Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011 Thoughts …

Peaceful Christmas VillageOne of my favorite Christmas songs is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. For me the lyrics capture  life’s bittersweet moments and the hope we all carry for a better tomorrow. The words were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas Day 1864 and later set to music by John Baptiste Calkin.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

James Allen – Inspired Author, Gentle Soul

James AllenJames Allen (1864-1912) was a gifted writer and philosopher who lived the type of life he wrote about (a complete list of his works and links to them are listed at the end of this post). His wife said he was “a good man who lived every word he wrote” (preface to Book of Meditations) and that “he never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing, or to add another to his many books; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice.”—preface to Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success.

James was born in Leicester, England on November 28, 1864. His father went to America in 1879 to improve the family’s financial circumstances. Shortly after his arrival in New York and before he could send for his family he was robbed and murdered. Thus at the age of 15 James had to leave school to work and help support the family.

He married Lily Louisa Oram in 1895 at the age of 29 and they had their only child Nohra in 1896. There are various descriptions regarding what inspired him to write but all agree that he “retired” from regular work to devote his time to writing in 1902. He published his own magazine The Light of Reason which was later renamed The Epoch.

Like my other favorite author, William George Jordan (who was born the same year as James), James Allen’s works are replete with profound thoughts such as, “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” He often used analogies from gardening, a favorite pastime.

He died January 24th, 1912  at the relative young age of 47 having written material that would be published in 20 books. Today, nearly 100 years following his death, his words are still cherished by many and have a positive impact on mankind. I believe he is still accomplishing the mission he set for himself as described in the foreword of his first book From Poverty to Power; or, the Realization of Prosperity and Peace.

I looked around upon the world, and saw that it was shadowed by sorrow and scorched by the fierce fires of suffering. And I looked for the cause. I looked around, but could not find it; I looked in books, but could not find it; I looked within, and found there both the cause and the self-made nature of that cause. I looked again, and deeper, and found the remedy.

I found one Law, the Law of Love; one Life, the Life of adjustment to that Law; one Truth, the truth of a conquered mind and a quiet and obedient heart. And I dreamed of writing a book which should help men and women, whether rich or poor, learned or unlearned, worldly or unworldly, to find within themselves the source of all success, all happiness, all accomplishment, all truth. And the dream remained with me, and at last became substantial; and now I send it forth into the world on its mission of healing and blessedness, knowing that it cannot fail to reach the homes and hearts of those who are waiting and ready to receive it.

His books are both inspiring and challenging to read. You’ll more than likely find that reading Allen causes some personal discomfort as you identify areas in your life that can be improved and begin to realize that only you stand in the way of a positive change. However, when you take that first step you’ll find a loving God who will support you on your journey.

The following are some of my favorite quotes from As a Man Thinketh (HTML, PDF), his most well known book.

A noble and Godlike character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with Godlike thoughts.

Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.

Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage or opportunity and circumstance.

Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.

Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.

Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.

… what, then, is the meaning of “fighting against circumstances?” It means that a man is continually revolting against an effect without, while all the time he is nourishing and preserving its cause in his heart.

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.

… man has but to right himself to find that the universe is right; and during the process of putting himself right he will find that as he alters his thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him.

… there is no comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow.

Thoughts of doubt doubt and fear never accomplished anything, and never can. Purpose, energy, power to do, and all strong thoughts cease when doubt and fear creep in.

A strong man cannot help a weaker unless that weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another.

Dreams are the seedlings of realities.

… you … will realize the Vision (not the idle wish) of your heart, be it base or beautiful, or a mixture of both, for you will always gravitate toward that which you secretly, most love.

Below are are list of his works with links to online versions, some of which were published after his death by his wife. Note, with the exception of As a Man Thinketh, for which I’ve created PDF and HTML versions, all HTML links are from The James Allen Free Library.

Books


Biographical Highlights

  • 1864: Born in Leicester, England on November 24th.
  • 1879: his father died in America.
  • 1895: Married Lily Louisa Oram.
  • 1896: Birth of his daughter Nohra.
  • 1902: “Retired” to Ilfracombe,England (southwest coast) to be a full-time writer.
  • 1902: Founded and edited “Light of Reason” which was later renamed “The Epoch”.
  • 1912: Died on January 24th.


Other Resources:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Coloured Picture Bible for Children – Part 4 of 4

03 Title Page - Emblems of the EvangelistsThe “Coloured Picture Bible for Children” is divided into into 4 sections (I. “Creation of the World to the Death of Moses”, II. “Judges, Ruth & Kings”, III. “Hezekiah to the end of the Old Testament”, and IV. “The Holy Gospels”). The table below contains artwork from Section IV The Holy Gospels.

At the end of the post I’ve included links to download all pictures and a scanned version of the children's Bible.

Friday, December 9, 2011

“The Coloured Picture Bible for Children” Part 3 of 4

03Title Page Hezekiah to MalachiThe “Coloured Picture Bible for Children” is divided into into 4 sections (I. “Creation of the World to the Death of Moses”, II. “Judges, Ruth & Kings”, III. “Hezekiah to the end of the Old Testament”, and IV. “The Holy Gospels”). The table below contains artwork from Section III Hezekiah to the end of the Old Testament.

At the end of the post I’ve included links to download all pictures and a scanned version of the children's Bible.

Monday, December 5, 2011

“The Coloured Picture Bible for Children” Part 2 of 4

Title Judges, Ruth and KingsThe “Coloured Picture Bible for Children” is divided into into 4 sections (I. “Creation of the World to the Death of Moses”, II. “Judges, Ruth & Kings”, III. “Hezekiah to the end of the Old Testament”, and IV. “The Holy Gospels”). The table below contains artwork from Section II Judges, Ruth & Kings.

At the end of the post I’ve included links to download all the pictures and a a scanned version of the children's Bible.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

“The Road to Emmaus”

"Abide with us."

In Luke 24:13-32 we read of two of Christ’s disciples who journeyed from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus on the third day following the crucifixion of Christ. As they walked and talked of all that had recently transpired a fellow traveler joined in their conversation. He asked what they were talking about and if they were sad.

They recounted to him all that had occurred. When they related that had expected Christ to redeem Israel and that although it was the third day they had not seen him, the stranger chastened them a bit for their unbelief and then clarified the scriptures for them.

As the disciples approached their destination the stranger “made as though he would have gone further.” However, they insisted that since it was late in the day that he stay with them. Later as “he took bread, and blessed it” they realized that it was Christ whom they had journeyed with.

It is interesting that although Christ joined his disciples on the road He would not have stayed with them without their invitation. This is an analogy for how He operates today. So the question for the day is what have we done to invite Him to be with us. Have we sought after His views, have we followed His advice? Have we visited the sick or fed the hungry (Matthew 25:34-40). If we’ve lost sight of Him, this is the season for renewing our commitment to follow the two great commandments “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 25:34-40). In these difficult times there are many opportunities to serve others and bring the spirit of Christmas into our lives.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"The Coloured Picture Bible for Children" Part 1 of 4

03 Title Creation to MosesMy Christmas gift this year  to you, dear readers, are scanned copies of pictures from The Coloured Picture Bible for Children [1] which was published in London in 1884. These can be used for family home evening lessons or other teaching opportunities.

I first found these online when I was looking for images to use in earlier blog posts that covered biblical topics [2]. I recently purchased my own copy of the children’s Bible. It’s a small book (6”x7”x1”) and while the illustrations are great the writing could be better.

The picture bible is divided into into 4 sections. I’ve create a blog entry for each one (“I. Creation of the World to the Death of Moses”, II. “Judges, Ruth & Kings”, III. “Hezekiah to the end of the Old Testament”, and IV. “The Holy Gospels”) where the illustrations are shown in the order they appear.

Note, At the end of the post I’ve included links to download all pictures for each section and a scanned version of the entire children's Bible.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ron Mann's "Freedom" Reading List

Below are a list of great books, recommended by my father (Ron Mann), and me that will help you discover your American heritage and how to protect it. They are organized by category.

Some of these books can be downloaded or viewed online. I've added links to connect you to the appropriate sites. For most books I've linked the title to its entry in books.google.com which has links to where the book can be purchased and often has a description and reviews. Should you be looking for additional information on American History, The Constitution, or current events contact Ron at sweetshellygrapes@gmail.com. He has one of the most extensive libraries on George Washington around and loves to share his thoughts about the Constitution and our Founding Fathers. While working for President Reagan he helped formulate the legislation to create a The Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution and was later named Deputy Director of the Commission. In his Challenge to the readers of The 5,000 Year Leap he says:

It was Patrick Henry that said: ‘I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.’ Recent experience should be a serious warning that we have lost our way and need to drink from the well of knowledge provided by our Founders. Unless the people of this nation take seriously the storm flags waving, we are doomed to repeat the past mistakes of those who refused to pay attention to history and end up in the graveyard of fallen nations. We have the knowledge and time to make a course correction if we will.

We need to start by becoming familiar with the Constitution and the principles contained therein. We need to understand its words as the founders intended them to be understood. The list of books below can point you in the right direction. Those with bold titles are highly recommended and easy to read and understand..


Foundations for Liberty


The French & Indian Wars



The Revolutionary War


  • 1776, David McCullough, Simon Schuster, 2006
  • Saratoga, Richard M. Ketchum, Henry Holt & Company, LLC, 1997
  • The Day is Ours, William M. Dwyer, The Viking Press, 1983.
  • The Winter Soldiers, Richard M. Ketchum, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1973.


The Constitution & Declaration of Independence



The Founding Fathers



Other Great Books

History

  • Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang & Jon Halliday, 2007 – This is the story of an individual with unbridled self-interest and will show the absolute horror that such an individual can wreak on a society and the world. Makes you wonder about anyone who looks up to Mao in any way. Perhaps Hilter had he lived would have ruined or destroyed more lives. However, Mao is in my view the reigning poster boy of evil. No sacrifice was too great for anyone to make for Mao’s sake.
  • The Candy Bombers, Andrei Cherny, G.P. Putnam’s Son, 2008 – This is an interesting read in general but pay special attention to the sacrifices the Berliners were willing to make to keep their freedom as the cold war began. Would we be willing to do the same today? I wonder.
  • When Nations Die, Jim Nelson Black, Tyndale House Publishers, 1995

Understanding Liberty


Morality


George Washington said the following:

Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.

Daniel Webster made this remark in a speech at an event celebrating the life of Washington:

But, gentlemen, let us hope for better things. Let us trust in that gracious Being who has hitherto held our country as in the hollow of his hand. Let us trust to the virtue and the intelligence of the people, and to the efficacy of religious obligation. Let us trust to the influence of Washington's example. Let us hope that that fear of Heaven which expels all other fear, and that regard to duty which transcends all other regard, may influence public men and private citizens, and lead our country still onward in her happy career.

Dr. Benjamin Rush made the following statement:

Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families. The Amor Patriae [love of one's country] is both a moral and a religious duty. It comprehends not only the love of our neighbors but of millions of our fellow creatures, not only of the present but of future generations. This virtue we find constitutes a part of the first characters of history.

Many of the founders expressed similar sentiments regarding morality and religion and their indispensible role in maintaining a free society. As William George Jordan said in 1907,

We need in our country today less politics and more statesmanship, less party and more patriotism. We need an awakening to higher ideals. We need a higher conception of America's place and destiny in the evolution of the world. We need something nobler as a purpose than our self-satisfied complacency at the material prosperity of the nation, for there is a moral and ethical success that is never rung up on a cash-register. We need the scourging of the money changers out of the temple of legislation ― State and national. We need purifying and ennobling of the body politic. We need the clear clarion voice of a great inspiration to rouse the States to their duty ― not the gilded phrases of mere rhetoric, but the honest eloquence of a high and exalted purpose

With this in mind below are several of what I think are the best books on morality, human nature  and  overcoming the “natural man”. Coupling a strong moral base with an understanding of the principles of liberty we may become a people who can re-establish and maintain the freedom our Constitution intended to provide.


LDS Specific


Organizations Dedicated to Promoting Liberty

Please let me know if you have additional suggestions.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The First “Thanksgiving Day Proclamation”

Below is the first national Thanksgiving Day proclamation written by President George Washington. It affirms that those who participated in the founding of America acknowledged the hand of Providence, both in winning the Revolutionary War and establishing the Constitution. You’ll find humility grace and a recognition of the hand of God along with a sense of our obligation to serve others and promote “the knowledge and practice of true religion”. Contrast these words with those emanating from Washington today and you’ll see why a change is needed. Unfortunately, the words from our political leaders usually reflect what we want to hear. The change we need to make starts with ourselves and for that I’m grateful. Grateful that we live in a country where that is still possible.

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation 3 Oct 1789Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor — and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reform Utah Politics?

Over the last 18 months I’ve seen a growing number of articles in newspapers promoting the idea that Utah’s caucus system is flawed and must be revised to prevent a variety of ills. I read another such article Saturday morning in editorial section of the Deseret News.

2010 Utah County Republican Nominating ConventionBefore I go over the assertions made in this article let’s quickly review how the caucus system functions in Utah. The state is divided into ~2,200 precincts. In March of each election year precinct meetings are held throughout the state for each political party in which precinct officers (chair, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer) and delegates (county and state) are elected for 2 year terms.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Answers from Candidates – Dan Liljenquist

imageA couple of weeks ago I posted a set of questions I would seek to answer for candidates looking for my vote. Thursday evening I attended an event where state Senator Dan Liljenquist spoke about fiscal responsibility. From what I understand there is a good chance that Dan will run against Hatch to be the Republican nominee for the US Senate. I’d like to share with you what I was able to glean from this event and some time spent afterwards relative to my list of questions.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Everyday Miracles

Of late my life seems full of happy coincidences (miracles as I choose to view them). For example, today at church as we began to sing one of the hymns I wished that we would sing more than the first four verses of this particular hymn (99.9% of the time we only sing those verses that are written between the lines of music – typically 4 verses – and not the additional verses written out at the end of the music).

Well guess what? The chorister had us sing one of the two extra verses. Not a big deal. Well maybe but for me it was important as the additional verse carried for me extra import and I really thought about the words we sang. Then I took the time to read and ponder the last verse which I would normally not do. This last verse stayed with me throughout the day.

How great, how glorious, how complete
Redemption’ grand design,
where justice love and mercy meet
In harmony divine!

How Great the Wisdom and the Love, Eliza R. Snow, verse 6.

You can listen to this hymn by playing the following YouTube video. Probably sounds better than we did at church :).

Happy coincidence or miracle. Here’s the definition of miracle:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Family Faith - A Road Trip to Louisville

The following story is illustrative of stories that get lost over time unless they become part of a family’s history by recording it in family journal and it is shared from time to time. I was recently asked to share a story about our family that no one would know. Sadly I don’t think our most of our children would remember hearing it and they certainly couldn’t have read about it (as it hadn’t been written down).

1971 CorollaWe had been married about a year when we left Provo for Louisville, KY in August of 1981. I had gotten an 8 month internship with GE at their Appliance Park facility. Our car was a 1973 Toyota Corolla hatchback (similar to the one on the right)  that I was somehow able to keep running in spite of my mechanical ineptitude. When it comes to trying to fix mechanical items I instinctively do the wrong thing . I finally gave up trying to work on cars around 1988 after I figured out that it was costing me more money to fix it myself than to take it to a shop. Now, refilling the washer fluid, checking the oil and changing wiper blades is the extent of my repertoire. But I digress so let’s get back to the story.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Questions for Candidates

Election season is fast approaching and as we begin to decide who to support for various offices I’d like to share some of my thoughts on that topic.

Running for OfficeWhen we elect someone to public office we are entrusting them to make decisions on our behalf using information to which we often don’t have access. That being the case I’m more interested in the quality of their character than a specific policy position that may change as an office holder gets access to additional information.

Here are 5 questions that will not be asked of candidates in public debate, but which I seek answers to when evaluating candidates. Some of these are best answered (e.g. #2) by people who know the candidate rather than the candidate:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Three-Fifths Clause–Did it institutionalize the notion that slaves were less than fully human?

Last week I had a spirited discussion with friends at work regarding the three-fifths clause and whether or not it was written to devalue the humanity of slaves (thanks D.S. for providing a great topic for my blog).

Here’s the text from Article I section 2 paragraph 3 of the Constitution.

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within the Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

Notice that the formula was applied to representation and taxes. This context (representation and taxation) from my perspective sets up an interesting debate. Do you diminish the power of slave holding states by not counting slaves when apportioning congressional representation while at the same time reducing their burden with respect to direct taxes or do you maximize their representation and increase their tax burden (thus imposing a financial penalty on them). The three-fifths compromise was just that a compromise that diminished the potential representation of slave holding states and yet did not eliminate the direct tax burden associated with slaves. The clause was not about the humanity of slaves nor in any way intended as an affront to them.

FredericDouglass-1860This clause has been used to support the notion that the Constitution promoted slavery. Frederic Douglass, who was born a slave, escaped and became a leading abolitionist, initially subscribed to the view that the Constitution was pro-slavery. However, after much study he later changed his view as he describes in the following quote from a lecture entitled “Unconstitutionality of Slavery” given in Glasgow, Scotland on March 26, 1860.

“Although I cannot accuse myself of being remarkably unstable, I cannot pretend that I have never altered my opinion both in respect to men and things.

“Indeed I have been very much modified both in feeling and opinion within the last fourteen years, and he would be a queer man who could have lived fourteen years without having his opinions and feelings considerably modified by experience in that length of time.

“When I escaped from slavery, twenty-two years ago [1838], the world was all new to me, and if I had been in a hogshead with the bung in, I could not have been much more ignorant of many things then I was then. I came out running. All I knew was that I had two elbows and a good appetite, and that I was a human being—a sort of nondescript creature, but still struggling for life.

The first I met were the Garrisonian abolitionists of Massachusetts. They had their views, opinions, platform, and eloquence, and were earnestly labouring for the abolition of slavery: They were my friends, the friends of my people, and nothing was more natural than that I should receive as gospel all they told me [including 'slavery is constitutional', so the Union that is perpetuated by enslaving people is a ‘covenant with death and an agreement with hell’].

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man’ [I Cor. 13:11]. —that is, after I went over to Great Britain and came back again—-I undertook the herculean task, without a day's schooling, to edit and publish a paper—to unite myself to the literary profession.

I could hardly spell two words correctly; still I thought I could ‘join’ as we say, and when I had to write three or four columns a week, it became necessary to re-examine some of the opinions I had formed in my baby days; and when I came to examine for myself [the previously unknown-to-him 'slavery is unconstitutional' position] my opinions were greatly modified, and I had the temerity to state to the parties [Garrisonians] from whom I received them my change of opinions; and from that day to this—whether in the east or the west, in or out of America, in Ireland, Scotland, or England—I have been pursued and persecuted by that class of persons on account of my change of opinions.

But I am quite well satisfied, very well satisfied with my [new 'slavery is unconstitutional'] position.”

By educating himself Frederick Douglass came to the conclusion that the Constitution not only did not support slavery but it  inherently prohibited it (Read his full speech to understand why he switched his opinion) .

Attempts have also been made to use the three-fifths clause to support the viewpoint that the Founders supported slavery or viewed slaves as less than human. That a large number of the Founders were strong opponents of slavery cannot be denied in the light of their own words and actions (not the revisionist history taught in most public schools and universities today). David Barton’s note on the Founding Father’s and Slavery provides a good sampling of the Founders views in their own words.

As a side note I find it interesting that many “enlightened” academicians spend so much time trying to undermine the Constitution by denigrating the Founders. Often they are lauded by fellow elites for these efforts. However, let me flip the circumstances (taking something bad and trying to make it look good) and see what happens. Suppose someone tried to show that there was some good in Nazism by promoting the positive aspects of Adolf Hitler’s personality and life. Would that effort be lauded or condemned? I wonder. Or would most feel the same revulsion to that idea that I do.

See also:

The Founders’ Constitution, Volume 2, Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, p 86-145. Note, the Founders’ Constitution is an excellent reference  that should be a part of every Constitutional library. It is a 5 volume set that provides for every clause of the Constitution extracts from contemporary discussions (journals, autobiographies, letters, minutes …) and later commentaries.  It can be purchased at the website of the National Center for Constitutional Studies as well as Amazon and other bookstores.

Links:

  • The Unconstitutionality of Slavery, Frederick Douglass
    Link to speech from site with links to writings from the history of abolitionism. You’ll need to scroll down through background info to get to speech.
    Link to speech from BlackPast.org. This is a cleaner version of the speech but does not have the background information of the other site.
  • The Founders Constitution: online version, National Center for Constitutional Studies (physical copy).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Jonah – A Positive Example?

Jonah is Thrown OverboardA while back I was asked to substitute for a Sunday school teacher at church. The lesson was on Jonah. While I try to look for the positive in most situations and look for hidden lessons I wasn’t sure that I would be able to find much in the way of either. Jonah’s story provided me with more than I would have originally thought. The more reading I did the more questions I had about what I thought was a pretty simple subject. It started with, where in the heck is Nineveh anyways. The answer: Across the river from Mosul, Iraq and about 560 miles as the crow flies from the port of Joppa (now surrounded by Tel Aviv), which is where he departed from. Then other questions followed:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Of Freedom, God, and Christ #2

Rembrandt's "Apostle Paul"In his letter to the Galatians Paul tries to dissuade Jewish members of the Church from following the strict practices of their former faith (the Mosaic Law)  and insisting that other gentile (non-Jewish) members do the same.  Towards the end of his letter he makes a very bold statement “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, and be not entangled with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). The Mosaic law with its emphasis on obedience and sacrifice was a preparatory law that laid the foundation for the higher law and pointed to Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

If God had a Computer …

I have traveled quite a bit over the last 25 years as a part of the various jobs I’ve held in the high tech/software industry. Before there were iPods or iPads to occupy my mind while in the air I  would occasionally let my imagination run wild as I pictured how today’s technology might be applied or have been applied to managing all of creation. I’ve kept these thoughts largely to myself but will risk sharing some of them with you today.

For example, imagine the pained look on the face of the angel in training charged with managing the climate control computers as he told his supervisor that he had accidently reset the system.  His boss, after informing the big guy makes a quick call to Noah letting him know what is going down. You know the rest of the story.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little Problems of Married Life by William George Jordan

LPoML 1A Springtime of Married LifeI recently finished reading an excellent treatise on the issues and problems common to most marriages by William George Jordan. He applies the keen insight on human nature he demonstrated in his earlier books (The Kingship of Self-Control, The Majesty of Calmness, The Power of Truth and The Crownship of Individuality) to the challenges of marriage. I now have two favorite books on marriage, this one and Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, by John Gray.
 
Although this book was published in 1910 and some of the societal norms were different than today, his discussion on the kinds of issues that arise in marriage and how they can be remedied are as a valid today as they were yesterday.
 
The book contains 23 chapters, each of which discuss a specific issue. They are relatively short can be read in 5 to 10 minutes but you will likely want to think about them for much longer. Reading a chapter a night with your spouse would be an excellent way to spend quality time with your loved one and can’t help but spark discussions that will improve the quality of your marriage.
 
Below is a list of the quotes from some of the chapters  which give you a sense of the content:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Of Freedom, God and Christ

A couple of months ago I participated in a conversation on religion with some business colleagues. One of my co-workers made the statement that he cannot believe in a God because of the tragedies he had personally witnessed in Africa. If there was a god how could he allow such things to happen. This is not an original concept but when we are the personal witnesses to tragic events and injustice, as was my friend,  the point becomes very real.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

“Now is the Time to Make a Difference” by Ron Mann

imageOn April 19th, 2008, Ron Mann, former Deputy Assistant to President Ronald Reagan and Deputy Director of The Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, delivered the following address to a political gathering in Salt Lake City.  It is as relevant today as it was then. It is filled with excellent quotes and serves as a reminder of the civic responsibilities that each of us carry. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

In the Absence of Religion, Morality and God by Ron Mann

Below is an excellent discourse by my father on the necessity of religion to sustain our republic. Enjoy RWM.

ChurchThe Founders of our Republic repeatedly warned of the need to uphold morality, religion and God in our society or suffer the loss of our freedom. During the formation and early years of our republic the leaders and citizens in general read from a well spring of knowledge; scriptures and writing of the founders, in the process ensuring that their freedom would remain.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Liberty Lost by Ron Mann

My father, Ron Mann, wrote this speech a number of years ago. It is somewhat long but well worth the read as it is still pertinent today, perhaps even more than when he wrote it.

Liberty Lost

Several years ago a young naval officer was promoted to captain and given command of a new destroyer. He was awed with his promotion and his new assignment. One day during initial sea trials of his ship he ran into a dense fog. While standing on the bridge of his ship his communications officer, a young Lt. Commander came running in and said: “Sir there is a ship’s light heading directly in our path.” “Signal him to change his course five degrees!” The new caption said. In a few minutes the young officer returned with another message from the other commander. “You change your course!” Signed Lt. Smith. The hair of the back of the captain’s neck bristled. “Send him another message to change his course immediately!”

The Hand of Providence: Boston Freed and Other Miracles

On July 4, 2010 Ron Mann (my father) was the keynote speaker at the Milestones of Freedom event in Orem, Utah. He discusses the Hand of God in the founding of our nation with a focus on the battle of Boston which concluded in March of 1776. The video below is 53 minutes long but well worth watching.

"When in the Course ..." Part I by Ron Mann

Here's another excellent article by my father on our nation's founding.

The book of Joshua in the Old Testament provides a wonderful introduction for this article on the Declaration of Independence. As you will recall Joshua was allowed to lead the Israelites into Israel and one of the first obstacles was the crossing of the river Jordan.

Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, by Benjamin West 180014 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priest bearing the ark of the covenant before the people.

15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priest that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvests).Joshua 3:14-15

Then the Lord caused the Jordan to be divided even as he had the Red Sea for Moses: