We all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. "Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
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“And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
“And he said: Thus saith the Lord God—Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe; and as I have said so shall it be; for this is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”
“Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; (North America) and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.”
“We have come to the earth in troubled times. The moral compass of the masses has gradually shifted to an “almost anything goes” position.
I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed much of the metamorphosis of society’s morals. Where once the standards of your religion and beliefs, and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it’s growing ever wider.
Many movies and television shows portray behavior which is in direct opposition to the laws of God. Do not subject yourself to the innuendo and outright filth which are so often found there. The lyrics in much of today’s music fall in the same category. The profanity so prevalent around us today would never have been tolerated in the not-too-distant past. Sadly, the Lord’s name is taken in vain over and over again. Recall with me the commandment—one of the ten—which the Lord revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” I am sorry that any of us is subjected to profane language, and I plead with you not to use it. I implore you not to say or to do anything of which you cannot be proud.
Stay completely away from pornography. Do not allow yourself to view it, ever. It has proven to be an addiction which is more than difficult to overcome. Avoid alcohol and tobacco or any other drugs, also addictions which you would be hard pressed to conquer.
What will protect you from the sin and evil around you?
I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will help see you through to safety.” Thomas S. Monson
“Nations take up their battle stations.
Patrons of zodiac revelations.
Lustations breaking family relations.
Litigation allowing shoot-up sensations.
That’s what they said
Some day it woiuld be.
Now just look around,
if that’s what we see…
It’s gotta be the Last Days.
Gotta be the Last Days.
People living lives of confusion.
Millions caught up in revolution.
Cities lost in their own pollution.
Question, what is the constitution?
That’s what they said
Some day it woiuld be.
Now just look around,
if that’s what we see…
It’s gotta be the Last Days.
Gotta be the Last Days.”
“For their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening with destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.”Helaman 5:2
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”. 2 Timothy 3:1-4
“I know of nothing in the history… of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now. Words of profanity, vulgarity, and blasphemy are heard everywhere. Unspeakable wickedness and perversion were once hidden in dark places; now they are in the open, and even accorded legal protection. At Sodom and Gomorrah these things were localized. Now, they are spread across the world, and they are among us”.
“Because they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever”. 2 Nephi 2:26
Without the Atonement, there could be no freedom: “We proclaim the atonement wrought by Jesus Christ . . . is to all people; it is the message of deliverance from sin and its sorrow, the decree of liberty, the charter of freedom.” James E. Talmage
As with each of the other blessings of the Atonement, this one does not stand alone. It complements, supplements, and overlaps others.
In truth, the freest of all beings is God himself. “God could not make men like himself without making them free,” said David O. McKay.
It is a greater manifestation of divine power to make beings that can make themselves than to make beings that cannot, for the former are men and the latter are puppets, and puppets after all are only things.” Dr. Iverach, a Scottish philosopher.
GOD MAKES MEN FREE
Freedom is described as the power or agency to act for oneself. “The Lord god gave unto man that he should act for himself” (2 Nephi 2:16) (D&C 29:35) (Moses 4:3)
Man could never enjoy the full powers of agency without the intervention of God. Samuel told the people of Zarahemla, “Ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves,” and then he added, “He [God] hath made your free” (Helaman 14:30). Under Christ ye are made free. “And there is no other head whereby ye can be made free” (Mosiah 5:8) The Savior taught that true freedom comes “if the Son . . . shall make your free” (John 8:36). Paul urged the saints of Galatia to retain their “liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Galatians 5:1).
THE FOUR COMPONENTS OF FREEDOM
How does God endow us with agency, and what part does the Atonement play in making us free? This is best understood by dissecting freedom into its four principal components, namely the need for an intelligent being, a knowledge of good and evil, the availability of choices, and the power to execute or carry out such choices.
The need for an intelligent being. Simply stated, there can be no freedom without a decision maker, an intelligent being. Man is a conscious, thinking entity, thus fulfilling the first requirement for freedom.
The need for a knowledge of good and evil. Man’s initial knowledge of good and evil was triggered at the time of the Fall. The Lord said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22) Eve said, “Were it not for our transgression we … never should have known good and evil” (Moses 5:11) Absent that grant of knowledge, Adam and Eve would have been confined to a state of innocence. It was a vital link, but it was the beginning – the gateway to knowledge. The scriptures reveal that “the eyes of them both were opened” (Genesis 3:7). This was essential, but it was only the commencement, not the end of the road. With increased knowledge comes the opportunity for increased freedom. The Savior’s testimony to the scribes and Pharisees: “Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). They retorted, “We . . . were never in bondage to any man” (John 8:33). How wrong they were. They had secular knowledge, but not the spiritual truth that makes man free. The essence of freedom is to know the Savior and obey his truths. As we do so, we become free from prejudice, falsehood, sin, contention, and every other injurious practice or evil nature known to man. The Fall opened the gate to the road of knowledge, but it was the Atonement that provided the vehicle to proceed through the Atonement where we are cleansed in the waters of baptism, making us eligible for the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is such a gift that “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). As we come to know the Savior and his truths we enlarge our capacity for freedom. This is so because knowledge is power; and power, in its consummate expression is godhood; and godhood is the quintessence of freedom.
The third element of freedom is the availability of choices. Only to the human being did the Creator say, “…thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee . . .(Moses 3:17) Were it not for the Atonement, there would have been no choice between eternal life and eternal damnation. The Fall would have opened the gate to one road and one road only. The Atonement is the means of deliverance, the means of freeing our bodies from the grave and our spirits from hell, of offering another road, another choice, another option. The message is clear. We can accept the Atonement, a choice that leads to eternal life (the ultimate in freedom); or we can choose the way of the Evil One, a choice that leads to destruction, chains, and captivity (the ultimate in bondage). As we choose the Lord, he gives us more rope; as we choose Satan, he tightens the noose until we are in his grasp. “Ye are free to act for yourselves – - to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life” (2 Nephi 10:23). That freedom of choice comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The one element yet lacking for a fullness of freedom is the power to execute or carry out the choices before us. We may have knowledge of good and evil; we may even have choices placed before us; but unless we have power to execute, the power to fulfill, then our freedom is but a façade. The issue is not choice. The issue is simply power – the power to see and hear and do without restraint. While God is certainly a proponent of earthly knowledge, he also wants us to know that powers of a higher source flow from the acquisition of spiritual truths. It is this spiritual power that parted the Red Sea. That caused the sun to “stand still,” rivers to change their course, and mountains to flee (Exodus 14:21-29; Joshua 10:12-14; Moses 7:13) This power is of such magnitude that it has penetrated and softened even the hearts of those who were known to be “a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people” (Alma 17:14) Both earthly and spiritual power (which ultimately are but one power) constitute the power of godhood, for gods “have all power” (D&C 132:20) With each new power acquired, we develop greater control not only of the elements but of our destiny. In this way, we become the driver, not the driven – - the cause rather than the effect. We act for ourselves rather than being “acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:26) ; and in this manner we become free. While knowledge is essential to the acquisition of power, there is yet another ingredient, often ignored, and sometimes even ridiculed, that is a prerequisite to receiving the “higher” powers – - those powers necessary to enjoy a fullness of freedom. It is obedience.
OBEDIENCE – A KEY TO FREEDOM
Some might contend that freedom comes when there are no laws or restraints. They contend that freedom in its purest form is the right to do anything, anytime, anywhere, without consequence. About twenty-five hundred years ago it was prophesied of those misguided souls who would teach, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us” (2 Nephi 28:7) Does it not seem ironic that such a philosophy is authored by the master slave himself? It was he who was cast out of heaven, who was deprived of a body, who will be bound a thousand years, and who will ultimately be banished to outer darkness. The freedom he promises is illusory; it is a mirage on the desert; it is the very condition that has always eluded his grasp. It was the same lie promulgated by Cain after he slew his brother Abel: “I am free” he said (Moses 5:33) In truth, he was never in more bondage. He was the servant, even the slave of sin.
How then does the Lord propose to make us free? The answer is obedience. Contrary to the belief of many, obedience is not the antithesis of freedom, but the foundation of it. There are two freedoms; the false where one is free to do what he likes, and the true where he is free to do what he ought. Commandments are no more restrictive to the spiritual man than street signs are to the motorist. Neither prohibits our progress; to the contrary, they enhance it by serving as guideposts or directional signs to help us find and reach our destination. “We are too inclined to think of law as something merely restrictive; the opposite of liberty. But that is a false conception. God does not contradict himself. He did not create man and then, as an afterthought, impose upon him a set of arbitrary, irritation, restrictive rules. He made man free – and then gave him the commandments to keep him free. We cannot break the Ten Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them – or else, by keeping them, rise through them to the fullness of freedom under God.” Cecil B. De Mille.
Freedom requires a knowledge of good and evil, the availability of choices, and the power to execute or carry them out. Each of these is enhanced by obedience to God’s will. As we obey God’s laws we receive increased knowledge of God’s plan, and with increased knowledge comes increased capacity for freedom. Obedience broadens the lost of our choices. It generates power; power comes by obedience. We gain power over the elements as we obey the laws of God. Obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel brings increased knowledge, a multiplicity of choices and an enhanced power to execute, all of which results in added freedom.
The difference between the righteous and the sinner, eternal life or death, happiness or misery, is to those who are exalted where there are no bounds or limits to their privileges.
A couple of days ago, God gave the people what they wanted. This heated election season is over. We have our president. The people passed over Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, and overwhelming lent their support for Obama and the Democrat agenda.
I can understand the peoples support for the Democrat Party. Much of what they say they stand for sounds moral and compassionate, especially concerning the poor and minority populations. Yet, my convictions and research eventually led me to reject the Democrat ideology, preferring to side with people and political parties more aligned with the morals and values consistent with my Christian faith.
I used to be a Democrat, but I am no longer. I am a registered Republican. Not because I thought the Republican Party was so righteous, but because there came a time in my life as a Democrat, that I could no longer reconcile my politics and my faith.
Since my faith supersedes everything else for me, I find that it is pure madness for me to vote for politicians who uphold policies that are in a direct conflict with my faith. It is foolishness for me to vote against my own values and interests. Christianity is more than a title for me, it is who I am and determines how I live and how I view the world.
Since I am not only a Christian, but a citizen of this nation, I have the right to share and debate my values and ideas, as does everyone else. I am so proud that I can, with my vote, influence this nation in upholding godly principles and values. I will continue to vote with the party and/or persons that supports what I interpret to be godly and biblical values—the Judeo Christian values that were engrafted into our constitution and laws—the values that made this nation the greatest nation on earth and have afforded people of EVERY faith, and people who claim to have NO faith, to live free and prosperous lives here.
Great nations have fallen because of grievous sins and ungodliness and America is not exempt. In Scripture, when Israel was prosperous, it was not because of her own economic ingenious. Israel was blessed when she obeyed God—when she as a nation loved what God loved, and hated what God hated.
The primary reasons why I reject the Democrat platform is because it has within it the most immoral and ungodly principles to guide this nation. Our preference for this course for our nation is a sure sign that we as a nation have not rejected the Republican Party, per se, but we have rejected God. Just like in the days of Samuel, when the Israelites demanded that Samuel “appoint them a king,” God told Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me.”
Rejecting God will be, as our enemies would say, death to America. It is our flat out refusal to love what God loves and detest what He detests that will drive this nation over a moral and economic cliff.
Even though I adamantly reject the Democrats historic racist position concerning black Americans, racism is but one sin. As a Christian, I cannot reconcile my faith with the Democrat’s support of socialism, re-defining marriage, and abortion.
President Obama “impressively” won 93% of the black vote! I am black, but I am among the 7% who did not lend Obama my support. What may be perplexing to some is that blacks are overwhelmingly conservative in their moral values and convictions, so their support of the Democrat Party seems inconsistent. Yet, for these black Christians, they believe that the Republican Party perpetuates the “unforgivable” sins of racism and oppression of the poor. Jesus, they say, admonishes us to care for the “least of these” in society. Never mind what history confirms about the Democrats, these Christians believe that it is the Republicans that are perpetuating hatred and discrimination against so many that have less pigment and/or estrogen than they do. I understand the argument. I lived the argument. I believed the accusations that are waged against Republicans; accusations that Republicans have done so poorly to defend themselves against.
To the “black liberation theology” prodigies, it is the “black man” that must receive it’s just dues from its evil white oppressors that have kept blacks trapped in failing schools, in crime ridden neighborhoods, and without job skills and an education that would make them employable. These evil white oppressors may once have been Southern Democrats and the Ku Klux Klan, but now they are Republicans.
This is what many blacks believe about Republicans. And though you show them proof of otherwise, they will find you tons of revisionist historical literature to defend their past oppressors, the Democrats.
I have been told by a few of my black Christian friends concerning this election that God has upheld the “black man” in righteousness and protected him from the “haters.” I want people to really get this and understand. Obama is not president because he is righteous. There is NOTHING righteous about Obama’s support for child killing, sodomy, covetousness, and idolatry. His black skin does not make him right for black people. Obama does not share the values of most blacks and his policies hurt the people he claims he wants to help.
BUT, what God has said in his Word is coming to pass. Christians are aligning themselves with lawlessness and ungodliness. And because Obama is black, many blacks and others choose not to acknowledge how far into abomination that Obama has taken them. They choose to overlook and ignore what God says in his Word concerning the moral and economic issues we face as a nation, choosing instead to side with Obama’s words over God’s Word:
“Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
God has PROMISED to judge in righteousness and has often used ungodly rulers to execute his judgment. Surely America will be judged for her grievous sins that go up daily as a stench in the nostrils of a holy God. I just pray that God has mercy upon this nation and upon us all.
I have also been told to “get over it” and not be a sore loser. I am told to pray for our president because that is what we as Christians are suppose to do, because everything is in God’s hand anyways. True, God is in control. Obama is president by God’s permissive will.
But I am not so convinced that if Mitt Romney had won the presidency, black Christians would be praying for him as they tell me to do for Obama. Instead I believe that we would continue to hear from the leftist liberals the same old tirade of rants about racism that we have been hearing for the past few months; and hearing blacks call Mitt Romney out for being the “racist that he is” and fearing that he will bring back Jim Crow.
In fact, I don’t remember the black Christian community praying for Bush or any other president the way they do for Obama. In fact, I remember some pretty fancy and ungodly words and terms used to describe President George W. Bush. I won’t repeat them here.
Regardless of this, I WILL pray for our president. I will pray that he repents and turns to God, and leads this nation in the path of righteousness. I pray that he surrounds himself with godly counsel and does not shun and mock the Word of God.
I pray for his success.
BUT, his success should not be measured in how many people he can put on foodstamps, but how many people his policies free from foodstamps. His success should not be measured in how many poverty programs he enacts, but in how many poverty programs he needs to eliminate because Americans are working and successful. His success should be measured not by how many women he gives access and money to have abortions, but how many abortion clinics need to be shut down because their services are no longer needed. His success should be measured not in how much wealth he can redistribute, but how much wealth he can help individuals and businesses generate; thereby keeping America the most prosperous and generous nation on earth. I want Obama to have success because his success is America’s success.
And for the record, I don’t hate Democrats, but I do hate the policies and ideas they have aligned themselves with. I really have a problem with the way the Democrats “pimp” the poor. Yeah, I said it! They are poverty pimps and they use the poor as pawns. They stir up envy and hatred among the poor and pit them against the rich, causing the poor to covet and vote for politicians who will steal from the wealthy and give it to them. They vote for politicians that will “punish” big business, but in the end, it is these job creators that have to lay-off workers, raise prices, send jobs overseas, or shut their doors–ultimately hurting the poor and increasing the poverty base.
I won’t go on much more, but “redistribution of wealth” and “paying your fair share,” are rooted in covetousness and there is no biblical foundation to justify our government stealing from one family to give to another. Unless under your immediate or parental care, no one should be forced to pay for another’s health insurance, home, car, education, food, clothing or anything else. Redistribution of wealth eventually leads to redistribution of poverty because ultimately everyone will be equal, but they will be equally poor.
Some of the current issues in the forefront of the divisions between Democrats and Republicans are non-negotiable for me. Though they are far from perfect and in need of some soul searching themselves, I admire the historic position and legacy of the Republican Party for championing the rights of women, blacks, and the poor. This is part of the reason they still have my support. We as a party have some work to do. But the reason I choose not to vote Democrat has little to do with the fact that they are the party of Jim Crow and the KKK, but that today they are on the wrong side of the EVERY ISSUE that matters to me most. “Choice,” “Reproductive Rights,” “Marriage Equality,” “Fair Share,” are all repackaged code names for the same age old sins: “child-killing,” “sodomy,” and “covetousness.” Nothing new under the sun.
“It hasn’t always been easy to stay morally clean but it has been far easier than the alternative. I have never spent one second worrying about an unwanted pregnancy or disease. I have never had a moment’s anguish because a man used and then discarded me. When I do marry, I will do so without regret. I have yet to meet the man or woman who is happier because he or she was dishonest or because they were addicted to something or because they were immoral.” – Sheri Dew
To commit sin is to willfully disobey God’s commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth (James 4: 17).
The Lord has said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (D&C 1: 31). Sin results in the withdrawal of the Holy Ghost. It makes the one who sins unable to dwell in the presence of Heavenly Father, for “no unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Ne. 10: 21).
Other than Jesus Christ, each person who has ever lived on earth has broken commandments or failed to act according to knowledge of the truth. The Apostle John taught: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, [Jesus Christ] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John. 1: 8-9). Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, each person can repent and be forgiven of these sins.
Your Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to be happy today and forever. He has given counsel and commandments through His prophets to help you. One commandment that is vital to your peace and happiness is His commandment regarding sexual purity, known as the law of chastity. The Lord instituted this law from the beginning, and He emphasized its importance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Obedience to this commandment is a requirement for baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What Is the Law of Chastity?
Physical intimacy between husband and wife is a beautiful and sacred part of God’s plan for His children. It is an expression of love within marriage and allows husband and wife to participate in the creation of life. God has commanded that this sacred power be expressed only between a man and a woman who are legally married. The law of chastity applies to both men and women. It includes strict abstinence from sexual relations before marriage and complete fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse after marriage.
In addition to reserving sexual intimacy for marriage, we obey the law of chastity by controlling our thoughts, words, and actions. Jesus Christ taught, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5: 27-28).
The law of chastity requires that sexual relations be reserved for marriage between a man and a woman.
Why Should I Keep the Law of Chastity?
Your Heavenly Father has given the law of chastity to protect and bless you. Like all sacred things, physical intimacy must be expressed according to God’s direction. As you keep the law of chastity, you will enjoy happiness, peace, and self-respect. You will enjoy trust and confidence in your family relation- ships, and you will be blessed with self-control. You will enjoy the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the influence of the Holy Ghost.
Satan leads people to believe that sexual intimacy outside of marriage is acceptable and even desirable. But it is a serious sin; God has always taught His chil- dren to be virtuous and chaste (see Ex. 20: 14and Alma 39: 3-5). This principle is eternal.
Violating the law of chastity is an abuse of the power God has given to create life; it shows a disregard for Him and for His children. It dulls spirituality and often leads to bitterness, heartache, divorce, disease, and abortion. Those who violate this law are exposed to greater influence from Satan. This sin also seriously affects family members and others.
How Do I Keep the Law of Chastity?
God requires a high moral standard of His children. To keep the law of chastity, you must replace undesirable thoughts, words, and actions with wholesome ones.
The following principles will help:
Thoughts. Positive and constructive thoughts will push negative or immoral ones from your life. As you fill your life with whole- some thoughts and activities, you will grow in your ability to replace and overcome negative thoughts. Reading the scriptures, serving your family, working diligently, and engaging in wholesome recreational activities will help you control your thoughts.
Avoid pornography in all forms. It is addictive and destructive. It will rob you of your self-respect and of an appreciation for the beauties of life. Do not allow your mind to dwell on obscene or immoral thoughts or images. Do not view, read, or listen to anything that depicts or describes the human body or sexual conduct in a disrespectful way. Avoid looking with lustful thoughts at others, and avoid suggestive or explicit movies, television shows, Internet sites, music, books, magazines, and activities.
Words. Let your words build up others and strengthen them. Eliminate degrading, vulgar, and sexually explicit words, jokes, and themes from your conversations.
Actions. Always treat others with respect. Be modest in how you dress. If you remember that each person is a child of God, and if you do all you can to help others follow His plan, then you will be strengthened in your desire to keep the law of chastity.
Determine now that you will not do anything outside of marriage to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage. Do not arouse those emotions in another person or in yourself. Do not participate in homosexual or lesbian acts or other immoral activities. Replace activities where you may be tempted to violate the law of chastity with constructive activities and hobbies. In marriage, remain absolutely faithful to your spouse in thought and action.
Because living the law of chastity will bring you closer to God, Satan will entice you to break this commandment. He knows when you are lonely, confused, or depressed, and he will tempt you when you are weak. Pray to your Heavenly Father for help, and He will give you strength to resist temptation (see 1 Cor. 10: 13). As you rely on Him and follow these principles, you will be able to overcome temptation.
Blessings of Living the Law of Chastity
As you live the law of chastity, you will be more open to the influence of the Holy Ghost. With the guidance of the Holy Ghost, you will develop greater wisdom, face trials with greater courage, feel God’s support and direction in your life, and be an example to your family and others. The love you have for your spouse and loved ones will be deeper, richer, and more meaningful. You will experience greater peace of mind.
In the scriptures we learn that true happiness comes from obeying the commandments of God (see Mosiah 2: 41) and that “wickedness never was happi- ness” (Alma 41: 10).
If you have broken the law of chastity, God has made it possible for you to repent and become clean again. Repent now of any past transgressions, and commit to live this sacred law. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and true repentance, you can be forgiven and feel peace.
We offer a FREE NEWSLETTER to help “Strengthen The Family” in several ways: Physically, Mentally, Socially, Spiritually, and Financially.
Here is a sample of one of our Newsletters from Last Month:
Subject: GET NOI-Z (Noisy) NEWSLETTER Date: Saturday, March 31, 2012 11:15
‘LET’S TURN THE WORLD AROUND’
Life is T.U.F.F. but, So Are YOU!
By: Alan Osmond
Life is T.U.F.F.! But remember, when the going gets tough, the T.U.F.F. get going! You must be motivated and see the steps that need to be taken in order to accomplish your goals in life. You must believe in whatever you choose to do and to always remind yourself that “You can do it!” You must be strong with a positive mental attitude. If you think you can’t, you won’t! If you have the desire to achieve, you will! Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Whenever I face challenges, I remember this slogan that I created as the way to accomplish it and overcome it. See if it works for you! This is the way:
T = Target – What is it you are trying to accomplish? If there is one thing that you wished to do, to accomplish or become in life, what would it be? Write it down and make that your TARGET!
U = Understand – To achieve your target, you need to UNDERSTAND all you can about it. Identify what it is and what the various factors that are involved; what needs to be done to affectively put it into your grasp so that you can achieve it? Figure out those steps that you need to take in order to win the challenge and write them down. Study the positive and the negative aspects of that which you are targeting so that you totally understand it and know what to do in order to take it on!
F = Focus – Don’t just go at your target without first establishing a FOCUS point on what you are aiming to achieve. Make a plan and a checklist of the do’s and don’ts and study it each and every day. Besides just thinking of it, keep your eye on it and really be sure to “Rifle In” on your Target! Do not just go at it with a “shotgun” approach. You may only get one shot at it so never lose site or what you must do and keep your FOCUS!
F = Fight – Nothing good comes easy or without effort. If you want something that is worth having, it will usually take a lot of effort and will be hard work to accomplish it. So, you must FIGHT for it!
What is it that you wish to target?
-A health challenge?
-A career or a job?
-A marriage partner?
-A great idea that you have?
Write it down! Seeing believing! You will then be able to visualize the steps that you have to take. Start by following the T.U.F.F. format and fill in the details for each step. Set goals and make in a daily effort. Visualize it. Think about it. Study it. Keep it in your mind! Little by little you will accomplish those steps and with the best shot you’ve got, your Target will be accomplished with a bull’s-eye!
It is very simple but, with patience and effort, it works!
Where in the world did I get this idea of being T.U.F.F.? It came experiences I had in life but especially when I was told that I had Multiple Sclerosis or M.S.. I didn’t know what M.S. was and the first thing I thought it might mean, “Many Sons”! My wife Suzanne and I were blessed to have eight sons.
Yes, raising sons in today’s world is a real challenge but this challenge called “Multiple Sclerosis” was a physical one and the doctors didn’t know what to do to fix it! I was in the prime of my life with a wonderful marriage and a family started plus my entertainment career was at its peak. I didn’t want this! So, instead of looking at it negatively, I asked myself, “What is it that I am to learn?”
I first noticed that when I would walk and trip up on something, I’d look down for something like a nail or what ever it was in the floor but, nothing was there! I also soon realized that when I played my trumpet, I couldn’t move my fingers as fast as before. With time, my right side began to fail and would not respond as it should and it caused me to drag my right food and arm.
With several doctors telling me “they didn’t know what it was but thought it might be M.S.”, and telling me that “nothing they knew could reverse it”, I realized I was facing this challenge alone with my wife and my family. That’s when after many sincere prayers and fasting that I came up with the idea of being T.U.F.F. with a plan to achieve my goal of getting better. I first started a positive approach by establishing an attitude in my mind and my heart by saying, “I may have M.S. but, M.S. does NOT have me!” Other ways of dealing with it came with time.
What took place over the next while was in realizing that besides having a positive outlook on this health challenge, I needed a plan of attack, and I needed to be tough! That is when the idea of T.U.F.F. came into my mind as I analyzed the steps that I needed to take in order to overcome my health weakness. Over time with determination and a positive attitude It seemed to be working! I changed my style of eating to mostly organic and healthy foods. I worked at walking with a focus on picking my leg up and I “talked to those muscles” that wouldn’t respond. I kept an open mind with a prayer in y heart and promised that I would do anything my Lord would ask of me to be able to live happily with my wife Suzanne and my eight sons and family who love me.
I was the oldest of our singing group, The Osmond Brothers, when my brothers Wayne, Merrill, and Jay, and I, and then Donny, were growing up. We were at a very young age to be on stage with a weekly national television show called The Andy Williams Show. Later on, my sister Marie and youngest brother Jimmy also joined the group. Our father said to us boys when we were rehearsing, that there needed to be one person in charge of the group and that I was the leader and the “boss”. I hated being call the boss and to have to be in charge of my brothers. They didn’t like it either but, it taught me many things about being responsible and in making sure that we all accomplished what we were sipposed to do while getting along with each other and making it fun. There had to be order and I was in charge. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was also pretty tough! Besides that, my two oldest brothers, Virl and Tom were hearing impaired or deaf and often I would hear my parents say, “Alan, go get your brothers!”
I remembered when I turned nineteen and I got my orders to report to Fort Ord, California for active infantry training or boot camp, and to be trained as a soldier in the army during the time of the Vietnam War. I knew then that if I was going to succeed and become the best soldier I could, that I had better learn and remember all that I was taught and to do what I was supposed to do as it may someday save my life. It was hard work and it was almost was like they were brain washing us with what was expected of us during the war. It was so different from my civilian life and some of my fellow soldiers couldn’t take it. Staying positive was most important while always remaining tough myself.
I had never been away from my family like this before and for the first time I was on my own. You know it reality hits you hard when you don’t have that support system around you of loving parents and family members who stand by your side. Everything I did while I was in the military I tried to do well and to be the very best at it as I knew I was on my own.
The first day I was there in the army barracks, I heard more foul language and stories that I wish I had never heard. I realized that I needed to fit in with the other guys but to always be who I was. That night, I had a moment to prove it. The lights in the barracks were turned off, I laid in my bunk bed in a room filled with strangers that I had never known before. It was then that I realized that I hadn’t said my prayers of thanks to my Heavenly Father as I always do. I always knelt down beside my bed at night and offered my prayers. I hesitated thinking that these guys would all make fun of me and I didn’t want to stand out but to “fit in”. Just then, it was almost like a voice within me that said, “Do you fear man. . . or do you fear God?” I knew what I had to do and so I jumped out of my bunk and knelt down on the floor and said my prayers. It was probably the shortest prayer I have ever said but I said it! Before I could get back into my bunk bed I heard someone say, “Hey Osmond, say one for me!”
The next morning I was approached by several of those “tough talking” guys that asked me what I believed and what happens to someone if they died. With us facing this war, it was definitely on everyone’s mind and in their hearts. It was then that I had the opportunity to teach them some gospel principles of faith in Jesus Christ and His ‘Plan of Life’ with life for all after death. It brought several of us much closer together.
That period of time was really challenging for me
but I was successful and ended up receiving three basic training award trophies as a soldier. After completing my active infantry training, I received the highest grade on the overall testing, the highest scoring on the rifle marksmanship shooting skills test, and I was voted by all of the military training staff as The Outstanding Trainee. I had no idea they gave trophies for doing what I did, but I got them. The best thing that happened though was when the loudest and foulest mouth guy who became our platoon sergeant came to me before we got our orders to go to Viet Nam. He said, “Osmond, can I talk to you? … Alone?” I said, “Yes”, and we went int the empty barracks. He said to me, “You really believe that there is someone up there don’t you? (Meaning that therer is a God.) I said, “Yes”. He said, “Oh I wish I knew somebody loved me. When I was five years old, my Dad made me go out and steal money and stuff just so I could stay at home.” (I listened and just let him talk.) He said, “Would you teach me to pray?” I said, “Sure”, and explained a simple way to approach prayer. I then told him I would say one first to show him how, and then he could say one. I did and then it was his turn. He said a simple yet touching prayer and became somewhat emotional. We stood up and he gave me a bear hug and said, “Now, I can go to “Nam”! These were some of the experiences that I related to when I came up with a way to achieve my new challenges and goals and in being T.U.F.F.!
I come from a family heritage of school teachers and educators on my Mother’s side of the family (Olive May Davis), and a strong, driving, hard working and a ‘never give up’ style from my Father, George V. Osmond, and his side of the family whose life had always been one of hard work but with a “you can do it” attitude. In fact, when I was doing my physical test in the army to see if we could run a mile in full battle gear in under 6:00 minutes. I was running as hard as I could and I felt like I was going to die. I kept pushing hard andcame in second place just behind a fast running athlete soldier. You see, it was then that I had remembered my Father’s slogan “You Can Do It!” . . … and I did!
My Mother, Olive Osmond, who was also a theologian and knew the scriptures very well, taught us about God’s plan of life. She taught us much about gospel truths and about the beliefs of various other religions. In knowing and understanding this, and as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormons) I studied and developed a burning testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. My mother also instilled into me her positive attitude and desire to gain as much truth and knowledge as I could by reading from the best books. She love to read and taught us the scripture that supported her thinking like this scripture says, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, itwillrisewith us intheresurrection. And if a person gains more knowledgeand intelligence in this life through his diligenceand obedience than another, he will have so much the advantageinthe world to come.” D&C 130: 18-19
She explained to us that knowledgeis more about the information of many things but that intelligence is the knowledge of those spiritual things that are eternal and that are good yesterday, today and forever. This understanding became a guide for me to follow in deciding which books I chose to read and which movies and entertainment I would go and see and for those choices that I targeted to understand and know.
So, when you think of something that you want to accomplish and “Target” to achieve, I hope you will ask yourself if it is a worthy goal and worth your time. Is it something that will be long lasting and become significant enough in that it makes you a better person and which fulfills your life long dreams and ambitions as well as sets the course for your eternal existence?
One thing we all have is the “Power To Choose” ; to make decisions and choices of our own free will and choice. Those choices that we make in life, we will be held responsible and held accountable. This is why good principles are important in one’s life. When lived, they will influence you in the kinds of choices and decisions you will make in your life.
Your good choices will probably take a definite amount of time and effort on your part and will require some extensive work as well. But that is okay! This is why we are here in this life; to learn and to grow. We are told that the Glory of God is intelligence and if we attain more truth and knowledge in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. So it’s an investment in you and your future!
”As Spirit children of God, we all left our Heavenly Parents to come to this world to prove ourselves. A veil covered our momories which was necessary so we could exercise our agency to choose good or evil without our Heavenly Parents influence. Our earthly parents gave us a body of flesh and bones and we learned the purpose for us to progress in order to have a fulness of joy. We learned that we would be deceived, choose other paths, and lose our way; that we would have trials in our lives like sickness, disappointment, pain, sorrow and death. We understood that these would be given to us for our experience and for our good and that these trials would purify us rather than defeat us. They would teach us to have endurance, patience, and charity. (To be T.U.F.F.)
We also learned that because of our weakness, all of us except little children would sin. We learned that a Savior would be provided for us so we could overcome our sins and overcome death with resurrection. We learned that by placing our faith in Him, obeying His word and following His example, we would be resurrected, exalted, and become more like our Heavenly parents and live forever! That’s when we receive a fulness of joy!
That is God’s Plan of Life.
So… “Let’s Be T.U.F.F.” and ‘GET NOI-Z’ (Noisy) FOR GOOD because it is WORTH IT!
We hope you, your family and friends will enjoy these Newsletters!
In a conversation with a priest in my diocese, I shared my spiritual director’s report that every other confession he hears from men involves the sin of pornography. The pastor’s response was shocking: “Oh, it’s much worse than that!” Since then, this sad reality has been confirmed by many others: The sin of pornography is overwhelming Catholic men.
Pornography is now more popular than baseball. In fact, it has become America’s pastime, and we are awash in it. Porn is on our computers, our smartphones, and our cable or satellite TV,
in our hotels and retail stores and gas stations.
Pornography is now more popular than baseball. In fact, it has become America’s pastime, and we are awash in it. Porn is on our computers, our smartphones, and our cable or satellite TV. It’s common in our hotels and even in many retail stores and gas stations. For many men — and, increasingly, women — it is part of their daily lives.
Yet, Catholic teaching on the subject is clear. Use of pornography is a “grave offense.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Pornography … offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others” (2354).
In Life of Christ, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote, “The penalty of those who live too close to the flesh is to never understand the spiritual.” Hardcore pornography on the Internet offers an ocean of perversion. It takes the mind where it should never go, loosening its moral moorings and leaving it adrift in a treacherous sea of sin. That is the fate of those who give themselves over to pornography: They find themselves alone with their images and an insatiable appetite for more.
While astounding to many, users of pornography eventually put religion, marriage, family, work and friendships secondary to their desire for pornography. They may want to change, to go back to life as it was before porn, but most will return and descend further. Dr. Mary Anne Layden, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the Center for Cognitive Therapy, likens pornography to crack cocaine. In a testimony to the U.S. Senate in November 2004, she noted, “This material is potent, addictive and permanently implanted in the brain.”
Sadly, for the regular consumer of pornography, confession and contrition are normally not sufficient to break from pornography because, like drug abuse, pornography is not just a bad habit — it is often an addiction.
A DESIRE THAT DOES NOT SATISFY
Addiction to pornography is now commonplace among adults and is even a growing problem for children and teenagers. Few who are addicted will get help, and the consequences can be lifelong and severe.
Pornography’s addictive strength is a result of long-term, sometimes lifelong, neuroplastic changes in the brain. Psychiatrist Norman Doidge, author of the best-selling book The Brain That Changes Itself (Penguin, 2007), writes, “Pornography, by offering an endless harem of sexual objects, hyperactivates the appetitive system. Porn viewers develop new maps in their brains, based on the photos and videos they see. Because it is a use-it-or-lose-it brain, when we develop a map area, we long to keep it activated. Just as our muscles become impatient for exercise if we’ve been sitting all day, so too do our senses hunger to be stimulated”.
With pornography, in other words, our brain’s pleasure system that excites our desires is activated, but there is no real satisfaction. This explains why users can spend endless hours searching for pornography on the Internet.
Doidge further notes that porn viewers develop tolerances so that they need higher and higher levels of stimulation. Thus, they often move to harder, more deviant pornography. More than a decade ago, Margaret A. Healy, adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, and Muireann O’Brian, former head of End Child Pornography, Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT), observed a link between adult and child pornography. Since that time, scores of current and former law enforcement authorities have noted that many adult porn consumers will eventually move to child pornography, even if they are not pedophiles and had no interest is such material at first. These findings account, in part, for the prevalence of child pornography in the world today.
Viewing porn changes the user’s attitude toward sex, his or her spouse and society. He or she uses sexual fantasies to get aroused, tries to get partners to act out pornographic scenes, is more likely to engage in sexual harassment and sexual aggression, and views sex as a casual, non-intimate, recreational privilege. Laydon and other clinical psychologists have reported that, ironically, erectile dysfunction is commonly associated with constant porn use among men. One reason for this is that the constant search for sexual images and often-accompanying masturbation lead to dissatisfaction with one’s spouse. After all, a man’s wife cannot possibly maintain an image that competes with the women in the fantasy world of pornographic videos and images. The regular porn consumer sets himself up for disappointment and the almost-certain disintegration of his marriage.
Marital love is meant to be a total giving of oneself to a lifelong, faithful partner. It is a trusting, selfless giving. By contrast, pornographic sex is selfish, demeaning and mechanical. In his catechesis on the theology of the body, Pope John Paul II emphasized that there is a “moral goodness” in marriage, which is faithfulness. That goodness can be adequately achieved only in the exclusive relationship of both parties. Too many people miss out on that unique goodness of marriage and settle for the temporary, perverted and unfulfilling excitement of pornography.
PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN
A father has a duty to keep his children from pornography and a sacred obligation to set an example of purity for his family. What greater authority could a father have about the harms of pornography than the words of Christ?: “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:28).
If you have become a porn consumer, ask yourself this: Am I the same man who professed fidelity to my wife on my wedding day? Fidelity cannot be maintained if one consumes pornography. Wives of porn consumers feel as though their husbands are committing adultery. Affairs of the mind are every bit as destructive as affairs of the heart.
Divorce lawyers report a high correspondence between pornography consumption and divorces. One 2004 study in Social Science Quarterly titled “Adult Social Bonds and Use of Internet Pornography” revealed that persons having an extramarital affair were more than three times more likely to have accessed Internet porn than those who did not have affairs. Further, those ever having engaged in paid sex were 3.7 times more apt to be using Internet porn than those who had not.
If you have a porn habit, your children may follow. Many pornography addicts report that their first exposure to porn was the discovery of their parent’s porn collection, which started them on a life of sexual confusion and exploitation. A 2006 survey of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed that 79 percent of youth gain unwanted exposure to pornography in the home.
To a child, pornography normalizes sexual harm, according to Dr. Sharon Cooper, a pediatrician at the University of North Carolina. “Research has shown that the prefrontal cortex — the home of good judgment, common sense, impulse control and emotions — is not completely mature until children are 20-22 years of age,” she explained. The introduction of pornography to the brain’s prefrontal cortex is therefore devastating to key areas of a child’s development and may be life-altering. “When a child sees adult pornography … their brains will convince them that they are actually experiencing what they are seeing,” Cooper added. In other words, what a child sees in porn is what they believe is reality.
• Morality in Media provides a website — PornHarms.com — that offers peer-reviewed research on the harm of pornography and resources to protect men and their families from these harms. Founded by Jesuit Father Morton Hill in 1962, Morality in Media is the nation’s oldest anti-pornography organization and is supported by the Knights of Columbus. Visit moralityinmedia.org.
Some children will actually emulate what they see in pornography and experiment on siblings, relatives and friends. Many studies show that children exposed to pornography initiate sexual activity at an earlier age, have more sex partners, and have multiple partners in a short period of time. A 2001 study in the journalPediatrics also found that teenage girls exposed to pornographic movies have sex more frequently and have a strong desire to become pregnant.
THERE IS HELP AND HOPE
Thankfully, there are organizations, counselors and resources that provide hope for those suffering from the destructive effects of pornography on children, marriages, relationships and society. Many who have been addicted — adults and children alike — have been helped through counseling or online exercises offered by recovery services.
It is critical, however, that each person and each family does a reality check. Ask yourselves whether you and your family are protected from the scourge of pornography. Do you have adequate parental control or filtering software on your home computer? Is the computer in an open area of the home? If you have children, have you talked to them about the spiritual and social cost of pornography? Do you have premium cable or satellite channels on your TV that offer pornography as regular fare?
If you are viewing pornography or indecent material, you are harming your very soul and perhaps those of your children and your spouse. The biblical warning is severe: “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” (Mk 9:47). At a minimum, make sure that your computer both at home and in the office is filtered and that you have an “accountability partner” — perhaps your wife or a good friend — who has access to your computer and the sites you visit. Finally, get involved in the war on pornography. It is worth the fight for you, your family and your nation.
To commit sin is to willfully disobey God’s commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth (see James 4: 17).
The Lord has said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (D&C 1: 31). Sin results in the withdrawal of the Holy Ghost. It makes the one who sins unable to dwell in the presence of Heavenly Father, for “no unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Ne. 10: 21).
Other than Jesus Christ, each person who has ever lived on earth has broken commandments or failed to act according to knowledge of the truth. The Apostle John taught: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, [Jesus Christ] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1: 8-9). Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, each person can repent and be forgiven of these sins.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isa. 1: 18
-No matter how much you question whether God exists or not . . .
He will remain God.
-No matter how much you push same sex marriage for the family . . .
The Family will remain between a man and a woman.
-No matter if you call bad things good . . .
Bad will always be bad and good will always be good!
-No matter if you commit murder, fornication, adultry, sodomy, child abuse, or any other misuse of your sexual powers . . .
It will remain a Sin.
-If one has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins— behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (D&C 58:42–43.)
-God is the same yesterday, today and forever and Jesus is The Way of Life.
To commit sin is to willfully disobey God’s commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth (see James 4:17). The Lord has declared that “no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven” (Alma 11:37).
“Therefore, 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 Ne. 10: 23