Hopefully your are still reveling in the Fourth of July fervor, because I have some amazing patriotic posts to highlight today.

Did you know that Parley P. Pratt may have written his own version of the Declaration of Independence in 1845?

“When in the course of the divine economy it becomes necessary for one people to seperate themselves from the religious and political fellowship which has once bound them with another … We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the 'Mormons,' in common with all others, are possessed of certain inaleniable rights; among which, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, including the right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; and in short, to believe and teach that which in their judgment appears to be true and reasonable.”

The editorial is called “American Independence Declared Over Again, with Amendments to suit the times.” Click in to read the entire fascinating document, originally published in "The Prophet."

And how does one reconcile the ideas of “A Patriotic Chosen People” with the ever-widening worldwide church? I loved this explanation: “My best attempt at reconciling my various patriotic feelings and understanding scriptural and prophetic claims about the U.S., the Americas, Portugal, etc., is to look at them like I look on callings. For whatever reason the Lord calls or allows to be called individuals to fill positions in the church. Those called serve for a time, fulfill (we hope) their role, and are released and asked to fill another role. If we look at those callings as some indication of who one person being better than another, or more worthy than another (beyond the temple recommend minimums), I suspect we are doing wrong. Just as the release of a bishop and calling of another doesn’t necessarily mean that the second is now better than the first, so too the Lord calling one group as his chosen people doesn’t mean that group is better than others, or that the Lord loves the others less. It just means that the group has a role to play — a calling to fulfill. Nations, to the extent that any nation can be exceptional, are only so because of their actions and the role that they can play in the world. The Lord doesn’t love their people any less.” Wow.

And something from this century: “I noticed, several years ago, that my political feelings were leading me to be angry, sarcastic and suspicious of people. As I thought about this, I realized I wasn’t the only one. It’s a pandemic, and let’s be honest: it’s on both the left and right.” While blogger Braden Bell could not change the whole system, he can change his own personal view, and so decides to take action outlined in three blog posts, what he did in his “Personal Return to Civility.” Click in to read more!

What type of packages come to the MTC Mailroom around the Fourth of July? Big, watermelon-sized packages. Click in to see what else! Plus, how one of the hot air balloons from the Provo Freedom Festival ended up coming over to the MTC.

Did you know that Canada Day was celebrated this week as well? This missionary describes her experience observing a Canada Day parade in “O Canada," complete with pictures.

And since the Mormon Mommy Blogs highlighted this wonderful freedom-tinged Mormon Messages video from 2009, I want to as well. Love it!

And as a final post, I just loved this post from blogger SteveP that asks,“Are We Really All So Different?” Here is a taste: “There sat Bapasol: African, Muslim, dressed in a Kafkan, and me: Western, Mormon, in jeans, but there was something in the situation we both recognized as hilarious, that rooted us in commonalities that stretched across numerous cultural differences. … Can we take the commandment ‘judge not’ seriously? The Pharisees in the New Testament always did their home teaching, regularly held their family home evenings, they were scrupulous in their daily scripture study, they were exact in their keeping of the word of wisdom (putting their behavior in a modern twist), they just were very good at keeping the commandments. Yet they missed completely the Savior of the World. Why? They misunderstood their primary duty. To love and lift others.” Lovely.

Now let’s ooh and ahh over other posts from this last week in the Bloggernacle:

Power pick — “I Found A Baby Pioneer” reads the title to a fascinating blog post about one researcher’s discovery of a 2-year-old pioneer who died along the Mormon Pioneer Trail. I can’t think of a bigger thrill for a genealogist. In fact, she says, “Finding the people that no one else is looking for because they have no descendants is tender and rewarding.” Read all about Emmertta Eliza Green, who has now been added to the Mormon Pioneer Database, and how she was found again.

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Techie tip — I know most of the fireworks are over (although I’m guessing some people will enjoy setting off fireworks even after the Fourth, and if you’re in Utah, Pioneer Day is coming up fast). However, I found this blog post detailing how to photograph fireworks full of great tips on how to capture those beautiful bursts of patriotic light. And click through her gorgeous examples. Wow!

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Emily W. Jensen updates “Today in the Bloggernacle” on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, presenting the best of what we've seen from the world of LDS-oriented blog sites. Her extended “Bloggernacle Back Bench” appears on MormonTimes.com on Tuesdays.

Email: ejensen@desnews.com