“Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Step 9 - Restitution and Reconciliation

Wherever possible, make direct restitution to all persons you have harmed.

Before I share with you my comments about this step, I would first like to remind you that if you do not have an Addiction Recovery program study guide, you can go to and read it in English and even print it off. You can get this Program study guide in many other languages as well by going to,11666,8517-1-4751-1,00.html
Many years ago, before I even knew about this step or the Addiction Recovery program, I had determined. that I needed to put some past hurt feelings behind me so that I could move on in my own progress in this life. My list was small but the two or three names on that list caused my heart to hurt and feel such an array of emotion that I knew I needed to heal. I couldn’t remember all the details of the situations and hurts, but I did still harbor the same bad feelings toward them. It was amazing to me that I could remember more of the hurtful details of these few past experiences, than the details of the good and positive ones that I have had. This told me that I really needed to put them behind me once and for all and nobody could do this but me.I pondered and prayed as to how I could best accomplish this. I decided that I should just make a phone call and hopefully the person I needed to talk to would humor me enough to listen. With much fear and trembling and a very humble heart, I made the first call. The person I wanted to speak with actually answered the telephone. I introduced myself to her and with a bit of surprise in her voice, she responded with an “It’s nice to hear from you after all these years.” That small sentence let me know that what I was about to say would be received. Before I knew it, a wealth of tears began to flow and my voice became shaky, as I told her of the bad feelings I had toward her in the past and that I wished to ask her forgiveness for whatever I had done to make her feel toward me the way she did. She responded in kind, and though I felt embarrassed for crying, it was such a huge relief to get those words and feelings out in the open after such a long time. She accepted my apology, and said that she was sorry for whatever she had done to make me feel that way. Our conversation ended quickly but on a positive note.

After hanging up the telephone, I felt such a huge relief that I burst into tears again and sobbed. Once I got control of myself, I realized I felt like a new person. I had just lost at least 40 lbs. that I had been carrying around with me for so many years. That burden was lifted, and I felt finally at peace. I wondered why I had waited so long to make that call. I guess it was fear, hurt, anger, and all the other emotions that went along with it. Those were now gone and I could move on.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ can lift the burdens that weigh us so heavily down. Christ paid the price for all of us and we all need to remember this wonderful gift. We need to do our part to make this burdon lifting Atonement happen and that is to
humble ourselves, to admit our wrongs, and make restitution.

There is no need to fear this process of making restitution with others, because either they will forgive you or not, but it will cleanse your soul, and lighten your load. It is worth it and the sooner the better as I have learned. I hope and pray that you too will seek the opportunity to use the Atonement in your life, and be able to really live and be happy again.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Step 8 - Seeking Forgiveness

Make a written list of all persons you have harmed and become willing to make restitution to them.

This step focuses on reaching out to and mending relationships with others. It involves a lot of soul searching, courage and prayer in making a list of those who you need to forgive or seek forgiveness from. Prayerfully seek the guidance from Heavenly Father . as He is there for you will help you to be able to accomplish this daunting task.

“By becoming willing to make amends, you benefit from the peace of knowing that Heavenly Father is pleased with your efforts. This step helps you take the actions that enable the Savior to set you free from your past. “ (ARP manual, Step 8, p. 48.)

The Apostle Paul wrote a great discourse on charity. The writings of the prophet Mormon clarify what charity is and how to obtain it. He defined Charity as "the pure love of Christ” and taught that the Father gives it to those who ‘pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart” and to "all who are true followers of his son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 7:47,48). Charity is a gift that we receive as we learn to follow Jesus Christ and as we love Him with all our hearts, minds and souls. Filled with this pure love from Him and for Him, we find ourselves able to love others as He loved us. We become able to forgive the faults of others and to make amends for our mistakes.

“The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs…. If you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 5:24).

How important is it for us to be able to take this step and learn to forgive? Jesus explained it to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22 "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: until seventy times seven” Just as Christ told Peter to forgive seventy times seven, we desire the same from others.

A friend of mine shared a thought with me once. She said, “The Lord made our shoulders round so that things could roll off of them instead of square shoulders that would make things stack up and weigh us down.” I testify that as we take the action of forgiving others and ourselves, the heavy load we have been carrying, will be lifted! You will then be able to feel exquisite joy. Compassion and love will enter your heart and soul to replace anger, hurt, hatred, bitterness and sorrow.

“…men are that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25) I pray that through this process of seeking forgiveness, you can find the joy and happiness that was meant for you in this life.

Charity, The Pure Love of Christ
by Susan Noyes Anderson.

Will our hearts ever know the love
That does not count the loss;
That bows itself beneath our sin
And suffers on the cross;
The kind of love that never fails
No matter what the slight;
That love that fills our minds and hearts
And souls with Christ's pure light?

This love's a gift, but one that can't
Be given or received;
A gift that must be earned and learned
By selfless word and deed.
If we would take the love of Christ
Upon us, we must give
Our hearts and hands and minds to Him
Each day that we might live.

And once we give ourselves to Him
Who is our Elder Brother;
We'll come to know His perfect love
By loving one another.
This gift we seek is charity,
But we must pay the price;
For love that does not count the loss
Comes wrapped in sacrifice.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Step 7 - Humility

The key principle of Step 7 is:

All 12 steps of the Addiction Recovery Program require humility, but Step 7 specifically requires it. Developing a change of heart in Step 6 should bring us to our knees, humbly asking our Father in Heaven for forgiveness of our sins and for help overcoming our addictions. Our humble prayers should focus on becoming one in heart and mind with Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, realizing that we have no hope of salvation by our own efforts, but only through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.
This dramatic change within us will not begin until we allow the Lord to do it. We must surrender our pride and put everything in the Lord’s hands. Many participants in the Addiction Recovery Program come to recovery meetings in desperation, driven by the consequences of their addictions. They are compelled to be humble. The humility described in Step 7, however, has a different motivation – it must be voluntary, the result of our own choice to humble ourselves.

The people of King Benjamin offered the kind of prayer that we must offer in Step 7. They felt peace and joy when the Spirit of the Lord came upon them and gave them a remission of their sins:

“And they viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less that the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.”

And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ…” Mosiah 4:2-3

The peace and joy that came to the people of Mosiah probably will not come instantly as described in these verses from the Book of Mormon, but will require much effort, tears, and suffering – it will require a sufficient period of time to demonstrate to the Lord that we have truly humbled ourselves.

The Addiction Recovery Program is a program of action. Note that the following instructions from King Benjamin are full of actions that must be taken:

“Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now if you believe all these things see that ye do them…I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come…And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true. And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably.”

Wonderful promises are contained in these scriptures. I testify that our Heavenly Father lives, and that his Son, Jesus Christ lives and desires to bless those who truly humble themselves with His peace and love. He is the Prince of Peace.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Step 6 - Change of Heart

The key principle of Step 6, Change of Heart, is “Become Entirely Ready to Have God Remove all Your Character Weaknesses.”

The addiction recovery program of the Church is spiritual and is a plan of action. If we will follow the principles of the program and allow them to work in our lives, we will find ourselves restored to spiritual health through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The scriptures are full of references to the heart. The heart is often used interchangeably with the spirit, disposition or character. Just as a strong, healthy heart is critical to our physical well being, a broken, or humble and contrite heart is the condition required for the atonement of Christ to heal and strengthen us spiritually. The Lord desires to bless us with a change of disposition as we turn to him humbly and prayerfully and seek his help to remove those character weaknesses that lead to addiction and sin. Through the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord promised:

“A new heart…will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

This change of heart is a difficult process, and contrary to the disposition of the “natural man.” However, as you yield your heart to God and grow stronger in humility, the resolve in your heart to not return to past addictive behaviors will become firmer and firmer. You will find yourself wanting to return to fellowship with members of the Church and become a child of God.

The restoration of our spiritual health and change of our hearts may also be described as becoming like a little child. The Lord Jesus Christ loved the little children and, sometimes to the consternation of his impatient and imperfect apostles, took the time to gather them, place them on his knee and love them. He told his disciples and us that unless we become like little children, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

“For the natural man is the enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticing of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, 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.” Mosiah 3:19

I believe this scripture captures the essence of and describes the process of addiction recovery. I testify that as we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and are strengthened by His Spirit, our character weaknesses will be strengthened and the atonement will work in our hearts. My prayer for you echoes that of the Apostle Paul:

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth , and length, and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

Hope ya know we had a hard time

This is a great video for everyone to view. There isn't anyone who gets out of this life with out experiencing some challenges, hurts, sorrows, and all manner of adversities.

Beautiful and inspiring video of Hope - music "Broken" by Kenneth Cope

Kenneth Cope - Broken

[via FoxyTunes / Kenneth Cope]

Broken by Kenneth Cope - Broken clouds give rain. Broken soil grows grain. Broken bread feeds man for one more day. Broken storms yield light. Break of day heals night. Broken pride turns blindness into sight. Broken souls that need His mending. Broken hearts for offering. Could it be that God loves broken things? Broken chains set free. Broken swords bring peace. Broken walls make friends of you and me. To break the ranks of sin. To break the news of Him. To put on Christ ‘til his name feels broken in. Broken souls that need His mending. Broken hearts for offering. I believe that God loves broken things. And yet our broken faith, our broken promises Sent love to the cross. And still that broken flesh, that broken heart of His Offers us a trace and mercy, covers us with love undeserving.

Come to Jesus and Live - Kenneth Cope

Come to Jesus by Kenneth Cope

[via FoxyTunes / Kenneth Cope]

Do you need some inspiration to get clean and sober?

Please view this very inspirational video clip of Nick (below), who from his outward appearance seems to have nothing to offer or live for. BUT.. when you watch it you will see that his positive attitude and outlook on what he has been given to deal with in life, should inspire you to want to make your life better.

Quoting from the video, Nick says that with trials, "It is not the end, it matters how you finnish... are you going to finnish strong? You will find the strength to get back up".

I hope you will find the hope to help yourself with your addiction, because as you look around, there is always someone who has it worse off than you . Is the way you are currently dealing with your life life the way that God meant for you to liv? Nick has learned from his challenges, and is making something out of his life. How about you? Pick yourself up by your boot straps and conquer your addiction. You can do it and must do it because living with addiction isn't the quality of life that God planned for you. Heavenly Father wants you to be happy and you can be just as happy as you choose to be.

This clip is not a part of the Addiction Recovery Program but one that I found that I felt personally could touch your heart.
I also don't know what the language is that is shown at the bottom of the video clip, so disregard it, just listen to the inspirational message that Nick offers. ... Also you may need to have some tissue handy.

So you have fallen? Well get back up! Enjoy this inspirational video.