Thursday, May 24, 2012

Healing

“If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou
canst be healed” (Alma 15:6, 8)

 When we think of healing, we usually think about our bodies. What else about you might require the healing power of Jesus Christ?

The need to be healed implies a wound or a sickness, so really this questions is asking in what ways am I wounded and it what ways am I sick?

Wounded

I find myself thinking that I shouldn't be "wounded," that the idea of having a wound that has been inflicted on me by someone else implies a victim, and I don't want to be a victim.  But waht if that wound has been self-inflicted....what if my spiritual wounds are my own doing?  That's not victimhood then, that's owning my actions and their consequences.

So, how have I wounded myself? How have made myself sick?

My spirit is weak, it is sick....I have allowed myself to become disensitized to to entertainment that drives away the spirit.  This is a wound that needs healing.

My body is weak, it is wounded...I have allowed my mind and body to be controlled by an addiction and that means my body and mind are not working the way they should, or could if I were not wounded physically and emotionally.


It is also true that my interaction with others--both how I have been treated and how I treat others--has made my spirit sick and has wounded my body, and the savior can heal that too.  He can give me the power to overcome my own self-consciousness, he can help me fear God more than man, he can grant me peace in righteous living, he can help me "Be still and know that I am God."

And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

The Israelites only had to look and live.  So it is my duty and my salvation to look to God.  and if I am looking to God, then it is a lot harder to veer off course.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Divine Strength for Recovery

How can the gift of divine strength enable you to
maintain continuous recovery?

Psalms 59:17  Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing:
 for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy. 

The Psalmist sings that God is his defence... in what way though?  When I need defending, in what way does God accomplish that for me? It would seem thait has something to do with the power that comes from:

1) divine grace-this is the power given to us by God through the Goodness and mercy of God.  This is the addedd power and strength that comes from the atonement, it is a gift from God and it is his way of empathizing with our mortal situation.  This is not predicated on our obedience or on our worthineess, but comes straight from God's love, compassion, and charity.  And it is this reason that charity is long suffering...because God is long suffering...God continues to give us his Grace even in the face of our struggles to be obedient.

2) obedience to God's commandments.  In addition to strengthening us through is grace, god strengthens us by granting us a portion of his Spirit according to our obedience to His commandments.  God cannot grant us more of his Spirit without our obedience. 

D&C 121:47: Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

So, this is perhaps what it means when Nephi says we are saved by Grace after all that we can do.  Not that Grace makes up for our gap between Earth and Heaven, but that after all we can do, it is by grace that we are saved.  Nothing we can do on our own will ultimately save us. That will come by the Grace of God.  It is a divine gift.  But to be exalted, to receive all the father has, to be strengthened by the Lord so that our confidence waxes strong, we must be obedient to God's commandments.  Our job is not to save ourselves, but to follow the Savior and be what he would have us become, and leave the saving to him. When follow the savior, he blesses us with more of his Spirit, which makes it easier to follow him more.

So if divine strength is going to help me through continuous recovery I must

1) rely on divine grace. Pray for it, look for it, and acknowledge it when I see it.

2) seek the strengthening power of the Holy Ghost.  Live obediently, act on promptings, stand in holy places.

Will do!

-AC

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Gift of Grace


“Let us . . . come boldly unto the throne of grace, that
we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time
of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

When I can think of the idea of acting out and even the thought seems abhorrent...that is grace.

When the face of my children remind me of my own nothingness, and my own reliance on God...that is grace.

When I am blessed for my efforts despite my imperfections...that is grace.

When the scriptures remind me to repent, and remind that God is patience....that is grace.

When I am blessed with opportunities to serve and the spirit supports me in that service...that is grace.

When my wife embraces me in spite of my weakness...that is grace.

When the sacrament soothes my spirit...that is grace.

I think that part of receiving God's  Grace is akin to receiving the Holy Ghost.  Both Grace and the HG are granted unto us, but it is our job to receive it.  Unless we are willing to accept God's grace, it can do little for us.    And I think we accept that grace by doing the Lord's will, by "entering into his rest."  Relying on God's grace means giving up the toil of mortality in as much as it pertains to trying to figure out on our own how to make it through the world.  When we enter into the Lord's rest, we decide to include him in all of our decision making and in so doing we receive grace, peace, forgiveness, and confidence.  This is the Lord's rest--not a rest from challenges, but a rest from the anxiety and despair of the world. We can have hope...I have hope that through the Savior Jesus Christ I can be forgiven.

-AC



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Savior’s compassion

“Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said
with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”
(Mark 9:24).
It's been a rough 24 hours.  I haven't acted out, but I did follow a link to a new article about pornography that led me to some censored photos related to the story.  It was the pornography addiction equivalent of walking into the liquor store and running my fingers over the bottles without actually buying anything to take home.

And when I do that, when I let Satan keep his hook in me, when I try to keep even one toe in that world, the Spirit withdraws and it makes it very difficult to love my wife, to patiently parent my children, and to focus on my work.  This was a little misstep, a hiccup that could have been much worse, but it is also a reminder that I am still addicted, that it only takes one moment of weakness combined with the right series of stressers for me to relapse, and I am not ever going to do that.

I used to wonder, before I started this program, when I would relapse. It was almost an inevitable thing for me--i wondered how long I would be sober, except that I didn't use that language because I didn't think of my problem as an addiction.  I thought about it terms of will power. How long can I hold out this time?  And inevitably I would screw up and feel absolutely miserable.

Now I don't think in terms of relapse, but in terms of these little moments.  I have decided never to view pornography again. I will not view pornography again.  I have also accepted the fact that I temptation is part of life, that my triggers will be my triggers and that I will have to face that temptation in a variety of forms  forever.  I have accepted that some days will be harder, that some days I will go down paths that will leave me feeling the way I am feeling right now, but I am also determined to keep my eyes wide open, to to recognize when I am going down those paths and step back. I am determined to take the steps necessary to allow the atonement to work in my life. And I will feel better soon. For now I am grateful for the sensitivity of the Spirit that doesn't allow me to rationalize away anything.

And mostly, I am grateful for the Lord's compassion and patience with me.  This whole time he has stood beside me, waited for me to make the decision to seek his help, to work through my addiction with fear and trembling before him.  I know I cannot do it alone Lord, and I am grateful that there is always a second chance, that no matter how late the hour, that I can come to him and find rest.

-AC

Monday, April 30, 2012

Faith in Jesus Christ


“Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord
Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to
be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand
every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the
Lord Jesus Christ” (Alma 37:33).

I think for most of my growing up years, and the first few years of my marriage after my addiction resurfaced, I thought that it would just take will power to get over it.  I expected friends or priesthood leaders to hold me accountable, and i expected to be able to keep one foot in the addiction by viewing soft-core, or other titillating  material while telling myself that as long as I avoided hardcore pornography that I was okay.

Sometimes the addiction cycle felt like a slow ferris wheel, other times it felt like a tilt-a-whirl, but always i felt like the addiction was in control and that I was at its mercy.

It wasn't until I realized (and I'm still realizing this every day), that I needed to leave myself at Christ's mercy in order to no longer be at the mercy of my addiction.  Today I know better than ever that Christ is in control, if I let him be.  That his mercy and grace are sufficient for me if I humble myself and do his will. If i serve and sacrifice and love and pray and repent and rely on his goodness, then I have the power to overcome my weaknesses, to make them strengths, and to use my own challenges to help others.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Believe in God, Believe God

“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created
all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he
has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in
earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the
things which the Lord can comprehend” (Mosiah 4:9).

What evidences of God and His love have you experienced?

I think the love of God manifests itself most often in my life through my children. Each one is a small grace, a perpetual gift form God, a reminder of what it means to be innocent, pure, and utterly good.

I feel God's love through the healing power of forgiveness, the peace that comes from repentance, the cleansing influence of the Holy Ghost.

I feel God's love through the sanctifying process of sacrifice and service. When I visit with someone who is suffering, strugging, or shaking in their feeble knees, I feel the power and love of God reaching out to them, and I want to be there for them.

I feel God's love and power when he grants me opportunities to step up and be better, when he patiently waits for me to come around.

I feel God's love and power in the scriptures that I read, in the sacrifices that were made to bring them to me, and in the words he gave to his inspired prophets.

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Self-Imposed Isolation"

"Eventually you will find yourself ready to
kneel and pray aloud. You will find how good it feels to
express your feelings and needs to God. You will feel you
have reopened a conversation with someone who will
always answer you, not always with a yes but always with
love. At last you will begin to experience the healing
effects of breaking out of self-imposed isolation."


Self-Isolation is an interesting concept in light of that famous footsteps poem. I don't think God ever really withdraws from us.  we can shut out the Holy Ghost from our hearts but he is always right outside the door, so to speak, waiting for us to let him back in.  We isolate ourselves by holding up something in front of our eyes so closely that it blocks out the reality that the Savior is standing right beside us. We isolate ourselves by closing our eyes tightly, by turning our head, by plugging our ears, by screaming to be "left alone" because sometimes dealing with the truth seems to hard.

But I think it seems most hard when we don't see hope for ourselves.  If all we see are our failures and mistakes, then its hard to feel God's love, hard to accept that he accepts us, hard to be okay with being human.


Consider Alma's words to Corianton, who, of all the characters in the scriptures, is probably our best example of a recovering sex addict (though there is not suggestion that he was addicted, only that he allowed himself to be tempted away by a harlot--which is kind of how it starts for all of us, right?"

 30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the ajustice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his bmercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in chumility.

I must be humble in order to see God in my life, in order to bring myself out of isolation.  I appreciate that Alma exhorted his son not only to focus on the justice of God, but also on his mercy and his long-suffering.  These are the two characteristics of God that allow the atonement to work in my life, but they are also the two that I have to choose to take advantage of.  God won't save me in my sins, nor will he force me to repent, but he will be merciful when Ido repent, and he will suffer my infirmities, weaknesses, and habits as long as it takes for me to turn to him.

I am turning to him today.

"The action required in step 2 is simply to become willing to practice believing in the love and mercy of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the accessibility and blessing of the Holy Ghost."

-AC

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Introduction to Step 2

"As we took step 2, we became willing to replace trust in ourselves and our addiction with faith in the love and power of Jesus Christ. We took this step in our minds and in our hearts, and we experienced the truth that the foundation of recovery from addiction must be spiritual."

Step Two.  I'm here.  I'm not sure I've completed step one.  Being completely honest with myself and with others. I've been so busy lately that I feel very much like I've been going through the motions. Little time for my wife, little time for much of anything except for work and my calling.  I've been able to spend a little time with my children, and my wife and I spend some evenings together, but for the past two months I have felt pretty disconnected from meaningful life...I think I'm just exhausted and I don't know what to do about it.

I'm facing deadlines at work, and stressful responsibilities at Church and I am not getting the sleep I need and I have little patience for my children or for my wife...The ironic thing is that usually this woudl be pushing me to act out, but I haven't struggled with that very much recently either beyond the typical nagging voice in the back of my mind that reminds me I have an addiction.

What I'm feeling right now is different than "going through the motions," because I don't feel like I'm not accomplishing anything, more like I don't feel I have the balance in my life that I need. And of course it is when I feel most out of balance that I am likely to screw up. So, what can I do to get myself back in balance?

I'm glad to be starting step two.  I feel like my happiness, my ability to resist temptation, and my ability to succeed at work depend a great deal on my sense of hope.

I know that I can and should rely on the Savior, Jesus Christ,  to help me through these moments.  I know that his gospel will give me hope, that obedience to his Gospel will secure that hope for the long term, and I know that hope in Jesus Christ's atonement will ultimately save me from myself.

"The tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and . . . the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us” --Elder Bednar

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Lord’s delight


“Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that
deal truly are his delight” (Proverbs 12:22).

Honesty is an essential part of discipleship because it is an essential part of Godliness. Honesty is an essential part of Godliness because God must be completely trustworthy (not that its in his nature to be anything other than such. Its a simple fact that if God were not trustworthy, he would cease to be God.  Certainly God is not in any danger of losing his status as God--Honesty is who He is.  And its who He wants us to become.



Think about this...what if God did not keep his promises?  What if we could not trust him. What if there was no law "irrevocably decreed in bheaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all cblessings are predicated" that when "we obtain any ablessing from God, it is by bobedience to that law upon which it is predicated."  God is just because God is honest and true, and if God somehow failed to be honest, he would fail to be just, and if he failed to be just:

  • Alma 42:13

    13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.
     
And if my responsibility is to be like Him, to magnify Him, and to serve in His name, then it is as much my responsibility to be honest...How can my kids trust me if i am not honest and true? How can my wife trust me if I am not honest and true? How can those I serve, those I call to repentance, those I challenge to make changes in their life--how can they trust me if I am not honest?

So the first step to any movement towards God is to be honest with myself and with those around me, and with God.

Here's to being honest.

-AC

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Compelled to be Humble


“Because ye are compelled to be humble blessed
are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to
be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely,
whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that
findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same
shall be saved” (Alma 32:13).

The first time I realized I had an addiction was about eight years ago.  I'd grown up struggling with what seemed like an uncontrollable compulsion to seek out pornography, but the idea of addiction had not even entered my mind--not until I was older and thought I'd dealt with my habit.  But then, when I allowed it to creep back into my life and I saw how it was affecting my ability to love and serve my wife, and to care for my children, I had to admit to myself, to my Bishop, and to my wife that I was, and still am, an addict.


I am an addict.

Those are four hard words to say. 

Say them again.

I am an addict.

I am addicted to pornography.

Now, say,

The Savior is healing my addiction.

I am healing my addiction.  The savior loves me, I love myself, and my happiness and peace of mind are too important to allow an addiction to take over my life. 

I think what has compelled me to seek forgiveness has was firs fear that I might ruin my life, that if I allowed my addiction to control me that it would ruin me; second fear that I might ruin my marriage and my relationship with my children; third, fear that I might lose opportunities to help others.

Even now, as i write this blog, I do it out of a sense that if i don't keep treading water, climbing the latter, I'll never get out of this mess and it will dog me for the rest of my life. 

Two years ago, a bishop invited me to go through this manual, and I didn't think much of it.  I had may addiction "under control" I thought, and even with the occasional slip up or 'white-knuckle week', I was doing fine. 

And, ironically, it has been this pattern of being almost out of the water that has finally compelled me to work my way through this book.

It seems to me that there is power in all this self-reflection and introspection.  It's time to be honest about who i am and what I really want. 

Answer: I am a child of God, a husband, a father, a friend, a disciple.
Answer: I want peace, power in the priesthood, harmony, love, the ability to see and feel and hear and touch and taste the world as it really is, not as it appears through the numbing fog of addiction.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How Have I lied about my addiction?

"Without honesty, our lives . . . will degenerate into ugliness and chaos" --Gordon B. Hinckley•

Oooh, honesty time here...I have lied in so many ways about my addiction, how can I even start..

  • deleting browser histories
  • lying to my wife about time spent online
  • downplaying the addiction to priesthood leaders
  • downplaying the addiction to myself
  • I've lied to myself about what type of behavior constitutes "acting out." 
  • I've lied to myself about the easiness of repenting
  • I've lied to myself about my ability to "control" myself
  • I've lied to myself and about how acting out effects my decision making, my patience, my charity, my desire to love and serve
I know there are so many other ways that I have lied to myself, to others, and to God either directly or indirectly and the chaos it has created has been frustratingly obvious.

When I am preoccupied by sex because of my addiction, I hold my wife to unfair expectations about my sexual needs.

when I lie about my addiction I damage the trust in my relationship with my wife.

When I lie about my addiction I lose the Spirit, lose my priesthood power, loose my authority and credibility with my children.

When I lie about my addiction I feel physically ill, I  feel worthless, and i alternate between hating myself and hating everyone around me and hating hte situation that I'm in and the powerlessness that i feel.

Ugliness is a lack of beauty, a lack of the qualities that induce pleasure, peace, goodwill...ugliness is the opposite of godliness, when I lie, I am damaging my soul, I am weakening my faith, and undermining my efforts to recover.

Chaos is a lack of order, a lack of control and structure, a lack of a plan, a lack of a purpose. God works in beauty and order and lying disrupts both...

"For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments."  D&C 82:14

Part of the beautiful garments of  Zion is honesty--a robe of integrity and truth that can only be worn by those are honest with themselves, others, and God.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"How can your hunger for things of the Spirit help you be more honest?"

When I am honest, I am being obedient to a commandment of God.

When I am obedient to the commandments of God, I am blessed with a portion of God's spirit.

When I am blessed with a portion of God's Spirit, my capacity for obedience increases.

When my capacity for obedience increases, my ability to be honest increases and my communion with the Holy Spirit increases.

So, What are the "things" of the  Flesh?

(Galations 5:19-23) "Now the works of the aflesh are manifest, which are these;

Adultery, - infidelity to marriage covenants
fornication, - violations of others chastity as well as my own
uncleanness, - both physical (disease, viruses, etc) and spiritual (unworthy of Spirit)
lasciviousness, - preoccupation with sexual things numbs spiritual sensibilities and ability to appreciate the world,
Idolatry, - worship of objects other than God (drugs, sex, money, power)
witchcraft, - "pharmakia" in the greek, or "sorcery"  hmm...the use of drugs perhaps?
hatred,  - a numb spirit is a hateful spirit
variance, - competition, conention, strife,  again, a numb spirit is a hateful spirit
emulations, - envy
wrath, - cruelty 
strife, - contention, the inability to work together, pride
seditions,  - to speak ill of someone, gossip, etc..
heresies, - to bend and break and twist the gospel to fit ones needs
Envyings,  - see strife and emulations
murders, - sins of the flesh will ultimately lead to murder
drunkenness, - allowing the flesh to control everything leads to addiction 
revellings, - unchecked, unbridled passions

...
that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

And What are the fruits "THINGS) of the Spirit?
But the afruit of the bSpirit is  
love,  - the spirit will help me feel God's love and others' love as well, and it will help me love others
joy,  - the spirit will help me feel true joy.
peace,  - as I feel the spirit, I will receive the peace that comes with forgiveness and the knowledge that I am, at least in some way, living well enough to have the Holy Ghost with me.
longsuffering,  - the spirit will give me the strength to endure through my addictions
gentleness, - the spirit will help me be softer with my children
goodness, - the spirit will make me a better, kinder, person
faith, - the spirit will give me added faith that I can be forgiven,
Meekness,  - the spirit will help me be humble, teachable, and more willing to follow promptings to avoid acting out
temperance - seeking after the things of the spirit will help me be more temperate, have more control of my physical desires

To hunger and to thirst after things of the spirit is to:

Enjoy the scriptures
Pay attention in church
Read the Ensign
Seek opportunities to serve
Choose wholesome entertainment
sacrifice my "natural man" needs for the needs of others
etc, etc, etc

Friday, March 23, 2012

From Insatiable emptiness to insatiable hunger

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

“And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before
my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and
supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long
did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did
still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens”
(Enos 1:4).
I have felt bot h the emptiness of addiction, shame, and guilt, as well as the hunger associated with humility, faith, and a desire to do good.  

There is something about the relationship between emptiness and hunger. They are NOT the same thing.  Emptiness is a state of dejection, almost an inverse of constipation wherein my soul is blocked off and empty, nothing gets in and nothing gets out.  With emptiness there is no hope, only shame, regret and a sense of compulsive inevitability.  I am feeling it right now.  I haven't done anything terrible, haven't jumped off the wagon at all, but maybe left me feet dangle of the back, my heels dig into the dirt as we go.  The spirit flees and I am empty.  That is perhaps what it means at the heart of it ...to be void of the Spirit, the place in our body and soul that wants to be occupied by the Holy Ghost is not occupied and I feel empty, alone, not abandoned, but the opposite of abandonment--self-inflicted exile.  I have exiled myself from the kingdom of God.

But Hunger, what is hunger?  To hunger and thirst after righteousness.  This is, I imagine, a spiritual version of the hunger an athlete feels after a workout.  The more one works out, the more one needs to eat, the more satisfying a meal is, the better a person feels, and the cycle continues.

The emptiness of addiction is the emptiness of someone who eats poorly and doesn't exercise. They are always full, but never satisfied, they are always consuming and never getting what they need--their diet leaves them empty because what they are consuming contains no nutrition.

The whole point of this first section is to help me be more honest with myself and with others...so how can hungering and thirsting after righteousness help me be more honest?  Well,  I think that has to do with an acknowledgement of what my spiritual diet and exercise regimen does for me--I need to be honest with the Lord about how I am feeling and how my behavior makes me feel and stop listening to the lies that encourage me to continue destructive, compulsive behavior.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for my weaknesses that help me to be humble.  Thank you for the challenges and opportunities to serve others.  Thank you for your son, Jesus Christ, for his atonement, and for the blessings of mortality, of the opportunity to choose between that which will fill me and cause me to grow, and that which will leave me empty and  spiritually stunted.

My I choose righteousness every time.

-AC

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recognizing my own Helplessness

Mosiah 3:19 For the anatural bman is an cenemy to God, and has been from the dfall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he eyields to the enticings of the Holy fSpirit, and gputteth off the hnatural man and becometh a isaint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a jchild, ksubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

 Why is it always children? Jesus said "suffer the little children to come unto me," and he also said, unless we become as a little child, we cannot enter the kingdom of God.  My first inclination is to think of the stress my own children cause me and the lack of rational thinking skills and the sense of entitlement that they often exhibit.  But when I look at a child through God's eyes I see innocence, purity, a desire to serve, a desire to love, a desire to be obedient.  i think most o the problems that my children exhibit are less about who they are internally and more about who i am and how my thirty years of negative behaviors, habits, and hang ups have rubbed off on them. And when i think about that I think the only way to make up for it is to love them and serve them and do my best to apologize along the way.

So, if I am going to become as a child (as god sees them and knows them) and not as  child as I see them and know them, that means I must be
  • completely obedient and willing to do whatever he asks,
  • curious about the world and what makes it work,
  • desirous to learn as much as a I can about the things that matter most,
  • willing to sacrifice anything and everything to prepare for the future He has in plan for me.
 A hard lesson for my oldest child to learn is that he needs the experience, wisdom, and knowledge of his parents and that receiving help, guidance, feedback, rebuke, suggestions, or council is not a bad thing....but I think this is a hard lesson for all of us to learn, for me to learn.
Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.

So addiction is my weakness.   God has certainly shown that to me.  So my job is to be humble, and his grace will be sufficient for me.  I must humbled myself and he can make my addiction an asset.  I'm already seeing this a little bit.  I am in such a better place than I was five years ago. I'm not perfect and I still struggle occasionally with the temptation to view pornography, but I have been sober for a long time and I have recently had the opportunity to help a friend who just came out to his wife about his pornography addiction it has been really hard for both of them.  My addiction, though it is still a weakness is becoming a strength in small ways as I use my own recovery experience to empathize with and support these friends.  

I think that in the way that Alma used his past sins to teach his sons, those of us recovering from pornography addiction, those of us members of the first wave of the internet generations who were unprepared for the challenges of the new world, will have an important, maybe even essential role as the Church moves forward in helping strengthen its priesthood and protect its members from the evils of pornography.

I'm grateful to the Savior Jesus Christ for his atonement, grateful that I can repent and seek his forgiveness, grateful that as I feel the influence of the Holy Ghost that I am sanctified and purified before him, grateful that I can, as  I strengthen myself and become converted, that I can go out and help my brethren.

-AC

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Infinite Worth vs. Mortal Nothingness

"Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing i never had supposed" --Moses 1:10

"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" --D&C 18:10

How can we be both infinitely valuable to God, but at the same time be nothing?  What did Moses mean when he said the had never supposed that man was nothing?  Certainly it has something to do with the false notion put forth by Korihor that:

"every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime." (Alma 30:17)

At first ring, this line from Korihor sounds right.  We have our agency, we have been put on this earth to use that agency to grow and "manage the creature" inside of us, but the problem with Korihor's philosophy is that it removes God from the picture. We prosper according to our own genius, but where did we get that genius from? We owe everything to God, and are only one small nano-particle in the vast expanse of his creation.

On the other hand, we are created in His image, and we are the crowning of His creations. and his entire work and glory is to

"bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."  

So, on the one hand we are nothing without God, we owe everything to him and would be lost with out him, but on the other hand we are the object of his greatest affection, and his greatest project.  That is encouraging.

I am weak, I struggle, and I fail, but when I rely upon the Lord and trust him, I know that I have an unconquerable force in my corner.

That is really encouraging.