Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fasting for the Republic

I took up the challenge from Glenn Beck yesterday and fasted and prayed for the Republic. My experience with it was in a word, peace. Things are going to be better than okay, they are going to be amazing.

That does not mean that we sit back and watch things happen. Rather it means we do our part. The greatest source of power in this nation is the God in whom we trust. He has gracefully granted us access to that power by means of our faith. I've long thought that one of the best definitions of faith is putting yourself in the position to receive the blessings God so wants to give.

We put ourselves in position by praying for our own souls, for our families and loved ones, and for our enemies. We stand in holy places, firm and resolute, perhaps the holiest place is within our own homes. We face trials with an assurance that though they be difficult God will sanctify them for our benefit and the welfare of others. We support each other, even and maybe especially when we don't agree on everything, for we agree on the most important things. This country needs to be heading in a better, more correct direction. We stand up with courage even if we do feel frightened. We love and we serve.

As we do our part we will see miracles. We will see the faithful walk into lion's dens and survive. We will see the seemingly small and weak defeat giants. We will see impossible paths open while enemies are halted. We will see blind eyes opened, deaf ears hearing, and maybe just maybe some changed hearts.

We humbly ask for God to bless America. First and foremost though we acknowledge that He already has, that He does, and will continue to do so as we trust in Him.

It's a glorious time, come what may and love it. Know with assurity that we are not just in God's hands, we are in His arms. And knowing that how could the answer be anything but peace.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington National Cemetery was a somber and soul touching place. I love and honor those who have served this country and protected our freedoms. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a site I have long wanted to visit and was grateful for the opportunity.
We happened to arrive just as the changing of the guard was about to start. I apologize for not being in a better position for filming it.
What touched me most was the realization that our beloved unknown soldiers are not left alone. They are honorably watched over by their fellow soldiers. I also found it touching that the unknown soldiers have been giving a multitude of awards and medals for valor and honor.
To all of our dear soldiers and to their families and other loved ones, thank-you from the deepest part of my heart.

The Wall

Growing up whenever I thought about going to Washington D.C. there was one place that I knew I had to visit, the Vietnam Memorial. I love my country dearly and our warriors have always had a special place in my heart. Alot of the credit for that love of country and soldiers goes to my father. He served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam conflict.
I'm glad my friends put up with me wanting to go there several times. The first visit was after darkness had fallen, which was good so that my tears were just between me, God and those precious souls who gave their lives for freedom, yours and mine.
The Memorial is simple and beautiful. I love how reflective it is. They gave their lives for us and by having our reflections accompany their names its as if we are able to know each other. We sanctify their sacrifice by not only remembering them, but cherishing and upholding the freedom they died for.
I thought about putting the video to music, but like the D.C. video just felt like it was best to leave as is.
I've written in a previous post about the importance of monuments and especially about the chance we get to touch them. It is especially important for the veterans to be able to touch it, so that their memories and feelings are validated. It was my great honor to be at that sacred sight, it was a dream come true. Dad, I touched The Wall for you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The March: Unedited

Well, here it is. I was going to try to do some fancy edits or something, add a little music, put in some amazing graphics. But, than I thought you know what I'm just going to leave the footage as is raw and with my amazing camera work. By, the way I'm sorry for the camera work:)

A few points. The march started out on Freedom Plaza. We were supposed to gather there from 9:00 am to 11:30 or so. The first scenes are coming up onto Freedom Plaza and having no idea where the thing began. The crowd was immense. In fact it was so large that the march started at like 10:00 because there just wasn't room on the plaza. The march itself was the funnest part. It was just great to around so many people who love their country. I think one of the funnest things was passing a building that had the First Amendment written on the front of it. Every group that passed in front of it gave a huge cheer. When the next group of people came upon it they realized what everyone else was cheering about and would let off a cheer of their own. We gathered on the lawn of the Capitol building. We initially were in the back of the stage for the speakers. We tried to get around to the front but just could not do it. It was impossible to get any sense from a video camera the immensity of the crowd. It was magnificent. I love this country. I love that we have the right to assemble and to freely speak. I want to say a special thanks to my dear friends Ranae and Emily who were with me. What an opportunity to stand up with loved ones. I look forward to continuing to stand up for principles of freedom and this blessed nation and to doing so with loved ones again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Restoring Our Relationship With God

Just to let you know, I am working on posting video of the September 12th march on Washington. It was an amazing experience and I’m grateful I got to be there. I also have some video of other more tourist type experiences that I will be posting. It’s just taking me a while to get the videos all uploaded and stuff.

On my plane trip to D.C. via Salt Lake I was thinking wistfully about the previous weekend when I flew into Boise to spend some time with my family. When I got off the plane my mom, sister and one of my little nephews were there to greet me. When my nephew saw me he gave a happy scream and ran to me. I scooped him up in my arms and gave him a kiss and hug. I love reunions with my loved ones. The reunions with my nieces and nephews are particularly heartwarming for me. My relationship with them is one of my most cherished. I’ve tried to make sure that they feel safe and loved with me.

That experience of greeting them with open arms and having them run to me is one I have thankfully had several times over. Scooping them up in a loving embrace is such a simple and yet profound moment. I love them. We feel safe together and an increase in happiness. It’s amazing how sweet reunions can cast away any previous negative experiences in a healing way, for me and for them.

Connection is such an important part of humanity. The most vital connection we all have is with God, Our Creator and Father. And yet those ties seem to become increasingly strained in our nation, not because of Him, it’s because of us.

Why is it that we avoid the things that will help us most sometimes? Indeed sometimes it seems like we run from that which is the greatest source of security and peace. Is it because we fear weakness and vulnerability? Perhaps. It is a human desire to be in control and personally strong. Maybe what we fear is that our potential is unlimited, as Nelson Mandela once stated “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Knowing we are powerful means that we would have a responsibility. Regardless I invite this nation to examine its relationship with God.

Let us understand that as we learn we are weak we can be humble. This allows us to have open and soft hearts, a condition God can work more easily with. Than in partnership with Him, empowered through His grace, we don’t have to fear responsibility of our potential for we have a perfecly loving, strong ally. If we really want to be strong and to make the most of our own potential, we need Him.

God loves us. He is Our Father. The love we have for the children in our lives gives us a hint to how He feels about us, though immeasurably more. We ought to run to Him. For surely He waits with open arms to scoop us up in safety, love and healing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Restoring Remembrance

One of the most important words in the English language is remember. Our experiences and the memories we have of them help shape who we are.

I remember a morning 8 years ago that changed my life, and the lives of millions. I woke up to the murmur of the television in the living room above me. I began to go about my morning but shortly heard a knock on the door. My mother with alarm told me that 2 planes had flown into the towers of the World Trade Center. I immediately got up and viewed with other family members the scenes that would be burned into my memory.

I remember watching that first tower leaning and out loud begging “stay up stay up stay up” It broke my heart when it fell. I remember watching the second fall. I remember hearing about the attack on the Pentagon. I remember hearing that another plane had crashed. It all seemed unreal and I was too shocked for any emotional response.

I remember when it finally hit me and I held my head in my hands and sobbed. My family gathered close to one another.

I remember when statements such as “if you ever lived in New York or New Jersey you knew somebody” hit me like a ton of bricks. I had served my mission there. I spent a lot of time meeting people and no matter what the response, I would end the meeting by saying “God bless.” I remember realizing how much I meant it. I remember wishing I could go back and embrace my beloveds there.

I remember realizing that before I left on my mission I had spent a semester in Israel, and how difficult it was to see people and their land that I loved damaged so much by terrorism. I remember how shocking and devastating it was to know that they had now attacked my home.

I remember reading articles about the park and rides in New Jersey and other surrounding states where cars were abandoned because their owners did not return home. One article spoke of East Brunswick specifically it was the second and last area that I had served in. I sobbed some more.

I remember reading all the names worried I did indeed no somebody.

I remember crying with my nation over the lost and suffering. I remember hearing the solidarity that other nations expressed to us.

I remember seeing our neighborhoods filled with flags as we unified in love of country, in love of peace and in love of one another.

I remember praying to feel peace, and mercifully being granted that.

We must never forget.

To Our Nation

I’m leaving on a jet plane for Washington D.C. tomorrow morning. I’m way excited to stand with fellow Americans on the 12th. We all want our voices to be heard. If I had the opportunity to speak to my government and especially my fellow Americans I think it would go a little something like this. (some of this will sound familiar :)

I believe in the greatness of this nation. We are a nation who trusts in God. We are a nation of freedom. We are a nation whose greatness is manifest in the lives of its citizens. A Constitution was established by our Founding Fathers. The greatness of that Constitution is that the laws that were established allow the inhabitants of this land to become their greatest selves.

This nation was established with principles of freedom. One of those principles is justice. We are a Republic, meaning we are ruled by law. Those laws should uphold our divinely bestowed rights and our precious freedoms. The law as Aristotle once stated, is reason free from passion. I believe that includes compassion. Justice does not mean everyone gets everything they want. It means our freedoms to work for them ourselves is assured.

I understand and so did our founders that there would be many who would struggle through life destitute, alone, injured and needy. But, they trusted that principles of freedom would ensure the best possible chance for the people in whatever station. Principles such as a free market, the genius of which would eventually lead to the wealthiest nation in the world. Principles of limited government, allowing individuals the opportunity to prosper and develop and personally progress. The Constitution is itself a protector of freedom. Within its very structures they placed an ability to amend in order to best protect freedom.

Our founders trusted that a free nation would best engender a moral people. This is one of the reasons why freedom of religion is so important. A moral people would be a merciful people, they would serve others without being compelled by their government. Mercy belongs to the people. We are meant to be compassionate to one another.

Why do so many Americans fear that their freedoms are under attack? It’s because they are. That limited government has been ever increasing and ever encroaching. We hear it is for our own good and yet continue to see a deterioration of personal freedom and compassion. The free market system, which of design has ups and downs has not been left free to correct itself. Government interference has weakened our economy. We have descended from wealthiest nation to most deeply in debt. We owe money to other countries. We owe money to our seniors who believed their investments in such things as social security and medicare would be secure. We owe money to our children and their children.

We've been told that our Constitution is a living document rather than a sturdy edifice. We've been told that to progress we must change our laws not merely by its prescribed measures, within its structures, but rather that the structures themselves be altered or even abolished.

And our job, mercy, compassion is being stolen by a government again trying to convince us they know what is best. They will take care of us so we don't have to worry about our neighbor. They wish us not to struggle, yet that is how we grow.

I say to Americans now it is time for us to take back mercy. This nation is great because its people are great. The hearts of Americans beat in a unified compassion for our fellow man.

Government I speak to you now as a single entity. Let us take care of the poor, and downtrodden. We know better than you, our government, which has every need handed to them by us. Let us love our neighbors including those on our Southern border. I ask you to do your job, of upholding the law, of being just. If you do that than there will be a decrease in malice and the citizens can better serve each other and our beautiful neighbors occupied by beautiful souls who want the same as every American, to live free. Government cannot do that for government is bound by the will of the people. But, the people know freedom, let us freely give and teach principles of freedom that others may find it for themselves in their own land or here if they wish to properly come.

I feel compelled to speak of one of the greatest examples of mercy in our nation. I speak of our soldiers, men and women who love mercy more than life. They do what you, our government, seem unwilling to do, they sacrifice, and they serve without regard for themselves. Let us, the people, embrace the families of the lost. For we know loss. For the heroes who return home, who had been willing to die for us, let us ask them now to live. Let us fill them with hope. Hope not in the government but hope that with the freedom they have guaranteed they and us can continue to make the world a better, safer, freer place. We owe that to them, to give hope in place of despair and purpose in living.

Government unleash the mightiest power in the land, the people and their compassion. You do that by only doing your job, by limiting yourself so our potential to progress individually becomes unlimited. Do you want the world to be a better place? Than let us make it so. Your attempts at force will only breed apathy on one hand and resentment on the other. I say to you now with all the conviction of a freedom loving soul, release us! Our nation will be better for it. Release us, with our God given rights and God given attributes. We the people are the best stewards of one another.

To you now my fellow Americans we say in God we trust. Let us act upon that trust knowing we will be supported and sustained. God will uphold those who call upon His name and I ask the leaders, the citizens, the soldiers, all freedom loving people to do so now in this our hour of decision.

Do we choose security or freedom? Do we choose debt over our children's future? Will you plead for the right to be merciful or let government continue to hijack that role?
Do we trust in government or do we trust in God?
Rise up for a peaceful victory America. Restore your principles of freedom, that serenity, prosperity and compassion can endure now and in generations to come. It is our sacred duty. I pledge my allegiance to this nation, its people and its divine purpose.

God bless America and Americans.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Restoring Power

I think the following video represents what the government thinks of itself.

I wanted to start this post out with that clip mostly because I thought it was humorous. I thought of several of our politicians who could fit into those He-Man roles (who’s the lucky dog who gets to be Orco?) But, I will warn you that I'm attempting to go kinda deep with the subject. So, here goes.

The greatest source of power in this nation is the God in whom we trust. He has, divinely and mercifully, granted to us the power of freedom and unalienable rights. Our government only holds the power that we the people give to it. That's right the government is farther down the totem pole. But, it seems the government has forgotten that.

We need true principles of power restored to the government mindset. I'd like to speak of power in terms of how it is viewed and used, obtained and properly meted out. I like to simplify things and one way to do so is to look at the extremes.

Forgive me for going all religious here, but I've previously outed myself as a right wing religious nut-job so I'm not going to stress about it. Spiritually speaking the two extremes of power are the Savior Jesus Christ and of course the devil (I never capitalize him).

I'll speak of the latter first. Interestingly enough satan, the little turdbeast (he's one of the few individuals I have no problem insulting), has been given some power. God in His infinite wisdom knew that in order for us to learn and grow we would need opposition and trials. The devil, aka the serpent, aka loser jerk, was given power to bruise the heel of Adam and his posterity. We were given the power to bruise his head, the vomitous mass. The devil realizes that he is in actuality pretty weak. However, he uses his limited power to its farthest extent causing trouble, heartache, contention and in short misery. He is the tyrant of tyrants, the never merciful master, and I bet he smells really bad. He seeks power by trying to take it from us. He is a jealous spineless (literally because he can't even get a body, sucka!) moron whose whole purpose is to gain power, for he knows with full clarity just how insignificant and limited he is.

Contrast the devil with The Savior. The most powerful person ever to dwell on the earth was also its most humble, meek and service oriented. He, Divinity, descended below all men in living a mortal life and then sacrificing everything for the benefit of others, including His life. The only thing He ever took was our sins upon Himself. Other than that He was all about giving. He is ever powerful, and only uses that power to give us power, its called grace.

These extremes demonstrate an important aspect of power. For those who seek to be humble and to serve, power is a result which then can be used to further serve others. For those who seek power they realize how weak they are and thus have to spend all their time trying to get power in order to decrease the affect of their abject weakness. That is the case with all tyrants. They are daily reminded that they are weak and that their pretended power is frail, and can fail. As soon as there is one or more among their oppressed who realizes that their oppressor truly has limited power the oppressed can rise up. Tyrants fall.

Power is a result of humility. Those who look upon power with humility and use it to continue serving will find that it becomes limitless. But, caution must be observed. For, as soon as power is viewed as the goal, rather than as a byproduct benefit for good, it becomes a menace for its seeker.

There are a couple of subjects I'd like to address as sources of power, sacrifice and morality.

I remind you of the example of The Savior. He sacrificed everything for those He loved, that's all of us. We are asked by Him to also make sacrifices. Why? Because He wishes to endow us with power from on high. By sacrificing we become more like Him. Those who lose themselves in service truly find themselves. The more we love and serve others, the more our true selves are freed. I reiterate that those who seek power only realize they're weak. But, those who freely acknowledge they are weak in humility can put themselves humbly in a position to receive the blessings God is so willing to give. Sacrifice is a blessing given by God to connect us with Him.

Morality is a concept that I could go on and on about. It is in short about being our true selves and not being controlled by our base and mortal tendencies. I love the truth that we are not mortal beings who sometimes have spiritual experiences. Rather we are spiritual beings having a mortal experience. A moral person does not elevate themselves and their mortal tendencies over the needs of others. For instance, this is why it is immoral to pass debt onto our children which puts your desires above the welfare of others. If we can control our spending to only what we can afford we are being financially moral.

I view the commandments of God as codes for moral conduct that if observed actually are sources of freedom and power. Let's take the commandment to be sexually moral. I would challenge anyone to ask themselves how many social ills of the world would be solved by people resolving to keep just this one commandment. It's pretty darn powerful.

Like I said I could go on and on but I'll leave it at that. Sacrifice and morality are principles of humility which in turn are empowering.

So, now the question is 'What the heck does any of this have to do with politics/government?' Well, you can probably guess. I feel the government knows its power is only granted by the people. It knows its weakness and it is continually trying to seek more power. Government administrations even seem to couch these power grabs by appealing to our nature of service and our morality. I know that President Obama has called on us to make sacrifices. But, that is just not his place to do so. We should be asking that of him and all our government officials. 'Hey guys! Why don't you sacrifice some of your power, limit yourselves, and stop spending so much money that you don't even have.' They ask, sometimes demand, more power saying it’s for our own good, so that we can be taken care of. President Obama has stated that healthcare reform is a moral obligation. Excuse me, but you the government have no right to tell us what our moral obligation is, especially when so many of your actions are flat out immoral (see previous comments regarding debt). I refer you to the beginning of the post (including the He-Man video:). The government has no right or power but what we give it. They have no right to ask us for more.

The government should instead humbly limit itself. They should truly be serving. Our founders never envisioned a political class that would seek political positions in order to have power and money. Scratch that, they probably did envision that a government could become like that and set up checks and balances to prevent it. But, the Constitution has been under attack for a while (thank-you Progressives). If politicians were truly public servants they would limit power and money.

Remember how I was talking about that slimy piece of worm ridden filth satan? He has power to bruise our heel but we have power to bruise his head. The head is a heck of a lot more vulnerable than the heel. If we truly decided to enact that power the dude would finally be the wash up he truly is. Now, I by no means wish to trample the government or take up arms against the government. But, they need to know that causing repeated injuries, continuing to bruise us, though they may think they can control us, may instead just wake us up to our responsibility to keep our own government in check.

The greatest source of power in this nation is the God in whom we trust. He has, divinely and mercifully, granted to us the power of freedom and unalienable rights. Our government only holds the power that we the people give to it. That's right the government is farther down the totem pole. It is time they were reminded of that.