By Alan on Jul 16 in Blog tagged a sacred time, adjustments being married, Alan's poem, ball parks, bannana splits, being in demand, Big Al, birthdays, BYU Cheerleader, chores, Christmas Eve, clean their rooms, consequences, cousins, deprive something, discipline, eight sons, family traditions, gives me order, grandparents, His Gal and His Pals, home, interview, large family, life began after I fell n love with you, live very normally, measure up, moment's notice, mother, Nativity set and story, non-profit charity, odd hours, One Heart, pajamas, people watching, plays violin, responsibility, reunions, ride horses, schedules, sent to room, soccer games, Suzanne Osmond, temple ordinance workers, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The World, time for dinner, time-out, traditions, traveling, Valentines Day, water and snow skiing | 6 Comments
Today is Suzanne’s and my 38th Wedding Anniversary! I repost this article which I wrote a while back about how Suzanne and I met and how the Lord brought us together to create an eternal marriage and family. Oh how I love my wife Suzanne!
An interview with Suzanne Osmond given several
years ago as she was raising her family.
Suzanne was born on May 11, 1953 in Payson, Utah. She is the third oldest of seven children born to Kenneth J. Pinegar and Ruth Richardson Pinegar. She married Alan Osmond on July 16, 1974 and together have eight sons.
As a young woman, her favorite sports were water and snow skiing. She also loved to ride horses. Suzanne is also a very good piano player and Alan really loves to hear her play. She is also playing violin in a local orchestra.
She was really active in school. She was a baton twirler and a cheerleader for her high school band and also a BYU cheerleader.
Suzanne is 5’5″ tall and she has blue eyes and blonde hair.
Suzanne remembers, “Seven days before they were married, Alan sent Suzanne seven red roses with a note that said:
“For every day there is a rose,
For every rose there is time;
And when they’ve all been counted for,
I’ll come and make you mine.”
Isn’t that romantic?”
While in Europe, Alan and Suzanne celebrated being married for one month by sending a postcard to themselves at their new home in Provo, Utah telling each other how much in love they were and then signing it “Big Al and His Gal.” After having several sons, they have also added more words to it that reads, ”Big Al, His Gal, and His Pals.”
The first time Suzanne saw Alan perform was the day they were married! She sat in the audience with her “mouth wide open.” Afterwards she called her mother to tell her about it. All she could say was, “I’m so amazed, I can’ t even talk!”
Suzanne said, “There’s never a dull moment being married to Alan. Alan is one who is always busy and involved doing all kinds of projects. He has such a creative mind. Its fun to watch him create and see his creations come about.
I’m a very structured person and like my schedules. Alan has taught me to be more spontaneous and just flow with what’s happening or with what his ideas might be. Being married to an Osmond, I’ve been able to do a lot of traveling and see the world, and experience things in that realm that I never had before. I’ve met interesting people too. I remember when we were in the Middle-East and able to meet with Mrs. Sadat. We also met with Prime Minister Begin, President Reagan and other people. That’s been interesting for me, to be in circles where there have been influential and important people. To be able to meet them and see them first-hand.
The toughest adjustment to being married into a family that’s in the entertainment field is being in demand a lot. You have to be able to pick up and go at a moment’s notice sometimes. The spontaneity has been the thing that I’ve probably had to adjust most to and learn to accept the most. They sometimes keep odd hours, which has been another thing with which to adjust. It’s also having people who are probably watching every move that you make, and feeling like there are always eyes observing everything that you do. You really feel an obligation to set a good example at all times.
I think each one of our boys has the knowledge that there are a lot of people watching what they do and expect a certain standard out of them. So, I think that has actually helped. They have more than just their parents expecting them to measure up to those standards. There are a lot of other people who are leaning on them and watching them. They feel that and they are aware of that responsibility.
Being the mother of eight boys is very, very busy. Boys are very loud and very physical and always hungry! So you’re always running to keep up with them and making sure their stomachs are full. We’ve spent many, many hours at ballparks and soccer games. I don’t know what it would be like to have a daughter. I just can’t imagine that because our home is so boy-oriented.
As a family, we live very normally at home. Our boys do chores. They come home and do their homework and help out with younger brothers. They have to get up, make their beds, and clean their rooms just like any other teenager. It’s the same kind of normal life around this household as what I grew up with so I don’t think there’s anything different here than any other home.”
How do you handle discipline?
Suzanne explains, “There are always consequences for everything that we do. There are good consequences for good things and not-so-good consequences for when we do things that are wrong. The best thing is to take away something, deprive them of an activity or something they want to have. It makes them stop and think. For the little boys, usually they’re tired and so they are sent to their room and have to sit on their beds. A lot of times I’ll have books there that they can sit, read and calm down; think about what’s going on. A lot of people refer to that as a time-out period and I think it helps to take that time to let tempers settle down and think about what the problem is and find solutions.
It is important to manage your time with a large family. That’s why I like schedules. If I don’t have a schedule then I get frustrated. I have to have order and know what the next move is going to be so that I can plan. You have to control your time. It’s the only way you can get through without having the chaos that can come so easily. With a lot of people going a lot of different directions, that can happen very easily. There’s usually a set time for dinner that we like to gather for every evening as a family. That’s an important time and a sacred time in our home, to have dinner together. That keeps me on track. It gives me order in my life.“
What are some of your family traditions?
“We love birthdays. We always celebrate birthdays and make it really fun for the person who is having the birthday. My mother always calls on the telephone with a certain song she always played for us when I was growing up. Now she does it with the grandkids on their birthdays.
Christmas is probably our very favorite season of all. On Christmas Eve, everyone gets to open one gift and it’s always pajamas so they always look nice for the family videos the next morning. We always read the Christmas story and have a Nativity set that we use as we tell that story. Alan started a tradition several years ago of having banana splits on Christmas Eve, so that’s the last thing we do is have banana splits. Then everybody hustles off to bed so that Santa can come. On Christmas morning, the kids get up and they’re filmed walking into Christmas for the first time and all the excitement with that.
We also have family reunions throughout the year and that’s always fun to see everyone and catch up on brothers and sisters and cousins.”
Currently . . .
Now, after Alan and I have spent 38 wonderful married years together, we have 8 sons, 7 daughters-in-law and have become grandparents to 20 grandchildren with 2 on the way! We continue having family nights with many of the same family traditions today and we love life.
Several years ago, we started a non-profit charity called One Heart for Strengthening Families. One Heart truly describes the kind of marriage and family that Alan and I share together and know that our family will be together for all eternity .”
Alan and Suzanne serve as temple ordinance workers in one of the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Alan & Suzanne Osmond
For The Family
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 Jul 25 in Blog tagged constitution, free agency, Freedom, hate and love, Jesus, peace, President David O. Mckay, responsibility, temptation, The Family, theFamily, two great forces | Comments Off
Man’s responsibility is correspondingly operative with his free agency. Actions in harmony with divine law and the laws of nature will bring happiness, and those in opposition to divine truth, misery.
… These two great forces are hate and love. Hate had its origin in our preexistent state. There is a significant reference in the Apocalypse to “a war in heaven.” (Rev. 12:4.) It is not only significant, but seemingly contradictory, for we think of heaven as a celestial abode of bliss, an impossible condition where war and contention could exist. The passage is significant because it implies a freedom of choice and of action in the spirit world. In the Pearl of Great Price we are given this account: “Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
“And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.” (Moses 4:3–4. Italics added.)
Two things you will note in that passage: one, that Satan was determined to destroy the free agency of man. Free agency is a gift of God. It is part of his divinity. The second point is that he desired to supplant God. I quote, “Give me thy glory.” (See Ibid., 4:1.)
The world does not comprehend the significance of that divine gift to the individual. It is as inherent as intelligence which, we are told, has never been nor can be created.
In the spirit of hate, as is manifest today in the world, the very existence of God is denied, the free agency of man is taken from him, and the power of the state supplanted. I do not know that there was ever a time in the history of mankind when the Evil One seemed so determined to take from man his freedom.
Free Agency Fundamental
A fundamental principle of the gospel is free agency, and references in the scriptures show that this principle is (l) essential to man’s salvation; and (2) may become a measuring rod by which the actions of men, of organizations, of nations may be judged.
“Therefore,” we are told in the scripture, “cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves-to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.” (2 Nephi 10:23.)
“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” (D&C 104:17.)
“Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
“And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” (Ibid., 101:79-80.)
“My independence is sacred to me,” said Brigham Young, “it is a portion of that same Deity that rules in the heavens. There is not a being upon the face of the earth who is made in the image of God, who stands erect and is organized as God is, that would be deprived of the free exercise of his agency so far as he does not infringe upon other’s rights, save by good advice and a good example.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 1943 ed., p. 62.)
The history of the world with all its contention and strife is largely an account of man’s effort to free himself from bondage and usurpation.
Man’s free agency is an eternal principle of progress, and any form of government that curtails or inhibits its free exercise is wrong. Satan’s plan in the beginning was one of coercion, and it was rejected because he sought to destroy the agency of man which God had given him.
God-Given, eternal principle of progress
When man uses this God-given right to encroach upon the rights of another, he commits a wrong. Liberty becomes license, and the man, a transgressor. It is the function of the state to curtail the violator and to protect the individual.
Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct our lives is God’s greatest gift to man. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give. It is inherent in the spirit of man. It is a divine gift to every normal being. Whether born in abject poverty or shackled at birth by inherited riches, everyone has the most precious of all life’s endowments-the gift of free agency, man’s inherited and inalienable right. It is the impelling source of the soul’s progress. It is the purpose of the Lord that man becomes like him. In order for man to achieve this, it was necessary for the Creator first to make him free. To man is given a special endowment not bestowed upon any other living thing. God gave to him the power of choice. Only to the human being did the Creator say: “. . . thou mayest choose for thyself for it is given unto thee; . . .” (Moses 3:17.) Without this divine power to choose, humanity cannot progress.
With free agency, however, there comes responsibility. If man is to be rewarded for righteousness and punished for evil, then common justice demands that he be given the power of independent action. A knowledge of good and evil is essential to man’s progress on earth. If he were coerced to do right at all times or helplessly enticed to commit sin, he would merit neither a blessing for the first nor punishment for the second. Man’s responsibility is correspondingly operative with his free agency. Actions in harmony with divine law and the laws of nature will bring happiness, and those in opposition to divine truth, misery. Man is responsible not only for every deed, but also for every idle word and thought.
Freedom of the will and the responsibility associated with it are fundamental aspects of Jesus’ teachings. Throughout his ministry he emphasized the worth of the individual and exemplified what is now expressed in modern revelation as “his work and his glory.” (Moses 1:39.) Only through the divine gift of soul freedom is such progress possible.
Individual Freedom Threatened
Force rules in the world today. Individual freedom is threatened by international rivalries and false political ideals. Unwise legislation, too often prompted by political expediency, if enacted, will seductively undermine man’s right of free agency, rob him of his rightful liberties, and make him but a cog in the crushing wheel of regimentation.
Though it is not a pleasing thought, we must realize that over half the world is under the influence of hate as manifest by the Chinese leader, manifest by the communist group in Russia, and manifest right next door to us in Cuba. Accompanying the spirit of hate is the denial of the existence of God. Satan was cast down because he tried to replace the Creator. But his power is still manifest. He is active and is prompting at this moment the denial of God’s existence, of the existence of his Beloved Son, and denying the efficacy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Associated Press sometime ago related some instances that are taking place in China to change men’s minds in a nation of over six hundred million people, whose hearts, whose minds have been changed as far as they could be changed by the spirit of hate. Forty-five or fifty years ago there was a spirit of tolerance and respect in China for Americans. In a school at Peking which was fostered by Americans, I personally saw some of the most active young men in junior high school that I have ever seen in my life. I have never seen more courtesy in any country in the world. Today all that is changed. The Associated Press made this report:
Power Based on Hate
“A decade ago Mao Tze-Tung’s newly-created People’s Republic of China threw its Red Shadow across an alarmed Asia. Today, the lengthening Shadow has crept half way across the earth to the Americas. No one can say with certainty where it will stop…. In his sixty-sixth year this round-faced lofty-browed son of peasants has been raised by his communist followers to the eminence of a demi-god. His words actions, and even his thoughts, are holy writ for 630 million people. He is one of the most powerful men on earth, and much of his power is based on the most debilitating of human emotions-hate. Hatred for the United States, hatred for rich landlords, for counter-revolutionaries, for Chiang Kai-Shek, hatred for anyone who fails to conform. `Hatred,’ said a traveler recently returned from Mao’s China, `has become an institution, particularly hatred for the United States. It is horrible to see this vast human machinery run by only one fuel-hatred! If it used love instead it could become the most powerful naion on earth’ ” (Associated Press, appearing in the Salt Lake Tribune, Sunday, December 11, 1960.)
A Modern Assault Upon God
In the spirit of hate these men would supplant God. In the spirit of hate they deny his existence. They deny the existence of his Only Begotten Son. They would destroy the free agency of man. Here, in the spirit of love, we praise his name and teach his precepts.
Jesus, the Man of Love and Goodwill
Let us for a moment or two consider Jesus, the man of love. He revered and worshiped God, and is himself revered and worshiped by all Christian nations and classes of individuals. “Whatever may be the surprises of the future,” wrote Renan, “Jesus will never be surpassed.”
Millions of people, speaking different languages and cherishing various ideals, worship him and revere him today. We revere him because his wisdom and spirituality comprehend and exceed that of all others. He it is who said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12.) He also said to his disciples, “. . . I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (Ibid., 13:15.)
First, in the spirit of love, let us consider Jesus’ attitude toward God. That is the great question before the world today. The communists deny him, Mao ridicules him, and they have poisoned untold millions of minds against Christ
What about Jesus as manifest in the flesh? In announcing his birth the heavenly hosts sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14.) In that message there is godliness, peace, and brotherly kindness.
Godliness, Jesus exemplified every hour of his earthly existence. On the banks of the Jordan at the beginning of his ministry, we hear him say to John: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matt. 3:15.)
On the Mount of Temptation, which rises just above the Jordan where Jesus was baptized, he was tempted by that Tempter who tried to supplant God; tempted with all the things of earth and the power thereof. We hear him say in sublime majesty, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Ibid. 4:10.)
When he taught the disciples to pray, he included in the first petition godliness-”Hallowed be thy name.” (Ibid., 6:9.)
Addressing the Twelve at the Last Supper, he said, “This is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3.)
That is the spirit of love, the spirit of faith in God the Creator of heaven and earth through his Beloved Son. God is worshiped by his Only Begotten Son.
“Peace be unto you”
What about the condition of peace?
Peace has been defined as the happy, natural state of man, the “first of human blessings.” Without it there can be no happiness, and “Happiness,” said the Prophet Joseph Smith, “is the object and design of our existence, and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; . . . (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 255.)
Jesus said, “. . . In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.)
On the same occasion, he said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you. . . .” (Ibid., 14:27.) All through his life peace was on his lips and in his heart, and when he came forth from the tomb and appeared unto his disciples, his first greeting was, “Peace be unto you. . . .” (Ibid., 20:21.)
Peace as taught by the Savior is exemption from individual troubles, from family broils, from national riots and difficulties. Such peace refers to the person just as much as it does to communities. That man is not at peace who is untrue to the whisperings of Christ-the promptings of his conscience. He cannot be at peace when he is untrue to his better self, when he transgresses the law of righteousness, either in dealing with himself by indulging in passions or appetites, in yielding to the temptations of the flesh, or whether he is untrue to trust in transgressing the law.
Peace does not come to the transgressor of law, Peace comes by obedience to law, and it is that message which Jesus would have us establish among men-peace to the individual that he may be at peace with his God; perfect harmony existing between his Creator and himself, perfect harmony existing between himself and law, the righteous laws to which he is subject and from which he never can escape peace in the home, families living at peace with each other and with their neighbors.
There are some who would say his teachings are not applicable today.
The Testimony of Joseph Smith
A few years ago there was a boy among boys who saw him, who heard him and received his teachings. Joseph Smith saw the Redeemer, and he has given that testimony to the world; he has recorded his message, and emphasized again the eternal truth that Christ’s teachings are divine and as applicable to the civilized world today as to the people among whom Jesus walked and talked.
The Power of Thinking
Fundamental in all Christ’s teachings was the crime of wrong thinking. He condemned avarice, enmity, hate, jealousy as vehemently as he did the results that avarice, enmity, and hate produce. Modern psychology, as all students know, proves the virtue of such teachings regarding the injury that follows the harboring of hate. He who harbors hatred and bitterness injures himself far more than the one towards whom he manifests these evil propensities.
Equally applicable to present conditions are his teachings regarding the value and sacredness of human life, the virtue of forgiveness, the necessity of fair dealings, the crime of hypocrisy, the sin of covetousness, the saving power of love, the immortality of man.
Attacks upon Peace and Righteousness
If men ever reject the fact that Christ is our Lord and Savior and fill their souls with hatred as that nation of over six hundred million people are compelled to do, and not only deny Christ, but deny that his mission is to redeem man from the sordid life of selfish indulgence and sin, and lift him into a realm shown only by him of self-sacrifice, generosity, beauty, and love; if the majority of nations fail to recognize Christ as the only “name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12); if doubting men reject the possibility of obtaining that spiritual assurance of Christ’s divinity disclosed by Thomas when he reverently exclaimed: “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28); if the acts of men generally be in accordance with such rejection rather than in accordance with their acceptance of him as the Divine One, then this world will continue to be torn by contention, made miserable by hideous warfare, and ignominiously wrecked on the shoals of materialism, selfish indulgence, and disbelief nd hatred.
Rejecting Him will bring the bondage of the Jungle
Without Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified Christ, the Risen Lord, the traits of the jungle will hold the human family in bondage.
In conclusion, the obligation and duty rests upon the Church of Jesus Christ to proclaim the mighty truth that the Man of Galilee, the resurrected Christ, is truly the Way, the Truth, and the Life-that he is in very deed the Savior of all mankind.
Pernicious efforts and sinister schemes are cunningly and stealthily being fostered to deprive man of his individual freedom and have him revert to the life of the jungle. With faith in the revealed word of God, let all true believers in individual freedom cherish the spiritual ideals of the Christ, and ever strive to make real the dream that all men shall be free, and that some day many nations will unite, not for war, but for peace and the establishing of the kingdom of God on earth. That this condition may soon be possible and real and that men may strive to bring it about, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
President David O. Mckay
“And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.” 3 Ne. 1: 20