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Sunday, December 30, 2012

You Get What You Faith For

Faith is power "Negative or Positive" - You choose
Dad, I don’t have any place to stay. They kicked me out… I’ve lost my job again. I’ve been in IHOP now for 5 hours waiting for someone to come get me. I don’t have any more money. Dad, you have to come get me, now!” pled Amy.

Amy was a 20 year-old "prodigal daughter" in a nearby state. Dad believed as he has for the past few years, “She needs my help. Honestly, she can’t do this on her own. This is way too hard for her… Why, she can’t even get out of bed on time!...” The father booked the next flight to go help Amy.
As a psychologist I’ve spent my life reading, studying and applying techniques of how to change another person's behavior. I'm going to share one of the most powerful tools to influence another's behavior.
FAITHingis the power resulting from how you believe in another person. This power can be "negative" or "positive." It is measured by how you interact with that person.

You may have heard Henry Ford's saying: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.” My version
Whether you think THEY can or you think THEY can’t –you are right."
In the case of Amy, the dad was unfortunately FAITHing to strengthen a negative image of his daughter. Sure Amy had plenty of "issues" but one of the most damaging one was  father's negative faith. His "negative belief" strengthened Amy in her low self-confidence and her inability to change her addictions and "riotous living". What Amy "needed" was her dad to positive "faith" her not his checkbook!
 When you change the direction of your believe in a loved-one, you can change their lives.

There are at least two "forces" at work when you are FAITHing.

Force 1: The learning associated with the loved-one experiencing consequences
Do not interfere with consequence that belong to a loved-one. (Unless an angel tells you otherwise) "There can be no shortcut around the law of the harvest; truly, we reap what we sow (see Galatians 6:7) (Elder David A. Bednar “Line upon Line, Precept upon Precept”)

Positive FAITHing a loved-one by allowing (or creating) situations where the loved-one experiences consequences for their behavior.  This type of "learning" is often the result of "Love and Logic" or "Tough Love." (See "The Only Path" blog if you need a reminder about the importantance of  opposition.)

Force 2:  The "Real" change occurring as a result of your Faithing
Do have "Faith" in your loved one's ability to overcome those consequences. (No matter what.) "Faith" is a power, a tool, a force. It's not just a word. It's the first principle... of the gospel. It's a powerful resource that you can activate to help a loved-one anytime - anyplace - all the time. Joseph Smith's exact words are: "As faith is the moving cause of ALL ACTION in temporal concerns, so it is in spiritual." (Lectures on Faith 1:12.) "All Action" includes influencing the behavior of your loved-one, is based on faith.  IF the smallest amount of this "force" called "faith" can move mountains (See Matt 17:19-20) THEN it most certainly can influence a loved-one!

Develop your faith in your loved one's divine nature and destiny ... (Perhaps read their patriarchal blessing to remind you) When your FAITHing in him/her is "stronger than the cords of death"  (D & C 121:44) lives will change.

A loved one experiencing the "law of the harvest" AND "you positive faith in them" is a very powerful combination. And in most cases, is certainly more powerful than $100 an hour therapy!
Back to Amy
A few weeks later Amy was stranded again. She made another desperate crisis call to her dad. This time the dad intervened by applying “FAITHing.” He believed in God's power AND his daughter's ability AND understood the importance of the "Law of the Harvest".  This time the father replied to Amy's despair with calm confidence saying, “Amy, you can do this. I know you can. You can figure this out. I’m praying for you. I trust you’ll do the best you can. I love you and God loves you. You don't need me. I'm not coming.” Faith without works is dead (James 2:17-18). He hung up the phone.
FAITH is a creative force
A prophet has said, The future is as bright as your faith (Thomas S. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign, May 2009). 

Improve your faith. Improve your future.

I also believe in part, The future of your loved-one is as bright as your faith …!

Improve your FAITHing in your loved one.
Improve your loved-one's future.

As the spirit directs apply the FAITHing principle to a loved one.
This is what FAITHing a loved-one may look like.

A. Loved-one asks sometimes with words sometimes with their behavior saying "I can't do this on my own I need you....blah blah blah."
B. Faithful responds by looking into the love-one's soul finding their divine nature and destiny with confidence beyond the cords of death and say:
-Nothing- Yes that's right shut up. (If words would have worked-they would have worked already) Simply "Faith them."

A. Loved-one tries again saying something like, "But you have to. I can't do it without you....blah blah blah."
B. Faithful responds by looking into their soul finding their divine nature and destiny with confidence beyond the cords of death again say -Nothing.

A. Loved-one is deperate now saying with their words or behavior "If you don't- respond like you always have something is going to change!... blah blah blah."
B. Faithful responds with a calm voice saying, with love in your eyes say something like "Do what you think is best. You'll figure it out. I love you."

A. Loved-one is now confused with this new response and will respond something like "blah blah blah."
B. Faithful responds turning and walking away. Continued FAITHing ALWAYS creates a learning / growing experience in time-typically weeks and months.

(By the way. did I forget to mention as you effectively "Faith" a loved-one OFTEN his/her behavior will get worse - more contention, more anger, more disruptive behavior, etc. etc. The loved-one must adust to your new found confidence in them.)

For extra credit watch this: See Others as They May Become- Thomas S. Monson

dr rick

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Gift - Between God And I

It's Not My Fault ... !
-Serial Rapist: “She never locked her door!”
-Compulsive Shoplifter: “I have A.D.D.!”
-Wife Batterer: “Dinner wasn’t ready!”
-Suicidal Male: “She said she didn’t love me anymore!”
-Depressed Wife of Porn Addict:  "How am I suppose to feel. Look what he did to my eternal family!"

After 30 years of working in the mental health field, I’ve heard plenty of excuses of people blaming others for their stupid behavior.  

I'm going to help you understand one of the most powerful GIFTS  that God has EVER given. IF you only open and correctly use one gift this year let it be this one: "GIFT OF AGENCY". As you learn and practice this GOSPEL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL TRUTH your eternity will change! Your outlook will immediately become more hopeful and your freedom to act will increase. AND the behavior of those around you will eventually change. Regardless of the challenges you face.

FIRST:You are accountable for you - your "thoughts, words, and deeds" (Mosiah 4:30)!
... it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else. In the grand division of all of God's creations, there are things to act and things to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:13–14). As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of moral agency, the capacity for independent action and choice. Endowed with agency, you and I are agents, and we primarily are to act and not just be acted upon. To believe that someone or something can make us feel offended, angry, hurt, or bitter diminishes our moral agency and transforms us into objects to be acted upon. As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond to an offensive or hurtful situation… (And Nothing Shall Offend Them, October 2006, Sunday Afternoon Session. David A. Bednar) 
There is no exception. The responsibility for your anger, your depression, your weight, your whatever ...BELONGS TO YOU! YOUR SPOUSE CANNOT MAKE YOU SAD! YOUR CHILDREN CANNOT MAKE YOU MAD! (Even if it is a physical or mental illness-you're responsible and accountable to manage your condition whatever the circumstance.)

Did I say, there is no exception?

Brigham Young illustrates personal responsibility when he says:
If Brother Brigham shall take a wrong track, and be shut out of the Kingdom of Heaven, no person will be to blame but Brother Brigham. I am the only being in heaven, earth, or hell, that can be blamed [for my behavior]. (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], pg. 390.)
"We determine our happiness. You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Regrets and Resolutions” Conference 2012.)

SECOND: Your accountability is to God.
How you behave, think and feel is "Between You and God." This is the starting point for opening this gift and solving any personal or emotional problem-you are accountable for you and your accountability is to God. 

You come to my office expressing a marriage concern-eventually I'm going to tell you It's not between you and your spouse. It's between you and God. You come to my office expressing a parenting concern-eventually I'm going to tell you It's not between you and your child. It's between you and God. You come to my office expressing a pornography concern-eventually I'm going to tell you It's not between you and porn. It's between you and god. And so forth.

This is an eternal truth. It will work ALL the time every time.
"Making your behavior an issue between you and God" has to be done FIRST before YOU change and before YOU CAN CHANGE ANOTHER.
Study these scriptures carefully for their hidden treasures: 3 Nephi 14:1-5 and Alma 60:23.

Check these out. There is an emphasis placed on the individual’s behavior being between God and the individual, not between the individual and someone or something else.
In Acts the story is told of Ananias. He and his wife sold a possession and hid some of the money, not giving it to the church. The sin would appear to be only between Ananias and the church. However, Peter confronted them saying: “thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” (Acts 5:4)

For days Joseph resisted the advances of Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39). Nevertheless, he is falsely accused, and cast into prison. In verse 9 we discover the source of his strength to resist when he said, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9) Joseph wasn’t worried about offending Potiphar or Portiphar’s wife, but God.

Anti-Nephi-Lehies figthing Lamanites. The Lamanites come against the people of God—The Anti-Nephi-Lehies—They choose to fight using the most powerful offense available to them (and to us) - GOD! "Now when the people saw that they were coming (to war) against them (their enemy) they went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them to the earth," And how did they fight: "began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword." (Alma 24: 21) The Anti-Nephi-Lehies won the battle as they realized the real battle wasn't with the Lamanites, but with the Lord. Also see 3 Nephi 4:7-10.
Christ is the judge "The keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate.” (2 Nephi 9:41) Jesus is at the gate-not your spouse, your child, your parent, your neighbor etc. etc. (See Alma 41:3-4)

Amen. :)

The moment you take responsibility for your life and make your personal challenge an issue between you and God you'll immediately gain freedom to clearly see and do the right thing. 

Don't believe me.

Open this gift thoroughly. Read and ponder this blog again and again.

Maybe, as you feel prompted. say to yourself 10 times the rest of this day "This is between God and I." Perhaps write "This is between God and I" on a postit on your mirror.  Possibly say it for 20 times the next day....

Within a week you'll recognize the power of which I speak. You will experience more clearly the eternal power associated with correctly understanding the gift of agency.

Merry Christmas
dr rick
dr rick's Blog Index
(P.S. If you apply this TRUTH and it doesn't work, I'll refund your money.)

Other similar blogs:
Not Enough of Me
My Spouse Is NOT My #1 Priority
Easy as 1,2,3...Unless an Angel tells you otherwise
The Gift - Between God And I

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jesus' Stepdad

More Of The Same
I received a text this week from a single mom struggling at Christmas time. She wrote, "... more of the same ... Disappointing."

Sometimes the ordinary routine of daily living can be discouraging. I mean really- changing diapers, fixing dinner, working, going to church, blessing the food etc. etc.- How much influence can doing these ordinary tasks really have on mine or anybody else's eternity?

The Most Ordinary Person
 At Christmas time I can't help but think of the most ordinary person I know of in the scriptures -Joseph the stepdad of Jesus. Except for a few sentences the story of the earthly father of Jesus is hidden.

For example one part of his life we know about is his dilemma of  how his fiancĂ© Mary got pregnant? As far as we know he never asked the question to any body else not even Mary.  In the small town like Nazareth with perhaps as many as 500 residents, surely the potential "gossip" from community friends crossed his mind. For awhile Joseph had no answer from Heaven "he thought on these things" (Matt 1:20) . He had no one to turn to so he turned to God in prayer. The revelation to "Good old Joseph" was UNlike  what happened to Mary (mother of Jesus) and Zacharias (father of John the Baptist) where the angel appeared to them during broad daylight hours-even struck Zacharias as dumb! But not for Joseph. For Joseph the message came after a hard day's work while he was trying to get a little sleep. He literally "dreamed" the message in a very strange dream.  The message that "... the child begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit". (Matthew 1:20) Joseph woke up the next day from his "sleep" and “….took Mary to wife.” (Matthew 1:24Why would God announce his son's birth to Joseph "in a dream"- such a very ordinary way? 

Joseph appears to have lived a simple ordinary life.  When he received personal revelation from God to do something he did it; he followed Jewish traditions; and he did the routine husband and dad things. His life so routine and ordinary perhaps the gospel writers didn't even think they were worth writing about it. Nothing fancy just a poor carpenter's life.  Joseph was not a statesman, not a church leader- He was “just” Joseph and left the rest up to God.

Why Not Another?
Obviously God could have chosen anyone he wanted to be the earthly father. Right?
Think about it… If you had to choose someone to raise YOUR SON… why not:
      - One of the three Wise Men- they were wealthy and in-tune with the spirit.
      - Or how about King Herod- a very powerful and influential man.
God wanted and chose the best for His son Jesus. God recognized the power of  a person who was capable of routinely doing the "simple and ordinary".

Don't Be Discouraged By Being Ordinary
Don’t be discouraged or think you are falling short by "just" being a mom or dad. Many are unhappy because they think they should be doing something unusual or something phenomenal- like be the Relief Society President or the Bishop. Joseph preaches a powerful sermon by his quiet ordinary life.    
After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman.... We should never be discouraged in those daily tasks which God has ordained to the common lot of man. Each day's labor should be undertaken in a joyous spirit and with the thought and conviction that our happiness and eternal welfare depend upon doing well that which we ought to do, that which God has made it our duty to do. (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1971), pp. 285-86)
Life for most of us is made up of a thousand and one little things we do day-after-day. Our success or failure in life and in eternity will depend largely upon how well each small, seemingly unimportant, task and duty is done as it comes along. For sure, doing the "little ordinary things" form and shape our destiny.

The text I sent back to the single mom went something like this:
Never Never say MORE OF THE SAME or be DISAPPOINTED when you have done your best at mothering and "just being you" for one more day! There is power and eternal influence as you do the ordinary and routine Mormon thing - one more day. Continue this for the rest of your days and surely ALL THE LORD HAS WILL BE YOURS-ALL OF IT!
This Christmas give yourself permission to recognize the gift of ordinary and simple. You'll be happy when you can see and appreciate the importance with which God has placed on those who do the commonplace things of life.

dr rick
dr rick's blog index

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's Bad Memory, Not Money

HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS. The Jolliest 5K race in Ogden Utah. Hundreds of runners dressed as Santa Claus ran by as we watched.  Along the course the Santas received milk and cookies. Christmas Music played over head. Although it was dark and getting a little chilly, we stayed and watched the light parade - horses, floats etc. etc. And finally the main attraction "Santa." He arrived on a beautifully lit float. Then came the fireworks. Christmas Season is now official!
THE ZOO. A few days after the Santa Parade I was driving home from an appointment and I called Karla to talk. She answered. I could hardly hear her because of the background noise. It sounded like a bunch of wild animals :) I asked where she was. I thought she said "The Zoo." I asked again thinking I didn't hear correctly. She again replied, "The Zoo." I thought to myself - What in the heck is she doing at the Zoo in December? She went on to explain she was at a store Christmas shopping.  The noise was "the hustle and bustle" of crowds of people Christmas shopping and it was "like a zoo." When Karla and others arrived home and emptied  the trunk-- they had some really sweet toys-My eye caught a really cool remote control car.


If I'm hungry or thirsty - I just stop at the nearest In-N-Out and order the #2.
If I need a new shirt- I just tell Karla.
If I'm cold- I turn up the thermostat and turn on the electric blanket (They're great as I get older.)
If I need money- I grab the VISA.
If I get sick- I just go to the clinic and get an antibiotic.

I can't think of anything! Because if I really wanted something I would have already bought it.

If Christmas is only about getting and giving things  -
Then, I have had "Christmas" all year long!

Really, what else do I NEED?
Prosperity can deaden us to spiritual things. It can give us the illusion of power. When we are sick, we can go to a doctor and get healed. When we are hungry, we can feed ourselves. When we are cold, we can get warm. In short, most of the problems of life we can solve ourselveswe can answer many of our own prayers. Because of the relative ease many have in acquiring their daily bread, they can become deceived into thinking they are saviors unto themselves. (Improving Our Prayers By Joseph B. Wirthlin Ensign March 2004)
And in other words President  Brigham Young said:
The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich [and] forget God [and Jesus]. … This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth. (Quoted in James S. Brown, Life of a Pioneer 1971, 122–23)
There seems to be something in each us that when we have plenty we become lifted up in pride and forget the source of our prosperity. (Like the Book of Mormon prosperity cycle - He. 12:1-2,5.) We forget Jesus and our Heavenly Father,  who are the source of all our blessings. We give glory to ourselves. Forgetfulness is one reason why it is difficult for the "rich" to make it to heaven (Matt 19: 23-24; Luke 18: 21-25; Mark 10:17-27)
They have a MEMORY problem not a MONEY problem

What do I need this Christmas?
To remember Jesus' birth.

That's all I need for Christmas.


How big would your Christmas be?

P.S. By the way there is one example when riches did not lead to a spiritual decline in the Book of Mormon- check it out @ Alma 62:48-49.

dr rick

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Spiritual Anorexia

I pressed the buzzer of the locked unit. The head nurse let me in.
I found the way to Mary's room. She went inpatient because of the complications caused by her eating disorder (anorexia nervosa). Despite all our efforts Mary's condition had now become life threatening - malnutrition. Mary was going to die if she didn't begin to eat. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

To be diagnosed with anorexia, a person must exhibit a variety of symptoms. The symptoms most intriguing to me have always been :

Have a body image that is very distorted-Typically they view themselves as fat when they are in reality significantly underweight! 

Another symptom of interest-

Refusal to admit the seriousness of being underweight-Regardless what the doctor or anyone else says!

Despite counseling Mary continued to view herself as too fat -even though she was around 80 pounds at about 5'6". IF Mary keeps her starvation habits - she was going to die - regardless of what she believed. I'm still amazed at the power of the mind - why she couldn't see her starving body the way everyone else saw it? (Needless to say I gave up my career working with eating disorders and began to refer.)

“Spiritual Anorexia”

Our weight conscious society, knows exactly how many calories the body needs to remain healthy. We are all familiar with the old food pyramid guiding us on what to eat.

Just like our physical body requires calories to burn so does our spirit!  Dealing with difficult life challenges on limited "spiritual calories" is like trying to run a marathon on limited "nutritional calories."  (I've noticed the good athletes always "carb up" before a big race.)

Mormon Lite Diet Plan

Like the person with anorexia distorts the body image, I believe many of us distort the strength and health of our spirit. In reality we are spiritually underweight and anorexic but when we look in the mirror we think we see that we're spitirually "fat" and "all is well."  (See 2 Nephi 28:  21,24) For some, we think if we go to church on Sunday for the 3 "required" hours and say a couple of prayers during the week - we're good and ready to run the race.

It's been my experience in the helping profession many collapse from spiritual fatigue as they face life challenges and temptations. The spiritual demands can exceed available "spiritual calories."
To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess this personal knowledge or witness (sufficient Spiritual Calories) will fall. If you have not got the testimony, live right and call upon the Lord and cease not till you obtain it. If you do not you will not stand. …The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light (Spiritual Calories of another). Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. …If you don’t have it you will not stand; therefore seek for the testimony of Jesus and cleave to it, that when the trying time comes you may not stumble and fall. (Valiant In The Testimony of Jesus Ezra Taft Benson)

A nominal "3-Hour Mormon" diet will not sustain us in these last days.

You’re Going To Die!
If you’re taking in only 500 “spiritual calories” and require 20,000 to successfully deal with your upcoming week’s stress and temptations, by Tuesday you’ll be spiritually hungry and weak!

Your spirit is dying.
If one fails to eat and drink, his body becomes emaciated and dies. Likewise if he fails to nourish his spirit and mind, his spirit shrivels and his mind darkens. (President Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, pg 93)
Spiritual Calorie Counter
Burger King Whopper, 628 each; French fries, 1 serving 227; & Vanilla milkshake, regular 321. Attending all Sunday Meetings, 516; Reading the scriptures, 321;  & Helping my neighbor 198. You get the idea.

No way would you expect you or your children to go a day or two without physical "calories" for the bodies.

How long have you went without consuming "Each of the Spiritual Food Groups" shown at the right --> ?

You want to remain spiritually healthy? Consume as many calories from as many spiritual food groups as you can every day.

“… If you would have a strong spirit which has dominance over the body, YOU MUST see to it that your spirit receives SPIRITUAL FOOD and spiritual exercise. …" (The Fulness of the Gospel: Putting Off the Natural Man, Ensign, July 2006) 

There is no substitute for taking time to immerse one's self into God's word and feeling the reassurance of the Holy Ghost. Culture has changed, but how to maintain a healthy spirit has not!

If you're defensive as we talk about the possibility of being spiritually malnourished, then you exhibit the second symptom of "Spiritual Anorexia." 
The arithmetic of the ten virgins (Matthew 25) is chilling. The ten virgins obviously represent members of Christ’s Church, for all were invited to the wedding feast and all knew what was required to be admitted when the bridegroom came. But only half were ready when he came. (Preparation for the Second Coming, Dallin H. Oaks)
Gain "spiritual weight" by consuming more "spiritual calories."
Do the little things... like say the prayer on the food (231), help your children say personal prayers after you finished family prayers (412), etc. etc.

See: hyp-o-crite: Pretends to be what he is not.

dr rick
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Only Path -Opposition in all Things


I was sitting at work when I received the call.

Key Bank had just been robbed. Shots were fired. The gunman escaped. Being part of the crisis team it was my turn to go and do the debriefing. Within a few minutes I was in the bank parking lot.  The police and SWAT team were still there investigating the crime scene. I identified myself and was ushered under the yellow tape to the upstairs conference room. The bank employees were waiting. On my way my escort showed me one of the bullet holes in the ceiling.
There is a process in psychology referred to as "normalization." Normalization refers to a psychological process through which traumatic or negative experiences come to be seen as "normal" and viewed 'natural'.  As people "normalize" a negative experience and learn what to expect - they become more comfortable about their future and have more confidence in their ability to cope.

In this case, the bank employees just experienced a bank robbery. Post traumatic symptoms are likely. With "normalization" - knowing what to expect, these negative symptoms (anxiety, fear, hyper vigilance etc. etc.) will be lessened and the employees will not be as fearful or anxious about their future.

I would like to do the same for you by "normalizing" what each of us can expect during our earthly probation.


In the gospel there are numerous words characterizing opposition. They include: chasten, trial, tribulation, tried, adversity,and testOpposition is typically viewed as painful and unwanted and viewed as unexpected or out of the ordinary. Some actually believe their life should be free of "opposition"  - particularly if they live "righteously."

This is NOT true!

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in ALL things." ( 2 Nephi 2:11; D&C 136:31). You want to lose weight - there will be opposition. You want to work on your marriage - there will be opposition. You want to pay a full tithe - there will be opposition. You want to save money - there will be opposition.  etc. etc.

Helaman, son of Alma the Younger, was a leader of the 2,000 faithful and valiant stripling soldiers. (See Alma 53:20–21; Alma 56:46.) …. How many of these young "righteous" stripling soldiers fighting in God's Army were wounded?  
All of them!

"neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds." Alma 57:25

Don't act surprise when your car breaks down; You have more bills than money; You caught your husband looking at porn; You couldn't make it to the temple like you planned; Someone you love dies; etc. etc. AND for Heaven's sake don't say "WHY ME?"  or the other popular one "WHAT DID I DO WRONG TO DESERVE THIS?" 

SURE some negative experiences / opposition result from sin. But, the type of opposition I'm talking about has nothing to do with sin, it has to do with LOVE. That's right - The Plan of Salvation and how much God loves YOU!  (D & C 95:1; Hebrew 12: 5-11).
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that it is a false idea to believe that the saints will escape all the judgments—disease, pestilence, war, etc.—of the last days; consequently, it is an unhallowed principle to say that these adversities are due to transgression. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 162.)
Hence enduring "fiery trials" of opposition and adversity should be viewed as normal and expected. Peter said, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:" (1 Peter 4:12). Trials are not some strange thing. The fiery trial is what is suppose to happen! Expect it! Welcome it! Glory in it!

Although we have no choice about experiencing opposition, we do have a choice of how we experience it. Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained:
"Our seeming downfalls can be a means of developing our strengths. Adversity will be a constant or occasional companion for each of us throughout our lives. We cannot avoid it. The only question is how we will react to it. Will our adversities be stumbling blocks or stepping stones?" (BYU Devotional and Fireside Speeches, 1994-95 [Provo, Utah: Publication Graphics, 1995], p. 83).

I often wonder why we cannot understand this simple truth: opposition comes and you either endure and receive the reward OR give-up and experience despair. 

What IS the "Reward" when we choose to faithfully endure opposition?
You ONLY receive the "reward" if you choose the path of faithful endurance. The Lord applies this principle to ALL - individuals, families, and nations. Now here's the take away:

Removing opposition, adversity, trials, chastening, etc etc
 from someone's life REMOVES the ONLY pathway
for them to receive their "reward." 

Satan knows the greatest damage caused by government entitlement programs, parents spoiling children etc etc (Receiving the "Reward" without the "Opposition and Endurance") - isn't the financial cost, it's the character flaws that are created within the recipient.

Opposition + Endurance = Reward!

There isn't any more than that!

Joseph clearly understood this concept when he said "I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation" (D&C 127:2) because he knew the "reward" for faithful endurance. How else could Joseph had gone like a "Lamb to slaughter?" (D&C 135:4

He knew where the path would lead!

As with the bank employees, I have tried to "normalize" what you and I can expect in our future earth life and how adversity and faithful endurance are essential if we wish to return to Heavenly Father's presence.

"Normalize" how you think about opposition.  Recognize that each of us will experience adversity during our earthly probation. It is the refiner's fire "set" because of a loving Father's love and confidence.

Like our "Loving Heavenly Father" we should love and have sufficient confidence toward our children (and others) enough to recognize the needed blessings of opposition/adversity in their lives. Preventing and removing adversity (trials/tribulations/opposition etc. etc.) from another's life can interfere with God's plan and jeopardize their eternal progression.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Lion Sleeps Tonight- NOT!

Satan is a Roaring Lion

In 1 Peter 5:8 Peter warns,

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

We have all seen in the movies a lion hanging out near a water hole and along comes a zebra. The next thing you see is a lion jumping out of nowhere and in a matter of seconds the lion sinks his teeth into the prey. It is all over for that zebra.

Like the zebra, Satan is seeking to devour us-anyway possible.


Who has not heard or felt the temptations of Satan? Sometimes his voice sounds so reasonable and his message so easy to justify. Satan,the hungry lion, is checking everything out. He is watching us. He is looking for vulnerability, weakness. He is looking for his next prey to bring down. Satan and his angels never take a vacation - not a month, not a week, not a day, not an hour, not even a nanosecond.

"Satan has had great success with this gullible generation. As a consequence, literally hosts of people have been victimized by him and his angels" (James E. Faust, “The Great Imitator,” Ensign, Nov. 1987)

Here are some examples


First experience with porn-Age 11
The demand is so great pornography, on the internet and in general, is so omnipresent you can scarcely avoid it if that is your aim.Internet pornography statistics may seem to be as incomprehensible as the amount of pornography itself, but certain research and news organizations have taken the time to do the math when it comes to the facts about pornography consumption. The statistics are truly staggering. On average, a child will have their first experience with online porn at age 11.

Colorado and Washington States legalized marijuana
For the first time, two American states have legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana. Voters in Colorado and Washington States had the opportunity to make history by voting on and passing initiatives that would legalize the recreational use and sale of marijuana in their respective states. Massachusetts voters joined 17 states and the District of Columbia in electing to allow medical use of the drug.

Maine, Maryland and Washington approved same-sex marriage
Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved same-sex marriage on an election night that jubilant gay rights advocates called a historic turning point, the first time that marriage for gay men and lesbians has been approved at the ballot box. In Minnesota, in another first, voters rejected a proposal to amend the State Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, a measure that has been enshrined in the constitutions of 30 states.

Supreme Court Upholds Pro-Abortion
The Supreme Court has issued a 5-4 decision essentially upholding the Obamacare law that pro-life groups regard as the biggest expansion of abortion and abortion funding since Roe v. Wade.

See: Satan Exposed


Pay attention to how the Prophet Joseph described Satan's power when he prayed to know which church to join:
I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. . . . Not to an imaginary ruin but [by] the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being (Joseph Smith 2:15, 16).
I too have a personal testimony of the Satan and his "marvelous power".

During the last couple of weeks as part of my work, I've been to jails in Vernal, Provo, Logan, Weber, and Salt Lake  - In addition I visited the Utah State Hospital Forensic Unit. For years I've seen evil up front and personal-usually behind bars.  In recent days I've visited with an elderly gentleman who stabbed his wife to death, a young man who raped a child and so forth and so on... Most the people I visit are members of the LDS Church. I know of no crime that hasn't been committed by a Mormon who had attended Church on the previous Sunday! Satan, the Lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. 

"The last days will certainly be more challenging to young disciples than simply coping with sharp economic downturns. … In the very, very last days, for example, He will display His mercy in an unusual way: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:22). (Neal Maxwell “These Are Your Days,” Ensign, Oct 2004)
Why? Because the "Lion" will "Devour" them.
"I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now. Words of profanity, vulgarity, and blasphemy are heard everywhere. Unspeakable wickedness and perversion were once hidden in dark places; now they are in the open, even accorded legal protection… The world is spiraling downward at an ever-quickening pace. I am sorry to tell you that it will not get better. … These are days of great spiritual danger .... (Boyd K. Packer The One Pure Defense: Address to CES Religious Educators • 6 February 2004 • Salt Lake Tabernacle)
As you can tell after many years in psych wards, jails, prisons, other institutions and attending an occasional funeral --- I've clearly lost my ability to sugar coat  what I feel is TRUE. (Really, 30 years ago I use to be excellent at building rapport and patient and kind in bringing a client along. I had great bedside manners. Somewhere over the years I'm pretty sure I lost that. Perhaps because it is the "11th hour" perhaps because of the "Strength of the Lion" - I'm still debating if that is good or bad.) Nevertheless, today I want to speak "plainly" about these issues assuming at least one of you - I care about - may successfully fight "the lion." 

To learn more about Satan's methods "to devour" you see: "The Safest Road to Hell..."

Enoch was shown the power of Satan upon earth:
And there came generation upon generation; and Enoch was high and lifted up, even in the bosom of the Father, and of the Son of Man; and behold, the power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth. And he saw angels descending out of heaven; and he heard a loud voice saying: Wo, wo be unto the inhabitants of the earth. And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced.(Moses 7:24-26)

"Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan..." D & C 10:5
Then help the ones you love to do the same.

dr rick
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Spouse Is NOT My #1 Priority

There I am sitting in a Marriage and Family Class during Sunday School.
I could hardly stand it... I was steaming inside.

The instructor with enthusiasm instructed the class "Your number one priority in life is your spouse." He followed this by methodically inviting several couples in attendance to share examples of why that statement was "True." Of course the class members shared stories supporting the believe that their spouse was the number one priority even more important than themselves. The class wanted me to believe A HAPPY LIFE was dependent on me being "Selfless" in my marriage and "always placing my wife, Karla's needs and wants,  - above my own."

By now sitting there - I couldn't even think straight. (Hot Cognition we call it.) Over all my years of counseling people accepting this belief has caused so many problems, it's not even funny. :(  Nevertheless, I felt driven to silence. I had already disrupted the class with an earlier statement. As hard as it was I kept my mouth shut-respecting the teacher and the class-believing the message being sent was very misunderstood!
I'm guessing most in the class HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD THE MESSAGE to say something like:
There are many activities that require attention in our lives including work, church calling, children,  marriage etc. If you are going to be HAPPY - from ALL these demands - you need to select your wife FIRST! 
In addition, this message carries with it the assumption that it is true for EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES, and is to be followed NOW!!!  (If you want to be happy.)
Here is what I've seen resulting when people believe this message:
  • people who are single or divorced feel guilty because they don't have a spouse and therefore can't achieve the number one priority it takes to be happy;
  • married people who have always placed their spouse first despite personal needs and inadequate self-care are depressed and discouraged; and
  • those married to someone with special circumstances (e.g. mental illness, addiction, narcissistic etc.) have placed their spouse first and they're not happy and the marriage is getting worse plus they are depressed and discouraged.

Sure I understand that if I am married there are occasions when placing the desires of my wife above my own is essential to a successful marriage. For example, after listening to the Saturday Greenhouse Show Karla gets plenty of ideas for our yard. Catching the grass in a bag and removing it from the lawn is just one. Well after years of mowing the lawn -mulching and leaving the clippings- I changed because it was important to her. (For sure not because it was what I desired.)
I get it. Give-and-take in a relationship usually builds healthy successful relationships (with my wife, with my kids, with my boss etc) and as a result I will likely be happier. Marriage is incredibly important "The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan." (The Family A Proclamation To The World).
Achieving balance and maintaining the right priorities from time to time have been a struggle for all of us.  We need priorities. Our priorities determine what we seek in life. They give us direction on how to live our lives. What am I suppose to do on Saturday afternoon when there are several demands on my time and all these demands are GOOD? - But I can only do ONE. 
Direction from SCRIPTURE
“But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the FIRST and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:36–39).
Direction from PROPHETS
"When we put God FIRST, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities. We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives." (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Great Commandment—Love the Lord,” Ensign, May 1988)

“Now, the most important principle I can share: Anchor your life in Jesus Christ your redeemer. Make your Eternal Father and his Beloved Son the most important priority in your life, more important than life itself, more important than a beloved companion or children or anyone on earth. Make their will your central desire. Then ALL that you need for happiness will come to you.   (Richard G. Scott  The Power of Correct Principles” Ensign, May 1993)


There can only be one "FIRST" priority.

Whenever you or I become so preoccupied with another person (including our spouse) or activity  that we neglect our personal relationship with Our Heavenly Father we have failed in our eternal pursuit. 
"… if we do not choose the kingdom of God first, it will make little difference in the long run what we have chosen instead of it." (Focus and Priorities, Dallin H. Oaks April 2001) 
The message of placing Your personal relationship with God FIRST is directed at EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES, and it should be worked on NOW!!
Eternal principles work that way.

Ponder what your life has been like this past week.
Do something this week that reflects God is First in your life.

Thanks for listening... I needed to get that off my chest.... again.
dr rick
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Other similar blogs:
Not Enough of Me
My Spouse Is NOT My #1 Priority
Easy as 1,2,3...Unless an Angel tells you otherwise
The Gift - Between God And I

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Satan Exposed

I was in Idaho doing a Youth Fireside this past week. As part of the presentation I asked several of the youth to DRAW A PICTURE OF SATAN. I gave them a blank piece of paper and a crayon. Here are a sample of the pictures from these 12-18 year olds. EACH YOUTH asked to draw the picture, depicted Satan with a body, with horns, a pointed tail, and a pitch fork.

(Where did they learn this nonsense anyway?)

So What? You Might Ask.
Can you imagine the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers not having scouted out their opponents before the World Series. <Looks like the Tigers didn't do a very good job. ;)>   Or  the Atlanta Falcons not checking out the Houston Texans before the game. They wouldn't think of playing a big game without have scouted their opponent. They must know each of the opposing team's members- strengths and weaknesses, if they are to be victorious.

The same is true for you and I.

Well in the pre-existence there was sides chosen for the big game-Earth Life. On one side Satan and on the other side Jesus. What's at stake? Our eternal souls.  If we fail to recognize "Satan" and his evil DEVICES we are in trouble. As Paul said,
"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. 2:11)
Only Satan would want us believe he does not exist, saying to us:
"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." (2 Nephi 28:22).
He’s not a cartoon character. Satan does not have horns, cloven hoofs, a pointed tail or carry a pitch fork! He does not have a physical body!!!! Satan is as much a personal individual spirit being as you and I. He is a guy with thoughts and feelings.
"We Latter-day Saints need not be, and we must not be, deceived by the sophistries of men concerning the reality of Satan. There is a personal devil, and we had better believe it" (Marion G. Romney, “Satan, the Great Deceiver,” Ensign, Feb. 2005, pgs. 52–57).
So What Is Satan's Game Plan?


To DESTROY OUR AGENCY (Moses 4:3).  Through lies and deceptions.

Look at some of the words used to describe Satan's offensive plan.

“And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will (Moses 4:3–4).

Satan has the “power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you (2 Ne. 2:29);  And

“He grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance  (2 Ne.28:19–22).

Conclusion: The consequence of sin as "Bondage".  (D&C 84:49-51; Morm. 8:31).
(This helps us understand how "addiction" works.)

To learn more about Satan and his methods see: The Lion Sleeps Tonight- NOT! ; The Safest Road to Hell...; and Satan's Finest Tool.

So Now What?
As much as Satan would like to deceive us in believing he does not exist and he has no real plan, he cannot—as long as we are faithful to the teachings God has given.

These are the last days. We cannot afford to become casual in our worship!

My advice - realize there is a real Satan who has an organized and powerful offense. Keep the commandments of God the best we can. By so doing, we can usually keep ourselves free from the bondage of sin.

WE NEED NOT become paralyzed with fear of Satan's power. He can have no power over us unless we permit it.  As we learn more about the enemy (Satan) we realize he is really a coward, and if we stand firm, he will retreat. The Apostle James said:
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." ( James 4:7)
Ask someone you love to draw a picture of Satan.
Teach them.

          Satan's Special Forces
          The Lion Sleeps Tonight- NOT!
          Pleasures of Sin
          Successful Sinners

          I can't stop. Help! Fall Season of sin/addiction
          Viewing Leads to Doing Winter Season of sin/addiction
          The Safest Road to Hell... -- "Gradual Process" used by Satan 
          The Safest Road to Heaven...-- Gradual Process" used by God

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