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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Where do thoughts come from?

"I'm Jesus, God has sent me to call you to repentance."
The middle age man was in the Weber County Jail medical cell.
He rambled on -quoting scriptures etc etc. He refuses medications.
"There is no God. I use to believe that nonsense, but not anymore."
The first words out of the young adult's mouth
as the Church Disciplinary Council started.
 "I believe in myself. I know God loves and cares for me."
 She repeated the affirmation several times a day.
As per her counselor's instructions.
"I heard this still small voice answering my prayer saying-- God lives!"
The older gentlemen closed his testimony with these words.
... are the product of mental activity; that which one thinks; most easily recognized as the act or process of "the talking" going on in the brain. Thoughts occur in the mind. The mind is in the brain. The mind is eternal the brain is not. (See: Anatomy of a Soul)
"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)
"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)

Examples include entertainment and pornography.

Your choice of music, media, and other forms of entertainment influence your thoughts.
I plead with you to leave it alone. Stay away from any movie, video, publication, or music—regardless of its rating—where illicit behavior and expressions are part of the action.... anytime we look at or listen to this kind of material—even in its mildest form—the light inside of us grows dimmer because the darkness inside increases. The effect of this is that we CANNOT THINK as clearly... (H. Burke Peterson, Leave it Alone, New Era Jan 1995)
Your viewing of pornography and other sexual material influences your thoughts. Speaking of the effects of pornography Dallin H. Oaks noted:
"...When persons entertain EVIL THOUGHTS long enough for the Spirit to withdraw, they lose their spiritual protection and they are subject to the power and direction of the evil one...Patrons of pornography also lose the companionship of the Spirit. ...PORNOGRAPHY PRODUCES FANTASIES that destroy spirituality. ." (Pornography, Conference Talk April 2005).
Examples include: Nutrition, Sleep and Mental Illness.

"Retire to thy bed early, arise early that your bodies and MINDS MAY BE INVIGORATED." (D&C 88:124)

"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)

Mental Illness
And let's talk for a minute about Mental Illness. The brain is part of the body. Any organ of the brain can get a disease. When the brain gets certain diseases we call them Mental Illnesses or Brain Disorders. Mental Illness can influence our mind and thoughts. For example look at these symptoms CAUSED by mental illnesses:

Symptoms caused by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images or images that are experienced, at sometime during the disturbance, as intrusive and unwanted, and that is most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress. (DSM-V pg 237)
Symptoms caused by Major Depressive Disorder:
Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt; Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness; Recurrent thoughts of death;
recurrent suicidal ideation(DSM-V pg160)
Symptoms caused by a Manic episode as part of a Bipolar Disorder:
Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing; Inflated self-esteem;
Distractibility; Increased goal-directed activity... (DSM-V pg.124)

There are many other examples, but this should suffice in convincing you the body including mental illness, has a tremendous capacity to influence our thoughts/minds.

Let's start with a couple of scriptures:
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)
Following the feast of the Passover, for example, the devil put into the heart of Judas Iscariot … to betray [Jesus]” (John 13:2). During the translation of the Book of Mormon, Satan “put it into [the] hearts” of wicked men to destroy the work of the Restoration (D&C 10:10–12). And one more "For Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger..." (D&C 63:28).

Other quotes suggesting Satan can "put thoughts into" our minds and hearts come from Joseph Fielding Smith:
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)
And this is one of my favorite Joseph Fielding Smith quotes talking about in our day, “turmoil and contentions in the world” are due to the fact that some “leaders of nations” get “their inspiration from Satan” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:156).

This is the one we're most familiar with-personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. Unfortunately some believe that ALL impressions are from this source- and this is not true. As noted above. 

And finally, clearly we have the ability to influence our mind.
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)
Ezra Taft Benson said “If our channels are not clear of sin, then we may think we have gotten inspiration on a matter when it is really 'sin-spiration'—that is, promptings from the devil." (In His Steps, in 1979 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo, Utah: BYU, 1980], p. 63.)

Ezra Taft Benson also likened our minds to a stage on which righteous and wicked thoughts constantly compete for audience.
From one side of the wings the Lord, who loves us, is trying to put on the stage of our minds that which will bless us. From the other side of the wings the devil, who hates us, is trying to put on the stage of our minds that which will curse us. We are the stage managers; we are the ones who decide which thought will occupy the stage. … We are the ones who must decide whose thought will prevail. … We will be what we think about—what we consistently allow to occupy the stage of our minds” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988,p. 382).

All thoughts are NOT created equal- some can be from the devil, some from God, some from mental illness, some from yourself etc etc

"Our accountability begins with how we handle the evil
(unwanted) thought immediately after it
is presented (on our stage)."
(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988,p. 382).


Makes perfect sense to me.

Unfortunately, with mental illness, addictions and other certain conditions our ability to control our thoughts -manage our stage- can TEMPORARILY be impaired here on earth :(  (See: Free- According to the Flesh)

Practice controlling your thoughts, now.

FIRST: Think about the statements at the beginning of the blog and identify their likely source?
Environment, Body, Personal Revelation, Satan, You etc etc

SECOND: Think about your thoughts from the past few days and see which sources they may have come from-Environment, Body, Personal Revelation, Satan, You etc etc

dr rick

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Practice What I Preach

Where's last week's blog dr rick?

In 1828, the Lord counseled Joseph Smith to "not run faster or labor more than you have strength"  (D&C 10:4). King Benjamin gave the Nephites similar counsel: "It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength" (Mosiah 4:27).

It's a crazy summer. I'm...
spending time with family - (spent three weeks in Boston);
getting ready to run a half marathon - (or walk we'll see how it goes);
tending a gigantic garden with 100 tomato plants - (it's good therapy!);
evaluating murders, rapists, and child molesters from Logan to St. George - (evil is rampant);
etc etc
and this week-
preparing giving four lectures at BYU Education Week- (come say hi to me if you're there).
I'm guessing my summer is much like yours.
Unfortunately the blogs don't write themselves. :(

dr rick

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Not Enough of Me

The Best Bishop Ever!
If he was your Bishop you would probably say something like "He is the best ever. He would do anything for anybody. He is always there when you need him. etc etc." 

Bishop Smith had a busy ward. He had several complexes of low-income housing with a lot of movement and single/divorced moms. Another part of his ward was established busy families.  It seemed that every family that moved in or moved out received a visit from the Bishop. Of course he had a wife, a job and 3 children. Bishop Smith was going "from the morning unto the evening"  (Exodus 18:13).   He carried his cell phone everywhere and answered every call. He tried to have personal scripture study and prayers but usually just ended up falling asleep.  All too often he would miss Family Home Evening, his son's soccer game, and his regular temple visit  - because of a call for help from some member. After all he told his ward family "If there is anything I can ever do please call."

Bishop Smith learned:

"There’s Just Not Enough of Me to Go Around!"

When I met Bishop Smith he was asking about possible medication - in particular an antidepressant. He was low on energy, feeling discouraged, and just couldn't get his life organized - I can't find the balance between my church job, my work and my family.

He described his life to look something like this:
Why was Bishop Smith "wearing away" (Exodus 18:18) seeking an antidepressant?
He was doing the Lord's work wasn't he?
Why wasn't the Lord renewing Bishop Smith's strength and helping him "mount up with wings as eagles;... run, and not be weary; ... walk, and not faint  (Isa. 40: 31) ...

Why couldn't Bishop Smith be renewed  for example like Gordon B. Hinckley -

The Lord Enlarged Him, Expanded Him, Magnified Him!

Gordon B. Hinckley overseen the building of the 21,000 seat Conference Center, the issuance of the Proclamation on the Family, and the creation of the church's Perpetual Education Fund. In all, Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated or rededicated 92 different temples — 87 while president of the church — at 97 different dedicatory services- including the historic Nauvoo Illinois Temple. At the time of Hinckley's death, approximately one-third of the church's membership had joined the church under Hinckley's leadership. ( Gordon B. Hinckley From Wikipedia.)

HOW DO WE GET "WINGS AS EAGLES"like Gordon B. Hinckley
It's actually simple. Dieter Uchtdorf reminds us:
"FIRST, our relationship with
God is MOST sacred and vital."
( "Of Things That Matter Most", Ensign, Nov. 2010) 
As we arrange our lives and priorities to look something like this:
We will be renewed.

He filled the empty fishing net. (Luke 5:5,6)
He raised Lazarus from the dead. (John 11)
etc etc
He made MORE of the fish and bread to feed thousands. 
And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children (Matthew 15: 34-38)
He can do the same for you and I.

There will be enough of me to go around.

LEARN more by reading the blogs: 
My wife is not my number one priority;
Easy as 1,2,3...Unless an Angel tells you otherwise;
When Caring Hurts.

DO say a personal prayer on your knees-just you and God.
If you sense a need for superpowers do it both morning and night.
(It will feel awkward at first as those you live with observe your new behavior.)

dr rick
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