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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
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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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