Last The other night I had the chance to go to a meeting in American Fork where all the sponsors met to talk about the status of ArpSupport.org. It was fun to meet other sponsors and also be able to listen to Mark and others share their feelings about the program and how we can help others rid their lives of addiction to pornography.
It’s crazy to realize how much of a disease it is.
It’s crazy to feel like a pioneer in this fight against the destroyer.
Mark shared that we are pioneers, we are laying the ground work of the battle against Satan and his angels.
I stayed after and talked with Eric and Tim about recovery and about what we can do in Utah to get ArpSupport.org out to more people. We all concluded that there are many going to the 12 Step meetings for the Church, but many of them aren’t really in recovery because they lack the accountability of a sponsor – someone that is living in recovery that can help them actually work the steps and learn how it feels to take one day at a time.
Many ideas were shared, some concerns were shared, and ultimately I just feel glad to be a part of the cause.
It’s weird to think that I’m grateful for the things I’ve been through, but it’s true. What I’ve been through, and what I’ve put my wife and family through, is helping define and shape the life I want to live.
Tim recommended reading the Screwtape letters, so I started doing that yesterday. From what I’ve read so far, I can summarize with this: Satan is a deceptive destroyer who only wants to distract us from the Plan of Happiness.
Being aware of his strategies and tactics is helpful, but it doesn’t help me feel the Spirit or leave me feeling like I’m connecting with God.
So today I’m focused on connection with God.
I listened to a few talks yesterday from the April 2015 General Conference:
- Yes, We Can and Will Win!
- The Greatest Generation of Young Adults
- The Lord is My Light
- The Music of the Gospel
- Why Marriage, Why Family
I know, I went on a spree there while running errands for Beck during her class.
What I find with listening to talks is that it’s helpful, it gives me ideas on how I can improve, and it’s filling my soul with light; however, it’s not quite the same connection as when I read, then ponder, then write out my feelings on “paper.”
Some of the things I remember, though, that stuck out to me, included the following:
- Marriage is an integral part of God’s plan of happiness. The eternal family tree gets all clogged up and crazy when someone decides to not get married and continue the family history that their ancestors have carried on for so long. The devil’s biggest goal, at least one of them, is to destroy the family and all it’s about. Husbands have an eternal responsibility to protect and love their families – wife and children. My role as husband and father is so important and I should never take it lightly.
- Dancing without music is like knowing the details of the gospel and going through the motions, but not really feeling the truth of the dance because you lack the music, or the conviction and Spirit. I’ve been here. I’ve gone through the motions – done things like go to Church, “study” my scriptures (I say “study” because it was more like read and check it off), do my home teaching, say prayers with the family, and all those good things. But if my heart is far from God as I’m doing those things, if right after, I turn back to my carnal ways, doing those things really profits me nothing and I’m a hypocrite. To really enjoy the dance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I need to feel the music in my life. I need to strive every day, even every moment, to connect with God through my actions. This quote really stuck out to me in the talk:
I can teach you to dance,” he said, “but you have to hear the music.” Sometimes in our homes, we successfully teach the dance steps but are not as successful in helping our family members to hear the music.
I really like that. To me, that means that our kids, or even we, know the seminary answers, we know what we’re supposed to do, and maybe we even do these things to be “seen of men,” but we don’t understand why, we don’t really feel a connection with God, and we don’t dig deeper to feel that connection.
One of the best things I’ve learned in my recovery so far is that connection is what life is all about. Who I connect with, what I connect with, and how I connect, are the key parts of the equation of true happiness. In order to feel true happiness, the who connection needs to be in this order:
- God & His Son
- My Wife
- My Kids
Yes, I can connect with other people too – people I work with, clients, etc. But these other people aren’t nearly as important as the 4 listed above. If and when I connect with God and Jesus Christ, then the connection with my wife and kids ALWAYS goes so much better. If I haven’t connected with God & His Son, then the efforts I make to connect with Becky and the kids is forced and awkward. I seem to turn back to my carnal ways of connecting, or I don’t connect at all and focus on other tasks I feel are more important at the time.
Hearing the music of the gospel is feeling the connection – with God and with my family – on a day to day, moment to moment basis. It’s hungering and thirsting after righteousness. It’s filling my soul with light and truth. It’s submitting my will to God. It’s living in recovery one day at a time. It’s putting off the natural man and focusing on developing my spiritual side so that my spiritual side will rule over my carnal side.
This scripture and what it means is something else I thought about as I was listening to the talks yesterday:
And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; … and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.”8
Thanks to our Heavenly Father, we had already become spirit beings. Now He was offering us a path to complete or perfect that being. The addition of the physical element is essential to the fulness of being and glory that God Himself enjoys. If, while with God in the premortal spirit world, we would agree to participate in His plan—or in other words “keep [our] first estate”—we would “be added upon” with a physical body (our second estate) as we came to dwell on the earth that He created for us.
If, then in the course of our mortal experience, we chose to “do all things whatsoever the Lord [our] God [should] command [us],” we would have kept our “second estate.” This means that by our choices we would demonstrate to God (and to ourselves) our commitment and capacity to live His celestial law while outside His presence and in a physical body with all its powers, appetites, and passions.
I remember asking Becky about this and we talked about it – how it relates to having the Spirit body, the first estate, rule over the carnal body, the second estate. That’s one of the goals of this life, to bridle passions and appetites of the broken and carnal state.
There was another quote I’d ask Beck about:
Could we bridle the flesh so that it became the instrument rather than the master of the spirit?
I wasn’t sure what it meant that the flesh became the instrument rather than the master.
As Becky and I talked about it, it became clear: I want the Spirit to control the flesh and use the flesh as a way to accomplish the things God wants me to accomplish on this earth.
Those things could be, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Being born and receiving a body that will one day be exalted like Heavenly Father’s body
- Participating in saving ordinances like baptism and confirmation
- Getting the priesthood by the laying on of hands
- Getting sealed to my wife for time and eternity in the temple
- Learning the ordinances of the temple and practicing them frequently
- Having children and being a part of creation
- Learning to submit my will to God’s in an effort to overcome the carnal nature, the natural man, and become more like God
I’m so grateful for this study and writing today. I feel connected to God and feel the Spirit.
I’m grateful for the words I listened to yesterday. I’m grateful to have now written about what I remember and dug deeper about the meaning of the things I heard.
I look forward to a productive day in recovery and submission.