Proper Management of Public Lands in the West is a Critical Discussion

Posted by in Public Lands, States

My view: Honest debates are worth the dignity, integrity of Utah and its citizens

By Kay Christofferson For the Deseret News

As originally published Tuesday, July 7 2015 12:00 a.m. MDT 

Representative Ken Ivory speaks in support of Hb 277 in the Utah House of Representatives Monday, March 2, 2015, at the Utah State Capitol.

Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Recently, a Washington, D.C.–based organization, Campaign for Accountability, made allegations of fraud toward a member of the Utah State Legislature, Rep. Ken Ivory. Ken organized and leads the American Lands Council, ALC, which coordinates efforts to help the Western states gain control of federally owned lands.

A radical group posing as a public interest organization — and attempting to obstruct any productive use of federally controlled lands in the West — has chosen to level these accusations rather than engage in honest debate. This is simply a tactic, one that we’ve seen over and over again from such groups, which is meant to diminish the progress of Rep. Ivory and many others involved in helping our state recover control of our public lands as promised in Utah’s Enabling Act. The motives of those involved in the transfer of public lands debate have been questioned and the facts distorted in order to undermine progress towards this goal.

I have known Ken Ivory for nearly three years and I know that he sincerely desires the best for our state. I have found Ken to be tireless in learning and understanding the history of the Enabling Act of Utah and the laws that govern the territories of the United States as they filed for statehood. He has promoted fairness among the states by highlighting the doctrine of equal footing.

Read the full story here! 


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Old Sarge: Now is no time to surrender

Posted by in Independence Day Celebration, Inspirational Thoughts
The United States of America is literally God's country

July 4, 2015

The latest in the series of musings from Forrest L. Gomez, a Vietnam veteran, author, and friend.



Today, Eric Erickson sat in for Rush on Rush’s radio show, and he brought up a very good point. Obama and other Democrats, with the loving assistance of the mainstream media, are staging dozens of near Nuremburg 1933 type get-togethers all over the country, with fawning little drones in the audience laughing, crying, and applauding at all the right moments. All of this is going on before and after the horrifying decisions rendered by the Supremes last week. According to Eric, and I totally agree, the left is trying to make conservatives and conservative Christians feel isolated and alone. Maybe some of you feel that right now.

But courage, dear brothers and sisters. Not so fast.

There IS a trend the last few years, a momentum that the mainstream media and the left wants desperately to draw attention away from, a movement that the history of can only be rewritten about, but not changed.

Last November, conservatives and GOP conservatives took over 7000 positions from Democrats and other liberals/progressives all across the country, everything from dog catcher to US Senator. 26 governorship and 27 state legislatures are in the hands of Republicans, and several states had Democrat governors that were so bad they elected Republicans, including Massachusetts and Maryland. The left can try to ignore the fact that red states are doing better than the blue ones, especially Texas and North Dakota, but economic progress cannot be denied, especially when we see areas controlled by Democrats for generations (e.g. California and Puerto Rico) barely treading water financially.

I know it’s disheartening when GOP leadership in Congress votes in ways that do not seem even vaguely conservative much of the time, but please don’t believe that it would be better if Reid and Pelosi were in charge again. Republicans at state and local level are doing a pretty good job of trying to maintain economic and social viability for their areas.

We are being told that Christianity is dying, yet Evangelical churches keep growing. The traditional churches like Methodist and Episcopalian are in trouble because they have given a green light to lifestyles and social habits that go against God’s Word. And sociologists know the tens and twenty-somethings and thirty- somethings don’t go to church much. But when the body starts to slow down and people become aware of their own mortality, they start going to church in significant numbers.

Don’t tell everyone you’re not voting anymore. Get out and vote. If you don’t care who is running for president, then look over the ballot anyway. If your state runs consolidated ballots like mine does, you will probably notice that the local libs have tried to slip in more gun controls, more tax increases, more limits on freedom, etc. By all means, get to the polls.

And just to cheer yourself up, ask your local libs to name anyplace where liberalism has ever worked, where the local economy is financially viable, where crime is low, and where it is family friendly. Then step back and watch the tap dance.

Americans before us have been in tighter spots than we are now. Remember Winston Churchill’s words, “Never surrender, never give up, never give in!”

See you in church, brothers and sisters. Shalom to our Jewish friends and our friends in Israel.

The Sarge

Reposted with permission of the author on  7/4/15

The United States of America is literally God's country

The United States of America is literally God’s country

Mormon Leaders Reaffirm Marriage is God’s Institution

Posted by in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, marriage

July 3, 2015

As originally published on Mormon Newsroom

Church Leaders Counsel Members After Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision


The following letter from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is being read in Church meetings across the United States and Canada beginning Sunday, July 5. (The Church issued this brief public statement immediately after the court’s decision on June 26, 2015.)

June 29, 2015
TO: General Authorities; General Auxiliary Presidencies; and the following leaders in the United States and Canada: Area Seventies; Temple, Stake Mission and District Presidencies; Bishops and Branch Presidents

Dear Brethren and Sisters:

Enclosed is a statement by the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve in response to the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States. The statement also pertains to the situation in Canada. Local leaders are asked to meet with all adults, young men, and young women on either July 5 or July 12 in a setting other than sacrament meeting and read to them the entire statement.

Also included is background material which may be helpful in answering questions that arise.

Stake presidents are asked to see that bishops receive copies of this letter and the enclosures.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas S. Monson

Henry B. Eyring

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

June 29, 2015  
Because of the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court and similar legal proceedings and legislative actions in a number of countries that have given civil recognition to same‐sex marriage relationships, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints restates and reaffirms the doctrinal foundation of Church teachings on morality, marriage, and the family. As we do, we encourage all to consider these teachings in the context of the Plan of Salvation and our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children.

Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well‐being of society. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27‐28). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and vital to eternal salvation.

A family built on marriage of a man and a woman is the best setting for God’s plan of happiness to thrive. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage between a man and a woman, and the family that results from their union, as privileged institutions. Sexual relations outside of such a marriage are contrary to the laws of God pertaining to morality.

Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We invite all to review and understand the doctrine contained in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same‐sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.

The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree. We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same‐sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. Indeed, the Church has advocated for rights of same‐sex couples in matters of hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment, and probate, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.

As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite all to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths God established in the beginning, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.


Background Material for Bishops and Branch Presidents
On the U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Same‐sex Marriage
The Church has provided a statement dated June 29, 2015, prepared by the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same‐sex marriage in the United States. The response reaffirms the divinely‐revealed reasons and proper doctrinal context for the Church’s unequivocal position regarding matters of morality, chastity, marriage, and the family. As the response notes, the Church’s teachings on these subjects are grounded in the scriptural declarations of God’s eternal plan for the salvation and exaltation of His children and are framed in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” While the statement stands on its own, below is additional information that may be helpful to you in responding to questions that may arise.

For much of human history, civil laws have generally been compatible with God’s laws. Unfortunately, there have been notable exceptions to that pattern. For example, it is legal in the United States to perform an abortion on an unborn fetus. However, this practice is not morally acceptable before God. (See Handbook 1, 17.3). The consumption of alcohol, while contrary to God’s law, is legal in most nations of the world, but the physical and social toll for doing so is a painful matter of record. So, too, with issues of unchaste sexual behavior, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual in its orientation. As the First Presidency has previously said and as this current response affirms, “Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society” (First Presidency letter on “Same‐ Sex Marriage,” January 9, 2014).

What is the Church’s Policy on Homosexual Relations?

“Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Homosexual behavior can be forgiven through sincere repentance. “If members engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth.

“While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. “If members feel same‐gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, leaders should support and encourage them in their resolve to live the law of chastity and to control unrighteous thoughts. These members may receive Church callings. If they are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances” (Handbook 2, 21.4.6).

Does the authorization of same‐sex marriage affect my right to religious freedom?

Our individual right to religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment to the United States’ Constitution and by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As we exercise that right, we must also exercise tolerance and respect toward others’ rights but do so without condoning behavior that goes contrary to the laws of God. “While we strive for the virtue of tolerance, other commendable qualities need not be lost. Tolerance does not require the surrender of noble purpose or of individual identity. The Lord gave instruction to leaders of His restored Church to establish and maintain institutional integrity—‘that the Church may stand independent’ (D&C 78:14)” (Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” April 1994 general conference). How do I respond respectfully to those who consider the Church’s position on this matter unchristian? Our objection to same‐sex marriage is not based on animosity toward anyone, but on our understanding of God’s purposes for His children. For us, the issues are not simply “tolerance” and “equality.” The issues are the nature of marriage and the consequences of redefining a divinely established institution. In addition, redefining marriage in the law can have profound consequences for society, particularly for children. Mothers and fathers matter, and they are not interchangeable. “On the subject of public discourse, we should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should . . . be good listeners and show concern for the sincere belief [of others.] Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. We should be wise in explaining our position and, in doing so, ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Loving Others and Living with Differences,” October 2014 general conference).


What if I have reservations of my own regarding the Church’s position on this subject?

“Members who . . . have doctrinal questions should make a diligent effort, including earnest prayer and scripture study, to find solutions and answers themselves. Church members are encouraged to seek guidance from the Holy Ghost to help them in their personal lives and in family and Church responsibilities.

“If members still need help, they should counsel first with their bishop. If necessary, he may refer them to the stake president. “. . . Stake presidents who need clarification about doctrinal or other Church matters may write in behalf of their members to the First Presidency” (Handbook 2, 21.1.24).

Reposted on 7/3/15

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Hippy dippy transplant gets bright idea from New York City to put fake boulders in Moab!

Posted by in Abnormal Psychology, Government Waste
Head in Hands

July 2, 2015

Rock climber’s paradise publicly funds fake boulders

By   /   June 18, 2015

As originally published on Watchdog Arena     
  Photo of Lions Park in Utah by Marjorie Haun

FAKE IS ‘IN': It may be surprising that a natural rock-climbing destination in Utah is receiving public funding for faux rocks.

By Marjorie Haun | Watchdog Arena

If southern Utah has one thing in abundance that can be obtained at little or no cost, it is natural rocks and boulders. It may be surprise that the local county government of Moab has put thousands of dollars toward fake boulders for a new climbing park.

This southeastern mining town-turned tourist mecca is located in Grand County, nestled between Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Both are renowned for their sandstone spires and naked desert landscapes. The town of Moab itself, literally rests between valley rims of sheer sandstone cliffs and rocky vertical escarpments perfect for hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. The natural setting of this little town is a rock climber’s dream.

According to Kathy Wilson, chair of the Grand County Recreation Special Services District, of the $100,000 requested, the group spearheading the development of Moab Boulder Park has received $12,500 from the county Recreation Special Services District.  Wilson said the funds were rewarded with the stipulation that if the full amount was not raised, the grant would be returned to the taxpayers of Grand County.

The original budget for the Moab Boulder park project appears to be in the hundreds of thousands, with the five fake boulders alone projected to cost $200,000. According to a post on the Moab Boulder Park Facebook page, the taxpayer money they hoped for has fallen short of their expectations:


The organization has also received grants from Rocky Mountain Power and private donors. The city of Moab has not allocated public funds to the boulder park, but in a letter dated July 1, 2014, the city council pledged its support of the development of 8,500 square feet within Lions Park, the proposed location of the Moab Boulder Park, and “staff time, as necessary to help develop the project.” The Utah Department of Transportation has allocated $1,829.539.00 to the revival of Lions Park.

Photo by Marjorie Haun

Proposed site in Lion’s Park for Moab Boulder Park. Natural boulders appear by the construction fence.

The fundraising arm of Moab Boulder Park was formed in 2013 by environmental lawyer Christina Sloan, who studied at the University of Colorado in Boulder and worked in Aspen prior to moving to Moab. As a subcommittee of the climbing organization, “The Friends of Indian Creek,” the Moab Boulder Park group is focused on raising funds through government appropriations, grants and donations to create a climbing park featuring five fake boulders up to about 13 feet in height.

The story of a fake boulder park in town like Moab is emblematic of what some regard as a schism between the natives, whose pioneer ancestors settled this rocky outpost in southeastern Utah, and the newcomers from other regions of the country where rocks for landscaping and other purposes, must actually be purchased.

Inspiration for the Moab Boulder Park apparently came from an artificial environment in a far-away city. In a Facebook post on July 17, 2014, accompanying a picture of little children climbing on fake boulders in the heart of New York City, is this comment:

“Believe it or not, the Pier 25 Park in NYC (Tribeca) was my original inspiration for MBP (Moab Boulder Park). We are back two years later. I hope Moab has a boulder park as nice as this by this time next year!”

This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.

Reposted with permission of the author, because I am the author  7/2/15

There is No Right to Marriage…for Anyone

Posted by in Christian Teachings, Civil Rights, Culture

July 1, 2015

“By liberty, I understand the power which every man has over his own actions, and his right to enjoy the fruits of his labor, art and industry, as far as by it he hurts not the society, or any members of it, by taking from any member, or hindering him from enjoying what he himself enjoys.  The fruits of a man’s honest industry are the just rewards of it, ascertained to him by natural and eternal equity, as is his title to use them in the manner which he thinks fit: And thus, with the above limitations, every man is sole lord and arbiter of his own private actions and property…no man living can divest him but by usurpation, or by his own consent.” ~ from Cato’s Letters


There is no right to marriage. Rights are those broad, enforceable concepts which can defended in word and in fact, by law; life, liberty, property. Heterosexual men and women have no right to be married. If a single man in a country demographically short on eligible women because of decades of sex-selection abortions, such as India, asserts the right to be married, and yet lacks a consenting partner who agrees to enter into the covenant of marriage with him, who will enforce his right? Is it the role of government to initiate force upon an unwilling woman, removing ALL of her rights to self-determination, in order to enforce his right to marriage? No. It’s absurd.

Marriage between one man and one woman as designed by God and exemplified by Adam and Eve, is the crowning privilege of humanity. One must qualify for this privilege by entering into a covenant with a willing and suitable member of the opposite sex, and by making promises enforceable by law (that is until “no-fault” divorce became the norm). One must obtain a license to marry, often presenting evidence they are free of certain communicable diseases. Marriage is an institution designed to perpetuate the human family. The sexual aspect is important in marriage, but sexual attraction by itself is insufficient to qualify as marriage. Like the chemical composition of water, marriage is fixed. You cannot change its composition and still call it marriage. There is no right to marriage, and gay and lesbian sexual arrangements do not constitute marriage.

The failure of the Arizona Religious Freedom Protection bill last week illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of rights vs. privileges in our time. It is also an example of how the homosexual lobby, which has failed to make its own case to Christians and other religious traditionalists, uses the perversion of law and the force of government to further its ends.

I don’t judge an individual by whose genitalia they prefer. I judge people by their efficacy in the workplace, their decency— the content of their character. I don’t care about what people do in their sex lives. I makes no difference in how I regard a personal acquaintance or colleague. It’s not my business to know and it’s not my job to advocate for a certain sexual proclivity. Nor is it the role of government to carve out favors and exceptions, and create special status to normalize homosexuality, or to attempt to make it equivalent to marriage as designed and sanctioned by God.

“In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them. He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them. He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person. He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them. In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.” ~Madison, Federalist Papers Chapter 16

In order for government to impose the normalization of homosexuality on those who believe in the supremacy of God’s Word, it must do so with force, infringing upon individual’s rights to the property of their faith and actions; turning those who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds into servants of the very thing they find morally repugnant. By employing the force of government in the courts, administrative agencies, and legislation, to crush the freedom of Christians, Orthodox Jews, and other scriptural traditionalists who wish to think, worship, and act according to the dictates of their own consciences, the homosexual movement has created for itself a human shield of individuals, battered by Political Correctness and false shame, who must comply with its wishes, or risk losing everything.

It is not an attack on anyone when those of use who believe in the unchanging Word of God witness that He ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman as the proper structure for rearing children, and the optimum institution for human progress and increase. The Christian/Traditionalist defense of the Word of God, nuclear Family, God-sanctioned Marriage, and all timeless moral principles, is an attack on no one. But in twisting civil law and perverting the definition of rights, the homosexual lobby and its Leftist masters will punish dissenters as a thought criminals, robbing them of their rights, and making them examples of the fearsome power of the government to destroy those who disagree.

By the same token, it is not discrimination for a business to turn away a customer on the grounds they don’t want to provide a product or service they find morally disagreeable. There is no right to a service or a product from a specified business. In the free market we should be free to choose with whom we do business. Customers cannot lay claim upon the skills and property of an unwilling business without fundamentally offending the rights of the business owner. The Arizona Religious Freedom Protection bill did not pave the way for open discrimination against homosexuals, but sought to discourage discrimination against those business owners who, as a matter of conscience, wish not to participate in a transaction that furthers something they find immoral.

I challenge the LGBTQ community to make its own case outside of the courts, without the force of government, through persuasion, by presenting evidence that homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender-ism, “questioning or queer,” are in and of themselves virtues that deserve a place in civil society aside the timeless institution of marriage. I challenge those who want to equate homosexual pairings with marriage to bring forth a reality-based, logical argument that will withstand all rhetorical questioning, to show religious Americans why these things are good for the rearing of children and how they will perpetuate happiness.

MAKE YOUR CASE! Make your case the same way Believers do, by persuasion and love unfeigned, one person at a time. God Himself was so offended by theocracy that He inspired a nation to be brought forth where no single religion ruled, but rather a secular law. The First Amendment bars the establishment of a state religion. Has homosexuality effectively become a state religion, where non-believers are punished and coerced by threats, fines, and imprisonment, to convert?

The case for civil rights was made, and eventually a vast and irresistible majority of Americans were persuaded, that all men and women are created equal regardless of skin color, nationality, dialect,  faith, or station. Here is a truth that is self-evident; that each life has intrinsic value, and sovereignty–the right to be free and to access all blessings offered by the condition of being free. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable, and based upon Natural Law.

No matter how much public shaming or name calling, fines or imprisonment is brought to bear on those who live their lives and run their businesses according to the dictates of conscience, no one can conquer the Christian world, and no one one can alter the composition of marriage to suit individual tastes. I urge the LGBTQ community to turn away from group identity and mob think. Be individuals, bring your own cases before the public. IF YOUR LIFESTYLES ARE VIRTUOUS, LET THEM SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES, AS DO THE REST OF US, Christian and non-Christian alike. If the LGBTQ community cannot make its own case, and must force others to conform against their will, the result with be an increasingly militarized government which targets its own citizens as enemies of the state.

by Marjorie Haun 7/1/15

You have a weapon to fight Mormon bashers. It’s called your Testimony

Posted by in Faith in Jesus Christ, Religious Freedom

June 30, 2015

Lock and load my friends. Lock your convictions upon a passionate and immovable devotion to the Truth. Load your heart with spiritual knowledge and a clear and ready testimony that Jesus is the Christ.


I tweet, a lot. I get into Twitter wars, a lot. I’m civil, mostly, and I love others and respect their right to an opinion, a lot. But there are occasions when I have to get tough, and that’s when I pull out my keenest, most unbeatable weapon; my Testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For decades there have been pastors, and some so-called Christian churches, who spent a whole lotta time trying to discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of their tactics is to “reach out” to Mormons who are wandering in darkness–as they would say–and “save them.” Oy! Recently, a certain tweeter with the handle @directorCSS tweeted the following to me:


The link takes you to a video with a pastor named Jeff Durbin. Maybe some of you know this guy, but I have never heard of him. All I needed to know was in the caption to the YouTube video. It read:

Christian Pastor, apologist, and host of Apologia Radio, Jeff Durbin, preaches at Cornerstone in Chandler, Arizona. Jeff teaches on the need to reach members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the false-god and false-gospel communicated by Mormons. With love, respect, and concern for members of the Mormon community, Jeff leads us through the essential elements of the discussion between Mormons and Christians.

Being a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and living my life with Jesus Christ at its center, I wasn’t feeling the love, and the power was not exactly sunshine. But in an effort to make clear my devotion to the Savior I tweeted back to @directorCSS:






Simple enough, eh? According to the video caption, Mormons believe in a “false god.” Testifying of my faith in Jesus Christ–or so I thought–would be an adequate response. But no. This guy persisted.





Not being one to simply follow directions from someone who claims Mormons worship a “false god,” I again bore a sober witness to him.





And then I tried an appeal to his sense of respect, religious freedom, and Christian dignity:






And then I came down with a serious case of “how dare you” Righteous Indignation:





And then I thought my 16,200 Twitter followers should see what this guy was up to, so I exposed him:





But I had enough torque to keep me going. I then suggested he turn his “concern” from Latter-day Saints to the things threatening our religious liberty, and our very civilization.





And then I turned the tables on the notion that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in a “false god.”





Amazing what can be said in 140 characters. And then, just for good measure:





This is a tactic, a strategy of a present war. If someone says that Mormons or members of the LDS church believe in a “different god than Jesus,” or a “false god,” or a “false gospel,” do not hesitate to bear a firm witness of the Divinity of God’s Son to them. After you recount your sincere faith in our Savior, Redeemer, Creator, the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth, then simply say, “Jesus Christ is the God I believe in. If you believe in a different god than I do, as you say you do, you will have to explain to me who god that is.”

Fellow Saints, we are called to fight for our faith and the Head of our Church, Jesus Christ. Whether a Twitter war, a court battle for religious freedom, or a personal conflict with temptation, we must be armed with the right weapons. Mormons, Latter-day Saints, Christians, have all the tools to win. But a personal testimony of Jesus Christ as the Divine Son of God– born to a virgin, Mary, who grew and ministered in a body of flesh and bones, who served, taught, loved, healed and lead, who bled from every pore in Gethsemane, and died an unspeakable death on Calvary, the Christ, the Living Son of the Eternal Father–to bear firm witness of Him, is a sharp weapon against detractors and demons alike.

Lock and load my friends. Lock your convictions upon a passionate and immovable devotion to the Truth. Load your heart with spiritual knowledge and a clear and ready testimony that Jesus is the Christ. There is no weapon more sure, or truth more important in the battles of the latter days.

by Marjorie Haun  6/30/15


Mormon Church Stands Immovable on Sacred Institution of Marriage

Posted by in marriage, Religious Freedom

June 29, 2015

As published on the Mormon Newsroom website

The Divine Institution of Marriage

Introduction In 1995, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” which declares the following truths about marriage:We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. . . .The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.[1]Since the publication of that statement, there have been many challenges to the institution of marriage. Prominent among these challenges has been the recognition by several national governments and some states and provinces that same-sex marriage—formal unions between two individuals of the same gender—are the equivalent of traditional marriage. Yet God’s purposes for establishing marriage have not changed. One purpose of this document is to reaffirm the Church’s declaration that marriage is the lawful union of a man and a woman.

Another purpose is to reaffirm that the Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are acceptable to God only between a husband and a wife who are united in the bonds of matrimony.

A third purpose is to set forth the Church’s reasons for defending marriage between a man and a woman as an issue of moral imperative. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage derives from its doctrine and teachings, as well as from its concern about the consequences of same-sex marriage on religious freedom, society, families, and children.

A fourth purpose of this document is to reaffirm that Church members should address the issue of same-sex marriage with respect and civility and should treat all people with love and humanity.

The Vital Importance of Marriage

Marriage is sacred and was ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. Jesus Christ affirmed the divine origins of marriage: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”[2]

From the beginning, the sacred nature of marriage was closely linked to the power of procreation. After creating Adam and Eve, God commanded them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,”[3] and they brought forth children, forming the first family. Only a man and a woman together have the natural biological capacity to conceive children. This power of procreation—to create life and bring God’s spirit children into the world—is divinely given. Misuse of this power undermines the institution of the family.[4]


For millennia, strong families have served as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths, traditions, and values that sustain civilization. In 1948, the world’s nations issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirming that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society.”[5]

Marriage is far more than a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage is a vital institution for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. Throughout the ages, governments of all types have recognized marriage as essential in preserving social stability and perpetuating life. Regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, in almost every culture marriage has been protected and endorsed by governments primarily to preserve and foster the institution most central to rearing children and teaching them the moral values that undergird civilization.

It is true that some couples who marry will not have children, either by choice or because of infertility. The special status granted marriage is nevertheless closely linked to the inherent powers and responsibilities of procreation and to the innate differences between the genders. By contrast, same-sex marriage is an institution no longer linked to gender—to the biological realities and complementary natures of male and female. Its effect is to decouple marriage from its central role in creating life, nurturing time-honored values, and fostering family bonds across generations.

In recent decades, high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have resulted in an exceptionally large number of single parents. Many of these single parents have raised exemplary children. Extensive studies have shown, however, that a husband and wife who are united in a loving, committed marriage generally provide the ideal environment for protecting, nurturing, and raising children.[6] This is in part because of the differing qualities and strengths that husbands and wives bring to the task by virtue of their gender. As an eminent academic on family life has written:

The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to child rearing is unique and irreplaceable. . . . The complementarity of male and female parenting styles is striking and of enormous importance to a child’s overall development.[7]

In view of the close links that have long existed between marriage, procreation, gender, and parenting, same-sex marriage cannot be regarded simply as the granting of a new “right.” It is a far-reaching redefinition of the very nature of marriage itself. It marks a fundamental change in the institution of marriage in ways that are contrary to God’s purposes for His children and detrimental to the long-term interests of society.

Threats to Marriage and Family

Our modern era has seen traditional marriage and family—defined as a husband and wife with children in an intact marriage—come increasingly under assault, with deleterious consequences. In 2012, 40% of all births in the United States were to unwed mothers.[8] More than 50% of births to mothers under age 30 were out of wedlock. Further, the marriage rate has been declining since the 1980s. These trends do not bode well for the development of the rising generation.

A wide range of social ills has contributed to this weakening of marriage and family. These include divorce, cohabitation, non-marital childbearing, pornography, the erosion of fidelity in marriage, abortion, the strains of unemployment and poverty, and many other social phenomena. The Church has a long history of speaking out on these issues and seeking to minister to our members with regard to them. The focus of this document on same-sex marriage is not intended to minimize these long-standing issues.

More recently, the movement to promote same-sex marriage as an inherent or constitutional right has gained notable ground in recent years. Court rulings, legislative actions, and referenda have legalized same-sex marriage in a number of nations, states, and jurisdictions. In response, societal and religious leaders of many persuasions and faiths have made the case that redefining marriage in this way will further weaken the institution over time, resulting in negative consequences for both adults and children.[9]

A large number of people around the world recognize the crucial role that traditional marriage has played and must continue to play if children and families are to be protected and moral values propagated. Because the issue of same-sex marriage strikes at the very heart of the family and has the potential for great impact upon the welfare of children, the Church unequivocally affirms that marriage should remain the lawful union of a man and a woman.

Unchanging Standards of Morality

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that God has established clear standards of morality for His children, who are accountable before Him for their behavior. Such standards cannot be changed by the reasoning, emotions, personal interests, or opinions of mortal beings.[10]Without the higher authority of God, as revealed in scripture and by His prophets, secular society will flounder and drift.

Many advocates of same-sex marriage argue that traditional standards of sexual morality have changed and that “tolerance” requires that these new standards be recognized and codified in law. If tolerance is defined as showing kindness for others and respect for differing viewpoints, it is an important value in all democratic societies. But as Elder Dallin H. Oaks has observed, “Tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination.”[11]

The Savior taught that we should love the sinner without condoning the sin. In the case of the woman taken in adultery, He treated her kindly but exhorted her to “sin no more.”[12] His example manifested the highest love possible.

In addition to using the argument of tolerance to advocate redefining marriage, proponents have advanced the argument of “equality before the law.” No mortal law, however, can override or nullify the moral standards established by God. Nor can the laws of men change the natural, innate differences between the genders or deny the close biological and social link between procreation and marriage.

How Would Same-Sex Marriage Affect Religious Freedom?

As governments have legalized same-sex marriage as a civil right, they have also enforced a wide variety of other policies to ensure there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. These policies have placed serious burdens on individual conscience and on religious organizations.[13]

Same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws have already spawned legal collisions with the rights of free speech and of action based on religious beliefs. For example, advocates and government officials in certain states have challenged the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in several states was forced to give up its adoption services rather than be forced to place children with same-sex couples.[14]

In the United States, the First Amendment right of free exercise of religion is coming under pressure from proponents of same-sex marriage. Some of these proponents advocate that tax exemptions and benefits should be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not accept such marriages.[15] The First Amendment may protect clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages, but other people of faith have faced and likely will continue to face legal pressures and sanctions. The same will happen with religiously affiliated institutions and educational systems. For example, a Georgia counselor contracted by the Centers for Disease Control was fired after an investigation into her decision to refer someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor. In New Jersey, a ministry lost its tax-exempt status for denying a lesbian couple the use of its pavilion for their wedding. New Mexico’s Human Rights Commission prosecuted a commercial photographer for refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. When public schools in Massachusetts began teaching students about same-sex civil marriage, a Court of Appeals ruled that parents had no right to exempt their students.[16]

Similar limitations on religious freedom have already become the social and legal reality in several European nations, and the European Parliament has recommended that laws protecting the status of same-sex couples be made uniform across the European Union.[17] Where same-sex marriage becomes a recognized civil right, it inevitably conflicts with the rights of believers, and religious freedom is diminished.

How Would Same-Sex Marriage Affect Society?

The possible diminishing of religious freedom is not the only societal implication of legalizing same-sex marriage. Perhaps the most common argument that proponents of same-sex marriage make is that it is essentially harmless and will not affect the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage in any way. “It won’t affect your marriage, so why should you care?” is the common refrain. While it may be true that allowing same-sex marriage will not immediately and directly affect existing marriages, the real question is how it will affect society as a whole over time, including the rising generation and future generations.

In addition to undermining and diluting the sacred nature of marriage, legalizing same-sex marriage brings many practical implications in the sphere of public policy that will be of concern to parents and society.[18] When a government legalizes same-sex marriage as a civil right, it will almost certainly enforce a wide variety of other policies to enforce this. The implications of these policies are critical to understanding the seriousness of condoning same-sex marriage.

The all-important question of public policy must be: what environment is best for the child and for the rising generation? While some same-sex couples will obtain guardianship over children, traditional marriage provides the most solid and well-established social identity for children.[19] It increases the likelihood that they will be able to form a clear gender identity, with sexuality closely linked to both love and procreation. By contrast, the legal recognition of same-sex marriage may, over time, erode the social identity, gender development, and moral character of children. No dialogue on this issue can be complete without taking into account the long-term consequences for children.

As one example of how children will be adversely affected, the establishment of same-sex marriage as a civil right will inevitably entail changes in school curricula. When the state says that same-sex marriages are equivalent to heterosexual marriages, public school administrators will feel obligated to support this claim.[20] This has already happened in many jurisdictions, where from elementary school through high school, children are taught that marriage can be defined as a legal union between two adults of any gender, that the definition of family is fluid, and in some cases that consensual sexual relations are morally neutral.[21] In addition, in many areas, schools are not required to notify parents of this curriculum or to give families the opportunity to opt out.[22]These developments are already causing clashes between the agenda of secular school systems and the right of parents to teach their children deeply held standards of morality.

Throughout history, the family has served as an essential bulwark of individual liberty. The walls of a home provide a defense against detrimental social influences and the sometimes overreaching powers of government. In the absence of abuse or neglect, government does not have the right to intervene in the rearing and moral education of children in the home. Strong, independent families are vital for political and religious freedom.

Civility and Kindness

The Church acknowledges that same-sex marriage and the issues surrounding it can be divisive and hurtful. As Church members strive to protect marriage between a man and a woman, they should show respect, civility, and kindness toward others who have different points of view.

The Church has advocated for legal protection for same-sex couples regarding “hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.”[23] In Salt Lake City, for example, the Church supported ordinances to protect gay residents from discrimination in housing and employment.[24]

The Church’s affirmation of marriage as being between a man and a woman “neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians.”[25] Church members are to treat all people with love and humanity. They may express genuine love and kindness toward a gay or lesbian family member, friend, or other person without condoning any redefinition of marriage.


Strong, stable families, headed by a father and mother, are the anchor of society. When marriage is undermined by gender confusion and by distortions of its God-given meaning, the rising generation of children and youth will find it increasingly difficult to develop their natural identities as men or women. Some will find it more difficult to engage in wholesome courtships, form stable marriages, and raise another generation imbued with moral strength and purpose.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with many other churches, organizations, and individuals, will continue to defend the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, because it is a compelling moral issue of profound importance to our religion and to the future of society.

The final words in the Church’s proclamation on the family are an admonition to the world from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”[26]

This document is a revised and updated version of “The Divine Institution of Marriage,” first published by the Church in 2008 (.pdf file).

Posted by  6/29/15

Colorado’s Cannabis-Industrial Complex

Posted by in Colorado Politics, Legalized Marijuana

June 25, 2015

Photo: Kesneme/Creative Commons

After the resounding passage in November 2012 of Amendment 64, the law which made recreational pot legal in Colorado, many counties and cities in the state quickly placed moratoriums on the commercial growing and retail marketing of cannabis. Mesa County’s Board of Commissioners passed such a moratorium shortly after the election in 2012, but in 2014, officials in De Beque took up the matter and opted to allow commercial pot interests to operate in their town.


Kush Gardens near De Beque, Colorado photo courtesy of Marjorie Haun

A town built on oil and gas, mining and agriculture, De Beque has suffered a series of economic blows, first because of the recession of 2008, then onerous clean air regulations handed down by the EPA which drove up the cost of exploration and extraction of fossil resources, and, most recently, the drop in gas prices which made it unviable for many oil and gas companies to operate in the area. The hemorrhaging of jobs and oil and gas revenues likely made the temptation of cannabis tax revenues irresistible for a town struggling against extinction.

Retail marijuana was not the first choice among De Beque’s stop-gap economic measures. Early in 2014, the town lobbied the state to establish what would be western Colorado’s only gambling casino. After state legislators quashed plans for a casino along the I-70 corridor, in April 2014, residents of De Beque voted narrowly to welcome retail cannabis into their town.

But the saga of De Beque is more than that of an economically strapped small town glomming onto a means of survival. Retail recreational cannabis is changing Colorado’s social, economic and political landscapes in ways that few could have imagined.

Amendment 64 was approved of by 55 percent of Colorado voters in 2012. Promoted as a revenue-generating “regulate marijuana like alcohol” measure, its passage and ensuing repercussions caught many by surprise. Regulating marijuana like alcohol, it appears, is a breathtaking oversimplification of what is required to turn an illegal intoxicant into a viable commodity. The citizen-led ballot initiative behind Amendment 64 went beyond simple decriminalization and created a new civil right by encoding the possession and use of pot into the Colorado State Constitution.

Following the amendment’s passage, Colorado had just six months to create a legal and regulatory framework for the growing, sale and distribution of recreational cannabis. At that time, medical marijuana, which was recognized by the state in 2000, remained largely unregulated, lacking rules governing dosage, purity, growing practices, etc.

In the months since the law legalizing recreational pot was implemented, the state of Colorado has awarded more than 600 licenses to medical marijuana growers and nearly 400 to recreational marijuana growers. Separate licenses are required for medical vs. recreational outlets and growing facilities. Often a single proprietor will have several licenses covering the growing, sale and manufacturing of marijuana “edibles” and infused products for both medical and recreational cannabis. Despite the demand of state-issued licenses, few regulations governing either medical or recreational pot existed at the time the law was implemented in July 2013.

Amendment 64 provided some guidelines regarding what amounts of pot could be legally possessed, how many plants could be grown under what circumstances, etc., but the Colorado Department of Revenue was tasked with licensing and regulating all recreational and medical cannabis operations. Critical matters beyond fees and licensing criteria were overlooked, including agricultural issues such as pesticide use and the impact of outdoor growing facilities on other crops.

Agriculture is a dominant economic driver in most of Colorado’s small towns outside of the Front Range cities of Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs. With cannabis still illegal under federal law, a dearth of information about what pests attack cannabis and what pesticides can be used safely on the plants has resulted in confusion, and in some cases, dangerous growing practices.

In March of this year plants at several growing facilities in the Denver area had to be quarantined because of the misuse of “pesticides.” The pesticides, it turns out, were improvised concoctions of chemicals, including some unidentifiable mixtures. Cannabis growers have been left to improvise since no commercial pesticides are labeled for legal use on cannabis plants.

Some farmers have expressed alarm over the potential of marijuana growing operations in close proximity to established crops. Plans for a medical marijuana facility in Palisade, a tiny farming town whose main crop is peaches, have peach growers worried about the potential spread of pests, molds and fungi from cannabis to their established orchards. The agricultural implications of the cannabis industry, it seems, were not a consideration at the time it became a legal crop.

The wave of enthusiasm following the passage of Amendment 64 has given way to a drip, drip, drip of unintended consequences. Law enforcement issues, such as marijuana-intoxicated driving and the illegal movement of vast amounts of cannabis product into other states, are the tip of the iceberg. Social and law enforcement issues resulting from the Colorado interstate pot pipeline prompted Nebraska and Oklahoma to file lawsuits against the state, citing the fact that marijuana commerce violates federal law and increases the burdens of law enforcement in other states. Other symptoms of Colorado’s pot culture include increased use among teens, resulting in educational problems in middle schools and high schools, a spike in “edibles”-related emergency room visits, consumption by children and pets resulting in illness and death and regulatory confusion surrounding public consumption and enforcement.

Colorado’s addiction to cannabis revenue may prove to be the most harmful implication of all. Towns such as De Beque, where cannabis is replacing coal and cattle as a means of income, imperil themselves by staking the future on a substance which is still illegal in most states and which half of Americans still regard as a social evil.

In 2014 and 2015, nearly $6 million in pot revenues have been distributed to local governments. But the cost of increased law enforcement, drugged driving incidents, fatal crashes, loss of productivity and a huge spike in gang-related crime bring into question the cost-benefit of those dollars. Teen drug-relatedschool expulsions are also on the rise. And the notion that prisons filled with minor drug offenders would be relieved of overcrowding—a selling point of legalizing marijuana—has been blown to smithereens. Denver’s homeless population has exploded since Amendment 64 went into effect. And there are indications that finite tourist dollars are going more to pot and less to Colorado’s iconic natural wonders.

Cannabis is an intoxicant, proven to be dangerous to adolescents who use regularly, as well as adults who are addicted to its calming, high-producing chemical, THC. But building a tax empire on a narcotic substance may be a dangerous proposition for the Centennial State. Colorado’s Cannabis-Industrial Complex cannot sustain a complex economy traditionally built on natural resources, agriculture, innovation and family-friendly tourism. The eyes of other states eager to legalize pot should be firmly fixed on the unfolding saga of towns such as Denver, Boulder and De Beque, Colo.


Marjorie Haun is a Colorado resident who blogs on Colorado state policies and good government.

Reposted with permission of the author, because I am the author, on  6/25/15

Cities pay millions to prop up “money-sucking” recycling enterprises

Posted by in Economy, Government Waste

June 23, 2015

As originally published in the Washington Post  June 20, 2015

American recycling is stalling, and the big blue bin is one reason why

by Aaron C. Davis

June 20
Tucked in the woods 30 miles north of Washington is a plant packed with energy-guzzling machines that can make even an environmentalist’s heart sing — giant conveyor belts, sorters and crushers saving a thousand tons of paper, plastic and other recyclables from reaching landfills each day.The 24-hour operation is a sign that after three decades of trying, a culture of curbside recycling has become ingrained in cities and counties across the country. Happy Valley, however, it is not.

Once a profitable business for cities and private employers alike, recycling in recent years has become a money-sucking enterprise. The District, Baltimore and many counties in between are contributing millions annually to prop up one of the nation’s busiest facilities here in Elkridge, Md. — but it is still losing money. In fact, almost every facility like it in the country is running in the red. And Waste Management and other recyclers say that more than 2,000 municipalities are paying to dispose of their recyclables instead of the other way around.

In short, the business of American recycling has stalled. And industry leaders warn that the situation is worse than it appears.


Read the full article here!

Reposted by on 6/23/15

Why strong fathers are essential, and kids suffer without them

Posted by in Family, Fathers Day

June 21, 2015

As originally posted on Newswithviews, June 21, 2015

by Marilyn Barnewall

About one-third of children live without their biological father in the home. Here is the price we pay as a society and the huge physical, psychological and emotional price these kids pay for lack of a father:


According to the U.S. Department of Health and the Census Bureau, 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (five times the average);
90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes, 20 times the national average.
Read Justice and Behavior, Volume 15, pages 403-426 and you will find that 80 percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes – 14 times greater than the norm.
71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
70 percent of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
85 percent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton County, Georgia; Texas Department. of Corrections)
90 percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
Boys who grow up without a father in the home are more likely to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.(P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984).
Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53 percent more likely to marry as teenagers, 711 percent more likely to have children as teenagers, 164 percent more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92 percent more likely to get divorced themselves.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contrast, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married.
If a young male is raised without a father the likelihood that he will take part in criminal activity doubles by comparison to young males with fathers in the home or a father who remains actively involved in his son’s life.

Read the full article here!

Written by Marilyn Barnewall, reposted by  6/21/15

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