“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.” – U.S. Supreme Court, Dobbs v. Jackson, June 24, 2022
The Judeo-Marxist Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, blew a gasket today in his reaction to the Supreme Court’s momentous overruling of Roe v. Wade. He shrieked:
“Today is one of the darkest days our country has ever seen.
“American women are having their rights taken by 5 unelected Justices on the extremist MAGA court.
“These justices—appointed by Republicans and presiding without accountability—have stolen the fundamental right to abortion.”
Imagine being so demon-possessed and enamored with murdering babies that you call today’s Court opinion a “dark” act that steals away human rights! Schumer is an enemy to the American People, the Constitution, and human Freedom. He is a mob-inciting revolutionary jackal that doesn’t care about your human rights or the future of America. He is an anti-Christ in word and deed.
Schumer is not alone. His fellow vipers in the hijacked and rotting Bolshevik corpse we call a government echoed his Devilish view. Deranged Nancy Pelosi slurred this response to the press:
“Today, the Republican-controlled Supreme Court has achieved the GOP’s dark and extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions. Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party and their supermajority on the Supreme Court, American women today have less freedom than their mothers. . . .
“This cruel ruling is outrageous and heart-wrenching. But make no mistake: the rights of women and all Americans are on the ballot this November.”
There is the word “dark” again. Pelosi, Schumer, and the other heartless imps who maniacally lord over us are so backwards that they literally advocate child murder and call pro-life supporters “dark” and “cruel.”
In solidarity with their government coconspirators, thousands of brainwashed people who, sadly, can vote, rallied in the streets and had a collective coronary. Women wept and wailed. Leftist politicians from Beijing Biden to Comrade Cortez to Gavin Newsom melted down and vowed open defiance to rule of law and our constitutional system. Democrat-occupied states like Illinois vowed to not follow the Court’s opinion. Radicals threatened to destroy the government, overthrow the Supreme Court, and burn cities. Revolutionaries promised a “night of rage” and rioting. Libsoftiktok perhaps summed up the feelings of the pro-infanticide crowd when they said they should “burn it all down.”
Among the many emotion-driven, logic-defying slogans I have seen plastered on the signs and shirts of pro-infanticide advocates in Washington today are the following:
“Why is a uterus more regulated than a gun?”
“Bans off our bodies.”
“Freedom is for every body.”
“Abortion is a human right.”
“This is a war on women.”
“Protecting abortion access is a Catholic value.”
“Abort the Supreme Court.”
“Abortion is freedom.”
These slogans demonstrate deep delusion and spiritual blindness. For instance, how is it a war on women to stop mothers and fathers from murdering their own children? How is it a war on women to guarantee the fundamental right to life that each person intrinsically possesses and that is proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence? How is it a war on women to say that states – in other words, the voters in the states – can now decide for themselves which abortion regulations they want?
Furthermore, is anyone truly so ignorant that they believe a woman’s uterus is more regulated than guns? When was the last time you had to undergo a background check or take a safety class before accessing, using, or operating a uterus? Do you have to go to a specifically licensed dealer to find a uterus? Is there a mandatory waiting period for uteruses? Are you prohibited from transporting a uterus across state lines? Of course not. In fact, these days, feminist “women” walk around in costumes of uteruses and wear vagina hats! How is their Freedom being restricted?
No one is restricting anything related to reproduction. Frankly, that’s the root problem. If women and men stopped copulating like dogs in heat with no self-control, reason, or free will, there would be no need to murder children. If they obeyed eternal law mandating that sex is reserved for men and women lawfully married, there would be no need for baby slaughter. If these hedonists were responsible individuals, they would not violate their chastity in the first place, but, in the second place, they would man up or woman up and become parents to the sweet little soul they chose to bring into their lives.
See, no one is forcing these baby-haters to have sex, nor is having sex a right. No one is putting them at “risk” of receiving the unsurpassed blessings of parenthood except themselves. If they don’t want to have children, no one is forcing them to procreate. Didn’t all those pornographic sex ed classes that government-controlled public schools force kids to endure teach them that babies are the result of sex?
Feminists, I don’t want to sound crass, but close your legs if you don’t want to “risk” pregnancy. If you voluntarily choose to engage in the one activity in existence that will potentially get you pregnant, you have no right to then destroy the life that results from your choice – the life of an independent boy or girl with their own body, their own rights, their own potential, and their own hopes and dreams. You have the right to choose, but you don’t have the right to determine the consequence of your choice.
Leftist writer Kara Voght went with this lying headline today: “Anti-Abortion Teens Dance as Women Lose Their Right to Choose.” Again, we come to this issue of choice and agency – the fundamental issue in all eternity. Who is forcing all these women to get pregnant? Who is forcing them to procreate? No one is forcing them! They are making conscious choices that have certain, specific, well-known results. It is a blatant lie to say that any woman had her right to choose taken away today. In fact, the American People were just gifted the ability to determine their state’s abortion laws. Is not this a “pro-choice” action?
Regardless of the science confirming the living personhood of children beginning at conception, the Declaration of Independence proclaiming a universal right to life, the Preamble to the Constitution declaring the purpose of government to be the protection of rights, the Supreme Court handing the ability to decide abortion to the People in their respective states, and the holy scriptures confirming the sanctity of life, the surly crowd in Washington is so enraged with reality, truth, and rule of law, that they are even now chanting: “We want abortion on demand.”
Instead of simply exercising self-control and discipline, these people choose to embrace hedonism, champion consequence-free lust, and demand the legally-protected sanction to kill their innocent offspring. Evil is the only word for it.
That brings us to the crux of this article. The ancient prophet Isaiah chastised those who call good evil and evil good. He warned against this practice and foretold the consequences:
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! . . . .
“Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 5:20, 24).
When our elected “leaders” publicly say that preserving innocent life is “dark” and “cruel” and that it strips us of our rights to defend the rights of another, we know we are living in the midst of prophecy. Isaiah was a prophet. He pronounced woe upon people like Schumer, Pelosi, and their coconspirators. He promised that the Lord Jesus Christ would not tolerate evil and violations of His law. History bears this out and America will reap the whirlwind unless she repents, changes, and embraces the eternal laws of truth and justice.
Fortunately, when the Supreme Court’s opinion was handed down today, it immediately “triggered” abortion bans or restrictions in thirteen states. Those states are: Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee. We will see if they stand their ground and enforce what they previously pledged. At least Missouri, Utah, Oklahoma, and likely others, have already formally put their laws into effect. Besides these states, thirteen others have laws restricting abortion, making the total twenty-six. Wisconsin, for instance, has now halted all abortions. I pray the number of baby-protecting will increase.
Unfortunately, I foresee the increase of chaos, hatred, and mobocracy, as I predicted in my article “What I See Coming.” Not long after Antifa thugs and Black Lives Matters Marxists burned down half the country, defaced historical monuments, and committed some three dozen murders, the same ideologically-compatible radicals have firebombed numerous pro-life centers, churches, and government offices. School shootings get the headlines, but are they honestly worse than Marxist radicals firebombing pro-life centers, churches, and government offices?
Jane’s Revenge is the name of one such Marxist group that has taken credit for the vandalizing and destruction of pro-life centers. They are calling for a “night of rage.” In a statement issued prior to the formal opinion being released, they said:
“This is an event that should inspire rage in millions of people who can get pregnant . . . and yet, the response thus far has been tepid.
“We have agonized over this apparent absence of indignation. Why is it that we are so afraid to unleash hell upon those who are destroying us? Fear of state repression is valid, but this goes deeper than that.
“. . . We need to get angry.
“We need the state to feel our full wrath.
“We need to express this madness fully and with ferocity. We need to quit containing ourselves.
“We need them to be afraid of us. . . .
“The time to act was decades ago. The next best time is now.
“Whatever form your fury takes, the first step is feeling it.
“The next step is carrying that anger out into the world and expressing it physically.
“Consider this your call to action.
“On the night the final ruling is issued——a specific date we cannot yet predict, but we know is arriving imminently——we are asking for courageous hearts to come out after dark.
“Whoever you are and wherever you are, we are asking for you to do what you can to make your anger known. . . .
“To those who work to oppress us: If abortion isn’t safe, you aren’t either. We are everywhere.”
Classic Marxist drivel. Sadly, it isn’t talk. These people are serious, conniving, and capable of evil. If you can murder an innocent child and call it “freedom,” you are capable of anything.
Jane’s Revenge joins the company of radical organizations like the terroristic Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Communist Party USA.
A few days ago, the Jewish-Masonic ADL called the pending opinion racist, said it would be a violation of religious Liberty because some religions (like their own Zionist Judaism) don’t believe in life at conception, claimed it would have negative “ripple effects on the economy,” alleged it would make people “vulnerable to bias and discrimination,” and said that people would be “prevented from making their own reproductive choices and exercising decision-making autonomy.” Total fear-mongering, anti-American claptrap as usual.
The Southern Poverty Law Center likewise today said:
“[T]he U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey is no less disgraceful – one that should deeply alarm Americans who care about our most fundamental rights. . . .
“As we know, this decision to overturn the rights acknowledged in Roe v. Wade, a precedent that has been in place for almost 60 years, is the culmination of a powerful, concerted movement to ensure that politicians control women’s bodies. It should be noted that some senators who voted to confirm the three justices nominated by former President Trump – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – now say they were misled during the confirmation process. . . .
“Today, we are outraged about this decision from the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority.
“We mourn – and gear up for action.”
A group called Scotus 6 has now released the private details and addresses of the six so-called “conservatives” and called for protests at their homes. Have we forgotten that a leftist would-be assassin was arrested outside of Justice Kavanaugh’s home? This is the kind of “action” that these radical groups are demanding. They want blood.
The Communist Party USA released a statement decrying the overthrow of Roe, saying:
“The Supreme Court decision surely ranks high among the worst, anti-human decisions in its history such as the Dred Scott decision of 1857 or Plessy v. Ferguson of 1896. . . .
“Like the 19th-century justices, today’s right-wing Supreme Court has determined that certain people, in this case women and trans men, are even less equal than they were before the court ruled on June 24. . . .
“Today we mourn this horrific setback. Tomorrow and beyond, we organize. Everywhere — in our communities, unions, schools, places of worship, and workplaces. We must help build a backlash against the Right, one in the same spirit as the women who rebelled after Trump’s election and helped take the House of Representatives away from the GOP in 2018; the millions who marched for Black Lives after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others; and the teachers, auto workers, and nurses who went on strike these past four years.
“As big as these movements were, the current situation demands a much larger movement, one that’s more inclusive, broader, more militant. Civil disobedience is in order. . . .
“We also mean inclusiveness in terms of tactics. Some may only be willing to make phone calls to their elected officials. Some may want to work in the electoral arena to vote out anti-abortion politicians. Others may demonstrate and engage in civil disobedience and risk arrest. All tactics are on the table.”
One of those tactics is violent revolution. This is what the Revolutionary Communist Party called for today in a statement titled: “The Supreme Court Ruling Overturning Roe v. Wade Is ILLEGITIMATE! We Need Resistance and Revolution!” It said in part:
“The highest court in the most powerful – and vicious – country in the world has ruled that the states can force women to bear children against their will. . . .
“The highest court in the land has essentially stripped women of legal status of full human beings. These religious dictators have made a leap in their enforcement of a lunatic vision of a Christian-fascist America. Forced motherhood is female enslavement!
“Can we tolerate the fact that ALL women and girls now face being treated and legally classified as nothing more than breeders for men and a male supremacist society? . . . .
“Right now everyone with any decency or heart needs to pour into the streets. Right now anyone who cares about the future needs to say: NO! THIS DECISION MUST NOT STAND! WE WILL TAKE TO THE STREETS AND PUT OUR BODIES ON THE LINE TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
“Do not swallow your anger. Do not let your righteous fury be doused, or your fighting spirit corralled. There are millions and millions who feel that way—now they must go into the streets. And you must play a role in that—coming into the streets and being part of rousing others.
“. . . The truth is, something is wrong WITH America. The oppression of women—which has just gone to a whole other level—along with the history of slavery, genocide and war that still manifests today in a million ways—is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism.
“We could get beyond that system with its horrific and destructive ways of doing things. Today the basis exists to wipe out exploitation and poverty, to lead and unleash people to go to work on uprooting all forms of oppression and their terrible legacy, to begin to tend to and, yes, heal the environment and prevent the catastrophic future that now looms in on us. But not without uprooting the exploitative and oppressive system that has given rise to this madness and cannot do without it.
“Right now, America is coming apart, with the rulers themselves fighting over how to run their system. One side of these rulers is fighting for something terrible: an outright Christian-fascist form of rule. And they are on the offensive.
“But we don’t have to—and for humanity’s sake, we cannot—accept any of this! The fact that this crisis is so huge and that society is split from bottom to top means that things that have basically remained the same, for decades, can radically change in a very short period of time. And we don’t mean decades from now, either; things are heading toward either a radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive resolution of this crisis, or radically emancipating revolutionary one, quite possibly in the next few years.”
Marxists don’t believe in letting history happen – they want to give it a push. They will be the ones who carry on this “split” in society. They will be the ones who conduct the violence, chaos, and rioting. They are the ones already calling for revolution in the streets.
The Communist Party USA, to say nothing of its more rhetorically violent counterpart, is an illegal party that was banned during the Cold War, but which no one has ever had the manly courage to expunge from existence. Accept this truth: Communism must die before America can rise. The longer treasonous groups like the Communist Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, and Jane’s Revenge are allowed to exist and spread their hate, division, and threats against our constitutional system of Freedom, the longer our nation will remain in grave peril.
Less overtly revolutionary bureaucratic types have also threatened revolutionary action. Doddering Marxist Congresswoman Maxine Waters, for instance, breathlessly threatened mass protests while raging: “To hell with the Supreme Court. We will defy them.” Think of the hypocrisy! Isn’t the Biden regime currently persecuting innocent Americans for protesting the brazen election theft and ratification of the political puppet president on January 6th 2021? Perhaps we should haul Maxine Waters before a tribunal.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul chimed in and said that today’s opinion is an example of “extremism” and called it “repulsive at every level.” She also pledged: “Access to abortion is a fundamental human right, and it remains safe, accessible, and legal in New York.” Traitors like Hochul don’t care what the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, or natural law say – they have sworn themselves to the destruction of human life and our God-given rights.
On the West Coast, California, Oregon, and Washington have launched a committee to act in a coordinated way to protect so-called “reproductive rights.” The respective governors of these three deteriorating states made outlandish comments such as the following by Governor Gavin Newsom:
“The Supreme Court has made it clear – they want to strip women of their liberty and let Republican states replace it with mandated birth because the right to choose an abortion is not ‘deeply rooted in history.’ They want to turn back the clock to a time when women had no right to make decisions about their own bodies, when women had to seek care in the shadows and at great danger, when women were not treated as equal citizens under the law. This is another devastating step toward erasing the rights and liberties Americans have fought for on battlefields, in courthouses and in capitols. This is not the America we know – and it’s not the California way.”
What’s the difference between Gov. Newsom’s comments and those made by the Communist Party? All these traitors use the same language, share the same ideology, and wage the same war against human dignity, God-given rights, and rule of law.
Dear reader, we are witnessing a massive sifting. This sifting has been occurring for a while, but it has been expedited during the Coronahoax lunacy. This ruling will further speed up the relocation of brainwashed people to communist-occupied states and good folks to states that have a chance at restoring Freedom and becoming pockets of sanity, Liberty, and light in a dark country.
Yes, the wheat and tares are being separated (Matthew 13:24-30). We now have the express opportunity to vote with our feet – and at the ballot box – to show which side of the right to life we fall on. If we find ourselves on the side of baby-killers, we join ourselves to the group of those the Lord condemned in these words: “he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:36). If you find yourself on that side, you stand against the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the wise men who wrote you, against the American tradition, against natural law, and against nature’s God.
To close, I want to cite a few lines from the Court’s decision today. As you read them, consult your conscience and ask yourself if it is really so unreasonable or if protecting life justifies rioting and revolution. If not, then you know where you must stand. This comes from the syllabus:
“Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives. . . .
“. . . In interpreting what is meant by “liberty,” the Court must guard against the natural human tendency to confuse what the Fourteenth Amendment protects with the Court’s own ardent views about the liberty that Americans should enjoy. For this reason, the Court has been “reluctant” to recognize rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution. . . .
“Guided by the history and tradition that map the essential components of the Nation’s concept of ordered liberty, the Court finds the Fourteenth Amendment clearly does not protect the right to an abortion. Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right. Until a few years before Roe, no federal or state court had recognized such a right. Nor had any scholarly treatise. Indeed, abortion had long been a crime in every single State. At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy and was regarded as unlawful and could have very serious consequences at all stages. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions. By the time the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy. This consensus endured until the day Roe was decided. Roe either ignored or misstated this history, and Casey declined to reconsider Roe’s faulty historical analysis.
“Respondents’ argument that this history does not matter flies in the face of the standard the Court has applied in determining whether an asserted right that is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution is nevertheless protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The Solicitor General repeats Roe’s claim that it is “doubtful . . . abortion was ever firmly established as a common-law crime even with respect to the destruction of a quick fetus,” 410 U. S., at 136, but the great common-law authorities—Bracton, Coke, Hale, and Blackstone—all wrote that a post-quickening abortion was a crime. Moreover, many authorities asserted that even a pre-quickening abortion was “unlawful” and that, as a result, an abortionist was guilty of murder if the woman died from the attempt. . . .
“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. The Court overrules those decisions and returns that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
Here are several excerpts from the main body:
“For the first 185 years after the adoption of the Constitution, each State was permitted to address this issue in accordance with the views of its citizens. Then, in 1973, this Court decided Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113. Even though the Constitution makes no mention of abortion, the Court held that it confers a broad right to obtain one. It did not claim that American law or the common law had ever recognized such a right, and its survey of history ranged from the constitutionally irrelevant (e.g., its discussion of abortion in antiquity) to the plainly incorrect (e.g., its assertion that abortion was probably never a crime under the common law). After cataloging a wealth of other information having no bearing on the meaning of the Constitution, the opinion concluded with a numbered set of rules much like those that might be found in a statute enacted by a legislature.
“Under this scheme, each trimester of pregnancy was regulated differently, but the most critical line was drawn at roughly the end of the second trimester, which, at the time, corresponded to the point at which a fetus was thought to achieve “viability,” i.e., the ability to survive outside the womb. Although the Court acknowledged that States had a legitimate interest in protecting “potential life,” it found that this interest could not justify any restriction on pre-viability abortions. The Court did not explain the basis for this line, and even abortion supporters have found it hard to defend Roe’s reasoning. One prominent constitutional scholar wrote that he “would vote for a statute very much like the one the Court end[ed] up drafting” if he were “a legislator,” but his assessment of Roe was memorable and brutal: Roe was “not constitutional law” at all and gave “almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”
“At the time of Roe, 30 States still prohibited abortion at all stages. In the years prior to that decision, about a third of the States had liberalized their laws, but Roe abruptly ended that political process. It imposed the same highly restrictive regime on the entire Nation, and it effectively struck down the abortion laws of every single State. As Justice Byron White aptly put it in his dissent, the decision represented the “exercise of raw judicial power,” 410 U. S., at 222, and it sparked a national controversy that has embittered our political culture for a half century. . . .
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”
“The right to abortion does not fall within this category. Until the latter part of the 20th century, such a right was entirely unknown in American law. . . .
“Stare decisis, the doctrine on which Casey’s controlling opinion was based, does not compel unending adherence to Roe’s abuse of judicial authority. Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.
“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives. “The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations, upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 979 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part). That is what the Constitution and the rule of law demand.”
While I disagree that this is a state issue (because it touches the fundamental human right that is the very purpose of government to protect), it is nevertheless a thorough refutation of the flimsy façade of Roe v. Wade. Thank the God of Heaven that many more of His precious sons and daughters will now have a chance to come to earth to work out their own salvation!
Abortion is nothing but child sacrifice. It is Satanic and has been openly proclaimed by The Satanic Temple as a Satanic sacrament. It was anciently a demonic religious ritual. It is a grisly and dastardly act of supreme brutality and seething darkness.
The abortion scourge has, in America alone, killed approximately double the number of people killed during World War II. Today’s opinion doesn’t end the killing, but it will restrict it and will give the American People a chance to show what they are made of – whether they care about God-given rights or not. God help us use our agency more wisely than we have hitherto!
I sincerely pray that good Americans will hold the line and stand up to be counted when the issue is raised in their state. If you are in a state that doesn’t care about the rights proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, get out quickly and relocate nearer to true patriots. It’s time to draw your line in the sand and mean it. Reject the dark and embrace the light. Let today’s opinion – a sure step in the right direction – steel you for the fight. It’s just getting started.
Zack Strong, June 24, 2022
Read more of my content on abortion and the depopulation agenda below:
On most heated issues, from gun rights to abortion to drugs, you inevitably hear someone raise the issue of federal vs state jurisdiction. Accordingly, I devote today’s article to answering the query: What is federal and what is state? After explaining the principles, I will specifically discuss the issue of infanticide (aka abortion) in this context.
In all honestly, my work is already done. The Constitution generally, and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments specifically, have already defined state and federal jurisdictions. I consult the Ninth and Tenth Amendments first. The Ninth dictates:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
And the Tenth Affirms:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
As the best university professor I ever had used to put it, these amendments mean, from the point of view of the Founders: “If we forgot anything, these cover it.” And so they do.
In all honesty, could it be any clearer? These two amendments tell us that everything not explicitly enumerated, listed, and spelled out in the body of the Constitution as a federal matter, belongs properly and of right to the People and the states or local municipalities representing them.
It is a simple concept. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, marveled that anyone could hold an interpretation that the federal government could assume any powers except those which were specifically listed. Said he:
“[W]hen an instrument admits two constructions the one safe, the other dangerous, the one precise the other indefinite, I prefer that which is safe & precise. I had rather ask an enlargement of power from the nation where it is found necessary, than to assume it by a construction which would make our powers boundless. our peculiar security is in the possession of a written constitution. let us not make it a blank paper by construction. I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty making power as boundless. if it is, then we have no constitution. if it has bounds, they can be no others than the definitions of the powers which that instrument gives. it specifies & delineates the operations permitted to the federal government, and gives all the powers necessary to carry these into execution. whatever of these enumerated objects is proper for a law, Congress may make the law. whatever is proper to be executed by way of a treaty, the President & Senate may enter into the treaty; whatever is to be done by a judicial sentence, the judges may pass the sentence. nothing is more likely than that their enumeration of powers is defective. this is the ordinary case of all human works. let us go on then perfecting it, by adding by way of amendment to the constitution, those powers which time & trial shew are still wanting” (Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas, September 7, 1803).
If our “construction” of one part of the Constitution would make null and void, or “blank,” the other portions, then it is to be disregarded. If anything other than what is explicitly or obviously and logically intended is admitted, it would mean “we have no constitution.” The point of our Constitution is to “specify” and “delineate” what the federal government is “permitted” to do and where its authority ends.
“To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless.
“It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.
“It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. It is known that the very power now proposed as a means was rejected as an end by the Convention which formed the Constitution. A proposition was made to them to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower them to incorporate. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons for rejection urged in debate was, that then they would have a power to erect a bank, which would render the great cities, where there were prejudices and jealousies on the subject, adverse to the reception of the Constitution.
“The second general phrase is, “to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers.” But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase.”
The logic is unassailable. There is no point in even having a written Constitution if any branch of government can do whatever it wants. What is the point of a Constitution if it doesn’t mean what it says and if it doesn’t empower federal representatives of the People from carrying out the delegated powers? If the national government can assume powers at random and at will, or contrary to those gifted in the charter, why even have a Constitution at all? Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on Jefferson’s word alone; the Ninth and Tenth Amendments comport completely with Jefferson’s strict interpretation.
The point of enumerated powers – the point of the Constitution – is to spell out in plain English what government can and cannot do. The Constitution was a tight circle drawn around government over which it could not justly, legally, and morally cross. The Bill of Rights was a set of “thou shalt nots” aimed at the government to prevent abuses, tyranny, and overreach. It was also designed to safeguard the rights that the People, through the states, had reserved exclusively to themselves and had not delegated to their elected representatives.
The text of the Constitution is rather plain regarding what each branch of the federal government is allowed to do. Depending how you break up the clauses, Congress, for instance, has about 19 powers delegated to it. None of them says: “Congress may do whatever it wants” or “Congress may overstep its authority in a crisis” or “Congress may decide for itself what its powers are.” Instead, those powers are narrowly defined for them. They include the powers to declare war, tax for specific purposes, maintain a navy, and operate a postal service. Very pointedly, there are no delegated powers that involve charity, healthcare, redistribution of wealth, education, foreign aid, disease prevention, surveillance of the nation, etc.
Furthermore, when congressmen take office, they raise their hands to God and swear with a solemn oath that they will not violate the Constitution, but will uphold and honor it. Why bother requiring such an oath if the Constitution is unspecific and vague or if elected representatives may do whatever they want anyway? The oath would be self-defeating and unenforceable if there were no enumerated powers and specific expectations, limits, and restrictions.
“But what about the ‘general welfare’ clause?” some ask breathlessly. This was covered in Jefferson’s quote earlier. The clause simply means that the federal government may employ the power necessary to carry out its delegated duties. If the American People delegated and entrusted something to Congress, then Congress has the right to carry out or enforce that thing. It does not delegate extra, unknown, or vague powers and prerogatives to the government. It is certainly no mandate for the government to do as it pleases so long as it can be construed as being “for the welfare of the People” or “for the greater good.” Such is always the rationale of ravenous totalitarians.
America was designed to be different. Unchecked power was done away with in 1776 and formally staked through the heart when the Constitution was ratified by the American People. On the ashes of rule of men, the People erected rule of law and self-government. Instituting limited governments defined and bound by written constitutions was to be the way forward.
These constitutions were compacts of the People, issued by them with their consent, and carried out by elected representatives chosen by them and holding their offices and limited powers at their pleasure and will. As long as the Constitution remains, the totalitarians have no just claim on power in the United States of America. Yes, they may seize it or a sleepy population may surrender their birthright, but tyranny has no just, legal, or moral claim here.
What, then, are states’ rights and which matters belong entirely to them? Frankly, it would be fruitless to attempt to list them all. Suffice it to say that everything that is not explicitly delegated to the federal government or logically a part of the nature of government in accordance with natural law is reserved formally and explicitly to the states or to local communities within them. It is that simple.
This balance between federal and state jurisdictions is called federalism. The National Center for Constitutional Studies has explained federalism like this:
“Widely regarded as one of America’s most valuable contributions to political science, federalism is the constitutional division of powers between the national and state governments. James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” explained it this way: “The powers delegated.to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.” And Thomas Jefferson emphasized that the states are not “subordinate” to the national government, but rather the two are “coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government.” Since governments tend to overstep the bounds of their authority, the founders knew it would be difficult to maintain a balanced federalism. In fact, that was one of the central issues raised by the state ratifying conventions as they met to decide whether to approve the new Constitution. Responding to this concern, Alexander Hamilton expressed his hope that “the people will always take care to preserve the constitutional equilibrium between the general and the state governments.” He believed that “this balance between the national and state governments forms a double security to the people. If one [government] encroaches on their rights, they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by [the] certain rivalship which will ever subsist between them.” However, the opponents of the Constitution strongly feared that the states would eventually become subservient to the central government. Madison acknowledged that this danger existed, but he predicted that the states would band together to combat it. “Plans of resistance would be concerted,” he said. “One spirit would animate and conduct the whole. The same combinations would result from an apprehension of federal [domination] as was produced by the dread of a foreign yoke; and the same appeal to a trial of force would be made in the one case as was made in the other.””
This outwardly complicated, overlapping system confuses foreigners who are not used to it and who have never been properly educated in federalism or constitutionalism. It even confuses many Americans who have been “educated” in the Marxist public school system. Yet, the idea is simply that the general government is limited to specifically delegated and listed powers, held temporarily at the discretion of the People, and that the People retain the rest of their rights and powers over which the federal government has no say.
In The Federalist No. 51, James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” explained the paramount reason why federalism should be adopted:
“In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself. Second. It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.”
Notice that the states were supposed to rein in the federal government, as demonstrated by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, but, also, the federal Constitution was supposed to check state power when it became abusive. Both had legitimate authority over the other when it came to injustice.
I illustrate one failure of Madison’s idea of federalism that is a black mark on American history – one that applies to our present discussion. On October 27, 1838, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of Missouri signed the infamous “Extermination Order” against members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The order stated: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and exterminated or driven from the State if necessary.” Militias, acting on the governor’s authority, subsequently drove the Latter-day Saints from their property and homes in the dead of winter and murdered several of the fleeing group.
I ask you, was this correct, constitutional, or moral? No! It was a hellish atrocity. It was attempted genocide not only in actual fact, but in name. Yet, when Joseph Smith, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with President Martin Van Buren in Washington to appeal for the federal government’s help, Van Buren said there was nothing he could do and that he would come into confrontation with the state of Missouri if he got involved. Incredibly, the Senate judiciary committee likewise declined to act, stating that Congress and the federal government had no authority in the matter because of so-called states’ rights and recommended Joseph Smith appeal to the courts in Missouri – the same state which had just signed an order for his and his followers’ extermination!
Do you agree with Van Buren’s and the Senate’s take on the Constitution? Let’s put it in modern terms and see what you think. If California issued an expulsion and extermination order against Muslims, claiming they were a threat to its security, would that be constitutional? No! It would not only be a violation of due process, but of every principle of justice upon which America was founded. It would be an affront to the notion of “pursuit of happiness,” property, and so forth. Yet, this is what happened in Missouri in 1838 and which was permitted by Van Buren’s regime because they believed in a false notion of states’ rights that minimized the Constitution and spat upon the natural law as expounded in the Declaration of Independence.
Because of this massive affront to the Constitution, which declares itself “the supreme Law of the Land,” Joseph Smith and his followers demanded the protections guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. Many had become perverted in their view and believed that the Bill of Rights somehow did not apply to the states. Earlier, I described the Bill of Rights as a list of “thou shalt nots” aimed at government. That applies to all levels of government – not just to the federal government.
How idiotic would it be if we restrained the federal government from restricting free speech or taking guns or arresting us without a warrant, but then allowed states to do precisely that! What point would the Constitution serve if states could simply override it? And what does the phrase the “supreme Law of the Land” mean if it is not to be understood literally or if the Constitution has no jurisdiction in the states?
It was only after the Civil War that the Bill of Rights was fully applied to the states and that state governments were prevented from abusing their citizens. Had the true spirit of the Constitution and of Freedom resided in Van Buren’s heart, he would have promptly ordered federal troops into Missouri to stop the heinous expulsion and extermination. That would have been his duty under the Constitution.
This understanding of rights and constitutional protections is crucial. If we discard it, we discard everything. Without this fundamental understanding, we could have no federalism, no Constitution, and no security for our God-given rights.
The Preamble to the Constitution states the purpose of all those enumerated powers and of federalism itself:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The Constitution is designed to secure Liberty and natural rights, not deprive people of them. Which people? All people. These natural rights include, but are not limited to, those noted conspicuously in the Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we acknowledge what seems obviously, that the Constitution and Bill of Rights protect these natural rights and prevent all government from interfering with them, one more criterion needs to be discussed – implied powers.
The term “implied powers” is frequently appealed to by those who wish to empower government, expand bureaucracy, and trample rights. It is used to imply exactly what Jefferson rejected – the notion that government can do as it pleases for the so-called “general welfare.” There is only one type of “implied” anything that is relevant, and it really isn’t implied so much as its connection to the Constitution is misunderstood or ignored. I speak of duties and rights so logical, basic, and self-evident that they didn’t need to be explicitly recorded; that is, the right of life, Liberty, and property.
For decades, the Declaration of Independence held legal weight in the courts. This is indisputable. It was and is the nation’s first law. It is the first of the so-called four “organic laws” of the United States. Though some courts today discount the Declaration as a legal document, it was once used widely by the courts and is still sometimes referred to today in court opinions. It was the foundation that the American nation was built upon and it cannot be rejected lest the entire structure collapse.
I want to hammer this point home. The first line of the Declaration states that it is the voice of the American People and assumes the same prerogatives and rights of a nation. The Declaration of Independence was also voted on and unanimously approved by the first government of the United States; that is, by the duly chosen delegates of the respective thirteen states sent to the Continental Congress. It was then ratified by the voice and subsequent actions of the People. It became binding by default and everyone acknowledged the validity of the right to life, Liberty, and property.
“The role of the Declaration of Independence in American law is often misconstrued. Some believe the Declaration is simply a statement of ideas that has no legal force whatsoever today. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Declaration has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the fundamental law of the United States of America. “The United States Code Annotated includes the Declaration of Independence under the heading “The Organic Laws of the United States of America” along with the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance. Enabling acts frequently require states to adhere to the principles of the Declaration; in the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, Congress authorized Oklahoma Territory to take steps to become a state. Section 3 provides that the Oklahoma Constitution ‘shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.’”
The Declaration clearly stated that life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, among others, were natural rights given by the Creator and superseded man-made government. These rights were declared to be “self-evident,” or, to quote Jefferson’s rough draft, “sacred and undeniable.” Furthermore, similar to the Preamble to the Constitution, the Declaration states that the entire purpose of government is to protect these natural rights and that no government that interferes with them is legitimate:
“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 of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Isn’t this clear language? Can’t we justly assume that the U.S. government, as well as the state governments, were created pursuant to this Declaration and were intended to secure, among other God-given rights, life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? It would be insane not to make this connection and to deny the fact that our forefathers – including those in government and the court system – formerly believed as much.
The Founding Fathers did not suddenly discover rights in 1776 – they existed from time immemorial and preceded either the British empire, the colonies, of the United States. Samuel Adams proclaimed the following in 1772:
“Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.”
The Declaration of Independence was revolutionary, but not entirely new. American patriots acknowledged and cherished these same rights for generations before they were codified. Devotion to life, Liberty, property, and self-defense predate our War for Independence.
The Declaration of Independence was, in a sense, the prologue to the Constitution. Without it, no one can have a complete understanding of the Constitution and the latter would have little moral force and no higher focus and purpose. This was the correct contention of Larry P. Arnn in his book The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It.
In that worthy text, Arnn explained the revolutionary nature of the Declaration, its fundamental basis, and why its principles are indispensable to any competent understanding of constitutional law and government purpose:
“The Declaration of Independence does not read like a document from this world of kings. It hardly reads like a document from any particular world at all.
“The first words of the Declaration are, “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people . . .” This does not mean now, in North America in 1776, where killing has broken out between a long-settled government and the people. It does not mean the room in Philadelphia where the signers are gathered. The Declaration does not refer to any particular place. It does not mean those particular signers, either. It does not mean the people who elected those signers. The Declaration does not begin with any reference to those who write and ratify it, or to the nation they are forming. . . .
“But what about this beginning, which is so abstract? The beginning treats these events not as something special or unique but as something that occurs “in the Course of human events.” Soldiers who do brace acts are often shy about discussing them: “Anyone would have done the same.” “I was very frightened, and I acted by instinct” . . . This modesty of the opening of the Declaration is rather like that. Its signers are at the crisis of their lives, and they begin by placing it in context. . . .
“Having established that the situation is not without precedent, the Declaration turns to the standard according to which one must act in such situations. That standard is the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Established in these laws is the principle of equality, first for people, who are entitled to a separate and equal station under these “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Also, each individual person is similarly entitled. This is established by a “self-evident” truth, that is, a truth whose proof is contained in the terms of the truth itself. If you know what a man is, you know that he is created equal. According to this self-evident truth, all men are “created equal,” and “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” among which are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The purpose of government is to secure these rights.” This is the only reason stated why government is “instituted among Men.” In all cases, government derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed.”
“These principles are not mere abstractions. They are introduced into a concrete situation, a situation established in a long history that includes the elevation and fall of Sir Thomas More and of the Duke of Marlborough, the high station of George III and his ancestors, the titles and privileges and courtesies of the court. These “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” are therefore necessary to the situation. It is obvious that the Revolutionaries cannot appeal to the laws of Great Britain; the purpose of the document is to throw off those laws. It is obvious that they cannot appeal to their own opinions or wishes, unless they are megalomaniacs. Only of God can it be said that His will constituted a rule to all peoples, in all places, and at all times must obey. The Founders needed a law as universal as circumstances the law is supposed to cover. They needed a law applicable in all nature. . . .
“If particular things have a nature, and if things in general have a nature, one can see how one might think that there are rules in nature. The rules would be the combination of the particular nature of each thing and the grand way that things work. These are the rules suggested by the expression the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” . . . .
“The essential similarity among humans may be harder to see when they are standing together, their differences manifest. It is easier to see when they are compared to something else. Such a comparison is right there in the Declaration of Independence, and we have already mentioned it. God is named four times in the Declaration. We can consider another human being both excellent and powerful, but we are not likely to think him the Creator, divine Providence, or the Supreme Judge of the World. . . .
“The distinction between man and God, on the one hand, and man and beast, on the other, underlies our political arrangements and has often emerged as the explicit basis of our policy. . . .
“The necessity of government by consent is written, therefore, in the fact of human equality. That is also the basis for limited government. The very reason we have constitutional rule has to do with the fact that we are neither angels nor beasts, but in between the two” (Arnn, The Founders’ Key, 43-58).
The Declaration of Independence is the foundational document of the American nation. It is our first law. It set forth the thesis of Americanism. It laid down the principles which every future generation should live by and could invoke in its own situation. It declared that rights exist, that they come from God, that they are immutable, that they supersede all government, and that any government that violates those rights is illegitimate and may be – and should be – overthrown.
The Declaration talked about the equality of men. Equality, in a Marxist sense, is utter nonsense. We are equal in God’s eyes and in the eyes of just laws, but in no other way. Equality is not sameness. Men and women are different. Races have different traits. Individuals are stronger, faster, bigger, smaller, skinnier, better, worse, richer, more industrious, more honorable, more charitable, wiser, less intelligent, more talented, more capable, etc., than each other.
However, God created all of us. At birth, we each receive an inheritance of Liberty and free will which no government can rightly, justly, morally strip us of. These are natural rights – rights which no government has authority over. The purpose of government is to safeguard natural rights. Period.
This is the fundamental understanding that our Founding Fathers had. This is the context in which they wrote the U.S. Constitution and formed our great nation. They spelled out that if government ever overstepped these “self-evident” bounds, the People had not only a right, but a solemn duty, to abolish or change that government.
I now want to apply what we have learned today to the abortion debate. The Supreme Court is gearing up to potentially release an opinion that would not exactly overturn Roe v. Wade, but which would allow the states to decide for themselves. I think this is repugnant to the spirit and meaning of both the Declaration and the Constitution.
First in the list of rights declared to be self-evident, and which government is duty bound to protect, is life. Some among us repeat “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” without really thinking about it. If we believe these are rights, then how can we permit abortion? If life is a right, how can government, which is created for the purpose of securing our rights, deny that right to millions?
There is little difference between the atrocious institution of slavery and the infanticide of tens of millions of unborn men and women (in fact, more blacks have been destroyed through abortion than slavery in this country). Both deprive the individual of “life” in any meaningful sense. Without Liberty, life is meaningless. Without Liberty, there is no ability to pursue happiness. Before you can have Liberty or pursue happiness, however, you must have life. Without life, you have neither Liberty or happiness.
Those who support the life-destroying scourge of abortion are enemies to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and America. This is not just another “political issue”; it is a defining principle dealing with the fundamental, natural, God-given rights of individuals. This is a right and a wrong as much as there is a right and a wrong about slavery, genocide, free speech, or the right of self-defense.
The U.S. government was created to defend natural rights, including the right to life. This is not the job of the states, though the states should be a secondary defense if the federal government neglects its duty. This is a federal, or national, issue. The federal Constitution, not the individual state constitutions, is the supreme law of the land. If the federal government has no jurisdiction to defend life in the states, then, in all honesty, please tell me why we even have national government and a constitution.
The Declaration of Independence, which declared our right to life, was written by the representatives of the whole People. It is as good as gospel law for Americans. Remember what the Founding Fathers said in the Declaration, that if ANY government falls short of its mandate to secure the rights of life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to its people, it is despotic and must be altered or abolished.
The feminists, liberals, and socialists who pretend to care about “equality” and Freedom are lying hypocrites if they reject an innocent human being’s right to live – the most fundamental of all rights and a necessary step in the equality process. If we are all equal, if no group is supposed to have greater privileges than another, and if the natural rights proclaimed in the Declaration and Bill of Rights supersede governmental authority and cannot be violated by individuals, state governments, or the federal government, then how can anyone rationalize abortion?
What say does the unborn child have in his own life or over his own body? I though the mantra was “my body, my choice.” What say does the child have in the matter of his right to life? In complete seriousness, has anyone asked the little human being if he or she wants their body torn apart and their brains vacuumed out by a heartless medical butcher with the consent of his unfeeling mother? Were that same child to be born, sometimes mere minutes later, he would have an explicit, legal, and constitutional right to life, yet being inside the womb somehow allows his life to be snuffed out.
No one has a right to summarily end another human being’s life. A person may forfeit their right to life by taking the life of another person or committing treason or some heinous crime that violates the rights of another person, but, barring these exceptions, the right to life is to be held sacrosanct. This brings up the argument of when life beings. Yet, it’s not a serious argument at all. The science is settled. The science is irrefutable. The biology is clear, settled, firm, and unshakable.
Science has conclusively shot to high hell the Satanic notion that babies are mere “clump of cells” with no cognizance or that life begins at any other time than at conception. Scientifically, religiously, logically, mortal life begins only at conception and at no time after that. It doesn’t begin at 6 weeks, or 15 weeks, or 30 weeks. It doesn’t begin when the body comes out of the womb. It begins at conception and no serious scientist refutes this. If we admit that life begins at conception, it follows that life must also be protected from conception.
I repeat that the right to life is a right guaranteed by the Declaration and the Constitution. The Declaration explicitly champions the right to life and the Preamble to the Constitution explicitly states that its purpose is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” If babies do not have a right to life, then we older human beings don’t either. It either applies equally to everyone or it’s not a right.
Roe v. Wade is a bastardization of law, Liberty, and logic, to say nothing of conscience and morality. It is a demonic violation of the most fundamental of all God-given rights guaranteed by our founding documents. The judges usurped power, concocted a “right” out of whole cloth, and stripped young human beings of their implicit right to life.
The executive branch, Congress, and the states had in 1973, and have today, not only a right, but a duty, to reject Roe v. Wade and to champion the right to life. Today, the president could take a leaf out of President Andrew Jackson’s book and overrule Roe, declaring it his sworn duty to protect life. This moment, Congress could announce that Roe is null and void, rightly saying that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds. Right now, any state in America could throw out abortion and defend life, invoking the natural rights of life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In America, we don’t take out principles from the courts, we take them from the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and they took them from natural law and the Bible. In America, polls and popularity don’t decide policy, law, or rights. It doesn’t matter how many feminists screech and howl or how many Antifa thugs march through the streets, the right to life is sacred and has been codified by U.S. law since 1776.
Defending Freedom is not a states’ rights issue; it is a human issue. Specifically, the right to life is one of the big-picture problems that the nation as a whole must face and must collectively solve. Life is a federal/national issue that the states do not have exclusive purview over, but one in which they may ratify, support, and confirm the People’s national representatives in safeguarding.
In all seriousness, dear reader, if the Constitution does not encompass the right to life, being one of the most fundamental rights, then what is its purpose? The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and I submit to every rational mind that it authorizes its agents – those who raise their arm and swear to uphold it – to defend, protect, and preserve life. Abortion is a blatant violation of eternal law, natural law, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and science. It is human sacrifice. It is evil and must be stamped out.
If the Supreme Court refuses to undo Roe v. Wade, eternal shame on them – and eternal shame on all government representatives and citizens at all levels who are too cowardly to stand up for the right to life. If the high court attempts to make it a state issue, they have abdicated their duty to uphold the Constitution and show their own cowardice. At least, if protecting life becomes a state issue, half of the nation will rise to the challenge and create pockets of life and Liberty. Sadly, however, the plague will not end, divine judgements will not be averted, and the Declaration of Independence and Constitution will slide further down the totem of importance.
As with life, so with any issue – government is designed to secure Liberty equally to all. When big issues are involved that impact humanity generally, the federal government has jurisdiction, such as in times of war or ensuring republican forms of governments to citizens in every states. These issues are usually explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. When something is not specifically stated therein, and if it is also not stated in the Declaration or in the “self-evident” precepts of natural law, the authority rests with the People acting in their individual states to decide.
Life is a fundamental human issue and is not a state issue. However, if the federal regime and its hijacked courts refuse to use their delegated power to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” then the People, acting either through the states or by themselves in their sovereign capacity, have the right and duty to alter or abolish their government and provide new forms and guards to secure their God-given natural rights. May we finally enforce the Declaration and truly champion life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
*This is directed toward the ladies, but many of the principles I discuss also apply to how husbands treat their wives*
I have witnessed, and experienced, how some women treat friends, co-workers, and complete strangers better than they treat their own husbands. I suspect most of them have never thought of their behavior in this way. Consequently, I want to shine a needed spotlight on this relationship-destroying flaw and encourage wives to devote themselves more fully, passionately, and submissively to their husbands.
First, let’s start with appearance. A first impression is usually formed, at least in part, by our physical appearance, grooming, and clothing. Our outward appearance says a great deal about the things we value, how we see ourselves, and how we view others.
Ladies, think of your life and ask yourself a simple question: “Do I dress nicer for my friends, co-workers and strangers than I do for my husband at home?” Doubtless, your answer is yes and, doubtless, many women would retort: “Well, yeah, of course I dress up to go out, but I’m not going to dress up at home!” I would respond: “Why not?”
Think of it, you women spend so much time and effort dolling yourselves up, doing your hair, plucking this or that, and making yourselves fancy for people who are less important in your life – a boss, for instance. Many of you, however, let your hair down, throw on some sweats or shorts, and wash off your makeup when you get home; that is to say, you let yourself go when you are around your husband.
Alternatively, you might never do yourself up at all during the day if you stay home, thinking it unnecessary. In your mind, dressing up and looking good is only for being outside the home or for “special” occasions, implying the time with your spouse is less valuable and less special.
Maybe you feel extra comfortable around your husband and feel that lounging with him and never going out of your way to be visually appealing is no problem. If both of you are fine with that, then more power to you (though, truth be told, a lot of guys would prefer to see you looking neat and stylish even around the house, though they would probably never tell you so to your face). However, ask yourself a couple more questions.
First, ask: “When my husband arrives home from work, does he see me at my best?” If not, then ask: “Doesn’t my husband deserve to see me at my best?” In all honesty, why should you be better-dressed for your boss, your co-worker, your friend from high school you are meeting for lunch, or random people in public than for your husband?
Don’t misunderstand; you don’t need to wear high heels, a retro rockabilly dress, classy jewelry or a beautiful choker, styled hair, and neat makeup all day. Then again, I personally think that’s an absolutely adorable and attractive style. This high-class style helps accentuate a woman’s natural femininity. The point, however, is to consider whether you make more of an effort to dress up for the world or for your husband. If the former, then you might need to change what you’re doing.
When you were dating your now husband, did you let yourself look like a slob around him? Probably not. During courtship, you likely went out of your way to freshen up before you would see him, fix up your hair before a date, or put on something nice to impress him. What about now? Do you still try to impress him? Do still try to look your most gorgeous around him? Do you even make an effort at all to be his bombshell wife that he’s proud to have on his arm?
Making an effort to look desirable, well-kempt, and attractive will keep alive an element of passion, induce more respect and decent behavior in both you and your spouse, and will make you feel better. Physical appearance is not everything, but it’s a palpable way to show your investment in your relationship, your respect for your spouse, and your enduring desirability.
More important than appearance is attitude, mindset, and maturity. I refer specifically to femininity. Being feminine is only partially about your physical appearance, dress, and grooming. Rather, it is a mindset and a way of living. It’s the substance of womanhood and the thing that draws men to you like a moth to a flame. It is, in all likelihood, one of the reasons your husband was attracted to you to begin with and is, whether he says it or not, a quality he wants to see you nurture, display, and perfect.
As I wrote in my piece “A Girl Worth Fighting For,” femininity refers to appearance, certainly, but more to an inward quality unique to women; a quality that attracts men:
“Why is it that men are drawn to women of this sort; women who embrace their femininity and wear skirts, dresses, and other ladylike apparel? I believe that this style is attractive precisely because skirts and dresses set women apart as women. Men are inherently attracted to women. It’s in our microchip. People of both genders have the innate desire to cleave to one another (Genesis 2:24). It’s a godly impulse. Thus, to sharpen and strengthen that impulse by outward attire is positive and beneficial, whereas blurring those divine lines is destructive and disconcerting.
“A woman who habitually wears men’s clothing, participates in men’s activities, and acts like “one of the guys,” loses something precious. She diminishes, in a degree, her inherent femininity and a part of that which, by divine design, makes her attractive. Again, this is not to say that women who play basketball, spend time around men, or do something outdoorsy or physical, are bad people, foolish, or corrupt. Yet, women who spend their time competing with men and trying to be like them lose that edge God has given them – their divine femininity.
“However, the heart of the woman is more important than whether she occasionally wears pants or plays sports. It’s trumps skirts and long hair. The purest form of femininity exudes from within. It bubbles up in the form of charm, wit, allure, vivaciousness, and a type of unique light or energy that men simply can’t duplicate – and often can’t resist. . . .
“Femininity is a virtue and a strength. It is a gift and a talent. It has a very real power to entice, inspire, uplift, brighten, and persuade. Any woman who has mastered the art of femininity, both in dress and behavior, is a cut above the rest and is worth fighting for as only men can.
“When you combine virtue, submissiveness, and femininity together in one, you see the image of a real woman emerge. Unlike the counterfeit version offered by feminism, this blend of virtues is true empowerment. It’s the substance of real womanhood. It’s what causes good men to fight, risk their lives, and even die in foreign wastelands. It’s what prompts men to feats of strength and great exertions of character. It’s the thing that persuades men to raise their chin, square their shoulders, and work harder. Ironically, it’s the very thing that makes us become the sort of men women love and desire.”
Wives, do you behave and act in a feminine way around your husband? Did you when you were dating? I tend to think you probably did, even if you didn’t do it overtly or consciously. If you did act more femininely when you were dating, why not now? Should you put your best foot forward in the rehearsal or in the main event? Also, if you have drastically changed your behavior since tying the knot and have become less feminine or less of what you were before, you have to ask whether you were dabbling in false advertising during courtship or if your loss of femininity happened through carelessness.
It seems that women generally behave womanlier and more femininely when they are dating, but become more hardened, crass, and sloppy when they get married; as if it was all an act meant to catch a mate instead of who they really were. If you are in the same boat – even if this has happened unconsciously and was never your intention – you can course correct, embrace your natural femininity, and recapture your husband’s heart.
Becoming more feminine around your husband will produce magical effects. Perhaps not immediate effects, but palpable and lasting ones that will move your relationship in the right direction. It will show that you still care about him, that you respect him enough to look and act nice for him, and that you are still the high-quality woman he thought he was marrying.
Part of having a feminine attitude is being deferential, dutiful, and humble before your husband. Notice what I did not say. I did not say that being feminine is being a slave, a servant, or a voiceless, mindless, dependent “doormat.” Strong men want strong women, but not the unruly “strong and independent” type Hollywood and the Marxist-feminist movement promote. The strength we desire, honor, and crave is the confidence you show in your own femininity, your willingness to be submissive and trusting, and the respect and loyalty you show to us as men, husbands, and heads of households.
Being submissive to your husband shows far more strength of character and will power than being rebellious, back talking your man, or doing everything yourself. Any petulant, selfish, egotistical woman can behave like that and live her own “independent” life her way without regard to another person. It takes a stronger woman, a humbler woman, a more confident woman, to willingly submit to, respect, and live well for a man. That voluntary submission and willingness to work on yourself, go out of your way to tidy yourself up, and to express loyalty, love, and attentiveness in a hundred little ways, is what is so endearing.
Let me now draw more contrasting comparisons to work or public life and home or marriage. For you working women, do you defer to your boss, doctor, or priest? If not, you would probably be fired. Then why not also defer to your husband? Who is more important to you? Who besides God stands in a position of more importance in your life?
If you are a stay-at-home wife, which is awesome and preferable, do you listen to and receive counsel from your husband? If not, why not? What is stopping you? What is holding you back from truly trusting him and becoming his first officer?
Ladies, if your boss asked or told you to do something, would you back talk? Would you toy with him? Would you give him the run around? Would you give him some lip or sass and question his authority? Would you rebuff him? Would you ignore him? Of course not! Yet, the same woman who wouldn’t dare ignore or disobey her boss often has zero problem challenging, rebuking, or back talking to her husband. In all seriousness, ladies, isn’t this backwards and wrong? Why does your husband occupy a lower level on your totem of respect?
If your husband asks something of you, do you do it or do you shrug your shoulders and consider it to be optional? What about if your boss asks you to do something? Try shrugging your shoulders and ignoring him the next time he makes a request and see what happens. If you don’t expect your boss to tolerate insubordination and unruly behavior, why should your husband have to tolerate and endure it at home? If anything, you should be more willing to work harder, more promptly, and more enthusiastically when your husband makes a request than when your boss does.
Think more deeply about the language you use. Would you use the same insulting, sarcastic, dismissive language you use with your spouse with your boss or your friend or your dentist? Do you yell, get short with, or roll your eyes at, your store clerk, your co-worker, or your doctor? If not, then consider whether it is better to show respect to a boss, friend, lawyer, doctor, etc., or to a spouse.
Women have a unique ability to calm down, placate, and soothe angry, exhausted, or brooding men. Yet, there’s little in this life more grating and repugnant than a quarrelsome woman who raises her voice, yells, and demeans with her words. It’s not right when a man does it, but it is positively unnatural and noxious when a woman does. Ladies, if you wouldn’t dream of going around in public ranting, screaming shrilly, or dismissively treating those you meet, why would you ever do any of these things to the man you say you love – the one you have voluntarily chosen to be with for the rest of your life?
Part of the reason why we don’t treat each other as civilly as we should is the fact that modern life is so constructed as to prevent spouses from spending the maximum amount of time together. When life gets busy, husbands and wives only spend a few short waking hours together. Even on a normal day, the bulk of your time is spent at an office, factory, or away from home, spouse, and family. Is this conducive to growing positive relationships? Of course not!
People in general also lack emotional intelligence (normal intelligence, too). We are living in a state of arrested development. An argument can me made that men suffer from this malady more since women are jumping ahead in getting degrees, earning higher grades, and other factors I deem irrelevant. However, in my own life experience and observations at universities and in society, it’s the ladies who lack emotional intelligence.
Without any doubt, women are weepier than men. Women often lack the same fortitude as men and quit difficult things more readily. This perhaps shines a light on why over 80% of divorces are initiated by women. When the going gets tough, they get going; they don’t have the character to see it through or the willingness to do those things that would help their relationship most.
Recently, I read a great statement from one Jon Sole on The Tradwives Club Facebook page that said: “A marriage without a head is chaos and a marriage with two heads is a monster.” This is not only true, but profoundly so.
From the beginning, women have played a crucial support role in the home. While the man is the head of the home, the woman is the heart. Both need each other to function, but each has a different function. A heart trying to do the brain’s job is a failure because it wasn’t designed to be a brain. Instead, it was designed to be a heart and can do that job better than a brain ever could.
The same is true in marriage. This is why it is so critically important to understand the proper roles of men and women and to acknowledge, accept, and embrace God’s marriage dynamic as illustrated in the scriptures. If women understood their proper place in the home, they would not rebel against it as much, find as much cause for complaint, be as unhappy, or be susceptive to feminist propaganda that tries to paint them as victims of oppression. And if men understood their role, they would likewise be better leaders, more attentive, and more effective.
The Christian writer Charlotte Maxfield explained a solution to marital conflicts. She addressed herself to wives who feel the need to be “independent” and who don’t want to, or can’t bring themselves to, truly trust their husbands and follow the Lord’s Plan for marriage:
“The solution I suggest to you for overcoming your problems in marriage and bringing peace to your family is exactly what Paul commanded: Submit to your husband in everything! [Ephesians 5:22-24]
“It’s crazy, you say? It can be done, and I’ve seen it accomplished many times. The changes and blessings it brings are so great that I can hardly express the difference. I have seen several hundred women accomplish it in their lives and as they relate the results of their change in behavior and the reaction within their whole family, their happiness brings tears of joy to your eyes.
“Can you dare to do it? Have you the courage and faith? What have we really got to lose that is of eternal importance? . . . .
“Don’t allow yourself to have hurt feelings. It is a sign that you are not truly dedicated yet, and are indulging yourself in childish self pity and it is a form of rebellion against him. If you have displeased him, just honestly tell him that you are sorry and that you’ll correct it. When you really mean it, he’ll know by your actions and respect and worship you for it. . . .
“Your single and most compelling desire is to obey and please him 100%. As you do this you’ll never have to worry about yourself again: your needs, wants, or welfare.
“The women who have succeeded in this attitude have found that their husband has become even more confident and manly, more fully accepting of his authority and the responsibility for the welfare of everyone’s needs. Soon, before she even realizes that she has a need, he has provided for it. . . .
“I know that there are some women who might read these things and the idea of complete submission sends chills of agonizing fear into their hearts, but I have heard fear referred to as lack of faith. In order to succeed in this challenge you must believe that your husband is good. It is frightening to place yourself at the mercy of someone else, but you will find that it will become the most glorious dedication of your existence. The two of you shall reach such realms of exalted joy in your lives together that you will finally begin to know what “home – a heaven on earth” really means. . . .
“Let me talk to the woman who might tend to feel that she wouldn’t dare to obey everything her husband tells her, because he isn’t perfect and therefore doesn’t have the right. This kind of woman is usually manipulative. Though she’s deathly afraid to admit it to herself, others can see it. She may be the kind of woman who has been unconsciously looking down on her husband in self-righteousness, and treating him like a child who is not permitted to grow into complete manhood. Such a woman will often laugh at such an approach to her future happiness and try to find some logical reason why she couldn’t possibly do it. This justifies her failure to commit herself. It is easier to condemn something as foolish, impractical, faulty, and ridiculous than it is to say, “I haven’t the humility or faith to do it,” or “I’m scared.” Remember, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Gen. 3:16) Some women would like to erase that from the scriptures, but I don’t think that our Father in Heaven could have made it more clear.
“The only reason a woman will look for an excuse to rationalize or justify her behavior is because she is defending her inside self who is frightened of the truth and afraid of having to humbly dare to change.
“You must have faith. It is difficult to believe that any man who is entrusted with the welfare and safety of a loving woman who has completely sacrificed all her selfish desires and wishes and pledged her undying obedience unto him would ask such a submissive and delicate possession to commit sin. If he did, I feel that the sin would be upon his head, if she were obeying God’s law. And I cannot believe that any of our husbands are that corrupted.
“You must have faith in him and in yourself, and in God – that He will bless your sincere efforts. I believe that He will answer you beyond your most vivid imaginings. Ask, knock – for His greatest desire is to have heavenly marriages. Remember that you and the Lord are an “invincible team.”
“After all, isn’t that what the Lord is asking of you? He has commanded us to place nothing before Him in importance. . . .
“Well, are you willing to set aside your pride? Are you willing to obey God’s law? Can you willingly obey the head of your home as a similitude of your love for your Savior as Eve did? You know what your husband can become, but only if you will cease to resist and fight him. Your pride may be the only thing which is stifling his spiritual growth into what he can become.
“Is there any price too great to pay for this promise? If we are to become worthy of this tremendous reward, we must practice and grow now. We must take those few frightening babysteps with faith and courage and humbly pray to the Lord to guide us. I have faith that He will.
“Great blessings are in store for you if you can now give life to the words and beliefs you have merely been giving lip service to all these years” (Charlotte S. Maxfield, “A Husband – To Have and To Hold,” in Duane S. Crowther and Jean D. Crowther, ed., The Joy of Being a Woman: Guidance for Meaningful Living By Outstanding LDS Women, 198-202).
After reading this, how do you evaluate yourself? Do you rationalize and justify slighting your husband, disrespecting him, or disobeying him, or do you faithfully, joyfully, proudly jump into your role as his wife? Do you fight against your husband instead of fighting together side by side with him? Do you nitpick at your husband’s flaws as a way to deflect from your own? Do you give your husband the benefit of the doubt or use his imperfections as an excuse to undermine, accuse, or disobey him? Are you stunting your spiritual growth and womanly potential because you refuse to adopt a feminine, submissive, humble heart?
Mrs. Maxfield is correct when she says that men respond to the way women treat them. Let’s face it, if a woman does not value her husband, he won’t care as much about his own appearance and actions. He should care for himself regardless and can’t blame anyone else for his behavior, but that’s an ideal, not reality. The reality is that the way a woman chooses to respect or disrespect her husband has a powerful influence over him.
Maxfield is right when she says that a man will live up to the high standards you have for him. If you accept him at a low level, what’s his motivation to improve? Give a man a lofty goal and a clear quest and he will move Heaven and earth to accomplish it. If you have a low opinion of your husband, and, worse, if you make it clear to him that you have a low opinion of him, then he won’t achieve the greatness that he’s capable of. Again, the way a woman responds to a man’s leadership will often decide the course of that leadership in the future.
The author is also right that a real man will not abuse your trust. That doesn’t mean he won’t make mistakes or fail in life at times or in decision making, but it means that he will sincerely appreciate, cherish, and honor your submission, your loyalty, and your devotion. It makes us rise to the challenge when we know a woman is relying on us, counting on us, and looking to us for leadership, strength, and composure. Most husbands are not tyrannical and won’t turn a wife’s submission – which is a great gift – into a weapon against her.
Wives, do you truly trust your husband or are you holding back? The answer to this question is a great indicator of the strength of your relationship. If you can’t trust your spouse and fully give yourself to him, you can’t truly be “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) or have a completely harmonious relationship. If you can’t be submissive to him, show him sincere respect, and work to be a feminine lady, what can you truly offer? The most unique thing you can give is your heart, but you can’t really give it while disrespecting him, treating him worse than a stranger on the street, giving him less deference than you would a boss, dismissing him, or acting like an “independent” woman who “don’t need no man.”
Ladies, please ask yourself if you love your husband enough to treat him better than anyone else in your life. Are you willing to show him more respect, more deference, more submission, more eagerness to listen, more attentiveness, more care, and more selflessness than to any other person? Are you willing to put in the same effort you made when you were dating to look and behave nice for him? Are you willing to bite your tongue, retain a humble attitude, and nurture a meek mindset with your husband? Finally, are you willing to be the feminine woman he really wants you to be?
However you act, and whatever you choose to do and be in your marriage, I hope you put your husband first before strangers, co-workers, friends, or anyone else. I hope that the way you treat your spouse is better, kinder, more patient, more compassionate, and more devoted than how you treat anyone else in your life. If not, then why are you even married?
To close I want to make a confession: I don’t do all of the things I suggested perfectly. Does that surprise you? I doubt it! People often accuse me of being condescending or hypocritical. It’s not condescending to speak assertively and it’s not hypocritical to live imperfectly while sincerely trying to follow your principles. Only one Man has ever lived His principles perfectly and no woman has ever done it. All of us fall short.
As a husband, I have fallen short of nearly everything above that applies to both men and women. In terms of appearance, for instance, I most often wear shorts here in Panama where I currently reside. I would prefer to wear nicer clothing, but humidity does terrible things to my body. I melt with no clothes on let alone with layers of formal clothing! That said, back in the States I had gradually adopted a little nicer, neater style and, when I finally get back to America with my family, I plan to be even more disciplined in this aspect.
Committing to live better and more strictly does not mean we will succeed in every situation or that we should be condemned as hypocrites when we fail. All of us, men and women, husbands and wives, must devote ourselves to higher ideals. We will never become better by holding lower standards that don’t ask much of us. What I have outlined above for wives is a hard road, but it’s also a holier road that leads to more rewards for them and for their husbands. It leads to true fulfillment and satisfaction, passion and sincerity, love and commitment, happiness and joy.
Wives, treat your husbands with the respect owed them, the submissiveness that will make you both more devoted partners and lovers, the femininity that will endear yourself to him and give you more confidence, and with at least the same level of attentiveness and excited love you showed during courtship, and watch as your relationship improves and flourishes. Or, alternatively, continue treating him worse and with less respect than you treat total strangers and watch as your marriage withers and dies. It’s your choice.
I often hear pastors and parishioners of all stripes encourage people to “find a church” they like. I want to take a moment today to ask these doubtless honest Christians if perhaps they should not instead be encouraging folks to “find the Church” of Jesus Christ.
One of the major flaws I see in Christendom is the unscriptural idea that it doesn’t matter which church you belong to so long as you believe in Christ. One denomination is as good as the next for the believer who has Christ in his heart – this is the attitude. Arguably, more Christians have been lulled to sleep or led into crooked paths by this false doctrine than by any other.
I sometimes wonder how an “any-denomination-is-fine” Christian feels when he reads scriptural declarations like the following:
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
“Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-8).
“I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20).
“13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
“For the body is not one member, but many.
“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? . . . .
“. . . God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. . . .
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:13-15, 18, 27-28).
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
“And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
“And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
“And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.
“And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them” (Luke 9:1-6).
“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. . . .
“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. . . .
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:1, 17, 19).
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, abut he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
“Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
“Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8:17-20).
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon fa rock:
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).
“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one call things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Ephesians 1:9-10).
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every enation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6).
“[A]t the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:21-23).
“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30).
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).
There is nothing in these rather straightforward verses that suggests that the Lord’s Church is divided into numerous opposing denominations with contradictory doctrines, leaderships, priesthoods, translations and interpretations of scripture, and ordinances. There is nothing that implies one church is as good as the next, that multiple churches may be exist and be equally valid at the same time, or that it doesn’t matter which church you belong to.
Instead, I see nothing but unity – unity of leadership, authority, organization, doctrine, and membership. I see the word “one” several times, not only implying unity of spirit and intention, but unity of doctrine, structure, and Church body.
In these prophetic passages, I see references to prophets, apostles, seventies, approved Priesthood authority, and ordinance work carried out by those holding said Priesthood authority. I see citations stating clearly that the Lord will not accept everyone just because they claim to be His followers. I see clear reference to certain ordinances, like baptism, that are required to enter Heaven. I see order, unity, and oneness.
In light of the fact that the Lord’s Church was not divided in His day or in the time of the Twelve Apostles, is it reasonable to think it should be divided today? If baptism was necessary in Christ’s day, why would it not be necessary today? If the Savior called apostles, prophets, and other authorized servants to preach His Gospel and perform ordinances, are we so arrogant to toss out this system today? If the ancient apostles said there is only “one faith” and described all Christian believers as being linked together in “one body” under prophets and apostles, how can be honestly subscribe to anything different and yet still claim to be Biblical Christians?
This brings up another problem – the Bible itself. The Bible is the word of God. There is no doubt about it. However, there are myriad translations of that holy book. And there are even more interpretations of its passages, each different from the next. It is utterly impossible, then, to simply read the Bible and use our own reason to comprehend which of all the 45,000 different sects is the “one.” We need a higher and holier witness.
That witness comes only from God through the Holy Spirit. Recall that when Jesus asked His Apostles who they thought He was, Peter responded: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;” to which the Lord responded: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-17).
It was not enough for Peter to walk with the Savior and witness His miracles, hear His teachings fall from His lips, or feel His divine presence. Peter needed to gain a witness from the Holy Ghost. All of us must also receive a witness from the Holy Spirit or we remain in ignorance and can never testify that we know the truth.
Through the Holy Spirit, we can learn not only that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, but which church of all the thousands that exist is His Church containing His authority, ordinances, and doctrines that are necessary for salvation through His blood.
Most of my friends and acquaintances are not members of the Church I belong to. Some are not members of any church and are not religious at all. I still love them and treat them the same as anyone. We are all at different points on journey of finding the Lord’s one true path or working our way down it. That said, I can’t close this article without sharing my personal witness and testimony of what I have come to know through the same Spirit that confirmed to Peter that Jesus is the Christ.
I know by virtue of the Holy Ghost that Jesus of Nazareth was the premortal Jehovah, the Creator of earth, and the Lord of lords. I know that He lived a sinless life, that He atoned for my sins and for yours, and that He was crucified as the final sacrifice to fulfill the ancient law He gave to Israel. I know that He rose from the tomb three days later and stands today with a resurrected body at the right hand of God the Father.
I also testify that I know through the Holy Spirit that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s “one” Church. While we can learn many things from many churches, and while numerous good and upright believers exist in other organizations, only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the Priesthood authority to officiate in saving ordinances.
I witness that this Church was revealed from Heaven by an appearance of the Father and Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith and that numerous angels subsequently brought additional knowledge, Bible-supporting scripture, and keys of authority. I testify that three of these divine figures were the Apostles Peter, James, and John, who conferred their keys, rights, and authority of the Lord’s Priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829 and that it has continued in unbroken succession to President Russell M. Nelson who presides as prophet, seer, and revelator over the Lord’s Church.
I know that Jesus is the Christ, my Savior, Master, and King. I invite all to come to Him, to seek knowledge from the Holy Spirit, and to investigate the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ which has brought so much conviction and satisfaction to my soul. It is time to not only find a church, no matter how lovely and enlightened it may be, but to find and join ourselves to the Church of Jesus Christ.
No normal person wants a civil war. No normal person wants to see bloodshed. No normal person wants his country to be ripped apart. However, there comes a time when sitting on your hands crosses the line from common cowardice to criminal complicity.
If the American People do not rise up in righteous fury against the criminal cult that has hijacked our nation and is enveloping us in Satanic tyranny and soul-shattering perversion, then we are shamefully complicit in our own destruction and in the evisceration of our children’s future. Quite frankly, if we sit by as an international clique of Bolshevik gangsters ruthlessly rapes our Republic, we deserve every chain of bondage that will be tightened on our wrists and every divine judgement that will be poured out upon us.
If you think any of this sounds extreme, you haven’t been paying attention and probably shouldn’t be voting, let alone making any other important decisions in society. Consider the past 100 years. What greatness have we achieved as a People? What good has our elected representatives done for us? What wealth has been generated for the nation? Which Liberties have been safeguarded and strengthened?
The past century has been the epitome of “a long train of abuses” pursuing a course “to reduce [us] under absolute Despotism.” An extremely short list of the horrors committed against our People by our so-called “public servants” follows:
The Federal Reserve has made the U.S. dollar increasingly worthless, eating up 97% of its purchasing power since it was foisted upon the nation in 1913 by the international bankers and with the approval of Fabian Socialist Woodrow Wilson
FDR began the process of removing America from the gold standard in 1933 and was mimicked in 1971 by “I-am-not-a-crook” President Nixon
FDR banned production of America’s greatest cash crop and miracle plant, hemp
The national debt has ballooned from $2.9 billion in 1913 to the mind-boggling sum off $30.5 trillion in 2022
Prayer was removed from public schools after the Jewish lobby induced the Supreme Court to heed the complaints of one Jewish father who hated the idea of his son hearing a highly non-denominational prayer at school
Under pressure of the Soviet Union and Soviet agents among us, California led the way (under the leadership of Ronald Reagan, of all people) in introducing America to the scourge of no-fault divorce and broken homes
Republican and Democrat administrations have allowed 30-40 million (if you believe the 11-million figure that has supposedly remained unchanged for over twenty years, I’ve got a bridge to sell you) illegal invaders to cross our borders, bringing drugs, criminality, racial division, disease, and other ailments into our communities
The government has run a fake War on Drugs while doing nothing to actually thwart the horrid scourge of drugs on our streets that weakens our nation and destroys the souls of men
On September 11, 2001, traitorous figures in numerous governments, intelligence agencies, corporations, and media organs around the world, combined resources to stand down the U.S. military, commandeer planes, rig buildings with explosives and thermate, murder 3,000 people, commit massive financial theft and insider trading before and simultaneous with the attacks, and run an ongoing coverup that any intelligent person who takes the time to study the facts can plainly see through
Using 9-11 as a pretext, as FDR did with Pearl Harbor, the Elite beat the war drums and used the American military like pathetic pawns to attack, invade, or occupy Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and beyond
During Coronahoax, the governments federal and state violated their express mandates and curtailed the Liberties of the People, including the right to worship, the right to assemble, the right to travel, and the right to work
During the Scamdemic, many Americans were effectively raped by the government which forced them to wear oxygen-inhibiting masks stating on the label that they don’t work to fight caronaviruses, and were penetrated by experimental vaccines (i.e. instruments of genocide) which have already claimed the lives of tens of thousands and maimed many more
An international cartel, operating both domestically with Marxist mules and digitally out of China and other hostile countries, teamed up to steal the presidential election in 2020 and overturn the will of the American People, installing a doddering puppet “president” who has led us to the brink of nuclear war and economic ruin in just over a year
Mass pedophilia and Satanic Ritual Abuse run by the ruling Elite, CIA, CPS, et al.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear readers and friends, this is the short version of the long train of abuses pointedly perpetrated against us by Establishment Republicans and Democrats, the Federal Reserve, big bankers, Bolshevik bureaucrats, progressives and liberals, socialists and communists, humanist agents in public schools, powerful global groups like the Committee of 300, Club Bilderberg, the World Economic Forum, and Blackwater, occult organizations like The Satanic Temple and Theosophical Society, Big Pharma, global corporations, and others who have combined in an international network of terror, death, and slavery.
Nothing above is hyperbolic, exaggerated, or conspiratorial. There is no conspiracy theory here; it is conspiracy fact, history, and truth. Write to me if you want additional evidence for any claim I have made.
Fellow patriot, we are at war. You can pretend the war doesn’t exist and doesn’t impact you or your family, but it does. Denying reality does not make it otherwise. Burying your head in the sand does not change reality.
The evil has become so brazen, so vicious, and so vocal, that I fear for those who still can’t see it. Discernment is a gift, but it is also a skill that can be honed by practice and experience. Samuel Adams is said to have written the following warning to James Warren on October 24, 1780:
“If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experienced Patriots to prevent its Ruin.”
How can we claim to be “experienced Patriots,” or expect to be effective in our resistance to tyranny, if we are blind to the machinations of the wolves in sheep’s clothing among us? If we can’t identify the enemy, how can we possibly stop him? If we can’t even acknowledge that we are at war, how can we ever muster the will power, nerve, and resilience to achieve victory?
I repeat what I said at the beginning: No upright man or woman wants civil war. However, there are things infinitely more precious than peace and union. Faith, Families, Freedom – these are more important. Preserving our right to worship God, shielding our children from moral corruption, and jealously guarding our natural rights – these are more valuable.
Today, our burden is not merely to maintain our rights; we must regain them. We have lost many of our rights or, at least, have had them restricted by regulations and bureaucratic policies. From obscene hate speech laws that curtail the First Amendment to gun regulations that infringe upon the Second Amendment to EPA regulations that hamper property rights to TSA policies that restrict Freedom of movement, we are not as free as our ancestors. I repeat: We are not as free as our ancestors.
When we acknowledge that we are not as free, prosperous, or just as our forebears were, and when you admit that we are at war against a ruthless clique of gangsters who have hijacked our society and crave our subjugation, the only real question becomes: “When is the time to rise?”
Do not misunderstand, I don’t support a coup against the government or overthrowing the Constitution. Quite to the contrary; the Constitution is the only government I will ever submit to. Rather, I suggest reasserting our rights as protected under the Constitution by throwing out of office and prosecuting all those, at any level, who would dare usurp power, abuse the public, break their oaths, lie to the public, or tyrannize America.
Ideally, we should “throw the bums out” on election day. What happens, however, when the ballot box is taken away from us, elections are stolen, and non-elected jackals are installed as our overlords? Should we sit down, shut up, and comply? No! Would George Washington, Patrick Henry, or Samuel Adams submit to such abuse? No!
Our forefathers did not grovel before the Red Coats; they shot them. They stood up to them even when outnumbered at Lexington and Concord. They dumped their filthy tea into the ocean in protest. They drove out, even tar and feathering, bureaucrats who enforced despotic edicts. They used the power of juries to overturn unjust laws. They resisted tyranny when it tried to enslave them, ultimately declaring Independence and establishing the greatest and freest nation in world history through sacrifice, blood, and tears.
Will we follow our ancestors’ example or will we sentence our children to wear chains of crushing slavery? History, and God, will judge us for what we do now at this critical time. At a similarly decisive time in our nation’s history, General George Washington challenged his soldiers in these words:
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”
We have no choice; we must conquer or die! I ask again: When will we rise? If not now, when? When we have been further enslaved, economically depressed, demoralized, and polarized? When the situation has become worse? When the tyrants are more entrenched?
I have not shouldered a weapon in rebellion or marched physically into the fray because I don’t believe there are yet enough people willing to do so. And without enough patriots willing to risk their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to overthrow the traitors who have usurped our government and perverted our institutions, there’s no point in making yourself a martyr. I have, therefore, devoted myself to educating my fellow freemen. The real revolution that must occur must be in the hearts and minds of the People. When enough men and women have experienced a revolution in principles and spirit, then will be the time to rise and throw off our shackles.
Rise up, freeman! Now is the time to reform yourself, draw closer to God, and proclaim allegiance to the holy principles of Liberty. Now is the time to draw your line in the sand. Now is the time to prepare for the coming day when tyranny knocks on your door and forces you to decide whether you will be a slave or whether you will be free. I have chosen my side and have thrown my lot in with the stalwart Sons of Liberty who won Freedom for America. Will you join us?
“Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry, “Give Me Liberty of Give Me Death,” March 23, 1775
If the U.S. Constitution, by force, fraud, crisis, convention, court ruling, referendum, or vote, is ever dethroned in America, I patently refuse to swear allegiance to whatever government is established in its place. If that will make me an outlaw, rebel, or traitor to the new government, so be it! Such is my reverence for the Constitution, which I consider to be literally inspired by God Almighty, that I take any attack on it personally and count it as an assault on my Faith, Family, and Freedom.
The Constitution has been ignored, trampled, and mutilated for decades by those seeking to overthrow the Liberty of America. In order to reduce us to slavery and serfdom, Republicans and Democrats alike, Progressives and liberals also, and, of course, Fabians and communists, have relentlessly attacked, undermined, and deconstructed the original Constitution. They know what I wish all true patriots understood: That is, that America cannot fall as long as the Constitution stands in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30).
The fact that our national charter still stands – ragged as it may be – after this vicious onslaught is a testament to its strength and genius. It was crafted so brilliantly that it is nearly airtight. The only real flaws are not so much flaws in design as flaws in execution. And even these flaws in execution could have never happened if the American People had paid attention and been properly instructed in the principles of good government, self-rule, and Liberty.
Because of the Constitution’s inherent strength, the socialists and their ilk have had an uphill slog. The Constitution has frustrated them again and again, so they have turned to creating crises, invoking emergency powers, and concocting continuity of government schemes that would turn our Republic into a Bolshevik dictatorship. Yet, even when the socialists manage to capture fresh ground, holding it is sometimes tenuous because it is plain to anyone who spends five minutes studying the Constitution that what they have done is illegal and unconstitutional. As a result, they have turned to brainwashing via the media and schooling to get their way.
Americans have been made so ignorant of the Constitution by their public school teachers that millions believe the Constitution is an outmoded document that should be discarded. After all, wasn’t it written by racists, bigots, genocidal Indian killers, women oppressors, and imperialists? Our foremost heroes – men like George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson – are castigated, lied about, and smeared in order to undermine faith in the principles they espoused and the brilliant forms of limited government they helped establish.
Another astute Founder, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, said that the Constitution is the “cement of the Union” (James Madison, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1809). Without the Constitution, there is no “United States of America.” Without the constitutional principles of Freedom, America is just another nation in a community of nations. Yet, it is precisely because of our goodness and our fidelity to sound values and constitutional systems that America rose to greatness, surpassing all nations and empires of the past. Only by clinging to the same principles of virtue and Liberty can we regain and maintain greatness.
Despite the centrality of the Constitution to America’s success, even many good conservatives – who ostensibly love the Constitution – are calling for a new constitutional convention. They call it a Convention of States, but don’t be fooled, it is a Constitutional Convention by another name. They are laboring under the delusion that this process would be controlled by them through the states. This is erroneous and nearsighted. Three years ago, I wrote an article titled “Oppose a Convention of States!” which I hope you will take the time to read and digest. It explains why a Convention of States would murder, not restore, the U.S. Constitution.
I don’t care if it is conservatives or liberals who finally get enough states to call an Article V convention – I would oppose the final product which could never measure up to the original. Though there are people living today who understand constitutional principles and Freedom as well as our Founding Fathers, they would never be selected for the task of framing a new government. You would never find men like Scott Bradley, Joel Skousen, Michael Badnarik, Arthur R. Thompson, Larry P. Arnn, or Chuck Baldwin called upon to render their expertise. No, instead you would have Establishment lackeys and mainstream Republicans and Democrats drafting a new government behind closed doors, with no oversight, and with total disregard for the will of the American People.
We must not allow the Constitution to be mutilated any further and we must never allow it to be exiled completely. No government has ever secured to as many people as much Freedom. Nothing Europe has ever produced has come close, to say nothing of the other parts of the darkened world. The only light still shining is here in America. This light shines from the hearts of patriots who understand, love, and defend the Constitution and all just and holy principles that make men free and accountable before God.
“Only a moral, virtuous, just, upright, truth-loving People are capable of Freedom and ordered society. America was once good and so America was once great. We are still the greatest nation on earth, but we are have noticeably fallen from our lofty position. We need to return to our moral, Christian roots if we are to regain our unique American stature.
“At the end of the day, the Constitution is not for the United States alone. Its principles are eternal and sacred. They belong to every nation. It was the Lord who raised up America’s Founding Fathers, who preserved us through the War for Independence, and who inspired the Constitution. He intended the ideas that fired the American soul to fire the world and lead to a new era of Freedom, peace, and prosperity. It is our duty as Americans to be the missionaries of this unsurpassed Freedom system. . . .
“Americanism is the greatest system in history. This system is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution – the most incredible political document in the world. I repeat that it was inspired by Almighty God and that Americans are the custodians of these superlative principles.”
Those of us who still revere the Constitution and understand its ennobling principles have a God-given duty to stand in the gap and defend the Constitution so that its glorious principles and system of Freedom may bless mankind. Who will stand up for the Constitution? Will you? Or will you go along with a scheme to rewrite or do away with our national charter? Will you abandon the Constitution and the tradition of the men who established it or will you hold the line like a Spartan at Thermopylae? I can’t answer for you, but I can answer for me before the world and before God: I stand with the Constitution now and forever!
The verdict is in: Amber Heard lost; Johnny Depp won. If you haven’t followed their court case circus, Johnny Depp was suing to restore his good name after Amber Heard spread scurrilous rumors of abuse and domestic violence years ago, resulting in the near obliteration of Depp’s career and reputation. I won’t go into the specifics of the case – they have been covered ad nauseum in the press, by Rekieta Law, and online. Instead, I want to talk about the two statements released by Heard and Depp after the verdict found that Heard had defamed Depp with malice.
Immediately after the jury found against her, Amber Heard released a Twitter statement dripping with petulance, ignorance, and feminist talking points. She griped:
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken at the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.
“I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK.
“I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American – to speak freely and openly.”
Every thinking person knows that the idea “believe all women” is as absurd as the notion “believe all men.” Lying about domestic abuse – making false allegations, publishing them, and having them exposed for the world to see – does far more harm to women than a man being cleared by a jury that saw through your contradictions and lies. Women who lie under oath, like men who lie under oath, don’t deserve “to be taken seriously.”
Furthermore, what woman in 21st-Century America seriously feels so scared of society that she won’t speak out? Our society relentlessly attacks masculinity, makes fun of men, depicts males as bumbling jerks, belittles fathers, has education and court systems generally biased in favor of women, and is increasingly dominated by women. To play the gender card and imply some sort of mythical misogyny and phantom patriarchal oppression of women is idiotic in the extreme!
Though there are so many morsels I could talk about, I want to ignore the feminism inherent in this message. In the Tweet, Heard said that “the key issue” was “Freedom of Speech.” Let’s talk, then, about this key issue.
What is Freedom of speech? Does it mean you can say anything you want without restriction? Is it a right to lie, libel, slander, defame, or deceive? Does it allow you to shout “fire!” in a movie theater? Does it dictate that you can bullhorn in a residential neighborhood at 2 A.M.? Amber Heard seems to think so.
There are indeed those who advocate an unrestrained “Freedom of speech.” Yet, the notion is erroneous and injurious to society. A few seconds of ponderous thought is sufficient to convince anyone that there must be some restraints if we want to maintain a civil society. The Founding Fathers were famous defenders of free speech. George Washington, for instance, famously said:
“For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter” (George Washington, Address to Army Officers, March 15, 1783).
Yet, universally, the Founders also acknowledged that not all speech was protected. Author Chester James Antieau explained:
“Since the natural right sometimes referred to as freedom of communication was designed to enable us to help ourselves and others to our ordained end and to make temporal society a more effective institution for accommodating our temporal needs, the peddling of untruths is never embraced within such a natural right. This was well comprehended by the Fathers. As much as Jefferson loved freedom of the press, he held it subject to these natural law limitations. It ought to be restrained, he urged, “within the legal and wholesome limits of truth.” In his Draught of a Fundamental Constitution for the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1783, he suggested a clause: “Printing presses shall be subject to no other restraint than liableness to legal prosecution for false facts printed and published.” Clearly, to Jefferson untruths had no right to enter the market place of thought. Nevertheless, although there is no natural right to utter or publish defamatory untruths, it does not follow that the criminal sanctions of the state should be used to incarcerate such individuals who pervert freedom of communication. There is much to be said for the social policy contained in the Draft for the Virginia Constitution of 1776, which read: “Printing presses shall be free, except so far as by commission of private injury cause may be given of private action.” One can believe that Jefferson felt much this way; when a clergyman allegedly libelled him he had the prosecution dismissed.
“Because of the lack of appeal to rational ends when force and violence take over, most of the Founding Fathers qualified the natural right to assemble by phrasing this as a “right of the people to assemble peaceably.” Perhaps the Fathers knew better than our generation that when printing is used for peddling for profit pornographies and obscenities it is no longer a natural right. As devoted a believer in natural rights and freedom of expression as Patrick Henry stated: “I acknowledge that licentiousness is dangerous, and that it ought to be provided against.” There is evidence to conclude that even Thomas Jefferson was willing to have the state prosecute those who degenerated in expression to licentiousness dearly endangering community Morals” (Chester James Antieau, Natural Rights and the Founding Fathers – The Virginians, Washington and Lee Law Review, Volume 17, Issue 1, 56).
Obviously, to allow deliberate lies to be circulated without punishment or censure is dangerous. Prohibiting or punishing the publication of deliberate untruths is not the same as voicing an opinion or publishing/saying something that turns out not to be true. We have all said things that, upon further reflection or when additional information became available, we recanted or realized were wrong. We have all exaggerated or recounted a story out of order or with omissions. That is not what is being discussed. We are talking about the deliberate publication, circulation, or spreading of falsehoods.
I personally don’t want to live in a society that allows people to knowingly circulate lies or to slander or defame others with impunity. And it doesn’t matter what or who is targeted – the government, a celebrity, a political rival, a war enemy, or your next-door neighbor. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the truth; your feelings, political affiliation, or religious opinions be damned.
What Amber Heard did was defame Johnny Depp. When we look up “defame” on Google, we find that it means to “damage the good reputation of (someone); slander or libel.” Synonyms include “malign,” “smear,” “traduce,” “besmirch,” “calumniate,” “denigrate,” “disparage,” and “vilify.” At times, we need to vilify evil men. However, when we smear someone who doesn’t deserve it – and we know we do it illegitimately – that is heinous, wrong, and punishable.
Claiming that Johnny Depp was a violent abuser – which is no small claim – was precisely what Amber Heard did. She not only said it with her mouth, but published it in a major national publication. She lied maliciously, knowingly, and very publicly. She tried to blacken the name of an innocent man. Depp’s other warts aside (we all have them), he didn’t deserve to be accused of domestic abuse – and on the public stage no less.
Heard called her deliberate lies and defamation “Freedom of Speech,” but it was nothing if not a violation of free speech. Free speech doesn’t protect people when they speak untruths. If she really is correct and Johnny Depp is a master liar, then God will judge him for it and she will be vindicated. No one will get away with their lies indefinitely. That said, a jury of her peers said Amber Heard is lying. During cross-examination, she contradicted herself repeatedly. Her story fell flat. Her witnesses fell flat. Her story, despite being lapped up by a British court, fell flat when exposed to the light for three weeks.
Despite having no legs to stand on, Heard is still calling her crass defamation – and it formally is defamation – the truth. Lying is not Freedom of speech. Hurting another person is not legitimate. We are not talking about hurting other people’s feelings, but their reputations and livelihoods. Character assassination is a very real form of actual assassination. A society that allows, coddles, and excuses defamation is a society preparing to die.
To close, there is no Freedom of defamation. Real Freedom of speech does not include the right to destroy other people with lies or to knowingly accuse them of falsehoods. Using our Liberty to harm another person or infringe upon their own rights is wrong. Amber Heard is wrong and has exceeded the just limits of her right of free speech. No one is taking away her right to speak the truth or express honest opinions, no matter how stupid they are, but thank God her defamatory, malicious, and lying speech has been exposed and punished.
I end with Johnny Depp’s statement celebrating the verdict. It needs no additional commentary:
“Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed.
“All in the blink of an eye.
“False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.
“And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.
“My decision to pursue this cause, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.
“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
This past Sunday, in Sunday School, the teacher set us a small assignment at the beginning of class. He asked us to take five minutes and write down what we thought were the most important things the Gospel of Jesus Christ asks us to do as members of the Lord’s Church. We were asked to also write down scripture references to support these ideas. I thought I would take the time to share the scriptures I jotted down in those five minutes. Perhaps they will inspire, help, or lift someone in the audience.
The first thing that came to mind is what we call in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the “Four-Fold Mission of the Church.” The four planks include: Proclaim the Gospel; Perfect the Saints; Redeem the Dead; and Serve the Poor and Needy. An entire book could be written about this Four-Fold Mission statement. The first scriptural reference that came to me, however, is found in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus ChristF
I testify that The Book of Mormon is indeed a witness for Christ and was inspired by God. It is a companion scripture to the Bible that proclaims the divinity of Christ. In fact, 3,925 verses in that holy book talk of Jesus Christ, meaning that the Lord’s name is mentioned an average of once every 1.7 verses. It is a clear, direct, and powerful testimony that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins, that He rose from the dead and showed Himself to humble disciples on multiple continents, that He stands as the Redeemer of mankind, and that His name is the only name by which salvation comes.
The first verse that came to me that, broadly speaking, supports the Four-Fold Mission detailed above is the following declaration of an ancient Hebrew prophet named Alma. To a group of new converts who desired to enter into a covenant to serve the Lord, Alma said:
“Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
“Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” (Mosiah 18:8-11).
Bearing each other’s burdens, comforting those who stand in need, taking upon you the name of Christ, and standing as a witness of Jesus at all times, in all things, and in all places – this is the essence of Christian discipleship.
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
“Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
In conjunction with this famous passage, I included Doctrine and Covenants 64:8-11. The Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of revelations and counsel given to the Lord’s disciples in modern times. Though not as well-known as The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants is rich with doctrinal treasures and inspired clarifications that benefit anyone seeking to live more like the Master. The verses in question state:
“My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened.
“Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”
Have you ever considered that if you don’t forgive another, you stand condemned and that in you lies the greater sin? Having a forgiving heart, then, is one of the chief attributes of a real Christian.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article bearing the simple name “70×7.” I love the doctrine of forgiveness and repentance! As one who has recognized that I fall short on a daily basis, I know that I need forgiveness frequently from my fellow man and from my God. I may be guilty of various things in life, but I’m not guilty of denying anyone forgiveness. I readily forgive others and I quickly apologize and ask for forgiveness when I have done a wrong or hurt someone.
he idea of 70×7 – a chance to repent, change, and do better the next time, and a chance to give others that same opportunity – is indescribably precious to my soul. It would revolutionize the world if Christians would embrace “70×7.”
Next, on my Sunday School assignment, I quoted from the resurrected Redeemer. After appearing to His disciples in the Old World, He appeared to other disciples in the New World – the “other sheep” He had spoken of during His mortal ministry (John 10:16). While there, He repeated His Sermon on the Mount and expounded various teachings, including the following taken from 3 Nephi 27:27:
“[W]hat manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”
Being like Christ is what it’s all about. It is the answer to the questions “What should I do?” or “What should I say?” or “What should I think?” in 100% of cases. “What Would Jesus Do?” is more than a pithy slogan on bumper stickers – it’s the injunction of the Master Himself.
The next passage I scribbled on my paper in Sunday School was Luke 18:1, which instructs:
“[M]en ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
It’s a simple statement, but one that contains such power. Prayer is the heart of a sincere Christian life. Prayer allows us to talk to our Heavenly Father and tap into His divine power. Through it, we may bless ourselves, our families, and those around us. In my own life, I have had too many experiences with immediately and specifically answered prayers to deny the reality and power of prayer and the fact that Heavenly Father listens to and loves His children.
The next scriptural passage I cited comes from Moroni 10:32-33. These are essentially the final words of the final prophet who closed the scriptural record that was translated and published as The Book of Mormon. What did this ancient seer want us, his future readers, to know and do? Said he:
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
“And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.”
Wise words that no Christian of any denomination can reject. They point us to Christ. They plead with us to become righteous that we may receive the Savior’s grace and mercy. Jesus has power to give this grace by virtue of His Atonement. We access His grace by entering into covenants and ordinances, by self-sacrifice, and by righteous living. Christ’s mercy may wash away our sins and redeem us, if we will fully and sincerely turn our hearts to Him.
“And this greater priesthood ministereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
“Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
“And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
“For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.”
Too many Christians deny the importance of ordinances. Yet, the Bible is clear that ordinances are part of the salvation process. The Savior taught, for instance, that no man can get to Heaven unless he enters through the door of baptism (John 3:3-5). The New Testament also makes it clear that the ordinance of baptism, to be efficacious, must not only be performed by proper authority, but must be followed by the giving of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands of those holding proper Priesthood authority (Acts 8:14-20). Without these types of sacred ordinances, we cannot access the full power of God and, in the end, we will not return to our Father in Heaven.
To clarify, though it is Christ’s grace that save us because of His atoning redemption for us and His pure goodness is advocating our cause, He requires ordinances. There is order and careful calculation in Heaven. No one sneaks into Heaven; there is a proper door. That door is ordinances, beginning with baptism by proper authority and proceeding along the course outlined by the Lord and His prophets.
In modern times, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught the same doctrine in a simple phrase: “Being born again, comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 162). Most consider the Prophet to be a charlatan, yet a tree is known by its fruits. A corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit (Luke 6:42-49). The succulent fruit of Joseph Smith’s works has been to lead millions – myself included – to the Savior Jesus Christ. And, in this example, he merely reworded the words of ancient seers relative to the critical place of ordinances in the Gospel Plan.
The final two passages I jotted down deal with a topic often seen as taboo at Church – politics. Then again, it’s not really politics; it’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Gospel of Liberty. We cannot, in good faith, divest the religious side of the Gospel from the political. They are both essential parts that make up the whole. As Elder Hans Verlan Andresen once put it:
“There are those who undertake to keep their “politics” completely separated from their “religion.” This is logically impossible for one who accepts the scriptures as the word of God” (Hans Verlan Andersen, The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, 47).
“And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.
“And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
“Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
“And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
“I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
“Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
“Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.”
This is a remarkable declaration by the Savior. He put His divine stamp of approval on the U.S. Constitution. In another passage not cited here but equally valid, the Lord confirmed that the Founding Fathers of the United States were “hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:76-80).
Furthermore, we see that He encouraged His Saints to uphold the inspired Constitution and all principles harmonious with it. These principles support “the principle of freedom” and help us “in maintaining rights and privileges.” These are not American rights, but “belong to all mankind.” They are part of the “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” that the Declaration of Independence referred to. Anything more or less than these constitutional principles of Freedom are not merely wrong, different, or misguided, but come of evil.
Such a knowledge should make us think twice before supporting policies, parties, and people who find themselves opposed to the U.S. Constitution. This is so important because, in the final equation, we can’t support or uphold – whether knowingly or unwittingly – Satan’s political program, which destroys agency, and suppose we are worthy before God. Therefore, if the Savior stamped the U.S. Constitution with His seal of approval, it becomes a tenet of our faith to defend its principles with the same ferocity we would defend His other teachings and revelations.
The last verse cited in the above passage is a sermon in itself. It shows us how to vote. Have you ever considered that the Lord will judge you based, in part, on how you voted in life? Doesn’t the Bible make it clear that we will be judged for all our acts? (Romans 2:6; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Revelation 20:12).
Voting is a major act because it demonstrates our principles on matters involving human agency, life and death, property, public values, war and peace, etc. It shows whether we sanction or reject evil, force, and injustice. It also shows what we would do if we personally possessed the power to judge and punish. Is our judgement just or unjust? Remember, we are to “judge righteous judgement” (John 7:24) and that “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:2). Our votes are forms of judgment that will come back to us at the Judgment Day.
The Lord revealed here that to be in harmony with His will we must only support honest, wise, and good men – those who befriend constitutional principles of Freedom. If we don’t do this, our vote “cometh of evil.” And nothing evil will enter the Kingdom of God.
The concluding passage I wrote down last Sunday comes from the ultimate handbook on Freedom – The Book of Mormon. On my paper, I simply copied the book and chapter: Ether 8. There is so much in the chapter that is of great importance. I cite just a few of the verses that discuss Luciferian secret societies and the grave threat they pose to God’s work and the Freedom of mankind. Speaking to those whom he knew would one day read his writings, the ancient prophet Moroni relayed the Lord’s will and mind thus:
“And it came to pass that they [i.e. the ancient Jaredite people] formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God;
“For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man.
“And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.
“And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.
“And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Powerful words! This command – for it is a commandment – never fails to impress upon me how dire our modern situation is and my own personal duty in respect to Freedom. We are not merely encouraged, but commanded, to “awake” to the “awful” reality of Satanic secret societies “which shall be among [us]” and which “seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries” and which, if not checked, “bringeth to pass the destruction of all people.”
These frightful passages confirm that the “conspiracy theorists” are not so crazy after all. There is indeed a global cabal “built up by the devil” that wants to subjugate the entire world, destroy Freedom, and exterminate mankind. It engages in murder, war, and deception. The Book of Mormon illustrates the wicked workings and rotten fruit of these Devilish combinations. I also detailed this monstrous, malevolent secret conspiracy in my book Red Gadiantons: What the Prophets Have Taught about the Communist Secret Combination that Threatens Mankind.
The threat is very real. In fact, this wicked conspiracy is in its endgame and world events are rising to a crescendo of carnage and oppression surpassing anything we have ever seen. We are presently witnessing the attempt foretold by Moroni to destroy the Freedom of all lands. What will you personally do about it? Will you heed the command to awake and arise in opposition to Satan’s schemes? Will you stand in favor of the Lord’s political program and all just and universal constitutional principles of Freedom? I pray you will.
Despite this evil cabal’s attempts to dethrone God and overcome His people, they will ultimately fail and evil will “be done away.” The Devil will be dragged down to hell and all will know how impotent and pathetic he always was (see Isaiah 14). It won’t happen in Washington, however. Congress won’t legislate away the evil, being part of it. We won’t vote our way to deliverance, though voting right is a command and duty and will help us deliver our own souls. No, salvation from tyranny and Satan will only happen when we individually and collectively “come unto the fountain of all righteousness,” who is Jesus Christ. Only Jesus saves.
And there you have the verses I jotted down in Sunday School and the rationale behind why I chose them. To me, these are imperative duties and parts of my faith in Christ. I consider all of these things – prayer, standing as a witness of Christ, ordinances, rising in defense of Freedom, etc. – to be highly important. Had I had more time, I would have written many more verses that have impacted me, such as John 15:12 which states: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”.
I would have also certainly added the testimony and plea of the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi, which is one of the sweetest passages of holy writ I know:
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. . . .
“. . . And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law.
“And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out” (2 Nephi 25:26, 28-29).
Dear reader, may God bless you! May you ask yourself what is important to you in your faith. May you ask what is important for you to do, what sacrifices your faith asks you to make, and then do it. May you have the courage and fortitude to follow the Savior and be like Him.
Reader, you will fail, as I have, to measure up to Christ’s perfection. Yet, you can, as I have, taste of His power, goodness, and grace and receive strength to overcome Satan, to wade through affliction with faith, and to be a light to the dark world around you. Please accept my sincere prayer for your personal faith to increase and become a flame of inspiration inside you forever.
This is the third installment of my “Indispensable Men” series. Enjoy the first two about the indomitable George Washington and fiery John Adams here and here. Today, I happily report on my greatest historical hero – Thomas Jefferson. The Sage of Monticello has influenced my political thinking more than any other mortal. His writings serve as a source of inexhaustible inspiration and are as a bottomless well of knowledge, wisdom, and timeless sagacity. It is my desire to share some small particle of my love for this noble man and his awe-inspiring eminence.
This article will be broken up roughly into two parts: 1) A refuting of prevalent myths about this wonderful figure; and 2) a tribute to him and his far-reaching accomplishments. Both sections are worthwhile and will help you understand the real Thomas Jefferson.
Before we honor Jefferson, we need to do some housekeeping. Thomas Jefferson is one of the most lied-about figures in U.S. history. He has been deliberately mischaracterized as a fornicator, a vicious slave holder, a politically conniving Machiavellian, an Illuminist-Jacobin, an atheist or deist, and so forth. Let’s begin with the last pitiful accusation.
It is popularly thought that Jefferson was either an outright atheist or at least a deist. I have it on good authority that both labels are fraudulent, fictitious, and false. “On whose authority?” you may ask. Thomas Jefferson’s. Is there any better source than a man’s own words for ascertaining what he believes in his heart? Men lie, of course, but when a man speaks and writes of his own principles and convictions, we can justifiably hold his words up as a true measuring stick.
That being established, what, then, was Jefferson’s religious persuasion? He was a Christian. I quote directly from the man himself. He wrote: “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ” (Thomas Jefferson to Charles Thomson, January 9, 1816). The words “real Christian” are underlined in the original.
Do mine eyes deceive me or did Jefferson just say that he was a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ? Yes, in fact, he did! And this was not the only time he admitted as much. Numerous quotations could be called forth to testify to the truth about Jefferson’s inner convictions.
Jefferson was a known Bible reader who gave money to Bible societies to dispense the Bible throughout Virginia, personally selected the hymnals that would be placed inside Washington, D.C. schools, attended worship services in the U.S. Capitol, routinely conversed on religious topics in his letters, encouraged days of Thanksgiving and prayer, and even created his own so-called “Jeffersonian Bible” containing the plain doctrine of the Savior that was used as a missionary tool. If the so-called historians are so egregiously wrong about this very easy-to-uncover fact about the man’s religious and Christian persuasions, what else are they lying about?
Before I tell you exactly what else they have gotten wrong, I want to give you more on his personal religious belief. In fact, I want to quote more from the same letter previously cited. Jefferson explained:
“I too have made a wee little book, from the same materials, which I call the Philosophy of Jesus. it is a paradigma of his doctrines, made by cutting the texts out of the book, and arranging them on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject. a more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen. it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel, and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what it’s Author never said nor saw. they have compounded from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the comprehension of man, of which the great reformer of the vicious ethics and deism of the Jews, were he to return on earth, would not recognise one feature.”
Jefferson here stated that he considered Jesus’ Gospel the most “beautiful or precious morsel of ethics” he had ever encountered. He confessed that he was a “real Christian” and a “disciple of the doctrines of the gospel.” He even showed disdain for those who have twisted and butchered Christian doctrines and overloaded the Savior’s simple religion with Platonisms and dogmas, creeds and heretical additions. Is it any clearer how deeply committed Jefferson was to Christ and His Gospel?
During his day, Jefferson was sometimes considered a heretic by his fellow Christians because he rightly condemned the addition of non-scriptural dogmas to Biblical Christianity. He was, as he said, a Christian. Yet, he was unorthodox. To glimpse into his unorthodox views, I cite another letter from his pen. To John Adams, he contemplated the shocking sophisms that had been grafted onto Christianity over the centuries by uninspired and, sometimes, conniving men:
“I am just returned from one of my long absences, having been at my other home for five weeks past. having more leisure there than here for reading, I amused myself with reading seriously Plato’s republic [i.e. his tedious book The Republic]. I am wrong however in calling it amusement, for it was the heaviest task-work I ever went through. I had occasionally before taken up some of his other works, but scarcely ever had patience to go through a whole dialogue. while wading thro’ the whimsies, the puerilities, & unintelligible jargon of this work, I laid it down often to ask myself how it could have been that the world should have so long consented to give reputation to such nonsense as this? how the soi-disant Christian world indeed should have done it, is a piece of historical curiosity. but how could the Roman good sense do it? and particularly how could Cicero bestow such eulogies on Plato? altho’ Cicero did not wield the dense logic of Demosthenes, yet he was able, learned, laborious, practised in the business of the world, & honest. he could not be the dupe of mere style, of which he was himself the first master in the world. with the moderns, I think, it is rather a matter of fashion and authority. education is chiefly in the hands of persons who, from their profession, have an interest in the reputation and the dreams of Plato. they give the tone while at school, and few, in their after-years, have occasion to revise their college opinions. but fashion and authority apart, and bringing Plato to the test of reason, take from him his sophisms, futilities, & incomprehensibilities, and what remains? in truth he is one of the race of genuine Sophists, who has escaped the oblivion of his brethren, first by the elegance of his diction, but chiefly by the adoption & incorporation of his whimsies into the body of artificial Christianity. his foggy mind, is for ever presenting the semblances of objects which, half seen thro’ a mist, can be defined neither in form or dimension. yet this which should have consigned him to early oblivion really procured him immortality of fame & reverence. the Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding, and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from it’s indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power & pre-eminence. the doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained. their purposes however are answered. Plato is canonised: and it is now deemed as impious to question his merits as those of an Apostle of Jesus. he is peculiarly appealed to as an advocate of the immortality of the soul; and yet I will venture to say that were there no better arguments than his in proof of it, not a man in the world would believe it. it is fortunate for us that Platonic republicanism has not obtained the same favor as Platonic Christianity; or we should now have been all living, men, women and children, pell mell together, like the beasts of the field or forest” (Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, July 5, 1814).
This is a fascinating quotation. First, it confirms everything I have ever believed about intellectual fraud that was Plato. His book The Republic was indeed one of the most onerous and ill-conceived works I have ever had the displeasure of reading; total drivel in comparison with the noble ideas and principles laid out by the American Founding Fathers.
That aside, however, there is something more important in Jefferson’s observations. He noted, in what is verifiable historical reality, that Platonism, paganism, Greek philosophy, and various misshapen heretical dogmas were added to Christianity by priests seeking power over others. By erecting a scaffolding of confusing dogmas, unintelligible jargon, and muddled mysteries, priests uninspired by the true principles of Christ’s religion, which were “levelled to every understanding, and too plain to need explanation,” succeeded in making all Christendom dependent upon them. They required blind faith and, often, servility, instead of true understanding of the “plain” Gospel of the Master.
This was Jefferson’s point of view of “orthodox” Christianity and it is one I heartily share. What’s more, John Adams agreed. In his response to Jefferson’s letter, he wrote both of corrupted Christendom and Plato’s fraud:
“If the Christian Religion as I understand it, or as you understand it, Should maintain its Ground as I believe it will; yet Platonick Pythagoric, Hindoo, and cabballistical Christianity which is Catholic Christianity, and which has prevailed for 1500 Years, has [received] a mortal wound of which the Monster must finally die; yet So Strong is his constitution that he may endure for Centuries before he expires. . . .
“I am very glad you have Seriously read Plato: and Still more rejoiced to find that your reflections upon him, So perfectly harmonize with mine. Some thirty Years ago I took upon me the Severe task of going through all his Works. With the help of two Latin Translations, and one English and one French Translation and comparing Some of the most remarkable passages with the Greek, I laboured through the tedious toil. My disappointment was very great, my Astonishment was greater and my disgust was Shocking. . . .
“Some Parts of Some of his Dialogues are entertaining, like the Writings of Rousseau: but his Laws and his Republick from which I expected most, disappointed me most. I could Scarcely exclude the Suspicion that he intended the latter as a bitter Satyre upon all Republican Government, as Xenophon undoubtedly designed by his Essay on Democracy, to ridicule that Species of Republick. . . .
No one has ever seriously questioned Adams’ Christianity. He was a fervent Congregationalist descended from Puritans. Yet, his criticisms of “Platonick” Christianity surpassed Jefferson’s. He, as Jefferson, disdained “orthodox” Christianity. Nevertheless, he, as Jefferson, was a Christian. I submit that one may reject parts of Christian tradition – the man-made parts – and remain a Christian. I am in the same boat, rejecting unBiblical creeds, false traditions, decrees of uninspired priests, and so on, yet I am a fervent, outspoken disciple of my Master Jesus Christ.
In Jefferson’s own words, he was not an unbeliever picking and choosing his principles from a buffet of beliefs, but simply wanted to separate the dross of human creation from the genuine gold of the Gospel:
“[A]mong the sayings & discourses imputed to [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence: and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate therefore the gold from the dross” (Thomas Jefferson to William Short, April 13, 1820).
Notwithstanding his condemnations of some of aspects of orthodox Christianity, there is simply no denying that Jefferson was a Christian who longed for the day that the pure Gospel of Christ, as contained in the Bible, would one day be restored and flourish. Said he:
“I should as soon undertake to bring the crazy skulls of Bedlam to sound understanding, as to inculcate reason into that of an Athanasian. I am old, and tranquility is now my summum bonum. keep me therefore from the fire & faggots of Calvin and his victim Servetus. happy in the prospect of a restoration of primitive Christianity, I must leave to younger Athletes to encounter and lop off the false branches which have been engrafted into it by the mythologists of the middle & modern ages” (Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waterhouse, July 19, 1822).
Jefferson rejected the fallacies of creeds and later interpolations of Christianity, but loved and longed for “primitive Christianity.” What did he mean by “primitive”? The term is often used as a pejorative today. However, it simply meant original Christianity as preached by Christ and His apostles. Jefferson believed that, at a future time, Christ’s pure Gospel would one day again grace the world.
The above quote is not obscure or unique. In another letter to the same man, he said:
“I am looking with anxiety to see the dawn of primitive Christianity here, where, if it once appears, it will soon beam like the rising sun, and restore to reason her day. ‘Thy kingdom come’ is therefore my prayer; and my confidence is that it will come. give us your prayers also, and your preachers, and accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect” (Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waterhouse, October 15, 1822).
Jefferson literally prayed for the day of Christian restoration, asked for the prayers of preachers for this aim, and quoted the Lord’s Prayer. How do the court historians deal with statements like these? They don’t; they ignore them.
Jefferson often expressed his view of a coming restoration of original, Biblical Christianity. To the Reverend Jared Sparks, the Sage wrote:
“[T]he metaphisical insanities of Athanasius, of Loyola, & of Calvin, are to my understanding, mere relapses into polytheism, differing from paganism only by being more unintelligble. the religion of Jesus is founded on the Unity of God, and this principle chiefly, gave it triumph over the rabble of heathen gods then acknoleged. thinking mena of all nations rallied readily to the doctrine of one only god, and embraced it with the pure morals which Jesus inculcated. if the freedom of religion, guaranteed to us by law in theory, can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. this reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind but too late for me to witness it” (Thomas Jefferson to Jared Sparks, November 4, 1820).
What did Jefferson think would happen when “the genuine doctrines of Jesus” were finally “restored to their original purity”? He believed that the whole would have been Christian had not Christianity been perverted by creeds and man-made additions. He explained to Timothy Pickering:
“[N]o one sees with greater pleasure than myself the progress of reason in it’s advances towards rational Christianity. when we shall have done away the incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic, that three are one, and one is three; when we shall have knocked down the artificial scaffolding, reared to mask from view the simple structure of Jesus, when, in short, we shall have unlearned every thing which has been taught since his day, and got back to the pure and simple doctrines he inculcated, we shall then be truly and worthily his disciples: and my opinion is that if nothing had ever been added to what flowed purely from his lips, the whole world would at this day have been Christian . . . the religion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconcievable, as to shock reasonable thinkers, to revolt them against the whole, and drive them rashly to pronounce it’s founder an imposter. had there never been a Commentator, there never would have been an infidel” (Thomas Jefferson to Timothy Pickering, February 27, 1821).
If mankind had embraced the “simple structure of Jesus,” the “whole world would at this day have been Christian.” If men had not “distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus,” there “never would have been an infidel.” This is remarkably religious language approaching zealotry for one who was allegedly an atheist or deist.
You can see from these statements why orthodox Christians then and now have accused Jefferson of atheism, deism, or unbelief. He very pointedly dismissed as heretical their belief in the false priesthoods of the various denominations. He was a well-read man and could read texts in Greek, Latin, French, and other languages. He knew, as anyone who takes the time to study also knows, that mainstream Christianity is often a wildly distorted version of the plain Gospel taught in the Bible. Christ’s simple principles were joined together with Platonisms, Greek thought, Roman religious attitudes, paganism, and heretical ideas introduced in contentious and uninspired councils with their uninspired, unscriptural, untenable creeds. A man as brilliant as Jefferson easily recognized the contradictions and the interpolations of man.
Jefferson also used logic, not faith alone, to come to his beliefs about God. For instance, we find this interesting bit of reasoning in a letter to John Adams:
“[I]t is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regenerator into new and other forms. we see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the Universe in it’s course and order. stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view, comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and were there no restoring power, all existences might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos. so irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed thro’ all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to Unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent Universe. surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable than that of the few in the other hypothesis” (Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, April 11, 1823).
Though I may disagree with some of Jefferson’s conclusions here, I heartily support his logic regarding the near universal feeling in the human soul that there is a God and a Creator who set all things in order. It takes much greater faith to believe in a random “big bang” and magical evolutionary theory, the latter of which is self-refuting and scientifically absurd. It is astonishing how predominate faith in God has been among human beings throughout all of history, as if God implanted in our souls a longing for the divine that cannot be erased.
Perhaps one more quotation from the great Sage is in order. He wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush:
“In some of the delightful conversations with you, in the evenings of 1798. 99. which served as an Anodyne to the afflictions of the crisis through which our country was then labouring, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic: and I then promised you that, one day or other, I would give you my views of it. they are the result of a life of enquiry & reflection, and very different from that Anti-Christian system, imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. to the corruptions of Christianity, I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence, & believing he never claimed any other” (Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803).
In short, yes, Thomas Jefferson was a Christian! There are no two ways about it. There’s no fudging the record. The facts are plain for all to see. The problem is that most people don’t take the time to see – they rely on what their school teachers, professors, and Hollywood tell them. But these three branches have grown out of a corrupt tree whose planter wants to destroy American values and institutions.
This destruction is accomplished by destroying trust in the men who articulated those values. If you can convince people that Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Adams, Franklin, and the others, were rotten, morally repugnant, selfish, greedy, unruly elitists, then you can more easily convince people that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are fraudulent, incorrect documents that are relics of a bygone age that we would be well to be rid of. But truth will out. Jefferson believed that, writing to John Adams of the need to “follow truth as the only safe guide, & to eschew error” (Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, December 10, 1819).
Before proceeding to the next point, I want to end this portion with a word on the “separation of church and state” notion bandied about by those hostile to religion or to the infusion of Christian principles into government and society. It is almost not worth our time to discuss the issue since it was a private opinion and never part of the U.S. government or Constitution. That said, I turn to historian David Barton who accurately explained:
“When Jefferson, the political head of those originally known as the Anti-Federalists (but subsequently known as Democratic-Republicans, or Republicans), became president in 1801, his election was particularly well received by Baptists. This political disposition was understandable, for across much of American history, the Baptists had frequently found their free exercise of religion restricted under the power of a legal alliance between the government and state-established churches. Baptist ministers in various regions had often been beaten, imprisoned, fined, or banned by civic authorities who were joined to state-established churches, so it was not surprising that Baptists strongly opposed centralized government power, including at the federal level. . . .
“Jeffersons’s election as an anti-federalist Democratic-Republican opposed to a strong central government elated the Baptists. They were already very familiar with Jefferson’s record of not only helping disestablish the official church in Virginia but also of championing the cause of religious freedom for Baptists and all other non-established denominations. Not surprisingly, therefore, on his election he received numerous letters of congratulations from Baptist organizations.
“One of them was penned on October 7, 1801, by the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut. Their letter began with an expression of gratitude to God for Jefferson’s election, followed by prayers of blessing for him, to which he replied: “I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you, for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.”
“The Danbury Baptists then expressed their grave concern over governmental laws that protected their free exercise. . . .
“The Danbury Baptists were writing to Jefferson fully understanding that he was an ally of their viewpoint, not an adversary of it. It was Jefferson’s firm position that the federal government had no authority to interfere with, limit, regulate, or prohibit public religious expressions – a position he stated on many occasions:
““[N]o power over the freedom of religion . . . [is] delegated to the United States by the Constitution [the First Amendment].”
““In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the general [federal] government.”
““[O]ur excellent Constitution . . . has not placed our religious rights under the power of any public functionary.””
“None of these or any other statements by Jefferson contain even the slightest hint that religion should be removed from the public square, or that it should be secularized, but rather only that the government could not limit or regulate it. The possibility that the government might do so is what had troubled the Danbury Baptists. Fully understanding their concerns, Jefferson replied to them on January 1, 1802, assuring them that they had nothing to fear – the government would not meddle with their religious expressions, whether they occurred in private or in public:
““Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions; I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.””
“The separation metaphor used here was not a new or original phrase originating from Jefferson; it had long been used among the often government-oppressed Baptists and their ministers. Jefferson deliberately used that phrase, already well-known to them, in order to assure them that the government would protect rather than impede their religious beliefs and expressions. As James Adams later affirmed: “Jefferson’s reference to a ‘wall of separation between Church and State’ . . . was not formulating a secular principle to banish religion from the public arena. Rather he was trying to keep government from darkening the doors of Church.”
“The separation metaphor so often used by courts and officials today was not used by the US Supreme Court until 1878. In that case, the Court particularly emphasized Jefferson’s declaration concerning governmental limitations against interfering with religious expressions, explaining:
““[I]t [Jefferson’s letter] may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the Amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere [religious] opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.”
“The separation metaphor was invoked in the Court’s decision in order to reaffirm the historical understanding that religious expressions were to be protected rather than limited. In fact, to establish that there were only a narrow handful of religious expressions with which the government could legitimately interfere, the Court quoted from Jefferson’s famous Virginia Statute that: “[T]he rightful purposes of civil government are for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order. In th[is] . . . is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the Church and what to the States”” (David Barton, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson, 159-164).
That is a lot to take in, but, in essence, it shows that Jefferson never wanted to rid society, or even government, or religion. The fact – and it is a fact – that, as President, he attended worship services in Statuary Hall inside the Capitol and distributed Isaac Watts hymnals and Bibles to D.C. churches in his simultaneous post as President of the United States and head of the D.C. school board. It may interest readers to know that numerous administrations, including Washington’s, Adams’, Jefferson’s, and Madison’s, all attended church services, called for prayers and days of fasting, and were highly involved in religious affairs. So much for phony notion of “separation of church and state” prohibiting religion in government functions or in the public square.
Another common accusation against Jefferson is that he was an Illuminist, a Jacobin, or some sort of wicked conspiratorial agent. This is false. There is no evidence for it whatsoever. True, we have a letter wherein Jefferson said that after reading for several hours in an early book on the Illuminati conspiracy, he was disinclined to believe it based on his own experience with revolutionary politics in America. He admitted he hadn’t read the whole book and that he had barely been introduced to the idea, and so his conclusions may have been premature. Having studied those very same books Jefferson had flipped through, I find them, when taken as a whole, more than convincing. Others of the Founding Fathers, including George Washington, were similarly convinced and spoke out against Illuminism. I believe, if he ever investigated it further, that Jefferson must have come to the conclusion that the Illuminati in fact was an abominable organization and the mainspring of Jacobinism.
Furthermore, when he was in France, Jefferson did in fact meet with some of the representatives of the Jacobin government, helping draft their Declaration of Rights. He hoped that the spark of Freedom lit in America would at last spread to Europe and topple the corrupt monarchies and church-and-state conglomerates that had so long suppressed religious Liberty, and thus elevate the status of man above that of serf. He was sadly disappointed, however. Early on, he repudiated the French Revolution with its vicious Jacobinism, bloodletting, and guillotines. Specifically, he lamented the “the effusion of so much blood” and condemned French leaders like Robespierre.
No, Jefferson was never a Jacobin. He was never an Illuminist. He broke with the head-chopping fanatics when their perfidy became evident. An Illuminist would have never denounced his own cabal or criticized its handiwork. Several of his backhand swipes at the French revolutionists will be displayed below in the quotes section. They should be enough, combined with the deafening lack of any hard evidence of a connection beyond mere supposition, to belie the false claims.
The next accusation I will discuss is that Jefferson was a conniving politician who used political tricks to gain and hold power. This is also false, though there is a hint of reality. Jefferson never wanted to be the guy out front leading anything. He preferred the quiet life in the country. He hated cities and crowds. Yet, because he was so brilliant, he sometimes worked from behind the scenes to influence this or that person to bring about a desirable conclusion for the country he loved.
For instance, when, as Vice-President, his conscience forbade him from supporting President John Adams in signing the Alien and Sedition Acts (which were misguided attempts to stop Jacobin-like terror from gaining a foothold here in America), he quietly helped a group in Kentucky write the Kentucky Resolutions. The Kentucky Resolutions declared the doctrine that states could nullify actions the federal government took which were deemed unconstitutional (thus making them void by default). The draft of the Resolutions which Jefferson worked on explained in minute detail why nullification was the “rightful remedy” to federal overreach:
“[T]his commonwealth is determined, as it doubts not its co-States are, to submit to undelegated, and consequently unlimited powers in no man, or body of men on earth: that in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the General Government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis,) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them: that nevertheless, this commonwealth, from motives of regard and respect for its co-States, has wished to communicate with them on the subject: that with them alone it is proper to communicate, they alone being parties to the compact, and solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it, Congress being not a party, but merely the creature of the compact, and subject as to its assumptions of power to the final judgment of those by whom, and for whose use itself and its powers were all created and modified: that if the acts before specified should stand, these conclusions would flow from them; that the General Government may place any act they think proper on the list of crimes, and punish it themselves whether enumerated or not enumerated by the Constitution as cognizable by them: that they may transfer its cognizance to the President, or any other person, who may himself be the accuser, counsel, judge and jury, whose _suspicions_ may be the evidence, his order – the sentence, his officer – the executioner, and his breast the sole record of the transaction: that a very numerous and valuable description of the inhabitants of these States being, by this precedent, reduced, as outlaws, to the absolute dominion of one man, and the barrier of the Constitution thus swept away from us all, no rampart now remains against the passions and the powers of a majority in Congress to protect from a like exportation, or other more grievous punishment, the minority of the same body, the legislatures, judges, governors, and counsellors of the States, nor their other peaceable inhabitants, who may venture to reclaim the constitutional rights and liberties of the States and people, or who for other causes, good or bad, may be obnoxious to the views, or marked by the suspicions of the President, or be thought dangerous to his or their election, or other interests, public or personal: that the friendless alien has indeed been selected as the safest subject of a first experiment; but the citizen will soon follow, or rather, has already followed, for already has a sedition act marked him as its prey: that these and successive acts of the same character, unless arrested at the threshold, necessarily drive these States into revolution and blood, and will furnish new calumnies against republican government, and new pretexts for those who wish it to be believed that man cannot be governed but by a rod of iron: that it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism — free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power: that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go . . . In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
At the same time that he was helping draft the Kentucky Resolutions, he encouraged James Madison to write the Virginia Resolutions. This latter document said substantively the same thing as the former and helped establish the idea of state nullification.
Is this Machiavellian? I don’t see how it is. It is merely watching your step while walking through a mine field. Though he couldn’t care less about what the press said about him, Jefferson was highly cognizant of public perception and of how events, revelations, and policies work to influence people. He was careful and smart, not conniving and scheming. He went against his own president because he knew he had to account to a higher judge – his own conscience.
Jefferson’s biggest rival, Alexander Hamilton, claimed he was a man of ambition. Again, I dispute this idea. Jefferson did not want to attend the Continental Congress, but he did because he was selected and asked. He did not want to author the Declaration of Independence, but did because John Adams asked him to. He did not want to be away from home in France for all those years as ambassador, yet he did it because he was called upon. He did not want to be the Secretary of State, but he dutifully accepted President Washington’s appointment. He later resigned over disputes with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and retired to his farm – which is what he had always dreamed of.
He was later drafted as the Vice-President under John Adams not because he campaigned for the job (he didn’t do one ounce of campaigning), but because the system at the time chose the person with the second highest amount of votes as the number two man. As shown, he had disputes with President Adams and did not truly want to be there. Finally, though he rued the thought, because he was the natural leader of the “Democratic-Republican” faction, he was the natural choice to run against Adams in the election of 1800. Jefferson won by a hair in what he called America’s second revolution – the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. He won twice in a row, bowing out after eight years at President Washington had done, at last retiring to his beloved Monticello to till the soil, study science, build and rebuild his fascinating house, and enjoy old age.
When confronted with this record of repeated reluctance, it is hardly plausible to call Jefferson an “ambitious” man in any sort of negative sense of the term. He was ambitious for America, certainly. He craved to see the ideas of Freedom that he had helped popularize and define spread across the globe. He was anxious to see the slaves freed. He was desirous to watch the American Empire of Liberty expand and become permanent. But all of these are noble aspirations, not duplicitous ambitions such as Hamilton himself had with his foreign-concocted banking scheme.
Finally, the coup de grâce of all malign myths about Jefferson is that of his relationship to slaves and slavery. I got into more than one heated argument with university professors about Jefferson’s alleged affair with his daughters’ servant, Sally Hemings, with whom, it is alleged, he fathered as many as five children (yes, I’m talking to you “Professor” Isaiah Walker from BYU-H). This myth has been shattered so many times by competent researchers that it is infuriating it still gets the limelight. Simply, there is no hard evidence that Thomas Jefferson had an affair with anyone, least of all one of his slaves, or that he fathered children with anyone but his own wife.
“But,” the critics claim, “the Jefferson family DNA runs in Hemings’ children!” Yes, it does. This is because Jefferson’s brother Randolph was the father. This was widely known at the time. In fact, the vaunted DNA “evidence” only confirms that the Jefferson family DNA runs in Hemings’ family, narrowing the father down to one of ten individuals. And this “evidence” was only released at the time Bill Clinton was on trial for his affairs. The so-called discovery led Establishment news sources to say, in essence, “See, if a man like Jefferson could have affairs and yet remain a national hero, why can’t Clinton?”
Let’s delve a little deeper into the past, however. The accusation of Jefferson’s supposed indiscretions first became a “controversy” when the self-admitted liar James Thomson Callender, who was angry that Jefferson would not grant him the position of postmaster he thought he was owed, printed the lie in a pamphlet. He printed lying pamphlets for a living. He had in fact fled Scotland previously under suspicion of sedition for, you guessed it, printing lying pamphlets. Callender is not exactly a credible source.
“The claim that Thomas Jefferson had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings began with James Thomson Callender, a notorious journalist and scandalmonger. Callender had demanded that Jefferson, who was elected president in 1800, appoint him postmaster of Richmond, Va. At one point during the summer of 1802, Callendar shouted from in front of the White House, “Sir, you know that by lying [in press attacks on President John Adams] I made you President!”
“When Jefferson refused to make the appointment, Callender promised “ten thousand fold vengeance” and wrote a series of articles denouncing Jefferson as a French agent and an atheist. When those charges had no effect, he insisted that the president had taken a young slave girl to be his “concubine” while in Paris during the late 1780s. At the time, Sally attended to Jefferson’s young daughters, who lived in a Catholic boarding school across town in Paris that had servants’ quarters. She didn’t live at the Jefferson residence.
“Both John Adams and Alexander Hamilton—political rivals of Jefferson’s at the time—rejected Callender’s charges, because they knew Jefferson’s character and had bitter personal experiences with Callender’s lies.
“The case against Jefferson was the subject of a yearlong examination by a group of 13 distinguished scholars, including historians Robert Ferrell (Indiana University) and Forrest McDonald (University of Alabama), as well as political scientists Harvey Mansfield (Harvard) and Jean Yarbrough (Bowdoin). Save for a mild dissent by historian Paul Rahe (now at Hillsdale College) the group concluded that the story is probably false. This Scholars Commission, which I chaired, published its findings in book form late last year.
“The legend of a sexual relationship between Jefferson and one of his slaves lives on in books, novels, films and the popular imagination. But proof—or even much verifiable evidence supporting it—is lacking.”
Lacking is an understatement. “Bald-faced lie” is a better term for this pathetic myth.
The famed Professor Joseph Ellis described the foreign-born liar Callender thus:
“James Callender was an angry, bitter, and cynical man who made a career by specializing in invective and character assassination. He ruthlessly, viciously, and often crudely ravaged anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in his journalistic sights” (Cited in The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy: Report of the Scholars Commission, chapter 3).
Historian John Chester Miller also reported:
“Callender made his charges against Jefferson without fear and without research. . . . He never made the slightest effort to verify the ‘facts’ he so stridently proclaimed. It was ‘journalism’ at its most reckless, wildly irresponsible, and scurrilous. Callender was not an investigative journalist; he never bothered to investigate anything” (Cited in The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy: Report of the Scholars Commission, chapter 3).
Imagine that, political lies and attempted blackmail from one who never did a moment of research and who was an angry, bitter, known liar on two continents! And yet we still believe this man’s tripe two-hundred and twenty years later? Incredible!
Historian David Barton, who is berated by lesser researchers who hate his defense of Christianity and conservatism, said this of the Hemings’ myth:
“[O]nly eight weeks after the initial blockbuster DNA story was issued, it was pulled and rewritten, quietly and without fanfare, with the scientific researcher who had conducted the DNA test acknowledging that the test actually had not proven that Jefferson fathered any children with Hemings. It turned out that the results had been dramatically overstated: there were twenty-six Jefferson males living in the area, of whom ten might have been the father of a Hemings child, and Thomas was only one possibility. But the admission of the misportrayed DNA testing results did not make the same splash in the national headlines, for it aided no agenda. Doing justice to Jefferson’s reputation was not deemed in and of itself to be a worthy national consideration, so the retraction story was generally buried or ignored. . . .
“A blue-ribbon commission of thirteen leading scholars was assembled to examine the Jefferson paternity issue. Those scholars were all PhDs from prestigious schools such as Harvard, the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina, the University of Kentucky, Indiana University, and others. This Scholars’ Commission reported:
““There are at least ten possible fathers for Sally Hemings’ children who could have passed down genetic material that might produce children physically resembling Thomas Jefferson and who are thought to have visited Monticello regularly during the years Sally Hemings was having children.”
“After investigating the ten possible fathers, the group concluded that the “case against some of Thomas Jefferson’s relatives appears significantly stronger than the case against him.” It was these other nine unaddressed paternity alternatives that made the DNA testing announcement suspect. Thomas Jefferson’s own DNA was not checked; and with the exception of Field Jefferson, the DNA for the rest of the Jefferson males living in the area was not checked. World therefore correctly reported:
““According to the genetic evidence, the father could have been Jefferson. Or it could have been his brother Randolph. Or one of Randolph’s sons. Or, presumably, his uncle Field, or his son George or one of his sons. . . . Any of these men had access to Monticello and could have been culpable.”
“National columnist Mona Charen accurately summarized the scope of the testing results:
““The DNA data did rule Jefferson out as the father of Thomas Woodson, the eldest of Sally’s sons, and shed no light on the rest. That leaves a scenario in which Jefferson’s sexual liaison with his slave [that produced Eston] is estimated to have begun when he was 65 years old. Possible certainly, but likely? While the DNA data adds to our knowledge – it is clear that there was mixing of Hemings and Jefferson genes sometimes in the past 200 years – they do not provide names or dates. They most definitely do not “prove” anything about Thomas Jefferson himself.”
“Herbert Berger, the Jefferson family historian and genealogist who assisted in the DNA testing, explained:
““My study indicates to me that Thomas Jefferson was NOT the father of Eston or any other Hemings child. The DNA study . . . indicates that Randolph [Thomas’ younger brother] is possibly the father of Eston and maybe the others. . . . [T]hree of Sally Hemings’ children, Harriet, Beverly, and Eston (the latter two not common names), were given names of the Randolph family.”
“The Scholars’ Commission arrived at the same conclusion. Significantly, that group had not been composed of Jefferson supporters; in fact, several of the scholars had believed that Jefferson might indeed be the father of Hemings’ children. But after spending a year investigating the evidence, they all concluded that Randolph, Jefferson’s younger brother, was indeed the most likely father” (David Barton, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson, 32, 38-40).
It is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that, unlike Bill Clinton, Thomas Jefferson never had sex with that woman, nor did he father any of her children. His character was noble and great. He was an upright, honest, and loyal man. He was a Christian and a man of honor.
But what of slavery? Didn’t Jefferson own slaves. Correct. He primarily inherited them when his father died or acquired them through marriage. Under the laws of Virginia, you could not outright free slaves. Jefferson himself wrote that “the laws do not permit us to turn them loose” (more on this quotation in a moment).
Most people do not understand that Jefferson couldn’t simply free them whenever he wanted. They don’t comprehend Virginia’s laws barring indebted individuals, like Jefferson, from freeing their slaves. They also do not understand that, when he became a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, he introduced legislation to do away with slavery and allow people to free them, or that he tried to insert a condemnatory paragraph into the Declaration of Independence, or that he often denounced the institution as immoral, wrong, and contrary to American principles.
“At the time of the American Revolution, Jefferson was actively involved in legislation that he hoped would result in slavery’s abolition. In 1778, he drafted a Virginia law that prohibited the importation of enslaved Africans. In 1784, he proposed an ordinance that would ban slavery in the Northwest territories. But Jefferson always maintained that the decision to emancipate slaves would have to be part of a democratic process; abolition would be stymied until slaveowners consented to free their human property together in a large-scale act of emancipation. To Jefferson, it was anti-democratic and contrary to the principles of the American Revolution for the federal government to enact abolition or for only a few planters to free their slaves.
“Although Jefferson continued to advocate for abolition, the reality was that slavery was becoming more entrenched. The slave population in Virginia skyrocketed from 292,627 in 1790 to 469,757 in 1830. Jefferson had assumed that the abolition of the slave trade would weaken slavery and hasten its end. Instead, slavery became more widespread and profitable. In an attempt to erode Virginians’ support for slavery, he discouraged the cultivation of crops heavily dependent on slave labor—specifically tobacco—and encouraged the introduction of crops that needed little or no slave labor—wheat, sugar maples, short-grained rice, olive trees, and wine grapes. But by the 1800s, Virginia’s most valuable commodity and export was neither crops nor land, but slaves.
“Jefferson’s belief in the necessity of ending slavery never changed. From the mid-1770s until his death, he advocated the same plan of gradual emancipation. First, the transatlantic slave trade would be abolished. Second, slaveowners would “improve” slavery’s most violent features, by bettering (Jefferson used the term “ameliorating”) living conditions and moderating physical punishment. Third, all born into slavery after a certain date would be declared free, followed by total abolition. Like others of his day, he supported the removal of newly freed slaves from the United States.”
Now I turn to the real source – Jefferson himself. Here are a few of the Sage’s many statements on the evil of slavery:
“I am not advocating slavery . . . on the contrary there is nothing I would not sacrifice to a practicable plan of abolishing every vestige of this moral and political depravity” (Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, September 10, 1814).
Another time, Jefferson called the evil institution “a hideous blot” (Thomas Jefferson to William Short, September 8, 1823). More famously, however, Jefferson wrote an entire paragraph condemning slavery in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence. It read:
“[King George III] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”
Finally, I return to the earlier line where Jefferson acknowledged the illegality of freeing slaves in Virginia, expect under very particular circumstances. The full letter was a denunciation of slavery. It also tackled the problem of what to do considering slavery was still legal. Some of Jefferson’s remarks may seem harsh to modern ears, yet I challenge anyone to refute their truthfulness. With this in mind, I now reproduce nearly the entire letter. To Edward Coles, the great Sage observed:
“Your favor of July 31. was duly recieved, and was read with peculiar pleasure. the sentiments breathed thro’ the whole do honor to both the head and heart of the writer. mine on the subject of the slavery of negroes have long since been in possession of the public, and time has only served to give them stronger root. the love of justice & the love of country plead equally the cause of these people, and it is a mortal reproach to us that they should have pleaded it so long in vain, and should have produced not a single effort, nay I fear not much serious willingness to relieve them & ourselves from our present condition of moral and political reprobation. from those of the former generation who were in the fulness of age when I came into public life, which was while our controversy with England was on paper only, I soon saw that nothing was to be hoped. nursed and educated in the daily habit of seeing the degraded condition, both bodily & mental, of those unfortunate beings, not reflecting that that degradation was very much the work of themselves & their fathers, few minds had yet doubted but that they were as legitimate subjects of property as their horses or cattle. the quiet & monotonous course of colonial life had been disturbed by no alarm, & little reflection on the value of liberty. and when alarm was taken at an enterprise on their own, it was not easy to carry them the whole length of the principles which they invoked for themselves. in the first or second session of the legislature after I became a member, I drew to this subject the attention of Colo Bland, one of the oldest, ablest, and most respected members, and he undertook to move for certain moderate extensions of the protection of the laws to these people. I seconded his motion, and, as a younger member, was more spared in the debate: but he was denounced as an enemy to his country, & was treated with the grossest indecorum. from an early stage of our revolution other and more distant duties were assigned to me, so that from that time till my return from Europe in 1789. and I may say till I returned to reside at home in 1809. I had little opportunity of knowing the progress of public sentiment here on this subject. I had always hoped that the younger generation, recieving their early impressions after the flame of liberty had been kindled in every breast, and had become as it were the vital spirit of every American, that the generous temperament of youth, analogous to the motion of their blood, and above the suggestions of avarice, would have sympathised with oppression wherever found, and proved their love of liberty beyond their own share of it. but my intercourse with them, since my return, has not been sufficient to ascertain that they had made towards this point the progress I had hoped. your solitary but welcome voice is the first which has brought this sound to my ear; and I have considered the general silence which prevails on this subject as indicating an apathy unfavorable to every hope. yet the hour of emancipation is advancing in the march of time. it will come; and whether brought on by the generous energy of our own minds, or by the bloody process of St Domingo, excited and conducted by the power of our present enemy, if once stationed permanently within our country, & offering asylum & arms to the oppressed, is a leaf of our history not yet turned over.
“As to the method by which this difficult work is to be effected, if permitted to be done by ourselves, I have seen no proposition so expedient on the whole, as that of emancipation of those born after a given7 day, and of their education and expatriation at a proper age. this would give time for a gradual extinction of that species of labor and substitution of another, and lessen the severity of the shock which an operation so fundamental cannot fail to produce. the idea of emancipating the whole at once, the old as well as the young, and retaining them here, is of those only who have not the guide of either knolege or experience of the subject. for, men, probably of any colour, but of this color we know, brought up from their infancy without necessity for thought or forecast, are by their habits rendered as incapable as children of taking care of themselves, and are extinguished promptly wherever industry is necessary for raising the young. in the mean time they are pests in society by their idleness, and the depredations to which this leads them. their amalgamation with the other colour produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character can innocently consent.
“. . . I have overlived the generation with which mutual labors and perils begat mutual confidence and influence. this enterprise is for the young; for those who can follow it up, and bear it through to it’s consummation. it shall have all my prayers, and these are the only weapons of an old man. but in the mean time are you right in abandoning this property, and your country with it? I think not. my opinion has ever been that, until more can be done for them, we should endeavor, with those whom fortune has thrown on our hands, to feed & clothe them well, protect them from ill usage, require such reasonable labor only as is performed voluntarily by freemen, and be led by no repugnancies to abdicate them, and our duties to them. the laws do not permit us to turn them loose, if that were for their good: and to commute them for other property is to commit them to those whose usage of them we cannot controul. I hope then, my dear Sir, you will reconcile yourself to your country and it’s unfortunate condition; that you will not lessen it’s stock of sound disposition by withdrawing your portion from the mass. that, on the contrary you will come forward in the public councils, become the Missionary of this doctrine truly Christian, insinuate & inculcate it softly but steadily thro’ the medium of writing & conversation, associate others in your labors, and when the phalanx is formed, bring on & press the proposition perseveringly until it’s accomplishment. it is an encoraging observation that no good measure was ever proposed which, if duly pursued, failed to prevail in the end” (Thomas Jefferson to Edward Coles, August 25, 1814).
Let’s unpackage this a bit. First, Jefferson acknowledged his anti-slavery sentiments. He called it a “mortal reproach” that slavery had not been abolished by that time – 38 years after the Declaration of Independence had championed the Liberty of all men. Second, he explained some of his legislative efforts to ameliorate the condition of slaves. Third, he acknowledged that slavery would end one way or another, either through peaceful and willing means or by savagery and violence like in the Jacob-style Haitian Revolution.
Furthermore, Jefferson expressed his dismay that the sentiments of his nation had not kept pace with the times and that they had not lived up to the high-minded ideals expressed by himself and others at America’s founding. He explained that full emancipation on a sudden would be a dangerous thing. History bears him out. Functioning in a free society and as free individuals takes experience, education, dedication, self-discipline, and a spirit of Independence and accountability. Naturally, slaves were not usually encouraged to develop these types of traits – especially not a spirit of Independence. How, then, could the nation suddenly let millions of uneducated, unprepared people join society? They could not unless they wanted chaos.
Jefferson has been called a “racist” for his views. This isn’t racist; it’s realistic. While he hoped, dreamed, and yearned for a brighter future, Jefferson was a profound pragmatist. We cannot condemn a man for not knowing how to untangle a giant knot which he did not personally tangle and which he spent years of his own life trying to undo.
Therefore, Jefferson proposed gradual emancipation and a focus on educating slaves and averting violence. After all, he had said: “[I]f a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was & never will be” (Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816). Yet, he knew that the momentum of Freedom was leading to a full emancipation one way or another, expressing his view thus:
“There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other . . . The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labour for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavours to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.–But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one’s mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation” (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII).
In all honesty, how can anyone not feel Jefferson’s loathing for slavery in these words?
I now want to share one more story from Jefferson’s life. When the great Sage returned to his beloved Monticello after years away in France, a remarkable thing happened. His slaves met his carriage as it approached, took Jefferson out of it, and, weeping and cheering, carried him up the little hill into his house. Read about this incident, and more Jefferson truth in The Real Thomas Jefferson by Andrew Allison and the National Center for Constitutional Studies.
What ill-treated or oppressed people would do something like that to their master? If Jefferson was a cruel taskmaster who treated slaves like chattel, would they behave like this? Hardly! The reality is that Jefferson was a kind man who educated his slaves and treated them fairly and in a dignified manner.
In light of these quotations and facts, let’s sum up Jefferson’s relationship to slavery. First, he never wanted slaves, inherited those he had, and was forbidden by the laws of his state from freeing most of them. Second, no concrete evidence exists that he had an affair with Sally Hemings or fathered her children. Third, copious evidence exists, including his own letters and speeches, proving that he abhorred the institution of slavery and advocated its abolition for decades. Fourth, and finally, he was beloved by his slaves because he treated them so fairly and he was able to free some of his slaves upon his death.
Now that we have dispensed with some of the most common absurdities surrounding this stalwart man, I want to spend the duration of this piece celebrating his excellence and the wonderful contributions he made to his country and to the world.
Thomas Jefferson was, in my studied view, the most brilliant of the Founding Fathers. In a prestigious group that includes Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, George Washington, James Wilson, George Wythe, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and beyond, that is saying something! His rise through formal studies was meteoric. He was tutored by the great George Wythe who trained numerous other Founding Fathers, was himself one of that number, and who signed the Declaration of Independence and participated in the Constitutional Convention. Jefferson, however, was the star pupil.
The Sage could speak four languages and read others. He himself said: “I read Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and English of course, with something of it’s radix the Anglo-Saxon” (Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Delaplaine, April 12, 1817). He dabbled in others. This impressive knowledge of ancient tongues allowed Jefferson to read the classical works in their original forms, giving him an edge in understanding their pearls of timeless wisdom.
Apart from languages, Jefferson was a man of science and reason. Of science and politics respectively, he wrote: “The first is my passion, the last my duty” (Thomas Jefferson to Harry Innes, March 7, 1791). Dr. John W. Oliver described him thus:
“Jefferson was the most scientifically minded president this nation has ever known . . . And to M. Dupont de Nemours, he wrote, “Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science by rendering them my supreme delight.” And again to Dr. Benjamin Rush, he declared that nothing but “revolutionary duties would ever have called me away from scientific studies.” Had not these “revolutionary duties” driven him into politics Jefferson might well have taken rank as a scientist with Leonardo de Vinci, Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, and Benjamin Franklin. Even with all the political demands made upon him he still found time to render a distinct service in the fields of the physical sciences, mathematics, geography, botany, paleontology, agriculture, and natural history” (John W. Oliver, “Thomas Jefferson – Scientist,” The Scientific Monthly, Vol. 56, No. 5, May, 1943, 460).
So attached to science was he that Jefferson dubbed Sir Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, and John Lock “the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception” (Thomas Jefferson to John Trumbull, February 15, 1789). If anyone was curious, my personal triumvirate of heroes includes Jefferson in first place.
Jefferson succeeded Benjamin Franklin as the second head of the American Philosophical Society, “the oldest learned society in the United States.” He was curious about space and astronomy, meteorology, paleontology (he had a collection of fossils), botany, agriculture, medicine, surveying, mathematics, ethnology, and so on. He made extensive studies of the American Indians and his administration perhaps had the friendliest relations with the Indians of any in our history. He sent Lewis and Clark to explore the American West. And so forth.
Jefferson was also an inventor. He created a unique “polygraph” device that allowed him to write one letter while it was simultaneously copied onto another piece of paper via an arm mimicking the motion of the pen in Jefferson’s hand. As a farmer and plantation owner, he improved upon the basic plough. He created a dumbwaiter system for his highly original and innovative house, which I recommend visiting if you ever have the chance.
The man was of course a noted statesman, holding numerous positions from state legislator, to governor, to secretary of state, to vice-president, to president. Historians often bicker about whether his administration was a success or not. I submit that it is for several reasons, including how dramatically he cut the debt, expanded the nation’s territory, presided over peaceful relations with the Indians, kept us out of another brewing war with England, and managed to shrink the size of government.
A Smithsonian Magazinearticle once explained in part how Jefferson accomplished so much as president:
“Some founding fathers were no strangers to the sort of fiscal woes that Congress, under increasing pressure to solve the ever-worsening financial crisis, faces today. Thomas Jefferson, elected in 1800, inherited $83 million dollars worth of federal debt. His plan to get the fledgling United States out of the hole? Government spending cuts! . . . .
“Through a series of strategic moves that would puzzle even the most savvy political strategist of 2013, Jefferson managed to cut military spending by nearly half, end the whiskey tax and buy a third of North America.”
Since his exploits as president are so well-known, I merely mark these few features and move on to more intriguing matters.
Jefferson often went against the grain and did that which others would not dare consider. He frequently answered the White House door as president. He sometimes dined at a circular table so that there was no “head” and, thus, no one above another. His style of dress was also somewhat unique, but often included common clothing instead of flashy, high-society garb.
One George Flower said of Jefferson’s style:
“His dress in color and form, was quaint and old-fashioned, plain and neat-a dark pepper-and-salt coat, cut in the old quaker fashion, with a single row of large metal buttons, knee-breeches, gray-worsted stockings, shoes fastened by large metal buckles.”
Frances Few observed:
“I dined with the President … he was dressed in a pair of dark corduroy breeches-an old fringed dimmity jacket that he bought with him from France which reached down to his hips-a blue cloth coat with metal buttons-worsted stockings nicely drawn up & a clean pair of leather shoes.”
Ellen R. Coolidge recounted:
“His dress was simple, and adapted to his ideas of neatness and comfort. He paid little attention to fashion, wearing what-ever he liked best, and sometimes blending the fashions of several different periods. He wore long waistcoats, when the mode was for very short; white cambric stocks fastened behind with a buckle, when cravats were universal. He adopted the pantaloon very late in life, because he found it more comfortable and convenient, and cut off his queue for the same reason. He … did nothing to be in conformity with the fashion of the day.”
And, finally, William H. Thornton remarked:
“His simplicity of attire, his plainess of manner was not a flout.”
The above and additional descriptions of Jefferson’s fashion choices can be read at this link for those so interested. Suffice it to say that the 6’3” redheaded Jefferson had a style all his own.
Though he was clearly among America’s aristocratic class, Jefferson hated castes and classes, did not follow the fashion of the day, and preferred the farm to the city. The only type of aristocracy he favored was what he called an “aristocracy of virtue.” He explained in a letter to John Adams:
“I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. the grounds of this are virtue & talents . . . there is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents . . . the artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent it’s ascendancy . . . I think the best remedy is exactly that provided by all our constitutions, to leave to the citizens the free election and separation of the aristoi from the pseudo-aristoi, of the wheat from the chaff. in general they will elect the real good and wise. in some instances, wealth may corrupt, and birth blind them; but not in sufficient degree to endanger the society” (Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, October 28, 1813).
Perhaps Jefferson was too optimistic about the good sense of the People, but that is a matter for a different time. The takeaway is that Jefferson believed in meritocracy. He believed in what came to be called “the American dream.” He believed in true fairness, not in the artificial absurdity of one class rising in ascendancy above another because of materialistic and arbitrary things such as money, birth, or family name. In other words, his philosophy encompassed true Americanism.
Jefferson hated aristocracies and loathed the concept that one class should be above another. This was the common American view, said Jefferson:
“[I]n America, no other distinction between man and man had ever been known, but that of persons in office exercising powers by authority of the laws, and private individuals. Among these last the poorest labourer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest Millionary, and generally on a more favoured one whenever their rights seemed to jar. It has been seen that a shoemaker, or other artisan, removed by the voice of his country from his work bench into a chair of office, has instantly commanded all the respect and obedience which the laws ascribe to his office. But of distinctions by birth or badge they had no more idea than they had of the mode of existence in the moon or planets. They had heard only that there were such, and knew that they must be wrong. A due horror of the evils which flow from these distinctions could be excited in Europe only, where the dignity of man is lost in arbitrary distinctions, where the human species is classed into several stages of degradation, where the many are crouched under the weight of the few, and where the order established can present to the contemplation of a thinking being no other picture than that of God almighty and his angels trampling under foot the hosts of the damned” (Thomas Jefferson, Observations on DéMeunier’s Manuscript, June 22, 1786).
In short, Jefferson believed: “An equal application of law to every condition of man is fundamental” (Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, August 20, 1807). There will be more about equal Liberty later in the article.
Like the average American in the early Republic, Jefferson loved music. The Sage was a musician who played the violin and cello, and tinkered with pianos, pianofortes, and harpsicords. He loved to dance and sing. Music brought him and his future wife, Martha Skelton, together. It was one of his true delights. According to two people who were routinely around him at Monticello, Jefferson “was nearly always humming some tune, or singing in a low tone to himself” and was “always singing when ridin’ or walkin’.”
Jefferson was also a fantastic horse rider. He took daily rides, sometimes covering many miles to the edges of his gorgeous property. His plantation overseer, Edmund Bacon, remarked that Jefferson was “an uncommonly fine rider – sat easily upon his horse and always had him in the most perfect control.” He was also a hunter who participated in fox hunts.
The Sage was a prodigious botanist. His property at Monticello was full of exotic and varied species of plants, trees, and flowers. He corresponded widely in attempts to acquire rare varieties. He loved experimenting with these pleasant adornments of nature. Graham Smith has written of his lovely gardens:
“Somehow, the author of the Declaration of Independence and the nation’s third president found spare time to meticulously document his many trials and errors, growing over 300 varieties of more than 90 different plants. These included exotics like sesame, chickpeas, sea kale and salsify. They’re more commonly available now, but were rare for the region at the time. So were tomatoes and eggplant.
“In the nearby South Orchard, he grew 130 varieties of fruit trees like peach, apple, fig and cherry.
“All the time, he carefully documented planting procedures, spacings of rows, when blossoms appeared, and when the food should come to the table. Behind Jefferson’s “zeal to categorize the world around him” was a patriotic mission, [author Peter] Hatch says.
“Jefferson wrote, “The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.”
“Hatch says, “He believed that plants could transform society.” Jefferson even mused that the slavery of African-Americans in the Deep South might be replaced if sugar maple trees could replace sugar cane. He said they’d be so simple to tend, children could do it.”
Notably, Jefferson introduced several foods to the American diet and various plants to American gardens, including rhubarb. If you’ve never had rhubarb pie, you’re missing out! He also introduced the “sprout kale.” In terms of dining, Jefferson brought various French dishes to the United States, including macaroni and cheese and French fries. He also popularized tomatoes and ice cream. He routinely served ice cream at public functions as President.
Generally speaking, Jefferson believed that those who were close to the soil were God’s people. Said he:
“The political oeconomists of Europe have established it as a principle that every state should endeavour to manufacture for itself: and this principle, like many others, we transfer to America, without calculating the difference of circumstance which should often produce a difference of result. In Europe the lands are either cultivated, or locked up against the cultivator. Manufacture must therefore be resorted to of necessity not of choice, to support the surplus of their people. But we have an immensity of land courting the industry of the husbandman. Is it best then that all our citizens should be employed in its improvement, or that one half should be called off from that to exercise manufactures and handicraft arts for the other? Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phaenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example. It is the mark set on those, who not looking up to heaven, to their own soil and industry, as does the husbandman, for their subsistance, depend for it on the casualties and caprice of customers. Dependance begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. This, the natural progress and consequence of the arts, has sometimes perhaps been retarded by accidental circumstances: but, generally speaking, the proportion which the aggregate of the other classes of citizens bears in any state to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion of its unsound to its healthy parts, and is a good-enough barometer whereby to measure its degree of corruption. While we have land to labour then, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a work-bench, or twirling a distaff. Carpenters, masons, smiths, are wanting in husbandry: but, for the general operations of manufacture, let our work-shops remain in Europe. It is better to carry provisions and materials to workmen there, than bring them to the provisions and materials, and with them their manners and principles. The loss by the transportation of commodities across the Atlantic will be made up in happiness and permanence of government. The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution” (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIX).
This is a profound statement that shows how very well-acquainted with history, politics, social problems, culture, agriculture, and human nature Jefferson was. When people remove themselves from the soil and from nature, they become disconnected from real life and are more easily swayed, corrupted, and led by the nose. Having seen industrial Europe, Jefferson wanted no part of it. He disdained big cities and the corrupting influence they have on people. Instead, he observed what I have observed in my own life of traveling and living in both big metropolises and tiny villages; namely, that those who remain closer to nature and away from the cities are noticeably closer to God, have a higher sense of morality, and are more fiercely independent and patriotic. There really is a higher truth in the phrase “down to earth.”
Jefferson was not only a man of the soil, however. As we have already discussed, he was a man of intense intellect. He was a deep thinker whose mind comprehended more fields and occupations than nearly any other man in any other age. He was a famous lover of books, writing: “I cannot live without books” (Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, June 10, 1815). He owned approximately 10,000 books, putting my own 1,200 physical volumes to shame (add several thousand more if you count digital copies). His first library tragically burned in a fire at his mother’s property in 1770. In a letter of the same year, he lamented:
“My late loss may perhaps have reac[hed y]ou by this time, I mean the loss of my mother’s house by fire, and in it, of every pa[per I] had in the world, and almost every book. On a reasonable estimate I calculate th[e cost o]f t[he b]ooks burned to have been £200. sterling. Would to god it had been the money [;then] had it never cost me a sigh! To make the loss more sensible it fell principally on m[y books] of common law, of which I have but one left, at that time lent out. Of papers too of every kind I am utterly destitute. All of these, whether public or private, of business or of amusement have perished in the flames” (Thomas Jefferson to John Page, February 21, 1770).
It says a lot about Jefferson that he valued far more his books than his money. Money is finite, but books contain wisdom and knowledge which endure forever. Jefferson valued reason to an extreme degree and had a supreme intelligence, curiosity, and sense of creativity. He once recommended:
“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear” (Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787).
As an English teacher, I have often taught my students that “why?” is the most important question. Asking “why?” gets to the heart of matters. And Jefferson relentlessly questioned everything. Questioning, however, sometimes makes enemies. Regardless, Jefferson believed in doing what was right, honest, and true no matter what.
On one occasion, Jefferson counseled his nephew thus:
“Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation or under any circumstances that it is best for you to do a dishonourable thing however slightly so it may appear to you. Whenever you are to do a thing tho’ it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly. Encourage all your virtuous dispositions, and exercise them whenever an opportunity arises, being assured that they will gain strength by exercise as a limb of the body does, and that exercise will make them habitual. From the practice of the purest virtue you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life and in the moment of death. If ever you find yourself environed with difficulties and perplexing circumstances, out of which you are at a loss how to extricate yourself, do what is right, and be assured that that will extricate you the best out of the worst situations. Tho’ you cannot see when you fetch one step, what will be the next, yet follow truth, justice, and plain-dealing, and never fear their leading you out of the labyrinth in the easiest manner possible. The knot which you thought a Gordian one will untie itself before you. Nothing is so mistaken as the supposition that a person is to extricate himself from a difficulty, by intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation, by trimming, by an untruth, by an injustice. This increases the difficulties tenfold, and those who pursue these methods, get themselves so involved at length that they can turn no way but their infamy becomes more exposed. It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual, he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s beleiving him. This falshood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all it’s good dispositions.
Such noble sentiments. What’s more, Jefferson followed these lofty ideals with a high degree of exactness. He was well-known for his character and fidelity to his principles.
He had a disarming, charming, genteel personality. Nearly every person who ever met him in person remarked about his gentle nature, civil manner, and personability. He once said something that few other people could truthfully say:
“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. during the whole of the last war, which was trying enough, I never deserted a friend because he had taken an opposite side; and those of my own state who joined the British government can attest my unremitting zeal in saving their property, and can point out the laws in our statute books which I drew, and carried through in their favor. however I have seen during the late political2 paroxysm here, numbers whom I had highly esteemed draw off from me, insomuch as to cross the street to avoid meeting me. the fever is abating, & doubtless some of them will correct the momentary wanderings of their heart, & return again. if they do, they will meet the constancy of my esteem, & the same oblivion of this as of any other delirium which might happen to them” (Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton, April 22, 1800).
What magnanimity! I can’t profess to be so generous, though I try my best to be civil in conversations with my opposition and stick to facts. Jefferson, however, was the consummate gentleman at all times and was willing to forgive and let bygones fade into oblivion.
One of the things I have always admired about Jefferson was his even temper. He controlled his emotions extraordinarily well and was a perfect gentleman. He once explained a simple method for controlling your temper, which was contained in his list of axioms for use in “practical life.” Said he:
“When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.”
“Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.”
“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.”
“Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.”
“How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!”
The first and the last mentioned here are two that Jefferson mastered. Even when life was difficult and others spoke calumnies against him because of his politics or unorthodox religious views, he did what he believed was right in his heart and pursued the course of truth calmly and without anger or shame. He once said:
The great Sage knew he would be put to the torch, yet he blazed a trail and proclaimed the Liberty of man. Jefferson was one of the foremost reformers of error I have ever become acquainted with. He started with his own character and then worked selflessly to improve the world.
Before we talk about how he improved the world, I have two more statements summing up Jefferson’s grandeur. Thomas Jefferson was superb at nearly everything he did. He was a true Renaissance man with few equals. When President John F. Kennedy met a group of Nobel Prize winners for a special dinner at the White House, he made this illuminating comment:
“I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House. I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
“Someone once said that Thomas Jefferson was a gentleman of 32 who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, and dance the minuet. Whatever he may have lacked, if he could have had his former colleague, Mr. Franklin, here we all would have been impressed.”
This account has always made me smile. Not only is it clever, but it is true. A similar recounting of Jefferson’s seemingly endless list of skills was written by William Eleroy Curtis. He described some of Jefferson’s talents this way:
“He once told a grandson that from the time when, as a boy, he had turned off wearied from play and first found pleasure in books, he had never sat down in idleness. His greed for knowledge was insatiable, and he eagerly seized all means of obtaining it. It was his habit, in his intercourse with all classes of men, – the mechanic as well as the man of science, – to turn the conversation upon that subject with which his companion was best acquainted, whether it was farming, shoe-making, astronomy, the anatomy of the human body, or the theory of an extinct species of animals. Having drawn all the information his companions possessed, he noted it down in his memorandum-book, arranging it methodically and fixing it in his mind. Mathematics was his favorite study . . . While in Paris he studied balloon ascensions with great care, and wrote several lengthy papers upon what he calls “the aeronautical art.” He advocated the application of chemistry to the common affairs of life. . . .
“Jefferson was the first to introduce into America “the threshing machine, which may be moved by water or horses” . . . While he was in Europe he endeavored to discover the secrets of French perfumery manufacturers, and frequently interviewed chemists on that subject, hoping to introduce the art into Virginia. . . .
“The Marquis de Chastellux found Jefferson proficient in natural sciences, particularly in meteorology . . . He kept a record of the weather, the temperature, the rain, and the wind for nearly half a century, and it can be found in his note-books. Among his scientific instruments at Monticello he had pedometers, microscopes, theodolites, telescopes, thermometers, protractors, hydrometers, botanical microscopes, an air-pump, electrical batteries, and magnetic needles.
“Jefferson had more or less knowledge of anatomy, civil engineering, physics, mechanics, meteorology, astronomy, architecture, and botany. He was so familiar with every subject discussed by ordinary men and talked so fluently and with such confidence that the people of Virginia considered him a monument of learning. The story goes that on one occasion, while stopping at an inn, he spent an evening with a stranger from the North, a highly educated man, who was so charmed with his conversation and amazed at his learning that he inquired of the landlord who his companion might be. “When he spoke of law,” said the stranger, “I thought he was a lawyer; when he talked about mechanics, I was sure he was an engineer; when he got into medicine, it was evident that he was a physician; when he discussed theology, I was convinced that he must be a clergyman; when he talked of literature, I made up my mind that I had run against a college professor who knew everything”” (William Eleroy Curtis, The True Thomas Jefferson, 357-359).
What phenomenal talent, expertise, and excellence! If any man was ever competent at the business of living a well-rounded and meaningful life, it was Jefferson. He embodied a phrase which I have also tried to emulate in my life: Know something about everything and everything about something.
As amazing as Jefferson was in all of the elite fields listed above, his greatest strides and most important influence were in the realms of politics, government, and human Freedom. I have no hesitancy in proclaiming that in his day Thomas Jefferson was the most prepared man in America – and, thus, the world – to help establish and lead a free country. No man was better qualified to unfold the heavenly ideals of Freedom to the common man in simple terms and enduring slogans.
The most meaningful thing Jefferson has done for me personally and for the world, was to define Liberty and to do it in such an animating way. Any patriot worth his salt should be able to quote, in substance if not exactly, these lines from the Declaration of Independence:
“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 of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness . . . when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
This paragraph is a primer on the rights and duties of freemen. Our rights come from God, our Creator; they do not come from government. These rights include life, Liberty, and all things – including the right to own and manage private property – which allow us to pursue happiness and Independence according to the dictates of our conscience. We have a right to unite to form governments. The sole purpose of those governments is to secure our individual rights. When governments violate this mandate, they abdicate their authority which is nothing but a temporary endowment from freemen. When freemen decide the creature no longer serves the creator, it is not only their right, but duty, to “throw off” such tyranny.
Imagine if we could make these concepts sink down deep into the hearts of men and women everywhere! The whole world would be revolutionized in a day.
Jefferson did not stop at the Declaration, however. He later defined what he called “rightful liberty,” as opposed to Liberty without restraint which is libertine and destructive, like this:
“[R]ightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual” (Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, April 4, 1819).
This quote has made a massive impression upon my understanding. Liberty is not what the law allows. Liberty is not what the majority deems appropriate. Liberty and rights come from God and are possessed equally by each individual. These cannot be negated or justly taken from us. We alone can forfeit them by infringing on the equal rights of others. This is Freedom indeed!
I say it again: A correct understanding of correct and rightful Liberty could revolutionize the entire world. Surely understanding where rights come from, knowing the reality of rightful Liberty, and comprehending the only authentic purpose of government in protecting those rights, would be enough to convince the People in every state that their governments have overstepped their mandates and need to be reined in.
There are too many inspiring Jefferson quotes on Freedom, self-government, and other such matters to quote in any sort of acceptable number. I have selected several more, however, which illustrate some of Jefferson’s big ideas.
Jefferson said of natural rights, Liberty, and a government’s true purpose:
“A right of free correspondence between citizen and citizen, on their joint interests, whether public or private, and under whatsoever laws these interests arise, (to wit, of the state, of Congress, of France, Spain or Turkey) is a natural right: it is not the gift of any municipal law either of England, of Virginia, or of Congress, but in common with all our other natural rights, is one of the objects for the protection of which society is formed and municipal laws established” (Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, September 7, 1797).
“Being myself a warm zealot for the attainment and enjoiment by all mankind of as much liberty as each may exercise without injury to the equal liberty of his fellow citizens, I have lamented that in France the endeavors to obtain this should have been attended with the effusion of so much blood” (Thomas Jefferson to Jean Nicholas Demeunier, April 29, 1795).
“[C]an one generation bind another, and all others, in succession for ever? I think not. the Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead. rights and powers can only belong to persons, not to things, not to mere matter, unendowed with will. the dead are not even things. the particles of matter which composed their bodies, make part now of the bodies of other animals, vegetables, or minerals of a thousand forms. to what then are attached the rights and power they held while in the form of men? a generation may bind itself, as long as it’s majority continues in life; when that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and powers their predecessors once held and may change their laws and institutions to suit themselves. nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man” (Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, June 5, 1824).
“I congratulate you on the successes of our two allies. Those of the Hollanders are new, and therefore pleasing. It proves there is a god in heaven, and that he will not slumber without end on the iniquities of tyrants, or would-be tyrants, as their Stadtholder. This ball of liberty, I believe most piously, is now so well in motion that it will roll round the globe. At least the enlightened part of it, for light and liberty go together. It is our glory that we first put it into motion, and our happiness that being foremost we had no bad examples to follow. What a tremendous obstacle to the future attempts at liberty will be the atrocities of Robespierre!” (Thomas Jefferson to Tench Coxe, June 1, 1795).
“[T]he cause of republicanism, triumphing in Europe, can never fail to do so here in the long run. our citizens may be decieved for a while, & have been decieved; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light” (Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, May 14, 1799).
“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their controul with a wholsome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. this is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power” (Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, September 28, 1820).
“[U]nder pretence of governing [Europeans] have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves” (Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, January 16, 1787).
“[I]t is my principle that the will of the Majority should always prevail. If they approve the proposed Convention in all it’s parts, I shall concur in it chearfully, in hopes that they will amend it whenever they shall find it work wrong. I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe. Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty” (Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, December 20, 1787).
Jefferson was an advocate of a system of self-government called the ward-republic. It is the finest rendering of a plan for true self-government I have ever encountered – a plan that would maximize the Freedom and stewardship of the individual while making the need for big government totally unnecessary. Here is one of several important quotes on the subject:
“[T]he way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the national government be entrusted with the defence of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm by himself; by placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best. What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and power into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or of the aristocrats of a Venetian senate. And I do believe that if the Almighty has not decreed that man shall never be free, (and it is a blasphemy to believe it,) that the secret will be found to be in the making himself the depository of the powers respecting himself, so far as he is competent to them, and delegating only what is beyond his competence by a synthetical process, to higher and higher orders of functionaries, so as to trust fewer and fewer powers in proportion as the trustees become more and more oligarchical. The elementary republics of the wards, the county republics, the State republics, and the republic of the Union, would form a gradation of authorities, standing each on the basis of law, holding every one its delegated share of powers, and constituting truly a system of fundamental balances and checks for the government. Where every man is a sharer in the direction of his ward-republic, or of some of the higher ones, and feels that he is a participator in the government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year, but every day; when there shall not be a man in the State who will not be a member of some one of its councils, great or small, he will let the heart be torn out of his body sooner than his power be wrested from him by a Caesar or a Bonaparte” (Thomas Jefferson to Joseph C. Cabell, February 2, 1816).
On the topic of war and conquest, Jefferson was firm:
“Determined as we are to avoid, if possible, wasting the energies of our people in war and destruction, we shall avoid implicating ourselves with the powers of Europe, even in support of principles which we mean to pursue. They have so many other interests different from ours, that we must avoid being entangled in them. We believe we can enforce these principles as to ourselves by peaceable means, now that we are likely to have our public councils detached from foreign views. The return of our citizens from the phrenzy into which they had been wrought, partly by ill conduct in France, partly by artifices practised on them, is almost entire, and will, I believe, become quite so” (Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, March 18, 1801).
“[T]o cherish & maintain the rights and liberties of our citizens, & to ward from them the burthens, the miseries, & the crimes of war, by a just & friendly conduct towards all nations, were among the most obvious and important duties of those to whom the management of their public interests has been confided. and happy shall we be if a conduct guided by these views on our part shall secure to us a reciprocation of peace & justice from other nations” (Thomas Jefferson to John Thomas, November 18, 1807).
“He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler if he had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science. For one man of science, there are thousands who are not. What would have become of them? Man was destined for society. His morality therefore was to be formed to this object. He was endowed with a sense of right and wrong merely relative to this. This sense is as much a part of his nature as the sense of hearing, seeing, feeling; it is the true foundation of morality, and not the truth, &c., as fanciful writers have imagined. The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in a stronger or weaker degree, as force of members is given them in a greater or less degree. It may be strengthened by exercise, as may any particular limb of the body. This sense is submitted indeed in some degree to the guidance of reason; but it is a small stock which is required for this: even a less one than what we call Common sense. State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules” (Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787).
Finally, Jefferson summed up many of his principles in a long paragraph to fellow Founder Elbridge Gerry:
“I do then with sincere zeal wish an inviolable preservation of our present federal constitution, according to the true sense in which it was adopted by the states, that in which it was advocated by it’s friends, & not that which it’s enemies apprehended, who therefore became it’s enemies: and I am opposed to the monarchising it’s features by the forms of it’s administration, with a view to conciliate a first transition to a President & Senate for life, & from that to a hereditary tenure of these offices, & thus to worm out the elective principle. I am for preserving to the states the powers not yielded by them to the Union, & to the legislature of the Union it’s constitutional share in the division of powers: and I am not for transferring all the powers of the states to the general government, & all those of that government to the Executive branch. I am for a government rigorously frugal & simple, applying all the possible savings of the public revenue to the discharge of the national debt: and not for a multiplication of officers & salaries merely to make partizans, & for increasing, by every device, the public debt, on the principle of it’s being a public blessing. I am for relying, for internal defence, on our militia solely till actual invasion, and for such a naval force only as may protect our coasts and harbours from such depredations as we have experienced: and not for a standing army in time of peace which may overawe the public sentiment; nor for a navy which by it’s own expences and the eternal wars in which it will implicate us, will grind us with public burthens, & sink us under them. I am for free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, & little or no diplomatic establishment: and I am not for linking ourselves, by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe, entering that field of slaughter to preserve their balance, or joining in the confederacy of kings to war against the principles of liberty. I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another: for freedom of the press, & against all violations of the constitution to silence by force & not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents. and I am for encouraging the progress of science in all it’s branches; and not for raising a hue and cry against the sacred name of philosophy, for awing the human mind, by stories of rawhead & bloody bones, to a distrust of it’s own vision & to repose implicitly on that of others; to go backwards instead of forwards to look for improvement, to believe that government, religion, morality & every other science were in the highest perfection in ages of the darkest ignorance, and that nothing can ever be devised more perfect than what was established by our forefathers. to these I will add that I was a sincere wellwisher to the success of the French revolution, and still wish it may end in the establishment of a free & well ordered republic: but I have not been insensible under the atrocious depredations they have committed on our commerce. the first object of my heart is my own country. in that is embarked my family, my fortune, & my own existence. I have not one farthing of interest, nor one fibre of attachment out of it, nor a single motive of preference of any one nation to another but in proportion as they are more or less friendly to us” (Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799).
What a marvelous man! What lofty principles! What a stalwart soul!
Jefferson gained his knowledge of the pure principles of Freedom from many sources. The Old Testament of the Bible was one. The texts of antiquity containing the thinking of the Romans, Greeks, and others, was another. And his own experience in self-government was a third. Jefferson gained much understanding from the history of the Anglo-Saxons.
In Andrew Allison’s masterful text The Real Thomas Jefferson, we read:
“Like others of the Founding Fathers, Jefferson had studied the various forms of government which had operated throughout recorded history. Along with the Greek democracies, the Roman republic, and the numerous monarchies, aristocracies, and other political systems of Europe, he had examined with great interest the governmental institutions established by the ancient Israelites and the very similar forms later used among the Anglo-Saxons. In these he saw the model for free government in his own era.
“Now that the United States had declared itself an independent nation, the members of Congress were responsible to devise a system of government that would most effectively serve the American people . . . “Has not every restitution of the ancient Saxon laws had happy effects” he asked a friend that summer. “Is it not better now that we return at once into that happy system of our ancestors, the wisest and most perfect yet devised by the wit of man, as it stood before the eight century.” One of Jefferson’s biographers has written of him:
““Jefferson’s great ambition at that time was to promote a renaissance of Anglo-Saxon primitive institutions on the new continent. Thus presented, the American Revolution was nothing but the reclamation of the Anglo-Saxon birthright of which the colonists had been deprived by “a long train of abuses.” . . . This is the true foundation of Jefferson’s political philosophy.””
Jefferson was not as much of an innovator as he was a restorer. He made comprehensive studies of ancient history, gleaning wisdom from the failures and successes of the past. He found the Anglo-Saxon system to be the most effective in guarding Liberty. But where did the Anglo-Saxons get their system?
W. Cleon Skousen, whom I regard as the most brilliant historian of the modern age, has done much research on this topic. Two of his books in particular of worth noting: The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution; and The Majesty of God’s Law. In the former, he wrote:
“By the time Jefferson had reached early adulthood, he had gained proficiency in five languages. He had studied the Greek and Roman classics. He had studied European and English history. He had carefully studied both the Old and New Testaments.
“While studying the history of ancient Israel, Jefferson made a significant discovery. He saw that at one time the Israelites had practiced the earliest and most efficient form of representative government. As long as the Israelites followed their fixed form of constitutional principles, they flourished. When they drifted from it, disaster overtook them. Jefferson thereafter referred to this constitutional pattern as the “ancient principles.”
“Jefferson was also surprised to find that the Anglo-Saxons somehow got hold of some of these “ancient principles” and followed a pattern almost identical to that of the Israelites, until around the eighth century A.D. . . .
“A short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to formulate an official seal for the new nation.
“As mentioned earlier, Jefferson – and several of the other Founders, including the Reverend Thomas Hooker, who wrote the constitution for Connecticut in 1649 – had discovered that the most substantive principles of representative government were those practiced by ancient Israel under the leadership of Moses. Jefferson had also studied the institutions of government of the Anglo-Saxons and had found that they were almost identical to those of the Israelites.
“After a brief discussion it was decided that both of these ancient peoples should be represented on the great seal of the United States.
“Here is Franklin’s description of the way he thought ancient Israel should be portrayed:
““Moses standing on the shore, and extending his hand over the sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharaoh who is sitting in an open chariot, crown on his head and a sword in his hand. Rays from a pillar of fire in the clouds reaching to Moses, to express that he acts by command of the Deity. Motto: Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”
“John Adams described what Jefferson proposed:
““Mr. Jefferson proposed: The children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, and on the other side Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon chiefs, from whom we claim the honour of being descended and whose political principles and form of government we have assumed”” (W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, 27-28, 32).
These passages demonstrated Jefferson’s attention to detail, his fidelity to history, his Christian faith, and his commitment to the “ancient principles” of Liberty as enacted at various times in history. Because of his five years of tutelage by George Wythe, his profession as a lawyer, his mastery of numerous ancient languages, and his own native wisdom and personal experience with self-government, Jefferson was exceptionally qualified to be what he has been occasionally called, the “Apostle of Liberty” for the new nation.
Though I believe Jefferson would have heartily opposed Abraham Lincoln’s governmental overreaches, unconstitutional policies, bureaucratic centralizing, invasions of individual rights, and brutal attacks on independent states which had succeeded, Lincoln nevertheless said many correct things, including the following:
“[I]t is now no child’s play to save the principles of Jefferson from total overthrow in this nation. . . .
“. . . The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society. . . .
“All honor to Jefferson – to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression” (Abraham Lincoln, Address, April 6, 1859).
Indeed, the Jeffersonian philosophy is the true American philosophy. It is the purest articulation of the principles of Liberty I have ever encountered. Jefferson has rightly been called the Apostle of Liberty, the Pen of the Revolution, and the Man of the People, and was perhaps the supreme advocate for individual rights and limited government who ever walked the planet. No man’s ideas had more of an effect upon the formation of America than Jefferson’s.
Think of his political resume. It is nearly unrivaled. Jefferson started his life as a highly successful lawyer and then moved into public service. Jefferson served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, wrote “A Summary View of the Rights of British America,” attended the Continental Congress, wrote the Declaration of Independence, served as the governor of Virginia, was America’s minister to France for five years, advised the Marquis de Lafayette as he drafted France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man, served as the first U.S. Secretary of State under President George Washington, was President John Adams’ Vice-President, headed the informal Democratic-Republican Party, served as the nation’s third President for eight years, doubled the territory of America through the Louisiana Purchase, sliced the nation’s debt by cutting military and government spending and reducing unnecessary government offices while president, and founded the University of Virginia.
You would be hard-pressed to find another man from any time in world history whose resume blazed so brightly (add the facts discussed earlier regarding Jefferson’s forays into botany, astronomy, medicine, music, architecture, agriculture, and so forth, and you see how remarkable this man truly was). It is a testament to how unprecedented the collection of brilliance was in early America that we still debate which of the Founding Fathers was the most gifted. Yet, as expert as Madison, Franklin, Adams, Henry, Wilson, Washington, and the others were, there was only one Thomas Jefferson.
Thomas Jefferson rightfully occupies the top spot in my pantheon of historical heroes. I can’t wait to meet him one day, to thank him, and to express what his life, example, and hard work have meant to me. I am loyal to the glorious principles of Liberty, honor, and virtue he articulated and I honor his magnificent memory. I am Jefferson’s man, through and through.
The final words of the last living Founding Father are perhaps a fitting close to this tribute. As he slipped into the immortal world, John Adams believed that Thomas Jefferson yet lived. In fact, Jefferson had died on the same day several hours before. That day was July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary – the significant jubilee – of national Independence. While fading into his well-earned eternal glory, Adams uttered three words which I pray will always remain true in the hearts of patriots in every future age: “Thomas Jefferson survives.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there all around the world. Please know that your hard work is not in vain, that it is recognized, and that it is the greatest work in the world. You are engaged in the lofty task of bearing, nurturing, and raising the children of Father in Heaven. Your posterity, as well as Almighty God, will honor you for eternity for your selfless service and humble sacrifices in the home as mothers. This holiday, I want to offer words of general encouragement and praise to mothers and to remind you how valuable and essential your calling really is.
I first turn to the holy scriptures. From Eve, the mother of all living, to Jochebed, the mother of Moses, to Mary, the mother of Jesus, good mothers have always been praised by the Lord and His prophets. Their good deeds, valor, uprightness, humility, and service have been highlighted and noted. Virtuous women generally, and mothers specifically, are held up high by the Bible as examples.
In both the Old and New Testaments, women are designated as mothers whom we are to honor (Leviticus 19:3) and who should multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28), as wives who should cleave to their husbands (Genesis 2:24), and as “keepers at home” (Titus 2:5) who should help raise their children in righteousness (Deuteronomy 6:1-9). We are taught that virtuous women have a value “far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).
Though they are usually the side characters throughout the scriptures, think of all the great things that could not have happened without good women and mothers. Without Jochebed’s quick action to save her son Moses, and her extreme faith that the Lord would preserve her son, Pharaoh would have killed him. However, her faith was honored and Moses was found and taken in by Pharaoh’s daughter.
What’s more, Moses’ sister, Miriam, watched as little Moses was discovered. She interjected herself into the situation, asking Pharoah’s daughter if she could help by getting a Hebrew woman to nurse the crying child. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed and Miriam got her mother Jochebed to nurse Moses, for which she was paid. It is amazing how the Lord blesses the faithful actions of His people – and even more abundantly than they expect.
We all know of faithful Father Abraham who was promised that his posterity would be as numerous “as the sand which is upon the sea shore” (Genesis 22:17). The chosen house of Israel, through which came most of the prophets and the Savior of the world, came through Abraham’s lineage. However, Abraham could not have fulfilled his part in this covenant alone. His wife, Sarah, was by his side the whole time. She bore Abraham a child in her old age, Isaac, who was the father of Jacob, renamed Israel, who was the father of the tribes of Israel. Without Sarah’s part in this story, the great Abrahamic covenant would have come to nothing.
Many take offense when I honor Mother Eve for her sacrifice and goodness. She, with Adam, chose to fall so that the could bring about God’s higher purposes – the peopling of the earth and the redemption of the world through Jesus Christ. In an inspired text that is sadly not considered worthwhile by most Christians, Adam and Eve were visited by an angel, taught of the coming of the Redeemer, and made joint pronouncements that give precious insight into their noble souls:
“And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
“Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
“And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.
“And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
“And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.
“And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (Moses 5:7-12).
We should likewise make these things known to our children, teaching them of the goodness of Adam and Eve and their blessed souls. They should be honored as our first parents. Mother Eve was imperfect, like all of us, but she helped complete a crucial mission and did her part in fulfilling God’s higher purposes. Without her decision to become more like God in knowing good and evil, she and Adam would have never had children, which includes the Holy One, Jesus Christ.
And that brings us to Mary, the mother of the Son of God. No doubt she was a special woman for the Lord to have chosen her to be His earthly mother. We know that the angel Gabriel came to her, explaining that she had a unique mission, praising her in these words: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28).
Two additional Hebrew prophets likewise described her as a “virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white,” a “virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins” (1 Nephi 11:13,15), and as “a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel,” (Alma 7:10).
The thing that is most remarkable is not that she was a virgin or that she was apparently beautiful or that she was highly favored. The most special thing about Mary is how willing and quick she was to obey the will of God. A true willingness to do the will of God is somewhat rare in this fallen world of ours. It is also the hallmark of a true disciple of Christ and follower of the Almighty.
Good mothers are those who unbegrudgingly embrace the will of the Lord for their life and for their family. When circumstances allow, they happily embrace life in the home. When the Father favors them with children, they happily raise them, understanding the great trust that has been placed in them. They live virtuously, teach their children in the ways of God, and try as best as imperfect mortals can to lead by example. These types of mothers are cherished by right-thinking people and have earned the honor of future generations.
Many modern servants of Christ have raised their prophetic voices to honor mothers and exalt motherhood. I share just a few of them. The eloquent Elder Neal A. Maxwell once stated:
“Just as certain men were foreordained from before the foundations of the world, so were certain women appointed to certain tasks. Divine design—not chance—brought Mary forward to be the mother of Jesus. . . .
“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this.
“No wonder the men of God support and sustain you sisters in your unique roles, for the act of deserting home in order to shape society is like thoughtlessly removing crucial fingers from an imperiled dike in order to teach people to swim.
“We men love you for meeting inconsiderateness with consideration and selfishness with selflessness. We are touched by the eloquence of your example. We are deeply grateful for your enduring us as men when we are not at our best because—like God—you love us not only for what we are, but for what we have the power to become” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “The Women of God,” General Conference, April, 1978).
Sister Sheri L. Dew once discoursed on motherhood, sharing these thoughts:
“Prophets have repeatedly answered this question, as did the First Presidency six decades ago when they called motherhood “the highest, holiest service . . . assumed by mankind.”
“Have you ever wondered why prophets have taught the doctrine of motherhood—and it is doctrine—again and again? I have. I have thought long and hard about the work of women of God. And I have wrestled with what the doctrine of motherhood means for all of us. This issue has driven me to my knees, to the scriptures, and to the temple—all of which teach an ennobling doctrine regarding our most crucial role as women. It is a doctrine about which we must be clear if we hope to stand “steadfast and immovable” regarding the issues that swirl around our gender. For Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rock the cradle can rock his earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail.
“When we understand the magnitude of motherhood, it becomes clear why prophets have been so protective of woman’s most sacred role. While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living”—and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.
President Ezra Taft Benson emphatically declared the importance of homemaking and motherhood in God’s Plan and to the salvation of women:
“Before the world was created, in heavenly councils the pattern and role of women were prescribed. You were elected by God to be wives and mothers in Zion. Exaltation in the celestial kingdom is predicated on faithfulness to that calling.
“Since the beginning, a woman’s first and most important role has been ushering into mortality spirit sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven.
“Since the beginning, her role has been to teach her children eternal gospel principles. She is to provide for her children a haven of security and love—regardless of how modest her circumstances might be.
“In the beginning, Adam was instructed to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow—not Eve. Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mother’s place is in the home!
“I recognize there are voices in our midst which would attempt to convince you that these truths are not applicable to our present-day conditions. If you listen and heed, you will be lured away from your principal obligations.
“Beguiling voices in the world cry out for “alternative life-styles” for women. They maintain that some women are better suited for careers than for marriage and motherhood.
“These individuals spread their discontent by the propaganda that there are more exciting and self-fulfilling roles for women than homemaking. . . .
“It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters.
“We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence. . . .
“It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character.
“Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness.
A powerful advocate for mothers, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once remarked:
“Today I declare from this pulpit what has been said here before: that no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child. When Isaiah, speaking messianically, wanted to convey Jehovah’s love, he invoked the image of a mother’s devotion. “Can a woman forget her sucking child?” he asks. How absurd, he implies, though not as absurd as thinking Christ will ever forget us.
“This kind of resolute love “suffereth long, and is kind, . . . seeketh not her own, . . . but . . . beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Most encouraging of all, such fidelity “never faileth.” “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,” Jehovah said, “but my kindness shall not depart from thee.” So too say our mothers.
“You see, it is not only that they bear us, but they continue bearing with us. It is not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat. Of course, there are heartbreaking exceptions, but most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on young maternal shoulders, can be very daunting” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Behold Thy Mother,” General Conference, October, 2015).
Elder L. Tom Perry said:
“Please allow me to reminisce for a few moments and share a few of the lessons I learned from my mother about teaching the gospel in the home. My mother understood the value of teaching her children about standards, values, and doctrine while they were young. While she was grateful to others who taught her children outside the home at either school or church, she recognized that parents are entrusted with the education of their children and, ultimately, parents must ensure that their children are being taught what their Heavenly Father would have them learn. My siblings and I were quizzed very carefully by our mother after we had been taught away from the home to be certain the correct lessons were reaching our ears and shaping our minds.
“I used to think some days as I ran home from school that I was through learning for the day, but this illusion was quickly destroyed when I saw my mother standing at the door waiting for me. When we were young, we each had a desk in the kitchen where we could continue to be taught by her as she performed household duties and prepared supper. She was a natural teacher and far more demanding of us than our teachers at school and church.
“The scope of Mother’s teaching included both secular and spiritual lessons. She made sure none of us were falling behind in our schoolwork, which she would often supplement. She also would practice her Relief Society lessons with us. We, of course, received the unabridged versions found in her notebooks, not the abridged versions that had to fit in a single class period.
“Part of our learning at home also involved memorizing scriptures, including the Articles of Faith, and the words of prophets, seers, and revelators. My mother was someone who believed a mind would become weak if it was not constantly exercised. She taught us as we would wash the dishes, churn the butter, and help in many other ways. She did not believe in letting idle thoughts enter her children’s minds, even when they were engaged in physical labor.
“I am not using my mother as a role model for parents in today’s world. Times are very different today, but while times may change, a parent’s teaching must never be devalued. Many activities link the values of one generation to the next, but perhaps the most central of these activities is parents teaching children in the home. . . .
“According to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the principles I have taught about teaching in the home apply to both parents, but they are especially crucial to the role of a mother. Fathers most often spend much of their day away from home in their employment. That is one of the many reasons so much of the responsibility for teaching the child in the home falls on mothers. While circumstances do vary and the ideal isn’t always possible, I believe it is by divine design that the role of motherhood emphasizes the nurturing and teaching of the next generation” (Elder L. Tom Perry, “Mothers Teaching Children in the Home,” General Conference, April, 2010).
President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., gave these lofty thoughts about the eternal scope of motherhood:
“[T]he greatest glory of true womanhood has been motherhood.
“What a miracle is motherhood; how nearly infinite is mother. She fashions in her womb the most complex structure known to man. . . .
“This is wife’s and mother’s task and opportunity; and did she fail . . . then the great plan would fail and God’s purposes would come to naught. . . . This must never change. . . .
“But the full glory of motherhood is not yet reached when her child comes forth into this world of trial. . . . She feeds not only, but clothes it. She cares for it by day and watches over it by night. . . . She gently leads its faltering steps, till it walks alone. . . .
“Thus to the full stature of manhood and womanhood, mother guides, . . . instructs, directs . . . the soul for which she built the earthly home, in its march onward to exaltation. God gives the soul its destiny, but mother leads it along the way.
“When the souls shall return to the presence of the Father of all, the worthy mothers will be there to welcome their worthy children” (President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Immortality and Eternal Life: Melchizedek Priesthood Course of Study, 1969–70, Vol. 2, 24–28).
Finally, I quote only one more modern statement, once again from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. After reading from a letter written by a young mother, he editorialized thus:
“In light of that kind of expression, it is clear that some of those Rhode Island–sized shadows come not just from diapers and carpooling but from at least a few sleepless nights spent searching the soul, seeking earnestly for the capacity to raise these children to be what God wants them to be. Moved by that kind of devotion and determination, may I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient. If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.
“Sometimes the decision of a child or a grandchild will break your heart. Sometimes expectations won’t immediately be met. Every mother and father worries about that. Even that beloved and wonderfully successful parent President Joseph F. Smith pled, “Oh! God, let me not lose my own.”8 That is every parent’s cry, and in it is something of every parent’s fear. But no one has failed who keeps trying and keeps praying. You have every right to receive encouragement and to know in the end your children will call your name blessed, just like those generations of foremothers before you who hoped your same hopes and felt your same fears.
“Yours is the grand tradition of Eve, the mother of all the human family, the one who understood that she and Adam had to fall in order that “men [and women] might be”9 and that there would be joy. Yours is the grand tradition of Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel, without whom there could not have been those magnificent patriarchal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob which bless us all. Yours is the grand tradition of Lois and Eunice and the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors. Yours is the grand tradition of Mary, chosen and foreordained from before this world was, to conceive, carry, and bear the Son of God Himself. We thank all of you, including our own mothers, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high. . . .
“You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.
“Remember, remember all the days of your motherhood: “Ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.”
“Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.” You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” And it will make your children whole as well” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Because She is a Mother,” General Conference, April, 1997).
I can’t add much to those glowing words of praise, comfort, encouragement, honor, and conviction. Mothers have a special place in God’s economy. Mothers have a unique role, calling, and destiny. Mothers are “highly favored” of the Lord. There are definitely bad mothers, but there are also millions who are so very good and whose deeds and hard work and teaching and loving goes unsung and unnoticed by the crass world. But these motherly deeds don’t go unnoticed by your Father in Heaven, by godly people everywhere, or by your family who will cherish your name and memory forever.
I want to close by paying tribute to the two mothers in my life – my own Mom and my wife. My mother is the most selfless, caring, loving person I know. She taught me the best she could in the ways of the Lord. She gave me a shining example of Christian living. She was a person of passion in her principles. She always did and does stand up for what she believes is right, even if it requires her to turn around in a crowded stadium to tell a group of rabble-rousers in no uncertain terms to stop using profanity in public and around her children. She is also always there when I need someone to talk to about mundane things or about the things that afflict my soul. I love you, Mom!
As for my wife, she is, to quote Archie Bunker’s comment about his wife Edith, “something else.” I love her. She birthed my daughter – my precious little thing that gives me such rapturous joy! I have watched and noticed as she suffered through a hard pregnancy and through tough medical challenges caused by that pregnancy and by nursing. Our daughter sleeps well at night, yet, when she needed to nurse, my wife was there willing to slake her hunger. I have watched as they have fallen to sleep together, bathed together, played and laughed together, cleaned together, surprised me with food together, and every other type of activity. My wife adores our daughter and lives for her. I respect, honor, and thank my wife for always putting our little girl first, always going above and beyond to make her happy, and always giving of herself. Thank you, Emma. I love you.
Motherhood is a blessed calling and the greatest work in the world. Happy Mother’s Day, Mothers. You are loved. God bless each of you!