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Sunday, June 30, 2013


Let me share a couple of encounters I've had in recent days:

I can't do it anymore. My depression is out of control. I can't do my job. etc etc Help!
Where is he?
Overextended too much stress + not enough resources = depression and thoughts of suicide.
Who is he?
Son of God with a divine nature and destiny.

We just found out our son is dealing drugs. He'll be 18 in a few months. He doesn't have a job, he won't go to church, etc etc Help!
Where are they?
Confused and angry parents not sure what to do and going on trek in two days.
Who are they?
Son and daughter of God with a divine nature and destiny.

God told me I committed blasphemy and that I needed to rip my eyes out.
Where is he?
In a Southern Utah jail. Suffering from psychosis.  Won't take meds. And yea, now he is blind.
Who is he?
Son of God with a divine nature and destiny.

Often we mistakenly define who we are by where we are in our life at the time. For example:

I watch porn therefore...
I am evil and no good...

I am in debt therefore...
I am a failure...
I just got laid off therefore...
I am stupid...
I  yell and scream therefore...
I am crazy...
Some of our behaviors/habits may have been part of our lives for many years, as a result it becomes easy to believe THAT THE BEHAVIOR IS WHO WE ARE... that we actually really are "no good:, "a failure", "a looser" etc etc.

Identifying yourself with a "I am" followed by a negative label prevents change. It's poison to progress. It means "You can't . . . " suggesting that you neither have nor will ever develop the skills necessary to change the unwanted behavior. It is as if you do not have the capability to change.
Only Satan would have you believe you cannot change a behavior or habit.
At times he "whispers" similar thoughts into your ear. See Satan's Finest Tool.
You are better than this.

You are a child of God "... each has a divne nature and destiny...". (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

Illness, challenges, addictions, trials, tribulations etc etc are where we are in the "Perfection Process", not who we are.
Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful. The thorns that prick, that stick in the flesh, that hurt, often change lives which seem robbed of significance and hope. This change comes about through a refining process which often seems cruel and hard. In this way the soul can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master in building lives of faith, usefulness, beauty, and strength. For some, the refiner’s fire causes a loss of belief and faith in God, but those with eternal perspective understand that such refining is part of the perfection process. (The Refiner's Fire, James E. Faust, Ensign May 1979)
Including you!
I am certain our Heavenly Father is displeased when we refer to ourselves as “nobody.” How fair are we when we classify ourselves a “nobody”? How fair are we to our families? How fair are we to our God? We do ourselves a great injustice when we allow ourselves, through tragedy, misfortune, challenge, discouragement, or whatever the earthly situation, [where we are] to so identify ourselves. No matter how or where we find ourselves, we cannot with any justification label ourselves nobody,” ["stupid," "no good," "evil," "crazy," etc etc]. As children of God we are somebody. He will build us, mold us, and magnify us if we will but hold our heads up, our arms out, and walk with him. What a great blessing to be created in his image and know of our true potential in and through him! What a great blessing to know that in his strength we can do all things! (Marvin J. Ashton, In His Strength, Ensign, July 1973)
There are no ordinary people.
I have never talked to just a "mere" mortal.
It is serious business to live in a world surrounded by potential Gods and Goddesses,
like YOU!

Identify one part of your life that suggests you have "a divine nature and destiny."
If you need help read your patriarchal blessing if you don't have one, get one.
Identify one part of your life -a trial, a tribulation, a habit - that suggests you still have work to do on your "Progress to Perfection."
If you don't have one this moment, that's fine. One is on the way. :)

dr rick
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Satan's Finest Tool

Placing thoughts of discouragement in our minds.

Part of the reality of eternity is Satan. Since before the days of Adam, Satan and his large army of followers, have done all in their power to stop you and I from hoping and faithing in Jesus Christ.   This is Satan's Mission. His mission is part of the Plan of Salvation. See Satan Exposed.

Satan can appear as an angel of light; produce visions; grant the gift of tongues;
provide prophecies; provide revelations through a seer stone;
prompt jubilations, singing, and
one of Satan's finest tools
put thoughts into our minds.

(Many of the miracles and forms of revelation that we might consider acts of God can be counterfeited by Satan. For example see how the Pharaoh's magicians and wisemen imitated Moses' miracles. See Exodus 7 & 8.)

Most messages, impressions, suggestions, urges encouragements or discouragements, temptations and warnings sent from the other side of the veil whether from God or Satan, are communicated to the Mind located inside the Spirit Body. (See: Anatomy of a Soul).
“And behold others he flattereth away and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none – and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains….” (2 Nephi 28:22)
If we are ever to conquer evil and break free of our weaknesses or bad habits, it is vital to understand - Satan has the ability "to whisper in our ears" and tempt and deceive us by direct, personal, and individual communication between our spirits and his.

Check out this quote from Joseph Fielding Smith said:
"We should be on guard to resist Satan’s advances. He has the power to place thoughts in our minds and to whisper to us in unspoken impressions to entice us to satisfy our appetites or desires, and in various other ways he plays upon our weaknesses and desires. ."(Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:81).
(However, remember Satan cannot KNOW our thoughts - D & C 6:15)

As a psychologist I understand that "discouragement" (also known as despair, depression etc etc.) comes from many sources - sin, mental illness, inadequate self-care, thyroid problems etc etc- but "whispers of discouragement" can (and do) ALSO come from Satan and his followers.
"We live in an age when, as the Lord foretold, men’s hearts are failing them, not only physically but in spirit. (See D&C 45:26.) Many are giving up heart for the battle of life. Suicide ranks as a major cause of the deaths of college students. As the showdown between good and evil approaches with its accompanying trials and tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Do Not Despair, Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 65.)
In fact it has been my experience the worst case scenario occurs when an individual is suffering from the mental illness of depression AND Satan recognizing this weakness adds his personal evil "whispers of discouragement."

Let me share excerpts from one young man's texts dealing with pornography:
I am so close to giving up on myself I feel like I already have. I feel like I was born with the devil in me... I feel completely wicked ... I feel so isolated and withdrawn... worthless... I am always pulled in the negative... I don't know if I can go on any longer...
This is a very talented young man- at one time he had thoughts to go on a mission, was going to church and meeting weekly with his bishop, reading his scriptures, etc etc.  After months of dealing with his mental illness of depression and his porn addiction he now has a third problem - EVIL! He has been listening to the "still small voice" of Satan's discouragement he is now experiencing the most damaging event that can occur in anyone's life:

He is giving up HOPE in Christ and his ability to change his life.

When Satan successfully removes Hope from our life, he has successfully changed our eternity.
"One of the most lethal weapons used by Lucifer against the first offender (or any offender) is the disarming implication that, having once sinned, there is no hope and that therefore he might just as well surrender and sample all the other ‘scented poisons’ prepared for his complete destruction" (Purity Is Power, Hugh B. Brown p. 31).
Take a look at this video "Men's Hearts Shall Fail them."

Can't you sometimes in your own life just hear Satan and his followers whispering in your ear: "You can't do it, you are no good, you'll never make it, this marriage will never work..." —sometimes he says that right to your mind. See: Tell Me Your Thoughts. I'll Tell You Your Future.

Read this.
How can we limit the adversary's ability to influence our thoughts? (Ensign, Sept 1995)
Do this.
In the next 24 hours identify a personal thought that was likely "whispered" by Satan.

dr rick
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Sunday, June 9, 2013

HE wants GODS not spiritual ROBOTS

Situation #1 Waiting for the angel
The parents left the therapy appointment, disappointed. The only reason they came anyway was because the Bishop sent them. I had just spent an hour doing my best in reviewing resources including: books, support groups, etc etc that would likely help them in dealing with their "prodigal daughter."  They wanted nothing to do with temporal resources. They were determined to return home and continue in prayer and fasting. They would be faithful in waiting for "the still small voice" to tell them specifically how to intervene with their daughter's several year long addiction problem.

Situation #2  Just Google it
In despair the gentleman pled, "Help. I've tried everything for over a year. I still can't stop viewing porn...."  In recent weeks there have been several phone calls between this guy and I. During these calls I've reviewed with him the stages of addiction and recovery. Every time I mentioned the need to do something to strengthen his "Spirit Body" (See Anatomy of the Soul) the conversation would end. He wanted nothing to do with spiritual resources. He was determined to do it on his own. During the last phone called he passionately acknowledged "I'll keep reading books, going to therapy and I know I can find something on the Internet. I just know there is an answer out there..."

What do these situations have in common?

They are examples of people who

“Making decisions is probably the most important thing people ever do...
Fortunately the ability and judgment necessary to make decisions CAN BE ACQUIRED
 (Ezra Taft Benson; God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [1974], 145).
That means-You and I can LEARN to make "GOOD" decisions.

(If the truth were to be known, many visits to mental health professionals relate back to an individual's inability in make a decision,)

In making decisions in life balancing these two correct principles are most important. 

On one hand...
Principle #1: Seek guidance from the Spirit
"No one of us can survive in the world of today, much less in what it soon will become, without personal inspiration.” (Boyd K. Packer, Reverence Invites Inspiration, Ensign, Nov. 1991.)
On the other hand...
Principle #2: Develop self-reliance including the ability to make a decision
"For behold, it is NOT meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward." (D & C 58:26) “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of THEIR OWN free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them,. ..." (D&C 58:27-28)
Learn more about self-reliance by reviewing the blog: Counselitis

Personal revelation (God-reliance) AND  Personal decision making skills (self-reliance) are essential to our eternal progression and becoming Gods.

Can we become too "reliant on God?"
A Desire to Be Led in All Things. Closely related to this example is the person who has a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but who unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable..... Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of false revelation. Revelation from God is a sacred reality, but like other sacred things, it must be cherished and used properly so that a great strength does not become a disabling weakness. (Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfalls, Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 1995)
YES, We can become too "reliant on God."
And YES, we can become too reliant on ourselves leaving God out.

"We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it IF WE RECEIVE IT. IF WE DO NOT receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment." (Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfalls, Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 1995)
It has been my experience, that we are typically left to make decisions based on our understanding of gospel principles and personal life experience (sometimes referred to as common sense).

The angel rarely comes.

God wants us to prepare for Godhood. He is not looking to create spiritual "robots" doing only what we are commanded. Requiring a spiritual experience or a witness from the Spirit for every act of life is not what the Lord wants. God trusts us. Learning by faith and sometimes by trial and error seems to be His approach.

Check out these quotes:
"This is one of the more interesting stories in the scriptures because it tells of an instance in which the Lord provided help but then stepped aside and allowed one of his sons to exercise his own initiative. I have sometimes wondered what would have happened if Nephi had asked the Lord for tools instead of a place to find ore to make the tools. I doubt the Lord would have honored Nephi's request. You see, the Lord knew that Nephi could make tools, and it is seldom that the Lord will do something for us that we can do for ourselves." 1 Nephi 17:11, 16.  (Living with Enthusiasm by L. Tom Perry Pgs 95-96)
"No answer is likely to come to a person who seeks guidance in choosing between two alternatives that are equally acceptable to the Lord. Thus, there are times when we can serve productively in two different fields of labor. Either answer is right. Similarly, the Spirit of the Lord is not likely to give us revelations on matters that are trivial. I once heard a young woman in a testimony meeting praise the spirituality of her husband, indicating that he submitted every question to the Lord. She told how he accompanied her shopping and would not even choose between different brands of canned vegetables without making his selection a matter of prayer. I think that is improper. I believe the Lord expects us to make MOST of our decisions by using the intelligence and experience he has given us."  (Dallin H. Oaks, The Lord's Way, pgs 37–38)
Sometimes the Lord hopefully waits on his children to act on their own, and when they do not, they lose the greater prize, and the Lord will either drop the entire matter and let them suffer the consequences or else he will have to spell it out in greater detail. Usually, I fear, the more he has to spell it out, the smaller is our reward. (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties by Ezra Taft Benson)

There are several different decision making models. Here are the steps presented in Principles of Decision Making @ LDS.org:
1. Defining the problem, its scope and significance.
2. Collecting facts and analyzing and using them.
3. Developing and weighing possible solutions to arrive at conclusions.
4. Carrying a decision into action with plans and controls.
5. Follow-up on the results of the decisions and action.
This article also provides tests that can be used to confirm if a decision is being made or not.
Could it harm any individual, family, or group? Could it retard or injure spiritual or moral progress? Is it contrary to the revealed will or commandments of God? etc etc

Brigham Young instructed the Saints, "Instead of searching after what the Lord is going to do for us, let us inquire what we can do for ourselves." (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954), p. 293)

Consider a current life challenge.
Read  the blogs Counselitis and Five to Survive with the intent to identify ONE action YOU CAN TAKE.
Prayerfully submit that action to the Lord.
With 100% of your energy pursue that action.

dr rick
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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Viewing Leads To Doing

Winter Season of Pornography Addiction

Sin including addiction, strengthens across time. Sins and addictions-like alcohol and drugs- typically have three seasons of growth. They are:

Spring Season of Sin/Addiction
We know during this season Satan deceives us by allowing us to experience pleasure while we sin. Alcohol, drugs, (and other immoral behavior that triggers the sexual response) are effective and dependable- They can change the way you feel –usually “joy, pleasure and happiness”. We learned about the first or Spring Season of sin/addiction in the blog; Pleasures of Sin.

Summer Season of Sin/Addiction
During this season the habit of sin or addiction strengthens. The
person typically experiences “Pain” and learns to deal with that pain -negative consequences- by participating in the sin or addiction. At this point the sin or addiction continues to produce relief from the pain with - joy, pleasure or happiness. I refer to this group as "Successful Sinners". They enjoy the joy, pleasure or happiness of sin and have yet to experience the “bondage, loss of agency, addiction” that awaits them. Those in the Summer Season can successfully stop the sin or addiction by initiating self-recovery techniques and exercising willpower. The blog Successful Sinners teaches us about the Summer Season.

The Spring and Summer Season of Sin /Addiction binds loosely like ..................
"A [one] flaxen cord" and NOT YET like "the strong cords [many]" that
"bindeth forever." (2 Nephi 26:22)

Our scripture 3 Nephi 27:11 illustrates the three seasons of Sin/Addiction. We read

Spring Season: ......"they have joy in their works for a season,"
Summer Season:...."and by and by the end cometh,"
Fall Season:............"and they are hewn down and cast into the fire,
from whence there is no return."(3 Nephi 27:11)

Fall Season of Sin/Addiction
During the Fall Season of Sin/Addiction the person develops the "disease". It is in this stage the individual's Physical Body, Spiritual Body, and Mind become addicted. Words like "bondage and enslaved" are used to describe this season. Willpower is weakened. Ability to stop using, willpower and self-help techniques don't work anymore. The blog I can't stop. Help! - Fall Season of Sin/Addiction shares more detailed information.

Winter Season of Pornography Addiction
It's been my experience most addictions including alcohol and drug use, end with the addictive behavior itself. For example, the end result of alcoholism is the skid-row (homeless) person walking the streets with a brown paper bag. In a similar way, an individual with an addiction to pain medication may end up "doctor shopping" to get more than a legal amount of pain pills.

This is not so with pornography addiction.


Porn addiction seems to have one more season-Winter
Dr. Victor B. Cline one of the first LDS psychologists to write about the stages of porn addiction says,
"I have found that four things typically happen to some people who become immersed in erotic or pornographic material. First, they become addicted. They get hooked on it and come back for more and more. Second, their desire for it escalates. They soon need rougher and more explicit material to get the same kicks and excitement. Third, they become desensitized to the abnormality of the behavior portrayed. In time, they accept and embrace what at first had shocked and offended them. Fourth, eventually there is a tendency and temptation TO ACT OUT what they have witnessed. Appetite has been whetted and conscience anesthetized. I have observed this progression countless times with some users of pornography. And everyone is vulnerable—even good people." (Obscenity. How It Affects Us, How We Can Deal with It, Ensign, April 1984)
In my approximate 25 years of working with thousands of criminally charged sex offenders my experiences have been similar to Dr. Cline's.  My conclusion: Usually someone charged criminally with a sex offense also reports viewing of porn.

Here are few church leaders' quotes suggesting an "acting out" stage to porn addiction:
"The spreading oil slick of pornography carries with it terrible consequences such as BIZARRE AND OPPRESSIVE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR, CHILD AND SPOUSE ABUSE and ultimately a loss of the capacity to love." (Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, That Ye May Believe, p. 99.)
And one more,
"Continued exposure [to pornography] desensitizes the spirit and can erode the conscience of unwary people. A victim becomes a slave to carnal thoughts and actions. AS THE THOUGHT IS FATHER TO THE DEED, EXPOSURE CAN LEAD TO ACTING OUT what is nurtured in the mind." (David B. Haight, Morality, Personal Morality, 1992)
In more recent years I have been surprised (and I'm not easily surprised) about how many 13 or 14 year old LDS youth, with felony sex charges, report having viewed porn for a year or longer.  Not only "good people" but "very young people" are now committing felony sex offenses. For example, I've evaluated individuals with felony "touching" sex offenses anywhere from age 9 to 90 years old   - The 90 year old was an Endowment Worker at the local LDS Temple. :{

FYI-check out these rather old porn stats from SafeFamilies.org.
  • 9 out of 10 children aged between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet, in most cases unintentionally.
  • Average age of first Internet exposure to pornography: 11 years old.
  • Largest consumer of Internet pornography: 12 - 17 year-old age group.
The numbers have been increasing.

Regardless of an individual's age or goodness - By the time the Winter Season of Porn Addiction has arrived:
-- the individual's personal Sexual Response Cycle has usually become deviant. That is he/she shows sexual interest in aggression/violence, children, fetishes, beastiality or something else.
-- the now deviant Sexual Response Cycle has been reinforced numerous times by the individual's repeated masturbation while having viewed such deviant images.

(See the blog: The Safest Road To Hell - Gradual Slope.)

Over the years I've been face-to-face with murders, bank robbers, embezzlers, ... and any other criminal you can think of...
none is more horrific than
a rapist
child molester.

I am convinced Satan's MOST powerful tool to destroy someone's eternity is to influence them to misunderstand and misuse God's Love Chemicals.

If you have learned to successfully deal with sexually explicit messaging WHEN you are exposed, then:
Don't wait too long to have several "Birds and the Bees" talks with others - perhaps your spouse, your children and grandchildren -to help them do likewise.

If you have NOT learned to successfully deal with sexually explicit messaging WHEN you are exposed, then:
FIND resources to help you NOW.- Lots of them. (See blog: Five to Survive) If you are experiencing Fall or Winter seasons of addictions - You will need a "miracle."  God will have to intervene to change your heart.

dr rick
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