Robert & Shauna Valentine Family

Robert Young Valentine and Shauna Burgon Valentine met at BYU, fell in love and were married in 1967. They have lived in Provo, Utah; Durham and Laurinburg, North Carolina; and, for nearly three decades in Lincoln, Nebraska. Bob and Shauna moved back to Utah in 2004 into a new home in Highland. They have five grown children, Christopher, Lisa, Gina, James and Amanda and a lot of grandchildren. Enjoy news and photos of our growing family. Send comments, too. Stay in touch!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Family Home Evening, February 18, 2008

Happy Family Home Evening and Presidents Day!

When your dad and I were growing up February was a time to celebrate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington on separate days.

Today we celebrate President's Day. Washington and Lincoln were exceptional men for exceptional times. We grew to love and appreciate these men as we got to know more about them when we were in school back in the 1950's. We believe God raises up wise men to accomplish His goals; and, although these men were not perfect, they accomplished wonders for all Americans.

Freedom is a great and precious thing. It is a blessing from God. The scriptures tell us that to keep our freedoms we must serve Jesus Christ and keep his commandments (Ether 2:12). We must also obey the Constitution and other laws of this country and make sure we have good leaders (Doctrine & Covenants 98:4-10).

We need leaders who believe in God, especially today. Our freedoms are NOT derived from governments, nor from a Constitution, nor from political leaders. They come from no man. Our freedom comes from God, our Father.

George Washington

Soon after the revolutionary war, thirteen states sent representatives to Philadelphia. George Washington was president of the convention and during one of the early meetings he made an important statement about the convention's purpose. "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God."

Writing the Constitution was a difficult process. There were many different opinions. However, after nearly seventeen weeks of proposals and debates, this diverse group of men produced a document considered by many to be a miracle. They created a plan for a government that is so well balanced that no social or geographic group can dominate any other. They produced a government strong enough to protect the individual rights of all its citizens and yet not invade their privacy nor infringe on their freedom.

Part of the Constitution's sacred importance for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (nick-named "Mormons") is based on the principle of agency. Arguments over this principle began in the council of heaven before the earth was created.

"I testify," said President Ezra Taft Benson, "that the God of heaven selected and sent some of his choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this [the American] government as prologue to the restoration of the gospel and the second coming of our Savior."

George Washington was one of those choice spirits. Below are some quotes from Washington that give us an indication of his character:

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.

Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.

Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.

Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an Honest Man.

Abraham Lincoln

The son of a Kentucky frontiersman, Lincoln had to struggle for a living and for learning. Lincoln made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm, splitting rails for fences, and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois. He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and rode the circuit of courts for many years. He married Mary Todd, and they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity.

As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy.

Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an even larger issue. This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Lincoln's words:

Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere.
--September 11, 1858 Speech at Edwardsville, Illinois

Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.--August 27, 1856 Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan

May our children and our children's children to a thousand generations, continue to enjoy the benefits conferred upon us by a united country, and have cause yet to rejoice under those glorious institutions bequeathed us by Washington and his compeers.--October 4, 1862 Speech at Frederick, Maryland

And having thus chosen our course, without guile, and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear, and with manly hearts.--July 4, 1861 Message to Congress

There are many people to thank for our freedoms: these are two of them.

Think about Washington and Lincoln. Honor them! Have a great week!

Love, Mom and Dad, Robert & Shauna Valentine xoxoxoxoxoxoxox


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