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Sunday, July 28, 2013


After 15 years of marriage my husband left me and the church for another guy.
We have nothing. We lost everything in the fire.
The results are back I have Lymphoma. I'll need to start cancer treatment.

And the list goes on ... I hear another heartbreaking story every day.

"It is not a question of  IF we are ready for the tests; it is a matter of  WHEN. We must prepare to be ready for tests that will present themselves without warning..." (Robert D. Hales, “Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure”, Ensign May 1998)

"As part of Heavenly Father's plan of redemption, ALL people experience adversity during their lifetime. Trials, disappointments, sadness, sickness, and heartache are a difficult part of life, but with the help of the Lord they can lead to spiritual growth, refinement, and progress." (Gospel Topics, LDS.org Adversity)
(See: The Only Path)

Over the years I have learned that most trials and tribulations can be classified into three sources including: physical body, spiritual  (See: The Anatomy of a Soul) and life events.

Spiritual ITs
The spiritual ITs of unbelief and unrepentant sin are most common.
"The GREAT TEST (IT) of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life." (Spiritual Preparedness-Start Early and Stay late, Henry B. Eyring, October 2005 General Conference)
Successfully navigating unbelief and sin appears to be the purpose of mortal life.

Physical ITs 
The physical ITs include the obvious: mental and physical illnesses. Robert D. Hales reminds us:
The story of Job in the Old Testament relates three of the great tests we ALL should be prepared to face at some period in our lives. First, temporal setbacks (life events). Job lost all he owned. Second, physical illness that will test our faith and testimony. And third, depression (resulting from either mental illness or unrepentant sin). Job said, “Why died I not from the womb?” (Job 3:11.) “My soul is weary of my life.” (Job 10:1.)  (“Examples from the Life of a Prophet,” Ensign, Nov. 1981)
Along life's path no doubt we each will encounter diseases or physical challenges of some sort.

Life Event ITs
As we prepare for Christ's Second Coming, we see the life events ITs,  like financial, natural and man caused calamities.
I do not know what the future holds. I do not wish to sound negative, but I wish to remind you of the warnings of scripture and the teachings of the prophets ... I cannot dismiss from my mind the grim warnings of the Lord as set forth in the 24th chapter of Matthew . I am familiar, as are you, with the declarations of modern revelation that the time will come when the earth will be cleansed and there will be indescribable distress, with weeping and mourning and lamentation (see D&C 112:24). (Times In Which We Live, Gordon B. Hinckley, Oct 2001, General Conference)
Some Mormons seem to think "ITs" different "just because I'm Mormon." For example, that as we encounter trials and tribulations that for some magical reason IT isn't as painful or as debilitating as IT is for our friends of other faith.

Not true.

Mormons who
...get cancer lose their hair during chemotherapy ...
...are divorced moms with children, go without ...
...have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) have symptoms of MS...
...have a loved one commit suicide cry very real tears...
etc etc

I think you get the point.

The difference isn't the ITs,  but the number and strength of the resources you and I have to deal with IT.

More the resources - More the capacity to deal with IT. (See: Five to Survive)

Obviously, an individual with strong faith and an understanding of an eternal perspective tends to have more resources.

But  IT still hurts.

Now for the best part.

The expression And it came to pass is in the Book of Mormon about 1,404 times and in the Old Testament about 336 times etc etc.

Mark Twain once joked that if Joseph Smith had left out the many instances of “and it came to pass” from the Book of Mormon, the book would have been only a pamphlet. (Roughing It, Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Co., 1901, p. 133.)

Some ITs will pass very quickly
Take for example the time Nephi's brothers tied him up while on the boat coming to America.
"And IT came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it."  1 Nephi 18:21
This IT -tied up- took a day or two to pass.
Some ITs will NOT pass in earth life
"And IT came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:41 "
This IT -slavery- took 430 years to pass.

Dallin H. Oaks explains:
Another idea that is powerful to lift us from discouragement is that the work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “to bring to pass the … eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39), is an eternal work. Not all problems are overcome and not all needed relationships are fixed in mortality. The work of salvation goes on beyond the veil of death, and we should not be too apprehensive about incompleteness within the limits of mortality. (Dallin Oaks, "Powerful Ideas" Ensign Oct 1995)

Why would the Lord place And it came to pass so many times in the scriptures, if it wasn't important?
IT is important for two reasons:
First: We all are going to have ITs come into our lives.
Second: Knowing IT will at some point in time Pass encourages the Power of Hope.

Take a minute and ponder about your physical, spiritual and surrounding life events.
What is IT that is your current challenge?
Follow your impressions in developing more resources to deal with IT.

Remember: ITs came to pass.

dr rick
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

When Homosexuality was a "Mental Illness"

In the beginning.... homosexuality was a mental illness.

It was in the '70s when I first met Bill. Since his LDS Mission he had been “acting out” his homosexual thoughts and got AIDS. He was the first AIDS case in our community mental health clinic where I worked. The director assigned Bill to me. I recall the first meeting with Bill. In someways I felt honored - actually meeting someone with AIDS. It was a hot summer day and I opened my office window  (so now you know for sure this happened years ago-no air conditioning.)  I listened to his story.  I assisted him with the admission paperwork to become a client and to get insurance to pay for the counseling. We didn't know much about AIDS back then- just that it was deadly. We weren't sure how AIDS was even transmitted. As a result of my limited knowledge, after Bill left I remember getting a Kleenex, picking up the pen he signed his paperwork with and throwing it in the garbage can.

Using DSM-II, Bill's mental disorder was: Diagnosis "Homosexuality-302.0" - Sexual Deviancy
Page 44 from DSM-II reads:
This category is for individuals whose sexual interests are directed primarily toward objects other than people of the opposite sex…”
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It's used in the courts, research, billing insurance etc. etc. A single document that "defines" mental illnesses. It's kind of like our "Bible of Mental Illness."

1974 - In the DSM-II 6th printing Homosexuality was eliminated. Bill would be diagnosed as having a mental disorder referred to as: Sexual Orientation Disturbance.

1980 - Using the next version of the DSM-III Bill would have been diagnosed with Ego-dystonic Homosexuality.” Ego-dystonic meaning individuals who identified themselves as having homosexual tendencies but wished to change those tendencies to heterosexual.

Up until this point- all of these diagnoses in some form or another defined homosexuality as a "mental illness" or "mental disorder" and would allow us as mental health providers to collect insurance and perform what is now called “reparative therapy". (Reparative Therapy is a term used to describe treatment attempts to change a person from a homosexual or bisexual orientation to a “normal” or heterosexual orientation.) To learn more about Reparative Therapy see: National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

For a more detailed discussion on homosexuality in the early years see "The DSM I and DSM II." 

1987 -  The diagnosis was removed entirely from the DSM-III-R. The only remnant of "ego-dystonic homosexuality" occurred under "Sexual Disorders Not Otherwise Specified," which included persistent and marked distress about one's sexual orientation.

2009 -  A few years ago “American Psychological Association (APA)” reiterated that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and warned mental health professionals against trying to help those wishing to change:

August 5, 2009. The American Psychological Association (APA) adopted a resolution Wednesday urging mental health professionals to avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments…. The approval was made at the APA's annual convention with a 125-4 vote. (APA.)

In some places - Against the law.
And of course by now we all have heard about the "ban" on mental health professionals - like me - providing, "reparative therapy" (also known as conversion therapy) to like minors in California etc etc. Here are some sample articles about it being illegal to provide such therapy: Court Hears Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ Arguments" and "The End of "Ex-Gay."

Yes there is a new DSM. Using the DSM-V Bill can be diagnosed for his medical condition "AIDS" or rather now we call it "Major or Mild Neurocognitive Disorder Due to HIV Infection." Of course Homosexuality is now long gone as a mental disorder in the DSM.

But I did find a new focus being placed on Cultural Influence in understanding and dealing with a mental disorder in the DSM-V.  Culture is defined to include "...religion and spirituality, family structures..." (Pg. 749)  In the Cultural Formulation Section III of the DSM-V, we as mental health clinicians are now instructed to say to the client, I quote:
"Sometimes, aspects of people's background or identity can make [your] problem ... worse. By background or identity, I mean for example, the communities you belong to,... your gender or sexual orientation, or your faith or religion."  (pg. 753)
The message appears to be twofold: 1) your family, faith or religion can make your condition worse and 2) if you have a behavior that is not accepted by your culture (e.g. family, faith or religion) then give up your culture  - not the behavior.

AND furthermore,  my interpretation - a good clinician would follow the "DSV-V Script" and help the client to identify and to turn away from the aspects of "family, faith or religion" which  "make the problem worse" . Specifically, if your faith or religion increases your "guilt"  - makes the problem worse - turn away from them.

I wonder what implications this might have on our future?

Back to Bill
Well its been over 30 years now. In 2013 as a psychologist, it would now be professionally unethical and under some circumstances illegal, for me to provide Bill with counseling to change his sexual orientation-even if HE wanted. Homosexuality is no longer a "mental illness."

As I recall - the reparative counseling was effective. Bill, married a beautiful young lady in the temple and died from AIDS HIV at a young age.

The fact that some governments and some churches and numerous corrupted individuals have tried to reduce such [homosexual] behavior from criminal offense to personal privilege does not change the nature nor the seriousness of the practice. Good men, wise men, God-fearing men everywhere still denounce the practice as being unworthy of sons and daughters of God; and Christ’s church denounces it and condemns it so long as men and women have bodies which can be defiled.”
(Spencer W. Kimball, "President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality," Ensign, Nov 1980.) 
Oh yea, About your son or grandson with "Asperger's Disorder"...

You'll be glad to know he doesn't have Asperger's anymore.
That's right!
DSM-V did away with "Asperger's Disorder" diagnosis.
(See APA Autism Spectrum Disorder.)

Identify one value important to you.
Hold on to it.

dr rick
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

You Can't Say That In The Chapel!

So I did another fireside this week. A couple hundred youth and their leaders. I did my standard "God's Glue" presentation. This is where I talk about Satan and sexual relations. Check out these blogs for the details:  Satan Exposed and God's Love Chemicals.

I always start with a half dozen quotes from apostles and the First Presidency talking about sexual relations. Quotes like:
The intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself …” (Intimacy in Marriage, Spencer W. Kimball, Eternal Marriage Student Manual, LDS Church; pg. 139) (This is the manual for the college Religion Courses 234 & 235. This section on Intimacy in Marriage is a must read!!! Go to the manual and find page 139.)

Talk to them plainly about sex and the teaching of the gospel regarding chastity.” M. Russell Ballard, “Like a Flame Unquenchable,” Ensign, May 1999.
These quotes usually "soften hearts" so I can say words like "SEXUAL RELATIONS" while in the Chapel without a lot of resistance from the audience.

After the presentation a bishop cornered me, wanting to talk about "talking about sexual relations to youth in the chapel." In particular, he expressed a concern about saying words like "Sexual relations, puberty, etc etc."  He later expressed his fear of using explicit sexual words and talking about sexual behavior with youth in his personal interviews BECAUSE and this is the part that concerns me:

I'm afraid the youth will go home and tell their parents what
we talked about and some parents will become so irate
they will bring criminal charges or sue the church!
A Young Woman's President was listening in on our conversation and suggested the Bishop consider introducing the topic on a 5th Sunday combined lesson. They continued the discussion.....
* * *
As I pondered this conversation...
I visualized how this battle between Satan and God may look as it relates to sexual messaging.
We have the Ward Council- God's Team discussing with the adult leaders of the ward about whether they should take 40 minutes and "talk about sexual relations" to the ward adults so the adults/parents in turn can take maybe 5 minutes and "talk about sexual relations" with their children. Recognizing the importance, they decide in three months they WILL have a 5th Sunday lesson for adults on sexual relations.
We have the Ward Youth -Watching a Viagra Commercial on public tv,
-Listening to Lady Gaga's new music video ARTPOP on Facebook,
-Checking out nude pictures a buddy sent of his girlfriend on the smart phone,
 -Playing #3 of the top 10 video sex games at a friend's house,
etc etc 
Maybe this comparison of Facebook pages will help you understand my concern.

 (If you don't know who Lady Gaga is, just ask someone in the Teacher's Quorum or Mia Maid Class on Sunday.)

IP is a legal concept which refers to creations of the mind for which EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS are recognized to the creator. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, trade dress, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets.

Satan and his angels appear to have successfully promoted and protected his/Satan's EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS to "sexual messaging" -  including in movies, music, radios, video games, relationships, church discussions, etc etc.

For example,
think of:
  Diet-Coke as a child's toy,
Walmart as a vegetable,
Sex as belonging to the Gods, heavenly, celestial, and divine.
Could you do it? 
Understanding Satan's successful marketing of "sex" helps me understand...
- Why good people, like you and I are hesitant to message about sex. (I for one don't want to promote Satan's agenda.)
- Why the bishop fears possible consequences including legal consequences from parents while talking to their children privately about sex.

Obviously this dilemma discourages us, our youth or anyone else from having "THE RIGHTS"  to  talk about sexual relations in the "Lord's Way." :(

I'm confident


How can you help reclaim God's IP rights to sexual messaging?
Have a sexual conversation "in the Lord's way" with someone around you today.
If you need some ideas check out: God's Love Chemicals.

dr rick
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's the Law.

Example 1: A young man breaks into the home and takes the owner's personal treasures. The home owner had worked overtime for a couple of years by "the sweat of his brow" to earn his treasures.
His "harvest" for his "sowing" was now stolen by the young man.

Example 2:  The young man has been smoking marijuana for a couple of years and more recently started selling it. He has lied, been disobedient, and only occasionally went to Church and family activities. He has never experienced any serious consequences for his disruptive behavior until he was arrested for taking the home owner's treasures. The cops search his bed room and find a stolen gun and pot. The parents intervene - they get a loan, get a lawyer, and get him out of juvenile detention. He ends up with one misdemeanor charge. The young man had worked hard to develop drug using criminal lifestyle over the past couple of years.
His "harvest" for his "sowing" was now stolen by the parents.
We receive blessings for righteous thoughts and acts - often referred to as The Law of the Harvest, and punishment for unrepented sin- often referred to as The Law of Justice.

The Law of Justice is  - an eternal law that requires a penalty EACH time a law of God is broken (Alma 42:13–24). The sinner must pay the penalty if he does not repent (Mosiah 2:38–39; D&C 19:17). If he or she does repent, the Savior pays the penalty through the Atonement, invoking mercy (Alma 34:16).

The Law of the Harvest is - The Apostle Paul stated an eternal law when he declared that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7.) The analogy of sowing and reaping is one favored by the prophets of old and by the Lord himself. (See, for example, Job 4:8; Prov. 22:8; D&C 6:33.) A Book of Mormon prophet quoted the Lord as saying, "If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction" (Mosiah 7:31).

The Laws of Justice and of the Harvest are unchanging eternal everlasting laws created by God for a reason. Simply said:

The Laws of Justice and of the Harvest connect
behavior and its consequence.

We receive blessings for righteous thoughts and acts  
 and punishment for unrepented sin.

This "reward system" is the basis of God's Plan of Salvation with eternal implications.

An organization or individual interfering with the "harvest-consequences" sown by another person - whether the consequences are good or bad - is a serious concern.

It's the Law.

Now why is it so important that God connect behavior with consequences?
I'm guessing there are many but as a psychologist here's one.

We as psychologists for years have recognized the importance of these eternal laws in changing and motivating behavior.  For example:

B.F. Skinner promoted the concept of learning by consequences in his book "Science and Human Behavior."  He believed with "reinforcement and punishment"  alone, he could control a child's destiny- "Give me a child and I'll shape him into anything."

Numerous parenting approaches emphasize the need for "consequences" in raising kids. For example, Love and Logic - Helping Parents & Teachers Raise Responsible Kids. Sometimes providing natural consequences is also referred to as "Tough Love".

And what about our LDS Doctrines?

In addition to the Laws of the Harvest and Justice - numerous doctrines suggest an individual will be held accountable for his / her behavior:  Agency and AccountabilitySecond Article of FaithThe Final Judgment Day, and many others.

Here are some specific references. In the out of print LDS Church  manual “Resource Manual for Helping Families with Alcohol Problems” instructions are given how to help an alcoholic:
Love is often difficult to show, especially when it results in pain. When someone we love abuses alcohol or other drugs that are harmful our tendency is to help him out of his problems because we love him … The problem drinker must experience for himself the consequences of his drinking Circumstances and inescapable choices motivate change … (pg. 99)
 Richard G. Scott shared
Parents, don’t make the mistake of purposefully intervening to soften or eliminate the natural consequences for your child’s deliberate decisions to violate the commandments. Such acts reinforce false principles, open the door for more serious sin, and lessen the likelihood of repentance.” 
(The Power of Correct Principles Ensign, May 1993)
Satan recognizing the power of The Laws of Justice and the Harvest in motivating and changing behavior,  he has successfully "watered them down" in our society. He causes great damage by removing postponing expected consequences to immoral  "bad" behavior.   Each of us can readily identify examples of  where  "a given immoral 'bad' behavior didn't result in the expected negative consequence - yet! "

One should be careful messing around with God's Laws....
unless an angel tells you otherwise.
     Manipulating the system to comply with God's Laws. Recently, I was working with the parents of a wayward child. It took over a year of constant strategies with the school and local police before we were able to generate any type of effective consequence for his disruptive behavior. (Although he had repeatedly violated numerous minor laws.)

Refiner's Fire: Fire Extinguisher vs Firewood
After 30+ years of years delivering mental health services, I have learned most reach for the "fire extinguisher" when they see the "refiner's fire" burning. (Like the parents of the young man in the above example).  However, I have now learned the importance and power of attaching consequences to immoral "bad" behavior if behavior change is desired. In fact, now when I see the "refiner's fire" burning  I find it more effective to "throw on some firewood". (See: Hebrews 5:8)

Although it may appear that organizations, you and I may disconnect "consequence from a behavior" and break The Laws of Justice and of the Harvest. We do not.  “What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.” (Alma 42:24–25.) It is Christ who gives the increase / reward or the decrease /punishment for each of our behaviors. He is the "Lord of the harvest" (Alma 26:7)

The only exception to you and I not "harvesting" the consequences of our behavior is Christ's atonement. When the Savior carried out the Atonement, He took our sins upon Himself. He ALONE is able to “answer the ends of the law” (2 Nephi 2:7) because He subjected Himself to the penalty that the laws required for our sins. In doing so, He “satisfied the demands of justice” and extended mercy to everyone who repents and follows Him (see Mosiah 15:9; Alma 34:14-16). Because He has paid the price for our sins, we will not have to suffer our "harvest / punishment" if we repent (see D&C 19:15-20).

Ponder your life and relationships.
Are you a thief?
If the answer is yes, consider changing.
“The wicked may prosper for a time, the rebellious may seem to profit by their transgressions, but the time is coming when, at the bar of justice, all men will be judged, ‘every man according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:13.) No one will ‘get by’ with anything. On that day no one will escape the penalty of his deeds, no one will fail to receive the blessings he has earned. . . . There will be total justice” (Spencer, W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 305).
dr rick
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