Sunday, March 29, 2009

Always Remember Him - Even during the Sacrament

When partaking of the Sacrament, we are making a sacred covenant with our Heavenly Father. Our part of that covenant is to always remember the Savior. This covenant helps me as I live my daily life, keeping me focused on those things I know He wants for me. Lately, I've thought more particularly on what it is I am doing while I am making these promises. Yes, I find myself looking at the reverence with which I participate in the Sacrament Meeting - especially during the Sacrament Service itself.

A weekly ordinance, rather than a once-in-a-lifetime-event, the sacrament is one of the only ordinances in which we participate more than once for ourselves. Since it is rather more frequent an experience, we should all be far better at performing it with exactness. Since our attention should be more than just a moment for partaking of the bread and a moment for partaking of the water, what do we do with the rest of that time allotted for passing the sacrament?

I remember being told as a child that I needed to think on the Savior and what he has done for me. As a young child, I had no idea what that meant so I sat quietly, which kept all those around me happy enough. Simply sitting there quietly during the passing of the sacrament seems to be a little less than enough to qualify as participating in this ordinance. Concentrating on worshipping the Savior, refraining from all other activity, is what our aim should be during this most sacred time of most weeks. Yet, how do you teach someone what it means to worship? How do you teach a child that merely being quiet is just not enough? So, I need to ponder. Is the act of "pondering on His sacrifice for me" enough to say I am worshipping Him?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tyranny of the Majority

The president and those yokels in congress have run amok. Seriously. Between what they've been preaching and the media's high horsed rants, so many people have climbed aboard the bandwagon of "give it to me for free!" Our country, our poor, poor country, was not established on the virtues of large take-care-of-everyone's-needs government. The successes we've seen in the history of this great nation have emminated from an attitude of DIY - Do It Yourself.

Was it right for AIG to give "bonuses" to executives, using the monies obtained through a hastily crafted, fault ridden, bohemoth of a bill that will continue to haunt our children's children for decades? Probably not. Retroactive taxing is no more appropriate now than it was before, though. The apparant lack of respect for the rights of people has left me flabergasted. I watch through tearful eyes as the basis upon which this country was built is torn assunder.

As I listen to the news broadcasts relating the events unfolding in Washington, I am almost constantly on the verge of breaking down, screaming at the television for all the good that would do. John McCain was riddiculed for suggesting that the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Yet, that statement was as accurate that day as it is today. Fundamentally, our economy is based on free trade. The markets are free to go up as well as down. It is when government intervenes that the shifts in the market go totally out of whack.

President Obama and his cohorts in congress are attacking the very fundamentals that make this country strong. In the name of safety, they are seeking to sieze control of private and publically held companies. Serious danger looms on the horizon.

I fear what will become of this nation when we've offered our last shred of liberty as a sacrifice to the gods of safety. That day is not too far away. I hope I am wrong.

Our hope. Our only hope rests with a few Democrats seeing the light and banding with conservatives in congress. calls this a "nightmare scenario: a few conservative Democrats teaming up with Republicans to stop the progressive pieces of the President's agenda."

Abraham Lincoln suggested that what one man calls liberty is another man's tyranny.

“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny.”

I'm thinking that much of what is going on in Washington is the Progressive effort to take what belongs to one man and give it to others. Taking the product of another's labor and doing with that as they please is not liberty but tyranny. This is not what our country is about. This is not what made America the strong country that it is today.

I cannot sit back and watch this from the comfort of my livingroom. What I would ask is that everyone call your representatives, your senators and write a letter or two. Write to your congressmen! Write to the President! Stop this injustice, stop it all!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rising to Zion's Standard

Our gospel doctrine subject for the year is Church History and the Doctrine and Covenants. Although little time is spent on the subject, there has been some discussion about the challenges the Saints faced as they attempted to "Build up Zion unto the Lord" and failed. Their failure has given furtile ground for too many to speculate and judge. Too many have judged our forebears harshly because of this failure. How do we measure as we're judged against the same standards?

Elder D. Todd Christofferson suggested, "Under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, early members of the Church attempted to establish the center place of Zion in Missouri, but they did not qualify to build the holy city. . . .

"Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, 'the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them' (Moses 7:18). If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us. We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen—Zion will come only as they happen."

If we are to succeed where others have failed, it is by establishing Zion in our homes first. Our families must become unified in one heart and mind. How can we look beyond the first building block of zion before it has been perfected?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bo Dangker

You know Bo Dangker. I know you do. He might not answer to this name specifically but you know who I am talking about. He's a likable type of guy, very nice indeed. He might turn up at the office or in social situations. He might even be part of your family. You see, old Bo is that guy who seems to have it all together but when push comes to shove, can't quite deliver.

Ol' Bo will generally jump at the chance to be part of your team, bringing plenty of ideas to the table. He'll accept all kinds of responsibility. When you meet again, he'll come empty handed with nothing but excuses suggesting there is no reason he should take blame. Yep, he's Mr. Bo Dangker!

Ol' Bo will think that the family potluck is a wonderful idea even taking charge early on. When deciding what he'll contribute, he'll be sure to sign up for something very extravagant - you know, the Turkey! He'll sign up for one of the more integral parts of the meal. When the time comes to deliver, good Ol' Bo will show up to eat his fill but he'll bring nothing to the table but a bowl full of justifications and a heaping side of "Yeah but I". Yep, he's cousin Bo Dangker!

Ol' Bo will slide in with a bunch of friends too. Deciding to meet up and do something fun, good Ol' Bo will see to it that he's not happy with just doing something fun. Yeah, he wants to make sure it is very special. The restaurant won't due unless it meets his criteria. Will there be any compromise? Sure there will. Everyone but Bo will give something in the name of fun. When everyone finally comes to a consensus on what you're doing where, Ol' Bo will do nothing but complain. Yep, he's Bo Dangker!

Don't be a Bo Dangker!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The interview was nearly over before it began because I refused to provide my Social Security number to an organization that hasn't given me a reason for needing it. 

Are you doing a background check? Not yet.

Are you offering me a job? Not 

Why do you need my social security number? We've always requested it.

Ok, I'll give you the social security number when you need to have it - either when you offer me a position or when you decide you need to do a background check as  prerequisite for hiring me.

Sir, we need to have your social security number before we can proceed.


Company policy.

Personal policy dictates that I do not share my personal information with just anyone to put into their files. When you offer me a position or need to do a background check prior to offering me a position, I will provide the social security number.

I do not think anyone has ever questioned this policy, sir.
We continued the interview process without the social security number. Only moments after continuing, though, I was surprised to find out the interviewer did not know Illinois was a state or where Illinios was. I can only hope the contempt I felt for her ignorance did not display itself as we completed the interview.

Social security numbers are pretty important. It might not hurt me to share it with strangers I don't know. It just might. World Geography is a major handicap for a good portion of America but I think we should all have a pretty good idea about national geography. Shouldn't we?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Interesting points would have you believe...

I am a little less than impressed with politics lately. You see, the republicans cannot seem to pull it together and the move toward socializing just about every aspect of our lives is moving at an alarming pace. The far left (as depicted by such organizations as is giddy with what is going on. In a recent message from the group, has presented a list of 10 aspects of President Obama's plan they feel make it a winner. The bold faced copy is the statement has made. The comments following the statements are how I feel about the point they are making.

  • Makes a $634 billion down payment on fixing health care.  While our healthcare system is definitely broken, infusing more money into the system isn't necessarily the answer. I remember talking with a friend about their car and all the repairs they've had to make recently. The car is broken and it has become a great big money sink. Spending more money isn't going to make it better. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize the complete burden the healthcare system has become. Healthcare costs have risen at a pace that far outstrips all other inflationary data. This one point, that there needs to be a better solution, is probably the only thing on which and I agree. The way to fix the problem, however, has not been so common.
  • Reduces taxes for 95% of working Americans. Reducing the taxes of those people who do not pay them just does not make sense. I just do not understand how this is a good thing. If they were working toward reducing the taxes for 95% of all taxpayers, I would probably be on board with this. "Reducing" the tax burden of those people who don't pay taxes is tantamount to another welfare program - taking money from those who pay taxes and giving it to those who do not. While this is the standard way of things, we don't need to add to the problem. Giving enough money for Jon Laborer to purchase a pizza dinner for his family once a month isn't going to stimulate anything but it does give Mr. Laborer a sense of entitlement. I don't think anyone should have a sense of entitlement about anything from the government beyond the standard - defense, trade, etc.
  • Invests more than $100 billion in clean energy technology. Government spending at its best, right? I have mixed emotions on this. I do not know that spending the money is the right way to go about this. Tax and other incentives are probably a better, more effective way to "create" home-grown jobs while trying to save the planet. President Obama has talked long and loud about the need to cut government spending. So far, I've seen a lot of spending but not a lot of cutting.
  • Brings our troops home from Iraq on a firm timetable. Interesting that the President has been given such accolades for a timetable that was established by the former administration - as agreed upon with the Iraqi government. Even the commanding officers in the field are happy with a timetable. It makes it easier to make plans. The troops are happy for the same reason. Open ended means unsurety. 
  • Reverses growing income inequality. Tax the rich! Tax the rich! Tax those who might have the power to break the downhill slide! The facts are in. Those people who have the money to invest won't invest as much money if they are paying it to the government. The best time to raise taxes (or let lower taxes expire) is not in the middle of a financial crisis. I just do not understand the logic behind the call to tax the rich so we can give more money to the failed bureaucracies that have continued to waste our money for the past 50 years.
  • Closes multi-billion-dollar tax loopholes for big oil companies. The call to "close tax loopholes for the big oil companies" is misleading. Oil companies do not enjoy "loopholes" that are not enjoyed by other organizations. Reducing the money the oil companies can invest in new technologies didn't work in 1978. It won't work today. 
  • Increases grants to help families pay for college. I'm all about helping people go to college. I'm in a position that it would be nice to have the help my daughter needs to go to college. I have to wonder: will I get that help in time? Will I qualify for the help I need or will there be unnecessary burdens placed in my way because I don't fit some cookie-cutter idea of who really needs the help. 

  • Halves the deficit by 2013. President Obama inherited a legacy of huge deficits and an economy in shambles. I'll concede this point. However, I don't understand how anyone can claim they are going to reduce the deficit when all they've done is advocate spending more money. President Obama has called on us to make "hard choices" but when push comes to shove, he hasn't held his ground. While campaigning for change, Barack Obama said, "We need earmark reform, and when I'm President, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely." But now the President is about to sign a huge 2,697 page spending bill with over 9,000 unnecessary and wasteful earmarks. I'll believe the President's tenacity when he has demonstrated his ability to hold his ground on this. 

  • Dramatically increases funding for the SEC and the CFTC—the agencies that police Wall Street. Will this help us? Again, is this a point of throwing good money after bad? 
  • Tells it straight. I don't know if I fully endorse the idea that President Obama has been on board the "straight talk express". (I know that's John McCain) Look, our country is currently nearly $11 trillion dollars in debt. Our projected deficit for 2009 alone is an alarming $2 trillion dollars. Just two weeks ago, President Obama signed a bill that the Democratic-led Congress passed to spend an additional $1 trillion in "stimulus spending." And on top of all of this, President Obama has requested $3.6 trillion in additional spending for 2010. On the heals of such measures, I'm supposed to believe he's acting any different than any of the previous adminstrations? Not yet.