Family: The True Future of our Nation

With the election happening in the next few days, I want to pull away from talking about one politician or another and their vision for the future of our country. Instead, I want to talk about families, for the family is the true future of our nation.

The family is the true future of our nation.

A long time ago, my father was very ill and was confined to a hospital bed. This confinement had come after many months of struggling with health problems that had brought him from a strong man, able to conquer anything, down to a man of physical weakness.

As would any man in his situation, his physical weakness caused him to think about what is really important in life. He discovered that it wasn’t the money that he made, it wasn’t the home he had paid off, it wasn’t the car he drove or the respect from or his stature in society. No, it wasn’t any of those things. It was something much more important, much more personal, something that he loved and appreciated more than all of those things combined. As my father lay there in that hospital bed watching an episode of “Oprah”, of all things, he turned the television off and stared up to the ceiling reflectively reviewing his life.

img_5737

I am sure, as each of us will someday, he thought of the choices he had made and the things that he had achieved and he discovered that the greatest choice he had made was getting married and that his greatest achievement was his family. Nothing else that he had spent his entire life working to achieve really matter anymore. He, at a very advanced age, had finally realized that the only thing that really mattered to him was his family.

Family is all that really matters! Have all of us realized that yet? It is the answer to the question that each of us has to ask ourselves at some point in our lives. Do you already know it? Are you realizing it now? Or, are you going to wait until you are at a very advanced age while lying in a hospital bed? Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a matter of when you realize it, it only matters that you do realize it.

Do you know who does realize it? Satan.

Before we came to this earth, our Father in Heaven organized us into families from the very beginning. He understood that we would need our families to give us strength, to educate us, to give us values and beliefs. He knew that we would need the love and support that only a family can provide when things got tough. A Mother and a Father that can help us understand our place in this world and give us the insight that only a Mother or a Father can give us. Our Heavenly Father felt so strongly about families that he established temples upon the earth to seal us into eternal families. This enables our ancestors to help us as we struggle through the trials of this earthly existence.

Satan knows that the one, sure way that he can destroy us individually, as a family and as a nation, is to destroy the family. How does he do this? Can we even count all of the ways that he does? There are the obvious answers such as finances, infidelity, addiction, physical and sexual abuse, and last but not least, selfishness. He also strives to destroy the family through public policy, organizations with family-friendly names but with destructive intentions and through laws. None of this has happened overnight, for Satan is a very patient enemy. This deadly cancer that he propagates has been growing over the course of decades. Now, it has fully infested every organ and limb of our family’s body.

Today, we see the destructive forces very clearly and they are literally knocking on our doors with battering rams. It’s like a ship in the distance that looks no bigger than the tip of a pin. It takes a while for that ship to catch up with us, but as it does, it becomes bigger and bigger and more ominous looking. We are now at the point where that ship is right behind us and it is massive and it is ugly and it isn’t looking to pass us by; it is coming to crush our tiny, little life rafts we call “our family”.

We are now at the point where that ship is right behind us and it is massive and it is ugly and it isn’t looking to pass us by; it is coming to crush our tiny, little life rafts we call “our family”.

This massive ship is armed with all sorts of weapons; legislation, media (music, books and movies), educational ideas, and many other destructive weapons; I’ll leave it to you to finish the list. All of them are presented to us disguised as a beautiful cake that is iced with laws, ideas and morals that look innocent on the top, but that are actually filled with poison and destruction inside.

Mothers, Father, Children, BEWARE! Most people do not have your best interest at heart. They are not interested in protecting your family. Especially those of our legislators that are more interested in listening to the voices of the special interest groups that lobby them rather than the constituency they represent.

I encourage all of my friends and family, as you go to vote this Tuesday, do not go alone. What I mean by that is that as you enter that voting booth, go in with a prayer in your heart. Please ask for your Heavenly Father, the Father of all living, to influence your vote.

Our families…. NO!… our nation is depending on it!

By: Blake Baker

Happy Hour!

A couple years ago I noticed that my children and I had developed a bad habit. When we were home together there seemed to be a lot of bickering, impatience, lack of respect for each other, and overall grumpiness. Of course, when people came to the house or when we went out in public we put on our happy faces and were kind and pleasant to those around us. This lack of integrity really bothered me. Why were we kinder to strangers than to the people we plan to spend eternity with?

We had talked often about our problem and agreed to work on it, but nothing seemed to change.

Then my oldest daughter was asked to sing at a baptism. The song was, “If the Savior Stood Beside Me”. As she sang this sweet song I knew that I would not be impatient or speak harshly to my children if the Savior stood beside me. My desire to change sent me to my knees for an idea how I could change myself and help my children to be kinder to each other.

children-songbook-159045-mobile

Although I’d prayed about this problem in the past, this song gave me a new perspective on it. Finally an answer came that I could hear and understand. It felt overwhelming for us imperfect people to act like the Savior was always by our side, but maybe we could do it for an hour a day.

I made a proposal to my children. I explained the inspiration I’d received and asked if they would like to try it out. They were all excited to try it. We decided we needed a name for our hour of acting like the Savior were by our side. Several ideas were discussed and then my daughter, the same one that sang the song, suggested we call it Happy Hour! The kids all loved it. I chuckled knowing they had no clue what the world considered happy hour. But it was perfect – when we are trying to be like the Savior we are happy. So that was the name we picked.

Here were the simple rules:

Each morning pick what hour we would designate as Happy Hour (we wanted as many people home as possible).

We started that hour with a prayer, pleading that the Lord would help us.

Every person was responsible to do their best to act as though the Savior stood beside them.

The transformation was amazing! For one hour we could be patient, helpful, and cooperative. The older kids happily played with the little ones, read them books, or changed diapers. When a child needed me they became more important than the current task at hand – more important than laundry, dishes, lesson plans, and cleaning. Those things were set aside for a few minutes and replaced with a child sitting on my lap and me actually listening to what they were telling me.

The spirit in our home was amazing during Happy Hour. Each day we looked forward to participating in this experiment. Our relationships improved as did our ability to keep our baptismal covenant “to always remember Him”. The summer we incorporated Happy Hour was one of the best we’ve ever had!

Could your family use a daily “Happy Hour”?

By Marilee Blonquist

Action Item for Parents

8888_766351813501080_1202302875106356088_n

The Utah State School Board is currently discussing a change in Utah’s Public School Health Standards. The standards that will be discussed include mental health, drug abuse, suicide, bullying, and misuse of social media. Utah parents reach out to board members to ask them to involve parents in the creation of these standards to that curriculum such as Comprehensive Sexuality Education is not included.

In Utah, Parents are considered only one of many “stakeholders” in the education of our children and because we don’t control the money, we have been given very little say in matters involving the state school board. Also, board rules and protocol are not as standardized as the Senate and House. This creates confusion that is commonly used to keep parents in the dark.

Parents can return to their place as the only stakeholders in the education of their children, but they need to take action now.

1- Please contact the state board members and tell them to not vote on this proposal until parents have an opportunity to share their concerns. http://schoolboard.utah.gov/board-member-bios

2-Please contact your Legislators and request that they intervene on behalf of the parents.

3- Please let other parents know what is happening.

Take a moment to watch this video that explains Comprehensive Sexuality Education and share it with your neighbors. WARNING! Not appropriate for children!

Parental Rights in Utah Finishes Dead Last

We interrupt this Denial Festival with an important announcement from Reality:

I just got home from a Utah State School Board Meeting – my last. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why. As a Utah parent, represented by said board, I have become irrelevant. Thanks to the higher paying “stakeholders” in Utah education, Delphi techniques of shutting out opposing dialog, and the new, high-tech, spineless, and anonymous digitalized voting for the Board, my place in the line-up of “stakeholders” in my own children’s and future grandchildren’s education is now dead last.

clipart-tombstone-with-rip-nytczy-clipart

Thank you, Senator Howard Stephenson, for reiterating ad nauseum that the problem with less than “complete fidelity” to your technology “master plan” is poor implementation by teachers. If you’re a Star Trek fan and are familiar with the alien collective Borg, the translation of “complete fidelity” is actually “resistance is futile”. Minus points, Senator Stephenson, for your lack of originality in excuses. Every despotic central planner in the last century has pointed to poor implementation, when confronted with pesky human nature and its desire for self determination.

Mental health issues are brought to you by Representative Steve Eliason, asking for a mere $1 million in our multi billion dollar state budget – to help prevent suicide. It was at this point in the meeting that I had to look up the word aneurysm to make sure I wasn’t having one.

Let me get this straight Representative Eliason: you want to spend $1 million to help kids in mental health crisis, when the state of Utah has spent $39 million in the last 3 years to develop a testing system so onerous, that kids are stressed to the max about their schooling? Neck braces, anyone? So, to clear up my whiplash – which is our priority – to spend money TO mess up our kids by testing them every other day, or to spend money to clean up those messes?

I got out of the madness of public education by nothing but sheer Providential intervention, and have run a private Suzuki piano studio for the better part of 31 years. I have had more children break down at their piano lessons, weeping at the stress that has become their lives, in the last 2-3 years, than in all the preceding years. WEEKLY. I have CHILDREN weeping in frustration and stress – at their piano lessons! And as I try to coach them as to how they can fit their practicing into their lives, and they outline their weekly schedule for me, I weep with them. These children are not being allowed to live the lives of children any more. Talk about selling your birthright for a mess of pottage…

The saddest aspect of leading this segment with suicide prevention is that it is such a legitimate concern. How typical for those wishing to pass radical and sweeping changes to lead with emotion, which fuzzies the lines of logic afterwards. It is still not widely known that programs with names like “suicide prevention”, and “anti-bullying” have become emotional fronts for an aggressive Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculum, which was shot down in the Utah House Education Committee last year. It is now sneaking through a side door via the Utah State School Board, the draconian entity formerly known as the Utah State Office of Education.

By “deeming” themselves part of the elected representative board with this new moniker, and by slipping sexuality education into the one-sided and parentless discussion of mental health and cultural concerns, the “Board” slipped in a whopper of a vote at the last minute in this segment of the now nearly three-hour meeting. The carefully orchestrated transition was nearly seamless and imperceptible, introduced by a charming, disarming, young Latino teacher with concerns that needed school counselors would not be “culturally proficient”. The discussion moved from “cultural” to “sexual” nearly in the same breath, and served as the perfect segue for the $64 question: “Oh, Board… would you rather that we:

1. Keep current health standards and just reformat? (no content change)

2. Prepare supplementary materials to add to current curriculum, to address “new” health risks – with a focus on mental health and suicide prevention? (price tag – $5000)

3. Create brand new health standards K-6 to address these new risks? (price tag – $68K)

4. Scrap ALL standards, K-12 and do a “comprehensive” revision? (price tag – $140K)

One board member immediately voted for Option 4. Without any discussion, the digital voting occurred, and there sat the irrelevant parents, as a faceless board hid behind their keyboards, and digitally, voted unanimously to not just let the CSE camel stick its nose in the tent – oh no! This camel has just taken up residence in the tent.

And parents? That tent happens to be where you used to raise your children. A vote was taken this evening that was a very necessary, important first step to even further diminishing your role in your children’s lives.

This Message Brought to You By: Laureen Simper

Family Lessons from the Book of Mormon: Likening the Scriptures to Ourselves

how-i-did-it

Nephi wrote that he taught his children to “liken the scriptures unto [them], that it might be for [their] profit and learning.” (1 Nephi 19:23). This is where the real value – and power – lies within the Book of Mormon for us – in our ability to see these people as real people, not just characters in compelling stories. These were ordinary people who had learned this important truth taught by President Faust:

“The Lord said, ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’ We are called when hands are laid upon our heads . . . but we are not chosen until we have demonstrated to God our righteousness, our faithfulness, and our commitment.” (Ensign, Nov. 2005, p. 55)

​It seems that the qualifier of being chosen by the Lord is that we first choose Him. He waits to give all His children the spiritual gifts and blessings that they need to become sanctified – that is, to come back into His presence. In all the pictures of Christ standing outside a closed door, knocking, the door never has a doorknob – signifying that Christ will only enter if He is invited, if He is wanted. We must choose Him first. The elect of God are the obedient, and any one of His children can be obedient – if we want it.

​Nephi wants to know for himself the things that his father taught him. Through obedience, he chose the Lord by going to ask. His brothers didn’t. When Nephi asked them if they had asked the Lord, they said, “We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” (1 Nephi 15:9) My friend has written the words ‘Lazy Lament’ in her scriptures by this verse. Can’t you hear the whine in their voices in their answer? ‘The Lord doesn’t tell us anything.’

As we liken the scriptures to ourselves, we can increase our faith by exercising it – by asking for our own spiritual gifts and blessings, rather than enviously assuming that another who seems to be ahead of us spiritually has all the spiritual advantages. The Book of Mormon says over and over again, that the blessings of the Lord are available to all of God’s children, but they must want them enough to pay the price for them. That means: those who have these spiritual blessings have paid that price.

​Enos prayed all night for a remission of his sins. What a great example to teach us by asking this implied question: how badly do we want the Lord? How badly do we want to be healed from our spiritual diseases – our sins? What are we willing to give up?

The father of the Lamanite King Lamoni had murder in his heart for the very missionaries that brought him the gospel. Days or weeks later, when these missionaries finally taught him the gospel, he listened with the ability to recognize the evil that was in his heart, and prostrated himself on the earth. He prayed:

O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.” (Alma 22:18)

​As we liken the scriptures to ourselves, can we read about such a man, and through the Spirit, increase our desire to lay all our sins and weaknesses on the altar – a small price to pay – in order to know the Lord, to see Him face to face, to live with Him?

​Likening the scriptures to my life has brought me new insights about how we respond to truth when we recognize that it will require us to radically change something in our behavior.

The conversion of Alma Senior gives the example of two individuals who were touched by Abinadi’s message: Alma Senior, and King Noah. President Eyring has taught that we can increase our ability to obey by learning to obey as quickly as we can, as quickly as we recognize the need to make a change (October 2005). Alma Senior did just that. King Noah was also moved by Abinadi’s last words.

​​“And now king Noah was about to release him, for he feared his word; for he feared that the judgments of God would come upon him.” (Mosiah 17:11)

Here is one of those seconds where an eternal destiny hangs in the balance. Imagine how that kingdom could have been changed if Noah had quickly obeyed that last prompting he received, spoken out for Abinadi, and released him. But the other priests, anxious to preserve their lifestyles, spoke first and swept Noah along with them. He lost his chance, a prophet was martyred, and a wicked man’s fate was sealed by his own actions, or lack, of action.

​In 3rd Nephi, a wicked society mocked a righteous people who waited for the sign of Christ’s coming, threatening their lives if the sign didn’t come according to their timetable. Are we not a similar people today, waiting for the Second Coming in a wicked society that mocks our waiting?

​The brother of Jared came up with an idea to give light to his family as they crossed an ocean. Was it preposterous, maybe even irreverent to ask God Himself to touch these stones? With the faith of a child, knowing that the Lord could touch the stones, he asked. The man was an ordinary man. The faith he exhibited in devising the plan and bringing his request to the Lord was extraordinary. The Lord responded in an extraordinary way. Later in the book of Ether, Moroni writes:

​​“And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.
​​“And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad
.” (Ether 12:19)

​As we liken these scriptures to ourselves, there is an implication that we can see the things that we have already seen with an eye of faith, even on this side of the veil. President Russell M. Nelson implied the same thing in a BYU fireside in December of 2002:

​​“Difficult days are ahead for all mankind. Sin is on the increase. We live in a time of wars and rumors of wars. The Church and its members will come under attack and endure persecution.
​​“The time is coming when those who do not obey the Lord will be separated from those who do . . . the greatest gift you could give the Lord at this or any other time of year is to keep yourself unspotted from the world, worthy to attend His holy house. His gift to you will be the peace and security of knowing that you are worthy to meet Him, whenever that time shall come. . .
“Brothers and sisters, I plead with you to rise above the tasks of the day and the hurdles ahead. You can do more than the deeds scheduled in your daily planners. You can take the name of the Lord upon you and become more like Him. You can rise to your great potential.. .
“Remember that the fullness of Christ’s ministry lies in the future. The prophecies of His Second Coming have yet to be fulfilled. . . .At His first coming Jesus came almost in secret. Only a few mortals knew of His birth. At His second coming the whole of humankind will know of His return . . . As a special witness of His holy name I testify that Jesus is the divine Son of the living God. He will love you, lift you, and manifest Himself unto you if you will love Him and
​​keep His commandments
.”

​President Nelson adds his powerful modern-day witness to what the Book of Mormon repeatedly teaches us: the Lord’s blessings – even the ultimate blessing of entering His presence – are available to all His obedient children, even in the flesh. The Book of Mormon is a powerful tool, along with the words of the living prophets, to teach us how to pay the price for this blessing.

The ordinary people of the Book of Mormon teach us of the extraordinary blessings God waits to give all His children who want them. He respects our agency so highly, that He can give us these blessings in no other way. The way is simple – not easy, but simple. It starts by wanting it, more than any other thing. If we want it, we can then look to Christ.

As we liken the scriptures to our own lives, the Book of Mormon becomes a handbook – a “How I Did It” book from ordinary people who paid the price to know God. The price we pay is wanting it more than anything else, so we will be willing to lay it all on the altar to taste His goodness, and eventually, enter again into His presence.

By Laureen Simper