This is my most recent letter to my son.
For those of you who are fighting addictions, harmful behavior, codependency, family disorder, or struggling with your testimony, this will provide a foundation for healing.
If you can name it, you can tame it, as the saying goes. The ability to become one has many layers of meaning. Your happiness (well-being) is contingent upon it.
Dear Elder Himmer,
At the heart of the Lord’s great intercessory prayer from the Garden of Gethsemane, he expressed this desire (command) “…that they may be one, as we are.” (John 17:11)
I am currently reading a book titled: The Power of Habits. The attached pdf illustrates one of the powerful lessons or universal principles of developing habits. The author tells the story of Michael Phelps swimming the 200 meter butterfly in the Beijing Olympics. On the 3rd of 4 lengths, his goggles filled up with water which rendered him blind. He didn’t panic, he simply remembered that his coach had primed him on how to handle such emergencies during his practice sessions (myelination). His coach would often turn the lights out during his practice routines so Phelps would in effect be swimming blind. No black line on the bottom of the pool to follow and no ability to see the competitors peripherally.
Q: If my daughter views pornography once a week or a couple times a month is she addicted to pornography? I guess my question is what is addiction? The church seems to be saying that pornography addiction is a real problem but what about just looking at pornography?
A: Dear Parent,
Thank you for asking a very important question that applies to more than just your daughter. Let’s clarify the definition of addiction and perhaps this will add greater understanding to the second part of your question.
My son Scott is now in Korea serving his remaining 22 months, after a two-month language training period. Here is my most recent letter to him.
Dear Elder Himmer,
On 24 March, two weeks ago, as I sat in church, I wrote the following notes and if you can open a pdf file, I will provide the charts that I scribbled on the back of my notes.
When I was a young boy my friend had a go-cart his dad fixed up for him. He explained that his dad had put a governor on the throttle so he wouldn’t go too fast. To my 9-year old mind that was foolishness. Why have a machine that can give you all these great thrills and then bridle it. I told my friend that was stupid. In reply he summed up the situation like an adult, “he doesn’t want me to get hurt.”
What industry makes more money than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple, Netflix, and EarthLink combined? It’s the number 1 searched topic on all Internet sites and there are 1.3 million such sites available. The answer is pornography.
Pornography is the drug of the century and more addictive than crack cocaine. Addictive behavior produces the same feel-good chemicals (internal drugs) as shooting up with drugs or getting buzzed with alcohol. Neural research confirms that the brain cannot differentiate between an external source and an internal source of stimulation.
Having knowledge is not sufficient for happiness or salvation. In life you are given a puzzle to solve. You have forever to solve it. When you do, you become like God. However, you have a problem—you don’t have the ability to solve the puzzle alone.
Are you free?
Freedom is knowing the truth. The truth will set you free (John 8:32). Free from what? Free from mortality and free to live an exalted life.
What is truth? Truth is knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come (D&C 93:24).
Studies reveal the following about forgiveness:
- People who are more forgiving report fewer health problems
- Forgiveness leads to less stress
- Forgiveness leads to fewer physical symptoms of stress
- Failure to forgive may be more important than hostility as a risk factor for heart disease
- People who blame other people for their troubles have higher incidences of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancers.
- People who imagine not forgiving someone show negative changes in blood pressure, muscle tension, and immune response.
- People who imagine forgiving their offender note immediate improvement in their cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous systems.
When we discover our natural man we have two roads we can travel. The first road is the one of least resistance. We avoid rooting the natural man out of us, preferring instead to go it alone, hoping that by ignoring or avoiding his influence, he will quietly go away. The path of least resistance is one of avoidance, which allows our weakness to thrive and grow.
We exert energy blaming others for our shortcomings. We attempt to get others to see it our way (tell) and we live in a state of anger, trying to control others by exercising dominion over them. When we discover our weakness (addiction) we can sink into despair (shame) and discount the saving power of God.
Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People gives a recipe for success. The three ingredients are desire, knowledge, and skills. He argues that desire is the WANT to, knowledge is the WHAT or WHY to, and skills are the HOW to.
Elder Oaks in his talk Desire given during the April 2011 General Conference explained that our eternal destiny is a function of desire and required to become an eternal being. Let’s examine three questions about desire.
- What is the application of desire?
- How do we see it operate in our lives?
Exaltation is a pathway of the Collective
Of the many explanations and definitions of Eternal Life, perhaps the most significant realization of recent memory is the lack of individualism in the Celestial Kingdom. The concepts of rugged individualism and complete independence are merely checkpoints along the celestial journey.
When Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son, they were accompanied by a myriad of angels. When a baby is blessed, it is a collective. I remember Ross Farr, while blessing his child, once invited all Melchizedek Priesthood holders in the ward to join him on the stand. Ross will always be part of a large and entertaining collective.
John 8 recounts a most interesting story. Jesus is on the Mt. of Olives, perhaps in or near the Garden of Gethsemane. Early in the morning He went unto the temple and scribes and Pharisees brought a woman before him taken in adultery.
They set her in the midst and claimed to have taken the woman in the very act. Now what does that mean? Where is the man? They quote Moses as to her penalty. She is to be stoned, and in a pitiful attempt, the wisdom of the natural man tempts God,
“What sayest thou?” they ask of the Savior.
As you read the following versus in 2 Nephi 27, keep the concept of addiction in the forefront of your mind.
1 – But behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles—yea behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews…they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations.
Commentary: We are in the last days when people will be drunken with iniquity etc. The prophets have said this generation of people is as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah. One of the diseases of the modern day is narcissim.
While more and more attention is being given to the pandemic of addiction, from alcohol to pornography, the depth and treatment is not well understood. Even less understood and lightly discussed is the addiction of co-dependency.
Co-dependency is often associated with the spouse or parents of an addict. Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another.
It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.