Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Beginnings

Hello, and thank you for visiting! My name is Michael. :)

I am a blogger now.  I think I am a little behind the trend, yet I am finally ready to embrace this piece of technology.

I wish to use this blog as a vehicle to convey thoughts about two large passions in my life and how they intertwine: my faith and behavioral health.

I'll start by stating what should be obvious from the title of this blog: I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). That takes courage to say these days.

I also have been in recovery from, studied, and worked in the field of mental health and addiction.  This, too, takes courage to say these days.  The largest and most profound aspect of my recovery has been through the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ (or grace).

Sometimes there are conflicts between these two important facets of my life.

Let me explain. . . 

I'm not your average Mormon.  I was raised in Connecticut by a mother who no longer associates with The Church and a step-father who identifies as an individual who is agnostic.  This was a loving home, with loving parents that I have found to be a saving grace for certain circumstances in my life, yet it was a home without religion.

This was not a huge problem for me.  Although I was baptized into The Church by my father in Utah, my choice was based on a codependent relationship, which Wikipedia describes as “a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person's addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. . . . [The] most common [characteristic] is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and identity.”

Long before I was an addict, I was a codependent.  I got baptized, which in the LDS Church is a serious commitment to discipleship, so that my father's feelings would not be hurt.  

This blog will include many other examples of certain behaviors that I have experienced.  I also would like to tackle some of The Church-related topics flooding the headlines lately.  As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was not raised in Utah, who has several tattoos and piercing holes (I no longer wear them due to my beliefs) and so forth, I have a very different background than a lot of the individuals I have met since moving to Utah in 2010.

Utah, Utah, Utah . . . *sigh*. . . .

It's a loving, yet uncomfortable relationship.

I love Utah.  I always have.  I always will.  But I was naive as a child/teenager/young adult when I visited this state during summer.  The culture in Utah may be heavily influenced by The Church, but it is not from The Church's doctrine.  It's just what happens when you get many members of one group in a certain area, sheltered with the help of mountains, and in many ways  sheltered from the outside "world"--especially before the reach of the internet.  I'm 30, so yes, I do remember life without internet and mobile devices.

How does this affect me?

Please see Al Fox Carraway's blog on what it is like to have tattoos, be a very active member of the Church, and live in Utah.  It sucks.  People often judge and assume the worst about you, and then there are other people who embrace your differences and see them as strengths, thinking you're the "cool Mormon."

I like being a cool Mormon.

The purpose of this blog is to separate the myths from the facts of mental health and substance use disorders, as well as to illustrate principles in the field of behavioral health that coincide with healthy behaviors seen in religious texts like the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  I would like to educate those who understand mental health principles on basic principles and doctrines of The Church/Christianity. I would also like to teach members of The Church/Christianity that understanding basic mental health principles does not need to be scary or conflict with their faith.

healthier body and mind equals a healthier spirit and spiritual experience in this life.  The Lord Jesus Christ declared through Joseph Smith that,"the spirit and the body are the soul of man.(see D&C 88:15)." The brain, a very essential organ, is part of our physical bodies. Soin fact, you are helping your body when you help your mind, and you are helping your spirit by helping your body, thus helping your soul.  Understanding the brain and human behavior does not need to be scary.  On the contrary, it makes situations and people with certain behaviors less scary because you can know what is actually happening! That is exciting science, people!

The world could use a lot less discrimination, hate, and bigotry. And where does that all come from? Ignorance.  I believe in God the Father, His literal only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.  

I also believe in lucifer, satan, the adversary, the "father of lies, etc". From this point on I will primarily call him the adversary. The absence of capitalization is intended.

What fights darkness, ignorance, hatred, contention, and fear?

Truth and Light.

..and the world could use a little more light in this darkened age.

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