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Posted November 08, 2017
My Family Values
As a father, I work steadfastly to raise my three precious children, Jessica, Samantha, and Jacob, and do whatever I can to fulfill my commitment to them. Children are the center of every natural goal and hope that I have. Nobody has completely shared my complex life experiences, and therefore nobody can ever understand my passions and challenges. I am resolved to overcome adversity and continue with my successes. Sometimes our acquaintances wonder about our specific beliefs, as Christians, and so I created this page to introduce ourselves very moderate. But this page contains values and ideals that are perpetually elusive, as we strive to better ourselves a little each day, remaining forever imperfect. I have many faults and weaknesses, many of them related to socialization, patience, contentment, and so forth. Nevertheless, this idealistic page is the favorite place of visitors at all of my numerous pages on multiple Internet sites (each of which links back to this site for personalization), because visitors say that this page is encouraging to them.
I am a historian, not a theologian. I do not attend any church, and am not technically a member of any regularly organized church. I was raised Catholic to the age of 10, non-denominational Christian to the age of 18, and then I became a Latter Day Saint of a minor branch that is not considered Mormon by other Mormons. This was a group of Christians that was founded in 1830 by former Universalists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists. This group founded a new religious movement in New York and the Midwest. From them the name Mormon was appropriated by pioneers headed to Utah in 1847, but the Utah Mormons are a make-over from the original Latter Day Saints and quite different. I am writing a twelve-volume documentary of this original group and how it was moderate compared to other Christian groups.
We are open-minded, free-thinking, and appreciate all kinds of people different from us, and sharing or learning from them. We are definitely Christians, and moreover I feel like the father of a characteristically outstanding Christian family. The basics of our plain, natural, and unaltered faith are found in the Bible, particularly the New Testament.
As I wrote, some people would not consider my children and me to be active in a regularly organized church. However, we hold the values and keep the principles of the former-day church of Christ (and the identical latter-day American church historically), and believe that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is restored on earth, and consider ourselves confirmed members of that church and the kingdom of God. True, I have no confidence in the histories of new churches, corporate churches, or mega churches. But I am merely an independent historian, not an independent Christian. We do believe that God has a valid and authorized Priesthood here on Earth—there are only two other ordinations spanning the time between the ordination of a young man known as Elder Page from upstate New York in 1831 and the man who converted me at age 18. There is nothing new in my beliefs, they are 178 years old in the latter days and ancient in former days.
For example, the scriptures indicate we should remember Christ with bread and wine by using whole wheat unleavened bread and fresh-pressed grape juice; and I realize that seems peculiar to some people, but that is scriptural and so that is my rod of iron. I also believe that people should remember the Biblical Sabbath and not use the Roman Sunday in its stead. Again, I know that that seems peculiar, but that is our commandment.
I teach my children to pray, and keep the Ten Commandments. Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). I think families are our most important responsibility on this earth. Although not mainstream, we do tithe our income and contribute our time for the benefit of the true church, and we encourage everyone to do the same because God will prosper you. We believe in using those tithes for helping the poor, the needy, the sick, and the depressed; and promoting faith in God and keeping his commandments.
I am particularly committed to ethics and integrity, and using the principles of the scriptures in my enterprises, especially the business wisdom in the book of Proverbs and the commandments that Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself and the other commandments that hang on that one. As a business and community leader, I have belonged to a number of trusts, committees, roundtables, historical societies, and library foundations and prefer to serve behind the scenes, without credit or recognition. My contributions primarily relate to the preservation and publication of history.
We are a household of faith, like other Christians; and moderate, mainstream, and politically correct in our beliefs but without forfeiting our principals. A few values that we uniquely cherish are described below.
I feel that love (and religiously ceremonial marriages) should be eternal—henceforth and forever—and marriages sealed on earth and in heaven (Matthew 18:18). Jesus said we could sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, and so I hope to be with my family in heaven like them (Matthew 8:11). I do not think that governments should be so involved in the spiritual affairs of citizens, including marriages, or divorces. Even common-law marriages have historically been as morally binding as civil marriages, whereas unjustified divorces are not spiritually valid; however the Bible makes allowances for justified divorces for unfaithfulness. I do not agree that courts can truly bind or unbind couples with regards to religion, sexual intercourse, reproduction, companionship, or dwelling. In most cases they are unable to even effectively enforce business contracts, whereas personal commitments are more passionate than those.
But I also believe in liberty, and do not think that we should impose our own culture or social mores on others, based on our own Judeo-Christian, white, Anglo-Saxon, puritan, American, state, church, or modern upbringing. I recognize that we live in a multi-national world, with a diversity of people, cultures, religions, ethnicities, histories, and eras. I think that everyone should have the freedom to harmlessly preserve their own identity for future generations, without the restriction of government. However, in America, I strongly believe that everyone should also keep all local and federal laws regarding marriage and family, and also honor all legal contracts of marriage.
Raising healthy and happy children is my chief priority of life. I believe in the benefits of breastfeeding for an extended time, as so many mothers are now discovering that God or nature makes a superior formula; and that gives children physical, intellectual, and emotional strengths. I use current child psychology, balanced with good Christian philosophies, about how to teach right from wrong. I have found that the most important technique is to be immediate, and consistent; with a firm voice, and a gentle hand. Whatever you promise to do as a consequence, you have to follow-through, and do it every time. My children are also inundated with love, affection, encouragement, and positive feedback. Like the example set by God as our heavenly father, I use both reward and punishment.
I have been blessed in return with three little children who strive to be physically and spiritually healthy, academically leading, independent minded, free to explore, earnestly driven, softhearted and kind to other children, sharing and giving, tolerant of other religions and cultures, appreciative of ethnic and racial diversity, athletic and confident, playful and curious, contemplative and joyful, creative and innovative, meek and satisfied, and capable of attaining their own goals and maintain good values. Even my youngest, a son born during complications, has rebounded to be above-average intelligence with the help of God and me seeking instruction from the scriptures.
My children have been the friends of both handicapped children and the children of professional football players alike, friends of the ethnically and racially varied, and friends of both the rich and the poor.
I read that wisdom, education, and enlightenment are of great benefit to people (Proverbs 1:5). College and graduate school have helped me immensely. I emphasize the importance of learning, to my children, and they are read to constantly (both daughters were first in their classes for number of books read this year, with the youngest daughter reading 1,200 shorter books when her class required 12). But, I also know that the wisdom of people is inferior to the holy spirit (Galatians 1:12, 1 Corinthians 2:5, and Colossians 2:8). We are fortunate to be in a neighborhood with new elementary and middle schools in our neighborhood, and teachers as good as any in the nation.
My children watch any television in moderation which is educational, motivating, historical, or clean. They do not watch violence on television, even in cartoons. Basically, if someone is talking or behaving on television in a way that I would not permit anyone to talk or behave in our home, I consider it inappropriate television (Ephesians 4: 17-32). I also limit overly fictionalized characters, purposefully evil adversaries, Greek mythology, or any other paganism, magic, or false gods. One good source of family entertainment is the New Testament and other scriptures animated in videos from the company Living Scriptures. I have found that my children are as imaginative as other children, and have a more realistically accurate worldview.
We are earnest preservationists, even though we are not environmental extremists and believe in a free market economy. We think that governments should set aside parks wherever there are rivers, lakes, and oceans, and wherever there are hills and mountains—but not vast tracts everywhere. We want to prevent erosion, block windstorms, purify water, replenish wood supplies, and provide shade. We feel that the elderly and children deserve parks to rest and play, and enjoy. We think families should protect and plant trees on their lots, and groves on their land. Nearly every day, we go walking, running, or biking in the state and county parks, each just a minute from our home. We like to run on the glades and hickory leaves without hearing our feet or breath while listening to our iPods. We appreciate the extensive variety of Missouri hardwood trees, flowering plants, and butterflies—and deer, wild turkeys, and foxes. When we are in Missouri go boating on Blue Springs Lake, Lake Jacomo, and Prairie Lee Lake (Jackson County parks); all to enjoy activity in the outdoors; in Wisconsin it is the state parks, in Florida it is the board walks, and in Utah it is the mountains.
Our vacations in five years included Europe, where we went to London, Budapest, and rural Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and the Ukraine; Yellowstone; a hiking trip to Estes Park, Colorado; a hiking trip throughout Oregon and Washington, including Mt. St. Helens, the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls, and fruit orchards from Mt. Hood to Walla Walla; working vacations to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Provo/Orem, Utah, including the Mt. Timanogos caves; a skiing trip to Park City, Utah; three snorkeling trip to Miami, the Bahamas, the Caymans, the Yucatan, Belize, and Cozumel; several Florida trips to see my 91-year-old friend in St. Petersburg, Florida; several history trips to Nauvoo, Illinois; two trips to Niagara Falls and Palmyra, N.Y.; two trips to Beaver Island in Lake Michigan; several Wisconsin and Chicago trips; and a trip around Lake Superior and canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area; and several trips to Minnesota including the birthday of my 95-year-old grandmother. Taking my children whenever possible, I have traveled more on business to virtually every significant American city, in nearly every state. See My Family Travels for a partial list. See my vacation photography in My Family Photos.
Besides walking, running, and biking, my children also each have a lifetime gym membership at 24-Hour Fitness (older two children), and have also been active in baseball, gymnastics, dance (ballet, jazz, Pilates, and hip hop), swimming, diving, taekwondo, horsemanship, cross country running, walking club, piano lessons, violin lessons, honors choir, honors orchestra, the Youth Symphony, volunteering as tutors, and speech classes, and not with any pressures. We spend hours at the pool, and also use roller blades, scooters, and a trampoline.
I am discouraged by cultural intolerance, close-mindedness, and prejudice that remains in America. So much of this is multiplied by the gossip so prevalent in neighborhoods, churches, and businesses. Yet, every intending Christian should be aware that there are scriptures cautioning against this behavior, which seems timeless throughout history: And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not (1 Timothy 5:13). Proverbs says, He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour (Proverbs 11:12). James says, If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this mans religion is vain (James 1:26). Ironically, most gossips claim to be religiously superior to those whom they are judging. In our family, we are committed to loving our neighbors as ourselves, and being charitable, forbearing, or lenient towards the views or mistakes of others. We do not expect everyone to be just like us—so please do not expect us to be just like you.
I recognize that by following the scriptures that we have a promise of health, intelligence, and endurance. For a list of what my children and I eat or consume, click on My Family Fitness/Nutrition page.
We believe in celebrating, thanksgiving, feasting, music, dancing, and remembrance for any special blessings in our lives, such as the annual celebration of the births of children, or any anniversaries, or church history days, or special Sabbath days. But we are very conservative about some holidays, and liberal about others. For a list of which ones seem better for Christian families, click on My Family Holidays page.
Thank you for contemplating our family lifestyle choices, very much in the normal range of American thought, and yet distinctive. I hope that our allegiance to God, wisdom, citizenship, and nature will encourage you to be your own uniquely dedicated person or family in whatever is important to you. We are accepting and supportive of all kinds of people different from us, and I welcome your advise and knowledge. We are learning, and trying hard to attain our goals and abide by these ideals and values, though we constantly fail. We like all kinds of people and have all sorts of friends. We have great permissiveness for others from all social, economic, cultural, and educational backgrounds; or whose life experiences give them another perspective and behavior than our own. People who think unconventionally are interesting and important to us. If you are different from us, please allow for our diversity based on occurrences in our lives that did not parallel your own. We are individuals with great depth and complexity, with a determination to either be appreciated for our rarity, or to be left alone in our privacy.
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