Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Loving Those Who Have Strayed

In his talk Love and Law, Elder Oaks discusses how God’s love and His laws work together and not in contradiction to one another.

“The love of God does not supersede his laws and His commandments, and the effect of God’s laws and commandments does not diminish the purpose and effect of His love.”

Bad things can happen to good people and not nullify God’s love. Because of His love for us, He must allow people agency to choose—not only their actions but the consequences of those actions. If He were to stop every bad thing from happening, He wouldn’t have a person’s actions with which to hold them accountable to the law.

He gives great counsel as to how we should handle our loved ones who may make choices we don’t agree with.

In the midst of such stress, we must endure the reality that the straying of our loved ones will detract from our happiness, but it should not detract from our love for one another or our patient efforts to be united in understanding God’s love and God’s laws.

This really stood out to me. My daughter has many friends who have also left the church and fall under the LGBT umbrella. Most of them have parents who have disowned them, won’t talk to them, have kicked them out of their homes, and basically no longer support them. Exactly the opposite of how the Savior would treat them.

This breaks my heart. We have worked so hard to get our daughter to believe that we love her no matter what. She was convinced we would hate her because she chose to live a different way.

I have always been a Momma Bear when it comes to my girls and to their friends, who I love like my own. One of my hot buttons was hearing how parents would kick a daughter out of their home because she had gotten pregnant out of wedlock. I thought that at the moment when a child needed their parents love the most—they turned their backs on her. I told my daughter’s friends on several occasions that if that ever happened to them, they could come live with us.

No one has needed to take me up on that offer; however, that attitude was tested in my own home when my daughter left the church and again later told us she was pan sexual.

I just keep thinking of how the Savior would have me treat her. He would love her and support her, letting her know what He believed to be right and giving her an opportunity to come to Him, but loving her nonetheless.

This is how I am trying to love.

Dallin H. Oaks, Love and Law, October 2009

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Ultimate Irony - Again

“One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, invites and entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies.” [1]
I love this talk. I blogged about it a couple weeks ago. 

Although this statement was applied more to acting as if in a disembodied state by overuse of technology and being in the false world of virtual reality, it is amazing how it can be applied to so many ways in which Satan tries to get us to misuse our bodies.

I was trying to explain to my friend what it is like to be a compulsive eater and be eating something all the while knowing that you don’t want it, that it doesn’t even taste good anymore, and you just keep reaching for more. This talk came into my head. This is my disembodied state.

Aha moment!

This is one of the ways that Satan is trying to get me to misuse my body.

Another one of Elder Bednar’s restated points is that we are to act and not be acted upon. In those “disembodied” moments of compulsion, I feel acted upon. 

I feel out of control. 

Not in control. 

Helpless and hopeless.

Herein lies my struggle; to be present enough in times of stress or distress to stay present, and not be acted upon.

[1] Elder David A. Bednar, “Things as They Really Are,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, May 3, 2009, Brigham Young University-Idaho

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Power to Bear

President Benson, in his address To the Mothers in Zion, quotes President McKay who stated:
“Motherhood consists of three principal attributes or qualities: namely, (1) the power to bear, (2) the ability to rear, (3) the gift to love.”

When we read “the power to bear” we usually think of this in terms of a woman bearing a child. When I read this I was struck with an interesting thought. There are different ways the word “bear” could be used. The way it struck me was in a spiritual parallel of the priesthood.

Men bear the holy priesthood as a responsibility, gift and calling from God.

Women bear children as a responsibility, gift and calling from God.

Women are partners with God in the sacred work of creation—creating physical bodies for His spirit children.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How do you Abstain from Food?

The first Action Step of Step 1: Honesty is "Become Willing to Abstain." 

"People say individuals finally become willing to abstain when the pain of the problem becomes worse than the pain of the solution."[1]

How do you abstain from food

To find this out I had to go to the fount of all knowledge, Google. I learned that with food you “abstain from the behavior.” Easier said than done. If I could abstain from the compulsive eating behavior, I wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. I guess this is where completely surrendering to God comes in. I can’t do it on my own. I am no good on my own. But with His help, I can do it.

It is also important to have a Food Plan. I like the idea of a “plan” instead of a diet. The thought of having pre-planned, weighed and measured meals is not only stressful and depressing; it makes me want to poke an eye out. I guess I don’t do well when I feel my agency being taken away!

On the website, I found a food plan that clicked with me and which I modified just a bit. 301: 3 meals a day, 0 snacks, 1 day at a time. The one day at a time really spoke to me. Looking at this as a complete life overhaul is very overwhelming. I can do one day at a time. The modification I made takes it to:

321: 3 meals a day, 2 healthy snacks, 1 day at a time.

I guess it has been somewhat fortuitous in the timing of all this. I have been really sick for the past several weeks to the point where I have actually taken a leave from my temple assignment. I have been missing work and church, pretty much staying really friendly with “the lou.” Because of this, I have decided to go on an elimination diet to try and calm my body down and figure out what the problem is.

In 2010 I went on the HCG diet, minus the HCG injections, and the first two weeks I did an elimination diet. It was basically two eggs for breakfast cooked in real butter, two oranges for mid-meal snacks, and all the lean protein meats and raw green vegetables I want. I could use spices and olive oil on salad. That was doable. I had very strict guidelines but didn’t have to measure or weigh anything. After the two weeks, you could add in other things, just no dairy or grains. I lost about 85 lbs. on that diet. Unfortunately, whilst unemployed over the summer, my daughters and I did a lot of baking. My old eating habits returned and over the course of the next several years, I have gained most of that weight back.

Combining the 321 with that elimination diet is something I can do.

I am trying to be more “mindful” of when and what I am eating. 
I am trying to make better choices in food selection. 
I am trying to not eat food between meals, other than my planned snacks. 

This is something that I struggle with. Food is a stress coping mechanism. I have to be extremely aware and work at doing something else.

I am trying to not weigh myself. 

I don’t want this change to be about how much or how fast I can lose. I am trying to make this about changing my heart and soul, changing my life, feeling better, and being healthier.

[1] "Step 1: Honesty." The 12 Steps. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, n.d. Web. 23 June 2016.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Greatest of God's Powers

Human life is the greatest of God’s powers, the most mysterious and magnificent chemistry of it all, and you and I have been given it, but under the most serious and sacred of restrictions.

You and I–who can make neither mountain nor moonlight, not one rain-drop or a single rose–have this greater gift in an absolutely unlimited way.

And the only control placed on us is self-control–self-control born of respect for the divine sacramental power it is. Surely God’s trust in us to respect this future-forming gift is an awesomely staggering one.

Elder Holland has such a beautiful way of saying things. He can at once make something wonderful to read and utterly soul piercing.

Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2001

A Foreshadowing and Preparation for Eternity

We are currently focussing on the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the Proclamation and studying the Law of Chastity and the Sanctity of Life. We heard a talk given by Elder and Sister Bednar which brought a whole new dimension to marital intimacy and the procreative powers.

“How we feel about and use that sacred power in this life, in large measure, will determine whether additional creative power will be ours in the life to come.”

And then:

“. . . intimacy in mortality should be a grand expression of the love and deep commitment an individual has for his or her spouse, an outward expression of the inner desire to become one, and the ultimate expression of our divine nature and potential.”

It is a foreshadowing of and a preparation for eternity and what we will be there. We can begin to become in mortality what we will be in eternity.” 

*Mind somewhat blown*

This is such an interesting concept. I have never equated our feelings and use of intimacy and procreative power to be a foreshadowing and preparation and ultimately a determining factor of our creative power in the eternities.

 David A. Bednar and Susan K. Bednar, “Moral Purity,” 2003 BYU-Idaho Devotional address)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

An Ephiphany

Someone commented on a class discussion board about this quote from Elder Holland:

We do not have to be a herd of demonically possessed swine charging down Gadarene slopes toward the sea to understand that a body is the great prize of mortal life, and that even a pig’s will do for those frenzied pre-mortal spirits that rebelled, and to this day remain dispossessed in their first, unembodied estate.

Elder Holland goes on to quote James E. Talmage:

We have been taught … to look upon these bodies of ours as gifts from God. We Latter-day Saints do not regard the body as something to be condemned, something to be abhorred. We regard [the body] as the sign of our royal birthright. We recognize… that those who kept not their first estate… were denied that inestimable blessing…. We believe that these bodies… may be made, in very truth, the temple of the Holy Ghost…”

During the course of writing my response, I had an epiphany. 

Elder Holland has a way of saying things that really get the point across. Growing up we always heard our body is a temple. Working as an ordinance worker in the temple gives this statement greater significance. 

I bet you could ask any temple worker to show you the contents of their pockets and, aside from some lip balm and breath mints, they would have some sort of fluff or string or small piece of paper in there. I have buffed scuffs with the bottom of my slipper. Picked up a wayward kleenex and who knows how many pieces of fluff and strings in my time.

Something occurred to me regarding what we put into our bodies. 

This is the epiphany! 

Only those who have recommends - those who are worthy - are allowed to enter into the temple. Those who don't have them, aren't allowed access. I need to regard what I put into my body in the same way. What foods and amounts are "worthy" of going into my temple?

I found it really interesting that one of the Provident Living Plan suggestions was addiction -  and more specifically, relating to me - compulsive eating disorders.

This whole temple analogy testified to me that focusing on this addiction of mine is not only a way to learn how to overcome an addiction and to further sanctify myself, but is also teaching me how I should really view myself and how I should treat my own physical tabernacle.


Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2001

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Step 1: Honesty

On Tuesday, I attended my first general addiction recovery meeting. It was so hard to go there. Kind of like when you are driving to the dentist to get a root canal. You don't really want to go, but you know you need to. 

Fortunately, someone else arrived at the same time I did, so I didn’t have to walk in alone. Everyone was kind and welcoming and the two sister missionaries facilitating the meeting were adorable.

The group was reading about Step 6 in this meeting, but afterward, they gave me a booklet to take home and told me to start working on Step 1 and go at my own pace. One of the things that I loved, and found so interesting, was that everything said there was said through a testimony of our Savior and the Atonement.

Throughout the week, I read step one a couple times, went to the addiction recovery site to get a little more information, and listened to a sample meeting for Step 1. It is amazing the depths of despair and loneliness and sin in which some people have to go to be ready to face their demons of addiction. I have nothing but admiration for people who have faced those demons head on and battle them every day.

Although addiction is addiction, I haven’t been brought to the point of losing my family, my home, my employment, my testimony, or my virtue in search of feeding an addiction. For this I am grateful.


KEY PRINCIPLE: Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.

“. . . we soon discovered that the addiction relieved more than just physical pain. It provided stimulation or numbed painful feelings or moods. It helped us avoid the problems we faced—or so we thought. For a while, we felt free of fear, worry, loneliness, discouragement, regret, or boredom . . . “


Addiction surrenders later freedom to choose. Through chemical means, one can literally become disconnected from his or her own will.” [1]

Admitting I am powerless over something is very hard for me to do. I don’t want to have to need anyone. I want to be able to power through whatever problem there is and come out on the other side. I don’t want to be vulnerable or weak or not good enough. I put a lot of pressure on myself to become better and life doesn’t let me do it as fast as I want.

Does this make my goals unrealistic? Perhaps. Is this giving me a reason to seek for comfort and solace in food? Probably. Does this mean I will have to change my goals and dreams? I don’t know.

Shouldn’t I be able to dream big, reach for the stars, seek to become something better? Isn’t that what understanding our divine nature is about?

Do I have to settle for less?

Is this all that I am meant to be?

[1] Russell M. Nelson, Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 7; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 7

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Ultimate Irony

Listening to the podcast for class this week, there was a quote from Elder Bednar 's talk Things as They Really Are, which  was very thought provoking:

“One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, invites and entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies.” [1]

I love this talk. While he was giving it, this statement was applied more to a person behaving as if in a disembodied state through the overuse of technology and being in the false world of virtual reality. It is amazing how it can be applied to so many different ways in which Satan tries to get us to misuse our bodies.

Because the family is so central to the Plan of Happiness, one of the ways he tries to get us to misuse our bodies is through sexual sin. I find it so interesting to think that, what is done for pleasure, can lead to such heartache outside the bonds of marriage. Sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, single mothers raising children in poverty, and children raised without a father, just to name a few.

I asked my class members how can we as parents, in a world which views chastity and fidelity as a thing of the past, teach our children to want to live a higher standard.

The common responses were: 
  • begin teaching children while they are young 
  • be an example in the way we live our lives

I believe it is never too early to begin teaching our children correct principles, and that includes talking about sex and the sacredness of it and our bodies. 

I am also a fan of being an example through our actions. Kids have a highly fine-tuned BS detector. They will see right through any attempt to parent in the "do as I say, not as I do" method. 

Through it all, though, we have to remember that children have agency. Agency is all fine and good until you see your kids making stupid choices! We have to remember to love them as our Savior would and to not stop loving them because we don't like what they have chosen. 

The Atonement is real. Our Savior is keen to save us. He wants to save our children. 

[1] Things as They Really Are , Elder David A. Bednar, CES Fireside for Young Adults, May 3, 2009, Brigham Young University-Idaho

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Hi, My Name is Linda

My class, The Eternal Family, is done in two-week units. Each unit has a Provident Living Plan assignment in which we are to set a goal in relation to the topic, and work on it for the two weeks. So far we have had Finance, Healthy Eating and Exercise, and Scripture Study. This week was about Media Management.

We are given several ideas for goals to choose from. Being in school, I don't really have a lot of time to watch TV, and since I have become a temple worker, my media management is pretty good. I try to listen to things that are uplifting, don't watch rated R movies, and mostly read school stuff and business or self-improvement books. The final suggestion was addictive behaviors. It specifically mentioned "compulsive eating disorders."

Well then.

Compulsive eating.

Welcome to my world.

It appears this is what I need to work on in my life. Healthy Eating a few weeks before wasn't sufficient.

So, I went to the Church's addiction recovery site and did a bit of reading. I found that there was a Women's Only General Addiction meeting here in town and put it on my calendar to attend.

This is a very scary thing to do. It is difficult enough to live with an addiction - something that you are ashamed of and can't control - but to go and speak it and bare the deepest darkest parts of your soul to others, words can't describe.

The effects of this addiction are more than just the extra weight on my body. There is extra weight on my soul. Living with shame is a burden. I avoid people I knew when I was thinner because I am embarrassed about the way I look. I almost think it would be more socially acceptable to be a recovering alcoholic than to have an eating disorder that makes you fat. I have often wished I was anorexic because then, at least I wouldn't be fat.

The hardest thing about this is knowing that because of my addiction, I have raised my girls to carry on similar behaviors. This is that last thing I would want my daughters to have deal with, yet that is exactly what has happened.

Addiction breeds addiction.

I know this is something my Heavenly Father wants me to work on right now and that through Him and the enabling power of the Atonement, I can face this.

As hard as it may be, I will face this.