Religious Freedom Matters: What’s at Risk

We believe in creating a space for everyone to live their conscience without infringing on the rights and safety of others. Elder Ronald A. Rasband

I have decided to share an article today that I recently re-read from an LDS magazine called the Ensign. I share it because I am concerned with the lack of understanding that so many individuals seem to have in regards to the importance of freedom – particularly religious freedom.

During my near-death experience, I witnessed that I was a part of what this article refers to as the War in Heaven. The war in heaven took place prior to this world being created and was a momentous occasion/event in heaven that we all were affected by. Some may think of this as a physical battle. Instead, what I witnessed was an incredibly important and pivotal debate that most of God’s children were a part of.  It was this debate, and our choices in regard to it, that determined our opportunity to be a part of this world.

In the United States, we are blessed to mostly take our freedoms for granted. However, our freedoms should be cherished and need protecting. We may not always agree with the beliefs of another individual or group but as long as forced coercion and physical harm are not utilized, we need to respect their ability to believe and worship as they desire.

It is because of what I witnessed in heaven and my concerns about what I now witness going on in this country and our world that I share today’s article. It includes references to scriptures and materials/individuals who are LDS (Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). However, I believe it is relevant regardless of your religious persuasion.

I hope you will read it and support efforts to protect religious freedom and freedom in general. Great sacrifices have been made by our military and their families throughout our nation’s history. I am grateful to be a beneficiary of their efforts and sacrifices. I believe that our freedom deserves their continued efforts but it also needs our efforts. If every family in America taught and practiced respect for a diversity of beliefs, not only would the freedoms of this nation continue to be uplifted and preserved, the ability for the world, as a whole, to live according to their conscience and beliefs would likewise spread and blossom.

I believe that every member of mankind inherently knows that they are meant to be free and to live according to the dictates of their conscience. If you are aligned with me in those beliefs, I hope that you will stand for and defend our right to practice freedom of religion and to live according to our beliefs and conscience. Silence will not preserve our freedoms, it will only encourage those who are intent on silencing the voices of religion and conscience.

I hope you enjoy today’s article:

Freedom to choose. That’s what the War in Heaven was all about. We couldn’t afford to lose agency then, and we can’t afford to lose it now. And that includes the freedom to “worship how, where, or what [we] may” (Articles of Faith 1:11). That’s why the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination [as for a Mormon]; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 345).

In addition to maintaining religious freedom as an eternal principle (even God will not remove the agency of any of His children), there are some potentially severe consequences if we lose the freedom to worship, speak, and live according to our beliefs.

  • You could lose your job or leadership positions for expressing religious beliefs—even outside of work. For instance, CEOs, newscasters, judges, teachers, doctors, professors, firefighters, Olympians, graduate students, and many others have been fired, pressured to resign, or intimidated for donating money or simply saying that they support the traditional view of marriage.

  • You might be required to hide your religion or perform tasks at work that go against your beliefs. Does it seem fair, for example, that a doctor who opposes abortion on a religious or moral basis be required to perform one even though numerous other doctors nearby are willing? Should you be forced to wear an immodest uniform when it’s not necessary for your job function?

  • You may be required to work on the Sabbath or religious holidays even when others are willing to take your shift and your employer accommodates other nonreligious interests.

  • Your children in public schools may be required to learn about sexual and gender theories that contradict basic Church teachings. Many public schools already teach sex education in a way that’s fundamentally contrary to Church teachings, and some have required reading lists with explicit content.

  • You may not be able to adopt children or become a foster parent because of your religious beliefs or views on the family.

  • As a business owner or professional, you might lose your license or be fined if you refuse to perform services that are contrary to your religious beliefs. You might even lose professional credentials if you don’t participate in certain activities, even if other co-workers are willing to perform them in your place.

  • You might not be able to create faith-based clubs on college campuses without being required to let people become club members—or even officers—who oppose the club’s religious beliefs.

  • Churches may be forced to employ people who disagree with or refuse to live core values of their faith, threatening their ability to carry out their religious missions.

  • Churches could lose their tax-exempt status by maintaining doctrines, policies, and standards that conflict with secular beliefs regarding marriage, family, gender, and sexuality, resulting in a huge increase in costs to build houses of worship or to purchase and provide goods for humanitarian aid.

  • You might lose tax exemptions for charitable donations like tithes and offerings if the Church loses its status as a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.

  • Churches may not be able to access government lands for camps on equal terms with other groups, limiting youth conferences and camps.

  • Housing units, such as dorms, at religious colleges could be forced to abandon moral standards that protect privacy, modesty, and morality, denying people the right to room with those who uphold the same standards.

  • Religious schools that maintain honor codes may lose their accreditation and be denied research funds and even federal student loans and grants, diminishing the value of their degrees, undermining the quality of their education, and making it financially impossible for many students to attend.

There’s a lot at stake, and this is just a sampling. As society continues to move away from eternal truths and God-given commandments, we can’t predict all the consequences that may result if religious freedom and the right to act on our beliefs are taken away.

So we need to raise our voices to defend religious freedom. If we don’t raise them for the protection of religion now, vital religious freedoms will be lost.

When we join the cause together, we can make a difference that will protect religious freedom not just for Latter-day Saints but also for followers of all religions.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/07/religious-freedom-matters-whats-at-risk?lang=eng

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8 Ways to Help Others Succeed

A Warrior’s mission is to foster the success of others Morihei Ueshiba

8 WAYS TO HELP OTHERS SUCCEED

Of all the joys of leadership, helping others succeed is one of the most rewarding and yet many leaders do not show an aptitude for this trait. There are numerous reasons for this from sheer hubris to not wanting underlings to advance beyond them due to insecurity. Probably the most common issue with helping others succeed is that it takes time and effort. Most leaders are so stressed out trying to maximize their own progress, they have little time or energy to perform the tasks that will allow others to blossom.

Here are eight areas where leaders can invest time and energy to find the payoff substantially more than the investment.

1. Become a Mentor

Having a good mentor speeds the development of any professional by 2-3 times the rate that would be achieved if one had to rely on self study and experience. Leaders need to realize that being a good mentor brings numerous advantages not only to the protégé but to himself. Reason: When we coach someone else, we are actually subconsciously coaching ourselves. In addition, the protégé brings information and a point of view that the leader would find hard to obtain without a trusted source of information. Make sure you are actively mentoring at least 2 professionals.

2. Invest Time

Taking time out of your day to coach other people adds perspective and helps prevent burnout. Thinking positive thoughts about what someone could become with the right development is a welcome break from the pressure cooker of critical decisions and time commitments. You will find yourself looking forward to your “people development time” once you get in the habit.

3. Be Accessible

Show by example that it is easy to get through to you. Many top executives insulate themselves from underlings to help manage time. When you demonstrate a willingness to get back to people quickly, it sends a signal that they really matter to you. That translates into improved morale, which directly boosts productivity. It takes a lot of discipline, but if people respect your willingness to be responsive, they will not be likely to abuse the privilege.

4. Empathize In Rough Times

We all go through difficult periods both professionally and personally. When a leader reaches out with moral support during these times, it shows a human side that makes a huge difference. One caveat, however, never reflect sympathy if it is not sincere. People see right through insincere empathy, and it can do more damage than ignoring the problems of people.

5. Get People in the Right Position

At any time, somewhere between 20-40% of professionals are in the wrong job just trying to survive and do their best. When you constantly seek to understand the correct position for individuals, you not only help reduce their personal agony, you improve productivity in giant chunks. This matching process is not a one shot affair. Make it a constant analysis of who could be better placed in another position. Sometimes this will mean a lateral move, or a promotion, or even a demotion. Many people have significantly improved their quality of work life by taking a demotion. It has saved the lives of many professionals.

6. Be a Mirror

When someone has a failing strategy, it is often difficult for the person to even see it let alone know how to change it. You can be helpful at bringing people to reality. Do this in a kind way following the Golden Rule, and you will rarely go wrong. If you avoid getting involved with failing people, you are just letting them drift along with their suboptimal condition, which wastes their precious time and hurts the organization.

7. Develop People – Including Yourself

Make sure every person has a concrete development plan that is not just a string of courses, readings, or seminars. Personal growth is really about helping people rise to their highest possible contribution. Make sure you model personal development yourself. Do not consider that you are too busy for it. Your own development plan should inspire your underlings to have one as well.

8. Write Your Own Eulogy

One helpful exercise is to actually sit down and write your own eulogy. It sounds maudlin, but it is really a helpful exercise. When you crystallize your thoughts about how you would like to be remembered it is easier to see the deltas from your current pathway. Then it is up to you to do something about it.

There are probably dozens of other things a leader can do to help others, but this list of eight things is a great place to start.

Today’s article was written by Robert Whipple and is shared from the following website: http://www.evancarmichael.com/library/robert-whipple/8-Ways-to-Help-Others-Succeed.html

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How to Create a Life of Integrity

You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one Henry David ThoreauHow to live with integrity; with 4 simple habits

Successful people live with integrity. They say what they do and they do what they say. They are trusted by those whom they interact with and they build healthy relationships with consummate ease. These relationships then help them to achieve bigger and better things.

When you live with integrity, you influence, inspire and motivate others; not just with your words but with your actions too. Others see the positive example that you are and attempt to emulate you. When you choose to live with integrity you will experience a number of benefits, including:

  • You become more valuable both as a person and as an achiever. People see your importance and the value you add.
  • You get better opportunities. You become seen as somebody who gets things done. People are more willing to trust you and want to include you in the bigger projects.
  • As the respect and value you command increases, you are better able to pick and choose the projects you wish to work on.
  • The positive relationships which you build, lead to more people being willing to work with you. This allows you to get more done.
  • You get bigger and better rewards both in terms of personal fulfilment and pay and remuneration

How to live with integrity

The following are 4 of the most critical steps to help you live with integrity. If you turn these 4 steps into daily habits you soon begin to see some of the benefits which I have listed above.

1. Make better choices

You make thousands of decisions every day, some big but many small ones. The bigger decisions often get your full attention, allowing you to make a higher quality of decision. Do the small decisions get your full attention too? Usually not, but when you regularly make the wrong decision, it starts to add up to some big problems.

To ensure that you make better decisions on a daily basis, you need to have a clear vision for your life; a clear sense of purpose, and effective goals which will help you to realise your vision and fulfil your purpose. Life is not a set and forget process; you need to consistently remind yourself of your values, purpose and goals. When you do this, they are at the forefront of your mind, allowing you to make smarter decisions which are consistent with the person that you are and the life which you are trying to create.

 2. Develop positive habits

Many of the bad decisions you make on a daily basis will be down to force of habit. Over the years, you will have done things in a certain way until they have become second nature to you. When the situation arises, you don’t think about it, you just resort to habit. Maybe you are always late for appointments, or you consistently work late. In some cases your bad habits might not appear to be a problem for you, but they are usually a problem for others. If you want to live with integrity, you need to replace the bad habits with positive habits.

To develop positive habits, you first need to identify your bad habits. Take a few moments to list all of the bad habits of which you are aware. I would also suggest asking some trusted friends, or family, to help you identify any bad habits whcih you may have missed. Once you feel you have a completed list, go through each habit and write down the long term effects of sticking with this habit. Then, identify a positive habit which you are going to implement in its place and make a plan for how you are going to implement that new habit.

 3. Keep your agreements

Every day you make agreements, both with yourself and with others. At the time of making agreements, you will generally intend on keeping that agreement but in a busy life that often proves to be easier said than done. It may not seem like a big thing when you fail to keep an agreement but every time you break an agreement, you erode a little of the trust between you and the other person. To live with integrity, requires that you keep your word so that you can build trusting and healthy relationships.

Keeping your agreements requires an effective personal productivity system whereby you capture all of your commitments so that you can then process them and act on them. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when it comes to commitments is relying on your memory to keep track of your agreements. Instead of memory, you need a reliable system to record your commitments and the actions you need to take. That way, you don’t need to remember every single commitment; you just need to remember to check your system on a regular basis.

 4. Raise others up

If you want to build a healthy relationship with another person, the best place to start is by finding some way in which you can help them. It could be something as simple as taking a few minutes to listen to their needs. It seems counterintuitive as you probably focus on what you need to get done. But, when you have helped somebody, they see that you have value to offer and you can be trusted. With one quick action you will have taken giant strides towards creating a healthy, new relationship.

To live with integrity is to live as your best self. Each relationship must be seen as bidirectional. By helping others, you help them to feel good about themselves, and you are also helping yourself by creating a healthy new relationship.

When you live with integrity, you live your best life. You respect yourself by living in a manner which is consistent with your values, purpose and goals. These factors guide each decision that you make, thus allowing you to achieve more. You know that you can never truly succeed on your own so you offer the same level of respect to others. You focus on building healthy, supportive relationships which are based on mutual trust and respect. There will be moments when it seems like living with integrity is the most difficult thing but in reality, when you practice the 4 steps, above, the easiest thing you can do is to live with integrity. You will have a great deal of clarity in your life, allowing you make clear, effective decisions and ensuring the important stuff gets done. When you live with integrity, the benefits and the possibilities are endless.

Today’s article was shared from the following website: https://www.coachingpositiveperformance.com/live-with-integrity-4-simple-habits/

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