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"Changing Your Stripes"

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Satan is in the Self-Talk
 by Matt Moody, Ph.D.  

It takes wisdom . . . to recognize wisdom
The music is nothing, if the audience is deaf!

"For behold, at that day shall Satan rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. . . . and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none -- and thus he whispereth in their ears . . ." (2 Nephi 28:20-22).

Satan's best lies . . . are the lies that we don't know are lies . . . yet! What better deception could Satan design, than a deception that we don't define as deception?

If you're like me, you've been "talking to yourself" most of your life: normal, innocuous, everyday Self-Talk! Not talking out loud necessarily, but in your head. And within this seemingly ordinary activity hides one of Satan's most clever deceptions. The devil desperately wants you to think that YOU are simply talking to YOURSELF.

Angel on the Right Shoulder and the Devil on the Lef

I'm exposing the lie! The devil's cover is finally blown. For truth be told: Satan is in the Self-Talk!

For all these many years, you may have passed off countless moments of mental chatter as routine thinking. The devil delights in this assumption!

Yes, sometimes our thinking IS ordinary and innocuous -- no devil in the dialogue. For example, you might say to yourself, "I need to pick up a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk at the store" -- such IS plain and harmless Self-Talk.

But there is a predictable emotional pattern to the type of Self-Talk that Satan helps coauthor, and that pattern is consistently entangled in the BRIAR. Dr Matt likes to say . . . and so he does:

"You can lie with your MOUTH or EMOTION: "When you're in the BRIAR, . . . you're a LIAR."
The BRIAR represents Lies that we "tell" via emotions: Lies that we Live! And Satan helps initiate and perpetuate these emotional lies.

                         B = Bothered Blaming or Bitter
                         R = Raging or Rancor
                          I = Irritated Impatient or Irate
                         A = Angry Agitated Anxious Annoyed or Accusing
                         R = Resistant or Rationalizing

"Satan is in the Self-Talk" means that whenever your thoughts and emotions are tangled in the thorns of the BRIAR, . . . you can be assured that Satan is seducing you into the darkness, and away from the Light.

It takes Faith to speak of things unseen. We live in a temporal world where the orientations of science persuade us to be skeptical of all that we cannot verify with our senses. But just the opposite orientation is the one that leads to joyful living: Faith in things unseen. The Apostle Paul taught:

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18).

From this broad perspective that sees beyond our tangible with with an eye of Faith, Paul taught that we wage war with an unseen enemy:

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but . . . against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12).

If we would win our "wrestle" with powers of darkness, it would be wise to know the tendencies of our opponent, . . . especially one of his most subtle seductions: Satan is in the Self-Talk!

The Evil One has managed to cloak "Self-Talk" with credibility. Talking to yourself is encouraged and sustained by the New Age Movement, as well as the concerns of psychology.

Devil and Angel Homer Simpson

Self-Talk is widely advocated by therapists and counselors as a means for fixing yourself via Mental Programming and Self-Affirmations. But here's the problem with trying to FIX yourself with Self Talk: As you trying to re-program your Brain to think more productively ... exactly what Brain will you be using ... to re-program your Brain? You'll be using the Brain that needs fixing, ... to fix your Brain.

You might be asking yourself, "What's so bad about Self-Talk as Therapy . . . it has it's place, right?" Positive Self-Affirmations are good . . . aren't they?

Remembering that Satan's best deceptions are so subtle that we don't suspect that the devil is even involved. During his mortal ministry, Jesus cautioned:

"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be
accounted worthy to escape all these things"
(Luke 21:36).

To the Nephites, the Savior warned:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest
ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive
by him for Satan desireth to have you,
that he may sift you as wheat"
(3 Nephi 18:15, 18).

The Principle of Praying Always is not given as simply a nice thing to do, . . . so you might feel warm and fuzzy; rather, Praying Always IS what we must do for the direct purpose of resisting and "escaping" the wiles of the devil—it is our first line of defense in an invisible war.

The devil wants you to think that praying "always" is poetic hyperbole; it's overstated and not to be taken literally. Logical Self-Talk runs this rebuttal: "Come on, . . . get real, . . . you can't pray all day, . . . that's impractical!" Nephi answers this issue:

"And now, my beloved brethren, . . . if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul" (2 Nephi 32:8-9).

As to the practical application of how often you should pray, the devil would have you doubt the word "always," further, Satan would have you dismiss the admonition, "ye must not perform any thing save in the first place ye shall pray." Self-Talk reasons: "Well, that would mean that we should pray all the time and about everything . . . and that's a bit much . . . isn't it?"

In support of prayer that is both ongoing and all-inclusive, Amulek adds:

"Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, midday, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, . . . Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you" (Alma 34:18-27).

When engaged in Self-Talk, there is a critical difference between "thinking" that is faithfully tied to an underlying attitude of prayer, . . . and "thinking" that is coauthored by the adversary. If Satan can simply get you "into your head" and away from your heart, then you are vulnerable to his evil enticements; and in those moments that you disconnect from formal prayer—or cease an attitude of prayer in your heart—your thoughts WILL regress into Self-Talk of a satanic sort.

Whenever you leave the Light, . . . you enter the darkness by default!
Besides being laced with BRIAR emotions, mental chatter that is coauthored by Satan also has these characteristics:

                         * It dwells upon Useless Cares
                         * It's like Repetitive & Recycled Cud Chewing
                         * It is Laced with Logic & Facts


When "Satan is in the Self-Talk" . . . the ultimate result of our mental machinations will always be unenlightened and unproductive. Because Satan "seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself" (2 Nephi 2:27), . . . anything coauthored by the Evil One is ever . . . useless!

An American pioneer hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints" encourages: "Tis better far for us to strive, our useless cares from us to drive." Driving away "useless cares" IS driving away the devil, for Satan celebrates whenever he can get us dwelling upon the unimportant and unproductive.


Think about the word Ruminate for a moment. In the figurative sense, the dictionary defines the word as "to consider again and again; to turn over in the mind," but the primary definition paints a more graphic picture:

Ruminate = "To chew the cud, a slow, second chewing of food regurgitated from the stomach."

You know "Satan is in the Self-Talk" when you are fretfully churning issues over and over in your mind, . . . hashing and rehashing, chewing and re-chewing old issues regurgitated from yesterday's sour digestion. When your Self-Talk is Repeating and Recycling Useless Regurgitations, you know Satan has . . . "Got Cha!"


Because satanic Self-Talk is the regurgitated Cud of yesterday's Useless Cares, Satan has got a real public relations dilemma: How is he going to get you to chew on something so unsavory? Answer: He must make the issues appear important, . . . even though they're really just pathetic! To pull off this deception, Satan's Ad Campaign includes lining his lies with Facts. It's the old "Facts disguised as Truth" ploy!

You see, some people equate facts with Truth, but they are really not the same. Facts can be used in the service of lies, while Truth cannot! Truth is not merely a matter of accurate descriptions or correctly stated words; rather, Truth is whole: Heart, Might, Mind, and Soul. Truth encompasses a complete Way-of-Being that wholly embraces truthful Words, Thoughts, Emotions, and Deeds. This whole Way-of-Being is what Christ meant when he declared:

"I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

Self-Talk degenerates from the wholeness of Truth to the narrowness of Facts, as we logically gather evidence in our head and mentally arrange arguments as if preparing for a court case. And as the Facts smolder and churn in our heads, . . . as we try to spin Useless Cares into important issues, our mental churning will likely play one of Self-Talk's greatest hits:

                         -  Someone Did Me Dirt
                         -  I Loved, but I was Left
                         -  Drats, you Dirty Scoundrel
                         -  Lonely and Alone
                         -  That Cheat'n Heart
                         -  Revenge is What I Want
                         -  I Hate You with a Passion True
                         -  Life is So Unfair
                         -  I'm Really Not to Blame
                         -  I've got the Bad Upbringing Blues

When you're singing any of these songs to your self, . . . Satan has . . . "Got Cha!"


Logical Facts are Satan's anemic imitation of Truth.

Self-Talk logically argues, "But I was mistreated, that's a fact, . . . I was done dirt and I've got all the evidence to prove it!" Because these facts are real and accurate, Satan can effectively entice you to chew on yesterday's cold hard facts, . . . while Jesus extends an invitation to bask in the warming Light of Truth:

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you,
and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

"Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive
one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses
standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required
to forgive all men. And ye ought to say in your heart --
let God judge between me and thee" (D&C 64:9-11).

Even though "accurate facts" are enticing you to Chew the Cud of judgment, resentment, retaliation, and revenge, . . . to follow the admonitions of Jesus—especially when grossly mistreated—is to align oneself to the Way of Truth; a Truth that exists in Wholeness and Integrity: Thoughts, Words, Deeds, Motives and Emotions.

If you continue to Chew the Cud, and mentally Regurgitate and Recycle a Fact-filled story, . . . please realize that in those very moments of anxious, fretful stewing, . . . you have ceased to pray!


First, look for the Tell-Tale Signs:

                         * Dwelling upon Useless Cares
                         * Repetitive & Recycled Cud Chewing
                         * Telling an Anxious Story laced with Logic & Facts
                         * Harboring BRIAR Emotions within your Heart.

And as you recognize these tell-tale patterns, you can also realize that Satan is trying to "Get Cha" or that he has already "Got Cha." From this point, the way OUT is ever so simple:
You must Re-Connect to the Pray Always Principle!

As Mark Twain wrote in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: "I was trying to make my mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, . . . but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a Lie -- I found that out."

Because you can't pray a lie, . . . if you would "pray always" with a perfect heart, . . . then you would never lie, . . . and you would never be deceived by a lie.

When we commit ourselves to a whole and complete consecration of thoughts, words, deeds, motives, and emotions to a never-ceasing prayer of attitude and action, then something wonderful happens! We naturally cease from thinking thoughts, or saying words, or doing deeds, or feeling emotions that could not be worthily presented to Him.

"Satan in the Self-Talk" is the dreary ditch in which we fall by default, . . . when we disconnect from the Pray Always Principle. This is precisely why the scriptures admonish:

"Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work" (D&C 10:5).

Contrary to common belief, . . . thinking is never done alone; it is always done in duet! It's either:

"You and Satan in the Self-Talk" or it's
"You and God in Prayer."

Your Choice!

(Changing Your Stripes, The Manual, page 8-25)

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

The journey to Being True will not happen by applying the techniques taught by traditional Psychology; the prevailing paradigm of "It's-Not-Your-Fault Psychology" is fatally flawed from its foundations. This popular paradigm tends to deprive people of the very thing that essential to Being True:

To fully and wholly accept Response-Ability for what comes out of you!

Owning your Response-Ability is a first step in Being True and increasing your strength of Character:

"The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!"

(Changing Your Stripes, 3rd Ed., p. 274)

The book, "Changing Your Stripes" presents principles for getting out of
the ditch in which you've been dumped (the difficulties of which you are a victim), and
the ditch in which you've jumped (the difficulties for which you volunteer).

"Mastering a challenging situation
is ultimately a matter of
mastering yourself!"

- Matt Moody.

"Changing Your Stripes," teaches you the principles that lead to lasting change,
making you a new kind of creature capable of communicating
with calm, even as storms of contention swirl.

If these ideas resonate and ring true,
then . . . this book is for you!

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Changing Your Stripes is a
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and solve all of
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Changing Your Stripes

Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor


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