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I want to share how much we need to be aware of the many dark wolves that try very hard to crash the gates to our souls! These are surely the days of strife and discontentment within many families! I'm sad to say, within my own!

But, I think that there our times that we must take on the spirit of the lion through Christ! To push back and stand strong in our resistance to the dark side! We must study ourselves completely! To know ourselves, is to know our own demons and angels!

Through the atonement we can clean our inner house and resist the wolves of the world with the spirit of the lion in Christ!! Truly live as if Jesus is standing right next to us, at all times! Because in the reality of spirit, he really is! Stand strong brothers and sisters, you all are the powerful sons and daughters of GOD! I strongly suggest that we do our best to live as such!

In the holy name of Jesus Christ, AMEN

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to sit at the feet of prophets and apostles, to feel of their spirit, bask in their testimonies of Jesus, and learn what the Lord would have me do.  What a privilege it is to live in a time when the Church of Jesus Christ has been re-established, a day when the priesthood of God has been restored and when holy temples dot the earth, a time when men and women of faith can partake of the power and joy and blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

I know that the speakers are not given a topic when they are assigned to speak in conference.  They decide through prayer and pasting what the Lord would have them say.  With this in mind, I am always amazed at the cohesive insights and timely counsel we receive.  The following themes seemed to be particularly emphasized in this conference:

  • Trust in the Lord and follow His prophet.
  • The dangers of addiction (particularly pornography).
  • The reality of Satan and his desire to destroy our happiness.
  • The healing power of Christ through His atonement.

These messages are timely and sorely needed in today's secular society.  My faith has been strengthened and I have resolved to be a better person. If you missed any of the conference, you can read or watch any of the talks here.

I invite you to share your thoughts and impressions of conference.  What was your favorite talk?  Why?

My husband and I have been married for about 3 years now. We got engaged 3 months after he came home from his mission. While we were engaged, I noticed that he was having a hard time although he would not admit to it.  I thought he was having RM Blues and assumed that things would get better. I thought that he would get over it after a while and get back into the swing of  things.  But he never did.

As the months went by I have noticed him sinking deeper and deeper into depression. At first I did not recognize it for what it is. I was just getting so frustrated with his mood changes and negativity. Then one night we had the chance to really talk  it out and after speaking with him I was sure he had depression. I asked him to get help by visiting a doctor or getting on some type of medication because obviously this wasn't going away on its own. But he angrily refused.

He told me not to bother him with this anymore. He was getting very hostile about this whenever I brought it up so I stopped asking him to get help. I did not know what to do. I feel so helpless sometimes as I watch him sink further and further into depression. I keep hoping that he will wake up one day  and realize that he needs help and go get help. But I so far that hasn't happened yet.

When he is not in class or searching for jobs he occupies his life with video games, computer games, movies and D and D group meetings. He doesn't seem to want to spend time with our daughter who is almost 1 year old. I literally have to plead for him to play with her and spend time with her. His depression has caused other things to happen. Because of his depression he has become antisocial, verbally abusive, negative and he lost all interest in church. He only goes to church because I go.

I don't know what to do. We are seeing a marriage councilor but he just thinks its all a waste of time for him. The only hope I have is through prayer. I have been praying so hard that things would get better. That he would want to get help. I do all in my power to be a good example to him. I try to plan family activities. I try to do family home evenings. I try to plan date nights and temple trips. I make sure we get to church every Sunday, alhough he leaves early most of the time. I try to have daily scripture study both on my own and with my husband.  But nothing seems to work.

I have spoken to my bishop as well as to his and my parents. I even felt tempted to slip him some St. John's Wart, which is an herbal supplement for depression. I don't know what to do.  I feel like our marriage is about to fall apart because of this. I honestly almost left him 5 times because of his verbally abusive behavior.

Sometimes I wonder if there is a legal way to push him into getting treatment. I wonder if there is a rule somewhere that states if a person becomes unsafe to the point of harming someone in anyway because of his depression that he would have to get treatment by law. I don't know how bad does it have to get for him to get help. How far does he have to fall to realize that he has been in denial?  I don't know. I just pray and pray and pray that things will get better, that I will be strong enough to raise my daughter on my own, that someday he will be humbled and accept help, that the Holy Ghost will help him heal his pain through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I know that Christ suffered all so that we can have peace. I know that he lives and loves us. I know that he wants us to be happy. Men are to have joy in this life. I know that maybe if I have enough faith a miracle will happen just like with Alma when he prayed for his son to find his way back to Christ. I know it could happen to us. I just need to have faith.

When hope is lost...

When hope is lost, when we are trapped by our addictions or compulsions, we are sent into a proverbial tail spin. We begin losing things. Self respect, self worth and self love are early casualties. We don’t even understand ourselves. We are often angered by our behaviors and seeming lack of moral strength. Often we see ourselves as if we were two people, the good and worthwhile Dr. Jekyll, and the out of control, despicable, destructive Mr. Hyde.

We develop a disgust for ourselves. We become very judgmental. We may mount effort after effort to stop and change our behavior(s), with seemingly no success. We always fail. We lose hope. This is the dark place. The dismal, dreadful existence devoid of hope defies true and accurate description. We feel only despair. As our situation progresses, we feel things slipping away.

One of the strengths of our faith as members of the church is the quiet confidence we have in the Plan of Happiness (Alma 42: 8). We know that following a righteous life, there is a reuniting of loved ones, the joyful reunion with our Father and the Savior. That understanding brings peace and comfort to every day.

This, however, is not the case for the addict. He has lost hope for that. He has made too many mistakes. As with his behaviors continue, which are so contrary to the commandments, he realizes he will not pass judgement, because he is unworthy. He feels that promised blessings no longer apply for him. His peace, his confidence, his comfort, are deemed forfeit by his court of self judgement, and he is left feeling very alone and condemned.
 
Somewhere in this process shame sets in. That inner decision that there is something wrong with me. The scriptures say, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect" (Matt 5: 48). We live in a congregation of very good, moral, righteous people, but we don’t measure up. “I mean, everybody else seems to not have a problem with this...”

We harshly judge ourselves. We have come up short. We are not worthy. We are not good enough. We are a piece of garbage and even worse. We bombard ourselves with hateful self-talk statements and thoughts. They have a toxic effect on us. Our motivation becomes challenged. Our will is compromised. Our view of life, the world and our place in it has changed significantly, and we feel there is very, very little that we can do to change things.

The loss of hope sometimes presents some startling features in addicts. Often they come to recovery with parts of their faith intact. They know that God lives. They know that the gospel is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. They know the Savior died for all humankind, well sort of. Addicts often become convinced that the healing powers of the atonement can apply to all the world, but somehow excludes them. I have done too much. I am unworthy, my sins are just too gross. That is the manifestation of the loss of hope. Healing is available, they think, but not for me. I am defiled and have forfeited my rights to the blessings. It no longer applies to me.

Their life takes on an underlying sense of despair and is reduced to going through the motions. The loss of hope is a paralyzing condition. Without possibility of success, we feel no motivation or strength to try. We become helpless and feel compelled to our fate; we are reconciled to being addicts. Can you imagine how Satan must feel at such a turn of events. His work is done. He can turn his attention elsewhere without much concern that there will be change. The addict is locked up by his own loss of hope, imprisoned without bars, but absolutely unable to progress or heal.

Addiction is not a maze we will escape without help from others. We need their guidance. We in fact, cannot heal alone. Finding hope again, and the entire healing process requires the loving help of others and our submission to their assistance. One of the features of working the Twelve Steps is that we become reliant on our Heavenly Father and his Son. They are the actual source of our healing which begins with the restoration of hope, gifting us with the mighty change of heart which Alma spoke of (Alma 5: 12, 14). In the language of The Addiction Recovery Program: Step 3: Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. (LDS Family Services, 2005) When we begin to turn our will and life over to Him for His care and keeping, we find the dawn and return of hope.

The Devil and The Media

This blog is about an experience I had when I went to see a movie in the theaters.

A few weeks ago I had the chance to go out to see a movie with my husband for his birthday. We went to see Inception. We walked inside the theater sat down and got comfortable as the movie previews started rolling. One of the movie trailers that came on sent a shock through me. I felt this uneasy feeling that made me want to look away. It was a trailer for the movie "The Devil." I saw bits and pieces of it and what I saw horrified me. The images were so disturbing that I could not get them out of my mind. As I came home that night after the movie and went to bed, I had a hard time sleeping. In fact I woke up that night terrified.  I could not believe the impact that 5-minute trailer had upon my mind and my spirit. I don't know how anyone could stand to stay and watch the whole movie. Those scenes were playing over and over in my head like a broken record until I began to pray for my mind to be at peace. 

After I had this experience I thought, "why do we have so many movies that depict the devil and show his power and dominion, but rarely do we see movies that depict God in his true form in all his power and glory?" God has more power than Satan. He made Satan. He has power over him. I wish the media would portray God as our loving Father in Heaven, who is nothing like Bruce Almighty (which was a blasphemy in my opinion, I didn't even finish watching it).  I know that the media has so much influence on people.  Sometimes I just wish it would influence people for good rather than for evil.
 
Sometimes I feel like giving Satan a peace of my mind!  But I know he would only be happy to see me angry, so I keep my mouth shut. I know that Satan thrives off anger. 

I am so grateful for God and his Son Jesus Christ who can "rescue us from the GRASP of this AWFUL MONSTER THE DEVIL."  I am so thankful for the gospel and for all the good that it is in this world. The world is black and white and we must choose our side.

He Did What We Couldn't

Several years ago my daughter invited some of the cousins over for a sleepover. Unbeknownst to me, someone brought a big bottle of Tropical Red Punch. During the night a large glass of this punch was spilled on our carpet. My husband did everything he could think of, but the stain remained. We just figured it would be in our carpet forever.

Then we got to know Skip. One day at church, my husband just happened to mention to Skip about our stubborn stain and asked Skip if there was any chance at all that it could be removed (Skip had his own carpet cleaning business).

A few weeks later our doorbell rang. It was Skip. He was on his way home from an appointment and dropped by to see what he could do about the stain. Within about 10 minutes the stain was gone. We were dumbfounded! Skip had just helped us with something that we couldn’t possibly do ourselves. Periodically, I still look at that place on our carpet where the spot used to be and think of Skip—I am so grateful to him for his kindness and taking the time to help us out.

Today, after thinking about Skip, my mind went to Christ. No matter how hard I try, I always seem to make mistakes. Many times I feel utterly hopeless. Then, I’m reminded that Christ atoned for our sins. Only He can remove the stains of the mistakes we have made. He gives me hope when I feel hopeless. He makes up the difference when I fall short. He helps me do what I can’t do on my own.

Why Ask Why?

It is difficult having to deal with a lot problems; it is even more difficult having to deal with a lot of problems all at the same time. We allow these problems to sometimes get the best of us not realizing what it is doing to everything and everyone around us. We experience many emotions, anger, sadness, jealousy, envy, etc.  We feel as though no one cares. We feel as though these problems will never ever go away. Why? Why do we all have these problems? Why do we experience all these emotions? Why doesn’t anyone care? Why won’t these problems go away?!...........

Why you ask? There is no right or wrong answer for this question just simply what you choose to believe. Asking “Why?” can determine who we are as a person, it can determine many of the decisions we will make, and it will impact our lives more than we know. We have to realize that we are asking all the wrong questions. Instead of asking “WHY?” ask “HOW?!” How do we all fix our problems? Once we begin asking the right questions, all of our “Why’s?” will no longer be another problem added to the bunch.

We are always quick to realize that we have problems but we are never quick to realize the solution. Whatever the problem maybe, we must always remember that we are not alone. We have a constant companion with us every step of the way. No matter how alone we feel we will always have the presence of the Holy Spirit with us. Heavenly Father wants us to solve every problem that comes our way. We must never forget that our Father in Heaven has provided us with every tool necessary to overcome every single one of our tribulations. We must never lose faith in our Heavenly Father because he will never lose faith in us and in what we attempt to accomplish. We have to stop asking WHY and need to start asking HOW. “I” was not used in this entire message because we all have problems (big and small), because we all feel these emotions, because we all feel as though no one cares, and because we all need to live with the gospel in our lives.

We are all children of our Heavenly Father; he loves us and will always be there for us every step of the way!

Feeling nervous is normal, a calling is something we can not take lightly. Receiving a new calling in the church can be extremely challenging no matter what it is you are called to do. We must aways remember that we are chosen for this specific calling because Heavenly Father has decided it so. Having been a Ward Mission Leader I have come to experiance many blessing. One in specific was so strong that I could not hold back the tears.........before I was married the missionaries and myself were able to baptize a family of four from Costa Rica. They struggled financially because the father could not find any work, somehow this new convert family still had a strong enough testimony to always be on time with their tithing. After getting married I lost track of them for about two years, until this past December when I found myself in my old chapel (still standing beautiful). I came across this wonderful family. They were extremely happy to see me and my wife and were even happier letting me know that their oldest had just received his mission calling. My eyes instantly began to tear and for the first time I was able to experiance the spirit at its strongest. I know in my heart that this family will overcome any obstacles that they may face because of how strong the spirit surrounds them. I once again have been called to be a Ward Mission Leader and I know that if I put all fears aside I can help anyone who crosses paths with the missionaries. Please give your calling 100% and I know that we will all make a difference.

What it took!

Brothers and Sisters,

Before I begin I would first like to thank those who will take the time to read this and those who support what I love to do (You know who you are!).

I have always been afraid to do this......but today as I was surfing the web looking at different blog sites I came across one specific blog that really upset me. This certain blog was bashing the sale of garments within the Church. Now, I will not share where to find this blog simply because I do not wish to waste anyone's time. Unfortunately the individual who wrote this blog seems to have a vendetta against the church even after being sealed in the temple and enjoy everything the LDS Church has to offer. As I read the blog I couldn't help but feel how unhappy this individual really is and as I pondered everything I had just read I decided that I could no longer run away from what I have always wanted to do.

I ask that those who read this please pray for this individual, pray for him and everyone like him. It is very sad to see how much hate there is in the world and all the different shapes and sizes it comes in. I hope that all I share can be put to good use as we all continue to live accordingly to Heavenly Fathers plan.

Senior Years

My sister and I are in our mid sixties. We perceive with interest the way members of our wards view us. They do not know we have children or who they are. What have we accomplished in our lives.? How can we possibly be interesting since we are no longer vibrant and young? My sister is divorced she feels divorced women are definately treated differently. We feel any woman who goes to church as a single is treated differently. We are not whining nor finding fault. It is just an observation. It is an adjustment. I think our society puts such great value on being young and productive that the wisdom that once came with age gets lost even among member of our church.
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