The Parties

President Washington warned the nation of the dangers of political parties and their potential for disrupting the system the Founders had created. Nevertheless, it was built into the structure of the Constitution (not to mention the human psyche) that parties would exist: there is naturally a Federalist and an Anti-Federalist party, one in favor of a stronger and the other in favor of a weaker central government. These have had various names through the centuries, and our two current parties of reversed roles from time to time.

Years ago I wrote with sorrow of the degeneration of the Democrat party under the corrupting influence of the so-called progressives. It has become the party of “kooks, crooks, commies, and cronies.” Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book and movie, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, demonstrates that most of that description goes back to the beginning of the party (not Jefferson as the Democrats claim, but Andrew Jackson). Following is an excerpt from the first chapter, courtesy WND:

 

In this book I expose this progressive narrative as a lie. In reality the Democratic Party is now what it has been from the beginning – the party of subjugation, oppression, exploitation, and theft. The Democrats are not the party of justice or equality, but rather, of systematic injustice and inequality. Far from championing the cause of women, blacks and other minorities, Democrats have historically brutalized, segregated, exploited and murdered the most vulnerable members of our society.

The Democrats are the party of slavery, and the inventors of the “positive good” school that held slavery is not merely good for the master but also for the slave. After slavery, the Democrats attempted to block the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery, the Fourteenth Amendment granting equality of rights under the law, and the Fifteenth Amendment securing for blacks the right to vote.

Democrats also invented and enforced segregation laws. A former delegate to the Democratic National Convention founded the Ku Klux Klan, which for decades served as the domestic terrorist wing of the Democratic Party, not just in the South but also in the Midwest and West. The Democrats also promoted forced sterilization and race-based exclusion of immigrants from this country.

During the 1930s, a young JFK went to Germany and praised the accomplishments of Adolf Hitler, noting that opposition to Hitler mainly came from jealousy. As president, FDR admired Mussolini and sent members of his brain trust to Italy to study fascist programs and import them to America. Mussolini for his part reviewed FDR’s book for an Italian publication. He loved it. FDR, he concluded, was a fascist, just like Il Duce himself.

All of this has been buried by progressive scholars and pundits. Also concealed is that fact that during all this time, the main opposition to the horrors on the part of the Democratic Party came from Republicans. This book makes an astonishing claim: of all Americans, Republicans are the ones who have the least reason to feel guilt about slavery or racism.

From the beginning, Republicans have been the good guys, fighting to stop Democratic schemes of exploitation, murder and plunder. Republicans fought a great war, and hundreds of thousands of them died, to thwart the nefarious practices of the Democrats. Even after slavery, Republicans fought vigorously though not always successfully to defeat Democratic schemes of segregation and racial terrorism.

Democrats are the ones who bitterly resisted the civil rights movement’

The bad guys – the Democrats – put up a great fight but the Republicans won in the end. It was Republicans who made possible the Civil Rights Laws that finally and belatedly secured equal rights for blacks and other minorities. Democrats are the ones who bitterly resisted the civil rights movement, and had the Democrats been the only party in America at the time, none of these laws, from the Civil Rights Act to the Voting Rights Act to the Fair Housing Bill, would have passed.

.  .  .

Of course it’s not just about the power; it is also about the money. Here Hillary has already shown her talents. Her achievement as secretary of state has been to carry the corrupt operations of the Democratic Party to a new level. Hillary herself described what she did as “commercial diplomacy.”

It certainly has worked out commercially for her and Bill. In the words of Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash, “No one has even come close in recent years to enriching themselves on the scale of the Clintons while they or a spouse continued to serve in public office.”

By contrast with the Clintons, earlier Democratic scam operations seem like petty thievery. Previously Democrats specialized in big city machines a la Tammany Hall in New York and the Daley machine in Chicago. These were local rackets that looted the city treasury. The looters – such figures as William “Boss” Tweed – made off with a few hundred thousand, perhaps as much as a million. Hillary, however, figured out how to take her racket national, indeed global.

Never before has anyone figured out how to rent out American foreign policy, how to convert the position of secretary of state into a personal money machine. Hillary, with Bill’s help, figured out not only how to shake down Russian oligarchs and Canadian billionaires by offering them control of America’s uranium assets; she also figured out how to rob the island nation of Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. It’s one thing to rip off the world’s rich; it takes a special kind of chutzpah to steal from the poorest of the poor.

‘Imagine what Hillary would do with her power if she went … to president’

Imagine what Hillary would do with her power if she went from secretary of state to president of the United States! Previously she at least had to answer to Obama; now she would be a power unto herself. Hillary has already shown how indifferent she is to the interests of the United States, selling American influence to the highest bidder. I dread to think how much havoc – how many Benghazis – are in store if we elect this woman in November.

Who is going to stop Hillary, and how? Who will block the enslavement of the American people that is the political program of the Democratic Party? The situation, at first glance, seems desperate. The Republican Party seems confused, bitterly divided, unable to contest the Democratic social justice pitch and articulate a rival vision. Can we really count on the bewildered elephant to chase down and trample the Democratic donkey?

There is no one else. The GOP has, from the beginning, been the team – and the only team – that can stop and did stop the marauding Democrats. The Republicans have done it for 150 years, from slavery through the Ku Klux Klan through eugenics and forced sterilization through the civil rights movement. Why don’t we have slavery today? How has the Klan gone from a massive organization to a joke? Why do blacks and other minorities today have equality of rights under the law? The answer in every case is: The Republican Party.

Republicans can come together and do it again. While the threat is real and this will be a tough election, there is no cause for dispiritedness. With clear thinking, political creativity, and simple hard work, we can meet the challenges that are before us, working together, as we must, because our nation’s very future seems to be at stake.

The GOP nominee, Donald Trump, is both colorful and controversial, but this is not an election about Trump; it is an election about Hillary. She is the one who embodies the debased soul of the Democratic Party. And she is the corrupt, exasperating, tenacious, malign spirit looming over the United States in the fateful year of 2016. It’s time – actually it’s past time, but better late than never – for all good Americans to come together and perform an exorcism.

America once again is at a crossroads.

Best Wishes.

Making America Great Again

There is much to like about Donald Trump’s campaign theme, “Make America Great Again.” That America is great has been observed since the very beginning, and only the wretched leadership and constitutional apostasy of the past decade or two have brought us to the point of needing to make it great again. The question then becomes, “How?”

Reinvigorating our economy by lowering taxes and reducing regulations, improving education by getting the federal government off the backs of state and local schools, rebuilding our military, supporting our police by enforcing the laws, protecting our culture by regulating and assimilating immigrants, protecting the integrity of our nation by properly guarding the borders, and renewing legitimacy of the central government by strictly adhering to the Constitution and appointing like-minded judges—these are all important steps that a new administration can take. But isn’t “greatness” more than that?

Although incorrectly attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, the thought remains poignant that “America is great because America is good. If America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to great.” That goodness is not in the federal or even the state and local governments; it is in the hearts and thoughts and words and daily actions of the people. In other words, restoring American greatness requires humility, repentance, and renewal of faith.

Again, all of the above measures and more will be important to bring back under control a bloated and tyrannical federal government, but making America great again is fundamentally a religious project, a revival, a conversion. As correctly attributed to John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Best Wishes.

The Federalist

As the current election cycle proceeds, I am ever reminded of the importance of returning to and adhering to first principles. For purposes of government, those principles are best illuminated in our founding documents, to which may be added The Federalist Papers. Following is an excerpt from my recently published 2nd edition of Excerpts with Commentary (first the quote, then the commentary):

LXXXV. CONCLUDING REMARKS

(There is an) utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded . . .

The establishment of a Constitution, in time of profound peace, by the voluntary consent of a whole people, is a prodigy, to the completion of which I look forward with trembling anxiety.

85. Renewing The Heritage of the Founding Fathers

. . . Renewal requires education of young and old, re-examination of the founding documents and the arguments for and against them, and a thoughtful rejection of so-called “progressive” doctrines which at their heart are anti-American, meaning opposed to the principles that made Americans uniquely distinguishable from others around the world. Progressive has been revived as a label, borrowed from the turn of the 19th century to replace the discredited term liberal; it is an unexamined term that assumes “progress” is an ideal, without consideration of what one progresses toward; it is a godless millennial term that supposes mankind can create a perfect society of perfect people in a modern Eden, but in practice is always an excuse for an elite few to rule without restraint over the non-elite many.

On the political level, renewal can be effected by the states reasserting their individual and collective authority not only over themselves, but over the Union itself in those matters not delegated to it. This can be accomplished only by careful selection at state and local levels of candidates who understand and are committed to the principles of individual liberty and federalism, as well as by promotion of like-minded people on the national level.

 

Best Wishes.

 

 

Blessed Are The

Someone was recently quoted saying, “We should abolish the police.” I try to think kindly about people, but it seems about the only ones who would favor such a position are either criminals or stupid. Perhaps instead of calling them “police” we should use the more old fashioned term, “peace officers.”

Dad often spoke fondly of the sheriffs and deputies he knew while growing up in Price, Utah. They included Matt Warner, the reformed outlaw and crack shot, who as Deputy Sheriff and Justice of the Peace used to tell the children stories of life on the outlaw trail with his friend, Butch Cassidy, and others. The stories always concluded with an observation that it was not worth it and an admonition to do what is right. Dad’s experiences in those days included seeing several mobs up close. He hated mobs for their utter mindlessness, unpredictability, and uncontrollability.

Mobs are what we are seeing around the country these days, incited by scattered anarchists and rabble rousers (“community organizers”) for their own nefarious purposes. Surely there are few jobs more difficult than that of being a peace officer in a time when so many are being stirred up to anger and contention. Hats off to these courageous and dedicated men and women. Let us also remember them in our prayers. If Peacemakers are Blessed, then certainly Blessed are the Peace Officers, as well.

Best Wishes.

A New Edition

The Federalist: Excerpts with Commentary

Authored by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay

Commentary by Roderick Saxey MD

 

 

THE FEDERALIST PAPERS were a series of newspaper articles published by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay to persuade the citizens of 1787 and 1788 to vote for the newly proposed Constitution upon which our American government is based. They were so well done that Thomas Jefferson called them “The best commentary on the principles of government ever written.”

Despite the passage of years, the founders’ insights are as fresh as the latest headlines and deal with such topics as excessive legislation, arrogance in public officials, limitations of government, multiculturalism, taxation, and more.

The problem for modern readers is THE PAPERS are long (about 600 pages) and sometimes difficult to understand. This is where THE FEDERALIST, EXCERPTS WITH COMMENTARY comes in. First published in 1994, it earned such comments as “a delectable book” (R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR) and “I will keep this important work in my office” (Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice).

This new edition of THE FEDERALIST, EXCERPTS WITH COMMENTARY brings you the best quotes from that “best commentary” along with short explanations of their importance in today’s America. Ours is an age of constitutional crisis, not just the conflicts between Congress and President or between conservative and liberal, but a crisis of understanding the basic principles and objectives of American government. Reading THE FEDERALIST can help deal with that crisis.

In the words of Mark Brunelle in THE OREGON OBSERVER, “This short book is a must read . . worth its weight in gold! . . . (A) timely work . . . a masterpiece!”

A New Edition of THE FEDERALIST, EXCERPTS WITH COMMENTARY, to appear soon!

The Federalist, Excerpts with Commentary was published in 1994. It was kindly received with a number of good reviews by various public figures and authors, including Clarence Thomas and Pat Buchanan. R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., editor of The American Spectator, referred to it as a “delectable book”.

It is now time to bring it out again in a second edition with minor revisions. The Founding Fathers gave us splendid examples and counsel about how to govern ourselves, organize our government, and evaluate our political candidates. Following is a sample, first the excerpt in italics followed by my commentary:

  (A) dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun heir career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.

Demagoguery

The wisdom of this observation was verified again with the French Revolution in 1789, the same year the Constitution was adopted, as well as on many occasions since that time, most notably in the 20th century with its varied socialist regimes, many ironically named “peoples'” republics. The diligent student may profitably review in this context George Orwell’s brilliant little book, Animal Farm, noting the portentous year of publication, 1945.

Another Book Review I Did Not Know About

While doing an internet search recently I found that my mission memoir was reviewed in Deseret News online back in May 2014. There is a certain irony in this–I only recently released a revised edition, available at Amazon and Kindle (prices are lower for the revised version). Not many changes, a few small corrections and a name change requested by the daughter of one of the Austrians who were kind to the missionaries. Thanks to Brooke Porter for the following:

ALL ENLISTED: A Mormon Missionary in Austria During the Vietnam Era,” by Roderick Saxey, Haus Sachse Enterprises, $17.95, e-book $5.50, 308 pages (nf)

As it turns out, many aspects and quirks of Mormon missionary work are the same — regardless of the area or time served — and “All Enlisted: A Mormon Missionary in Austria During the Vietnam Era” is evidence of that.

Author and Washington resident Roderick Saxey crafted his self-published memoir in a way to let people inside the life of a missionary serving in 1970. The book — some 300 pages — bounces back between journal entries, factual tidbits and letters to and from family and friends, notably his brother, Edward, who was serving in the Navy in various places in Asia and Australia.

For a 19-year-old boy, Roderick Saxey’s writing was quite mature — and quite endearing. With references to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” (as well as letters to a friend he called Frodo), Saxey draws you in with beautiful Austrian landscape and food imagery coupled with raw entries about the lack of missionary success and the all-too-often slammed door.

Saxey begins the book with a background of his family, helping readers understand where he came from, which proves helpful when reading the back-and-forth missionary letters. He was born into a part-member family — a father who was a less-active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a mother who was a Protestant. He took the Mormon missionary lessons at age 11 and was baptized, but quickly joined his family in inactivity.

That is until his faithful home teacher, Clair Cantwell, invited him to attend seminary in 1965. Soon after, Saxey became strong in his LDS faith. After receiving his mission call to Austria and delivering his missionary farewell, his mother surprised the whole family by being baptized.

She literally surprised them.

Saxey received a phone call from the bishop asking him to perform a baptism. “I thought nothing of it since our leaders often gave opportunity to priests and new elders to perform ordinances whenever possible,” he said. “Unknown to me, similar calls to attend the stake baptismal service went out to Dad and (my brother) Wayne, without explanations why.” His first, and only, baptism was of his dear mother.

It’s hard not to fall in love with Saxey’s family as well as Austria. The letters to and from his brother, Edward, are quite sweet and playful, and it’s difficult not to worry that Edward may not survive his tour in Vietnam.

Some journal highlights include a visit from then-Elder Thomas. S. Monson.

Just a handful of months before completing his mission, Saxey was sent home due to what doctors thought was a faulty liver — “hepatomegaly.” Only later when Saxey became a doctor in the Air Force did he discover that he never had hepatitis, but rather a condition called Gilbert’s Syndrome.

“All Enlisted” includes a helpful glossary of German words used throughout the book, as well as updates on the mission companions and family members, as well as black-and-white pictures. The book is self-published and the format could use a bit of polish, but overall this is an endearing look into the life of one man’s mission.

It’s free of any foul language and there was one reference where sex is implied as the elders encounter a prostitute and a man at a cafe.

Book Review in the Association For Mormon Letters

The following review of my book recently appeared in the Association for Mormon Letters:


Title: All Enlisted: A Mormon Missionary in Austria During the Vietnam Era
Author: Roderick Saxey, MD
Publisher: Haus Sachse Enterprises
Genre: LDS biography, LDS missionary
Year Published: 2013
Number of pages: 308
Binding: Paperback
ISBN-10: n/a
ISBN-13: 9-780615-882185
Price: $17.95

Reviewed by Roy Schmidt for the Association for Mormon Letters

“All Enlisted” is a book that emotionally involved me from the start. I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January, 1969. Roderick Saxey began his service as a missionary for that church in August of that year. As might well be imagined, the time during which Saxey was serving was a critical time for me as I was learning what it means to be a member of the church, and to become familiar with its doctrines and practices. I was aided by both missionaries and members. During this same time, Elder Saxey was teaching these same doctrines and principles to people like me thousands of miles away in Austria.

Saxey uses his missionary journals, letters to and from family members as well as those to and from missionary companions, members, friends, and others as basic source materials. He nicely fleshes these out and puts them into historical perspective with additional narrative, which results in a very clean story line. He includes a helpful glossary of German words and phrases that allows those readers not familiar with that language to more fully understand the thoughts expressed in the letters. A selection of photographs enriches the text.

Serving a mission in Austria was both difficult and rewarding. Elder Saxey had just one baptism during his service, and that was of his own mother just prior to his entering the mission home. Some may conclude such a mission was not very productive, but I disagree. There is a saying that you can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you cannot count the number of apples in a seed. This is so true in missionary work where so much of the time is spent in planting seeds and leaving the harvest to others.

Many Austrians were still feeling the effects of World War II when Saxey was in the country. Many were discouraged, depressed and had turned away from God. They instead embraced naturalism and philosophy. The state religion, Catholicism, left many of them cold. Some would talk to the missionaries because they were American, while others cursed them for the same reason. As I said, the trauma from the war was very evident.

Elder Saxey had three main areas in which he worked. His first assignment was in the city of Wels, a town of some 40,000 located not too far from Linz. He had lodgings with an elderly woman who was a member of the LDS Church. The house had no central heating, but there was a coal stove in the kitchen. As it happened, the winter of 1969 – 1970 was very severe, and the elders found it tough going. His other cities were Bad Reichenhall, a spa city in Germany in the Berchtesgadner Land district in Upper Bavaria, not far from Salzburg., and lastly Braunau, the city of Hitler’s birth.

Missionaries often have unusual experiences, and Elder Saxey is no exception. While serving in Wels, he and his missionary companion decided to get a drink in a restaurant. The waitress was a young blonde woman who flirted with the customers. She was talking to a “disreputable looking fellow by the cash register.” The elders heard a noise and looked up from the catalogs they were examining, and could only see the top of the man’s head above the counter. Thinking the fellow had knocked the waitress down and was robbing her, the missionaries went to investigate. When they got there the waitress stood up red faced and putting on her skirt. I doubt there was anything in the missionary handbook addressing this sort of situation.

Saxey enjoyed the various conferences he attended while serving. This was particularly true when a general authority was present. The two authorities visiting during his mission were Hartman Rector, Jr. and Thomas S. Monson. Elder Rector’s daughter lived in our ward, so Sister Rector and he would visit frequently. They were both outstanding people, and it was fun when they came. The daughter taught the Gospel Doctrine class in Sunday School. I remember her saying if she had questions regarding the gospel, she would always call her mother. Elder Rector got quite a kick out of that. Elder Monson was, I believe, the junior apostle at the time. While Elder Saxey was impressed with his visit, he made special note of “Brother Monson’s beautiful sixteen year old daughter.” Oh well, boys will be boys even when serving missions.

Roderick Saxey’s mission ended early when he developed a serious liver ailment, and had to return to the United States for treatment. It was very difficult for him, in part because he was so close to his release day when he was sent home. Besides he loved the work he was doing, and formed strong attachments to his fellow missionaries and mission leaders. My heart ached for him as I read that part of his account.

While Saxey was serving his mission, his brother, Edward, was serving in the United States Navy. As might be imagined, Edward’s military service was both a source of pride and joy as well as concern for the Saxey family. Edward was married, and his wife’s career allowed her to travel and visit with Edward often when his ship was in port. Fortunately, Edward Saxey survived the war in good shape. The letters he wrote his brother, along with those of his parents, added depth to my reading experience.

The only drawback to this work for me were the political overtones. I am a left wing bleeding heart liberal, and Saxey is an Ezra Taft Benson, W. Cleon Skousen, John Birch Society-type conservative. I admit to having cringed at Saxey’s praise of Richard Nixon and his handling of the Vietnam War. I cringed even more when I remembered my own support of Nixon at the time. That said, I appreciate the author’s candor in this area.

“All Enlisted” is a good book, and I recommend it. The years of Roderick Saxey’s mission defined not only his life, but a generation of Americans. Those who read this work will find their time well spent.

http://forums.mormonletters.org/yaf_postsm2825_Saxey-All-Enlisted-A-Mormon-Missionary-in-Austria-During-the-Vietnam-Era-reviewed-by-Roy-Schmidt.aspx#2825

Imitating Christ

We will soon commemorate the Atonement and Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, by celebrating Easter. As Christians, we recognize Him not only as “God the Son”, but also as “The Perfect Man” and are committed to trying to be more like Him. Because we did not live with Him in mortality, our view of what it means to be like Him is limited by the accounts we have. My favorite summary of His life is the scripture that says, “He went about doing good.” And that is what we aim to do, as best we can. Often our best efforts at becoming more like Christ are when we try to imitate others we know who exemplify Christ-like traits.

It has been a great blessing to serve in the Church with many who have exemplified righteous leadership, men such as President Almond and President McCoy in the Graham Stake, Bishop Orgill in Orting Ward, and now Bishop Cain and Brother Lee in Sequim. I think, too, of great men I have known earlier in life: Bishop Waddell and President Don Wood in the old Portland 15th Ward, who tutored me as I came into church activity as a teenager; Brother Kent Duke, who was one of my fine missionary companions in Austria; and Bishop Giacalone of the Gateway Ward in Portland East Stake and Bishop Adams of the Pullman Ward in Moscow Idaho Stake, who mentored me as their councilor. I am thankful for each of them, and for many others who have touched my life.

But the best man I ever knew was my father, Edward Saxey. The army trained Dad as an x-ray tech, which enriched his education as a biochemist; he spent most of his professional life running a large medical laboratory. He loved living things, working the soil of his garden or raising sheep and dogs and cats and horses and cattle and geese and chickens on our farm in Sunnyside, Washington. He always had sheep, from when he was a young child until he died, but he didn’t herd them. He made a trilling sound in the back of the throat, very Germanic, and they came running.

Similarly with the dogs—he and Mom bred beautiful German Shepherds back when the breed was large and noble looking. They had the top-winning kennels in the Northwest in the late 1950s and early 60s. He would look deeply into the dog’s eyes and talk to it softly, then reward its good behavior, and they loved to obey him. He used to say that any dog could be trained if only it will look you in the eye.

Dad was a soft spoken man, which is not to say there was not a fair amount of “whoopin’ and hollerin’”, as he would have said, when we were little. But he usually had few words, carefully chosen, not wasted.

I only recall one spanking, though no doubt I deserved more. The whole family had gotten up early, before the sun, to harvest asparagus, a dusty, back-breaking business. We had a nice cup of postum to warm us before going into the cold. My parents and brothers filed out to the field, but I lingered in the kitchen, enjoying the warmth of the big coal stove. After a half hour or so, Dad came back in, dirty and dripping sweat. As he put me over his knee he said, “you’re not going to just sit around doing nothing while the whole family is out working.” Then he gave me a good spanking and I ran out to the field while my older brothers laughed. They stopped laughing when Dad caught up.

Dad did not need to spank us much because all he had to do was say a few words about how disappointed he was at our bad behavior, or worse yet, say nothing at all and shake his head. I love him so. To disappoint him was worse than any punishment could be.

He and Mom served in a variety of callings in the Church including many years as workers in the Portland Temple. Dad exemplified righteous, Christ-like behavior characterized by patience, persuasion, gentleness, and love. Whether calling sheep or training dogs or disciplining children, Dad obtained obedience not through force or fear, but through love: obedience was a choice.

It is no coincidence that the War in Heaven hinged on this principle of coercion versus agency. It is no coincidence that the continuation of that conflict in mortal life hinges on the same principle, and we see it over and over again in the conflicts of nations, in politics at all levels, in our families, and in our personal lives. To return to Him and receive His greatest blessings, our Father in Heaven requires complete obedience, but it must not be based on fear, but obedience based on our growing love for Him, mirroring His infinite love for us.

Let’s go back over a few things we know about the character of God, both Father and Son:

1. God works through councils; He is not arbitrary or secretive;
2. He is patient and long-suffering;
3. He is self-sacrificing on behalf of His loved ones;
4. He can speak in thundering tones if necessary, but His voice is usually soft, still, and small;
5. He is generous and kind, sending both rain and sun on the just and the unjust, for we are all His children;
6. He always keeps His objective in focus, namely, preparing His children to return to Him and inherit eternal life.

May we emulate the best examples around us and strive to incorporate principles of Christ-like behavior into our daily lives. As we do so, we will, little by little, become more like our Beloved Savior, and our Easter celebrations will become increasingly meaningful.

How the Great Father Created Happiness for His Children

My undergraduate major at BYU was Anthropolology; one of my favorite topics was folklore, which for our purposes here means simply “oral history.” If the religious doctrine known as the Plan of Salvation were retold in traditional society, it might have the title cited above. These are a few notes about that plan.

Eliza R. Snow wrote, “I had learned to call thee Father, thru thy Spirit from on high, but until the key of knowledge was restored, I knew not why.” One of the most important of the “plain and precious” keys of knowledge that have been restored is the Plan of Salvation, also called the Plan of Happiness. Bits and pieces are scattered all through the scriptures and especially the apocrypha, but they are brought together into a coherent whole through Joseph Smith. As described anciently, they form a sort of Three Act Play:

Act I–Pre-mortal life, Pre-existence (Abr 3:18, gnolaum)
The Grand Council
Two Plans—the War in Heaven (Abr 3:27 and Moses 4:1-3)
Agency—“sons of god shouted for joy” (Job 38:7)

Act II–Mortal life—central role of the Savior (Alma 11:38-43)
Creation (Abr 3:22-26)
The Fall (2 Ne 2:25-27)
The Resurrection (1 Cor 15:20-22)
The Atonement (D&C 19:15-20, chiasm center on v17)

Act III–Post-mortal life, The Next Life
The Spirit World (Eccl 12:7)
An Anapausis (intermission) (D&C 138, esp 57)
Temple work (D&C 138:48 and 58)
Judgment (Alma 41:2-6 and Alma 12:14—words, works, thoughts)
The Degrees of Glory (1 Cor 15:40-42—sun, moon, stars—D&C 76)

One key to understanding The Plan is to better understand the nature of God. What is it that makes our Spirit Father, God?
All power? (might makes right?)
All knowledge? (a giant hard drive in the sky?)
Immortality? (He just keeps going like the Eveready bunny?)
Surely not!

He is a god of body, parts, and passions—Enoch, for instance, was puzzled to see that God weeps (Moses 7:28-40). Therein lies a clue.

John wrote:
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might alive through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
(1 John 4:7-11)

So what was it that caused God to weep in front of Enoch—that His children did not love one another or Him. It is that quality of love that gives meaning and purpose to everything else, and accounts for His Great Plan of Happiness. (Moses 1:39) God wants us to freely love one another and Him as He loves us. I wrote earlier that “It’s all about liberty.” True enough, but the principle that underlies that principle is another sweeping statement: “It’s all about love.”