Father’s Day – “Like Father, Like Son”
By Alan on Jun 15 in Blog tagged alan, Alan and Suzanne osmond, army lead, as He did, barrack, challenges, church, dedication died, education, eight boys, eternal, example, Family, family life, forever, George, George and Olive Osmond, good meals, help others, impacted, Jesus Christ, knowledge, lare family, Like Father, Like son, live again, love, love at home, loving home, married, memories, nurtured, order, organization, Osmonds, osmonds second generation, parallel, passed away, point the way, prayer, regimentation, respect, righteous, role model, same way, showed me, Sons, spirit, spirit world, Suzanne Pinegar, tender, The Family, traditions, truth, watched him, worked hard | 2 Comments
Father’s Day – “Like Father, Like Son”
“Having been born of goodly parents”, I was blessed to be the third member of a family of eight sons and one daughter of George and Olive Osmond. We grew up in the town of Ogden, Utah with fond memories of a wonderful family life.
My Mother, Olive, was so kind and tender as she nurtured us children. She love to cook and taught us music in a most wonderful and loving home. Her parents were both educators and my mother would have been too, but she fulfilled her first priority and married my father and had a large family. Because she loved education, she asked my father to build a schoolroom in the attic of our home where she used her skills as a teacher and theologian to teach us children many truths.
My Father was my hero and my role model. We called him “Father” out of respect and I wanted to be like him when I grew up. I was by his side when he built, plumbed, wired, and remodeled homes as a great carpenter. I watched him and was by his side when he milked cows, hauled hay, irrigated the orchard and fields, or as we stamped and packaged postal items at the post office that he had. Father also loved to sing. I sat behind him while he was driving the car and as we sang together, he would sing in harmony with Mother. That was how I learned to sing harmony. Learning that skill truly impacted my life. Father taught me how to fish, to hoe sugar beets and how to drive the tractor and haul hay. He always involved my brothers and me in his work projects and led by example. He always stood by us when the going got tough or was challenging. You see, Father had been an army sergeant and knew how to lead men. Several evidences of that training showed up in how he raised our sister Marie and us eight boys.
One example of that was when we got older and our home needed more bedrooms. Father decided to build on to the back of our house and built what he called, a dormitory. Yes, you are right, it was like an army barrack with seven military metal framed army cots and blankets, foot lockers at the end of the beds, and open closets where our clothes needed to be neatly hung and arranged as there where regular inspections that occurred. He knew how to lead and train military men in the army so like them, Father taught us in many of the same ways and how to have order. Some neighbors had asked him if the way he was raising his kids wasn’t ‘regimentation’. He would just smile and respond back saying; “I look at it as organization.”
I remember many times when he helped friends by serving them. My Father and Mother were always doing things to help others. They started the Osmond Foundation to raise money for deaf children, two of which were my older brothers. This was a pattern of my father and I wanted to be like him, “Like Father, Like Son.” He was a hard worker and organizer and gave freely of his time in headed up several fundraising projects within the church and the community.
Like my father, I too, found and married the most wonderful girl in the world, Suzanne Pinegar, and she is my eternal partner. Suzanne has blessed me with eight wonderful
sons. As a father, I tried to raise them the best I knew.
I can look back and see a parallel in many of the same ways and traditions that I learned from my father. Those patterns and traditions of life now exist among us as a family with our sons and their families. Yes, they honor me and call me Father and they have learned to work hard and to never give up. Yes, they also love
music and have excelled in it masterfully. I told them to get “real jobs” and they did get good educations with a love to learn. Yes, they love the out of doors like I did as a son and are all Eagle Scouts. Seven of them so far have served full time missions and have returned and married. Yes, they grew up in a home with respect, order, good cooking, love, and with religious convictions that honors our Lord Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. We learn from Jesus’s example that even what He did, was as His Father has done; “Like Father, like Son”.
This Father’s Day, I reflect back on my father’s life and how much he showed me by example the way to be and to become. He taught us to be positive and to never give up when we were challenged and would say, “You can do it”. He also taught us that “You can be what you want to become, if you become what you want to be.” He was hard working yet a righteous man with a tender “marshmallow” heart”, as my mother would say, as he blessed his family and took us all to church. He served in the bishopric and held several other church callings in which he blessed others. We never had a meal together without first having a word of prayer and giving thanks and blessing the food. We always had family prayer at night and even before every show that my family and I did later when we became entertainers. When major decisions were made, we would counsel with the Lord together in kneeling family prayer seeking inspiration and giving thanks. This was the way we grew up because it was the way he did.
I remember the day my mother passed away and which was a hard thing and then not long after that when my father died. It is not easy to see them go but it is those times when the knowledge of that they had taught us gave us the understanding that we would live again and be with them. When my Father died, I was the first one to be by his side. I saw him lying cold and still on his bed. His body was there but my Father’s spirit wasn’t. I shed some tears and held his hand as I offered a prayer of gratitude to my Heavenly Father. I thanked Him for giving me the greatest earthly father I could ever have and for the good man that he was. It was then that I honestly started to smile as I knew he was now once again with my Mother in the Spirit world. I looked at him and said, “Father, save me a place, up there.”
Some day, I too, will graduate and do as my Father, my Savior, and my God have done, and live on eternally. ”Like Father, Like Son”.
Texas A&M Commencement Address – Standing Ovation; Deathly Silent!
By Alan on Jun 01 in Blog tagged a drug, a job, abilities, ability, academic, agent, blacks, character, choice, college, Commencement address, culture, deathly silent, diploma, distrust, education, faculty, failure, gender, government, health care, identity, individual identity, individual rights, interity, just begun, lawyer, learning, less fortunate, liberals, luck, minority, miserable, money, Neal Boortz, not to impress, Og Mandino, poor, poorer, Poverty, power, racial, real world, responsibility, rich, rights, standing ovation, students, success, teach, temptation, Texas A&M, Texas Aggie, The Family, welfare, work | 3 Comments
The students gave a standing ovation;
the faculty were deathly silent!
Neal Boortz is a Texan, a lawyer, a Texas Aggie (Texas A&M) graduate, and now a nationally syndicated talk show host from Atlanta . His commencement address to the graduates of a recent Texas A&M class is far different from what either the students or the faculty expected. Whether you agree or disagree, his views are certainly thought provoking.
BOLD AND BLUNT!
TESTED AND TRUE!
“I am honored by the invitation to address you on this august occasion. It’s about time. Be warned, however, that I am not here to impress you; you’ll have enough smoke blown up your bloomers today. And you can bet your tassels I’m not here to impress the faculty and administration. You may not like much of what I have to say, and that’s fine. You will remember it though. Especially after about 10 years out there in the real world. This, it goes without saying, does not apply to those of you who will seek your careers and your fortunes as government employees.
This gowned gaggle behind me is your faculty. You’ve heard the old saying that those who can – do. Those who can’t – teach. That sounds deliciously insensitive. But there is often raw truth in insensitivity, just as you often find feel-good falsehoods and lies in compassion. Say good-bye to your faculty because now you are getting ready to go out there and do. These folks behind me are going to stay right here and teach.
By the way, just because you are leaving this place with a diploma doesn’t mean the learning is over. When an FAA flight examiner handed me my private pilot’s license many years ago, he said, “Here, this is your ticket to learn.” The same can be said for your diploma. Believe me, the learning has just begun.
Now, I realize that most of you consider yourselves Liberals. In fact, you are probably very proud of your liberal views. You care so much. You feel so much. You want to help so much. After all, you’re a compassionate and caring person, aren’t you now? Well, isn’t that just so extraordinarily special. Now, at this age, is as good a time as any to be a liberal; as good a time as any to know absolutely everything. You have plenty of time, starting tomorrow, for the truth to set in.
Over the next few years, as you begin to feel the cold breath of reality down your neck, things are going to start changing pretty fast… Including your own assessment of just how much you really know.
So here are the first assignments for your initial class in reality: Pay attention to the news, read newspapers, and listen to the words and phrases that proud Liberals use to promote their causes. Then, compare the words of the left to the words and phrases you hear from those evil, heartless, greedy conservatives. From the Left you will hear “I feel.” From the Right you will hear “I think.” From the Liberals you will hear references to groups — The Blacks, the Poor, the Rich, the Disadvantaged, the Less Fortunate. From the Right you will hear references to individuals. On the Left you hear talk of group rights; on the Right, individual rights.
That about sums it up, really: Liberals feel. Liberals care. They are pack animals whose identity is tied up in group dynamics. Conservatives think — and, setting aside the theocracy crowd, their identity is centered on the individual.
Liberals feel that their favored groups have enforceable rights to the property and services of productive individuals. Conservatives, I among them I might add, think that individuals have the right to protect their lives and their property from the plunder of the masses.
In college you developed a group mentality, but if you look closely at your diplomas you will see that they have your individual names on them. Not the name of your school mascot, or of your fraternity or sorority, but your name. Your group identity is going away. Your recognition and appreciation of your individual identity starts now.
If, by the time you reach the age of 30, you do not consider yourself to be a conservative, rush right back here as quickly as you can and apply for a faculty position. These people will welcome you with open arms. They will welcome you, that is, so long as you haven’t developed an individual identity. Once again you will have to be willing to sign on to the group mentality you embraced during the past four years.
Something is going to happen soon that is going to really open your eyes. You’re going to actually get a full time job!
You’re also going to get a lifelong work partner. This partner isn’t going to help you do your job. This partner is just going to sit back and wait for payday. This partner doesn’t want to share in your effort, but in your earnings.
Your new lifelong partner is actually an agent; an agent representing a strange and diverse group of people; an agent for every teenager with an illegitimate child; an agent for a research scientist who wanted to make some cash answering the age-old question of why monkeys grind their teeth. An agent for some poor demented hippie who considers herself to be a meaningful and talented artist, but who just can’t manage to sell any of her artwork on the open market.
Your new partner is an agent for every person with limited, if any, job skills, but who wanted a job at City Hall. An agent for tin-horn dictators in fancy military uniforms grasping for American foreign aid. An agent for multi-million dollar companies who want someone else to pay for their overseas advertising. An agent for everybody who wants to use the unimaginable power of this agent’s for their personal enrichment and benefit.
That agent is our wonderful, caring, compassionate, oppressive government. Believe me, you will be awed by the unimaginable power this agent has. Power that you do not have. A power that no individual has, or will have. This agent has the legal power to use force, deadly force to accomplish its goals.
You have no choice here. Your new friend is just going to walk up to you, introduce itself rather gruffly, hand you a few forms to fill out, and move right on in. Say hello to your own personal one ton gorilla. It will sleep anywhere it wants to.
Now, let me tell you, this agent is not cheap. As you become successful it will seize about 40% of everything you earn. And no, I’m sorry, there just isn’t any way you can fire this agent of plunder, and you can’t decrease its share of your income. That power rests with him, not you.
So, here I am saying negative things to you about government. Well, be clear on this: It is not wrong to distrust government. It is not wrong to fear government. In certain cases it is not even wrong to despise government for government is inherently evil. Yes, a necessary evil, but dangerous nonetheless, somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal.
Now let’s address a few things that have been crammed into your minds at this university. There are some ideas you need to expunge as soon as possible. These ideas may work well in academic environment, but they fail miserably out there in the real world.
First is that favorite buzz word of the media and academia: Diversity! You have been taught that the real value of any group of people – be it a social group, an employee group, a management group, whatever – is based on diversity. This is a favored liberal ideal because diversity is based not on an individuals abilities or character, but on a person’s identity and status as a member of a group. Yes, it’s that liberal group identity thing again.
Within the great diversity movement group identification – be it racial, gender based, or some other minority status – means more than the individuals integrity, character or other qualifications.
Brace yourself. You are about to move from this academic atmosphere where diversity rules, to a workplace and a culture where individual achievement and excellence actually count. No matter what your professors have taught you over the last four years, you are about to learn that diversity is absolutely no replacement for excellence, ability, and individual hard work. From this day on every single time you hear the word “diversity” you can rest assured that there is someone close by who is determined to rob you of every vestige of individuality you possess.
We also need to address this thing you seem to have about “rights.” We have witnessed an obscene explosion of so-called “rights” in the last few decades, usually emanating from college campuses.
You know the mantra: You have the right to a job. The right to a place to live. The right to a living wage. The right to health care. The right to an education. You probably even have your own pet right – the right to a Beemer for instance, or the right to have someone else provide for that child you plan on downloading in a year or so.
Forget it. Forget those rights! I’ll tell you what your rights are. You have a right to live free, and to the results of 60% -75% of your labor. I’ll also tell you have no right to any portion of the life or labor of another.
You may, for instance, think that you have a right to health care. After all, President Obama said so, didn’t he? But you cannot receive health-care unless some doctor or health practitioner surrenders some of his time – his life – to you. He may be willing to do this for compensation, but that’s his choice. You have no “right” to his time or property. You have no right to his or any other person’s life or to any portion thereof.
You may also think you have some “right” to a job; a job with a living wage, whatever that is. Do you mean to tell me that you have a right to force your services on another person, and then the right to demand that this person compensate you with their money? Sorry, forget it. I am sure you would scream if some urban outdoors men (that would be “homeless person” for those of you who don’t want to give these less fortunate people a romantic and adventurous title) came to you and demanded his job and your money.
The people who have been telling you about all the rights you have are simply exercising one of theirs – the right to be imbeciles. Their being imbeciles didn’t cost anyone else either property or time. It’s their right, and they exercise it brilliantly.
By the way, did you catch my use of the phrase “less fortunate” a bit ago when I was talking about the urban outdoors men? That phrase is a favorite of the Left. Think about it, and you’ll understand why.
To imply that one person is homeless, destitute, dirty, drunk, spaced out on drugs, unemployable, and generally miserable because he is “less fortunate” is to imply that a successful person – one with a job, a home and a future – is in that position because he or she was “fortunate.” The dictionary says that fortunate means “having derived good from an unexpected place.” There is nothing unexpected about deriving good from hard work. There is also nothing unexpected about deriving misery from choosing drugs, alcohol, and the street.
If the Liberal Left can create the common perception that success and failure are simple matters of “fortune” or “luck,” then it is easy to promote and justify their various income redistribution schemes. After all, we are just evening out the odds a little bit. This “success equals luck” idea the liberals like to push is seen everywhere. Former Democratic presidential candidate Richard Gephardt refers to high-achievers as “people who have won life’s lottery.” He wants you to believe they are making the big bucks because they are lucky. It’s not luck, my friends. It’s choice. One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was in a book by Og Mandino, entitled, “The Greatest Secret in the World.” The lesson? Very simple: “Use wisely your power of choice.”
That bum sitting on a heating grate, smelling like a wharf rat? He’s there by choice. He is there because of the sum total of the choices he has made in his life. This truism is absolutely the hardest thing for some people to accept, especially those who consider themselves to be victims of something or other – victims of discrimination, bad luck, the system, capitalism, whatever. After all, nobody really wants to accept the blame for his or her position in life. Not when it is so much easier to point and say, “Look! He did this to me!” than it is to look into a mirror and say, “You X. X. X.! You did this to me!”
The key to accepting responsibility for your life is to accept the fact that your choices, every one of them, are leading you inexorably to either success or failure, however you define those terms.
Some of the choices are obvious: Whether or not to stay in school. Whether or not to get pregnant. Whether or not to hit the bottle. Whether or not to keep this job you hate until you get another better-paying job. Whether or not to save some of your money, or saddle yourself with huge payments for that new car.
Some of the choices are seemingly insignificant: Whom to go to the movies with. Whose car to ride home in. Whether to watch the tube tonight, or read a book on investing. But, and you can be sure of this, each choice counts. Each choice is a building block – some large, some small. But each one is a part of the structure of your life. If you make the right choices, or if you make more right choices than wrong ones, something absolutely terrible may happen to you. Something unthinkable. You, my friend, could become one of the hated, the evil, the ugly, the feared, the filthy, the successful, the rich.
The rich basically serve two purposes in this country. First, they provide the investments, the investment capital, and the brains for the formation of new businesses. Businesses that hire people. Businesses that send millions of paychecks home each week to the un-rich.
Second, the rich are a wonderful object of ridicule, distrust, and hatred. Few things are more valuable to a politician than the envy most Americans feel for the evil rich.
Envy is a powerful emotion. Even more powerful than the emotional minefield that surrounded Bill Clinton when he reviewed his last batch of White House interns. Politicians use envy to get votes and power. And they keep that power by promising the envious that the envied will be punished: “The rich will pay their fair share of taxes if I have anything to do with it.” The truth is that the top 10% of income earners in this country pays almost 50% of all income taxes collected. I shudder to think what these job producers would be paying if our tax system were any more “fair.”
You have heard, no doubt, that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Interestingly enough, our government’s own numbers show that many of the poor actually get richer, and that quite a few of the rich actually get poorer. But for the rich who do actually get richer, and the poor who remain poor .. there’s an explanation — a reason. The rich, you see, keep doing the things that make them rich; while the poor keep doing the things that make them poor.
Speaking of the poor, during your adult life you are going to hear an endless string of politicians bemoaning the plight of the poor. So, you need to know that under our government’s definition of “poor” you can have a $5 million net worth, a $300,000 home and a new $90,000 Mercedes, all completely paid for. You can also have a maid, cook, and valet, and a million in your checking account, and you can still be officially defined by our government as “living in poverty.” Now there’s something you haven’t seen on the evening news.
How does the government pull this one off? Very simple, really. To determine whether or not some poor soul is “living in poverty,” the government measures one thing — just one thing. Income.
It doesn’t matter one bit how much you have, how much you own, how many cars you drive or how big they are, whether or not your pool is heated, whether you winter in Aspen and spend the summers in the Bahamas, or how much is in your savings account. It only matters how much income you claim in that particular year. This means that if you take a one-year leave of absence from your high-paying job and decide to live off the money in your savings and checking accounts while you write the next great American novel, the government says you are living in poverty.”
This isn’t exactly what you had in mind when you heard these gloomy statistics, is it? Do you need more convincing? Try this. The government’s own statistics show that people who are said to be “living in poverty” spend more than $1.50 for each dollar of income they claim. Something is a bit fishy here. Just remember all this the next time Charles Gibson tells you about some hideous new poverty statistics.
Why has the government concocted this phony poverty scam? Because the government needs an excuse to grow and to expand its social welfare programs, which translates into an expansion of its power. If the government can convince you, in all your compassion, that the number of “poor” is increasing, it will have all the excuse it needs to sway an electorate suffering from the advanced stages of Obsessive-Compulsive Compassion Disorder.
I’m about to be stoned by the faculty here. They’ve already changed their minds about that honorary degree I was going to get. That’s OK, though. I still have my PhD. in Insensitivity from the Neal Boortz Institute for Insensitivity Training. I learned that, in short, sensitivity sucks. It’s a trap. Think about it – the truth knows no sensitivity. Life can be insensitive. Wallow too much in sensitivity and you’ll be unable to deal with life, or the truth, so get over it.
Now, before the dean has me shackled and hauled off, I have a few random thoughts.
* You need to register to vote, unless you are on welfare. If you are living off the efforts of others, please do us the favor of sitting down and shutting up until you are on your own again.
* When you do vote, your votes for the House and the Senate are more important than your vote for President. The House controls the purse strings, so concentrate your awareness there.
* Liars cannot be trusted, even when the liar is the President of the country. If someone can’t deal honestly with you, send them packing.
* Don’t bow to the temptation to use the government as an instrument of plunder. If it is wrong for you to take money from someone else who earned it — to take their money by force for your own needs — then it is certainly just as wrong for you to demand that the government step forward and do this dirty work for you.
* Don’t look in other people’s pockets. You have no business there. What they earn is theirs. What you earn is yours. Keep it that way. Nobody owes you anything, except to respect your privacy and your rights, and leave you the ‘heck’ alone.
* Speaking of earning, the revered 40-hour workweek is for losers. Forty hours should be considered the minimum, not the maximum. You don’t see highly successful people clocking out of the office every afternoon at five. The losers are the ones caught up in that afternoon rush hour. The winners drive home in the dark.
* Free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech, by definition, needs no protection.
* Finally (and aren’t you glad to hear that word), as Og Mandino wrote,
1. Proclaim your rarity. Each of you is a rare and unique human being.
2. Use wisely your power of choice.
3. Go the extra mile, drive home in the dark.
Oh, and put off buying a television set as long as you can. Now, if you have any idea at all what’s good for you, you will get out of here and never come back. Class dismissed.”
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8: 32
For The Family
(Anxious to see your comments!)
By Alan on May 15 in Blog tagged education, evil, good, history, knowledge, learn, learning, mind, reading, thoughts, words | Comments Off
We should always work to educate our minds and our hands so we can succeed in our chosen fields. Our education should be an influence for good and our use of it should distinguish us as people of integrity. A good education will prepare us for opportunities as they come and will help us be an asset to our families, the Church, and our communities.
The Lord has commanded, “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith”. He has counseled us to learn the gospel and to gain an understanding “of things both in heaven and in the earth, . . . that [we] may be prepared in all things”.
In addition to furthering our education through formal schooling, we can continue learning by reading, attending wholesome cultural events, visiting museums and historic sites, and observing the world around us.
I wish to share some thoughts having to do with education—specifically the education of our minds and hearts, for those are the instruments by which we obtain knowledge. Said the Lord, “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart.”
I am awed by the great forces of knowledge represented in our time. Never before have so many been educated in the learning of the world. What a powerful thing it is—the intensive schooling of a large percentage of the youth of the world, who meet daily at the feet of instructors to garner knowledge from all the ages of man.
The extent of that knowledge is staggering. It encompasses the stars of the universe, the geology of the earth, the history of nations, the culture and language of peoples, the operation of governments, the laws of commerce, the behavior of the atom, the functions of the body, and the wonders of the mind.
With so much knowledge available, one would think that the world might well be near a state of perfection. Yet we are constantly made aware of the other side of the coin—of the sickness of society, of the contentions and troubles that bring misery into the lives of millions.
Each day we are made increasingly aware of the fact that life is more than science and mathematics, more than history and literature. There is need for another education, without which the substance of secular learning may lead only to destruction. I refer to the education of the heart, of the conscience, of the character, of the spirit—these indefinable aspects of our personalities which determine so certainly what we are and what we do in our relationships one with another.
The words of Solomon say: “With all thy getting get understanding.”
Understanding of what? Understanding of ourselves, of the purposes of life, of our relationship to God who is our Father, of the great divinely given principles that for centuries have provided the sinew of man’s real progress!
I desire to suggest that three principles be added to our vast store of secular knowledge to become cornerstones on which all of us may establish lives that will be fruitful, productive, and happy.
The first principle is gratitude, the second is virtue, the third is faith. I believe these are fundamental to the full development of every child of God.
Yes, that’s who we are!
What The Mormons Know About Welfare
By Alan on Feb 24 in Blog tagged bishop's storehouse, clothing, do away with curse of idleness, education, emergency generators, Europe!, fast offerings, fuel vehicles, help the people help themselves, housing, Katrina, LDS, Mitt Romney, Mormons, New Orleans, religion, social safety net, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the way, tithing, utilities, Washington could learn from his church, welfare, welfare system designed by church leaders, what the Mormons know about welfare | Comments Off
What the Mormons Know About Welfare
Mitt Romney has raised the issue of the social safety net. Washington could learn from the lesson of his church.
By NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY
Salt Lake City
Ever since Mitt Romney said he was “not concerned about the very poor” but would fix America’s social safety net “if it needs repair,” conservatives and liberals have been frantically making suggestions. Gov. Romney says he would consider options like restructuring Medicaid. But if he wants to see a welfare system that lets almost no one fall through the cracks while at the same time ensuring that its beneficiaries don’t become lifelong dependents, he could look to his own church.
As I ride in a golf cart through a new 15-acre warehouse on the outskirts of Utah’s capital, I can’t help but wonder: How many Wal-Marts would fit in here? How many burgers can you make from 4,400 industrial pallets of frozen meat? And how do they keep this place cleaner than my kitchen floor?
Dedicated last month, the Bishops Central Storehouse contains a two-year supply of food to support the Mormon church’s welfare system in the U.S. and Canada (primarily for church members in need) and its humanitarian program, which sends food, medical supplies and other necessities to the needy (of all faiths) world-wide.
In addition to goods from canned peaches to emergency generators, the facility also houses the church’s own trucking company, complete with 43 tractors and 98 trailers, as well as a one-year supply of fuel, parts and tires for the vehicles. Just in case.
The storehouse is not only a kind of physical marvel—it has been built to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude as high as 7.5—but also a symbol of strength and self-sufficiency.
Launched during the Great Depression, the Mormon welfare system was designed by church leaders as a way to match the armies of the unemployed faithful with some of the nearby farms that needed temporary labor. As storehouse manager Richard Humpherys explains, goods and services were traded so that if a father needed food for his family he could get some in exchange for, say, repairing the fence of a widow down the road.
Mormons and U.S. Marines carry aid to landslide victims in central Philippines in 2006.
In 1936, Heber Grant, one of the church leaders, reported the reasoning behind this effort: “Our primary purpose was to set up insofar as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished and independence, industry, thrift and self respect be once more established among our people. The aim of the Church is help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.”
Over the ensuing decades, the church acquired farms and ranches of its own. It built grain silos and dairies and canneries to store and process the food. By the end of World War II, church leaders had enough in the way of reserves that they contacted President Truman to ask if they might assist in feeding and clothing the destitute across Europe. The president readily agreed.
Because it has members on the ground around the world, the church continues to be an important force in bringing food and supplies to the impoverished and victims of natural disasters. Local church leaders contact the central headquarters in Salt Lake City to tell them what is needed—gauze pads, school supplies, wheelchairs—and the church does its best to accommodate.
The Department of Defense recently visited the new storehouse to find out how the Mormons are able to mobilize so quickly, and there is an almost military sense of efficiency and strategy to the church’s efforts. When Hurricane Katrina struck, for instance, the church had positioned its fully loaded trucks in a kind of semicircle from South Carolina to Texas because no one knew how the storm was going to move. The church used reserves of fuel that it has placed around the country, and drivers were able to bring full tanker trucks into New Orleans, powering rescue vehicles and even chain saws to remove tree limbs.
Most of the inventory in the central storehouse, though, goes to supply more than 100 smaller storehouses around the country, plus hundreds of soup kitchens and homeless shelters of other religious communities around North America. Members of the Mormon church who find themselves in difficult circumstances can go to their local bishop and ask for aid.
The bishop then fills out an order allowing them to go and receive food from the local storehouse. Seventy percent of the items on the shelves are produced by the church itself and the remainder are purchased at steep wholesale discounts. According to Rick Foster, who oversees a smaller storehouse in Salt Lake City along with the cannery and dairy at Welfare Square (the original site of all the church’s welfare services), people depend on the food at the storehouse for an average of three to six months.
That’s because the church’s goal is to help them get back on their feet as soon as possible. And the storehouse is only one of the tools at the disposal of local bishops, who may also refer members to other church programs, including employment counseling or family services. The bishop may even use money from a fund at his disposal to help pay for education, housing or utilities.
The labor behind the farming, food production, counseling and even cattle ranching is provided almost entirely by volunteers. Some are retired folks who come in every day. Other times an entire ward, or congregation, will come for the day, each of the members standing on an industrial assembly line packaging bread, processing cheese or sealing jars of apple sauce.
Regular tithing by church members helps pay for the facilities, but the primary source of capital support is the Mormons’ monthly fast, as church members are asked to contribute what they would have spent on two meals. Many give much more, says Mr. Foster.
It is safe to assume that Mr. Romney is among them. The tens of millions of dollars he has given the church over the years have raised suspicion in some quarters. What does the church do with all that cash? Wouldn’t that money have been better spent paying a higher income-tax rate? But his donations are supporting the kind of safety net that government can never hope to create. Jesus may have said the poor will always be with you, but he didn’t say Medicaid would.
Ms. Riley, a former Journal editor, writes frequently about religion. Marlon Snow
For The Family
Education As Homecoming
By Alan on Aug 21 in Blog tagged Allan C. Carlson, education, education as homecoming, home school, homecoming, homlessness, parental involvement, Paul Mero, reinventing American education, the cell of society, the family home | Comments Off
Education As Homecoming
By Allan Carlson
Conservative and libertarian critics of contemporary public education commonly reject the argument that “common schools” are necessary for the unity and cohesion of a community or nation. They see this claim as a smokescreen, hiding an assault on parental rights and the imposition of a liberal agenda on the young.
All the same, nagging questions remain. Is shared moral purpose truly not possible? Do neighborhoods and local communities have some legitimate claims on a child? Are there ways to reconcile parental authority and family autonomy with the claims of a community?
To begin to answer these questions, we need to reframe our understanding of education. The Kentucky poet and essayist Wendell Berry points to the strange nature of modern schooling:
According to the new norm, the child’s destiny is not to succeed the parents, but to outmode them. … The schools are no longer oriented to a cultural inheritance that it is their duty to pass on unimpaired, but to the career, which is to say the future of the child…. He or she is educated to leave home and earn money in a provisional future that has nothing to do with place or community.
These are the symptoms of a pervasive homelessness, one vastly broader in scope than the “homeless problem” normally discussed in the media. The Christian scholars Steven Bouma-Prediger and Brian Walsh emphasize that true education “must engender an ethos of intimacy and affection,” one rooted in a geographically defined community such as a village or neighborhood, where we might “secede from the [post-modern] empire that has rendered us homeless.” Social analyst Bryce Christensen describes home as “a place sanctified by the abiding ties of wedlock, parenthood, and family obligation; a place demanding sacrifice and devotion but promising loving care and warm acceptance,” a place anchored in turn in a specific geographic locale. And nature educator Wes Jackson asks whether schools ought now to be offering a new major in “homecoming.”
Moving beyond the strict mechanics of “school choice” (charter schools, vouchers, etc.), what might a contemporary education for “home building” and “homecoming” look like?
The first principle is that all true and lasting efforts must flow from the primal or natural social units: families, villages, neighborhoods and faith communities. An effective long-term “education in homecoming” cannot be imposed from the top down. True “education in homecoming” will instead flow upward from the familial and spiritual foundations of a good society.
Second, “civic unity” will not be won by the imposition from above of the new ideology of “multiculturalism.” In fact, over the last 100 years, the only effective unifying metaphors of “the American Way of life” have come from the discovery of common affection for marriage, family and place: affections that transcend religious and ethnic divisions; and affections that also grow from the family home as the cell of society.
Allow me to illustrate this big idea with a little story. A decade ago, I participated in a debate over children’s issues on Wisconsin Public Radio, and at one point said something positive about homeschooling. Another panelist, a professor of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, responded sternly. Given all the new immigrants coming to America, she said, only the public schools could craft a necessary degree of public unity. “It was the values found in theMcGuffey Readers that unified this nation,” she concluded. I responded: “If you can show me one public schoolroom in this state where the McGuffey Readers are used today, I will concede your point. But I know that you can’t. For you see, the state of Wisconsin’s education regulations specifically ban the McGuffey Readers from use, because of their moralistic content. However, I could show you dozens, even hundreds, of home-school classrooms in Wisconsin whereMcGuffey is alive and well.” Unlike the state’s schools, these homes were – and are – still building respect for a unifying public morality.
Indeed, the most obvious path toward education as homecoming lies in these home schools. Here we find American families engaged in a fundamental revolution, recovering a vital family function lost to the aggressive state a century and a half earlier. With nearly three million children now involved, home-school families are reinventing American education.
The direct educational effects are broadly impressive. By grade eight, for example, the median scores of home-schoolers are almost four grade equivalents above those of their peers in publicand private schools.
Relative to homecoming, though, the more important traits of home schooling are the social and familial. Simply put, home education empowers “homemaking” families. According to one recent survey, more than 97 percent of home-school students had parents who were married, compared with a 72 percent figure nationwide. Sixty-two percent of home-schooling families had three or more children, compared with a mere 20 percent of the nationwide sample.
How might public policy encourage home education? Home-schooling is now legal, with varying degrees of regulation, in all 50 states. The model statute may be Alaska’s, where the state’s Compulsory Education Law simply and fully exempts from coverage any child who “is being educated in the child’s home by a parent or legal guardian.” This freedom precludes registration, reporting or curricular requirements. In Illinois, homeschoolers can claim an Education Tax Credit of 20 percent on educational expenses, up to $250 per student.
Private and religious schools can also be centers for education as homecoming. The key here is deep parental involvement in the operation of the schools. The best ones are those built on a clear – and usually religious – moral vision and on the work, sacrifice and treasure of parents and students.
In this context, the approach of promoting universal state vouchers to advance “school choice” should be cautiously considered for two reasons. First, the potential for regulatory intrusion by state authorities here is real. And second, the availability of vouchers could lessen – perhaps dramatically – the spirit of family sacrifice and the personal parental involvement that animate the best independent schools.
An alternative approach to school choice that better avoids these pitfalls is the steady expansion of general child-sensitive income tax measures, such as personal exemptions and child tax credits, at both the state and federal levels.
In addition, a strong case can be made for treating all educational expenses as tax-deductible. Investments in physical capital by businesses currently enjoy favored treatment under tax policy: deductibility in some cases; generous depreciation tables in others. As an investment in human capital, educational costs should logically enjoy similar treatment: full deductibility.
This focus on tax benefits would prevent regulatory intrusion and spare independent schools from the loss of their peculiar and necessary energy.
What then about the public schools, which still embrace the great majority of American children? We should move toward a radical deconsolidation of the public system, down even to the single-school level. This would weaken bureaucratic and union strangleholds on the schools and so return them to real community control, where parental and neighborhood moral judgments could again play a role. This goal would rest on the finding, phrased in policy analyst Bill Kauffman’s words, that “every promise of the [school] consolidationists is, at best, an exaggeration, at worst, a lie.” Neither efficiency, nor improved outcomes, nor greater social equity have been gained.
Moving beyond “charter schools,” this deconsolidationist approach would come full circle and reground tax-supported schools in their places, their neighborhoods. Each school would have its own elected governing board and its own tax levy. Where the economic circumstances of a school district were inadequate, a state education board could make a supplemental grant out of general revenues. High-school districts could draw students from several independent primary districts.
The use of busing and magnet schools to prevent or reverse racial segregation would admittedly come to an end under this approach. However, recent reports from the Civil Rights Project of Harvard University have found American schools more segregated now than they were 40 years earlier when court-ordered busing first came into its own. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been squandered in this campaign. It is time to end this wasteful, fruitless and degrading exercise in social engineering and turn instead to building viable neighborhoods resting on good local schools.
Most importantly, these neighborhood, village, or township schools would be “open.” Like a community college, they would offer their learning and extracurricular opportunities to all studentsin the district but would compel none. Some families might choose a complete school day; others just a science or math class; still others, only choir or the basketball team. The local school would have a strong incentive to serve the neighborhood and its inhabitants, rather than to force them along a one-curriculum-fits-all path.
Once again, school boards could be expected to reflect and respect neighborhood values and sensibilities. The school should become the focus and pride of the neighborhood, village or township, so helping to unite all people – public-schoolers, private-schoolers, home-schoolers, and the childless alike – with their special place on earth. In these ways, parental autonomy would be reconciled with the claims of local culture and community. And by building on strengthened families and neighborhoods, we would be crafting the greater strength of Utah, and the nation.
The author, Dr. Allan C. Carlson, is director of Sutherland Institute’s Center for Community and Economy, president of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, and distinguished visiting professor at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Dr. Carlson founded the World Congress of Families in 1997. He has written for numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, National Review, and Intercollegiate Review, and is the editor of The Family in America. He is the author of nine books, including The Natural Family: A Manifesto (Spence, 2007), which he co-authored with Paul T. Mero.
“The divine law impressed upon parents the duty of teaching their children its precepts and principles, but little is known about the methods of teaching that were employed. Up to six years of age a child was taught at home, chiefly by the mother (cf. 2 Tim. 1: 5).
The Resume Of Jesus Christ
By Alan on May 20 in Blog tagged A position in your heart, accomplishments, education, Jesus Christ, occupation, qualifications, references, resume, skills, The Family, theFamily | Comments Off
The Resume of Jesus Christ
Address: Ephesians 1:20
Phone: Romans 10:13
Hello. My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I’ve sent you my resume because I’m seeking the top management position in your heart. Please consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.
* I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19)
* I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7)
* I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7)
* I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians 3:13)
* The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me, (See Galatians 3:14)
* I’ve only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49).
* I’ve never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
* My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15-17)
Skills Work Experiences:
* Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are bruised, (See Luke 4:18).
* I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33).
* Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of your sins, (See I John 1:7-9)
* I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6).
* In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians 2:3).
* My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105).
* I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21).
* I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times, (See Genesis 1:26).
* I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15).
* I defeated the archenemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly, (See Colossians 2:15).
* I’ve miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
* There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can read them on my website, which is located at: www dot – the BIBLE. You don’t need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
* Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healings, salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance
Now that you’ve read my resume, I’m confident that I’m the only candidate uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation, I will properly direct your paths, (See Prov 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life, (See John 6:47). When can I start? Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15).
“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1: 39
The Lord’s Way. Remember the Poor, Needy, Sick and Afflicted.
By Alan on Apr 16 in Blog tagged compassion, education, fast offerings, humanitarian service, Latter-day Saints, Mormon, remember the poor, savior, self-reliance, sin of covetousness, temporal and spiritual, the afflicted, The Family, The Lord's Way, the needy, the sick, theFamily, work | Comments Off
The Lord’s Way – For The Family
The Savior, who set the pattern for us, is pleased with those who “remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted” [D&C 52:40].
As we reflect on the life of the Savior and His Resurrection, certainly the many images of those who petitioned Him for help come to my mind. I can easily imagine the deformed legs of a man unable to walk since birth or the tears flowing down a widow’s cheek as she follows the body of her only son as it is carried to its tomb. I see the empty eyes of the hungry, the trembling hands of the sick, the pleading voice of the condemned, the disconsolate eye of the outcast. All of them are reaching toward a solitary man, a man without wealth, without home, without position.
I see this man, the Son of the living God, look on each of them with infinite compassion. With a touch of His holy hand, He brings comfort to the downcast, healing to the sick, liberation to the condemned. With a word, the dead man rises from his bier and the widow embraces her enlivened son.
“It has always been a cardinal teaching with the Latter-day Saints,” President Joseph F. Smith wrote, “that a religion which has not the power to save people temporally and make them prosperous and happy here, cannot be depended upon to save them spiritually, to exalt them in the life to come.”
The temporal and the spiritual are linked inseparably. As we give of our time, talents, and resources to tend the needs of the sick, offer food to the hungry, and teach the dependent to stand on their own, we enrich ourselves spiritually beyond our ability to comprehend.
The Lord declared in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “It is my purpose to provide for my saints. … But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.”The Lord’s way consists of helping people help themselves. The poor are exalted because they work for the temporary assistance they receive, they are taught correct principles, and they are able to lift themselves from poverty to self-reliance. The rich are made low because they humble themselves to give generously of their means to those in need.
In the Church, the bishop has the specific charge to care for “the poor, the needy, the single parent, the aged, the disabled, the fatherless, the widowed, and others who have special needs.”
Over the years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welfare program has grown to meet the ever-increasing needs of an expanding Church. In North America today, 80 Church farms produce nutritious food for the needy. Eighty cannery facilities preserve and package this life-sustaining food. More than 100 bishops’ storehouses stand ready to assist more than 10,000 bishops and branch presidents as they carry out their sacred obligation to seek out and assist the poor and needy in their wards and branches. Fifty Deseret Industries operations offer work and training to thousands. Worldwide, 160 employment centers help more than 78,000 people find jobs each year. Sixty-five LDS Social Services offices help member couples adopt children and provide counseling to those in need.
The Church does not limit its relief efforts to its members but follows the admonition of the Prophet Joseph Smith when he said, “A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.” 4 He instructed members “to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted.”
As a disaster occurs somewhere in the world, almost immediately, the Church begins sending life-sustaining food, clothing, medicine, and blankets to help both members of the Church and those of other faiths. Once the shipments arrived at their destination, Church members came by the hundreds to unload the trucks and assemble the supplies into boxes. The items in each box would sustain a family for a week.
In addition to helping others, families and individual members would do well to review their own level of self-reliance. We may ask ourselves a few questions:
Are we wise stewards of our money? Do we spend less than we earn? Do we avoid unnecessary debt? Do we follow the counsel of the Brethren to “store sufficient food, clothing, and where possible fuel for at least one year”? 7 Do we teach our children to value and not waste what they have? Do we teach them to work? Do they understand the importance of the sacred law of tithing? Do we have sufficient education and adequate employment? Do we maintain good health by living the Word of Wisdom? Are we free from the adverse effects of harmful substances?
If, in honesty, we answer “no” to any of these questions, we may wish to improve our self-reliance plan. Prophets have provided fundamental guides for us.
First, one of today’s evils is the sin of covetousness. Inordinate desire for material possessions can become an obsession that consumes our thoughts, drains our resources, and leads to unhappiness. Some members of the Church are increasingly burdened with unnecessary debt because of this sin. President Heber J. Grant said: “If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet.”
“Industry, thrift, self-reliance continue as guiding principles of this effort,” President Thomas S. Monson, chairman of the Welfare Executive Committee of the Church, has admonished. “As a people, we should avoid unreasonable debt. …’Pay thy debt, and live.’ (2 Kgs. 4:7.) What wise counsel for us today!”
Second, from the beginning God has commanded us to work and has warned us against idleness. Sadly, many in our world today encourage idleness, especially in the form of mindless, inane entertainment that is on the Internet, on television, and in computer games.
Third, I commend to you the counsel of President Hinckley when he said: “Get all the education you can. … Cultivate skills of mind and hands. Education is the key to opportunity.” Yes, education is the catalyst that will hone and sharpen our talents, skills, and abilities and cause them to blossom.
Fourth, those who choose to follow the example of the Savior and relieve suffering could look to the amount they contribute to fast offerings. These sacred funds are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to bless the sick, the suffering, and others in need.
Contributing a generous fast offering blesses the givers richly and allows them to become partners with the Lord and the bishop in helping relieve suffering and fostering self-reliance. In our prosperous circumstances, perhaps we should evaluate our offerings and decide if we are as generous with the Lord as He is with us.
When the welfare program emerged from its humble beginnings in the midst of the Great Depression, few imagined that, 60 years later, it would have blossomed and flourished to the point where it blesses literally millions of the world’s needy.
For The Family
What Goes Around Comes Around.
By Alan on Apr 12 in Blog tagged education, Flemming, poor farmer, saved a life, What goes around comes around, Winston Churchill | Comments Off
His name was Flemming and he was a poor Scottish farmer.
One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools
and ran to the bog.
There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
’I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’
’No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer.
At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.
‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked.
’Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.
’I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’
And that he did.
Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved his life this time? Penicillin !
The name of the nobleman?
Sir Winston Churchill.
Someone once said: What goes around comes around.
“Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching.
Sing like nobody’s listening.
Live like it’s Heaven on Earth.”
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
“These things I command you, that ye love one another.” John 15: 12, 17
For The Family
Wired Science For Our Tomorrows. An Incredible Future Ahead.
By Alan on Mar 14 in Blog tagged advanced technology, education, future, latest, war room | Comments Off
For The Family
Gas Prices, Mortgage, Food Costs, The Price Of Having Children?
By Alan on Feb 27 in Blog tagged cost, create, education, expense, Family, God, Plan of Life, price, school, spiritual, vacation, work priorities, worth it | 3 Comments
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Can we afford the costs of raising children? Can we work hard enough and save enough for our children’s futures as well as make sure they have fun while getting a good education?
Yes! We can’t afford NOT TO! Our family, spouse, children and grandchildren are those that will be with us after we die. It’s all a part of God’s plan of life. Life is eternal. Yes, we need to be frugal, work hard, study, pray, and be wise in all things keeping first those things that are worth it and most important.
Can we really afford a society in which we do not believe in the principle of work? Inflation has several causes, but any lasting cure must include increased productivity. Besides, work is a spiritual necessity, even if it is not an economic necessity, which it is. Hand outs, with an “I deserve it attitude” will lead you down the wrong path.
Can we really afford a society in which the family, our most basic institution, is further diminished? Most of us revolt at the idea of having children raised by the state, but step by small step we are moving in that direction. If our society’s success depends on having a critical mass of citizens with a sense of fair play and justice, and with love and concern for others, where do citizens usually acquire those crucial virtues, if we acquire them at all? We usually acquire them first and best in the family. The family garden, as has been said, is still the best place to grow happy humans. Society already pays terrible costs for the products of tragically flawed families, but if our nation further undermines the average family, the costs will be catastrophic.
What we do with the family is going to determine what happens to our whole society.
The Family is God’s Plan Of Life. Families are forever!
It was worth the cost to Jesus who sacrificed His life for us so that we might live again eternally as families!
For The Family