Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My thoughts about the presidential candidates for 2016

For months  I've been reading about the men and women running for president in 2016.  I've followed the press and read about the personal lives of the candidates.  I've also been reading scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon.  It's been a very enlightening experience, and I want to share some of my findings.
     The Book of Mormon is the best tool I know for sorting out what will be good for our country.  The more I read it, the more convinced I am that this book is scripture from God.  It's not only scripture, but it's the most correct and direct book of such that we have (don't take my word or anyone else's about this; please read and prayerfully study it yourself).
     Part of the Book of Mormon focuses on an ancient  American civilization that was governed  by a system of judges elected by the people.  Many of their values and rights were like our own.  When the people remembered God and were righteous, there was peace; they were blessed both spiritually and temporally.   Society flourished and the people grew wealthy and successful.  At this stage they began to forget Christ and his teachings, turning  their focus to personal gains such as popularity, money and power.  Society began to divide into classes, with ranking based on things like power, money, education, and aristocracy.  Something akin to political correctness infected society and contributed to class division; those who did not fit in were eventually persecuted.  The latter included the followers of Christ.  Inner contention within the country increased by feeding on itself, and secret traitorous organized groups infiltrated until they became large, powerful and unmanageable.  Eventually this society was destroyed.
     Cycles of people turning to God and becoming righteous, followed by falling again, continue over and over again in the Book of Mormon.  The first symptom of inner trouble was always pride, followed by contention and division.  The cure was turning thoughts and hearts to God. The Lord sent prophets to teach about  and help them remember Christ and how to live and be happy.
     The parallels to the state of our society are obvious; in fact, they are so common that we have a certain amount of insensitivity to how bad the situation is.  We are often exposed to contention, division, lies, and offenses from every segment of society. They have invaded the workplace in the guise of ruthless competition.  They feed media and politics with money and power.  Dishonesty is encouraged.  Offended groups and individuals become bloated with selfishness, pride and anger.  Political correctness begins to thrive in the absence of morals. Corruption  grows and infiltrates all levels of society. Selfishness grows and grows. Families are infected, and they fall apart.  Destruction from within is underway.
     How does all of this affect my decisions about who to vote for when my turn comes?  First I look at each person in the light of what happened to people in the Book of Mormon.  I keep in mind  the following Biblical scripture  from Matthew chapter 7, "16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.   20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
     It's difficult to know what is in a candidate's heart.  I can hear and watch them, though.  Their public behavior is part of their fruit.  I think there is an old saying that says "What you see is what you get".
     What do I see and hear?  The dominant voice is Trump.  It's trumpeting in a very loud voice.  I often like the opinions I hear, but the tune he plays is at times loud, obnoxious and nasty.  I also hear excuses for it.  He tries to talk God but I have yet to hear or see any indication of spirituality.  He does not understand Christianity.  I see a man who loves power, has a huge ego, knows the power of the media, and hires experts to manipulate it to his advantage.  I will ditto all of this for Ms. Clinton and add lots of corruption and lies to the mix.  And Bernie Sanders is a Socialist (enough said).
     Regarding Ms. Clinton,  do we really want this corrupt, power hungry, lying woman to lead our country?  Really? I'm amazed and appalled that she is running at all.  Do we want Mr. Trump, a ruthless, competitive, ego-driven businessman to be president?  I imagine him saying "well, it's business...I do whatever is within the boundaries of the law to win."  I think boundaries really means shady and barely  law, and winning trumps God.  And what about his gift of insulting people publicly?  I imagine  him saying "And I don't care if  I'm mean and  hurt people feelings; at least I'm being honest.  She (or he) should toughen up."  Public insults are the domain of bullies.
     The thought of having that behavior in a president turns my stomach.  You might say  that it's just a show, but I say that what I hear is all I have to go on right now, and what I hear is not presidential.  It certainly is not the behavior and talk of a peacemaker.  In fact, I sometimes think he is a pawn of the Democrats, doing the job of breaking up the Republican party.  He is proud and divisive.
     Well, I am starting to rant.  Not a good idea.  Whom do I like?   I love the following: Ben Carson (mature, thoughtful, careful, well-read, very bright, quietly courageous, compassionate, grounded in Christ, faithful, and has a jewel of a wife), Marco Rubio (a defender of the faith, young and energetic, loves the USA, very bright and quick, courageous, handsome, charismatic, family man, fab story about his immigrant parents, has compassion, wants to do what's right), Huckabee (good choice, no matter what people say; I feel his heart is in the right place and he is mature and grounded enough to lead well), Christy and Kasich (both good men who would do a good job).  I'm not sure about Ted Cruz yet (I like his tenaciouness and quick, bright mind).
     I hope and pray that we will all take the next presidential election very seriously and have the desire to support a strong, moral candidate who loves God and our country, someone who loves peace but has the strength to defend and protect us, and who is capable of learning the job and doing it well. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sunday Musing 33, Keeping


     Since 2014 I have picked a guiding word or phrase to guide me throughout the new year.  I choose it in January, after the business of the holidays is gone. I post it on my desk computer monitor so I see it frequently. It becomes a kind of motto for that year.
     My motto comes to me as I ponder Scriptures.   This year it came to me early, following preparations for my December Relief Society lesson (women's group at church). I'm not sure I have all of my guide, but so far the word for this year is Keeping.
     A frequent phrase in the Book of Mormon is the following: " 2 Nephi 4:4 For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence."  I have read this many, many times, but when I read it in December the word keep popped out.  The more I thought about that word the more meaningful it became.
     Using the word keeping instead of obeying or holding implies treasuring something.  I love Martha Stewart's phrase Homekeeping.  It expands and elevates the meaning of homemaking to include the attitude of treasuring the care of a home.  In Martha's case, it's about the temporal needs of a home.
     For me, homekeeping is both temporal and spiritual.  It includes the nurturing of family relationships.  It embraces the keeping of Scriptures, which means not only studying them but making them more and more a part of my life.  It means feasting on them.  It means treasuring God's commandments rather than just doing them out of a sense of duty, or because it's the right thing to do.  It means believing in my heart as well as my head. It means loving the Lord in the highest sense. It is keeping Him in the center of your life.
     My first specific goal is 30 minutes of immersion in the Book of Mormon each day, preferably early morning. So far I say, Wow!  This is very productive time.  My testimony of the Book of Mormon is growing!

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.