The Olive Tree

With enemies threatening on every side, it is worth remembering the great promises made to Israel–the state, the land, and the people–as well as what Jerusalem means to Christians and Jews and Muslims alike. To help raise funds for the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden on the Mount of Olives during the 1970s, my father printed, framed, and sold copies of a picture he had taken of an ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here is the picture as well as the text he wrote for the back:

The Olive Tree  091

The Olive Tree Text 092

The tree is over 2,000 years old. It was present when our Lord suffered there. It was silent witness to the years of exile and persecution. It was still there when Israel was re-established as a state in 1948. Let us remember our brothers and sisters in Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

 

Best Wishes.

 

Organized . . .

Will Rogers, the witty comedian and social commentator of the early 20th century, once remarked, “I do not belong to an organized political party. I am a Democrat.” What was funny then becomes less funny now as the nature of the modern Democrat Party’s organization becomes clearer. The party of kooks, crooks, commies, and cronies has become even more sinister.

Although Snopes discounts the lengthy lists of mysterious deaths of people associated with the Clinton’s, the most recent murders of five political operatives, some of whom, like Seth Rich, were about to testify in the Hillary email and other scandals, must raise eyebrows. One might be a coincidence, maybe two, but five? What is clear to anyone following national news is that the party of slavery, segregation, and socialism is now behaving like a large family, not in a good sense.

An ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon saw similar events in his day, in his historical record, and prophetically among us. He wrote:

23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

26 Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.

Elsewhere he admonished us to be more wise than his people had been. We can only hope. And pray.

Best Wishes.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Federalist-Excerpts-Commentary-Roderick-Saxey/dp/0997018100/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471227694&sr=1-3

 

 

Treason

A prosaic dictionary definition is “the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.” This is sufficiently vague that it was used through the centuries to justify vicious persecutions by the sovereigns of their political opponents. The Founding Fathers wisely wrote a more specific definition into the Constitution.

Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The section was worded in this way so as to preserve the efficacy of the First Amendment–people can say what they want, even oppose the very Constitution that keeps them safe in saying it. “Levying War” is straightforward, but “Adhering to their Enemies” may be a little more difficult to pin down. It probably includes promoting sharia law, which is incompatible with the Constitution. “Aid and Comfort” means more tangible support such as furnishing them arms in Libya, Syria, and Mexico (the so-called “fast and furious” operation). It might consist of providing billions of dollars in support including the recent $400 million “non-ransom”.

Ah, but then . . .

Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

Sir John Harrington (1561-1612)

The 2016 election, more than anything else, is to determine whether treason shall prosper.

Best Wishes.

Keep Calm

Keep Calm

The British government during World War II popularized the slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” plastered on billboards and posters throughout the country. It is a slogan suitable for our time and place as well. The world is in chaos and the self-proclaimed ruling “elites”, the political, media, and educational classes, seem helpless to improve it. Indeed, their antics and shenanigans  and false ideologies make things worse. So let us ordinary folk look to a more sensible guideline: Keep Calm and Carry On.

The thing we are carrying on with is leading peaceful, productive, law-abiding lives, individually and in our families and communities. It is striving day by day to do our best to live up to the commandments of God–let’s call them instructions for happiness in this life and in the next. It is building the Kingdom of God on earth, the creation of a Zion society. Zion is “the pure in heart.” It is proceeding with confidence that all things are in the hands of a loving God and that right will prevail in the end. It is exercising faith.

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.

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.

Another Go At It

A great deal has happened since my earlier blogs, not least of which is our move back to Orting after three years away for work. Orting is a beautiful little town at the confluence of the Carbon and Puyallup rivers not far from the foot of Mount Rainier, surrounded by farms and woodland. It has been gratifying to reunite with our many friends as well as to be back in our home.

The new title of this blog, Be Useful For Good, is a quote from my great grandfather, Friedrich Raile. He was a multi-talented man, a German from Odessa who migrated to Utah via Jerusalem in a remarkable story of faith and courage which was recounted a number of years ago in a book titled The Joppa Door (written in the language and from the viewpoint of his wife, great grandmother Elisabeth). Among other things, he was a skilled herbalist. “Be useful for good” was one of the admonitions he put on the boxes of herbal tea he sold in Utah during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has become a family motto.

Surely, in this day of turmoil, to be useful for good is not only worthy advice for each individual man and woman, but for the nation and world in general as well. As part of my effort to be useful for good, I will be more consistent about blogging. Perhaps a word or two will prove helpful to some reader or another.

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.