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A few years ago I wrote an article on how I was able to overcome anxiety and depression without using medication.  At the time, I didn’t realize how many people struggled with either anxiety, depression, or both. 

Since I wrote that article along with some other ones,  people have emailed me, called me, or just talked with me about their struggles with anxiety and depression.  When I started receiving so much feedback, I decided a great way to get the word out would be to write a book on the topic.

Over a year ago, I started writing a book on my experiences with overcoming anxiety and depression.  What I thought would be a short process ended up being about a year in the making.  Editing the book and finding a publishing company was another endeavor that took almost as long.

Long story short, I finally finished the book and am excited to share it with you or anyone else you think may be able to benefit from overcoming anxiety and/or depression. 

The book includes my personal story along with several resources to help guide people to learn how to cope with and eventually overcome anxiety and depression.

Feel free to visit Amazon.com and check out the book.  I arranged a “Look Inside” feature so you can read some of it.  Click on the image below to check it out:

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I was on a business trip this past week to present our regional territory plans to our Vice President. People were very nervous on our team since he is pretty intense with the way he scrutinizes our plans during our presentations. The morning of the presentation I was praying and reading in the Book of Mormon and found a cross reference to the Bible in Psalms 37. In this chapter in the King James Version advises us not to fret about things but to rely on the Lord. I didn’t know if people in my group were religious or believed in God at all, but I felt prompted to email this scripture out to the team. I was pleased when the whole team replied and were thankful for me sharing the scripture with them. They felt it helped them feel more comfortable and prepared to present.

I thought it was awesome how God showed me a scripture to not only help me but the whole team as well. I later learned that my mother had been praying for me while I was there along with me.

Do you have any experiences with sharing the gospel with your co-workers?

Belief in God Importance of Religion in One’s Life Church Attendance Religious Affiliation Believe their Religion is One True Faith
71% Absolutely Certain 56% Very Important 39% Once a week 79% Christian 24% Their religion is one true faith leading to Eternal Life
17% Fairly Certain 26% Somewhat Important 33% Once/Twice per month 16% Unaffiliated 70% Many religions lead to Eternal Life
4% Uncertain 16% Not Important 27% Seldom or Never 2% Jewish 3% Neither
      1% Muslim 4% Don’t Know
      1% Buddhist  
A few things I find interesting included:
– Most of the country are Christians, yet most of the country believe in more than one way to eternal life.  I am personally under the impression that most Christians are pretty direct and cut-and-dry with who goes to heaven or not.  I’m suprised by this statistic, but also happy.  I feel God is very merciful and also just and therefore, the many mansions in heaven that await those who accept Him.  I just wasn’t under the impression that this many people were Christians.
– An overwhelming majority of the country believes in God, yet our laws dictate how we are or are not supposed to pray in public schools.  If the overwhelming majority of the country is Christian, wouldn’t you think Christian prayers would be a given for the 1% of other faiths who are in the country as well?  I think it is absurd not to allow prayers and talk of God in public places when the overwhelming majority of the country expresses belief in a Christian God.
– Finally, I’m impressed that so many people still go to church.
What stands out to you about these statistics?

I’ve alluded in previous posts to problems I’ve dealt with as a result of issues from my early childhood.  One of my most often read posts is the one I wrote last year about overcoming anxiety and depression.  I’m grateful that God has been able to reach so many people through my experiences and I hope that the reference in this post will help as well.

Along with dealing with the depression that I previously wrote about, I was dealing with certain addictions (which, I feel were a trigger for depression I was having).  I won’t go into detail about the addictions I had to overcome, but I will discuss the process I went through in overcoming them.

As a young child I had some traumatic events in my life that affected my views on various things in life.  Unintentionally I formed addictions later in life as a result of these early experiences.  The funny thing is that I knew what I was doing was wrong but I would seem to always revert back to my addictive behavior over and over again.  It affected my self-esteem and the way I viewed the world and it went on for many years.

Overcoming the addictions I dealt with were a process.  First, I was in denial and I would put the blame on others such as my parents or the people involved in my addictive habits.  However, after a few years and a serious wake up call I realized I had a problem and needed to overcome it.  The only problem was that I couldn’t stop myself from the habits that had been formed even when I knew they were wrong.

To make a long story short, God helped me through blessing me with determination, patience, and guidance from the Holy Ghost for a number of years.  One day as I was driving the Holy Spirit told me in my mind to contact an old friend I hadn’t talked with in years.  When I called her I thought I was going there to help her on an errand from God but soon found out that she had recently gone through an addiction recovery program.  She became my sponsor for the program which was a major part in my addiction recovery. 

Looking back on it, I am deeply grateful that God knew me personally and cared for me deeply enough to guide me to the right program.  For me, it was very helpful and worked in the end.  However, I did feel a bit of a void especially when talking with my church leaders.  I would have loved to have been in a session with people who had similar views on God but I don’t think the leaders were properly trained or aware that the LDS church has an addiction recovery program.

The other day I came across this LDS reference and thought it would be very helpful for people to know about. 

Here they have support groups, counseling services and publications for addictions dealing with the following issues:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs (both prescription and illegal)
  • Tobacco
  • Coffee and tea
  • Pornography
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Gambling
  • Codependency
  • Disorders associated with eating
  • I encourage those of you who are either dealing with any of these issues or are in a leadership or counseling role to help others with these issues to use this website as a reference.  I think if I had known of this before-hand it could have saved me some time and I could have overcome the issues with much more support.

    If anyone else has ideas of good references for those dealing with addictions please feel free to share.

    I came across notes from a talk given about 1 1/2 years ago by James E Faust, who at that time was serving as a counselor to President Gordon B Hinckley for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Parts of his talk was on having a healthy self esteem.  I will list the 6 keys that he mentioned and share some of my thoughts as well.

    6 Keys to a Healthy Self Esteem

    • Keep your Free-agency

    In my opinion, this is one of the only things that we truly have control over.  We have the power to decide what we will do in any given situation.  I have written about controling our thoughts and how our thoughts shape who we are.  If we get in the habit of doing good things and keeping the commandments good things will come our way.  If we choose bad things or even go to the extent of using harmful things like drugs, our agency is given away.  It is our choice to either choose the will of God or not.  Those who choose to live within the commandments of God have a healthier self esteem than those who do not.

    • Humility

    There are a few scriptures that point out how humility and meekness bring us joy and abundance. (Isaiah 29:19; Psalms 37:11)  Those who feel the love of God and the joy that comes from humbly following Him feel greater joy and self-worth than those who do not. 

    • Honesty

    I know that when I’ve chosen to be honest in all my associations and conversations I feel much better about myself than when I’ve chosen not to.  Those who strive to be honest with themselves, their friends, their employers, and all people feel greater self esteem.  The big challenge for me and probably many other people is the small “white lies” that creep in there.  If I exaggurate a story or build myself up in a way that isn’t necessarily completly true that is lying.  Some may say it’s impossible to be completely honest.  Maybe it is, but striving to be honest will surely lead to a greater self-image.

    • Love of Work

    I grew up on a farm and learned to appreciate work.  I wouldn’t go as far to say that I love it.  However, I do know that I definitely feel better about myself when I’m working for a good cause than when I’m bumming around. 

    • Ability to Love

    This one is a life-long pursuit and those who are blessed with this ability to give and accept love have much higher self-esteems than those who do not.  For years I feel that I didn’t love and respect myself as a child of God.  I had negative thoughts about myself and blamed others for some of the bad things I did as a result of not respecting myself or others.  Fortuneately the Lord was there for me the whole time and helped me through this.  I learned that it is o.k. not to be perfect and to love myself for all my strengths and weaknesses.   I’ve learned that love is a choice.  In fact, loving others doesn’t come naturally for me.  I have to pray for this love every day and I feel that the more I pray to the Lord, the more He blesses me with the ability to love myself and others.  To read a list of great scriptures on love and charity for yourself and others, click here.

    • Love of God

    1 John 4:8 states: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  Therefore, in order to love we must, as Joseph Smith stated in his Lectures on Faith gain a “correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.”  These attributes can be found in the scriptures and include: mercy, grace, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, constant, all-knowing, and many more.  I know that when I strive to show love towards God that I have better self-esteem and desire to do good.  I feel more grateful for the blessings that He gives me on a daily basis and realize my dependance on Him. 

     

    In conclusion, I realize that we all struggle with varies things and some of us struggle with self-esteem.  I know how difficult it can be to learn to love myself, others, and God, but I also know that it is possible to overcome.  My hope is that this post helps some of you who may be struggling with any self-esteem issues and that this serves to assist you as it did me.  Feel free to share any thoughts you have.

    I was reading my Yahoo News this morning and came across a very interesting article called “What Happens When We Die?”

    In this article, Dr Sam Parnia describes a study he’s been conducting for the last 10 years on out of body experiences from his patients who come back to life after the body is clinically dead.  He also describes how they conduct the study in a way so they know it’s not a figment of the people’s imagination, because they describe certain things in such detail after returning.  For more information on his research, click here or visit this site.

    This reminds me of a story of one of my relatives who died on the operating table and left the body.  She described how free she felt and how good it felt to be free of pain.  She then turned and saw her family crying and she felt that she wanted to return back to her body to help them.  When she returned, pain instantly came over her again, but she described everything in precise detail: what the doctors were saying, her children and husband…everything. 

    Similar references are found in this interesting article and you can read it here.

    The title of this article intrigued me when I saw it in the “Time out For Women” flyer my wife received yesterday.  This will be one of the topics in the upcoming conference and Camille Olson will be the speaker.

    As I reflected on the title, I naturally thought about the Book of Psalms in the Bible.  I thought of the word “psalm” and looked up the Hebrew translation for it.  Here is the translation directly from the dictionary:

    zâmar, zaw-mar’

    Definition: a prim. root [perhaps ident. with 2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers]; prop. to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, i.e. play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music

    Translated as: give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

    I thought of many of the Psalms in the Bible and how heart-felt and earnest they are.  The writers of the Psalms show the depths of their souls and their relationship with the Lord as they sing praise and also share remorse for sins committed.  When reading the Psalms, I definitely can feel their sense of yearning and dependance on God in joy, sadness, pain, and all walks of life.

    My thoughts then turned to the title “Your own Book of Psalms.”  I’m not sure what the speaker will be sharing, but I thought of how I can deepen my relationship with God by sharing Psalms with Him in three ways: prayer, writing in my journal, and writing music to the Lord.

    Prayer

    What my goal before I pray is to reflect on God and who He is.  He is my Creator and gives me life.  He loves me more than I can imagine and he loves all humankind and His creations as well.  Also, before I pray it is important to consider all the many blessings I’ve received from His hand each second of the day.  By doing these things I stir emotions within myself that cause me to feel humble before the Lord. 

    Next, I think about anyone who may need help and I try to imagine what I would feel like in their situation.  I consider if there is anything I can do to help them and this stirs more emotion of helplessness and dependance on the Lord, knowing that all things are in His control.

    I then think about myself and my family and the struggles we may be facing.  This stirs even more emotion and I am then ready to pray…pray with emotion like a psalm.

    Journal

    When writing in my journal I share emotions and get them all out on paper.  Sometimes as I do this I see things come out that I know I need God’s help with and I then use my journal as a means to pray and share my deepest feelings with the Lord.  Other times I just write in the journal and it feels good to get all my good and bad emotions out.

    Writing Songs to God

    I play the guitar and sometimes I’ll just start strumming some chords and my heart is full and words will come out.  Sometimes the words are from an earnest seeker, sometimes they are joyous, and other times they are songs of sadness.  I’ve found though that when I express my feelings through a prayer of music to God I have felt the Holy Spirit enter into my heart many times and I feel God’s love surround me. 

    In closing I thought it would be fun to share part of one of my “psalms.”  It is part of a song I wrote about Jesus called “Believe.” 

    He’ll pick you up if you take a step forward and don’t look back again.

    He’ll lift you up and carry you on until your journey’s end…

    Now all I have to do is give You my heart…it’s true!

    Open the door, get set free.  Give Him your heart….

    Once inside you’ll see.  And if you’re feeling doubt just believe.

    I was looking up something from Joseph Smith’s Lectures on Faith that he gave in 1835 and I came across Jerry Stokes’ website.  In his website he compares these lectures to the Word of Faith movement (which I’ve never heard of before) and says it is heretical.  I will have to agree with him that many things stated in the Lectures on Faith are heretical to mainstream Christianity, which is a given for LDS theology.  One of the things he points out as being heretical is the fact that Joseph Smith states that one of God’s main attributes is faith and that without faith He would cease to be God.  This concept is found in Lecture 1 verses 13 – 17 and is quoted below:

    13. As we receive by faith all temporal blessings that we do receive, so we in like manner receive by faith all spiritual blessings that we do receive. But faith is not only the principle of action, but of power also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven or on earth. Thus says the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, 11:3 —

    14. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

    15. By this we understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist; so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth exist by reason of faith as it existed in Him.

    16. Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute — for it is an attribute — from the Deity, and he would cease to exist.

    17. Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And if the principle of power, it must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is the testimony of all the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavouring to teach to man.

    I can understand Mr Stokes’ concern coming from a Christian perspective.  He may be appalled to hear that Jehovah, who created the world, would need faith.  After all, the Greek meaning of the word faith is “conviction of religious truth or of God.”  If Jehovah is all-powerful and all-knowing and He is the being who we worship, what need is there for Him to have faith in Himself?  Furthermore, does this lesson God’s stature and is it blasphemous to say that God has faith just as man does?

    I don’t think it is wrong to say God has faith.  By definition, faith is “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”  For example, we read in the first book of the Bible (Gen 1:1-2) that God created the heaven and earth and the earth was without form.  The Hebrew definition of “without form” means “to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; fig. a worthless thing; adv. in vain” .  Therefore, God hoped for and had faith in himself that the earth would be made and he created the beautiful world that we live in out of chaos (or nothing depending on your belief).  This fits into the definition of faith that we just discussed. 

    Now, does saying this lessen God’s stature and elevate man’s in relation to God?  Not at all.  In fact, this proves the majesty of God and shows us our relationship to Him.  We are humans and have seeds of divinity in that we have the power to have faith and create things, etc.  But no one can create a world. 

    Now, I will admit that I disagree with Joseph Smith’s statement that God would “cease to exist” if He didn’t have faith.  In the scriptures we read that God is never-changing and always exsisting.  God would be God regardless of whether He created worlds or not.

    Overall, I believe in Joseph Smith’s statements on faith and man’s relationship to God.  I believe that man has great potential and that we are children of God and therefore have seeds of divinity within us. 

    What are your thoughts?  Do you think God has faith and is it wrong to say that He has faith?  Do you have any other examples from the scriptures where God or Jesus showed faith?

    This morning I was reading an excellent talk given by John H Groberg a few years back called “The Power of God’s Love.”  If you saw the movie “The Other Side of Heaven,” you will remember many stories he shares in this excellent talk.  I encourage you to read through it.

    What impressed me today were the following phrases:

    Since all love emanates from God, we are born with the capacity and the desire to love and to be loved.

    Only as we feel God’s love and fill our hearts with His love can we be truly happy.

     

    The more we obey God, the more we desire to help others. The more we help others, the more we love God and on and on. Conversely, the more we disobey God and the more selfish we are, the less love we feel.

     

    …trying to find love without helping and sacrificing for others is like trying to live without eating—it is against the laws of nature and cannot succeed.

     

    When we understand who God is, who we are, how He loves us, and what His plan is for us, fear evaporates. When we get the tiniest glimpse of these truths, our concern over worldly things vanishes.

     

    I learned that just as rockets must overcome the pull of gravity to roar into space, so we must overcome the pull of the world to soar into the eternal realms of understanding and love. I realized my mortal life might end there, but there was no panic. I knew life would continue, and whether here or there didn’t really matter. What did matter was how much love I had in my heart.

     

     

     

    …when we are ready, His pure love instantly moves across time and space, reaches down, and pulls us up from the depths of any tumultuous sea of darkness, sin, sorrow, death, or despair we may find ourselves in and brings us into the light and life and love of eternity.

    As I read this, my mind went back to various times throughout my life that I’ve felt the Love of God so much that I knew without a doubt that there was a God and He loved me.  I remembered times in my life when all I wanted to do was help other people and had no worldly cares because of the love of God that was in me.  It’s a truly amazing experience.  But, as Groberg states, the pull of the world comes and it is easy to forget that love sometimes.

     

     

    How does one bring God’s love back into life then?  Personally, I think an answer is found in the Book of Mosiah chapter 4 verses 11-12.  In verse 11, King Benjamin says (paraphrased) that if we have tasted of God’s love and want to retain it we have to do the following:

    1. Remember God
    2. Acknowledge our “nothingness” before him in humility
    3. Praise Him for his goodness
    4. Pray to Him
    5. Stand strong in the faith.

    In my life I’ve found that the best way to remember God is to read the scriptures daily and start with a sincere prayer.  I pray to God (well, try to anyways) as I would another person and thank Him for his love and patience He’s had towards me throughout my life.  I pray about my family, friends, my heart to be softened so I will love all people and see them as He does.  I pray for spiritual discernement and understanding.  I try to obey His commandments as best I know how as well.  Many times I feel the love of God in my heart very strongly.  Other times I don’t.  I believe that standing strong in the faith comes into play when we aren’t feeling the love as strongly, but we continue to try to develop a relationship with God.  And conversly, when everything is going well it is important to remember to thank God and be grateful and continue on in study, prayer, and obedience.

     

     

    These are a few thoughts experiences that have helped me.  What are some things that you do to retain and/or bring back the love of God into your life?

     

     

     

    In the book “How Wide the Divide,” Craig Blomberg from a Denver seminary and Stephen Robinson, from BYU (both have PhD’s in religion) attempt to “bridge the gap” between Evangelicals and Mormons.  The first step is to have a correct understanding of what the other believes.  The following is an excerpt from their book:

    Since very few Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals are theologically bilingual, the same misunderstandings tend to be compounded over and over, which is grist for the mills of prejudice on both sides…(How Wide the Divide, page 14)

    In an attempt for both Evangelicals and LDS people to learn about each other’s beliefs, both Blomberg and Robinson share a modern-day translation of “Articles of Faith” for both religions.  I will now share their thoughts.  Feel free to share yours in your comments.

    LDS Articles of Faith Translated for Christians of other Faiths

    1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.  We accept the biblical doctrine that God is three and that God is also one, but we reject the post-New Testament attempts to explain how these two truths are to be reconciled
    2. We believe that humankind fell through the transgression of Adam and Eve and that humans in their present state are subject to sin, death and corruption.  However, we believe that individuals are accountable for thier own sins, not for guilt inherited from Adam and Eve.  We accept both divine justice and human accountability, but we do not believe in original sin.
    3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ, fallen humanity may be saved by accepting and obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ.  No one is predestined either to salvation or to damnation; anyone may be saved who responds appropriately to the good news of Christ.
    4. We believe that we respond appropirately to Christ and we accept his gospel by having faith in and being faithful to Christ as Son of God and Savior, that is, by accepting him as Lord and Savior and making him Lord of and in our lives.  We cannot merit salvation of ourselves, nor is it possible to “earn” the grace by which we are saved, but the obedience of faith, a godly walk and conversation, is a necessary component of faith in Christ.  Jesus will save us from our sins but not with our sins.  Beyond having faith in Christ, we must also repent of sin, consent to baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and receive the regenerating and sanctifying gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.
    5. We believe that the Christianity of the first century, New Testament Christianity, is true Christianity.  As such, it is the only standard by which to define Chrisitanity, as opposed to defining it by post-New Testament councils and creeds.  We believe that the priesthood authority, church organization, spiritual gifts, sacraments (i.e. ordinances) and doctrines of the modern church must be as they were in the New Testament church.  This obviously includes the presence of apostles and prophets who receive direct, continuing revelation for the church in the world.
    6. We accept the Bible (the King James Version) as the inspired word of God–every book, every chapter, every verse of it–as revealed to the apostles and prophets who wrote it.  We also hold the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price to be the word of God.
    7. We believe in the divine conception, subsitutionary atonement, sacrificial death, bodily resurrection and present glory of Jesus Christ and that he will return to this earth in judgment and in his glory to cleanse it from all wickedness and to establish his personal millennial reign.  Both the saved and the lost will be resurrected, the former at Christ’s coming or during his reign, the latter at the end of th millennium.
    8. We believe that the church established by Christ in the New Testament was changed by later Chrisitan intellectuals who believed the simple New Testament proclamation to be inadequate.  Feeling the language of Scripture to be unsophisticated, incomplete, vague, ambiguous or imprecise, the second, thrud and fourth-century church sougt to “improve” the New Testament gospel by the standards of Hellenistic philosophy, but compromised it instead.
    9. We believe that the Lord in preparation for his imminent second coming has “restored” New Testament Chrisitanity in the latter days through the prophet Joseph Smith.  Nevertheless, all honest Christians of whatever deonmination, not just LDS Christians, will be among the saved at the last day…(How Wide the Divide, pgs 16-17)

    Evangelical “Article of Faith” or “Confession Statement”

    1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
    2. We believe that there is one God eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
    3. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.
    4. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
    5. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
    6. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
    7. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. (How Wide the Divide pgs 29-30)

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