“Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,”

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


Anonymous said...

I've had a concern regarding the Addiction Recovery Program run by the church for some time. I am a recovering (trying anyway) sex addict. I'm also a woman. The Church appears to have absolutely no way for us to participate in group therapy sessions, or at least not in most areas that any of us have access to. I've looked on the ARP website and the addiction groups, particularly those dealing with sexual addictions, are for men only. I found a disclaimer at one point saying that female sexual addicts are welcome to attend the "spouses of sex/porn addicts program" instead of an actual addiction recovery group. This is unbelievably insensitive. Not only do women like me feel pushed aside, but that we don't matter. And worse than that, the final slap to the face is that we have to work through our issues with a group of wives who are usually hurt and very, very angry at husbands who are experiencing every single thing we're trying to discuss. How is that a safe recovery environment for us? How do they honestly expect us to be able to convey all that we're feeling when we feel we're in constant danger of being attacked by those who are being hurt by people just like us? We will not be as open and honest with these women, if at all, as we would in an environment with people who can relate to us directly. Why does LDS Services not seem to acknowledge or care about female sexual addicts? Are they hoping if they ignore us enough that the problem will resolve itself? Are they just trying to sweep us under the rug so no one will know that we saintly and pure wives and mothers just may have traditionally "male issues"? How is this helping any of us? What is LDS Services and the Church doing to help us besides making us pay astronomical prices for personal therapy and nothing else?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:
Thank you for your comments. I have read over and over your comments, and decided to do some research to try to answer your concerns as accurately and sensitively as possible. My reference to the meeting schedules is the same as anyone elses, and you can find them at,11664,4177-1,00.html I am seeing on the printed schedule of meeting specifically for Pornography and Sexual Addictions the following meeting are available:
1. Men’s recovery group for men struggling with Pornography addiction.
2. Women’s support groups are for women whose husbands or family member is struggling with pornography
3. Women’s Only recovery groups are for women who struggle with pornography or other sexual related issues.
These are three separate meetings and from what I can tell by going to the above website and going through some select locations, they are held for 3 different purposes. The meeting that you should locate is the last of the three which is “Women’s Only” which the wording distinguishes between the other womens meeting. I can see why you would feel frustrated by attending a Women’s support group meeting for the spouses and family of someone who is struggling with a sexual related addiction, because that meeting’s purpose is much different than the one that you could feel comfortable attending.

I wish that I knew where you were located and I would be happy to look up meetings and make some calls on your behalf. Unfortunately in many areas in the US and around the world, there are sometimes no separate Pornography meetings from the regular Addiction recovery meetings…. YET. My guess is that as time goes on, and more meeting are added all over the world, there will be included more meetings to fill the needs for women who suffer from a sexual related addiction. It takes time and many volunteers both missionaries and facilitators to work this program. I would suppose from your comments, that you are probably located in an area where that is the case.

I know that in the Salt Lake City area, there have been Women’s only meetings in the past but because of lack of participation or none at all, they closed the meeting. When nobody shows up for months, then the missionary’s time is better spent serving in a meeting where they can fulfill their calling and have individuals to teach.

My suggestion to you would be to go to a regular addiction recovery meeting, if there isn’t a Womens only meeting in your area, as many participants who do go suffer from the same challenges as you have described. Sometimes the addicts choose to not disclose their addiction, but they are certainly welcome to participate with anonymity or not, but keep in mind that these ARP group meetings are not “group therapy” but opportunities to feel the Spirit, listen to how others are working to overcome addiction and to share feelings. In the meetings we learn about the step that is being focused on for that particular week, read through the step and strive to seek the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the meeting.

The purpose for the sharing portion of the meeting that is directed by the facilitator, a recovered addict, is to give participants the opportunity to express to the others in the room how the step has helped them in their recovery. The purpose isn’t to speak graphically about their own addictions, in fact they are told in the script that is read by the facilitator, that there should be NO graphic or inappropriate sharing but to stay focused on the spirit of the Step. When we feel the spirit in these meetings, it lifts the burdens and gives hope and encouragement to all those who feel it. This isn’t a counseling session, but sort of a coming together of minds, spirits and voices to help one another through gospel principles, scriptures, understanding, and compassion and experience.

I hope that what I have tried to share with you helps you to understand a bit better the purpose of the Addiction Recovery program. You are certainly always welcome and I pray that you can get the help and hope in your own recovery that so many others receive through it. I have seen lives changed and hearts mended, and hope, through the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. He loves us so much that he gave us His own life and suffered for every pain imaginable so that if we would repent, and look to him, we could be made whole and clean again. He wants us to be able to make progress in this life and learn all that we need to in order to one day live with our Heavenly Father again.

You are a beloved daughter of our Heavenly Father, and I testify to you of that truth. No matter what you or anyone else does in this life, He still loves us, and needs and wants us because we are His very own children. I urge you to find the hope in healing and stick with this divinely inspired program. Forgive people who have not met your needs to this point, and move on and do your best to learn from these steps. You aren’t alone, and there is help and people who want to help, if you choose it.

The advice and suggestions that I have given to you are of my own words as I am not a spokesperson for the LDS church, LDS Family Services, just a volunteer serving in the capacity of a missionary in this program. This blog is also not an authorized LDS blog, but my own way of expression, and extending a helping hand to those who might need help.

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.