Jesus Christ And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms

February 3, 2013

What does Jesus Christ and his authorized prophets believe about the right to keep and bear arms? Consider these passages:

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. (US Declaration of Independence. 1776)

We are all born with a right from our Creator to life and liberty.  Because we have a God-given right to life, we also have a right of self-defense.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. (Constitution of the United States of America, Bill of Rights, Amendment II)

Because arms are essential for defending our lives, we have a right to bear arms.

And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (Jesus Christ as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 101:80)

Here our Savior Jesus Christ who gave us these rights of self-defense and bearing arms tells us that he inspired the Constitution and Bill of Rights which guarantee those rights.

I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the federal government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship, and to pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property. (Ezra Taft Benson, a prophet of God. The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 617)

And here an authorized prophet of Jesus Christ tell us the government must not deny these rights to us, his children.

Others have a different opinion. Of course. Satan rages in the hearts of men in these last days. They value their own opinions above those of the Lord. All they can do is protest and state their contrary opinion.  But the truth cannot be successfully refuted.

Jesus Preaches Capitalism

August 27, 2012

Tell me, does this sound like capitalism or socialism?

Parable of the Talents

14 ¶For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful aservant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee cruler over many things: enter thou into the djoy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and afaithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:20-30)

General Conference, Elder Christofferson and Jesus Christ

April 1, 2012

What a marvelous conference! Elder Christofferson of the Twelve included these verses among others in his talk:

33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. (3 Nephi 11:33-34)

Truly, this man is a prophet of God! I have heard the first of these two verses many times. But only when I read the Book of Mormon do I get the second verse. I’m sure I have just missed them because I wasn’t paying attention on other occasions, but this time I was paying attention. Verse 33 is relatively meaningless without verse 34, and it drives me crazy when someone giving a Sacrament talk uses only the first one. They are a couplet. They are together for a reason. The Savior said them together in his sermon to the ancient Nephites, and they should be used together by his saints in these latter days.

When I realized that Elder Christofferson was quoting this passage, I gave his talk even greater attention. Would he use both verses? Hallelujah, he did! Once more I have another new hero.

The Sorrow of Losing A Loved One

November 18, 2011

I just spent nine days far away visiting a brother that I have loved since he was born in 1950. We grew up together for years, sleeping in the same bedroom.  I love him with all my heart.  Although he believes there is a God and attends church regularly, he has been resisting my efforts to make a Mormon of him for nearly fifty years since I joined.  Because I believe the teachings of Joseph Smith and his successors, and because I believe the teachings of the scriptures, I have no confidence that we will have a family relationship after this life, because the “forever family” is assured only to those who marry in the temple and keep those covenants thereafter.  I do not want to lose my wife and children, of course.  But I also do not want to lose my brother.  Now that we are approaching 70 years of age, I am beginning to lose hope.  My concern becomes more urgent.  When we love someone, how do we find comfort as we watch them slip away?

When I try to discuss this with him, he just says that religion is not his “hobby,” suggesting that it is mine.   He believes there is a God, but religion is just not something that interests him.  How can a good man, an honorable and honest man be disinterested in the welfare of his own soul? How can he care nothing about what comes next after this life or in what he might  do today to improve his situation there?  The Savior asked us in the Sermon on the Mount to “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth… But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”

My brother has been far more diligent than I in carefully managing his earthly  treasure.  He is a cautious, prudent man.  And his estate shows it.  If he believes in God, and a life after this one, how can he be so cavalier in his attitude about heavenly treasure?  If we cannot be the great friends and brothers in the next life that we have been here, I will sorrow.  I will be forlorn.

Treasures in Heaven

December 3, 2010

19 ¶Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (Matt. 6:19-20)

For nearly all my life this has been my favorite scriptural passage.  Early on I realized that one of the greatest failings of our Anglo-American culture here in the USA is the worship of money.  If we list the things that are the most important to us, whatever is at the top is our God.  That is what we worship.  And for many or perhaps most of us, that is money and the things that money can buy.   And money worship is a form of idolatry, a false God.

When I was a young man, I made a conscious decision to become successful, whatever that means.  So I went to the Salt Lake City public library and looked up “success” in the card catalog.  Then, after choosing the book I wanted, I went into the stacks and found Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  After reading that book I realized that anyone can become as rich as he wants to be by applying the principles taught in that book.

So I set a goal for my life to become rich, to get a lot of money, a rather immodest sum.  Then I went to work.  Almost overnight my income multiplied by many times.  I bought a new car, and got an expensive suit and pair of shoes.  I started studying to become a stock broker, and worked over eighty hours a week.  Soon I was living in expensive hotels and eating in the finest restaurants.  My pocket filled up with a multitude of credit cards that had large credit limits.  I maxed them out, but had no trouble making the monthly payments.  I got married to a woman who wanted all these thing just as much as I did.

Then I lost my job.  But my income didn’t drop.  I just started working two full-time jobs.  Then I started to itch so horribly that I had to go see a doctor.  He told me I had a condition he had seen many times before.  I had executive itch.  I was working so hard that my nervous system was rebelling and my body was falling apart because of the stress of my workaholic behavior.  I decided to quit one of my jobs, and the moment I made the decision, even before I quit the second job, my itching stopped.  And of course my income was cut in half.  I lost my car.  Then I lost my wife for whom a high standard of living was very important along with the money needed to pay for it.  From this I learned a valuable lesson:

It is better to get married when you are poor and then get rich than it is to get rich and then get married.

Several times during my youth I tried to get rich by working two full-time jobs.  And every time I did so, my mental health went into the toilet and I had to quit my second job.  Finally I decided that perhaps it would be better if I set a different goal for my life.  And I decided to apply the same goal seeking principles to living my religion.  I decided to Momonize my life, to become a super Mormon.  I began attending Church with a vengeance, repenting of my sins with great drive and ambition, and feasting upon the words of Christ by reading the scriptures as once I had read science fiction, with complete absorption and focus.

As a result, I learned another lesson.  Righteousness can bring more happiness and contentment than money can.  Righteousness can often bring money into ones life, but the reverse is not true.  Money rarely brings one righteousness.

The thought occurred to me that the more money one aims for, the greater the risk of failure and unhappiness.  The less money one needs to be happy, the greater his chances for happiness.

A few years later I got a job driving a log truck.  I hauled logs for the White Mountain Apache in Arizona for one complete logging season.  I drove between fourteen and eighteen hours a day.  I had a lot of time to think while I drove.  A thought came to me that has never left me.  Men are not equal in money.  But they are equal in time.  Every person born under heaven has the same amount of time, twenty-four hours a day.  In this they are equal.  But not every man spends his time in the same way.  All men spend their time on one of three things or a combination of them.  He spends his time on converting time to money, or converting time to learning, or converting time to building relationships.

Most of us spend a little time on each of these three things.  But inevitably we spend most of our time on one of them.  Time really is money if one chooses to devote his life to the making of money.  The more time he spends at this, the more money he makes.  But if he does this, invariably he must neglect the other two investments.  He has to decide what is most important to him.  He only has twenty-four hours a day, and if he shorts learning and building relationships in order to free up time for making money he will impoverish himself.

Why is that?  It is because you can’t take it with you.  Learning remains with you beyond death.  So do your most precious relationships.  But the money and the things money can buy are all stripped from us when we pass through the veil.  Money doesn’t last.  And just as a married man or women loses his sweetheart at death unless he is sealed by the priesthood in the temple, so a man loses his money.  It is not one of those things that is eternal as he is.  Every one of us is an eternal being, but our money is not part of us.  Our learning and our loving relationships are.

One of my all-time favorite cartoons depicts two men dressed in business attire standing beside a casket at a funeral or viewing.  One said to the other, “How much did he leave?”  The other replied, “Everything.”  So true.  So true.

One of the most important things the Savior ever tried to teach us is that some riches are fleeting and do not follow us into the grave.  But the riches that do follow us eternally are the true riches.  They are what bring us lasting joy.