Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Easiness of the Way

In Numbers 21 "the Lord sent fiery (poisonous) serpents among the people; and much people of Israel died." (vs 6) 

Moses prayed, and the Lord told him to make a serpent on a pole at which the people only need look and be saved from the poisonous bite of the snakes. 

We learn more of this story from the Book of Mormon. 

Alma 33:19 "… a type was raised" (being symbolic of Jesus Christ) “… many did look and live." 

33:20 "...many were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them." 

Alma 37:46 "do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; ...if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever." 

Then in 3 Nephi 15:9 the Savior tells us what this means: 

"Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life." 

This makes me think about what the prophets tell us to do today. How many things are we slothful in because of the "easiness of the way," or think it doesn't apply to me, or believe it won't heal us? 

I often joke that I know I was saved for the last days because I couldn't handle being a pioneer and crossing the plains. Sometimes I wonder if the "easiness of the way" will be a larger stumbling block for the latter-day saints than enduring enormous trials like the early saints did. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Children of Israel - 3 Principles

Reading this week about the children of Israel; after they are freed from the Egyptians, hear the word of God and accept it, then regress to worshipping a golden calf - three principles stood out to me. The first is overarching with the whole story and the other two are within. Those I have marked parenthetically after the example given.

Principle 1 - A latter-day warning: We aren't saved just by making covenants. 

The Lord, Jesus Christ, spoke the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai so that all the children of Israel heard.

Exodus 20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

(Principle 2The Lord speaks to his children, but they have to be prepared to listen)

They were then given the Mosaic Law (Exodus 21), and covenanted with the Lord to keep the Mosaic Law.

Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8 and Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

When Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the tablets, the children of Israel saw the glory of the Lord on the mountain.

Exodus 24:17: And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

Moses is gone for 40 days; a little over a month. While still being able to see the glory of the Lord on the mountain, they become impatient, start murmuring that Moses hasn’t returned, and fall back on old habits.

The Lord tells Moses what is happening.

Exodus 32:7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.

(Principle 3 – We can’t hide sin from the Lord. He knows what we are doing even when he is engaged with something else. He knows us and is aware of us.)

Why, I wondered; would the children of Israel, after all the miracles they had witnessed and experienced; after being freed from hundreds of years of bondage; after accepting the gospel and covenanting with the Lord; would they – in less than 40 days – revert back to idol worship?

David Ridges has some interesting insight into this that helps me answer that question and apply the situation more to my life:

It seems [the children of Israel] were afflicted with what might be called the “re-deciding syndrome.” They had trouble with long-term loyalty to the Lord, and kept “re-deciding” whether or not to keep the covenants … Sometimes, members of the Church find themselves similarly afflicted. They keep “re-deciding” whether or not to attend church, pay tithing, keep the word of wisdom, and so forth. Such lack of complete commitment takes a heavy toll on spirituality and peace of mind.”[1]

Put in modern terms, it makes what the children of Israel did seem easier to understand and even sympathize with. It takes work to keep covenants we make with the Lord in order to maintain that complete commitment required.

[1] The Old Testament Made Easier, David J. Ridges, pg. 36

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Reacting to Temptation and Choosing Righteousness

Genesis 39

In this chapter we see that doing the right thing doesn’t always bring about positive consequences when people who do evil are involved. However, by continually doing good, God will make up for any deficits.

In verse 12, Joseph shows how to react to temptation: he “fled, and got him out.”

12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

The result of this was Potiphar’s wife lied to save face and accused Joseph of coming after her. This resulted in Joseph being thrown in jail.

20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

Next, we see God blessing Joseph for his righteousness.

21 ¶ But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
  22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.
  23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.

Being imprisoned eventually led to Joseph interpreting the dreams of the chief butler and chief baker, the chief butler finally tells Pharaoh about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams, Joseph gives credit to God and interprets the dreams of the impending seven good years and seven lean years, and is made to be a leader in Egypt--second only to Pharaoh himself. In this position he is then able to save his family from starvation.

Joseph is richly rewarded for his righteousness. Sure, he had to endure some time in jail, but he had leadership while there and great leadership once released. It is always best to stay on the side of God and choose righteousness.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A Summer Cottage in Babylon

 Genesis 19:26 ¶ But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 

Elder Bruce R. McConkie paraphrased those verses in these words: 
Look not back to Sodom and the wealth and luxury you are leaving. Stay not in the burning house, in the hope of salvaging your treasures, lest the flame destroy you; but flee, flee to the mountains. 
Seek temporal things and lose eternal life; sacrifice the things of this life and gain eternal life.” [1]

Elder Holland states that “it isn’t just that she looked back; she looked back longingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future. That, apparently, was at least part of her sin.[2]

He equates the looking back “longingly” as not having faith that where the Lord was sending her was going to be as good as what she had.

When we look at the setting of this story, we identify Lot’s wife – a member of the church, one whom the Lord saw fit to save from the destruction of Sodom, living in a place so overcome with sin that the Lord could not find ten people within to save it. This is not a place conducive to the spirit and became nearly impossible to remain righteous while there. Having been sent out prior to the destruction by angels of the Lord, she was so affected by the place that she was unable to remove her heart and looked “longingly” back.

Elder Holland, quoting Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “such people know they should have their primary residence in Zion, but they still hope to keep a summer cottage in Babylon.[3]

Do I have faith that what the Lord has in store for me is better than what I have now? I would like to think so.

This brings me to Lot’s daughters.

After fleeing Sodom for a small city Zoar, Lot and his two daughters end up living in a cave and this story takes another downturn.

 Genesis 19:31 And the firstborn (JST Gen. 19:37 … firstborn dealt wickedly, and said …) said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 
  32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 
  33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 
  34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 
  35 And (JST Gen. 19:39 And they did wickedly, and made …) they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 

Is it possible upon witnessing the destruction of “brimstone and fire” being rained down from heaven, the daughters thought they were the last people living on earth?

Here is some interesting insight from David Ridges:

“In the culture of the day, there was a very strong desire to carry on one’s family line into the future. Lot’s wife had perished and all his married children and grandchildren had died also in the destruction of Sodom. Thus the family line of Lot was about to come to a close. This is apparently the thinking in the older daughter’s mind as she proposes an incestuous relationship with their father in order that they may have posterity that would carry on the family line.”[4]

My mind goes back to the “summer cottage in Babylon” comment. Is it possible, that by living in this city Sodom, so full of sin and ripe for destruction, these daughters became dulled to the wickedness of the act in which they participated? Had they been like Abraham and lived away from sin, would they have had this thought or followed through with it?

As quoted by President Monson, the Essay on Man by Alexander Pope:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.[5]

[1] The Old Testament Made Easier, David J. Ridges, p194
[2] Holland, The Best is Yet to Be, January 2010
[3] ibid
[4] The Old Testament Made Easier, David J. Ridges, p196
[5] Verse by Verse the Old Testament, Ogden & Skinner, p105

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Satan will not support his followers

The translation in Moses adds something, missing from the version in Genesis, very critical to this story:
Genesis 4:5
 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 

Moses 5:21
21 But unto Cain, and to his offering, he had not respect. Now Satan knew this, and it pleased himAnd Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Satan will entice people to follow him and then be happy when they fall. Satan was happy with the fact that Cain’s offering received no respect from the Lord.

As it tells us in 2 Nephi 28:

21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

This makes me think about how important commandments and sacred ordinances are. We must treat them with the respect and care they deserve - that of something coming from the Lord and that of something being presented to the Lord. 

I want to please the Lord and not Satan.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Mother Earth and Enoch's Compassion

In reading Moses 7, I found the exchange of mother earth’s plaintive cry to God simply beautiful.   I also found it touching that Enoch was so moved as to weep and plead for her rest.

Here is the synopsis:
48 And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face? 
49 And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? Wilt thou not bless the children of Noah? 
 58 And again Enoch wept and cried unto the Lord, saying: When shall the earth rest? 
60 And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah; 
64 And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest. 

Mother Earth is a living, sentient being that needs to be cared for. If mother earth was that “pained” and “weary” then, just imagine how she must feel now. Could this be the cause for all the turmoil the earth is undergoing now – she is sick, in pain, and weary of sin.
I long for the time when our Savior comes, when she can finally rest.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

How God Prepared Eve for Motherhood

Many people think that when God the Father is talking to Eve in this verse, he is being punitive. However, when you look at the Hebrew root of some words, we see that isn’t the case.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Multiply: HEB increase thy discomfort and thy size (i.e., in the condition and process of pregnancy).

Sorrow in this verse links to the Topical Guide: Sorrow. However, when you look at this same instance in Moses, sorrow references something else.
22 Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Sorrow: TG Pain

What God the Father is truly doing is preparing Eve for what will happen to her when she becomes pregnant and gives birth. He is saying to her: “I will greatly multiply your size and pain in conception” – she will get big and have pain. “in pain you will bring forth children” – giving birth will be painful.

These are the words of a loving father preparing his daughter for the role she will play in the creation of mortal bodies for his spirit children.

Bruce C. Hafen gives insight into the end of the verse regarding “rule over thee.”
in the Hebrew original of that verse, the letter beth (pronounced “bait”) may be translated as “with.” Thus, the Lord was advising Eve that Adam “shall rule with thee,” which perfectly corresponds to our doctrine and definition of exaltation in the celestial world.” (Verse by Verse the Old Testament).

Our Father in Heaven is loving. By better understanding the origin of some words, we will see that displayed time and again in the scriptures.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

An Inspired Constitution

In his address The Doctrine of and Inspired Constitution, Gary Marshall argues that it is easier to defend the inspired nature of the Constitution if we understand its supporting principles. I was asked to answer this question:

How does your understanding of the supporting principles enhance your ability to explain the "just and holy principles" embodied in the Constitution?

I have listed the six supporting principles which he discussed and a brief outline of what is included in each principle. My responses are in blue.

1.       The Supreme Law of the Land must be set forth in a Written Constitution
a.       The Rule of Law must be the underlying premise of the entire constitutional system.
b.       The power of government must be limited and constrained by a written constitution.
c.       Civil governments are ordained of God and instituted by Him for the benefit of all the people and for the protection of their basic, inalienable rights.
d.       The content of the Constitution must be subject to change by an amendment process.

If laws weren’t written, they would be unfixed and changeable based on people’s memory. They must be written to remain stable. If it is to be written, there must be guidelines detailed. This is what the supporting principles do—detail guidelines for the written law of the land. It must give power but limit it. It must be stable, but have the ability to be changed. It must protect freedoms and rights, so the rule of law is the only way that it will work.

2.       The power to make law and to govern in a civil society must arise from the popular will and sovereign power of the people. (popular sovereignty)
a.       A true understanding of man’s nature – of both man’s capacity for virtue and man’s natural propensity to vice and corruption – must be the foundation of a government which derives its power from the people.
b.       Popular government must generally follow the will of the majority.
c.       A republic is the best form of popular government.
d.       The people have the right to choose those who govern in open and fair elections.
e.       The terms of office for those who govern must be fixed and reasonable for the purposes of their offices.

People have the right to make and execute the laws to which they are subject. If you give the power to the people, you must understand their nature and plan for both virtue and vice. Allowing the people to elect those who will govern, with limitations on service, will keep the power with the people, but not so completely that their lesser natures will take over.

3.       Governments must secure and protect the basic, inalienable rights of the people.
a.       Freedom of conscience must be protected as the most inherent and inalienable right of man.
b.       The great rights of free speech, freedom of the press, and of assembling and petitioning the government must be secured and protected.
c.       Prosecutions, accusations of wrongdoing, and judgments against the people must be based on principles of fairness, equity, justice, and due process of law.

If the people vote leaders to govern them, the governance must protect the rights of the people. There are certain rights which are endowed to us by God and no government has the right to limit them.

4.       The legislative power (to make the law), the executive power (to administer and enforce the law), and the judicial power (to apply and interpret the law) must reside in separate branches or departments of the government.
a.       Each of the three branches of government must have some check on the power of the other branches.
b.       The legislative power, which tends to predominate in a republic, must be further divided.

To “help control the corrupting influence of power and the tendency to tyranny,” each of the three branches must be able to check the power of the other two. This way the government can still survive if the people and leaders don’t remain virtuous and it lessens the negative effect of “immediate passions and shortsighted interests of the people.”

5.       The powers to govern ought to be further divided by national and local interests.
a.       The powers given to any level of government should be based in moderation and justice, and should engender confidence and trust in the people.
b.       The powers given to the national government should be specifically delegated, enumerated, and limited.
c.       The state governments should exercise the powers to regulate the health, welfare, safety, education, and moral behavior of the people.

The governance of the people should stay close to the people. The national government should be limited in scope and handle higher level issues such as national security and defense. Things more related to individuals should stay at the local level.

6.       The principles of economic freedom should be preserved and protected.

Government should encourage hard work, commerce, frugality and virtue; promote science and the arts and invention. This will help preserve and protect the economic future of the people.

How Do We Change The World?

The knowledge of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and coming to have faith in him could change the world. 

In Mosiah chapter 4, King Benjamin tells us three simple things that if we do them, will bring about life changing benefits:

  •   Humble ourselves in humility
  •   Call on the Lord daily
  •   Be steadfast in faith

 “if [we] do this [we] shall always

  • Rejoice
  • Be filled with the love of God
  • Retain a remission of our sins
  • Grow in knowledge of God and of what is just and true
  • Have no thought to harm one another, but to live peaceably
  • Care for our children
  • Teach them to obey God’s laws and not fight and quarrel with each other
  • Teach them to walk in the ways of truth
  • Teach them to love one another
  • Succor those in need of succor
  • Give of our substance to those in need

It seems to me that if everyone would do those three simple things, just about every problem facing the world right now would end.

Be of Good Cheer

In Elder Oaks talk, He Heals the Heavy Laden, he references one of my very favorite scriptures:

 In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” 
John 16:33

This is one of the key truths we learn in Article of Faith #3: The Atonement of Christ. We know that if we are obedient to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, through the Atonement, we can be saved because He did literally overcome the world.

The Lord knew that life would be hard. He tells us we will have “tribulation.” The dictionary defines tribulation as “a cause of great trouble or suffering.” He knows just how great our trouble and suffering are and will be, because He has felt them personally.

He tells us to “be of good cheer.” How is it possible to be of good cheer if we know that we will have great trouble and suffering? This is the amazing thing about the Atonement. Not only has it redeemed us from death and given us a way to be exalted and have eternal life, it has also blessed us with the enabling power of the Atonement.

I have experienced this power while going to school at BYU-Idaho. I work full time, have school, and serve in the temple on Saturdays. I have been blessed, and a witness to miracles, with a literal expansion of time. I have had my abilities increased to learn more quickly and get things done in a shorter amount of time.

Because of the Atonement we have all the reason in the world to be of good cheer.

Have any of you experienced the enabling power of the Atonement?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Welding Families Forever

Two things really caught my attention in D&C 128:18.

First the term “welding” was used two times in reference to linking together generations. We usually think of this in terms of “sealing,” but I really like the term welding. It seems so much heavier and substantial. I envision a very thick chain being welded together which cannot be broken.

Second is “For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect.” We need our families. They are what really matter in life. I feel blessed to live in a Church which puts so much emphasis on families.

This made me think of an experience my dad shared with me. After mom died, he would go visit her grave on Sundays before church. A man who lived in their neighborhood told him he wanted the sense of peace he could see in my dad. His wife had also passed away and he wanted what my dad had, so dad started teaching him about the plan of salvation and eternal families. One time while dad was visiting mom’s grave, he received a very strong impression that she was on the other side teaching this man’s wife the same things he was teaching this man.

Missionary work is happening among those who have passed on. They are at the mercy of our willingness to serve in the temple. I am blessed to serve in the temple. It gives me the opportunity and privilege of helping women there who are serving and those who have passed on.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Born Again

In Moses 6: 59-60 there is a pattern that intrigues me. It speaks of being born by water, blood, and the spirit and those words are used three times.

The first time it says that we are “born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit which I have made.” This all happens during the process of childbirth.

Then it tells us we must be “born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten.”

I really like the analogy of being “born again.” When we are baptized and have our sins washed away, it is as if we are a new born babe, fresh from the heavens and without sin. We can become again this way each Sabbath as we renew our baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament.

Then it tells us why we must be born again by these three things and what part they play.

For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified.”

We are baptized in water and by so doing keep the commandment. It is up to the Holy Ghost to justify the ordinance. In the class The Eternal Family we studied this and learned about what the justification of the Spirit means.

We are “justified” by the Spirit as the Holy Spirit of Promise either ratifies or rejects each ordinance as being valid.”[1]

“[Justification] is the Lord’s way of assuring that no unauthorized acts or ordinances are binding in the hereafter.” [2]
These are pretty amazing responsibilities that the Holy Ghost has. This also reminds us that we can’t fool the Lord. If we enter covenants unworthily, they may look like they have been done, but the Spirit will not justify the ordinance as being valid.

And then after those two things have happened, we are able to be sanctified by the blood shed for us by our Savior Jesus Christ. The dictionary defines sanctified as to "set apart as or declare holy; consecrate; make legitimate or binding by religious sanctification; free from sin; purif[ed]."

All of this is how we are born again--by water, by the Spirit, and by blood.

[1] Justification and Sanctification Transcript, The Eternal Family, BYU-Idaho, taken partially from Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Born of God, April 2008

[2] Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 408

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation, introduced in 1777 and ratified in 1781 created a weak “League of Friendship” amongst the states. A decentralized confederation based on state sovereignty. 

Each state sent delegates to serve in the Congress of Confederation. Each of the states had an equal vote on any proposed legislation, legislation required unanimous support in order to pass, and once passed the national government had no authority to enforce the legislation with in a state.

The purpose was to prevent certain states from having control of the legislature to pass laws that weren’t fair to other states. The control was kept at the state level and they were joined together to assist one another for mutual and general welfare.

States began using their power to levy tariffs, but they weren’t levied equally, so low tariff states like Rhode Island started receiving more trade. This led other states to levy retaliatory tariffs against the goods that were favored by the low-tariff states. There was also a lot of dispute over who controlled rivers and ports. 

The high taxes in this difficult economy led to a high number of mortgage foreclosures. Debtors turned to mob action against their state legislatures. Shays Rebellion was one such action used to prevent the government from taking away farms. 

Under the Articles of Confederation, the national government had no power to intervene on behalf of the states. Each state was self-governed and there wasn’t a rule of law applied that would govern everyone equally. It was pretty much chaos and every one feared that what they had fought for was on the brink of destruction.

These are the historical events which led people like James Madison to call for a revision of the Articles of Confederation.

A More Perfect Union

We watched the video A More Perfect Union for American Foundations. It is a movie depicting the Continental Congress and what went into the creation of the Constitution.

I was surprised at how tenuous of an experience it was to get passed. There were many times it almost failed.

Something else that I was amazed by was how men stood up and voted against what they personally wanted because it was the right thing to do for America. One example is the discussion about slavery. The man who suggested doing away with it within a certain period of time was a slave owner and relied on that labor for his lively hood. He was willing to put God and Country ahead of his own personal wants and needs.

It was amazing how many times divine providence, prayer, our maker, and statements like that were made. Such a stark difference from what we see today.

You could literally see the hand of God working over this gathering of men. 

How Would I Amend the Constitution?

I was asked to answer this question:

Article 5 of the Constitution allows the states to convene another constitutional convention.  If such a meeting were held, and you were asked to be a delegate, what changes would you propose to the existing constitutional structure?

I would propose term limits on Senators and Congressmen. We have people who have served in those positions for 30 years. Yes, there is some benefit to longevity, however, they are out of touch with reality. They worried about a President becoming like a monarchy, I believe this has happened in some form with these lifetime senators and congressmen.

I would also propose that all Senators, Congressmen, President and Vice President, etc. must abide by any law passed by Congress. This means they would pay the same taxes and have the same healthcare as the people they pass the laws for.

I would also propose that Congress cannot vote themselves a raise. Those should be voted on by the people. None of us can vote ourselves a raise. They are supposed to be working for us. We should determine if they are doing a job worth getting a raise or not.