american troops

To The Defenders Of ‘The Title Of Liberty’


Words can never really capture the nature and horror of the combat of war. No, it was William Sherman, General for the Union Army of the Civil War who said it best:

“It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.”

A few soldiers gain fame for their deeds but the names of most who have defended our country and nation,  can only be found on markers in graveyards scattered, not only across our country, but around the world. To those courageous men and women who have stood on the wall, may the Lord be with you. May peace be upon you and may the light of freedom guide your life through its darkest times.

May all of us, when faced in defense of liberty,  have the courage of a great american general who, while defending freedom:

“…tore his coat; and he took a piece of it, and he wrote upon it—’IN MEMORY OF OUR GOD, OUR RELIGION, AND FREEDOM, AND OUR PEACE, OUR WIVES, AND OUR CHILDREN.’ He then fastened it upon the end of a pole…and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his torn coat, (and he called it ‘The Title of Liberty”),  and he bowed himself and he prayed mightily unto God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remaining to possess the land.” (Ref., BOM, page 323)

May the ‘Title of Liberty’ fly over this great country forever, and may the blessings of heaven fall upon all those who are defenders thereof!



saving private ryan 2

Saving All The Private Ryans!

Throughout history there have been wonderful examples of unselfish giving of life for others. In the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, after being informed of the death of three brothers in the war, there is a letter read aloud by the General who orders for the “saving” of Private Ryan.

” “Dear Madam:

“I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

“Yours very sincerely and respectfully,

“Abraham Lincoln.”

The scriptures are replete with such sacrifices from Stephen to Peter and Paul.  The most glorious of course is that of our Savior Jesus Christ. Perhaps one sentence captures it best: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:13). We learn that through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ all these martyr’s will again live. Thomas Monson had these words to say in the April of 2003:

“Then comes that glorious day of resurrection, when spirit and body will be reunited, never again to be separated. “I am the resurrection, and the life,” said the Christ to the grieving Martha. “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you… “In my Father’s house are many mansions: … I go to prepare a place for you. … That where I am, there ye may be also.”

This transcendent promise became a reality when Mary and the other Mary approached the garden tomb—that cemetery which had but one occupant. Let Luke, the physician, describe their experience:

“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre. …

“And they found the stone rolled away. … “… They entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

They were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

“And … said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?” “He is not here: for he is risen.”

This is the clarion call of Christendom. The reality of the Resurrection provides to one and all the peace that surpasses understanding…As the least of His disciples, I declare my personal witness that death has been conquered, victory over the tomb has been won. May the words made sacred by Him who fulfilled them become actual knowledge to all. Remember them. Cherish them. Honor them. He is risen.” (Ensign,  April, 2003)

All of us are Private Ryans in need of saving. Through the Savior of the World  all the Private Ryans who have lived, or will live,  will be resurrected because the victory over death has been won through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

joy in the morning

Experiencing True Joy In The Morning!


The date and time had been set. Our third child would be delivered, as scheduled, the next morning. Back then we didn’t know if it would be our first daughter, or our third son who would join our family. Either way, I knew that “joy would come in the morning”. (Psalm 30:5) As it happened, a third son was born the next morning. The joyful noise that first came out of his mouth that morning, has continued to this day. Overnight, it seemed, a delightful baby became a grown up delightful man. A number of years ago Russell M. Nelson of the Twelve gave a talk about joy in the morning. Not just the joy that comes with the birth of a child, or the celebration of their birth each year, he spoke of a more lasting type of joy in the morning. A joy that can last for a lifetime. He taught:

“The gospel of Jesus Christ offers hope,…It declares joy to be part of our divine destiny. And to experience joy in the morning becomes our special challenge. The true test,” I continued, “is to be able to look in the mirror, first thing in the morning, and feel real joy.”One of our daughters, who had recently announced that she was expecting a new addition to the family, said, “But Dad, that’s the hardest time of the day for me!”

“My dear ones,” I replied, “in order to experience true joy in the morning, or at any time, at least three factors are needed. You need to feel good about the people with whom you live and work—your companions in life. You must feel good about yourself—not in any sense of conceit, but simply a proper esteem for yourself, well deserved. And possibly most important, you must feel good about your relation to God and sincerely love him.” (“Joy Cometh in the Morning”, GC, Oct. 1986)

Elder Nelson’s three factors are encompassed in the popular scripture that we all know,

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.(Matt. 22:37-40)

I might add that not only do all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments, but also all the “joy” we so desire as we rise each and every morning to face another day.

camel tent

The Nose Of The Camel


“One cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a camel gently thrust his nose under the flap and looked in. “Master,” he said, “let me put my nose in your tent. It’s cold and stormy out here.” “By all means,” said the Arab, “and welcome” as he turned over and went to sleep.

A little later the Arab awoke to find that the camel had not only put his nose in the tent but his head and neck also. The camel, who had been turning his head from side to side, said, “I will take but little more room if I place my forelegs within the tent. It is difficult standing out here.” “Yes, you may put your forelegs within,” said the Arab, moving a little to make room, for the tent was small.

Finally, the camel said, “May I not stand wholly inside? I keep the tent open by standing as I do.” “Yes, yes,” said the Arab. “Come wholly inside. Perhaps it will be better for both of us.” So the camel crowded in. The Arab with difficulty in the crowded quarters again went to sleep. When he woke up the next time, he was outside in the cold and the camel had the tent to himself”

There has been a long-term deterioration of our culture when it comes to, not only obedience, but recognition that there is any such thing as “morality.” The nose of the camel has long since entered our tents and its full body is attempting to put us out in the cold. Those of my age have been witness, not unlike Mormon, of the moral fall of his people in a relatively short period of time. After reporting to Moroni, his son, of the depravity of his people who he said were now “without order and mercy”, he wrote:

“O my beloved son, how can a people like this, that are without civilization—(And only a few years have passed away, and they were a civil and a delightsome people) But O my son, how can a people like this, whose delight is in so much abomination-how can we expect God will stay his hand in judgement against us?” (Moroni 9:11-13)

Surely we should be recognizing that our culture is beginning to be “without order and mercy” and even showing signs of “depravity.”  I bring this depressing subject up so as to alert us as to the responsibilities we all share in defending the right. I often hear voices shouting “You want others to live under the definition of ‘your’ morals. Who are you to define it?”  And of course the answer is that “someone” else will define it if we don’t. If you believe in living apostles and prophets, you need look no further than them to have our “morals” defined. Even in deteriorating times, we can still “define” a moral code for our homes. They may not be supported anywhere but at church, but our families can have them defined by us, not the world.

Mormon testified of the moral and physical destruction of his people and he could not recommend them to God. But, the silver lining in his words were:

“…my son, I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved” (vs. 22)

We should do our best to influence our society in holding to God’s commandments. And if we fail, at least, like Mormon, we will have hope for our families. If we only succeed in holding to a moral code in our homes, we can still recommend them to God and trust that they will be saved.

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