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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Must-Follow Relationship Rules

A few years ago the Feds called and asked if I would do a forensic evaluation on a young man on the Indian Reservation in Southern Utah. I said "Yes" of course. Then they asked if I had any Native-American Culture training. I said "Yes" of course. (I remembered taking a class back in graduate school.)

I drove to Southern Utah and began the interview the young man. During the interview he was always looking down making no eye contact. I interpreted his lack of eye contact as resistant and challenged him about this resistance. Well things got worse as this young Native-American began to become more withdrawn during the interview.

Before the next interview I did a little homework and learned:
Most Native American people avoid prolonged direct eye contact as a sign of respect. It is also a simple matter of being courteous to keep one’s eyes cast downward.
Boy did I feel stupid!

If I wanted to develop a relationship with this Native-American I had to accept his relationship rule of having "no eye contact"-
- whether I liked it or not,
- whether I thought it was right or not, or
- whether it was psychologically healthy or not.

Believe it or not
Most are unwritten - But usually easily recognized.
You want to get along better with  your mother-in-law, your spouse, your child,  your boss, or anyone else - best to learn and follow the Must-Follow Relationship Rules.

Think about it.
Are there "rules" I need to comply with if I want a personal relationship with the Savior? God?
Of course!  Pay tithing, read the scriptures, pray, etc etc.  In fact, James E. Faust identifies this as the world's greatest need:

...'What is the greatest need in the world?' One wisely responded: 'Is not the greatest need in all of the world for every person to have a personal, ongoing, daily, continuing relationship with the Savior?' Having such a relationship can unchain the divinity within us, and nothing can make a greater difference in our lives as we come to know and understand our divine relationship with God. ("A Personal Relationship with the Savior" General Conference, Oct 1976)
Wouldn't it be tragic if you spent your whole earthly life being "religious" but never actually followed the Savior's Must-Follow Relationship Rules - and on judgment day He says,
"... I never knew you: depart from me" (Matthew 7:23)

There are millions of resources telling us about healthy relationships. For example: What Happily Married Couples Do (Ensign, Jan 2012); Spiritual Roots of Human Relations (Stephen R. Covey); or The Fine Art of Raising Teenagers (Ensign, July 1981).

That's not what this blog is about.
If you want to "get along with somebody" 
     FIRST: Identify their Must-Follow Relationship Rules.
     SECOND: Follow those rules or expectations.
When you follow their relationship rules there will be LESS conflict.
     THIRD: If you want to "change the relationship rules of somebody else"
     (Sometimes, this is a good idea.)
Be prepared,
When you don't follow their relationship rules there will be MORE conflict.
Doesn't matter.
Relationship rules can be a result of: core values, early childhood experiences, trauma, conscious decisions, mental illness; etc etc.
The "Must-Follow Relationship Rules" principle still applies-if you want less conflict in a relationship.

Here are some samples of "negative relationship rules" as we look at a variety of different aspects of a relationship:
Privacy: Can't keep anything private. Even when they promise not to tell, within hours everyone knows.
Resolving Conflict: Nothing ever gets resolved. No matter what you do or say. On the next visit it's like you start all over again-from the beginning.
Communication: Never get a straight answer. No matter how clearly you ask the question.
Physical boundary: No touching. No kissing. No hugs.
Intimacy boundary: No talking about feelings. Never say "I love you." 
Honesty: Don't tell the truth. Even if they ask.
etc etc
Of course there are "positive relationship rules" too.  Doesn't mean you always have to obey the rules. :) But it does mean your relationship will be more conflict-free (not necessarily healthy) when you identify and follow the "Must-Follow" relationship rules.

Get away from everything that runs by electricity (including a battery).
Identify three "Must-Follow Relationship Rules" others must follow to maintain a relationship with YOU!

dr rick

Sunday, April 21, 2013

God doesn't need a psychiatrist, but ...

... some of his saints do.
And there's nothing wrong with getting professional care for an illness.

"You have a mental illness," I said to Emma.

We were seated in a small interview room in a local hospital.

Emma a mother of 3 and housewife had been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts. I had just finished her psychological testing and reviewing her results.

It's been 25 years and I still remember her response,

"I'm so glad!" 

The response surprised me then, and even now always catches my attention - including when I heard it again this week. I have come to understand why some people who have suffered for years, are glad to have a mental illness.

For years Emma had tried everything to overcome her depression .... exercise, eating right, reading the scriptures, saying her prayers, starting a new hobby, .... and trying her hardest to feel happy "like everyone else". But the happiness never came and the depression never left. She could never figure out why the behaviors that seemed to help everyone else, never worked for her.

By the way that's a good sign of a mental illness ---
You've tried "everything" and "nothing" seemed to work.

As a result of Emma's continued depression she felt guilty -like something was wrong with her as a person, that she just wasn't good enough. And in recent years...she began doubting the existence of God. Now Emma's untreated mental illness worsened and she began having suicidal thoughts which prompted her hospitalization.

It never occurred to her that her brain could get an illness, like any other body part.

Learning and accepting she had a mental illness was a relief for several reasons including:
  • The problem wasn't "her as person" but a "brain disorder". She didn't need to feel guilty anymore. The depression wasn't her fault!!
  • She finally knew what was going on. She didn't have to blame herself, her dysfunctional childhood, three kids, etc etc. She now could blame the real enemy - the brain disorder.
  • She's lived many years without any hope of getting better.  Doctors know how to treat illnesses. There is now "hope".
At last she could "learn" about her illness and talk about it openly like any other illness.

There are many kinds of mental illnesses (over 200) that affect the way the brain functions. They can affect thoughts, behaviors, emotions, and/or the ability to understand information. Mental illnesses are different from everyday experiences of sadness, feeling upset, or daily problems- that we all experience from time-to-time.

Mental illness makes normal living difficult and interferes with our ability to work, to relate to friends and family, and/or even to participate in recreation or church activities.

By the way that's a good sign of a mental illness ---
When the way you "feel," "behave," or "think" interfere with daily activities.

With modern research and brain imaging we know now more about mental illness than ever before. If you want to learn about mental illness review these great resources:

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) created a curriculum for 6-8 the grades "The Science of Mental Illness." It's a little long but very informative-even has a little experiential video- What happens in the brain.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) does the best job of education with FREE educational classes usually in your local area. The more popular classes include Family-to-Family for family members of those with mental illness and Peer-to-Peer for individuals with mental illness.

“Essentially every major mental illness—whether it be schizophrenia, major depression, autism, or attention deficit disorder—has biological underpinnings.” (Mental Illness: In Search of Understanding and Hope, Ensign, Feb. 1989)

The facts are:

Persons with mental illness - simply CANNOT, through an exercise of will power, love, a priesthood blessing etc etc, STOP the disease of mental illness ---- anymore then these behaviors could stop cancer, diabetes, etc etc.

Persons with mental illness - with proper professional care CAN ELIMINATE AND REDUCE the symptoms of mental illness---- just like professional care does with cancer, diabetes, etc etc.

The LDS Church recognizes mental illness and the need for professional/medical care on LDS.org see:  Understanding Mental Illness. 

For example study this quote:
"...Myth #3. All that people with mental illness need is a priesthood blessing....We must understand, however, without in any way denigrating the unique role of priesthood blessings, that ecclesiastical leaders are spiritual leaders and not mental health professionals. Most of them lack the professional skills and training to deal effectively with deep-seated mental illnesses and are well advised to seek competent professional assistance for those in their charge who are in need of it. (Alexander Morrison, "Myths About Mental Illness" Ensign, October 2005)
In the new Handbook for Stake Presidents and Bishops 2010 under Professional Counseling (pg 80) it reads:
“In addition to the inspired help of Church leaders, members may need professional counseling (and medical care).”
And let me share one more from President Harold B. Lee talking about LDS Family Services:
“Our social services program has already been a great blessing to our Church members. This program seeks to respond to many problems that beset our members... and it will no doubt increase in its importance, because so many of the problems which this cluster of agencies deals with are symptomatic of our time. Members may need counselling more than clothing, and members who, through bishops, are referred to an agency in our social services program should feel no more hesitancy in asking for help of this kind [mental illness] than [they] should in requesting help through the priesthood welfare program. (Harold B. Lee, Seminar for Regional Representatives of the Twelve,  Oct. 1970).
Clearly, during our stay here on earth a "brain" with mental illness has the capacity to limit the expression of the Spirit Body and Mind.  See FREE -According to the Flesh.

Change how you think about mental illness. Watch Change a Mind about Mental Illness.

I assure you that Church leaders, doctors, lawyers, etc etc and you and I - are in no way exempt from experiencing mental illness either as a victim, or as family member.

dr rick
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Believe me, You’ll want a “Celestial Body”

Nine Reasons to Exercise
For over a year the doctor has been telling her ... You need to exercise!
He reminded her
1) Exercise controls weight - She was approaching 200 pounds.
2) Exercise combats health conditions and diseases - She has caught every bug this winter.
3) Exercise improves mood - Last visit, she asked the doctor for an antidepressant.
4) Exercise boosts energy - She complained "I'm always so tired." Her house was a mess.
5) Exercise promotes better sleep - She reported to the doctor "AdvilPM" just wasn't working.
6) Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life -  ?!X? :)
("Exercise: 7 Benefits of regular physical activity" Mayo Clinic)
Also check out BDNF.

I called my friend to check-up on her exercise routine for the week.
She reported:
"I haven't had time to exercise. I'm been too busy."
She continued taking her Zoloft, her high blood pressure medication, AdvilPM and feeling miserable.

It was clear
was going to change her mind.
So I thought I would try things of heaven.


Our "Physical Bodies-whether temporal or resurrected" are going to be around for a long long time. During that time the body plays an important role - A temple for our Spirit Body.  (1 Cor. 3:16–17; Russell M. Nelson, "Your Are a Child of God,", New Era, Jul 2008)

"The body is sacred. It was created in the image of God. It is something to be cared for and used for good purposes." (Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Body Is Sacred," New Era, Nov 2006)

By taking care of our physical body we make our “temple” an acceptable house for our spirit. Consider how beautiful our temples are and how much care the Church provides for the gardens and grounds of the Temples.
Wouldn't the Lord want us to do likewise for our physical "temple?"


You've heard me say this before but let me say it again.
"The condition of the physical body can affect the spirit. That’s why the Lord gave us the Word of Wisdom. … Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies in certain elements in the body can promote mental depression." (Ezra Taft Benson, Do Not Despair, Ensign, October 1986)

“… the condition of the body limits, largely, the expression of the spirit. The spirit speaks through the body and only as the body permits. (John A. Widtsoe, A Rational Theology, 5th ed. (Deseret Book Company, 1967), p. 171.)
What affects one affects the other.

To learn more see: The Anatomy of a Soul and FREE - According to the Flesh.

It's clear....
You can strengthen your testimony of the restored gospel, focus more clearly on the scriptures, have the ability to give more service etc etc with increased care for your Physical Body.

We all have our agency to exercise or not. Each of us has the capacity to attain a "Celestial Body".  However, we will not all earn a "Celestial Body." As resurrected beings we'll have perfect, "superhuman" bodies of flesh and bones just as the body of Jesus was, who is the prototype. Our resurrected bodies cannot be injured, harmed, or destroyed. They cannot become sick or diseased. These immortal bodies will never die and will never see corruption of any kind, throughout all the eternities. This immortal resurrected body will continue as  "the temple" for our Spirit Body forever and ever.

In the resurrection there will be different kinds of bodies; they will not all be alike. The body a man receives will determine his place hereafter. There will be celestial bodies, terrestrial bodies, and telestial bodies, and these bodies will differ as distinctly as do bodies here, for example, the white European, the Negro, the Philippino, the Indian... Some of the functions in the celestial body will not appear in the terrestrial body, neither in the telestial body, and the power of procreation will be removed....There will be different kinds of bodies in the resurrection-celestial, terrestrial, and telestial-and they will not be alike any more than whites, browns, and blacks are alike in this life. Every man will receive [a body] according to his works... (Doctrines of Salvation 2. Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, By Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McKonkie pg. 286, 288, 292)
I'm convinced we cannot expect to attain the highest glory and a "Celestial Body" without also demonstrating an ability of adequately caring for our Physical Body - our temple here on earth. And furthermore, I believe there will be continued responsibilities in caring for that "Celestial Perfected Body" - of some sort- in eternity.

Think of it.
The moment I'm resurrected you'll look at my body and know which "Kingdom" I have earned.

Going to the gym could be as important as going to the temple.

Now, let's think back to by dear friend too busy to exercise.

"We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the Celestial Kingdom." (Joseph Smith, Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 206).

dr rick
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tell me your thoughts. I'll tell you your future.

Do you realize how important your thoughts are?

around 2006, there was a video "The Secret" (as told by Oprah) that became quite popular. This video is quite long, but thought provoking. Here, I'll tell you The Secret -The Law of Attraction. Simply stated: Thoughts are electromagnetic waves, every thought we have spreads to and affects our surroundings, and this is why our thinking affects the universe. The movie repeatedly shows people who, as they visualize their goals, generate a wave or signal that emanates from their heads. In some of the cases, this wave is seen to spread over the entire Earth.
 Whatever you THINK and feel, the universe will provide.

Be careful what you think.

Negative thoughts such as, fear, doubt, selfishness, hate, anger, critical of others, revenge; are very POWERFUL thoughts and can destroy you and influence those around you.
"If we think negative thoughts, we develop negative minds. If we think depraved thoughts, we develop depraved minds. On the other hand, if we think celestial thoughts, which are the kind of thoughts that God thinks, then we develop celestial minds." (Sterling W. Sill, "The Poetry of Success,' Ensign, May 1978)
"Negative Thoughts" cause a "Negative Mind" which in turn can cause a "Negative Spirit Body" and "Negative Physical Body." (See Anatomy of the Soul )

It has been my experience - Alter your thoughts and you will be surprised at the transformation it will have upon your life and your circumstances.

You may think that your thoughts can be kept secret.

They cannot.

Your thoughts very quickly form behavior which we all can see.

"If one thinks it long enough he is likely to do it...Thus the time to protect against the calamity is when the thought begins to shape itself. Destroy the seed and the plant will never grow." (Spencer W. Kimball, "As A Man Thinketh" in Miracle of Forgiveness)

"Contentment, complacency, peace—all that makes life worth living—have their source in the mind of the individual" (David O' McKay, "Pathways to Happiness" pg. 320)

"Success in life depends upon the management of your thoughts. Your very salvation depends upon it." (Boyd K. Packer, That All Might Be Edified, pg. 32)

"You tell me your thoughts, and I will tell you your future." (Milton R. Hunter, "As a Man Thinketh", Conference Report, October 1946, pg. 40)

And perhaps the most powerful thought about thoughts:

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Prov. 23:7)

IF these statements are true, then "controlling our thoughts" is a
key to changing any habit or behavior.

As you learn to control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. You can gain courage, conquer fear, and have a happy life. ... the mind is like a stage. During every waking moment the curtain is up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing on the stage of your mind.... (Boyd K. Packer, “The Message: Worthy Music, Worthy Thoughts, New Era, Apr 2008)
Here is a great video "Worthy Thoughts" about controlling thoughts by Boyd K. Packer:


(Those of you who may be suffering from a Physical body illness - like mental illness - don't be discouraged when controlling certain thoughts is much more difficult and at times impossible ...  Review  "FREE- According to the flesh.")

You can only think of one thing at a time.
Every time you think a good thought, there is no room for a bad one.
So, what?

dr rick
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