Friday, October 24, 2008

Food for thought...I'm talkin' a smorgusborg people!

This is an article by Orson Scott Card. I must say, I am drawn to those who write what I am thinking, as I assume most of us are. With all the mudslinging and politics that exist--not just in the election, but in the newsrooms as well--I often think I'm in the middle of a bad dream where I try to scream but no one will hear me. Well...hear this, or read this I suppose...

Meridian Magazine
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 12:29:44 PM

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
By Orson Scott Card

Editor's note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.

An open letter to the local daily paper - almost every local daily paper in America: I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration. It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay. The goal of this rule change was to help the poor - which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house - along with their credit rating. They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them. Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout?

Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate." Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?" (] ): "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury." These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party. Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae. And after Freddie Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing. If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was. But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign - because that campaign had sought his advice - you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign. You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis. There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension - so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression. Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper. But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie - that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad - even bad weather - on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth - even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate. Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means . That's how trust is earned. Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time - and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing. Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter - while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means? Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles. That's where you are right now.

It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices. Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, *which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor,* and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door. You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way. This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe - and vote as if - President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie. If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats - including Barack Obama - and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans - then you are not journalists by any standard. You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city.
(This article first appeared in The Rhinoceros Times of Greensboro, North Carolina)

Mr. Card was pretty blunt, but some of those things needed to be said.

I highlighted a sentence in red that I wanted to discuss. It's not a bad thing to want to help poor. In fact, we have been commanded to do so by a much greater/higher power than the American "Democratic" government. That's just it, the government will not answer before God; we will. It is our individual responsibility to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, help the poor; we cannot leave our individual responsibilities up to the government. This includes our fiscal responsibilities. In the instance that the government fails, as they did with sub-prime lending, we have to turn to ourselves, as we should do in the first place. Ask ourselves: Hmm, is it really a good idea to buy that $200,000 house we've been approved for if I'm only making $15,000/yr.?

If we accept individual responsibility then we must accept the role we played in this ecomomic downturn--as small and minute as it might be. While I agree with Mr. Card in this article, I cannot, as he seems to do so, place all the blame on one party or the other. I know I can shoulder part of it. But, this begs the question if we all had lived up to every inch of our personal responsibility would this have been prevented? Well, I know what I think but what do all of you think? Is this economic crisis something only the government can solve, is it something only the government could have prevented?

I realize there are a lot of different facets to consider and I honestly think if we all really did live up to our responsibilites then technically you could argue there would be no need for government. The truth is we don't always do that and the government is supposed to come in where the individual lacks...hmmm...there's an interesting thought. Can you see why the survival of a nation is based upon its service and devotion to God? "We can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off." (Ether 2:9) "He that doth pssess it shall serve God or shall be swept off...behold this is a choice land and whatsoever nation shall pssess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land..." (Ether 2:10 & 12) I said a lot of facets...sorry if my ramblings don't make sense. I hope you can somehow draw all the connections.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord"

A few weeks ago Daven and I had the privilege of speaking at our stake's youth fireside. They wanted someone young and fresh to speak to the youth about the importance of a temple marriage. Seeing as how we are the youngest couple in the stake by about 10 years, I'm sure they picked us for our youth rather than our wisdom.

The fireside was surprisingly small, only about 15 youth attended (we were expecting about 100). Although we were few in numbers, the Spirit was very strong thanks to the presence and words from a Denver Temple sealer/Patriarch and his wife.

A lot of people asked about the talks so I thought I would just post it. I don't have Daven's talk and I typically write my talks in outline form, but luckily I wrote out every word for this talk. It's perfect timing too, because a few of the conference addresses spoke about these very things.

"In this day and age marriage is often swept under the rug. Words like "death do us part" are said too much. Even the act of marriage is fast depleting. Friends I've had have asked the question why get married, let alone why is there a need for a temple marriage? To our Heavenly Father those are heartbreaking questions, but thankfully they have an answer. The eternal nature of marriage, the necessity of this sacred unification and finally the protection a temple marriage offers you and your posterity are three answers I wish to focus on today.

We know in the temple we marry for time and all eternity. To better understand why be married in the temple we can look to our first parents: Adam and Eve. In Genesis 2:24 we read

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his WIFE: and they shall be one flesh."

This marriage took place as they were in their eternal state in the Garden of Eden, BEFORE they partook of the fruit that made them enter into this mortal, temporal world. From this we learn God NEVER intended nor commanded this sacred relationship to be anything less than eternal.

The Lord further declares this intention and command in modern revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 131: 2-4. The Lord states:

"And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

And if he does not, he CANNOT obtain it.

He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase."

President Joseph Fielding Smith continues to explain this "new and everlasting covenant:"

"The new and everlasting everything--the fullness of the gospel. So marriage properly performed, baptism, ordination to the priesthood, everything else--every contract, every obligation, every performance that pertains to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise according to his law..., is a part of the new and everlasting covenant.

"...Therefore, all who seek a place in the kingdom of God are under the obligation and commandment to abide in the new and everlasting covenant."

Why be married in the temple? Because marriage is meant to be eternal and nothing less.

God commands us to enter into this new and everlasting covenant because he does not desire us to be alone. President Eyring said, "Our Heavenly Father wants our hearts to be knit together. That union in love is not simply an ideal. It is a necessity."

"...The requirement that we be one is not for this life alone. It is to be without end...All of us have felt something of both union and separation. We don't need to be told which we should choose. We know."

Why be married in the temple? Because we were meant to be together in the most enduring and eternal sense possible.

This eternal unity you can experience only through a temple marriage. But, this unity is not only extended to us, but our posterity as well. God's work and glory is (as declared in Moses 1:39) "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Likewise, ours is to keep his commandments with all our "might, mind and strength." (Doctrine and Covenants 11:20) As we learned from Joseph Fielding Smith, temple marriage is certainly one of those commandments.

When we strive to keep our baptismal covenants and make our choice to be eternally married, sealed and live up to those covenants, the Lord promises our posterity will be blessed, protected and will have the opportunity to hear and choose the Gospel. As they (your posterity) do this, they will make themselves ready--as you have made yourself ready--to obtain the highest; to obtain eternal life. By you keeping the commandments and covenants with all your "might, mind and strength," God's work and glory becomes your work and glory.

Why be married in the temple? To do your part in ensuring an eternal family blessed and protected by the Holy Spirit of promise.

These three reasons are why I chose to marry within the walls of the House of the Lord. I was taught and I knew marriage was designed to be eternal. I wanted to be unified and to be one with my husband both in this life and the next. And, most importantly, I longed for the protection only these sacred and everlasting covenants could offer.

For me, eternal marriage is much more than a commandment. It is the saving grace of a world gone topsy-turvy. One of the greatest gifts I can give to this world, to my Heavenly Father and to my Savior Jesus Christ--who makes our eternity possible-- is the power of a marriage sealed by the power of the Holy Ghost, where the Savior is central in this sacred, eternal relationship."

Well, that's mostly it. I added a few ad-libs here and there in the original. Hope you enjoyed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Weekend of Inspiration, Reflection and Re-dedication

Wow. I can't believe how incredible General Conference has been. It's only been one session thus far, but I have such a stronger resolve to do an honest, more prayerful study of the Book of Mormon. And how about Elder Bednar? He has such a simplistic way of explaining things.

I love learning from our prophets and apostles. They truly speak the words of our Heavenly Father. What I love is when they give their own life experiences. Somehow, hearing that an Apostle of the Lord has gone through the same feelings as I have makes me more able and determined to follow the Lord.

General Conference brings with it many uplifting segments. I was so impressed with the Primary choir. I love the Primary, and there is nothing more beautiful and inspiring than listening to children sing "I am a Child of God" or "I Love to See the Temple." I've learned so much from each and everyone of my Primary kids, both in Idaho and here in Colorado. They have been my mortal angels.

I love President Monson's love for these little children. When we were living in Idaho, Daven and I had the privilege to attend the Rexburg Temple dedication--the first official act of President Monson's presidency. He spoke to the children and told his cute stories and let them place mortar in the cornerstone as he did in these most recent temple dedications.

And don't forget all of the new temples. I'm personally most excited for the Rome Temple. Did you get to hear the awes of the crowd when President Monson announced it?

Ancient Rome meets modern revelation!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let us in!!

MARCI!! I can't get into your blog. Daven's email is That's what I get for neglecting my blog...sorry.