“Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,”

Sunday, July 26, 2009

When You Are in the Service of your Fellow Beings Ye Are Only in the Service of Your God

The Addiction Recovery Program is a spiritual program, but also a program of action. The study and implementation of the twelve steps and the principles found in the guide, “Addiction Recovery Program: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing”, will lead to a restoration of your spiritual health through a newfound relationship with the Savior. At the same time, your heart will be changed as you pray daily and read the scriptures daily, particularly the Book of Mormon, which contains scriptures referred to frequently in the guide.Another way to change our hearts is to serve our neighbor. This service will help us grow in the light of the Spirit, and assure us progress in addiction recovery and the remission of our sins. In order to be free from addiction, one must get outside of him or herself and serve. The desire to help others is a natural result of spiritual awakening. We have to love our neighbor as ourselves. But, who is our neighbor?

We remember the parable of the man from Jerusalem on the road to Jericho who fell into the hands of robbers and was left half dead. A certain priest passed by on the other side and a Levite came, looked on him and likewise passed on the other side. Then Jesus taught, “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”

Then Jesus asked another question of the lawyer: “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” And the lawyer responded, “he that shewed mercy on him.” Then said Jesus unto him, “Go, and do thou likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37).

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches us, “Every time I read this parable I am impressed with its power and its simplicity. But have you ever wondered why the Savior chose to make the hero of this story a Samaritan? There was considerable antipathy between the Jews and the Samaritans at the time of Christ. Under normal circumstances, these two groups avoided association with each other. It would still be a good, instructive parable if the man who fell among thieves had been rescued by a brother Jew. His deliberate use of Jews and Samaritans clearly teaches that we are all neighbors and that we should love, esteem, respect, and serve one another despite our deepest differences—including religious, political, and cultural differences.”

As we serve our neighbor, we grow closer to our Heavenly Father and to His Son Jesus Christ. We may ask ourselves, why? The answer to this question can be found in the words of the Savior, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, y have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40).

In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin had a large tower built so that the multitude of his people could hear his words. From the tower he taught them the principle of service. “And behold, I tell you these things that you may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17).

I know that it is very difficult to think of the problems and needs of others when we find ourselves suffering from sin and addiction. But it is my testimony that one of the most effective solutions for our problems is to get outside of ourselves and serve our neighbor, and at the same time, our Savior Jesus Christ. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tender Mercies from the Lord

One of the steps in the 12 Step Program, talks about tender mercies. I would like to share with you some thoughts and quotes about the tender mercies of the Lord. Elder David A. Bednar gave talk a called, "The Tender Mercies of the Lord," and it can be found in the Ensign, May 2005, 99 or you can go to this link and read it online... A couple of quotes from that talk are as follows:

"The tender mercies of the Lord are real and . . . they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord's timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them.

". . . The Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and though the Lord Jesus Christ."

I have seen many tender mercies throughout my own life, but it wasn't until I began as a missionary in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, that I actually realized what they were. My defination of a tender mercy is a special and personal experience that happens to me just at the right time when I need it the most. After hearing Elder Bednars talk in conference, I began to be more aware of the tender mercies that happen to me, even so much that I have begun to write them down. I never want to forget these special experiences that come my way, not by chance, or by fate, but because the Lord knows my needs, loves me, and lets me know that he is looking after me.

Recognizing tender mercies is like the awakening that we have when we realize that we can't do anything without the Lord. Once we sufficently humble ourselves, and knock on the proverbial door, and ask to let the Lord in, our eyes are opened to the miracles and blessings that are all around us. You are no longer doing it alone, and you will understand this concept when you feel the Spirit within you, and you know that He is with you and watching over you and helping you along this tough journey through life.

Tender mercies can be great or small, miraculuous or simple, but they happen and they are real and a testiment of our Heavenly Fathers presence in our lives.

Last week, I was on the freeway driving in the center lane. Before I knew it, I noticed that there was some dibree in the road ahead. It appeared to be long, silver or stainless steel materials and rods. They were mostly in the lane to the right of me, but there was a piece of it stretched between my lane and the lane to the left of me. I felt that if I were to just stay in my lane, I could straddle the two piles of steel and metal, and miss them altogether. Then it started to happen. The cars in the other lanes, began to run over the dibree, and that propelled these metal objects in the air, hitting cars, and landing and spreading much worse on the freeway. I was driving 65 miles per hour and had to react quickly as the car to my side hit a piece and it was coming my way. I turned my wheel to the left to try to swerve out of the path or I feared it would go right through my windshield, however by doing so, I felt like I had lost control of my car. Through my mind instantly I spoke the words, "Heavenly Father, Help me!" Somehow, someway, almost as if someone took a hold of my steering wheel, my swerving out of control fomr side to side stopped, and I was once again back in control of my car and had also somehow missed the metal objects that I was trying to avoid. I knew without a doubt, that my Heavenly Father sent me a tender mercy and helped me avoid what could have potentially been a deadly accident on the freeway.

How quickly we forget the tender mercies and blessing that happen in our lives. For this reason, I started to write down in a journal the tender mercies that I have experienced. It is not only the acknowledgement that they have happened and that they are real, but a reminder to me and my posterity that the Lord is a huge part of our lives on this earth. I also can't help but feel the love that He has for me as he reaches out and helps me when I need it the most.

My incident brought to mind a story that my father told me one day as he was driving his truck home from Provo, Utah. He was driving down a hill and he had a prompting that he should get into the other lane. He felt an urgency about doing it too. He listened to his prompting and moved to the other lane, just in time to see a long metal pipe that was in the back of the truck that was ahead of him, propell itsself from the truck. If my father had not listended to this prompting, or this very obvious tender mercy from the Lord, the pipe would have gone through his windshield and through him as well. Tender mercy? There is no question in my mind.

These are just two tender mercies that came to my mind, but tender mercies come in all shapes and forms. Recently a man who had been struggling with alcohol addiction came to an LDS Addiction Recovery meeting that my husband and I were the missionar group leaders. He shared his story of a lifetime of alcohol abuse, and getting clean and then falling off the wagon over and over. This happened to be the second meeting that he came to that particular day. Later on, in talking with another missionary, it was revealed that this missionary became inspired to talk with this man who he met at the first meeting that day. In the conversation, the man revealed to the missionary that he had been contemplating suiside, and the missionary was able to interviene and say and do what was needed to save this mans life.

I don't believe for one moment that it was a chance happening or fate, I beleive that this was a tender mercy of the Lord who worked a miracle through a sensitive missionary. A mans life was preserved because the Lord knew what to do and inspired the action that was needed through the missionary.

This tender mercy shows me just how much the Lord loves his children. He doesn't discriminate between his children with his love, because he loves each and every one the same. He doesn't just love those who are walking on the straight and narrow path and loathe those who are sinning. He loves all His children and wants each of them to return home to his loving arms one day at the right time. He loved us so much that he provided us a Savior, even his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. How hard would that be? Imaging giving your beloved son to be killed and suffer the sins of the world. I know that Jesus Christ was not the only one suffering on the Cross. The Lord sufferes too when his children are suffering, and as a loving father, wants to help.

God shows his love for his children throught the tender mercies that he showers upon us each and every day. It is our responsiblity to recognize them for what they are, and we need to remember to acknowledge and thank Him through prayer, and service
for sending these mercies, and His love, to us.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July - Pioneer Story

For several days, I have had some thoughts on my mind of those who came before me. I am referring to those wonderful and courageous people (Pioneers) who suffered so much in their efforts to pave the way for me and for my family to have a better life. For my post today, I want to share with you a wonderful, short talk called "Where Much is Given, Much is Required" given by Boyd K. Packer. He relates a story of faith and prayer of a Pioneer family as they travel to get to Utah, and one of the trials that they experienced along the way. Since this is the month that we celebrate the entry of the Pioneers to Utah, I wanted to share this with you. How it relates to addiction recovery is this... Everyone in all times have experienced adversities in their lives that cause them grief, pain, sadness, hurt, sorrow and all manner of earthly suffering. I believe at times we need to set our own aside, and gain strength from others experiences. This is actually what is done in the Addiction Recovery meetings in the sharing portion. We gain strength and hope from the stories that others tell about their own addictions. Anyway... I thought you would enjoy this story of faith and gratitude.

"In the late 1850s many converts from Europe were struggling to reach the Great Salt Lake Valley. Many were too poor to afford the open and the covered wagons and had to walk, pushing their meager belongings in handcarts. Some of the most touching and tragic moments in the history of the Church accompanied these handcart pioneers.One such company was commanded by a Brother McArthur. Archer Walters, an English convert who was with the company, recorded in his diary under July 2, 1856, this sentence: “Brother Parker’s little boy, age six, was lost, and the father went back to hunt him.” (LeRoy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen, Handcarts to Zion, Pioneers Ed. Glendale, California, The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1960, p. 61.)

The boy, Arthur, was next youngest of four children of Robert and Ann Parker. Three days earlier the company had hurriedly made camp in the face of a sudden thunderstorm. It was then the boy was missed. The parents had thought him to be playing along the way with the other children. Someone remembered earlier in the day, when they had stopped, that they had seen the little boy settle down to rest under the shade of some brush.

Now most of you have little children and you know how quickly a tired little six-year-old could fall asleep on a sultry summer day and how soundly he could sleep, so that even the noise of the camp moving on might not awaken him. For two days the company remained, and all of the men searched for him. Then on July 2, with no alternative, the company was ordered west.

Robert Parker, as the diary records, went back alone to search once more for his little son. As he was leaving camp, his wife pinned a bright shawl about his shoulders with words such as these: “If you find him dead, wrap him in the shawl to bury him. If you find him alive, you could use this as a flag to signal us.”
She, with the other little children, took the handcart and struggled along with the company.Out on the trail each night Ann Parker kept watch. At sundown on July 5, as they were watching, they saw a figure approaching from the east! Then, in the rays of the setting sun, she saw the glimmer of the bright red shawl. One of the diaries records: “Ann Parker fell in a pitiful heap upon the sand, and that night, for the first time in six nights, she slept.” Under July 5, Brother Walters recorded:
“Brother Parker came into camp with a little boy that had been lost. Great joy through the camp. The mother’s joy I cannot describe.” (Hafen and Hafen, Handcarts to Zion, p. 61.)

We do not know all of the details. A nameless woodsman—I’ve often wondered how unlikely it was that a woodsman should be there—found the little boy and described him as being sick with illness and with terror, and he cared for him until his father found him. So here a story, commonplace in its day, ends—except for a question. How would you, in Ann Parker’s place, feel toward the nameless woodsman had he saved your little son? Would there be any end to your gratitude? To sense this is to feel something of the gratitude our Father must feel toward any of us who saves one of his children. Such gratitude is a prize dearly to be won, for the Lord has said, “If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (D&C 18:15.) Even so, I might add, if that soul should be our own."

At the bottom of President Packers talk he says: "Many of you are burdened with unhappiness and worry and with guilt. Many of you struggle under the bondage of degrading habits or wrestle with loneliness or disappointment and failure. Some of you suffer from broken homes, broken marriages, broken hearts. We are not offended at all of these things. All of these things may be set aside—overcome. Whoever you are and whatever you are, we reach out to extend to you the hand of fellowship so that we can lift one another and lift others."I would like to echo the words of President Packer and say to you, "The hand of fellowship is extended to you" and the invitation given that you are welcome to attend and participate in the LDS Addiction Recovery Meetings.... "so that we can lift one another and lift others." (You don't need to be LDS or be referred by Family Services to attend these meetings. All you need is to have a desire to break the bands of bondage that your addiction has held you in so tightly, and just come to a meeting.)

President Boyd K. Packers full talk can be found at

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.