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Sunday, February 24, 2013

God's Love Chemicals

Fourteen year-old Joe had three felony sex charges. He was also the Teacher's Quorum President in his ward. I was doing the Sexual Behavioral Risk Assessment. At the time Joe and I were sitting in lock-up. He would be there until I finished the eval. Upon release, Joe was not going home. The State didn't take custody of him so we had built a Safety Plan for him to live with grandpa and grandma. Eventually Joe would go through the normal juvenile sex-offender track - provide a DNA sample, complete intensive sex-specific therapy, complete probation etc. etc.

Joe had been in puberty for several years. His body's love and sexual response chemicals had been turned on, as they should. But, he had no real understanding of those chemicals or how to manage them - the unquenchable sexual flame burned out of control

Our physical bodies have several natural instincts like hunger, thirst, fatigue and of course Sexual Desire. In the animal kingdom we refer to it as a instinct to mate.
“The sex instinct is not something which we need to fear or be ashamed of. It is God-given and has a high and holy purpose.”  (You and Your Marriage, Hugh B. Brown, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1960  p. 73) 
"There is in your body (Not in your spirit) the SUPERNAL power to create life. …" (Boyd K. Packer, Ye Are the Temple of God, Ensign, Nov 2000)
These and other similar references clearly suggest the sexual desires and behaviors have their origin in our PHYSICAL BODY.  The love and sexual arousal responses are caused by a series of neurotransmitters and hormones in our three pound brain.

This brief video "Your Brain In Lust & In Love." details the chemistry associated  with the three stages in love: lust, attraction and attachment

Another more detailed video teaches the same: "Your Brain In Lust & In Love -Scientific American." Here is a video displaying an LDS perspective from Dr. Hilton: "Why Pornography is so Addicting" and of course his book He Restoreth My Soul. And here is another great book by a couple of Christian MDs: Hooked on the same topic. There is plenty of research.

- when you hug, view porn, focus on a sexy hamburger advertisement, flirt, etc etc you will "almost always" automatically trigger some of the love or sexual response chemicals in your physical body.
- when you physically touch another person you will "almost always" automatically trigger some of the bonding and attachment chemicals in your physical body.

Like every other son and daughter of Adam and Eve, you have this "power" within you- (If you do not, call me and we'll begin therapy-so we can recondition the normal love and sexual responses in your physical body.) In part this exists because of our "carnal, sensual and devilish" nature caused by the Fall of Adam and Eve.

In addition to being present in each physical body, these chemicals have the following characteristics:
"It was necessary that this power of creation have at least two dimensions: one, it must be strong; and two, it must be more or less constant..." (Boyd K Packer, “Why Stay Morally Clean,” Ensign, Jul 1972)

So don't panic WHEN (not IF) YOU, your children and grandchildren show evidence of having "love or sexual response chemicals ."

Although love and sexual response chemicals are a human "instinct" they must be controlled by judgment, reason, the knowledge of right and wrong and our SPIRIT.
If the spirit yields to the body, it becomes corrupt; but if the body yields to the spirit, it becomes pure and holy. (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 267.)
Do panic IF YOU, your children and grandchildren allow the "love and sexual response chemicals" to burn out of control- because of a lack of motivation or management skills.

Clearly one of the punishments-for Satan and his followers not receiving a body - is the inability to experience love and the sexual response..... How would you like that?  :(

To better understand the relationship between the physical body, spirit body, and mind see The Anatomy of a Soul.

This SUPERNAL SEXUAL POWER is like a “Flame Unquenchable” (M. Russell Ballard, “Like a Flame Unquenchable,” Ensign, May 1999.) Unquenchable suggests it never ends it will keep on burning.- throughout eternity :)  and if left uncontrolled will burn the whole house down.

God's Way
The pilot light gets lit in early adolescence during a process known as PUBERTY. The pilot light remains lit… at times even forgotten about by the owner.  The pilot light can warm an entire home when  "Kept within the bounds the Lord has set."

Satan's Way
The "unquenchable fire" if left uncontrolled by the owner will burn the house down.  Joe, our young teacher  friend discussed above, allowed his "unquenchable fire" of pornography, masturbation, lust etc etc to burn uncontrollably.

Our greatest glory OR destruction comes from how successful we manage our love and sexual response chemicals - our unquenchable flame.
"It is difficult sometimes … to understand … because this God-given power of procreation carries with it a power of destruction. But it has, because of its life-giving nature, the possibilities of  THE greatest glory and joy that can come to a living soul.” (The Abundant Life, Hugh B. Brown, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965, 127)

    1. Your physical body is the great prize of mortal life. To fill the measure of your creation you have to have one.
    2. God placed "Love Chemicals" in your physical body.
    3. Your physical body and your spirit body (and mind) make-up your soul. (See: The Anatomy of a Soul."
    4. When your physical body and spirit body are separated, you cannot have a fullness of joy- in part because of the love and sexual response chemicals are in the body not the spirit.
    5. Your eternal happiness depends on your Spirit Body successfully overcoming the "desires, appetites and passions" of your physical body.

I've pondered how these "Godly Love Chemicals" will be empowered during the resurrection -Especially for those married in a temple. Surely these chemicals in a perfected form will play a role in forming the "Godly Glue" keeping my wife and I "cleaving" to one another throughout eternity.

Take time and hug and kiss - "trigger" some of  God's Love Chemicals - in someone you love.  See: Human Connections Start With A Friendly Touch . I like to use the 30 second touching rule- its plenty of time to trigger the "attachment and bonding" chemicals especially with grandkids :)

dr rick
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

"A Time to..." Shut Up!

"A time to keep silence, and a time to speak" Ecclesiastes 3:7

Three times just today I've counseled another individual to "SHUT UP!"
They each -a husband, a mother, and grandmother- shared their personal concern. I listened. We discussed a recipe for change. Each recipe contained an ingredient for them to "SHUT UP".

YOU "Shutting Up" from time-to-time, is necessary
to help ANOTHER person to improve.

(I often wonder how it is our culture picked up the myth- that the way you change another person is by talking to them.)

Why "bridle our tongue"? (James 1:26)

Each of us have a "divine nature and identity" They're not idiots.  They have a brain. They can figure things out.

My experience has been - When you repeat unsolicited advice and instructions (even if they are true) it usually delays, postpones,  and hinders the very behavior you're trying to encourage.  Typically when the recipient receives the same advice and instructions over and over again REGARDLESS of what your words are saying - They hear the message: "I can't do anything right." "I'm stupid."  "I'll never figure this out by myself."  "I'm not good enough." "You don't love me." etc etc .

And then what frequently happens?
etc etc

And then what frequently happens?
(Frankly most of us don't want to be around a NAG.)
And then what frequently happens?

They'll change when they're ready. (Just like you.) And usually they'll be ready quicker if you SHUT UP and explore alternative methods of communicating besides the use of CRITICAL or CONTROLING WORDS. (Also known as unrighteous dominion. “Unrighteous Dominion,” H. Burke Peterson, Ensign, July 1989.)

People go at their own pace to the Celestial Kingdom.

Let me say it this way, perhaps you already know exactly
.... how your son could get a job and be working by the end of the week.
.... how your wife could treat you to make a better marriage.
.... how your granddaughter could develop a stronger testimony.
...  how your husband could be a better priesthood holder.
etc etc
And you tell them so- over and over and over and over and over and over, plus infinity - again.

That's not a healthy psychological way.
That's not the Lord's way.
Howard W. Hunter pointed out the Lord's approach to influencing others:
"God's chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, NOT by coercion and stark confrontation. He acts by gentle solicitation and by sweet enticement. He always acts with unfailing respect for the freedom and independence that we possess." (The Golden Thread of Choice, Ensign, November 1989, 18.)
If you want your loved one to continue to fall short of their potential... simply keep trying to talk sense into them -live their life for them; solve their problems; do it for them!!!!  See: "You Get What You Faith For." 

Fine.  Have it your way. Say it.
However, remember the analogy we use to illustrate the consequence for telling someone "TRUTH":

"For the WORD of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing...." (Heb. 4:12)

That's what sharp swords do - CUT.... both ways!

"Bleeding" occurs when the recipient of your "words of wisdom" becomes: angry, depressed, isolated, suicidal, etc etc.

Think about it. Some of the worst pains you and I have ever suffered have come from words our loved ones have said -cruel, angry, sarcastic, humiliating, etc etc words.

For example,
"A woman's words can be more piercing than any dagger ever forged, and they can drive the people she loves to retreat beyond a barrier more distant than anyone would ever have imagined ..." (Broken Things to Mend, Jeffrey R. Holland)
Of course the same is true for husbands.

Certainly one of the best illustrations of the power of WORDS come from when Joseph Smith was a prisoner. Remember the story? He rose to his feet and in a voice like "the roaring of a lion" said ...
Check it out in this 60 second video.

"A time to keep silence, and a time to speak" Ecclesiastes 3:7

It's not the season to speak - criticize, reprove, give "constructive feedback" etc etc
... IF you or the person you or the recipient are angry, tired or hungry.
... IF your common sense  or personal revelation tells you your relationship with the recipient isn't strong enough.  (The relationship can't handle the bleeding.)

It is the season to speak
... IF you've received personal revelation to share such a message
... IF you've evaluated your personal relationship with the recipient and determined the relationship could successfully survive the "two edged sword".
... IF you do so in righteousness and with an increase of love.

If your only and primary method of influencing another to change is "words" you're using the least effective method I know. You will likely fail. 

An ounce of "Shut-up" is worth a pound of "Sorry for saying that."

Initially silence may be uncomfortable to you and them. The more you have relied on words to get your point across over the years the more uneasy the silence will be.  Some have equated silence with waste. This is far from truth. Out of silence is born opportunity for new behavior.

"Shut up" and know that He is God. (Psalms 46:10)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pleasures of Sin

It was one in the morning. Seventeen year old Joe just got home. Everyone was already in bed. He was feeling pretty crappy again. In recent weeks he's been trying to quit smoking spice and messing around with girls.  He has been feeling guilty about these behaviors every time he went to church and blessed the Sacrament. Although "spice and girls" were not a big problem they were concerns. He approached the end of the hallway and feeling particularly depressed thought "My life sucks. I want to feel better" He had two distinct thoughts: Turn right and go into his bedroom get on his knees and pray- feel joy (Purpose of life Joy- 2 Nephi 2:25) OR Turn left and go into the bathroom open the window and smoke spice - feel joy (Works of the devil Joy- 3 Nephi 27:11  

As he approached the end of the hallway he turned .... left - smoked spice. He felt better.

Joe told me this story few days later in a therapy session.

Because alcohol, drugs, (and other immoral behavior that triggers the sexual response) are effective and dependable- They can change the way you feel - particularly in the early stages.

Check out what science says:  Small amounts of alcohol causes, among other symptoms, the following: “vivaciousness, feeling of warmth, and inappropriate laughter.” (eMedicineHealth.com) The following are some typical responses to marijuana: The intoxicating effects of marijuana include "relaxation, sleepiness, and mild euphoria (getting high)". (MedlinePlus.com). Sounds like some pretty inviting consequences to sinful behavior wouldn't you say?

What About Viewing Porn and Other Sexual Behavior?
The sexual response refers to the sequence of physical and emotional changes that occur as a person becomes sexually aroused and participates in sexually stimulating activities, including intercourse, masturbation, or viewing of pornography. Check out this video: Why Pornography is so Addicting.

 ...pornography is a fabulous stimulator of drug production in the body ... The sexual response is a brain response similar to that of cocaine.

Why is the initial experience of
sin often so pleasurable?

The answer: 
alcohol, drugs, and behaviors that trigger the sexual response
CAUSE a physiological / brain change
changing the way we feel-usually pleasurable.

It's part of you and I being wired as a "Natural Man" (or woman).

(I've always said, give me a human body and drugs, alcohol, sex etc etc and I promise you I can change the way you feel with or without your permission. In time I'll find the right combination  to do the trick.)


Spring FlowersAlmost always the initial consequence of sin is pleasure and the "wicked prosper" (See Jeremiah 12: 1).

Statements by Church leaders: Boyd K. Packer said “… They turn to drugs and find for a moment the escape they seek. At last their spirits soar. They reach beyond themselves, erase all limitations and taste for a moment, as they suppose, that which they have been seeking …” (The Other Side of the Ship, Conference Report, October 1969, Afternoon Meeting, pg. 36.)

Spencer W. Kimball wrote "Whoever said that sin was not fun? Whoever claimed that Lucifer was not handsome, persuasive, easy, friendly? Sin is attractive and desirable." (Faith Precedes the Miracle, Deseret Book, 1972, pg. 229.)

Study these scriptures:

- “…to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” (Hebrews 11: 25)
- if your life “is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season. . ." (3 Nephi 27:11)
- "...but have pleasure in unrighteousness." (D & C 56:15)
- "the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin." (Mormon 2:13)
- "Eat, drink and be __?___"  (See Luke 12:19)
See you're already familiar with this concept.

From personal experience Joe knew that smoking spice would make his body feel better. 

Satan uses pleasure as the conseqence in the first season of sin (or addiction).

We are taught that
- immoral sexual acts outside of marriage
- breaking the word of wisdom e.g. drugs and alcohol
- viewing pornography
- etc etc
are a sin.
The assumption is because they are a sin, they must "make you feel bad."
But NOW you know the opposite is usually true - initially "sin makes you feel good."

Why else would successful, bright, otherwise great souls like you and I commit sin?

"... Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you."  D&C 50:3

Deceiver: "a person who intentionally conceals or distorts the truth for the purpose of misleading."

The "pleasure" experienced initially with sin will not  persist.  Of course, the adversary's trick is to make that which will eventually hurt us seem pleasing and that which is ugly seem attractive. Using the analogy of "seasons", Satan intentionally distorts the initial Spring Season of Sin as "pleasure" while concealing the consequence of the later seasons. Sin leaves an aftertaste followed by remorse, guilt, bondage, and the most devastating consequence of sin: The Loss of the Spirit.

Satan's plan = immediate pleasure with long-term agony and addiction as the reward.
God's plan = short-term self-discipline with long-term joy and happiness as the reward.


Brigham Young said that it is important to "study . . . evil, and its consequences." (Discourses of Brigham Young, comp. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 257.)  Paul explains one reason why, "lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. 2:11.) Satan has many methods to achieve his goals. Some of the more popular of Satan's tools include: The Gradual Process (See: "The Safest Road to Hell..." ); Discouragement; and the one we're talking about now: The Pleasures of Sin.

To learn more: See: The Lion Sleeps Tonight. NOT! and Satan Exposed.

Links for additional information: James R. Goodrich, “Alcohol Addiction: Hope for Understanding and Recovery,” Ensign, Jul 1981. Make sure you review the subheading: “People Drink For A Reason: 1) A person discovers the short-term pleasure of alcohol use.” And the pamphlet; An Important Lesson: Helping Students Avoid Drug Abuse. Published by: Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Make sure you review the subheading: “Why do kids abuse prescription drugs? They are seeking psychological or physical pleasure.”

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

"The Safest Road To Hell..."

The Message of the First Presidency to the Church -1942
"Satan is making war ... He plans to destroy liberty and freedom-economic, political, and religious, and to set up in place thereof the greatest, most widespread, and the most complete tyranny that has ever oppressed men. He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Without their knowing it, the people are being urged down paths that lead only to destruction. Satan never before had so firm a grip on this generation as he has NOW. "(Improvement Era, Nov. 1942)
(To learn more about the nature of Satan see: The Lion Sleeps Tonight- NOT! and Satan Exposed. )

Some of the most powerful "methods"  used by Satan to "urge" us down the path of destruction include: discouragement, the pleasure of sin and the gradual progress. Let's talk about the principle of Gradual Progress ....


C. S. Lewis, a Christian author, gave us a keen insight into devilish tactics. In a fictional letter, the master devil, Screwtape, instructs the apprentice devil Wormwood, who is in training to become a more experienced follower of Satan:

"You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. …It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing.Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the GRADUAL ONEthe gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”(“The Screwtape Letters,” (1961), pg.56.)
The Master Devil warns Wormwood not to tempt anyone to commit a really horrible sin. Why? Because, there is a much higher risk the person will become so alarmed they will wake up saying something like, "I can't believe I just had that thought. I would never do that.  I better stop this right now and get a hold of my life. etc etcUrging the bigger sin too quickly typically turns the person to God's path. Satan knows that if we truly saw where we were headed if we remain on that path, we would turn away.

But it's not on a mission :(
Recently, during my various jail visits I've spent time with three young men. Each about 18. Each a member of the LDS Church. Each at one time had plans to go on a LDS mission. Great young men. For example, during the interviews one spontaneously commented "I just got my Eagle"  another "I got 4.0 GPA last semester."  And as strange as it seemed, one made mentioned of missing his friends at church and seminary.  

What else did these three young men have in common? A couple of First Degree Felony-Sex charges.

As a reminder, a 1st Degree Felony will bring a minimum of 5 years to life in the Utah State Prison. However, because each of these young men had aggravating sexual circumstances involving children if convicted they would face a minimum of "15 years to life." That means (18 years-old + 15 years) they wouldn't meet with the parole board about getting out until they were 33! (That's if they were lucky, often the parole board keeps sex offenders for a few extra years.)

These young men (like thousands of other men and women) reported beginning their sexual career by accidental viewing of pornography on the Internet usually by being bored-having nothing to do- and just surfing on the Internet. 

Do you get it: boredom and an accident were these boys' "first baby steps" down the path to prison!!!!   (Sorry for raising my voice.  I'm amazed at how much confidence Satan has in the Gradual Progress.

I won't offend your spirit by sharing step-by-step details of how "accidental viewing of pornography and boredom" over time leads to "felony touching offenses." But, Russell M. Nelson gives a general explanation:
"From an initial experiment thought to be trivial, a vicious cycle may follow. From trial comes a habit. From habit comes dependence. From dependence comes addiction. Its grasp is so gradual. Enslaving shackles of habit are too small to be sensed until they are too strong to be broken." (Addiction or Freedom, Ensign November 1988)
Of particular interest is how Satan so cleverly encouraged these young men to keep one foot in the Church while he leads (NOT herds, chases, or drives) them down the path to "hell".

I cannot put into words the anguish in my soul as I regularly experience first hand Satan's successful use of the Principle of "Gradual Progress." :(

Baby steps toward evil are still evil. Satan's strategy does not need us to commit great sin.

Perhaps most compelling -Their rivers of tears and mountains of remorse now they've been caught - typically make no difference in the courtroom. If convicted these boys will be preparing for their experience at the Utah State Prison as a "child molester" usually in "PC - protective custody" (23 hours a day in lock-down) and being on the sex-offender registry for the rest of their life.

If I listen carefully I can hear Satan's laughter
and his chains of captivity rattling.
He whispers "A little sin will not stay little." 

It's difficult for me to help you understand that one little view of pornography; one beer; one lie; one flirtatious comment; or one whatever - can keep you out of heaven because of the power of "Gradual Progress."  (Besides, my guess is that if that was all we did it was "once" it wouldn't!)

Satan executes his Gradual Progress strategy with skill and passion: "one time" turns into "two," then "three" then we fall asleep to God's will.  The day when our "little sins" don't bother us is the day our descent down Satan's gradual path begins.

Lot and his family initially placed their tent facing Sodom.
It was only one chapter later when they were living in Sodom. (Genesis 13:12; 14:12)

Determine if the Principle of Gradual Progress applies to you.
If so...
Identify one gradual path you are on that is leading you away from God 
Ponder where it is leading you.

It's a principle with  promise.

dr rick
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