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Changing Your Stripes

"With every conscious choice to draw near to God's Light and Love,
self-control is gradually acquired; the desire to indulge in darkness diminishes
in direct proportion to the Light that shines in you and the Love that comes from you.
As Divine Love and Light grow brighter and brighter with each
conscious decision to draw nearer to Light and Love,
the desire to do dark deeds disappears."
~ Matt Moody.

Principles of Emotional Healing
and Lasting Change
by Matt Moody, Ph.D.  

Most human problems come in three kinds:

Direct Control Problem Problem with Self
  Indirect Control Problem Problem with Others
      Non-Control Problem Problem with Events

Each problem has a solution that calls for change:

      Problem with Self Change your Habits
     Problem with Others Change your Approach
 Problem with Events Change your Attitude

While some problems can be solved through determined will power or creative thinking, our most challenging problems in life require a Change of Heart a profound and lasting change that naturally leads to a change in habits, a change in approach to others, and a change in attitude about events beyond our control. There is a reason why creative thinking and mental will alone cannot bring about lasting change:

"We cannot solve our problems at the same level of thinking
which existed when the problem was created."
~ Albert Einstein

The fixated state of being mentally stuck is a condition I call "Einstein's Mind Bind" it means you can't change your mind using the same mind that needs changing, nor can you fix a situation using the same mind that needs fixing. The only way out of this cognitive conundrum is to experience a Change of Heart.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he"
~ Proverb 23: 7

Many misinterpret this Proverb by diminishing or removing the meaning of "heart" and emphasizing mind power: "As a man thinks, so is he." But the Proverb verifies that Self-Identity is revealed from the Heart; so to change Who You Are from your core, a Change of Heart must happen.

Proverbs 23:7 "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he"

"The only change that matters is a change of heart,
every other change alters us cosmetically but not fundamentally,
modifies how we appear, what we do or what we say,
but does not change who we are."
~ C. Terry Warner 

We know that a Change of Heart necessarily precedes a change of mind, thus a change of perspective, due to truths Jesus taught: that our thoughts, words, and deeds flow from the good or evil treasures of the heart.

"How can ye, being evil,
speak good things? for out of the
abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart
brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of
the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil."
~ Matt. 12:34, Luke 6:45 

So how do we come to a Change of Heart? Is the pathway to lasting change only understood by the educated elite? Is the process of profound change an exclusive secret only known to experts?

"Everything we need to know
in order to experience a change of heart,
we know already: it is a truth always available,
a possession we have as part of the human family.
The secret of life is everyone's possession.
We do not need to go in search of it,
only to stop resisting it."
~ C. Terry Warner 

The Truth about Your Heart: Only the Powers of Heaven can Change It

Because the secret of life is everyone's possession,
we must quit resisting the intuitions of the Heart:

"Keep thy heart with all
diligence; for out of it
are the issues of life."
~ Proverbs 4:23 

Because Heavenly Father is infinitely wise, He has provided a way for all His children to know Truth, and thereby receive a fullness of joy in this life and in the eternities.

"Behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil;
wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which invites to do good,
and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ;
wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God."
~ Moroni 7:16 

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name,
he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,
whatsoever I have said unto you."
~ John 14:26 

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel;
. . . saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts,
and write it in their hearts."
~ Jeremiah 31:33 

"Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me
and the moral law within me."
~ Immanuel Kant  

"Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. ...
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us or we find it not...
Character is higher than intellect."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

“About morals, I know only that what is moral
is what you feel good after, and what is
immoral is what you feel bad after.”
~ Ernest Hemingway 

To clearly hear intuitions of Truth, impressions of Heart, every aspect of inner darkness must be identified and un-done; a person must be clean, to be clear. Pure knowledge is only perceived by pure people.

"Unto the pure all things are pure:
but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving
is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."
~ Titus 1:15 

You've heard the phrase "this will be their undoing." Typically, an undoing is a bad thing: unraveling, falling apart, or breaking up — all these are bad. But consider a type of undoing that is good: the process by which we recover clarity of heart is actually more a matter of un-doing, than of doing.

Becoming Clean and Clear is not something
I ''make" happen, but something I "let" happen,
Recovery flows as I un-do darkness and deception.
The whisperings of Light lead the way.
I must yield my will to the Light.

When you feel that something is good, and you are purely honest in the experience of that impression, no further evidence is needed the Truthful Feeling is the evidence. There is no greater guide to fulfillment and refinement than the crystal clarity that speaks as a whisper to your soul.

The voice of Light is heard in the Light.
I must move from the darkness and find
the place where warmth and peace caress me.
Walk in the Light and I am warmed by loving radiance.
Walk in the Light and I can clearly hear
the whisperings of Light.

We enjoy the full presence of Light when we are clean: personal purity is the key to clearly hearing the voice of Light. To become clean, we must strip away every aspect of darkness in our lives. When we fail to un-do inner darkness, we literally cannot perceive the pathway to honor; we will be blind to the perspective and logic of Light. As long as there is inner darkness, there will be self-deception.

Self-Deception = The Problem that You have a Problem,
but You don't think You have a Problem.

If we are blind to our self-deceptions, how can we possibly recognize our blindness, if we are blind?

Three Tell-Tale Signs that You
are betraying your own sense of what is True:
"All your troubles are in the J.A.R."

A thorough understanding of the tell-tale signs of self-deception provides awareness sufficient to catch yourself and correct your course. The patterns are predictable and observable; they are signs central to the aim of un-doing! Seeing these signs in yourself provides a huge clue to what you must un-do.


Tell-Tale Sign of Self-Deception: Justifying

"People who act with integrity,
who act in accordance with conscience,
have nothing to cover up. Since what they
are doing is right, they don't have to spend any
effort trying to make it seem right. Only people who are
doing something that goes against their own sense of right
have to spend time and energy living out a self-justifying story.
The very fact that we need to struggle for approval
proves that we do not approve of ourselves."
~ C. Terry Warner 

"You can't talk your way out of a problem
that you behaved your way into."
~ Stephen R. Covey 

Tell-Tale Sign of Self-Deception: Accusing

"People seem not to see that their opinion of the
world is also a confession of character."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

"When you judge another,
you don't just define them,
you also define yourself."
~ Wayne Dyer 

"You don't see the world as it is,
you see it according to who you are."
~ Stephen R. Covey 

Tell-Tale Sign of Self-Deception: Resenting

Re-senting others, or situations, is a re-occurring activity: The resentful person engages in re-sending yesterday's contrary energy. Re-sending resentful energy is today's decision that squashes tomorrow's hope.

The act of re-sent-ment tethers you to yesterday's misery. This is a consistent law of life:  Every resentful seed sown today . . . returns a bitter harvest tomorrow.

Resentment is the Poison that You Drink,
while expecting your offenders to die
from the Poison that You Drink.

Harboring Resentment is Like Drinking Poison and expecting Offenders to Die

When I am False . . . I feel 
Agitation, Tension, Disharmony.
Resentful Emotions signal my Falseness.
But when I am True, I feel Peace;
the Peace that flows freely
signifies Harmony.

To a certain extent, recognizing tell-tale signs of the inner darkness can be grasped by intellectual awareness and study, as parables and principles are pondered. But ultimately the task of un-doing inner darkness is not an intellectual process, but a spiritual process that requires redemption by a Redeemer. The Way to all Change, Healing, and Renewal is through the Lord, Jesus Christ, and Faith in Him.

"In some cases, temptation may have the added force
of potential or actual addiction. ... while therapy can support a person's will,
it cannot substitute for it. Always and ever, there must be an exercise of discipline:
moral discipline founded on faith in God the Father and the Son,
and what They can achieve with us through
the atoning grace of Jesus Christ. In Peter's words,
' The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations'."
~ D. Todd Christofferson 

Jesus taught "unless you become as a littel child, you cannot inherit the kingdom of Heaven."

We express Faith in Christ as we whole-heartedly believe the words that Jesus taught during His mortal ministry, as well as the words of inspired prophets.

The Words of Christ offer profound principles that clarify issues of mental health and personal accountability:

"And ye shall know
the truth, and the truth
shall make you free. . . .
If the Son therefore
shall make you free, ye
shall be free indeed."
~ John 8:32, 36 

"There hath no temptation taken you
but such as is common to man: but God is faithful,
who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way
to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 

This passage promises a "way to escape" out of any temptation. God promises that no one will be tempted beyond his or her personal capacity to choose that "way to escape." Add to this marvelous promise a truth affirmed by Nephi:

"I will go and do the things which the Lord
hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth
no commandments unto the children of men, save he
shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish
the thing which he commandeth them."
~ 1 Nephi 3:7 

Jesus taught that "all things are possible to him that believes" (Mark 9:23), and that "things which are impossible with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:27). In light of the infinite reach of God's redeeming power, weigh the implications of this scripture as to symptoms of post traumatic stress:

"And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, . . . behold,
I remembered to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the
coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, . . . And now, behold, when I thought this,
I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up
by the memory of my sins no more."
~ Alma 36:17-19 

But does Christ's Atonement relieve and erase only torment due to sin?

"And behold, he shall be born of Mary, . . . a precious and chosen vessel, . . .
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind;
that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the
sicknesses of his people . . . and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his
bowels may be filled with mercy, . . . that he may know according to
the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."
~ Alma 7:10-12 

Whether traumatic stress arises due to sin or to sickness, the Atonement of Jesus Christ can rescue and redeem every person, in every situation, according to their Faith in Christ.

"Like a broken vessel, we must remember,
that vessel is in the hands of the Divine Potter. Broken minds
can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed."
~ Jeffrey R. Holland 

"Nothing is beyond His redeeming reach or His encircling empathy; therefore,
we should not complain about our life not being a rose garden,
when we remember who wore the crown of thorns."
~ Neal A. Maxwell 

Even though Christ has power to heal every affliction of mind, body, and soul, nevertheless, it is wise to draw a distinction between physical ailments that have physical origins, as opposed to mental and emotional ailments that arise due to psychological or spiritual origins.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
~ Matt. 11:28-29 

While you may feel spiritual "rest" by casting your burden upon Christ, you may also need additional insulin if you have diabetes. Remember, "rest" is the opposite of torment, anxiety, and depression, but it is not always the opposite of high blood sugar and insulin deficiency. As to most mental and emotional ailments, scriptural promises apply:

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, . . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, . . . "
~ Galatians 5:16, 22-23 

The choice is ours, whether we will come unto Christ and receive His healing, or choose to resist His sweet invitations to be filled with love, joy, and peace. All of God's children are free to choose the "way to escape" out of every temptation, and are free to choose the "way" to accomplish every commandment.

"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; . . . they are free to choose
liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose
captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil;
for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."
~ 2 Nephi 10:23 

Because we are free to choose liberty or captivity, we are free to do good or inflict harm upon others; thus it follows that all "must come to judgment" for their choices.

"If it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and
partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having
no preparatory state; ... But behold, it was not so; but it was appointed unto men
that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment, ... And after God had
appointed these things ... he sent angels to converse with them, God conversed with men,
and made known unto them the plan of redemption, ... being placed in a state to act
according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do evil or to do good."
~ Alma 12:26-31 

Heavenly Father created an earthly condition where His children could be accountable for their choices:

"That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity,
according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man
may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment."
~ Doctrine & Covenants 101:78 

The Division of Response-Ability:
The Division of Response-Ability by Dr Matt Moody
Irritating behavior of others presents a Constraint to which you respond.
And while that bothersome behavior may necessarily capture your
attention,  the  obnoxious  actions  of  others  cannot  cause
the particular style or Character of your Response.
You are the author of your responses. Only
when you own Response-Ability for
Actions, can you change them.

Heavenly Father has given His children moral agency and has caused us to be accountable for every choice of good or evil. And at the end of our earthly test, all humanity will account for the choices they've made.

During our earthly test, God has promised a way to escape from every temptation (1 Cor. 10:13) and has also promised a way to accomplish every commandment (1 Nephi 3:7). In light of these divine promises, a curious contradiction is asserted by certain "experts" who claim that people can do acts of violence against others and may not be responsible. The experts reason that certain perpetrators have a mental disease and supposedly do violence beyond their free will to choose.

For such experts, having a mental illness means that certain souls are not accountable, and inflict harm on others by no fault of their own; these experts call for society to take responsibility for detecting and diagnosing mental illness, to assure that those who are simply sick receive the correct medications.

But in light of God's revealed word in scripture, we know that our infinitely wise Creator did not create human beings in such a way that they can create murderous myhem, and yet not be responsible for that carnage. Hence here's the lie that some people buy: That people can be abusive to others, not by choice, but because of chemical imbalance or some other biological flaw.

This perspective implies that moral agency is suspended when people get mental diseases supposedly by no fault of their own, just like they might get the mumps or the measles. In contrast to what experts say about mental illness -- that one's bad biology can allegedly override free will and accountability -- the following quotes declare the opposite conclusion:

"Nothing is beyond His redeeming reach or His encircling empathy."
~ Neal A. Maxwell 

"Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed."
~ Jeffrey R. Holland 

"While therapy can support a person's will, it cannot
substitute for it. Always and ever, there must be an exercise of discipline:
moral discipline founded on faith in God the Father and the Son,
and what They can achieve with us through
the atoning grace of Jesus Christ."
~ D. Todd Christofferson 

In regard to what is called mental illness and mental disorder, the burning questions are these:

For those who are deemed mentally disordered, are they incapable of exercising moral discipline?

For those diagnosed as mentally ill, are they incapable of choosing a Mighty Change of Heart through Christ, and being healed of compulsive habits and entrenched addictions?

"And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe
all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know
of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent,
which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts,
that we have no more disposition to do evil,
but to do good continually."
~ Mosiah 5:2  

Is Almighty God, really almighty? Or are there some things He simply cannot do, like extend healing and health to millions diagnosed with disorders like ADHD, PTSD, OCD, MDD, and Bipolar? While medication for mental distress may at times be helpful (like a temporary crutch is used while a broke-bone heals), ultimately medications for mental disorders merely mask symptoms, and do not cure the cause of emotional misery. Different from physical illness, so-called mental illness has no bacteria or virus to cause disorder.

As an explanation of cause, "chemical imbalance" is a theory and not a fact; decades of double-blind clinical trials show abundant empirical evidence that contradicts the "chemical imbalance theory of depression." When people feel misery of mind and emotion, ironically, this misery continues because they choose it:

~ By commissions of betrayal, or
~ By omissions of accessing divine redemption through Faith in Jesus Christ.

So, whenever you feel Miserable, one way or the other, most misery is Self-Inflicted:

Hitting Myself with the Misery Stick!

Hitting Myself with the Misery Stick by Dr Matt Moody

Why Would Anyone Choose To Make
Themselves Miserable?

While some misery is inflicted in the moment by
others or by accidents, . . . beyond the "Point of Impact,"
after the dust of a difficulty has long since settled:
All further Misery is Self-Inflicted.

     Emotional misery is Self-Inflicted through acts of commission and omission:
       ~ We commit betrayals against our own intuitions of truth, and
            ~ We omit the opportunity to come unto Christ and receive His healing redemption.

On the other hand, the Bible gives an example of another scenario where a person's Suffering is explained by a Situation that has been divinely designed as a perfecting Trial.

By no fault of his own, Job suffered a major depression so severe that he wished he had never been born (Job 3:11 & 10:19-20). But imagine if Job were living in our day, how psychiatrists might diagnose his misery: Bipolar, PTSD, MDD are likely possibilities, and the usual drugs would be prescribed too drugs that would mask symptoms but not cure the cause.

Even though Job's depression happened by no fault of his own, Job did not stay depressed because he chose to access divine redemption through the Lord (Job 19:25-27 & 23:10-12).

"There exists no suffering that lies beyond His power to redeem, no sorrow
that He cannot turn into joy; this means, and I put the case boldly,
that even the worst horrors perpetrated by humankind,
the death camp tortures, the abuse of innocent ones,
scalding hatred toward the perpetrators,
anything, can all be redeemed."
~ C. Terry Warner 

Again, God has given all humanity the gift of moral agency to choose between good and evil. An infinitely wise Father in Heaven created His children to be accountable. But what about those who are Insane? This burning question looms large:

Are people who some consider Crazy
Accountable to God for perpetrating Insane Acts?

Any person who would murder 20 elementary school children (as well as 6 adults) in Newtown, Connecticut, such a person is clearly Insane. But here's the catch: Instead of blaming society for not detecting and diagnosing Adam Lanza's Insanity, God has already made Adam Lanza accountable. Why so?

There can be no other conclusion than divine accountability, else God Himself would be responsible for creating killers who are both crazy and un-accountable.

Thus we must conclude that every Insane Killer has chosen his own Insanity. But this Insanity is not simply chosen in the immediate moment of a terrible tragedy; instead, the person who ultimately becomes lethally crazy, does so through history of dark choices that draws the deranged deeper and deeper into darkness.

Because God IS infinitely wise, He has made all humanity accountable for their choices -- to include accountability for evil choices that lead a person, line upon line, one choice at a time, to Insanity.

One Conscious Choice at a time,
You choose your Propensity to be Provoked.
You even choose your Propensity to . . . Insanity.
You are Responsible for the Person that You become.
You are Response-able for both your "premeditated" acts,
and the "thoughtless" reactions that flow from You.

This is the reality of human insanity and divine accountability: God has given His children the power to choose, and along with that power, each individual is accountable for choices made in mortality. Just as some can choose the bondage of demented darkness, the opposite choice of hope is available! Every person is free to choose redeeming rescue and relief from the insane chains of darkness.

With every conscious choice to draw near to God's Light and Love,
self-control is gradually acquired; the desire to indulge in darkness diminishes
in direct proportion to the Light that shines in you and the Love that comes from you.
As Divine Love and Light grows brighter and brighter with each
conscious decision to draw nearer to Light and Love,
the desire to do dark deeds disappears.
~ Matt Moody.

This is an introduction to basic principles of healing and change through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Dr Matt

Matt Moody, Ph.D.
Social Psychologist

Related Articles: Spiritual Roots of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Cause & Cure for OCD
                         Empirical Evidence confirms that Depression occurs due to Sin and not Serotonin
                        The Myth of Mental Illness: People Do Think, Feel, & Act in Mentally Ill Ways, BUT
                        Because there's No Bug, Bacteria, or Virus involved: You don't HAVE OCD, You DO OCD

* * * * * * *

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, 2nd Edition, page 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 principles resonate and ring true,
then . . . this book is for you!

Sold Exclusively
through this website

Changing Your Stripes is a
unique reference book that will help
you understand, . . . and solve all of
Life's ever-appearing problems.
Here are more reasons to buy
Changing Your Stripes

Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor

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