We went to the store to purpose groceries, and she found something that she wanted.  I gave in and bought it for her.  I cannot remember what the item was, but I hope I always remember the gratitude she showed for the small item.  She told me thank you several times on the day of the purchase, but she came back the next day and thanked me again.  Then the next day, she thanked me again. 

                I think this is how our Heavenly Father desires us to show our gratitude.  We should not say a simple thank you when we receive the blessing, but we should go back numerous times to express our gratitude again.  Of course, we should also show our gratitude in our behavior.

                A number of years ago while out hunting with my husband, I had the responsibility of moving the truck from Point A to Point B.  I made a wrong turn and had to turn the large vehicle around on a dirt road high above a reservoir.  I was very frightened but completed the task successfully; however, every time I think of the experience, I express gratitude once again for the blessing of safety I received.

                A couple of nights ago while chopping vegetables, I chopped my thumb.  The cut was not very large or very deep – but it could have been much worse.  I immediately thanked God for blessing me for not chopping off my thumb.  I have returned numerous times over the past couple of days to express my gratitude once again.

                We live in a world where people believe they are entitled to have whatever they desire.  It does not seem to matter to them who owns the item or how they get it.  They believe they deserve it – for whatever reason.  How refreshing it is to see people who are truly grateful for whatever they receive.

                Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about being giving thanks in all things.  He shared severe examples from the pioneers and then said, “Like the pioneers, we should thank God for our adversities and pray for guidance in meeting them.  Through that attitude and through our faith and obedience, we will realize the promises God has given us.  It is all part of the plan.
                “… Let us give thanks for what we are and for the circumstances God has given us for our personal journey through mortality….
                “When we give thanks in all things, we see hardships and adversities in the context of the purpose of life.  We are sent here to be tested.  There must be opposition in all things.  We are meant to learn and grow through that opposition, through meeting our challenges, and through teaching others to do the same….
                “… I rejoice in the Lord’s plan, in which the adversity of the deaths of many righteous individuals [during war] is turned into the blessing of righteous messengers to preach the gospel to their countless comrades-in-arms.

                “When we understand this principle, that God offers us opportunities for blessings and blesses us through our own adversities and the adversities of others, we can understand why He has commanded us again and again to `thank the Lord they God in all things’ (Doctrine and Covenants 59:7.)….”

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Decision

                Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on Saturday, August 9, 2014.  The fact that Brown was an 18-year-old black man and Wilson was a 28-year-old white cop led to many weeks of rioting and unrest in the Ferguson, Missouri, area as well as protests in other parts of the nation.  Much property was destroyed in the weeks since Brown’s death.

                On Monday St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullock (Democrat) announced the decision of grand jury investigating the death of Michael Brown to not indict Officer Wilson.  The grand jury members accepted the responsibility to separate fact from fiction and consisted of seven men and five women, nine white and three black.   They met 25 times in a period of more than 3 months and heard testimony from 60 witnesses.  

                After many weeks of investigation and hearing testimonies, the grand jury “determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against Officer Wilson, and returned a `No True Bill’ on each of the five indictments.” 

                Minutes after the grand jury decision was announced, anger exploded and violence broke out on the streets of Ferguson.  Numerous businesses were looted, and some buildings burned to the ground.  The police station was attacked, and several police cars torched.  More than one hundred shots were fired.

                The death of any person is a sad happening, and a violent death of a young person is even more so.  The fact is that this death did not have to happen.  No matter what Brown did before meeting Officer Wilson, the evidence shows that Wilson told Brown and his friend to move out of the street and the young men did not do as they were told.  IF Michael Brown and his friend had been obedient to the police order, Brown would still be alive.  He probably would have been arrested for robbing the store minutes before the shooting, but he would be alive.

                Brown’s mother is heartbroken – as most mothers would be – and continues to blame Officer Wilson for the death of her son instead of accepting the fact that her son caused his own death.  I believe that this is a fairly normal reaction for a mother to have.  I hope she can find peace and come to the realization that her son was not shot because he was black.  There is absolutely no evidence that Officer Wilson shot Brown because he was black but because he feared for his own life and the lives of other people.  All of us need to remember that Brown was 18 years old and is considered to be an adult.  If he had acted as a responsible adult, he would still be alive.  We all must understand that choices have consequences.

                What can other families learn from the sad experience of the Brown family?  One lesson we can learn is to teach the rising generation to respect law and authority.   Another lesson that parents should teach:  There is no reason to attack other people and/or destroy private or public property no matter how angry we get.  A third lesson is to remember that Americans have the right to protest and the responsibility to protest peacefully and lawfully.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Albert Einstein

                Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm, located in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg in the German Empire, to Hermann Einstein and Pauline Koch Einstein.  His father was a salesman and engineer.  The family moved to Munich in 1880. 

                The Einsteins were non-observant Ashkenazi Jews, and Albert attended a Catholic elementary school from age 5 to age 8.  He then transferred to the Luitpold Gymnasium (now known as the Albert Einstein Gymnasium).  At his new school Albert received advanced primary and secondary school education.  He left Germany seven years later.

                The Albert Einstein Archives disputes some common rumors about Albert.  Instead of struggling with early speech difficulties, he excelled in his first school.  Instead of being left-handed as rumored, he was right-handed.

                Einstein apparently was brilliant from a young age.  When his father showed him a pocket compass, Einstein immediately recognized that something caused the needle to move.  “As he grew, Einstein built models and mechanical devices for fun and began to show a talent for mathematics.  When Einstein was 10 years old, Max Talmud (later changed to Max Talmey), a poor Jewish medical student from Poland, was introduced to the Einstein family by his brother.  During weekly visits over the next five years, he gave the boy popular books on science, mathematical texts and philosophical writings.  These included Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Euclid’s Elements (which Einstein called the `holy little geometry book’).

                In 1894 the Einstein family moved to Italy, first Milan and then to Pavia.  In 1895, sixteen-year-old Einstein “sat for the entrance examinations for the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zurich….  He failed to reach the required standard in the general part of the examination, but obtained exceptional grades in physics and mathematics.  On the advice of the Principal of the Polytechnic, he attended the Argovian cantonal school (gymnasium in Aarau, Switzerland, in 1895-96 to complete his secondary schooling. While lodging with the family of Professor Jost Winteler, he fell in love with Winteler’s daughter, Marie.  (Albert’s sister Maja later married Wintelers’ son Paul.)  In January 1896, with his father’s approval, he renounced his citizenship in the German Kingdom of Wurttemberg to avoid military service.  In September 1896, he passed the Swiss Matura with mostly good grades, including a top grade of 6 in physics and mathematical subjects, on a scale of 1-6, and, though only 17, enrolled in the four-year mathematics and physics teaching diploma program at the Zurich Polytechnic.  Marie Winteler moved to Olsberg, Switzerland for a teaching post.”

                In 1902 Einstein’s future wife apparently had a daughter named “Lieserl”, but he apparently never saw the child, who either died in infancy of scarlet fever or was adopted.  The child’s real name and fate are unknown.  In January 1903 Einstein married Mileva Maric (m. 1903-1919), who attended the Polytechnic with Einstein and was “the only woman among the six students in the mathematics and physics section of the teaching diploma course.”  Einstein received the Zurich Polytechnic teaching diploma, but Maric failed the exam because of a poor grade in the mathematics component, theory of functions.  Einstein and his wife “read books together about extra-curricular physics in which Einstein was taking an increasing interest.”

                Hans Albert Einstein (1904-1973), the first son of Einstein and Maric was born in May 1904 in Bern, Switzerland.  Eduard “Tete” Einstein (1910-1965) was born in July 1910 in Zurich.  Einstein moved to Berlin in 1914, and Maric remained in Zurich with the boys.  They divorced five years later on February 14, 1919.

                Einstein married Elsa Lowenthal (m. 1919-1936) on June 2, 1919, having been in a relationship with her since 1912.  They were cousins – first cousins on his maternal side and second cousins on his paternal side.  Elsa had two daughters, Margot and Ilse.  The Einsteins immigrated to the United States in 1933.  Two years later in 1935 Ela was diagnosed with heart and kidney problems and died in December 1936.        
                Albert Einstein was a “theoretical physicist and philosopher of science.  He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics).  He is best known in popular culture for his mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed `the world’s most famous equation’).  He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics `for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect’.  The latter was pivotal in establishing quantum theory.

                “Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field.  This led to the development of his special theory of relativity.  He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity.  He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules.  He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light.  In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the large-scale structure of the universe.

                “He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and, being Jewish, did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences.  He settled in the U.S., becoming an American citizen in 1940.  On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of `extremely powerful bombs of a new type’ and recommending that the U.S. begin similar research.  This eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced the idea of using the newly discovered nuclear fission as a weapon.  Later, with the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.

                “Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works.  His intellectual achievements and originality have made the word `Einstein’ synonymous with genius.”

                Albert Einstein experienced internal bleeding on April 17, 1955.  The bleeding was caused by the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which had been reinforced surgically in 1948.  At the time he was preparing for a television appearance to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the State of Israel.  He took a copy of his speech with him to the hospital but did not live long enough to complete it.

                Einstein refused to have any more surgery and said, “I want to go when I want.  It is tasteless to prolong life artificially.  I have done my share, it is time to go.  I will do it elegantly.”  He died early the next morning at the age of 76 in the Princeton Hospital.

                “During the autopsy, the pathologist of Princeton Hospital, Thomas Stoltz Harvey, removed Einstein’s brain for preservation, without the permission of his family, in the hope that the neuroscience of the future would be able to discover what made Einstein so intelligent.  Einstein’s remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered at an undisclosed location.

                “In his lecture at Einstein’s memorial, nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer summarized his impression of him as a person:  `He was almost wholly without sophistication and wholly without worldliness….  There was always with him a wonderful purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn.”

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Enforced by Congress

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Section 2 of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:   “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” This provision gives Congress the responsibility of enforcing it and carrying out its principles.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained, “Under this amendment Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of March 1, 1875.  The part of this act which allowed the federal government to take action against `individuals’ who were guilty of discrimination against Negroes was held unconstitutional on the ground that the Thirteenth Amendment gives the federal government power to regulate only states and not individuals.  The court said that provisions of this kind came within the police power of the state.  However, beginning with a series of civil rights acts in 1963, the jurisdiction of the federal government was broadly expanded to enforce civil rights along practically every dimension of American life.  The new acts , with Supreme Court support, overturned the ruling of 1875 and allowed the federal courts to enforce their decrees against individuals, schools, labor unions, restaurants, hotels, major industries, and other enterprises, both public and private.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 721.)

                Herman Belz of The Heritage Foundation explained, “By conferring power on Congress to enforce the prohibition of slavery throughout the United States, the Thirteenth Amendment altered the relationship between the states and the federal government.  State power to recognize or establish slavery as a legal institution was withdrawn; to that extent, at least, state authority to regulate the personal liberty and civil rights of individuals within their jurisdiction was restricted beyond the limits imposed by the original Constitution.  Unlike most other parts of the Constitution, which are designed only to limit governmental action, enforcement of the Thirteenth amendment is not limited by the requirement that it apply only to actions by states or state officials.  The amendment establishes a rule of action for private individuals as well as for state governments.  In the language of constitutional law, enforcement of the amendment is not limited by the requirement that the amendment’s prohibitions apply only to state action.  The U.S. Constitution, for the most part, does not apply to individuals except when they act under color of law (e.g., the policeman who searches your house).  The Thirteenth Amendment is different because it applies to private individuals acting in their private capacities.  A person violates the Thirteenth Amendment if he keeps a slave.  Where the fundamental right of personal liberty is concerned, the distinction between public and private spheres, which otherwise serves as a limitation on government power in the United States, is not recognized under the Thirteenth Amendment.”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 381.)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

There Is A God

                Many people do not believe in God and even deny the possibility of His existence.  Such a person existed in ancient America.  His name was Korihor, and he ridiculed Jesus Christ, the Atonement, and the spirit of prophecy.  He went about teaching that there is no God, no Fall of Adam and Eve, no penalty for sin, and definitely no Christ.

                Korihor was taken before the chief judge of the land and a high priest of the church; there he continued to rile against God and accused the leaders of glutting themselves on the labors of the people.  When those leaders found they could not have a coherent discussion with Korihor, they delivered him before the governor over all the land and the prophet Alma.  Again, Korihor accused the leaders of making slaves of the people, which Alma denied.

                Korihor continued to deny the existence of God, and Alma bore testimony of the existence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He asked Korihor what evidence he had to prove there is no God.  Of course, he had no evidence besides his words. 

                Alma then instructed Korihor:  “… I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them?  Believest thou that these things are true? …

                “And now Korihor said unto Alma:  If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words,

                “But Alma said unto him:  Thou hast had sings enough; will ye tempt your God?  Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets?  The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”

                Korihor continued to demand a sign until a sign was given to him.  “… This will I give unto thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb, according to my words; and I say, that in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no more have utterance.
                “Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was struck dumb, that he could not have utterance, according to the words of Alma.”  (See Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Alma 30:37-50.)

                Korihor admitted that he was struck dumb and only the power of God could have done it.  He begged to have the curse lifted.  Alma left it in the hands of God, and the curse was not lifted.  Korihor was run over on the streets of his city and died.

                Alma testified to Korihor that “all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44).

                It is the same today.  We too can look up into the night sky and see the millions of stars and planets, all in perfect order.  They did not come into being because of a big bang but were placed in their orbits by our Creator.  The work of God is visible in both the earth and in the heavens.  All things testify of God – the plants, animals, the mountains, the rivers, the clouds with their moisture, etc.

                God dwells in the heavens and is the ruler of the universe.  “Through his Son, Jesus Christ, he created heaven and earth and all things that are in them (see Pearl of Great Price, Moses 2:1).  He made the moon, the stars, and the sun.  He organized this world, gave it form, motion, and life.  He filled the air and the water with living things.  He covered the hills and plains with all kinds of animal life.  He gave us day and night, summer and winter, seedtime and harvest.  He made man in his own image to be a ruler over his other creations (see Genesis 1:26-27).  God is the one supreme and absolute being in whom we believe and whom we worship.  He is the Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things….” (See “Our Father in Heaven,” Gospel Principles, pp. 3-4.)

                God is a perfect, glorified man; He is a personage of flesh and bones.  He has a tangible body housing His eternal spirit.  “He is a God of love, mercy, charity, truth, power, faith, knowledge, and judgment.  He has all power.  He knows all things.  He is full of goodness.

                “All good things come from God.  Everything that he does is to help his children become like him – a god.  He has said `… Behold, this is my work and my glory - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39).

                Our Savior taught the importance of knowing God, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

                The more I know God, the more I love Him.  I keep His commandments because I love Him.  I know that I can become more like God by keeping His commandments and following in the footsteps of the Savior.  You too can come to know and understand God.  Believe in Him, believe that He exists, and believe that He loves you and desires that you return to His presence to live with Him for all eternity.  By coming to know God, we can eventually obtain eternal life.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Defend Traditional Marriage

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we defend traditional marriage.  The Catholic Church invited religious leaders and scholars representing 14 faith traditions from 23 countries to assemble at the Vatican on November 17-19, 2014.  This historic gathering was called to discuss traditional marriage and how men and women complement each other in marriage.

                President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addressed the assembly on November 18.  “Most remarkable to me has been the fulfillment of the hope I felt the day I met my wife.  I have become a better person as I have loved and lived with her.  We have been complementary beyond anything I could have imagined.  Her capacity to nurture others grew in me as we became one.  My capacity to plan, direct, and lead in our family grew in her as we became united in marriage.  I realize now that we grew together into one – slowly lifting and shaping each other, year by year.  As we absorbed strength from each other, it did not diminish our personal gifts.

                “Our differences combined as if they were designed to create a better whole.  Rather than dividing us, our differences bound us together.  Above all, our unique abilities allowed us to become partners with God in creating human life.  The happiness that came from our becoming one built faith in our children and grandchildren that marriage could be a continuing source of satisfaction for them and their families.

                “You have seen enough unhappiness in marriages and families to ask why some marriages produce happiness while others create unhappiness.  Many factors make a difference, but one stands out to me.

                “Where there is selfishness, natural differences of men and women often divide.  Where there is unselfishness, differences become complementary and provide opportunities to help and build each other.  Spouses and family members can lift each other and ascend together if they care more about the interests of the other than their own interests.

                “If unselfishness is the key to complementary marriage between a man and a woman, we know what we must do to help create a renaissance of successful marriages and family life.

                “We must find ways to lead people to a faith that they can replace their natural self-interest with deep and lasting feelings of charity and benevolence.  With that change, and only then, will people be able to make the hourly unselfish sacrifices necessary for a happy marriage and family life – and to do it with a smile.

                “The change that is needed is in people’s hearts more than in their minds.  The most persuasive logic will not be enough unless it helps soften hearts.  For instance, it is important for men and women to be faithful to a spouse and a family.  But in the heat of temptation to betray their trust, only powerful feelings of love and loyalty will be enough.”

                President Eyring then proceeded to read and explain the proclamation made to the world in September 1995 by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  That proclamation is entitled “The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.”  

                Thousands, if not millions, of marriages and families have been strengthened through following the guidelines of this proclamation.  As marriages and families are strengthened, they tend to strengthen their communities and nations.