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Sunday, October 20, 2013

dr rick's "Five to Survive"

I often get asked How can you do your job? What's my job... visiting with murders, rapists, child molesters etc.... I've been to most jails in Utah at least once. I've heard every gross sexual crime ever committed -i think- in detail and sometimes with pictures.

This is how I do hard things:

RESOURCE ONE: EXERCISE. It's always been a good one for me... I usually go to Gold's Gym. Nothing special just a little swimming, running and biking. I've never won a race... and have no interest in winning. Here the Standard Examiner Bird and I are running the 10K with the CocaCola Classic in Layton. 

I finish a race.

"Nutritious meals, regular exercise, and appropriate sleep are necessary for a strong body, just as consistent scripture study and prayer strengthen the mind and spirit” (That We May Touch Heaven, Ensign, Nov. 1990, 46).

RESOURCE TWO: STUDY THE BOOK OF MORMON AND PRAY. For me reading the Book of Mormon while I run on the treadmill or bike works great. My Book of Mormon is large font. (I"m getting old now.) The covers fell off a year or two ago. The pages are worn. I'm in the Isaiah chapters right now and I again Isaiah and I have not connected :(  I'm anxious to get to Alma. To go along with my Book Of Mormon reading, I kneel in prayer doing my best to visit with our Heavenly Father. I go to the temple and Church as I've found these activities often strengthen my spirit. Like you, I never do as good as I want in going to the temple, reading every day, etc etc --- But I do my best. 

Spiritual development is tied very closely to a knowledge of the scriptures, where the doctrines are found." Boyd K. Packer (Jay E. Jensen, Why We Ask People to Read the Book of Mormon, New Era, Aug 2005)

RESOURCE THREE: READ OTHER STUFF AND THINK. Satan's War on Free Agency by Greg Wright. It has a ton of great thoughts. For me taking time to think and ponder new thoughts is a resource and strengthens my mind. Now, I'm involved with Greg's book learning -What Satan doesn't want you to know about the War in Heaven.
As I study and personalize new thoughts I want to share them with you - my family and friends!

"Learning to love learning is vital to our ongoing spiritual and personal development" (David Bednar, Learning To Love Learning, Ensign, Feb 2010)

RESOURCE FOUR: SERVICE WITH VOICES FOR VIRTUE. Since about 1978 I've been involved with volunteer services through various Foundations. I've always believed with God's help, I could make a difference. Well after many years and learning experiences- I think the Lord has blessed us with a message and a delivery system that works -Voices for Virtue. Simply,  this organization helps youth strengthen one another in virtuous living using social networking. Check it out... have your youth join! Think of it... nearly a quarter of a million young Voices for Virtue on our English Voices For Virtue Facebook Page and our Portuguese Voz da Virtude Page.  I spend time each week in volunteering.

"Service to others is one of the most important characteristics of a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is willing to bear other people’s burdens and to comfort those who need comfort (Mosiah18:8–9). Often Heavenly Father will meet the needs of others through you." For The Strength Of Youth

RESOURCE FIVE: GROW A GARDEN. This I've done since a child. Gardening began alongside my dad. When I need an hour of therapy. I'll go to my garden. Some weeks, I spend a lot of time in the garden. There is just something about pulling weeks, planting seeds and watching them grow that is healing for me.

By the way - Gardening is a great example of how an activity might be a resource to one -but a stress to another. For me gardening is a resource. For you it may not be. Remember a resource is personal, it has to work for YOU!

Here I am displaying our home grown ingredients for Karla's salsa.

"There are blessings in being close to the soil, in raising your own food even if it is only a garden in your yard and a fruit tree or two." (Ezra Taft Benson, Prepare for the Days of Tribulations, Ensign, Nov 1980)

I try to have at least....
one resource to strengthen each - my Mind, Physical Body and Spirit Body.
and a total of five resources.
Like you....
somedays I do better than others at having and using my resources. 
my resources change-sometimes from week to week.  
When I don't have enough resources I "catch"
what Jeffrey Holland calls
"Depletion Depression." (Like A Broken Vessel, Conference Talk Oct 2013)

Follow the impression you had for YOUR LIFE, as you read this blog.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

YEA! - for Elder Holland's Talk on Mental Illness

On Saturday Afternoon Session  of the 183rd Semiannual General Conference Elder Jeffry R. Holland spoke on mental illness and emotional problems.
Wow was I impressed!
As a psychologist, I've been to a lot of workshops, college courses, etc etc about mental illness but I'm not sure I've heard so many wonderful hopeful concepts.
I'm positive Elder Holland's talk will be among a very short list of LDS general authorities who have spoken publicly about mental illness.
The short list of other "Classic" talks on mental illness:

- Elder Boyd K Packer's talk published in the Ensign in 1978 and 2010:  Solving Emotional Problems In the Lord's Own Way;
-Elder M. Russell Ballard's 1987 Ensign article: Suicide: Some Things We Know, and
Some We Do Not;
-Elder Alexander Morrison's 2003 book: Valley of Sorrow: A Layman's Guide to Understanding Mental Illness and the Ensign article: Myths About Mental Illness;
-And Elder Rex D. Pinegar and our Foundation's 2005 book  And I Will Make Thee Whole: Helping Families with Mental Health Concerns.
(Or course now LDS.org has a Mental Illness section on their website: See: Mental Illness.)

Here are my observations on Elder Holland's talk
Like a Broken Vessel:
(I didn't like the title. I would have liked something more positive like "Broken Minds Can Be Healed.")

Elder Holland's "One liners"
It's always refreshing to see the stigma of mental illness reduced for both the surrounding loved ones and the person suffering from the illness. Elder Holland made several statements in his talk comparing mental illness with any other medical disease .... here are two of my favorites:
...there should be no more shame in acknowledging them [mental illness and emotional problems] than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.
And this one....
If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders [and mental illness]. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use ALL of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation..
Elder Holland referencing his OWN mental illness
Of course just having Elder Holland say the words "mental illness" in an official setting like Conference in my opinion is a small miracle. But to "admit" he has suffered from a serious depression condition is a much larger miracle. Elder Holland said:
I once terrifyingly saw it [depression] in myself. At one point in our married life when financial fears collided with staggering fatigue, I took a psychic blow that was as unanticipated as it was real. With the grace of God and the love of my family, I kept functioning and kept working,...
Elder Holland referencing President Smith's mental illness
Plus Elder Holland went one step further identifying numerous world leaders and other popular figures who have also suffered from depression/mental illness including:
Elder George Albert Smith, the latter being one of the most gentle and Christ like men of our dispensation, who battled recurring depression for some years before later becoming the universally beloved eighth prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Remember, in an earlier blog we told the story of President Harold B. Lee's battle with depression. See: Depression: A Dark Angel.

Believe it or not at times the "self-stigmatisation" (the stigma and shame the individual with mental illness has about themselves) is more devastating than even the mental illness symptoms! Read this last sentence again--- Believe it or not at times the "self-stigmatisation" (the stigma and shame the individual with mental illness has about themselves) is more devastating than even the mental illness symptoms! :( Reducing stigma helps healing! :)

Elder Holland used words like: "neuroses and psychoses, ... bipolarity, paranoia, and schizophrenia" and of course "MDD, Major Depressive Disorder."  He carefully discussed characteristics of Major Depressive Disorder identifying the difference between the mental illness and normal depression/discouragement we all experience.
When I speak of this, [Major Depressive Disorder] I am not speaking of bad hair days, tax deadlines, or other discouraging moments we all have. Everyone is going to be anxious or downhearted on occasion. ... But today I am speaking of something more serious, of an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person’s ability to function fully...
In an earlier blog Depression: A Dark Angel we talked about the confusion associated with the misuse of the word "Depression."

Clearly, Elder Holland has had a personal experience with the mental illness referred to as Major Depressive Disorder. You might ask how could I tell? Look at how he described depression:

-"a crater in the mind so deep that no one can responsibly suggest it would surely go away if those victims would just square their shoulders and think more positively"
 "this dark night of the mind and spirit is more than mere discouragement"
-“searched … and contemplated the darkest abyss
and of course his several references to suicide.
Only a person who has experienced the mental illness of "depression" would understand the associated darkness and despair.

And most helpful was Elder Holland's TO DO LIST for those suffering from the mental illness of Depression - here are a few:

1. Above all never lose faith in your Father in Heaven who
loves you more than you can comprehend.
2. Seek the counsel from those who hold keys for your spiritual well being.
3. Ask for cherish priesthood blessings.
4. Take the Sacrament every week.
5. Hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ
6. Believe in miracles.
7. Trusting in happier days ahead. Hope is never lost.
8. If the bitter cup does not pass drink it. And be strong.
9. Get the best medical care available.
For more suggestions check out the blog: Got depression? Do this.

Elder Holland goes on to give advice to caregivers, to talk about how to prevent "depletion depression",  and to share the story about Stephanie Clark Nielsen. (A few years ago Mormon Messages did a video on Sister Nielsen's story- My New Life. )
The fact that Elder Holland talked so openly and frankly about mental illness brings HOPE into the healing process for thousands of those who hear it.

A couple of other great quotes from his talk were:
"If we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly
will take time later on, to be ill."

"We are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions!" 
"Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed."

Watch Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's - Conference Talk on Mental Illness-Like a Broken Vessel.

Read the written text- Like a Broken Vessel of Elder Holland's talk.
(Make sure to pay attention to his last paragraph, it's the best!)

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

5th Sunday and Another Lesson About Porn

I lost count how many "talks" we've been given on pornography, but we just had one more. Obviously, the Bishop feels impressed we have a problem. We're told the presenter was a doctor "with expertise in treatment of pornography addiction." He showed up with his power point and we listened with our wives in the chapel.

After the doctor was finished I was more confused about pornography than before.

So here is my shot of simplifying pornography and the sexual response.

This is the simplest "Plan of Salvation" I could find. For a brief overview review this LDS.org document Plan of salvation Overview.

Boyd Packer summarizes the role of "Power of creation" also known as "Sexual Relations" - in the Plan of Salvation:
There was provided in our bodies—and this is sacred—a power of creation, a light, so to speak, that has power to kindle other lights. It is a sacred and significant power. This power is good. You who are teenagers, like every other son and daughter of Adam and Eve, have this power within you. The power of creation, or may we say procreation, is not just an incidental part of the plan—it is essential to it. Without [the sexual response] the plan could not proceed. The misuse of [the sexual response] may disrupt the plan...As this power develops within you it will prompt you in the search for a companion and empower you to love and to hold [her].." (The Sacred Power of Procreation, Lesson 24 Aaronic Priesthood Manual)

Okay, I think I got it-
1) There is a Plan of Salvation.
2) As part of that plan "...God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World.)
3) Sexual relations are essential to that plan.
4) Satan's goal is to disrupt the use of sexual relations.


There is an "Eternal Purpose of Sex".
(Teaching About Procreation and Chastity, Family Home Evening Resource Book)

Sexual relations is one of the few "things" the righteous will take with them. - into the Celestial Kingdom . Joseph Smith taught that by means of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, righteous partners can continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory. (D&C 131: 1-4)

So, when Satan influences you or I to misuse "sexual relations" here on earth, it will eliminate our ability to appropriately use "sexual relations" in the Celestial Kingdom.

That sexual response (on earth) consists of a series of hormones and neurotransmitters. See: God's Love Chemicals.

There is not a unique or special hormone or neurotransmitter triggered only by viewing pornography. The same hormones and neurotransmitters which are trigger by viewing porn,  are triggered by your sexual relations with your spouse. 

The sexual response can be re-taught to be triggered by anything... believe me in years of working with deviant sexual responses I've seen the sexual response be triggered by unbelievable gross, pathetic, evil etc etc. stimuli. - So disgusting I wouldn't even write it.

by hijacking the "sexual response" to occur outside of "the bounds" God has set.
One way Satan disrupts the Plan of Salvation is by having a person learn to trigger their sexual response to something/somebody other than their lawfully wedded spouse eg. same-gender partner, children etc. etc. To learn more about Satan's tactics see: Satan Exposed.

The same "sexual response" that "Porn experts" and "Brethren" talk about that
 binds (enslaves, addicts you) to pornography (or any other perversion)
... has the capacity to bind you to your spouse. -
Learn about God's Glue in: God's Love Chemicals

The GOAL of sex-specific treatment is NOT to Stop someone's sexual response! That would have eternal implications. Treatment success for pornography addiction occurs when the sexual arousal and interest is returned to your lawfully wedded spouse-"within the bounds the Lord has set."

There you go... that's as simple as I can make it.


Anything that entices a person to express the emotions and drives related to sexual response outside the marriage covenant is an attempt of Satan perverting the sacred physical endowment of sexual relations.

Identify and talk to your partner about four things Satan uses to disrupt sexual relations  in The Plan of Salvation.

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