Monday, December 15, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
My wife and I went to see the film Fireproof today. How refreshing it was to watch a movie with morals -- a movie that stood for something -- a movie that spoke about goodness, forgiveness and love. It seems there are mostly movies about revenge, greed, avarice, and immoral behavior. I highly recommend this movie. What a great movie! There was no bad language or crude scenes. It was of highest quality.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
An LDS magazine named Meridian had this to say recently. The above pictures by Amy Fisher were taken from that website. It shows protesters outside the Los Angeles LDS temple.
Editor's Note: As some of you know, Meridian was hacked into last week, apparently by Prop 8 opponents, and in the place of our content was placed a homosexual pornographic film.
I simply do not understand the hate coming from the gay and lesbian community. We did not event what a marriage is. That's as old as Adam and Eve.
I believe and support...
The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which reads:
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan.
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
A friend of mine sent this video.
This morning I had a strange dream. It was Veteran's Day and I wanted nothing but to go home. I was in a very bad neighborhood in the U.S. – a fictional city with a real name, to put it in 'dream' speak. I was threatened by a transient with an M-16. Someone killed/murdered him and cut off his head. It was horrifying and excessive. I tried to get a friend, who also happens to be one of the top executives of Oracle, to allow me to leave the area with him and his wife. He didn't see me. I was stuck in the very horrible neighborhood — the kinds of horrors and horrible ghettos which are only in dreams, at least to most of us. I "stole" a truck-like conveyance, then some cross county-type skis to get out of town. The people harassed me and chased after me. I took off running just to get home. It was a nightmare.
There are some Veteran's who have experienced things that I never have or likely never will. They indeed have demons. They've seen things – and others have done things – that are truly horrifying, though justifiable in war. Some of them are my closest friends, and they just want to come home. But the thoughts of their nightmarish experiences resurface again and again. They cannot run away, though they try. Their thoughts will always stay with them though they may physically be home.
God bless all those who serve. Those who haven't experienced fighting for freedom can never truly understand the gratitude of freedom and peace. It is the bane of warriors to keep us safe, and I cannot express my gratitude enough for them – my colleagues, my teammates, my friends.
...some of them didn't make it home, some of them never will.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I went on a full-time mission for my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in southern California. I served there for two years. I also lived there after my mission and volunteered as a temple worker at the L.A. temple.
A Google search reveals the threats pouring out against the church. Those who want homosexual marriages are attacking my faith since we stand for traditional marriages. Fortunately, many good people and institutions feel the same way we do. For instance, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento released a statement which began:
Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage — the union of one man and one woman — that has been the major building block of Western Civilization for millennia.
We live in interesting times...
Picture: Los Angeles Police Department officers guarded the Los Angeles Mormon Temple during a "No on 8" protest this past Thursday.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
That was from an article I read last week in USA Today. It caused the hairs on my neck to rise!
Interestingly, and thankfully, the gay marriage ban in California, known as Proposition 8, passed, according to the LA Times. It's a sign of tragedy, however, that the numbers were so close: 52% to 48%.
A close and trusted friend of mine rebutted my opinion by saying that one of his closest friends is a lesbian who lives in Mass. I have met and worked with several people of the gay and lesbian community, but I do not believe that the minority should rule. Most importantly, family is what matters most. The family -- a mother, a father and children -- is the fundamental unit of society and it should be strengthened as such.
Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth
There is increasing evidence that youth exposure to sexual content on television shapes sexual attitudes and behavior in a manner that may influence reproductive health outcomes. To our knowledge, no previous work has empirically examined associations between exposure to television sexual content and adolescent pregnancy.
Data from a national longitudinal survey of teens (12-17 years of age, monitored to 15-20 years of age) were used to assess whether exposure to televised sexual content predicted subsequent pregnancy for girls or responsibility for pregnancy for boys. Multivariate logistic regression models controlled for other known correlates of exposure to sexual content and pregnancy. We measured experience of a teen pregnancy during a 3-year period.
Exposure to sexual content on television predicted teen pregnancy, with adjustment for all covariates. Teens who were exposed to high levels of television sexual content (90th percentile) were twice as likely to experience a pregnancy in the subsequent 3 years, compared with those with lower levels of exposure (10th percentile).
This is the first study to demonstrate a prospective link between exposure to sexual content on television and the experience of a pregnancy before the age of 20. Limiting adolescent exposure to the sexual content on television and balancing portrayals of sex in the media with information about possible negative consequences might reduce the risk of teen pregnancy. Parents may be able to mitigate the influence of this sexual content by viewing with their children and discussing these depictions of sex.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Surely there's a special place in hell reserved for people like that.
It was the Lord himself who said: But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (New Testament | Matthew 18:6)
What greater offense than murder and abuse and torture of innocent little children?! The damnable practice of wholesale abortion and the unspeakable offenses of physical, emotional and sexual abuse is deplorable. No honorable person would be guilty of it. Such things must be stopped.
Occasionally, when caught in the very act of committing a heinous, felonious crime, law enforcement are legally allowed to use deadly force, if needs be, to stop it.
If I've ever had any qualms about why I teach people to kill other people, the thought just disappeared. As my buddy Matt Graham says, "The more effective you are at taking a life the more successful you will be in saving one."
God, save the children. Too many of them suffer.
I recall the words of one U.S. ambassador on an interview with NPR years ago. He spoke about the great conflict of the Hutus and Tutsis in Central Africa. He said he went to a hospital where he saw a young baby girl that had a bayonet stab wound to her genitals. What kind of barbarian would do such a thing?!
I recall the innocent baby I saw in ER when I was called to investigate suspected child abuse only three weeks before our first baby was born. The 3 month old baby girl had a cigarette burn on her cheek, her skull had 7 to 9 fractures. Her arm was broken as was both of her legs. I felt so sorry for her. She screamed and could not be comforted. Her two young parents just stood there. A specialist on child abuse was called in from a local department. He said that according to the wounds, someone took the baby by both legs and smashed her head several times into a hard object, like a table top or a wall or the floor. That's what broke both of her legs and gave her fractures on her tiny little skull.
I cannot help but think of the words of the late prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Gordon B. Hinckley. Years ago he had this to say. I can't help but to include the majority of it.
Why are men so vicious as to bring about the causes that lead to such terrible fratricidal conflict? Great, I believe, will be their tribulation in the Day of Judgment when they must stand before the Almighty accused of the suffering and destruction of these little ones. I am grateful for kind and generous people of many faiths and persuasions across the world whose hearts reach out in sympathy, many of whom give freely of their substance, their time, even their presence to help those in such terrible distress. I am grateful that we as a church have done much of significance, as President Monson pointed out last night, in sending medicines, food and clothing, and blankets for warmth and shelter to those who suffer so terribly, and particularly to children who otherwise most certainly would die.
Why should they suffer so much in so many places? Surely God, our Eternal Father, must weep when he sees the abuse that is heaped upon his little ones, for I am satisfied they hold a special place in his grand design. That place was confirmed when his Son, the Savior of the world, walked the dusty roads of Palestine.
“And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
“But Jesus … said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Luke 18:15–17).
How great is our responsibility, how serious the responsibility of Christian people and men and women of goodwill everywhere to reach out to ease the plight of suffering children, to lift them from the rut of despair in which they walk.
Of course such suffering is not new. Plagues of disease have in centuries past swept across continents. War has caused the deaths of millions who were totally innocent. Children have been bartered and traded; they have been used as tools by vicious masters; they have mined coal for long hours day after day in the dark and cold depths of the earth; they have worked in sweatshops and been exploited like cheap merchandise.
Surely after all of the history we have read, after all of the suffering of which we have been told, after all of the exploitation of which we are aware, we can do more than we are now doing to lift the blight that condemns millions of children to lives that know little of happiness, that are tragically brief, and that are filled with pain.
And we need not travel halfway across the earth to find weeping children. Countless numbers of them cry out in fear and loneliness from the evil consequences of moral transgression, neglect, and abuse. I speak plainly, perhaps indelicately. But I know of no other way to make clear a matter about which I feel so strongly.
One major problem is the now-common phenomenon of children bearing children, of children without fathers. Somehow there seems to be in the minds of many young men, and some not so young, the idea that there is no relationship between the begetting of a child and responsibility for its life thereafter. Every young man should realize that whenever a child is begotten outside the bonds of marriage, it has resulted from violation of a God-given commandment reaching at least as far back as Moses. Further, let it be known clearly and understood without question that responsibility inevitably follows, and that this responsibility will continue throughout life. Though the mores of our contemporary society may have crumbled to a point where sexual transgression is glossed over or is regarded as acceptable, there will someday be accountability before the God of heaven for all that we do in violation of his commandments. I believe further that a sense of accountability must at some time bear upon every man who has fathered a child and then abandoned responsibility for its care. He must sometimes stop and wonder whatever became of the child he fathered, of the boy or girl who is flesh of his flesh and soul of his soul.
The burdens that fall upon a young woman who alone must rear her child are unbelievably heavy and consuming. They are likewise heavy upon society through taxes levied to meet the needs of such children and their mothers.
In the United States “in the six years between 1985 and 1990, estimated public outlays related to teenage child-bearing totalled more than $120 billion. …
“Of unmarried teens who give birth, 73 percent will be on welfare within four years [that is almost three out of every four].
“In 1991 federal and state expenditures for aid to families with dependent children … totalled $20 billion plus administrative costs of $2.6 billion” (Starting Points: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Children, New York: Carnegie Corporation, April 1994, p. 21).
The obstacles facing children born and reared in such circumstances are formidable, to say the least.
The answer is straightforward. It lies in adherence to the principles of the gospel and the teaching of the Church. It lies in self-discipline.
Would that every youth might realize this and be governed accordingly. There would be so much less of heartache and heartbreak. Its importance cannot be overemphasized because the consequences are so serious and so everlasting.
I realize that notwithstanding all of the teaching that can be done, there will be those who will not heed and will go their willful way only to discover to their shock and dismay that they are to become parents, while they are scarcely older than children themselves.
Abortion is not the answer. This only compounds the problem. It is an evil and repulsive escape that will someday bring regret and remorse.
Marriage is the more honorable thing. This means facing up to responsibility. It means giving the child a name, with parents who together can nurture, protect, and love.
When marriage is not possible, experience has shown that adoption, difficult though this may be for the young mother, may afford a greater opportunity for the child to live a life of happiness. Wise and experienced professional counselors and prayerful bishops can assist in these circumstances.
Then there is the terrible, inexcusable, and evil phenomenon of physical and sexual abuse.
It is unnecessary. It is unjustified. It is indefensible.
In terms of physical abuse, I have never accepted the principle of “spare the rod and spoil the child.” I will be forever grateful for a father who never laid a hand in anger upon his children. Somehow he had the wonderful talent to let them know what was expected of them and to give them encouragement in achieving it.
I am persuaded that violent fathers produce violent sons. I am satisfied that such punishment in most instances does more damage than good. Children don’t need beating. They need love and encouragement. They need fathers to whom they can look with respect rather than fear. Above all, they need example.
I recently read a biography of George H. Brimhall, who at one time served as president of Brigham Young University. Concerning him, someone said that he reared “his boys with a rod, but it [was] a fishing rod” (Raymond Brimhall Holbrook and Esther Hamilton Holbrook, TheTall Pine Tree: The Life and Work of George H. Brimhall, n.p., 1988, p. 62). That says it all.
And then there is the terrible, vicious practice of sexual abuse. It is beyond understanding. It is an affront to the decency that ought to exist in every man and woman. It is a violation of that which is sacred and divine. It is destructive in the lives of children. It is reprehensible and worthy of the most severe condemnation.
Shame on any man or woman who would sexually abuse a child. In doing so, the abuser not only does the most serious kind of injury. He or she also stands condemned before the Lord.
It was the Master himself who said, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6). How could he have spoken in stronger terms?
If there be any within the sound of my voice who may be guilty of such practice, I urge you with all of the capacity of which I am capable to stop it, to run from it, to get help, to plead with the Lord for forgiveness and make amends to those whom you have offended. God will not be mocked concerning the abuse of his little ones.
When the resurrected Lord appeared on this hemisphere and taught the people, the record states that as he spoke to them, “he wept, … and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
“And when he had done this he wept again” (3 Ne. 17:21–22).
There is no more tender and beautiful picture in all of sacred writing than this simple language describing the love of the Savior for little children.
Of all the joys of life, none other equals that of happy parenthood. Of all the responsibilities with which we struggle, none other is so serious. To rear children in an atmosphere of love, security, and faith is the most rewarding of all challenges. The good result from such efforts becomes life’s most satisfying compensation.
President Joseph F. Smith said on one occasion: “After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all man-kind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman. One is universal and eternal greatness, the other is ephemeral” (Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, p. 285).
I am satisfied that no other experiences of life draw us nearer to heaven than those that exist between happy parents and happy children.
My plea—and I wish I were more eloquent in voicing it—is a plea to save the children. Too many of them walk with pain and fear, in loneliness and despair. Children need sunlight. They need happiness. They need love and nurture. They need kindness and refreshment and affection. Every home, regardless of the cost of the house, can provide an environment of love which will be an environment of salvation....
Save the children. Too many suffer and weep. God bless us to be mindful of them, to lift them and guide them as they walk in dangerous paths, to pray for them, to bless them, to love them, to keep them secure until they can run with strength of their own, I pray in the name of him who loves them so very much, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
We regret to inform you of your husband’s death. We know it comes as striking news to you, your family and loved ones. How tragic that men, and women alike, must depart from this life at such a young age. Our deepest sympathies and affections are extended to you and your family. We – and I especially – cannot begin to comprehend the grief and sorrow that you’ll experience within the next few days.
In this vocation lives of good men, like your husband, are put on the line to save others, and to better the society in which we must live. This means any small error can be costly. Our team failed to protect your husband, and together we will forever regret it.
We honored and revered your husband – our brother – in life; we wish to bequeath his memory in death. God bless you; may He remain with you and comfort you in your trials and loneliness.
We extend to you our deepest regrets and most sincere apologies.
That was a pseudo-letter I wrote at a Special Operations Response School (SORT) I attended many years ago. The letter isn't real, but the content is poignant and has validity. The letter meant even more to the operators on that training team whose teammate died the year before in an incident.
Last week, and this up-coming week, I get the privilege of working with several law enforcement and private security professionals, engaging in shooting and tactical training. I enjoyed speaking with some of them about various SWAT incidents and police shootings, and I've made some new friends in different parts of the U.S. and throughout various agencies.
My participation once again reminded me of the importance to train hard and train realistically. In a job where lives are on the line, it is imperative that those who train must to so to their utmost ability. There cannot be negligence or irresponsibility. And, those in charge of training must know their jobs well. You cannot draw water from an empty bucket. Continued training is imperative.
A couple SWAT commanders have asked me recently to assist in training their teams. If I could, I'd donate time, energy and literally millions of dollars to help my brothers and sisters in law enforcement. We sleep comfortably in our beds only because noble, brave sentries guard the night. They are the ones who stand between us and the criminals, crazies and cranks. To borrow the words of another, they do the things we're too afraid, too unskilled or too civilized to do for ourselves. We want to be protected, but we really don't want to see how it's done.
To all the unsung warriors in thankless jobs, to include their families who often bear the sorrows and frustrations of such a livelihood vicariously, thank you. Thank you.
Friday, October 24, 2008
I've thought about those days over four months ago now. There definitely was a transitional period for me when returning home from Iraq that was quite strange, but I feel great today. I'm back to my normal self. Studies show, however, that soldiers exhibit greatest problems between 6 and 8 months after deployment.
Today a law enforcement officer showed me a CCTV-taped video of a Marine back from Iraq who shot and killed two cops at a corner store. I guess some can lose the weight of anger and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or they can gain it, as the cited example suggests.
As far as our fifth baby goes (see picture below), did I mention she was the result of my very relaxing Caribbean cruise during mid-tour break? I suggested to a retired cop that such a trip is highly recommended. She replied that if pregnancy was the end result of a Caribbean cruise, she didn't want it. I enjoyed the humor.
Read the article Thirty Pounds Frustrated here.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
American lost over 200 military men in a deadly strike in Lebanon over 25 years ago today. French troops were attacked as well in a simultaneous explosion down the street. While there were a few car/truck bombs before that time, this attack was the proverbial harbinger. It would usher in the modern-day era and future of suicidal terrorist tactics. This attack would motivate bin Laden in a way that had not done so before. Mainly, because the U.S. pulled out of Lebanon after this fatal blow.
Today is a time for reflection and honoring those who've fallen. The War on Terror didn't happen on 9/11; it happened long before then.
Support for Prop 8 is Finally Moved
By Sandra Gonzales
10/22/2008 06:27:46 PM PDT
After San Jose residents Michele and Bob Sundstrom placed a Yes on 8 banner on their home, they found this sport-utility vehicle parked in front of their home Sunday with anti-Proposition 8 slogans painted on the windows.
At last, the SUV with the inflammatory slogans denouncing a San Jose family for supporting Proposition 8 is gone from Harwood Road.
"They came last night, washed the paint off and drove away," said Bob Sundstrom, whose family incurred the wrath of two gay-marriage supporters after the family hung a huge banner on their garage in favor of the ballot measure banning same-sex marriage. "What a relief, I'm happy it's gone."
Sunday, two women in a Chevrolet Surbuban drove up in front of the Sundstrom's home and painted their sport-utility vehicle's windows with slogans accusing the devout Mormon family of seven of being "bigots" and "haters."
So for the next few days, the Sundstroms were forced to reckon with the eyesore. Police told them the vehicle would be towed away if was not moved in three days.
Tuesday evening, however, one of the women whom Sundstrom recognized from the previous encounter showed up, washed off the slogans and then left in the SUV.
"She wasn't in the mood for conversation. It's obvious we weren't going to change each other's view," Sundstrom said. "She brought her own bucket to wash off the paint."
The SUV is registered to Mara McWilliams and Renee Mangrum, who married in 2004 when San Francisco began performing gay marriages. Neither could be reached for comment.
Even now, the entire episode still rankles Sundstrom.
"It astounds me that someone would do this," he said. "It's been quite a civics lesson for me and my friends."
I shot last night, and showed the technique to several others in the law enforcement/private security realm. The Graham method is a hit among anyone who knows anything about night or low-light shooting. I know because I showed it to guys who've been shooting for several years and they liked the Graham method best. Of course, this tiny blog entry doesn't give the Graham technique justice, and I don't plan on explaining it here. But, suffice it to say, Matt Graham is one of the best operators I've ever had the pleasure to work with. You can check out his website here.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children...
Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world.
Yes, I believe in angels. And, as the result of a Caribbean cruise my wife and I took when I was on mid-tour leave from Iraq, we were blessed with an angel in the form of a tiny baby girl a few days ago. Our life is extremely blessed.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
After speaking with a new lieutenant last weekend at military drill, I turned to a colleague and said, “That [conversation] made me feel old.”
“You are old,” he quipped.
“I think I’m just getting more mature,” I told my wife after she observed my hair (or the loss thereof).
“No, you’d have to act more mature for that to happen.” She smiled. I guess I’m not growing up, then. To be more precise, I’m simply growing old.
Earlier this week I heard the song, the good ship lollipop, or something like that. I can sing it. I can hear the song in my mind and envision a young, curly-haired, effervescent Shirley Temple dancing and singing on our old black and white television. Those were the days when we used knobs, not remotes.
Yesterday we bought a new vehicle. It talks to us; we can respond to her and she obeys. That’s quite amazing. There’s a DVD player for the kids, complete with remote, cordless headphones. Of course, the TV is all in color and has a surround sound Bose system. The rear view mirrors even readjust themselves when you back up. My wife is ultra happy. I told her it was her gift for cutting my hair all these years for free and giving me a whole quiver full of cute kids.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Anyway, it's a good day to me, even though I don't follow sports, when Brigham Young University does well -- handing UCLA its worst lost in nearly 80 years.
PS I also went to high school with a guy who was on the Olympic bomb sled team that won the Silver Medal at the Salt Lake games.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
With the recent running mate selections of both the Democrats, and more recently the Republicans, I feel a bit deflated. I was hoping McCain would pick Romney. But Romney would show him up. Nevertheless, the lady governor from Alaska seems quite up to the challenge. But frankly, I'm not thrilled of either Party's candidates. I suppose I will only base my vote not on whom I like more, but whom I would least like to see in the Oval Office.
If you've seen the old Richard Pryor movie Brewster's Millions, I feel like voting what his character suggested: Vote none of the above. I'm just not that thrilled about this election. We need a Ronald Reagan, an FDR, or a John Adams. But, on a lighter note, perhaps we need to write-in a candidate. Bill Cosby comes to mind.
With Cosby as President, we'd all probably laugh a little more. After all, laughter is, indeed, the best medicine.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Today, Sunday, while I fast and pray for my own purposes, I choose to quote his inspired words. I wonder what would be said today if a leading politician of our time were to make, as he did, such a proclamation. How would he (or she) be received?
John Adams' Proclamation of Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer (March 23, 1798)
As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed; and as this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty or of danger, when existing or threatening calamities, the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity, are a loud call to repentance and reformation; and as the United States of America are at present placed in a hazardous and afflictive situation by the unfriendly disposition, conduct, and demands of a foreign power, evinced by repeated refusals to receive our messengers of reconciliation and peace, by depredation on our commerce, and the infliction of injuries on very many of our fellow-citizens while engaged in their lawful business on the seas--under these considerations it has appeared to me that the duty of imploring the mercy and benediction of Heaven on our country demands at this time a special attention from its inhabitants.
I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens of these States, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming; that all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation, beseeching Him at the same time, of His infinite grace, through the Redeemer of the World, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us by His Holy Spirit to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction; that it be made the subject of particular and earnest supplication that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it; that our civil and religious privileges may be preserved inviolate and perpetuated to the latest generations; that our public councils and magistrates may be especially enlightened and directed at this critical period; that the American people may be united in those bonds of amity and mutual confidence and inspired with that vigor and fortitude by which they have in times past been so highly distinguished and by which they have obtained such invaluable advantages; that the health of the inhabitants of our land may be preserved, and their agriculture, commerce, fisheries, arts, and manufactures be blessed and prospered; that the principles of genuine piety and sound morality may influence the minds and govern the lives of every description of our citizens, and that the blessings of peace, freedom, and pure religion may be speedily extended to all the nations of the earth.
And finally, I recommend that on the said day the duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent thanksgiving to the Bestower of Every Good Gift, not only for His having hitherto protected and preserved the people of these United States in the independent enjoyment of their religious and civil freedom, but also for having prospered them in a wonderful progress of population, and for conferring on them many and great favors conducive to the happiness and prosperity of a nation.
Given under my hand and the seal of the United States of America, at Philadelphia, this 23d day of March, A. D. 1798, and of the Independence of the said States the twenty-second.
Friday, August 29, 2008
In an attempt to make up for what he lacks, charisma and spunk, or conversely what the Dems had with a minority and what the GOP lacked, he went overboard with the lady governor from Alaska. Who is she?
This might be a race closer than Gore's Florida gig. Then again, the Dems might just win it by a landslide. Either way, I think the Republicans just sank the ship. I'd like to hear the reasons why the pundits and strategists gave him that advice. Likewise, it would have been nice to have been in the meetings just prior to the big changes at Blockbuster video in the final quarter of 2006 when the CEO decided to compete with Netflix and do away with late fees. Any Joe Average could have told him those astronomical fees were Blockbuster's bread and butter. I could have told him!
And, what was the result? Millions upon millions of dollars in lost profit the first quarter of 2007, after the failed plan was implemented. Blockbuster video lost more money at that time than it ever had in its history.
So, what's the moral to the story?
First, sometimes change isn't good. Too often, I've witnessed new directors who want to leave their mark, but they do it the wrong way.
And secondly, too often there are sycophants (a.k.a. 'yes men') who'll agree with the dumb ideas their bosses impart just to get ahead.
Henry Ford said the secret of his success was that he surrounded himself with men more talented than himself...and he listened to them!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
While making ends meet and waiting for his job offer to start working for the Department of State with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Services, he lived away from his wife and daughter out of necessity. He is currently in training with the State Department and nearly finished.
His family is not allowed at training, which takes place in a couple of different states. So far, he's been separated from them since July 2007. He also went into the Inactive Reserve status or, as it's called now, the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) after leaving active duty. Last week he received a notice to report in September to go to Iraq with an Army Reserve unit, prior to graduating with his classmates or being stationed with the State Department in Miami.
When he told his wife over the phone that he had gotten orders to Iraq, she collapsed in tears. His daughter has a calendar marking down the days so when her daddy gets home he can take her to Disney World like he promised. Now, he can't. He'll be gone another year, at least.
He's not afraid to serve. He's willing to serve. He told me, "Just allow me to at least be a father and a husband again...at least for a little bit." He begs some time to spend with his family. I wish he didn't have to go at all.
If I hadn't gone through it myself, I wouldn't be writing this. Having experienced the pain, I can't help but write about it. Not many people know what it's like, but I now have first-hand knowledge.
My friend was told there are three more IRR-scheduled mobilizations over the next few months. This affects many, many lives and yet we rarely take the time to think about it.
...He was so young.
There's pathetic irony to live through war and drive the dangerous roads of Iraq only to die on the roadways in America. I've written about such things before here and in a moving story here.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
A new tell-all exposé reveals how senior politicians and military commanders incompetently ran operations to capture or kill Bin Laden.
The furor of American patriotism ran deep in the aftermath of the crumbling World Trade Center tower wreckage. Usama bin Laden sat in his Afghanistan cave smiling at the news. 3,000 killed, the Pentagon destroyed, United 93 evaporated, and two more planes smashed into lower Manhattan. While you and I watched news footage in disbelief and purchased American flags, there were others who went searching for the man responsible.
Dalton Fury led the way. His book, Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander's Account of the Hunt for the World's Most Wanted Man, by St. Martin's Press will be released in October.
The following information is given on the book's website:
In late November 2001 forty members of the U.S. Army's super secret counterterrorist unit known as Delta Force were sent to the Tora Bora Mountains in eastern Afghanistan to kill terrorist mastermind Usama bin Laden.
These Delta operators linked up with a handful of CIA operatives, Army Green Berets, British Commandos, Air Force Combat Controllers, and a few Tactical Signal Collectors to lead a small army of Afghan Muhjahideen against bin Laden and a thousand or so of his most dedicated al Qaeda fighters.
Do you have something to ask the author? Well, now is your chance to ask the retired senior Delta Force commander a question. Email your question to:
He'll compile a list of the top ten at the end of each month and post them on the book's website along with his answers. If your question is chosen, he'll place your name on a piece of paper and put it in one of the boots he wore in Tora Bora. Once a month, from June through September, he'll randomly draw a name. The four winners will receive a signed copy of Kill Bin Laden.
Finally, I’ve heard it straight from the mouths of other Delta Force operators how much they loathe Eric Haney, a former Delta operator who went public and wrote Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorism Unit. The TV series The Unit is based on Eric’s book and he serves as its tactical consultant.
With all the personal struggles Dalton must have faced and with some of his personal contacts who have blacklisted him (or who will), I’d rather take a kinder approach and say, “Good for you, brother. Your decision took A LOT of courage."
Sunday, August 3, 2008
You don't need to be or become evil to combat evil. It goes against laws of life and living to, for example, be amoral or immoral to stop immorality. No principle of civility gives way to uncivil manners or unprincipled precepts. It is impossible to be bad and good at the same time.
Or is it?
There is some bad in each of us. We all fall short of perfection; no one is perfect. There was only One who was perfect. But each of us can maintain perfection in certain aspects of our lives. For the modern-day warrior – those in military, law enforcement or private security – the question arises do I have to be bad to stop bad?
I again refer to my initial sentence: You don't need to be or become evil to combat evil.
A few years ago I published an article with www.SWATdigest.com that gained wide attention, and I even had a friend mention what I had written there yesterday after we went shooting. I believe it struck a chord with those who carry weapons for a living. I titled it, "The ethos and skill of killing." I will include it here for the reader with a few minor changes. Here it is. Enjoy.
At the tactical level you and I have had to make the conscious decision to kill, if necessary, in order to preserve life. A close friend of mine, Matthew Graham who owns www.trainingtargets.com and who invented the Combat Loop and Graham shooting Method for low-light shooting, created this profound statement. He likes to say something to the effect of, “The more effective you are at taking a life, the more successful you’ll be at saving lives.”
Saving lives is, after all, the purpose of special ops.
It is interesting to note that the motto of the U.S. Army Special Forces is De Oppresso Liber, or to liberate (or free) the oppressed; the U.S. Air Force special operations Pararescue jumper’s (PJs) motto is “That Others May Live”; and the motto of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team is Servare Vitas, Latin for “To Save Lives.” These mottos denote selfless service and love for mankind.
At the recent SWAT Digest Counter Terrorism conference held in July 2006, dynamic speaker Dr. Jason Winkle spoke, in part, on the moral and psychological justifications warriors need in order to win deadly force confrontations. Often the important aspect of religious or spiritual justification is not taken into the equation or it is meshed with the moral theory of “just war” or jus ad bellum. Warriors with a Judeo-Christian or otherwise “civil” heritage need not abandon the tenants of their faith.
Years ago at a military training exercise an Army Ranger told a group of us to “murder” all of the role players. At the right moment, I took the opportunity to confront his choice of words.
There is a serious difference between killing and murdering—not only legally, but religiously. Literally translated, the word for “kill” in the commandment Thou shalt not kill is the Hebrew word ratsach. Ratsach means to dash to pieces or kill, especially murder.
When I lived and worked in Israel long after that experience I didn’t learn Hebrew, but I did learn that there were other words for kill or put to death in the Torah and Old Testament, like katal or muwth. Yet these words were not used in the sixth commandment.
I believe that modern-day warriors, like those civilly and morally religious warriors of old, can have charity—or pure love in our hearts—and still act properly in the position of our duties. Although we despise the many actions of criminals and terrorists, we do not need to hate them personally, even against those persons who we may use deadly force to stop.
There is a tacitly dangerous feeling that pervades among law enforcement, the criminal justice system and the civilian population. We too often feel obliged to get seriously injured or have innocent people die before we feel fully justified to use deadly force. It is often legally and tactically unnecessary to pause or hesitate. This is dangerous. It is precarious. It is foolish and it could get us killed.
This philosophy of waiting beyond the last second—beyond the point of being justified legally and tactically—will turn potential winners into losers. And winning and losing here could be the difference between living and dying.
A friend of mine who spent many years in the German Spezialeinsatzkommando, SEK for short, told me several years ago about a pivotal moment in his life and career. His police special operations team responded to a barricaded situation in which the male suspect murdered his wife and dragged her bloodied, lifeless body into the basement. My friend, Thomas (I’m choosing to leave out his last name), was chosen by his team leader to take the shield/bunker, walk down the slippery blood-bathed wooden stairs and apprehend the suspect.
As he turned the corner at the bottom of the basement, Thomas saw the suspect holding a pistol to his own head. As Thomas walked toward the suspect, the man turned his gun and fired at my friend. Thomas instinctively fired back. Both of them missed. The suspect was apprehended after the veteran German tactical officer slammed the shield into him and wrestled him to the floor.
As Thomas told me the story I could tell that he had rehearsed the possibilities of what could have been a disastrous, fatal ending. The suspect, for instance, could have shot Thomas’ legs or exposed arm. Worst of all the suspect could have very easily wrapped his arm around the bunker and shot my friend.
Thomas rued his actions. He told me with all seriousness that next time he would not miss. I took it to mean that if he was ever presented with a similar situation, the suspect would receive multiple—and I would add, justifiable—lethal injuries.
Usually we come close to dying before we really decide to kill. We get lucky and live. We think next time I won’t hesitate or next time I’ll be more aggressive. What we fail to put into the equation is that there may not be an alibi. We may only have one chance to get it right. All of our training and experience boils down to a split-second decision that will undoubtedly come when we least expect it.
The more experience we gain, the less willing we are to take chances. But it doesn’t have to be that way. From the moment of tactical infancy to warrior adolescence we can make up our minds who will win the fight and how it will be won.
Self-Introspection and Preparation
We shouldn’t necessarily be eager to fight. Those who long for confrontation invite trouble. But we should be morally, tactically and psychologically ready for a deadly force situation. We must know the use of force well. We must be prepared, and this may mean combating any religious, spiritual, moral or psychological qualms about justifiable killing. We won’t have time to decide whether or not to use deadly force when that fateful moment comes.
Self-introspection and serious soul-searching should begin long before the police academy, but still there are too many officers who have rarely, if ever, gone there frequently enough. This cannot be avoided if an officer expects to win a deadly force confrontation. If we are not 100 percent ready and willing to kill—to aggressively use deadly force when warranted—then we are a danger to ourselves, our partners, our teammates and the community.
Societies’ protectors, regardless of individual religious beliefs, need to get prepared psychologically, emotionally, and morally in order to help win up-close deadly force encounters. This development, I believe, may also help those who get into a deadly force confrontation to function well socially and emotionally thereafter.
Ensure that you are more lethal than your enemy. (Note: He’s not an “opponent” if he’s bent on killing you.) Act with controlled aggression and violence of action. Believe in winning long before the “test”. (To achieve we must first believe.)
Finally, going back to the Counter Terrorism conference, John Giduck, author of Terror at Beslan, said that the motto of the Russian special forces group, Alpha, was: “If not me, then who?”
You are the warriors. We need you. You have what it takes. No one can take your place personally, and very few have what it takes to get and keep a job in law enforcement. You have the capacity to kill, if necessary, in order to save lives. Learn about it. Think about it. Prepare for it. Or it will prepare for you.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
PS I've never divulged any classified or Sensitive Security Information (SSI) and I never will. But, the nonsense must stop if we're going to keep innocent people safe!
I’m the former Federal Air Marshal (FAM) on the Drew Griffin CNN report on Anderson Cooper 360 last night. As a side note, I’m really not that bald. (Okay, I’m in denial.)
Anyway, on a more serious note, I can’t thank CNN enough. Bravo. Well done. I'm hopeful that things will change for the better within the TSA and the FAM Service.
For a portion of the story and trailer, click here.
For more Aviation Security blogs I write click on the link on the far left. (Note: I deliberately leave off the newspaper’s name so more Google hits will take readers there and not here to my personal blog.)
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
I'm also being interviewed later today with a radio station about my Avaition Security blog (another story altogether). Be sure to click on the link at the left every day or so for updates.
I guess for the radio, I can wear my flip-flops, eh?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I deliberately avoid mentioning the "major newspaper" I blog for because I want Google searchers to go to that link and not my blog. (Click on the Aviation Security link on the left.) Nevertheless, since writing about something shocking--literally--the W.T. blog link has had over 100,000 hits to that article alone. Naturally, some people visit this sight, my personal blog.
Here I get to write about whatever I want, to include occasionally mentioning my faith. I'm an American; and I'm completely grateful for my faith, my family and my country.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Glory is something that some men chase and others find themselves stumbling upon, not expecting it to find them. Either way it is a noble gesture that one finds bestowed upon them. My question is when does glory fade away and become a wrongful crusade, or an unjustified means by which consumes one completely? I have seen war. I have seen death, the sorrow that encompasses your entire being as a man breathes his last. I can only pray and hope that none of you will ever have to experience some of these things I have seen and felt here. I have felt fear and have felt adrenaline pump through my veins making me seem invincible. I will be honest and say that some of the things I have seen here are unjustified and uncalled for. However for the most part we are helping this country. It will take more years than most expect, but we will get Iraq to stand on its own feet. Most of what I have seen here I will never really mention or speak of, only due to the nature of those involved. I have seen a man give his food to a hungry child and family. Today I saw a hospital that most of us would refuse to receive treatment from. The filth and smell would allow most of us to not be able to stand to enter, let alone get medicine from. However you will be relieved to know that coalition forces have started to provide security for and supply medicine and equipment to help aid in the cause.
I have seen amazing things happen here; however I have seen the sad part of war too. I have seen the morals of a man who cares nothing of human life…I have seen hate towards a nation’s people who has never committed a wrong, except being born of a third world, ill educated and ignorant to western civilization. It is not everybody who feels this way only a select few but it brings questions to mind. Is it ok for one to consider themselves superior to another race? Surprising we are not a stranger to this sort of attitude. Meaning that in our own country we discriminate against someone for what nationality they are, their education level, their social status. We distinguish our role models as multimillion dollar sports heroes or talented actors and actress who complain about not getting millions of dollars more then they are currently getting paid.
Our country is a great country, don’t get me wrong on this, otherwise none of us would be living there. My point of this is how can we come over here and help a less than fortunate country without holding contempt or hate towards them if we can’t do it in our country. I try to do my part over here, but the truth is over there, United States, I do nothing but take.
Ask yourself when was the last time you donated clothes that you hadn’t worn out. When was the last time you paid for a random stranger’s cup of coffee, meal or maybe even a tank of gas? When was the last time you helped a person with the groceries into or out of their car?
Think to yourself and wonder what it would feel like if when the bill for the meal came and you were told it was already paid for.
More random acts of kindness like this would change our country and our reputation as a country. It is not unknown to most of us that the rest of the world looks at us with doubt towards our humanity and morals. I am not here to preach or to say look at me, because I am just as at fault as the next person. I find that being here makes me realize the great country we have and the obligation we have to keep it that way. The 4th has just come and gone and I received many emails thanking me for helping keep America great and free. I take no credit for the career path I have chosen; I can only give it to those of you who are reading this, because each one of you has contributed to me and who I am.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
A black female jazz singer sang a version of what has been called the “Black national anthem,” according to this article.
I don’t care if we have a black president or not; I care about WHO the president is.
I don’t care what color my neighbor is; I care about how GOOD my neighbor is.
The Star Spangled Banner has been switched and demeaned in the past. It has been switched up and sang with Spanish lyrics, different words, meaning and sound. That’s not right either!
I don’t care that my neighbors came from Mexico; I care if they’re here legally.
I just came back from Iraq. When I sang The Star Spangled Banner the first time after coming home, I cried. I wept so hard I couldn’t sing. I wrote about it here.
I fought side by side with my black friends and even a Cuban-American. I’ve been a police officer and have been helped tremendously by my African American partners. On the corollary, I worked in the most dangerous part of the city, which subsequently was predominantly black. So, I arrested several blacks, several Hispanics and several white people.
I don’t care what color you are or what language you speak; I care how you treat me and my family.
I’ve made wonderful friends in South Korea, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, England, Germany and all over the United States. Over ten of my cousins, nieces and nephews are adopted. They come from China, Tonga, and South Korea. I have a half-nephew who is Hispanic, and a niece who is black. So I don’t care about skin color.
I believe that while we are different, we all are created in the image of God. We might have different customs, cultures and looks, but we all have the same spiritual DNA.
But when it comes to singing MY national anthem, in the country I love most, I refuse to have anyone wrest or twist the lyrics, the words or the tune.
Francis Scott Key was on a ship trying to negotiate a release of several American’s who had been captured by the British. While on the ship he witnessed the attack against Fort McHenry. The hail of artillery was sure to destroy the men and their will, but it didn’t. The ramparts (or high walls) surrounding the fortress, still stood and the flag – the beautiful, wonderful American flag and all it stood for – still flew high come morning. It was that wonderful site which prompted Francis Scott Key to pen perhaps the greatest lyrics in all history, and in all the world.
In war, there is no color. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, know no color. We all speak one language. As Americans, and Americans in uniform, we’re all different and we’re all unique. Differences make America what it is – wonderful, beautiful, a land of great opportunity.
It was war that prompted Francis Scott Key to write those inspired lyrics. It wasn’t difference that bound the Founding Forefathers together to create the defiant and wonderful Declaration of Independence which we celebrate at this most incredible time of year. Nor was it separation that helped many of those same men to formulate the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Three American contractors were held hostage in Columbia for five years. They were brought home today. I wrote about before here. God bless the men and women who assisted in their rescue, and God bless America.
We’re more similar than we are different, and in war as in peace, we should forget color and language. We must be one. To be one – “one nation under God” – we must not abandon the tenants of our nation’s history. Yes, we must remember the Buffalo Soldiers and rue the terrible and horrible history of slavery, but we must also remember that our ancestors bound together to fight against British tyranny to establish this land of peace and promise.
So, don’t ever change those beautiful, inspiring and wonderful lyrics. Don’t mock America. We’re still one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Today I visited Arvydas. He looks so much worse than in his pictures. He couldn’t come to the door. All of his hair is now missing. He had bloody scabs in both ears and his hands are withered and scaly. He can’t open his hands or show his palms.
His muscles have atrophied and his skin condition looks much worse.
He has had some sort of stem cell transplant. We should know in 3-6 months if it takes hold or not.
Although Arvydas is not a member of my faith, I nevertheless asked him if he’d like to receive a priesthood blessing, an invitation which he accepted.
The priesthood is the authority to act in the name of God. It was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith in the 1800s and was passed from those holding the authority on to me and other devout and worthy members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today.
While giving the blessing, by the laying on of hands, I wept for my friend. Prior to the holy ordinance I told Arvydas that I had thought to offer him a blessing while struggling myself in
To the invalid begging alms in front of the temple at the gate Beautiful, the Apostle Peter, who held the same priesthood authority, declared, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk…and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”
Sometimes miracles happen. And yet if all ailments were immediately cured it would eliminate the need for faith. Sometimes our trials and ailments are our greatest assets and most worthwhile investments, though we wish they would disappear and ne’er return. Great blessings can come from great struggles and burdens. I believe I’ve changed for the better because of my pains, struggles, trials and burdens. Of greatest mention is a deeper desire to help others – a greater concern and love for all. The whole world could use more compassion and less war.
I’ve been back from
I love seeing the kids. I also love mowing the lawn and, yes, even grocery shopping. One friend exclaimed, “Well, if you like doing that so much, please come mow our lawn and do our grocery shopping.”
I laugh and smile more in
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
A letter sent to Mormon bishops and signed by church president Thomas S. Monson and his two top counselors calls on Mormons to donate "means and time" to the ballot measure. A note on the letter dated June 20 says it should be read during church services on June 29, but the letter was published Saturday on several Web sites.
Church spokesman Scott Trotter said Monday that the letter was authentic. He declined further comment, saying the letter explains the church's reasons for getting involved.
The LDS church will work with a coalition of churches and other conservative groups that put the California Marriage Protection Act on the Nov. 4 ballot to assure its passage, the letter states.
In May, California's Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, saying gays could not be denied marriage licenses.
"The church's teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the formation of families is central to the Creator's plan for His children," the four-paragraph letter states.
"We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to ensure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman," church leaders say in the letter. "Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage."
California Mormons - there are more than 750,000, according to a church almanac - have heard and heeded similar calls from their leaders before.
In 2000, a letter from the pulpit asked members to give time and money in support of Proposition 22, a ballot measure prohibiting California from legally recognizing gay marriages performed outside the state. It passed but was later struck down by the courts.
As a member of the LDS faith, I wholeheartedly endorse and support those efforts. It is disturbing to me that the voice of the people has not been heard above the shrill cries of a few. I served a two-year volunteer mission in southern California. Relatives were recently called to serve as mission President and matron of the San Diego temple.
I even have a gay friend who I grew up with that used to be active in the Church that now lives in California. While I love my friend, I do not believe his views of what a family is and should be are correct, assuming he is likewise on board with gay marriage.
No, I believe, as LDS Church doctrine states, that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."
And, moreover, we believe that "All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." Read more here.