Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mosiah 23:14

"And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments." Mosiah 23:14

My sister-in-law and I had a conversation about this verse the other day and I have been thinking about it more and more since then. What does it mean? When it says trust no one to be your teacher ... except he be a man of God... does this just mean Sunday school teacher as many seem to think or is this all of our teachers? The context of the verse is when Alma has led the people away from King Noah's people and they now want to make him the new king. He reminds them of the wickedness of King Noah and then in verse 13 he says "And now as ye have been delivered by the power of God out of these bonds; yea, even out of the hands of King Noah and his people, and also from the bonds of iniquity, even so I desire that ye should stand fast in the liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust no man to be a king over you." Then he goes to verse 14. So the context of this verse is Alma's recipe for maintaining freedom. I believe it includes three aspects, he mentions no kings, and later sets up a system of laws and judges that are elected by the people, so this is the type of government most conducive to freedom. Then he says that both their teachers and their ministers, or religious leaders should be men of God walking in His ways. These are two separate categories, one is education and the other is religion. This is the three legged stool to maintaining freedom, a government that gets its power from the people, education and teachers that are coming from the right perspective, that is they have a Godly worldview and last religious leaders that are also following God. Take any one of these away and the people begin to loose their freedoms. I think that those who are awake to it can see that this is happening now.

But why is it important to have our teachers be men of God? A teacher is one that has been given the influence to help the student to formulate opinions, to develop thought processes, to gain ideas and to train the mind of the person to interact with the world from a certain perspective. It is not possible for this perspective to be neutral, because everyone has a bias. There are a few people out there that don't know yet, but most who teach profess to know something about what they teach and so they will have a perspective that they are coming from. If they are men of God then the mind of the students are more likely to come away with ideas about God, and His plan and purpose along with His hand in our world and our lives. If the teacher is not a man of God, the ideas and the perspectives of the students are more likely to be influenced away from God. My sister-in-law said she had been watching for anything in her children's school that were false teachings and she might need to correct, but I think Satan is a lot more subtle than that. He may not come directly out and teach their is no God, but instead he may just get the students to develop thought processes, ideas and opinions that do not have God in them. This subtlety is often much more dangerous. I think this is why Alma warns us away from it.

Proposition 8 and Freedom

Kevin and I went to a fireside on Sunday evening. Congressman Herger spoke to us on the relationship of the constitution and religious principles. I few comments he made stuck out to me. One was that indifference brings sadness and righteous action brings happiness. He asked us to stop and think about the first part of that statement. If we do nothing, if we are indifferent, we are allowing those who are willing to do wickedly to have their way simply because we are not standing up for our homes, religion and liberty. Congressmen Herger quoted someone and I did not get the reference, but he said that God reveals his secrets to the prophets, so that even those who are beyond the ability to receive their own revelation may know the will of God on certain subjects. And part of this revelation is the Proclamation on the Family. In this proclamation it states “we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” We are currently facing this head on in California with Proposition 8.

We need to stand for faith, families and freedoms, because this is what builds healthy communities and a strong people. Not only are our families under attack, but if proposition 8 fails our religious freedom will also be under attack. And when our families and religions fail, so will our freedoms. The founding fathers have said that the constitution will not work for an irreligious people. The government will become corrupt and the freedoms of the people will be lost if they are an immoral people, who are not following the precepts found in the Bible.

Separation between church and state has been altered from its original meaning to such a degree that it has now become intolerance to religion. The founding fathers quoted the Bible more than any other book in their political documents. The capitol held church services in it until the civil war, there is a prayer room, and Christian paintings and quotes in numerous places in the capitol. Clearly, separation between church and state was not supposed to mean that we can’t discuss God publicly. It simply meant that no specific religion would have preference over any other religion. In other words there would be no State religion.

It wasn’t until 1962 that the meaning began to be so skewed, because of the special interest groups that began to get their foot into out schools-notice it is always the schools to fall first in legal cases, because it is the easiest place for special interest groups to attempt to control. In 1962 it was ruled that state sponsored prayer was no longer allowed in school. In 1963 it was ruled that state sponsored Bible reading was no longer allowed in school. In 1984 it was ruled that there could be no more displays of the 10 commandments in school. In 1992 it was ruled that there could no longer be prayers at graduation. In 2002 it was ruled that to say under God in the pledge of allegiance was not constitutional, though it was later reverse on a technicality (the father did not actually have custody of the child he was representing in court). This skewing of the separation between church and state has gotten to the point that not only religious, but moral views are coming under attack in school. In fact they are now ridiculed more often than supported, as such was the case of a girl in our ward who refused to watch an R-rated movie in history class, and the teacher told her she was immature and couldn't handle it in front of the class.

This skewed viewpoint in our schools that forbids the acknowledgement of God out of necessity means that history must be rewritten to leave God out, which opens the doors for special interest groups to skew historical facts to lead the children to believe something that did not happen did and things that did happen, happened for reasons other than the real ones. Science must also be skewed to the point that it has now become almost antagonistic to religion, when in reality it supports the presence of God. This new viewpoint means that things are no longer equal, but secularism is the government religion and is indoctrinated into the children by the government and the special interest groups that in many ways control the legislation.

When the four unelected judges overturned the will of the people same sex marriages became legal in California. If proposition 8 does not pass it is likely that any marriages preformed here will have to be recognized by every other state. We must help proposition 8 pass and we must preserve an institution, that of families, that is fundamental to society. If we do not this radical change to this institution will have dramatic consequence.

We know that children are best raised in a home with a mother and a father and that two mothers can not replace a father, and two fathers can not replace a mother. But if this happens adoption agencies will no longer be able to only place children in homes with a mother and a father. If they are not willing to place children with same sex couples they will have to close down.

This also attacks our freedom of religion as those who are in the clergy and will not marry same sex couples will have legal ramifications and risk consequences including tax consequences. In Canada and Sweden where same sex marriages are allowed churches are not allowed to speak out against gay and lesbianism, which violates freedom of speech and religion.

There are Nine European nations that have allowed same-sex marriages since the 1990’s. In these nations only 2% of same sex couples elect to get married. But what has happened in these countries is out of wedlock births have increased by 46%. These have led to 80% of first births in these countries to be out of wedlock, because marriage has come to mean very little. If this is not the break down of the family unit, what is?

Those of us in California have been asked to contribute generously of our time and resources to the support of an amendment that will uphold the traditional marriage and all that rests upon it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Science Conversation

The other day when the kids and I were studying we had one of those lessons that would never have been allowed in public school, not only because we discussed God in it, but also because we never got to the topic that we were "supposed" to be discussing.

We were beginning chapter 2 in Madam How and Lady Why. This chapter is about Earthquakes. Towards the beginning it said "You asked me because you are a human being and a child of God, and not merely a cleverer sort of animal..." Here Aubrey stopped me and said, "We are animals." I asked her why she thought that. She said, "Lots of people say so, on TV and in books." Okay, but does that make it true? If lots of people said the moon was made of green cheese would the moon be made of green cheese? "Well, no, but they do say so." Okay, but what does God say? Let's look in Genesis chapter 1, verses 24-25, God creates the beasts and all of the animals. Man is not a part of this creation, and he is not classified with the beasts. But in the next verse God creates man after His image and to have dominion over the animals. To have dominion over something is to be in charge of it and to use it. We may do this, because we are higher than the animals, we are not included with them.

"But we are still like them in some ways." Yes, that is true. Scientists are now doing research on the brain that shows where in the brain we have a few similarities and where our differences lie. I then explained how they can scan the brain of a person or a rat and see the different areas that are being used when the person or animal is doing different things. Rats are more concerned with basic needs like food, shelter and safety, their whole brain is geared towards these needs. People have these needs too and the lower-back part of the brain is geared towards this. But the upper and frontal parts have functions that animals don't have and this is where we do our thinking and our wondering why. It is important for us to know the reasons of things and especially as you guys get older you will need to know all of the why's before you are grown, so I want you to ask me. "Can we ask you anything?" Anything. "What if we want to know why we have to go to bed so early?" Then ask, but I would advise you not to ask right at the time that I am sending you to bed, and do not ask in a disrespectful way. Here my daughter had to stop and act out the two ways to ask something=).

Of course, I then had to explain the different sleep needs of babies, children and adults and why the children needed to go to bed before Dad and I, but as they got older they would be able to stay up later and by the time they were adults they would probably have similar sleep patterns to Dad and I. They were quite pleased with this.

"How do rats use their brains when they run mazes?" I explained to the children their need for food and that they ran the mazes to get the food and by trial and error they soon learned the best way to go and could remember it and run the maze faster each time up to a point. "What if the maze was switched on them?" We discussed this and then my daughter said, "We are like rats too, because we first want food, house and stuff and then we want our other stuff." Yes, you are right. This is what a man named Maslow called our hierarchy of needs, which just means that we need to know where our next meal is coming from, that we will be protected and that we will be safe, before we will be ready to go on to say studying or something. Here my son adds, "Yeah, I am getting hungry and it makes it hard for me to think."

"So, if we are not animals, why do so many people say that we are?" Well, you have to remember that when we teach science we have to teach that there is a reason things happen and in our public schools, which most people in our country go to they are not allowed to talk about God, so they have to come up with another reason that things happen. A man name Darwin had a few ideas on this subject and then others have taken his ideas and added to them, so they now teach that everything came from rocks, including the animals and us. The rocks collided and came alive in the form of amoeba-type creatures and these then grew to fish, which changed to amphibians and after a big line of things these changed to monkeys that turned in to us. This idea can be taught in schools, because it doesn't include God and so this is what is taught as the reason why of things and in this idea we are just like the animals, we just got smarter.

Of course, this idea of evolution defies other scientific principals like the second law of thermodynamics, but they don't teach that, because then they would have to come up with a new way to explain things. Do you remember the second law of thermodynamics or entropy? Kamron says, "Oh, yea, that's like if a brick building is there for a really long time it will fall down, but if you have a pile of bricks it is not going to turn into a brick building unless someone does it." Right, if organized things are left alone they will become disorganized, but disorganized things don't become more organized unless someone or something acts upon them. This also means that life forms are not going to get more organized on their own-bricks don't collide and turn into buildings and rocks don't collide and turn into people. By leaving out certain scientific teachings in schools and including only parts of others they can get people to only hear half of the story and then those people think they know the whole story and start believing what they've learned is true and everybody else who thinks that God designed and set things up and continues to have an effect on the Earth are wrong. And now even in colleges and Universities they teach evolution and many ridicule those who don't believe in it.

At this point we decided to read about earthquakes another day, because it was time to clean up. But, my daughter once again informed me that she wants to become a scientist and study chemistry. This is about the tenth request to study chemistry, so I may have to scrap my plans for studying botany this next year and instead study chemistry. I am finding this is happening more and more and the children learn more if I follow their lead. So, it is time to research options for a chemistry study.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Who Are Our Heroes?

Are great athletes always heroes? No, no more than are brilliant men. I had a conversation about a great athlete awhile ago and was asked if I did not find him inspiring. I mentioned his divorce and the resentment his children had at his being gone so often, and said that while he may be a good athlete, he has failed in those areas of greater importance. So, no, he is not a hero. This same principle applies to straight A students. Does the Harvard graduate with honors automatically mean that this student is an inspiration? Before we proclaim anyone a hero, his or whole character needs to be looked at and ecspecially in the areas of priorities or areas that should be a priority. So does this mean that a child who does poorly in his or her studies, but is a hard worker and is striving to follow God is a hero. Yes. That is what a hero is. Someone who is really striving to follow God, inspite of difficulties.

"It would be better for us not to be able to cast up a single sum in addition and be humble before the Lord than to have ever so much knowledge and permit that knowledge to lead us to destruction." (Wilford Woodruff's Journals 5:428.)

Is this really true? Would it be better that we are ignorant in the three R's as long as we know how to follow God? What if we had a choice in education-one that instructs in the three R's, but tries to pull children away from God, or one that is taught by a spiritual, but uneducated mother who is entitled to the inspiration that God gives for her children, so that they may grow to serve them wherever God places them? Which should we choose? But wait, what if everyone else is choosing a different path? Should we still be working to raise a generation to God, when everyone else is raising a generation for pieces of paper that have man's mark of approval? Surely, the specialists are the ones to trust our children too, no?

"Do not let your children out to specialists... but teach them by your own precept and example, by your own fireside. Be a specialist yourself in the truth." (Gospel Doctrine, p. 302)

"Any man who will question the divinity of the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, or will deny the so-called miracles of the scriptures is unfit to be a teacher of Latter-day Saint children." (Improvement Era Vol. 21, p. 104)

"And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments." Mosiah 23:14

Does your children's teacher believe in God? What about the textbook writers, who are also the teachers? What about those who set the curriculum?

But wait, I could never home school. I am not a leader and couldn't run a Mom's school. Run a co-op school, no, that would be too hard for me. Geuss what, it is too hard for everyone of us. We don't do it alone. You see, when God has a work that needs done He helps those in that work. Since God is always faithful, if He calls you to the work and you remain faithful to Him then He will qualify you. You see, God can do all things. God is our hero. He is who we want to follow, who we want to study and who we want to emulate. If your heartstrings are beginning to tug in the way of keeping your children with you, pray and ask if it is His call for you. If it is and you are faithful to Him, you will begin to see many small miracles and proof of God's faithfulness, and it is awesome.

"I can say that it is good and wise and judicious in parents to instruct their children in the way. If they wish the word of the Lord upon the subject, I will give it to you and you may, any of you, write it down if you please. It is the will of the Lord our God that we teach our children the way of righteousness from the Holy Scriptures and there is no better method than for mothers to teach them at home, and in the Sunday Schools." (The Teachings of President Brigham Young, Vol. 3)

"I am not what the world calls a learned man; neither is President Young. We never went to any college except the one sustained by the Latter-day Saints, and we have been in that from the beginning. Let me tell you, gentlemen and ladies, if we had been brought up in palaces, and been sent to school all the days of our lives to get all the education of the world, and were practical men only in these things, would we be of any advantage to this people? A man may pass through a course of education designed to fit him for a doctor, a minister, or a lawyer, and it is often the case that he comes out an ignoramus, or worse than useless member of society. When the flowers begin to bloom on the mountain sides, the ladies try to imitate them with artificial ones. Which would you rather possess in education--the real flower, or the artificial one? Would you not rather have true education, direct from heaven, than the artificial one of the world? The one educates the head and the heart, the other the head alone." (Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 3:106)


When we came home from vacation, I went over to the old house to clean a little more, water and pick some of the grapes and tomatoes that were ripe. Kevin and I love open faced tomato sandwiches. All I do for this is chop the tomatoes, add garlic and parmesan cheese, mix and put it on toast. Of course, it only works with a real garden tomato, which are way better than the grocery store variety. I also had so many grapes that I froze a bunch whole by lying them out flat first, so they would freeze individually, then I put them in bags. Then the neighbor came over with a box of about fifteen peaches. Oh, yum. She then found out we had five children and she came back with a huge bag. I then had to run out and drop something off at my aunts who has a farm just outside of the city we live in. You can see it here, they also do a weekly delivery during their sixteen week harvesting season. She described to me how they stagger their harvest and how they used large fans to compensate for the low numbers of bees. She and her husband have fifteen acres of their own and then rent out another couple acres from the neighbors in exchange for some work they did cutting down trees. Well, anyway, she took me in her cold storage room and told me to help myself to anything I wanted and then proceeded to load my car with peaches, plums, poullots, cucumbers and cantalope.

She also gave me a jar of pickles she had just canned. I wish I could have taken a picture of her pantry-all of those clean glass jars full of homemade produce were beautiful. I got home and called my sister, who has a really good sized garden and cans. I ended up deciding to freeze most of the peaches in a light syrup, because I don't have the right equipment and couldn't find it-I will by next year, though. I found directions here Right when I was done with this our Bishop came over with a present of tomatoes and lemon cucumbers. The lemon cucumbers are so yummy, I decided to attempt to save the seed and grow my own.
All of this fresh produce and I didn't even really grow my own garden. God has truly blessed me.
I am now itching to grow a garden and decided I would try to see what I could do with a fall garden and maybe I can use the sunroom as a green house. So I got pots and dirt and planted a variety of vegetables. The carrots just poked their heads up yesterday and I saw a few beans today. I will be overjoyed if I can pull off a fall potted garden.

Kittens Anyone

To the sorrow of my children it is time to find homes for the darling kittens. They have been so fun to watch grow. There are six blue point siamese, but it looks like the three girls have already found homes, so we have three male kittens who need homes, one is short hair and two are long. These are all descendents, through their father, of a cat named Zipper we had when I was little.

Here is the daddy.

Here is the mommy.

Utah Vacation

In the end of July the kids and I went to a family reunion in Utah. We went camping on Bear Lake, swimming, rafting and kayaking in the lake. We drove up to Idaho and went on a tour through a cave and then one night we went to see a play-which my kids loved, and have begun reenacting with toys and props.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Real Life Discipline

The issue of obedience has been on my heart lately, probably because we have had a lack thereof the past month. With us moving, going on vacation, the children sleeping over at cousins several nights in a row things have not been in a normal routine. My husband and I have also been discussing the convention on the "rights of the child" lately, which may have something to do with it. One of my children may have overheard some of this and began using a few arguments when talking to me. "You know I have rights to and I should be allowed to do whatever I want." "I don't see why I have to do what you say all the time, I have my own mind and can make my own choices." "I'm not your servent, I shouldn't have to do any of your work." "I can't get in trouble for saying that, because I am just saying how I really feel."

As soon as I started hearing some of these statements I knew I had an issue that needed dealt with, before an attitude of rebelliousness or disobedience set in. So I crossed everything off my calendar that would seperate this child from me for the whole week. In other words she would not be going to cousins, friends or even Achievement Days Activities and I would be remaining home. This, of course, brought on tears and a tantrum. So now I got to deal with the problem head on.

The first issue was bringing her back to a state of respectfully listening, so that we could have a conversation. This meant that she got to stand in the corner. At this point she tried refusing, but after further discipline she learned I was serious and she did stand in the corner for ten minutes. This was hard on her partially because we were finishing the Shakespeare play and the other kids were really involved in it and she hates to not be included in something that is fun. I stood my ground until we were done and then set the other kids to work and brought her over to me. I asked her if she had thought about her behavior while she was in the corner, she was flippant and I sent her back. Two minutes later I called her to me again this time she reluctantly acknowledged that she should obey and not talk back. I had gotten outward obedience, but not reached her heart. I knew that without reaching her heart, she would continue to be rebellious inside and so I had to revisit this issue until I had her heart.

At the time I had to go on to something else. The next day she cried all morning, because it was the day she was to miss her activity. I explained to her that this was neccessary until she learned to obey happily. I told her my reasoning behind it and then invited her to come with me on errands. She reluctantly agreed. She then picked on her brothers, got in trouble and felt genuinely bad. I knew it was time to approach her again. So I took her in my arms, hugged her and talked to her about how she felt when she acted meanly and disobeyed. I then asked how she would have felt if she hadn't. We talked about all of the fun things one can do, when one obeys the rules. We talked about what it would be like if Dad and I refused to do things just because we didn't want to. She hugged me and then she went on.

The rest of the day was much better and she occasionally stole a hug and said, "I am trying to obey Mom. You know, it's like that story that says If you obey, you will be happy all day." She prayed that night that she would learn to obey. Yet, I knew the situation was not done, because I don't want her to obey me, because I say so. This kind of obedience can only last so long, like until I make my next parenting blunder.

So I waited and the next morning another opportunity for discussion presented itself. We were eating breakfast and started talking about God and how he wants us to return to him and how we will be judged after we die. We talked about how as we repented our sins would be washed away and at the judgement through Christ we would be found clean and be able to be with Heavenly Father again. After talking awhile, my son turned to me and said, "Mom, this is very important for us to know. Thank you, for teaching this to me, it is the most important thing in the world." I told him that is why God had set up families with parents, was so that parents could teach their children to follow God. He had commanded the parents to do this. I then took out my scriptures and showed them Moses 6:57-58 "57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or cdwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the fSon of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your cchildren, saying:" I then asked them if they knew what God had told the children to do. I flipped to Ephesians 6:1, which all my children have memorized, but when they began to recite, I slowed them down and said let's read it. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Then I said, you see, parents are supposed to be following God, they are supposed to be "In the Lord" and then when the children obey their parents, they will be "in the Lord" also. It's a pretty cool plan, isn't it? They agreed that it was and we talked about how Daddy and I were not perfect, but we were a little further along then they were, so we were allowed to be their parents and help them to return to Our Heavenly Father. I then asked them why else they think God might ask children to obey their parents. They thought for a minute and then my daughter said, so that we can practice obeying our Heavenly Father. Exactly. We need to practice obeying someone who loves us, and wants what is best for us even when we don't understand all of the reasons we are asked to do something. My children agreed that made sense and then willingly did their school and helped with the chores that needed done.

I followed this up with smiles and hugs and kind words when I've seen her doing kind things and extra things and peace has been restored. It is interesting to see how much happier and content she is versus a week ago. It is nice to again have her heart.