By Alan on Nov 21 in Blog tagged America, Bill of Rights, blessings, celebration, christianity, churches, for Religious Freedom, further light, Joseph Smith, LDS, liberty, Other churches, pilgrims, ready to die, Thanksgiving, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson | Comments Off
A Thanksgiving for Religious Freedom
- 21 NOVEMBER 2011 — SALT LAKE CITY
They sought to breathe a freer air,
To worship God unchain’d —
They welcomed pain and danger here,
When rights like these were gain’d.
As the United States celebrates Thanksgiving, citizens across the nation gather with family and friends to commemorate the shared gratitude between the English pilgrims and the local Native Americans. During this season, many recount the history of these English pilgrims.
Persecuted, arrested and fined for their form of Christianity, these so-called separatists fled their beloved mother country to find what the governor of Plymouth, William Bradford, called “freedom of religion for all men.” After a ten-year sojourn in Holland, the separatists prayerfully decided to depart for America.
Some members of their congregation, including the group’s long-time preacher, John Robinson, stayed behind in Holland. Edward Winslow, a fellow worshipper, recorded Robinson’s tender farewell address: “[Robinson] charged us before God and his blessed Angels … [that] if God should reveal anything to us by any other instrument of his, to be as ready to receive it, as ever we were to receive any truth by his Ministry: For he was very confident the Lord had more truth and light yet to break forth out of his holy Word.”
According to the account, Robinson also commented on the reformed churches of the day, stating that “though [Calvin and Luther] were precious shining lights in their times, yet God had not revealed his whole will to them: And were they now living … they would be as ready and willing to embrace further light, as that they had received.”
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Robinson’s premonition that “the Lord had more truth and light yet to break forth” proved prophetic. Latter-day Saints believe that the pilgrims, among many others, helped create the environment of religious freedom in the United States that paved the way for a restoration of Christ’s ancient church.
Speaking to the body of the Church in 2005, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recounted that as “religious persecution in England continued … many were prompted to seek freedom in new lands. Among them were the Pilgrims, who landed in the Americas in 1620.”
“Other colonists soon followed,” he continued, “including those like Roger Williams, founder and later governor of Rhode Island. … Williams said that there was no regularly constituted church of Christ on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any church ordinance, nor could there be until new apostles were sent by the great Head of the church, for whose coming he was seeking.”
In the 18th century, the founders of the United States established religious freedom for all citizens through the Bill of Rights. This newly secured liberty allowed for the lawful establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In 2009, Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated, “‘For the rights and protection of all flesh’ the United States Constitution includes in its First Amendment the guarantees of free exercise of religion and free speech and press.”
“Without these great fundamentals of the Constitution,” he continued, “America could not have served as the host nation for the restoration of the gospel, which began just three decades after the Bill of Rights was ratified.”
Though The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began in 1830 with only six members, today it is a global religion with more than half of its 14 million members living outside the United States.
As a result of the Church’s global membership, the Thanksgiving holiday is not celebrated by most of its members. Yet the pilgrims’ historical role in fostering religious freedom and their example of gratitude resonate with people around the world, especially Latter-day Saints.
In 1843, Joseph Smith said with regard to religious liberty, “I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbytarian [sic], a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination.”
More recently, Latter-day Saint Apostles have frequently emphasized the importance of religious liberty (see a list of discourses here), and the current president of the Church, Thomas S. Monson, has highlighted the Thanksgiving holiday’s theme of gratitude.
“A grateful heart … comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives,” said President Monson in a 2010 address. “This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. … When we encounter challenges and problems in our lives, it is often difficult for us to focus on our blessings. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given.”
In the United States of America and many other nations around the world, people are grateful to God for their blessings during this time of year; among these blessings is that of religious freedom.
“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.” D&C 134: 4
By Alan on Nov 18 in Blog tagged away from the family, hospital, new ideas, nursing home, picnic in mountains, plans, skiing, Thanksgiving, those in need, tradition | Comments Off
Marcia was sitting at the kitchen table, watching her mother make a cake. “Thanksgiving isn’t going to be any fun this year,” she said. “I wish we could go back to New York and be with Grandmother and Granddad. Why did we have to move to Denver, anyway?”
“It’s hard for all of us to be away from the family at holiday time,” said Marcia’s mother, wiping flour from her hands. “I guess we’re all a little homesick. But Daddy’s job is here now, and Denver is our new home.”
“Last Thanksgiving there were seventeen relatives around Grandmother’s table. What fun we had!” said Marcia. “This year there will be only the three of us at our table. It just isn’t fair.” As Marcia went into the living room, she heard her mother sigh. Marcia knew that her mother wanted to be with the family at Thanksgiving too.
This is terrible, thought Marcia. We’re all so gloomy. Lots of families are apart on holidays. Then, sighing herself, she resolved, We’ll just have to make the best of it.
However, things weren’t much better the next day at school when Marcia’s teacher asked each student what his family was going to do on the Thanksgiving holiday. Marcia only half listened to the wonderful plans the other children were telling about. She felt worse than ever. What would she say when it was her turn?
As Marcia tried to decide what to say, she began to get interested in what Sally was saying. Sally’s family was going to have a picnic in the mountains for its Thanksgiving dinner. That surely was different from any Thanksgiving that Marcia knew about.
Next it was John’s turn. His family was going skiing. Then Jeff told about his family’s plans to go to a hospital and entertain the patients. Amy’s family was going to help serve at a church dinner.
Marcia was amazed. She’d thought that the only thing you did onThanksgiving was go to your grandmother’s house and have a big dinner. Suddenly Marcia saw that Thanksgiving could be a wonderful new experience!
When the teacher called on Marcia, Marcia stood up very slowly. “We haven’t made any plans yet,” she said, “but all of you have given me a lot of good ideas!”
Later, when the school bus dropped her off, Marcia ran the rest of the way home. “Mom,” she called as she burst through the kitchen door, “I have the most wonderful ideas for Thanksgiving! Just wait until you hear!” Marcia told her mother about all the different Thanksgiving plans that she’d heard about at school.
When Marcia finished, Mother said, “Those are all wonderful things to do for Thanksgiving.”
“Maybe we could think of something special to do on Thanksgiving day, too,” Marcia went on excitedly. “Since it’s a day of giving, maybe we could entertain at a hospital, like Jeff, or serve at a church dinner, like Amy.”
“You mean not have a Thanksgiving dinner?” asked Mother.
“Oh, no!” said Marcia. “I still want to have Thanksgiving dinner.” She thought for a minute, then said, “Maybe we could share our dinner with some people who are away from their families like we are.”
“But we don’t know anyone here yet,” said Mother.
“I do!” Marcia told her. “I mean, one of the boys in my class was telling about his grandmother in a nursing home. He said that lots of older people in the nursing home are far away from their families and that they are very lonesome. Couldn’t we invite some of the people from the nursing home to have Thanksgiving dinner with us at our house?”
Mother didn’t say anything for a minute. Then she slowly nodded her head. “I think that’s a wonderful idea, Marcia. And I’m sure your daddy will think so too. We could have a big dinner just like Grandmother always has. It would be a happy time.” Mother grinned at Marcia. “Well, come on,” she said. “We haven’t a minute to lose. There are a hundred things to do to get ready. First, we’ll call Daddy and the nursing home; then we’ll plan the dinner; then we’ll get out the good dishes. Then we’ll—” she stopped and gave Marcia a hug.
Marcia hadn’t seen her mother so happy since they’d left New York. As a matter of fact, thought Marcia, I don’t know when I’ve been so happy myself. Thanksgiving is going to be more fun than ever this year!
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have alove one to another.” John 13: 35
By Alan on Nov 23 in Blog tagged food, heart, marriage, National family Week, One Heart, Osmonds, parent, seasons, teen, Thanksgiving | 1 Comment
The Osmond Family –
In honor of Thanksgiving and “National Family Week,” this week, we celebrate the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving table–and the family at your Thanksgiving table.
After the first Thanksgiving in 1621, there were seasons when the pilgrims had to ration their food. Legend has it that during the “starving time” of 1623 the pilgrims’ daily ration was reduced to five kernels of parched corn per person. Two hundred years later, at the Founders Day banquet of 1820, five kernels of parched corn were placed on each empty plate before the meal, to symbolize the pilgrims’ hardships.
Many families continue this tradition today, by placing five kernels of corn on each dinner plate before the Thanksgiving meal. Traditionally, the five kernels of corn represent the blessings of Autumn beauty, love, family, friendship, and freedom in America. Today’s families often let each family member choose five unique things they’re thankful for.
In that spirit, we offer five “kernels of thanks” to you and your family this Thanksgiving week:
1. Thank you for valuing your marriage. Your marriage doesn’t have to be perfect to be “good enough.” As well-known marriage researcher Maggie Gallagher explained, “Not only individuals, but also whole communities do better, when good-enough marriages are common.” Marriage is a process. Even if you are struggling now, “a large majority of individuals in unhappy marriages who hang in there. . . end up reporting their marriages are very happy a few years later.”
2. Thank you for not hastily considering no-fault divorce. Enacted by most states during the 1970′s, no fault divorce laws allow one spouse to file for divorce for any reason–or no reason at all. Since 1974, about 1 million children per year have seen their parents divorce. Sadly, divorce begets divorce. One large study shows that children of divorced parents are 76 percent more likely to get divorced themselves. In addition, many divorced couples feel that their divorce may have been a mistake. In one recent study, at least one spouse in three-quarters of divorcing couples had second thoughts.
3. Thank you for your careful parenting. Men and women bring different strengths to a family. Decades of social science confirm that “children who are raised by married mothers and fathers do better in virtually every way social scientists know how to measure. Overall, they have fewer behavior problems, reach higher educational goals, and are more likely to achieve a successful marriage of their own.
4. Thank you for sharing your values with your teens. Contrary to what you what you may think sometimes, parents have an enormous influence on their teenagers. It is important for parents to talk to their teens about their convictions about love, commitment, and “the deeper meanings and traditions of marriage.”
5. Thank you for opening your heart to religion. Dr. Loren Marks of Louisiana State University notes that “religious faith is the salient and inextricable thread in the quilt of family life.” A major study recently reported by National Marriage Project shows that couples who attend church together and pray together have better quality relationships. Religion has a great impact on young people as well. For example, the primary reason teenagers say that they do not have sex is because it is against their religion.
In short, thank you for giving our society a secure foundation and future. Your family is something for all of us to be grateful for this week.
Your friends at United Families International
“We are of One Heart!” Alan & Suzanne Osmond
Maggie Gallagher, 2004. Can Government Strengthen Marriage? Evidence from the Social Sciences, National Fatherhood Initiative, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and Institute for American Values, New York, NY: 7. Web. 9 Nov. 2010 <http://www.marriagedebate.com/pdf/Can%20Government%20Strengthen%20Marriage.pdf>
Alan J. Hawkins, 2009. Should I Keep Trying to Work it Out? A Guidebook for Individuals and Couples at the Crossroads of Divorce (And Before), produced on behalf of the Utah Commission on Marriage, Salt Lake City, Utah: 44, 65, 66, 77, 138. Web. 9 Nov. 2010 < http://utahmarriage.org/files/uploads/Crossroads%20Guidebook.pdf >
W. Bradford Wilcox, 2009. “The Evolution of Divorce,” National Affair, Issue 1, Fall 2009. Web. Nov 9, 2010. <http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-evolution-of-divorce >
The Marriage Movement, a Statement of Principles, 2000. Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, Institute for American Values, New York, NY: 5. Web. 9 Nov. 2010 < http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/marriagemovement.pdf >
Maggie Gallagher, 2004. p. 23.
Ibid. p. 8.
Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and Marline Peterson, 2006. Making a Love Connection: Teen Relationships, Pregnancy, and Marriage, National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Washington DC: 17. Web. 9 Nov. 2010 <http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/resources/pdf/pubs/MALC_FINAL.pdf >
Marline Pearson, 2000. “Can Kids Get Smart About Marriage?” A Report for the National Marriage Project in The Next Generation Series, The National Marriage Project, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ: 35.
Loren Marks, 2003. “The Effects of Religious Beliefs in Marriage and Family,” Marriage and Families, Aug. 2003, Web. 9 Nov. 2010, <http://marriageandfamilies.byu.edu/issues/2003/August/religiousbeliefs.aspx >
W. Bradford Wilcox, 2010. “Across Races, Couples that Pray Together Are Happier, NMP Study Finds,” The National Marriage Project, 11 Aug., 2010, Web. 9 Nov. 2010 <http://www.virginia.edu/marriageproject/ >
Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and Marline Peterson, 2006. pp. 23-24.
By Alan on Nov 22 in Blog tagged Bible, book, bread, diligence, feast, Mormon, patience, Thanksgiving, water | Comments Off
At this time of year we turn our thoughts to the feast of food that we normally have during the Thanksgiving holiday. This year it is especially true for our family.
But lately my thoughts have been turned to another type of feasting. One that no matter how often or how much we partake of we don’t have to worry about dieting afterward. Of which, if done properly, we will never hunger or thirst again.
The Feasting of “HIS WORDS”:
- John 6:35 “And Jesus said unto them, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
- 4:14 ”But whosoever drinketh of water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
- Jeremiah 15:16 ”Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart”.
- 31:33 …saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts: and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
- Ezekiel 2:9 And when I looked, behold an hand was sent unto me; and lo a roll of a book as therein;
- Ezekie 3:1 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he cased me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
- Psalms 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.
- 2 Nephi 9:51 …Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.
- 2 Nephi 31:20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward feasting upon the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
- 32:3…Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
- Alma 32:42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
Other great scriptures:
- Joshua 1:8 The book of the law shall not depart out of they mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein.
- Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
- Acts 17:11 These were more noble…in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily…
- 2 Timothy 2:15 Study…the word of truth.
- 3:15…the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
- 1 Nephi 19:23 I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.
- Nephi 4:15…For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them,
A second exercise is to study scriptures using variations of ‘the word’. Examples are:
- Deuteronomy 8:3…man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. 11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul…19 And ye shall teach them your children…
Much of Psalms 119 rejoices in thy word.
- Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
- 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
- 28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
- 41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
- 50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
- 81 My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.
- 105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
- 140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
- 162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
- 169 Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.
- 170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
- Jacob 2:8 And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul.
- Alma 30:5 And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just – yea it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword…it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.
- Alma 32:27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
Finally This is what our Savior has said:
- John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them…ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
- D&C 76:22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
I add my humble testimony that by reading the scriptures, especially those about our Savior Jesus Christ and by living and following the word we will enjoy eternal life in his presence. That if we feast on his words we will truly never hunger and thirst again. I also testify that He lives!
Writer - For The Family