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Liberty . Responsibility . Patriotism . Courage
Celebrating the God-given privilege of
personal freedom throughout the world
Friday, August 18, 2017

Jon McNaughton: One Nation Under God

Freedom Video
Author: admin
Saturday, August 14, 2010
7:33 pm

The following YouTube video features artist Jon McNaughton speaking about his painting depicting his belief, which I share, that the Constitution of the United States was inspired by Jesus Christ.

The rich symbolism in the painting is explained via an informative interactive page on the McNaughton Art website:

image

From the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I quote the words of the Savior:

77 According to the laws and aconstitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the brights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral aagency which I have given unto him, that every man may be baccountable for his own sins in the day of cjudgment.

79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in abondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the aConstitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the bshedding of blood.

(D&C 101: 77-80)

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In God We Still Trust

Freedom Video
Author: admin
Monday, July 5, 2010
12:00 am

Thanks for my good friend John Olsen for pointing out this uplifting video from Diamond Rio, “In God We Still Trust.”  In addition watching the video directly below, you can see the video on the In God We Still Trust website, which includes full lyrics for the song.

In the adult Sunday School lesson I taught today about the Psalms, we read these phrases:

"The Lord is my arock, and my bfortress, and my deliverer; my God, my cstrength, in whom I will dtrust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
(Psalms 18: 2)

… and …

“In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”
(Psalms 56: 11)

God knows us, he loves us, he wants us to be free.  We can trust that he will be our unfailing support amidst the swirling uncertainties of today’s world.  We just need to remember him and order our lives in harmony with his teachings.

As he proclaimed,

… If ye acontinue in my word, then are ye my bdisciples indeed;

And ye shall aknow the btruth, and the ctruth shall make you dfree.
(John 8: 31-32)

Thank you, Diamond Rio! We do still trust in God.  And that trust will keep us free.

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Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand …

Freedom Video
Author: admin
Sunday, July 4, 2010
10:55 pm

In a stirring, impromptu, a cappella performance, an attendee at a Tea Party shares his love of freedom by singing the fourth verse of The Star Spangled Banner.

 

The lyrics he sang so powerfully are:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

What a fitting message for this Independence Day, when we express our gratitude to the living God who “made and preserved us a nation.”

Thanks to my daughter Angie for pointing out this moving video.

God bless America!

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George Washington: Freemen or Slaves

Freedom Quote
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, February 4, 2010
8:23 am

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army—Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expect—We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country’s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions—The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”

George Washington, First President of the United States of America.  From “General Orders”, July 2, 1776.

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Moral Discipline is Essential for Freedom

Freedom Article
Author: Mark Dixon
Sunday, October 11, 2009
9:57 pm

The growing ambivalence of our society toward moral behavior was aptly highlighted by the inscription on a T-shirt I saw recently: “It’s not illegal if you don’t get caught!” 

Perhaps you could have expected such a motto to be proclaimed by a rebellious teenager, but no, the t-shirt was worn by an attractive, well-groomed, apparently prosperous, middle-aged woman.

Our founding fathers warned of the consequences of such attitudes.  For example, John Adams, second president of the United States, offered this counsel:

"Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty."

I was impressed recently by a discourse entitled “Moral Discipline” given by Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Prior to his call to serve as a full-time General Authority of the Church, Elder Christofferson was associate general counsel of NationsBank Corporation (now Bank of America) in Charlotte, North Carolina.   His experience as an attorney in the financial services market coupled with his insight as an ecclesiastical leader offer a unique perspective to this subject.

… we all possess the God-given gift of moral agency—the right to make choices and the obligation to account for those choices (see D&C 101:78). … for positive outcomes, moral agency must be accompanied by moral discipline.

By “moral discipline,” I mean self-discipline based on moral standards. Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard. It rejects the self-absorbed life in favor of developing character worthy of respect and true greatness through Christlike service (see Mark 10:42–45). The root of the word discipline is shared by the word disciple, suggesting to the mind the fact that conformity to the example and teachings of Jesus Christ is the ideal discipline that, coupled with His grace, forms a virtuous and morally excellent person.

Elder Christofferson proceeded to explain the results of behavior  John Adams warned about:

The societies in which many of us live have for more than a generation failed to foster moral discipline. They have taught that truth is relative and that everyone decides for himself or herself what is right. Concepts such as sin and wrong have been condemned as “value judgments.” As the Lord describes it, “Every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god” (D&C 1:16).

As a consequence, self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. One columnist observed that “gentlemanly behavior [for example, once] protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior. . . .

“Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.”2

An associate of mine recently posed an interesting question, “Can you legislate morality?”  It became clear in our discussion that while you certainly cannot force someone to have moral discipline, our laws are certainly based on moral principles.  In the United States, the origin of these principles are clearly traced back via the Judeao-Christian tradition to the Ten Commandments.  However, when we rely on external enforcement rather than personal discipline to maintain harmony with those principles (the “it’s not illegal if you don’t get caught” mentality),  chaos may replace civil order.

In most of the world, we have been experiencing an extended and devastating economic recession. It was brought on by multiple causes, but one of the major causes was widespread dishonest and unethical conduct, particularly in the U.S. housing and financial markets. Reactions have focused on enacting more and stronger regulation. Perhaps that may dissuade some from unprincipled conduct, but others will simply get more creative in their circumvention.3 There could never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone. In the memorable phrase of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, “We would not accept the yoke of Christ; so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.”4

In the end, it is only an internal moral compass in each individual that can effectively deal with the root causes as well as the symptoms of societal decay. Societies will struggle in vain to establish the common good until sin is denounced as sin and moral discipline takes its place in the pantheon of civic virtues.5

Let me repeat one phrase that strikes to the heart of the matter, “There could never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone.”

The answer to the chaos that reigns in our world is not more government regulation. It doesn’t lie in tougher enforcement.  The real solution cannot be legislated.  We as American citizens must individually and together develop the internal moral discipline that is essential for freedom to exist.

Consider the words of these great Presidents of the United States:

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
George Washington, First President of the United States

"God who gave us life, gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure  when we have removed their only firm basis,  a conviction in the minds of the people,  that these liberties are a gift from God?"
Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States

"We have been the recipient of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our heart, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own."
Abraham Lincoln, Sixteenth President of the United States

It is my hope that we as Americans can answer the call for moral discipline – first by cultivating such attitudes and behavior in our own lives and then persuading others to do likewise.  Therein lies the the real answer for our troubled times – freedom earned through moral discipline bringing victory over tyranny.

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John F. Kennedy: Ask What You Can Do

Freedom Quote
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
7:29 pm

John F. Kennedy “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

“My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

“Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. Inaugural Address, Friday, January 20, 1961.

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Abraham Lincoln: We Have Forgotten God

Freedom Quote
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, October 5, 2009
8:51 pm

"We have been recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven.  We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity.  We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown; but we have forgotten God.  We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own."

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.  From a proclamation issued March 30, 1863, for a national day of fasting and prayer to be observed on April 30, 1863, as quoted in American Quotations, p. 68.

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Thomas Jefferson: God Gave Us Liberty

Freedom Quote
Author: Mark Dixon
Sunday, October 4, 2009
8:55 pm

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."

Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States

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Thomas Jefferson: Liberty is a Gift of God

Freedom Quote
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, July 13, 2009
8:00 pm

Thomas Jefferson“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States, Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence

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John Adams: Celebrating the Declaration

Freedom Quote
Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, July 11, 2009
8:00 pm

John AdamsThe Declaration of Independence “will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.”

John Adams, 2nd President of the United States.

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