Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Freedom and Personal Liberty (part 3)

This is an ongoing series of posts taken from a talk given by Elder Robert D. Hales at BYU on July 6th 1975... David.

Bondage Versus Freedom

We, then, are responsible for what this nation is and what our communities are. Let me ask a question in that regard: “What do we do when we find that our freedoms are imposed upon?”

I would like to describe to you, if I may, a place where I took my son–the Berlin Wall. We drove out and walked onto a metal platform and then onto a wooden platform, and then we were up in the air possibly forty or fifty feet. As we looked out across the Berlin Wall, we saw barbed wire. We saw fields that were mined. We saw tank embankments that stopped trucks and tanks from leaving, not from coming into, the walled area. We saw guards with dogs and with searchlights, towers were there were guards looking at us through binoculars as we looked back at them. They had machine guns and guarded the wall.

Let me make this recommendation to any young man or young woman–and I say that to you only after having been in international work for fifteen years. If you ever get disillusioned about your country, please take a trip abroad. Live there, and then after five years, return home, as I did. Then I would like to ask you, as you enter into the sight of the Statue of Liberty, to be emotional. The reason I say that is this: The man who made the Statue of Liberty, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, had, as a young man, seen a young lady with a torch in her hand jump onto a barricade during a French rebellion. There she was shot, and she died setting the barricade on fire. Thirty years later, as he sailed into the harbor of New York, he conceived the idea of a tribute to America from France, a statue symbolizing Liberty Enlightening the World. He thought of the young girl with the torch in her hand, and that is how the statue of liberty was conceived.

The Statue of Liberty has in her left arm a tablet, with the inscription July 4, 1776; in her right hand she holds the torch of freedom; and in the base is inscribed a poem by Emma Lazarus: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” What has happened recently with the refugees from South Vietnam could not have been a better fulfillment of the vision of that fine lady who stands in the harbor of New York City.

Emma Lazarus’s poem also declares, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” How do we hold the lamp of freedom? Do you place yourselves in such a position that you cannot exercise your free agency?

All we have talked about to this point is only a preamble as we begin to discuss ourselves and our own free agency, which these documents proclaim and protect. Joseph Smith could not have restored the gospel without freedom of religion. Do you think it an accident that Joseph Smith was born just a few years after our land had become free and after we had gained these documents ensuring our unalienable rights? No, it was not an accident.

The Right to Reject

With your freedom of speech, do you do this?

1. Do you place yourself and your families in a position where you have no alternative but to listen to television programs, or view movies, or read magazines or books that are degrading? Our free agency can be used for accepting or rejecting; we may avoid evil.

2. But there is also something positive we can do about this problem. We are in a position to express our personal beliefs in public forums and in elections. Our founding fathers in New England used town meetings. Today every citizen still has the right to discuss an issue as a citizen of the community in a town meeting. Do the communities that you come from have such public forums for freedom of speech? Does your legislature (and do you by your vote) put in the kind of men who will protect that right?

3. Moreover, we are in a position to withdraw personal time and financial support from those books, movies, television programs, magazines, and political and public establishments that do not uphold the standards of a free people.

I would also like to pose the problem that the total freedom of one person may be an oppression of another’s freedom. And I ask this question: Should we tolerate an individual’s saying, printing, and doing whatever he wants (and say that he deserves freedom) without bounds or restraints of any moral sensibilities? Let’s think about that for a moment. That does not seem to be an easy question, but the answer is easy. A justice of the Supreme Court summed the problem up this way, in essence, after the court had worked for weeks trying to come up with a definition of pornography: We cannot agree on what the legal definition of pornography is, but show it to us and we know what it is.

Do you realize that pornography today takes up $550 million of the public’s money? One basic truth that I have learned over my twenty years in business is that the devil himself will not participate in any venture, such as pornography, that does not make a profit.

The other day I went down to a grocery store on an errand. I bought about a pound of plums, which was my little venture on the side (it was not on the list), a loaf of bread, and one other item. The total came to $2.55. (I can remember when my mother with $5.00 could fill two grocery bags that I could not even hold.) There I was with this little bag that cost $2.55. And as I was checking out, I looked across the stand; and there were magazines that absolutely appalled me. I could not understand how a proprietor of a store could tell his own young son or daughter that that display represented freedom.

I ask you today, young men and women, what are our freedoms? We have the freedom to accept or reject. We should talk directly to the offenders about what our rights are as well as what theirs are. Isn’t that fair? If they are offended, aren’t they the ones who become the bigots?

Let me give you a few examples that I have noticed in my life. First of all, most of us are part of that famous silent majority. We are pushed around, for example, by the vociferous minority’s profanity. Have you ever sat with your family in a restaurant and heard profanity to the point that you could not take it any longer? Have you ever thought of turning to somebody and saying, “Sir, do you mind? I have my wife and children with me.” I will tell you that the majority of people, when it is called to their attention, admit that they use profanity completely unknowingly. It is a part of their way of life, but they will be shocked if someone reminds them.

When a workman steps into your car or your home, he may have conditioned a reflex to pull out a cigarette and smoke it. I have found that not one of them is offended when I remind him that his smoke will permeate our clothing. I can tell you, the odor of one cigarette smoked in our home by a workman remains in our home (or our car) for days. Once he realizes that, he is understanding. Why aren’t we willing to express our freedom (and be kind about it) to others?

When a person sitting next to you on an airplane asks, “Do you mind if I smoke?” it is easy to say, “I really would.” The shock on his face comes from the fact that he usually has the cigarette out and a match lit. But when you exercise your rights, he pauses, and then you can start telling him why you do not smoke and explaining a few of your own beliefs. He will enjoy it. Nobody wants to offend knowingly, but smoking is a conditioned reflex.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mini Pecan Pumpkin Pies

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson, 2008

Prep Time:  25 min
Cook Time:  30 min
Level:  Easy
Serves:  2 dozen


  • Nonstick cooking spray

For the dough:

  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping dough
  • 6 tablespoons butter, ice cold
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:

  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin filling
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped plus 24 halves for garnish
  • Special equipment: 2 (12-cup) mini muffin tins


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray the bottoms and sides of the mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

For the dough:

In a food processor, pulse pecans with the sugar, salt, and flour, until the nuts are ground and the ingredients are combined. Add in butter and pulse until dough resembles coarse meal. Slowly pour in ice water through the feed tube, pulsing, until the dough comes together. Remove from processor bowl onto clean work surface sprinkled with flour.
Form dough into a ball and divide evenly into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and evenly press into each cup, until the bottom is covered. If the dough is sticky, dip your finger in flour first.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until the crusts are very golden. Check periodically to make sure they don't get too brown.
Meanwhile, make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and yolk with the corn syrup, sugar, pumpkin filling and vanilla. Stir in the chopped pecans.
Remove dough from oven and spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into each cup. Top each with 1 pretty pecan half. Return the pans to the oven and continue baking, for 12 to 15 minutes more, until the pumpkin filling is set. Allow to cool before removing from the pans.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Washington Post Reports on LDS Food Storage & Canning

The Mission: Put Up in Bulk

By Lois M. Baron
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, July 8, 2009


When I was growing up, canning involved my mom sealing fruits and vegetables into glass jars with metal lids. To me, the process was hot, time-consuming and a little scary because it involved a pressure cooker or, at a minimum, boiling water and the risk of botulism. (The possibility of incorrectly canned food loomed, in my young mind, as large as the threat of tornadoes in my Midwestern childhood.)
However, with the help of a friend and in less than two hours' time, I recently put up five-gallon cans of the following dried foods without breaking a sweat: almost 20 pounds of dehydrated apple slices, and 25 pounds each of black beans, refried bean flakes, nonfat dry milk, spaghetti and regular rolled oats.
I stock up on food items because I, as a Mormon, was raised to believe in storing a supply of basic foods to tide you over during hard times. Because I'm a Mormon, I know of a place in Upper Marlboro offering the facilities to can a variety of staples whose shelf life can stretch up to 30 years.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints runs 101 dry-pack canneries, which are housed in multi-function home storage centers (see sidebar). The church doesn't intend the facilities to be public but won't turn away nonmembers. It wants everyone to have a three-month supply and be working toward a year's stockpile.
At the cannery, people are allowed to package only dry food stocked by the center. (It's possible to buy in bulk from the center as well without processing the food at the cannery. And food can be packed in pouches as well as cans.) The center also has three portable canning units that it lends for a week at a time, free of charge, for home use. People may use the portable equipment to can anything they want. "Husbands, kids, whatever fits," jokes Lowell Hayes, regional field manager for the D.C. Home Storage Center and nine others.
It is housed in a 14,000-square-foot building, built in 1979 and tucked in a low-key industrial zone next to Andrews Air Force Base; military jets make thundering runs overhead. I park in the first lot I come to, closest to the bishop's storehouse entrance. The storehouse is a large room stocked with dry goods and refrigerated foods that are available to needy members who earn the authorization of church leaders, called bishops, at the local level. Nonmembers also can ask a bishop for food assistance.
Here's how my canning session worked: My friend and I met Juliana Letren, 43, an employee who guided us through the process and has worked at the cannery for 10 years. We grabbed a cart and headed into the food warehouse armed with a shopping list. We perused the no-nonsense labels on industrial shelves laden with huge boxes and bags and piled our selections onto the cart.
Outside the canning room, in a wide hallway lined with more industrial shelving, we stopped to pick up rolls of preprinted labels for the cans; close by the room's rubber-clad swinging doors, we noticed clear plastic jugs that contained small amounts of various dried foods, available for topping off a can or to hold leftovers from anyone's canning session. We also collected a big scoop, a low-sided bin big enough to hold three five-gallon cans and a trash can on wheels.
The 900-square-foot canning room has two work areas, each quite spare and about the size of a two-car garage. The areas have their own electric canning machine and several stainless-steel tables, but they share access to a large digital scale, canners' supplies (hairnets, gloves, tape guns, Sharpies for marking dates on the labels, cleaning products and rags), pallets of No. 10 cans that measure six inches across and seven inches tall, their metal and plastic lids, and cardboard boxes that can be assembled to hold six cans each. One wall chart lists safety rules. Another wall chart cites quantities of food needed for one adult per year: grains, 400 pounds; sugar, 60 pounds; salt, 8 pounds.
Letren demonstrated a few cans' worth and left us to it. We got the hang of it pretty quickly. I liked it right away, getting a childish sense of pleasure from operating a simple, heavy-duty machine and ending up with many shiny, filled cans.
Since the Great Depression, Mormon church leaders have encouraged people to store food and supplies for emergencies, such as severe weather or job loss. Cans keep dried foods safe from bugs -- and mice, too. I have wanted to put dried pasta in cans ever since I poured a box of macaroni into a pot of boiling water and found myself staring at floating moths.
Back to the session: While my friend and I filled, sealed, labeled and packed the cans into boxes that we were building as we went, the other canning area bustled with five women who are Mormon church members in Eldersburg, Md. They had been here before and worked with streamlined efficiency.
The preprinted labels provide nutritional information and preparation directions. Stored in a cool, dry place, my dehydrated apple slices and spaghetti should be good for 30 years; hot cocoa mix, two-plus years.
Then it was time to clean up and check out. We had been asked to leave the place as we'd found it (spotless). The bill Letren presented us covers the cost of the food in bulk and the supplies involved in transferring the contents from big bags to cans. There are small fees for supplies bought separately for use with the portable units, such as the cans (80 cents each), resealable lids (20 cents each) and packs of oxygen absorber (8 cents each). Lowell Hayes says the church prices are about at cost.
And then, slight sticker shock hit me: I had canned $217 worth of dried goods. In choosing foods my family uses frequently, I hadn't kept track of how many cans there were. Each of the six 4.3-pound cans of spaghetti cost me $4.05. My 15 cans of apple slices came to $73.50.
I left thinking it's like Costco: good deals for large quantities. So my basement now holds a few years' supply of staples. If worse comes to worst, as I point out to my husband, we might get tired of black bean soup with apple pie. But we won't starve.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Freedom and Personal Liberty (part 2)

This is an ongoing series of posts taken from a talk given by Elder Robert D. Hales at BYU on July 6th 1975... David.

The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,--That, whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government.

Does that sound familiar? Haven't we seen it working in our day, in the past few years? And then the signers said this: "With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge . . . our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." The signers of this document knew that they were putting their lives foremost with their beliefs.
This document was the prelude to the American Revolution, which started on the field of Lexington, a small skirmish on April 19, 1775, and which ended six years later, in 1781. The colonial troops started as few as 3,000. They built up to as many as 17,000 at one time, and over 400,000 men enlisted for short periods during that time, with 5,000 dying for their liberty.

I would like to make one comment about the British. I think it is very unfair that we think we Americans were the ones who generated freedom of religion in the colonial culture. Actually, our British heritage is the reason we do not have a state religion today. During the seventeenth century, for instance, the Puritans in Massachusetts persecuted anyone who did not accept their church. They assumed that they had the only correct religion and that everyone else must accept it or be persecuted. The need to entice settlers, however, and the economic conditions were also important. The colonies needed to have more settlers; so they became more tolerant in their religious beliefs. But more importantly, the English Toleration Act of 1689 granted the right of public worship to all Protestants. Since all English liberties applied to the colonies, such toleration had to be established here. The Puritans chose to ignore this particular act for some time and continued to persecute the Baptists and the Quakers, but from 1731 through 1734 the Puritans were forced to come into line with English practices. And so religious tolerance entered the colonies.

Our Inspired Constitution
After the war came the Constitution. I would like to mention only one thing in connection with the Constitution. The Constitution set apart, as you know, the legislative, the judicial, and the executive branches of government. They formulate and administer the law which all of us live under. William E. Gladstone, the nineteenth-century British statesman, once said that the Constitution was "the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man."
I think Mr. Gladstone would be interested to know that it was not written only by just men, for it also had the help of God. When the Constitution was being written and the revolutionary war was being fought, there were fourteen to fifteen hundred miles of colonies from New Hampshire to Georgia--all embodying different beliefs and started under different charters. To unite them in this document took four months of very hard work, and there was discouragement.
One of the most striking features of this particular document is the fact that it allows for representation in two ways. We would have representation according to what has been called the magnificent concession. In the early days of the convention, Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed this solution to the knotty problem of representation--that the members of the House of Representative would be elected on the basis of population and the Senate on the basis of equality of states, with two senators per state. His proposal was considered and voted down. But as you know, it was later approved.

The Bill of Rights and Free Agency
Now, let's ask what happened after the Constitution had been established. Let's go on to free agency and the Bill of Rights. There were a hundred proposals for amendments to the Constitution. Forty to fifty were eliminated as duplications. Seventeen were approved by the House in the First Congress; twelve were approved by the Senate; and finally, ten were approved by all the state legislatures and became the Bill of Rights.
The first amendment provides for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right peaceably to assemble, and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. We are able to gather here this evening because of this amendment. I have lived in countries where we could not gather more than twelve people without a permit. Had we wanted to change our permit for any reason, it would have been turned down.
The second amendment concerns the right to bear arms. The third amendment ensures that during times of peace no soldiers will be quartered in our houses without consent of the owner--and in times of war, only according to the law.
The fourth amendment stipulates that there should be no unreasonable searches and seizures and no warrants except for cause; no person can be held to answer for a capital crime except by an indictment by a grand jury (except military personnel during war or public danger). The fifth amendment guarantees that there should be no double jeopardy and that persons cannot be held as witnesses against themselves nor deprived of life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness without due process of law. Private property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation. The sixth amendment guarantees the right of the accused to have a speedy trial by an impartial jury, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to confront the witnesses against him, and to have defense counsel. The seventh amendment concerns the rights to jury trial if the value of the controversy exceeds twenty dollars. The eighth amendment protects us from excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishment.
The ninth amendment provides that we are not denied of any rights not specified in the Constitution, for these rights are retained by the people, not by the government. The tenth amendment states that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the states or to the people.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another Testament of Christ

All I can say is... WOW!!!... David.

This slideshow features images from the Reflections project "Another Testament of Christ". All images are by Mark Mabry - Music by Clyde Bawden and Jason Barey - Edited by Cameron Trejo. 

Make sure and click the box next to the speaker symbol (bottom right corner) so that you can watch it full screen...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quick Bread for Breakfast

cranberry nut bread
Try this quick bread with cream cheese for breakfast.
Cranberry-Orange-Walnut Bread

Makes 2 large loaves or 6 small loaves or 18 muffins
4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons butter or shortening
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients then stir in the wet ingredients. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts and pour into greased bread pans.
Large loaves need 50-55 minutes to bake, small loaves 30-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when they are done.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before trying to remove the loaves from the pans.