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Worthy vs. Ready
By ETTE
9/28/2009 2:51:22 PM
Yesterday morning I was blessed to get my Temple Recommend renewed. It was a great way to put the hardest week of my recovery thus far behind me. I just can’t believe I’m really worthy to enter the Temple. Although I’ve already taken out my own endowment and been to the Temple many times, this is the first time I went through my recommend interviews without lying or hiding anything.

I’m still struggling with the guilt of ten years of lying and deceit, even though my Bishop told me that as long as I’ve confessed and forsaken everything, then I can be assured that the Lord has forgiven my sins. I guess that’s easier said than done.

It’s great to be Temple worthy, but being Temple ready is something different altogether. I guess I’m actually nervous about going into the temple without any guilt. I’m scared about what I might learn if I’m truly worthy to feel the Spirit in the Temple, since I’ve never been worthy of it before. My Bishop said it’s understandable for me to be reluctant to return to the Temple, and that I should only go when I’m ready.

Can anyone relate to my situation? Has anyone else ever been scared of doing things the right way after doing them the wrong way for so many years?

I’ve gone ahead and set a goal to enter the Temple on Wednesday, and I’m going to try my best to get prepared between now and then. The reason I set my date to go back to the Temple so soon is because I want to enjoy the Temple as much as I can before my next relapse.

I would like to think that I don’t have to ever worry about falling again since it’s been two months since my last slip, but I know myself well enough to realize that’s simply not reality. I just hope I’ll be able to stay strong between now and when I enter the temple on Wednesday.

Comments:

temples    
"My situation is not exactly like yours, but I can relate to your feelings about the temple. I received my endowment this summer, and it was an amazing feeling to go through those interview questions and answer honestly, knowing that I was worthy to receive a recommend. For me, worthy temple attendance was a HUGE part of my recovery. It was not until I set a goal for a temple recommend (limited use, for baptisms) that I really started to take my addiction seriously and to commit to do whatever it would take to become ready to eventually receive my endowment. I talked to my branch president and he told me I would have to wait for a few months before getting a recommend, and I really did commit to doing whatever it would take to get there. After getting my recommend, I did baptisms on nearly a weekly basis, and a couple of months later, I set a goal for a "real" recommend. I am pleased to say that I have been clean for 226 days now, and since going to the temple I have not had so much as a close call. I can feel the strength of the temple. I testify of its power, especially the power of keeping those covenants with exactness.

For several years I did not go to the temple, even to do baptisms, because I think I knew that I didn't want to lie to my bishop, but I think I also knew that I wasn't really committed to the full and complete repentance process.

As strange as it may sound, I am almost grateful that I had to have this challenge, because without it I don't know if I would have come to understand the atonement in the way that I have, and I don't think I would have been able to be as compassionate and open to others who struggle with whatever they might have problems with. But mostly, I am grateful that the atonement really does work, that the Savior has given to me the amazing gift of his purity.

Well, that was kind of a long comment, and I'm not sure it stayed on topic, but I hope it helps someone."
posted at 22:07:43 on September 28, 2009 by ican
The Continuous Atonement    
"Ette,

I beg of you to please go to Deseret Book and buy 'The Continuous Atonement'. I think if I gathered correctly from your other posts you are from BYU so there is one very near by. It addresses these issues so well and simply. I would buy it for you if you can't afford it. It has been a tremendous strength to me. I promise you will find answers to these challenging questions as you carefully and with the Spirit read, study and learn more of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and its role in our lives.

I relate SO well to what you are going through. But the Atonement is what can bring the change in your life. It is about changing the person and that is what MUST occur in our lives.

I have been disfellowshipped for a year now and my bishop has been talking about a re-convenience of the court. There are times I have been frightened to move forward. What if I fail again, just like last time. But that is where the Atonement must take place in our lives.

Read the book, pray with ALL your heart to your God for an answer and ONLY make the decision with the Spirit.

May God bless you in this decision and may you gain confidence in yourself as you gain confidence in your God.

D&C 121: 45-46
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

Letting virtue garnish they thoughts. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is what can help you. Then will your confidence be strong and you will not fear the future."
posted at 10:53:32 on September 29, 2009 by Anonymous
You got me thinking...    
"Congratulations. You have made it to a very important step…you answered the recommend questions honestly, you are ready! What a wonderful point for you to be at, you are worthy to enter into the house of the Lord. Your Heavenly Father loves you and wants to see you happy. You deserve this…you have worked hard. Prayers continue to be with you.
I have a confession…I let my temple recommend expire, I knew the date was coming up but I didn’t want to hold a temple recommend without my husband having one. I have had no desire to go to the temple without my eternal companion. But after reading your post I realized I have been missing out on all the blessings that the temple has to offer. Who knows it might even help my husband to see me attend the temple, for him to know how important it is to me. Thank you for your post!!"
posted at 12:03:33 on September 29, 2009 by summer
Worthy? Yes... Ready? umm    
"As I read your posting there were two things that just jumped right out at me.

First, I can totally relate to being terrified of doing things the right way. I've spent the majority of my life doing things my way, or the wrong way. What terrifies me is my natural reaction to do things my way and not seek gods will for me. I decided to turn my will over to god 12 years ago when i was in a 12 step recovery house. Ever since, I've been in and out of recovery, converted to the church and battled my addictions. I have 197 days today and feel good about how things are going today.

Second, was how you decided to hurry up and go to the temple before your next relapse. That's a bit scary! I don't mean to be harsh but that sounds like a reservation to slip after you go to the temple. If it was me I would get some more time under your belt."
posted at 17:43:00 on September 29, 2009 by rbwell
For What it's Worth    
"My advice has always been – If you were honest with your bishop and he said you’re OK, GO! There is strength in attending the temple. I understand being hesitant. I’ve known guys who didn’t trust themselves to be able to keep the covenants they would be committing to in the temple each time they went. In a way it is a positive sign that a person is taking those covenants more seriously than they have in the past. I would suggest making it there so often that it keeps you out of trouble. Along with recovery meetings it is one of the most important things in my arsenal. My experience has been that the benefits greatly increase with extra effort on my part to make it to the temple. Smarter people than me feel this is a good method:

“Remember your covenants and be faithful in temple attendance. The wise bishop I quoted earlier reported that ‘an endowed priesthood bearer’s fall into pornography never occurs during periods of regular worship in the temple; it happens when he has become casual in his temple worship’” – Dallin H. Oaks, “Pornography,” Ensign, May 2005, 87

“We repeat what we have said before: make a habit of going to the house of the Lord. There is no better way to ensure proper living than temple attendance. It will crowd out the evils of pornography, substance abuse, and spiritual atrophy. It will strengthen marriage and family relations.” – Gordon B. Hinckley, "Closing Remarks," Ensign, May 2005, 102

If the following rant doesn’t apply please ignore.

Like RBWELL I am concerned about a premeditated relapse, but maybe in a different way. IT IS NOT INEVITABLE! Even though we will always be addicts, we don’t have to be practicing ones. Either the atonement works completely (infinite) or it doesn’t. My testimony is that it does! I had to have a major change of thinking to come to the belief that through grace I could be completely free of addictive impulses, but I feel that it is happening for me on a day-to-day basis as I ask for it each morning. The potential will always be there. I’ve proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt over the last nine years in recovery. It is tough because we can’t be so adamant that we will never relapse that if one does occur it devastates our recovery, but we shouldn’t leave the door wide open either. My bishop once told my wife that he wondered if I was leaving myself an out. He was probably right. Since the atonement works, we each have the potential for a final relapse. Who’s to say that your last one isn’t already behind you instead of somewhere in your future? I believe mine is behind me. The only thing that would make it otherwise for me at this point is a lack of humility.

I’m going off the top of my head, but Patrick Carnes said something to the effect that, “You are powerless over your addiction, but you are responsible for your recovery.”

We have to believe something before we can attain it. Your older brother would say, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matt. 21:22

It really works,
jj"
posted at 16:33:49 on October 2, 2009 by justjohn
A simple misunderstanding    
"I think it's possible that you (JUSTJOHN) and RBWELL may have misunderstood what I meant by setting a goal and hurrying off to the Temple.

Since I started the 12-step program I've adopted the "one day at a time" mentality. I love this type of thinking because it's a way for me to keep my promises to the Lord. I start off every day by telling the Lord that I can't promise to be clean for the whole month, the whole week, or even tomorrow; but I can promise to be clean today. I get to end each day by happily reporting to the Lord that I kept my promise and gave it my all that day.

This way of going about recovery has been like a breath of fresh air to me, because I've promised the Lord I would never look at p~rn or m~sturbate again hundreds if not thousands of times, and so far, I've broken every last one of those empty promises. Maybe someday I will be able to keep my promise of never again, but that day is in the very distant future.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to return to my addictions, I hate them more than words can describe. It's just that the only thing I can offer the Lord at this point in my life is one day at a time, and I know that the Lord is pleased with that offering.

Thanks for the advice about going to the Temple, though (especially the Dallin H. Oaks quote, I've never heard that one before). I've already been twice this week, and can't wait to go again this coming Wednesday. It does help me to have very short term goals for my next Temple visits. It gives me another positive reason to stay clean."
posted at 14:09:57 on October 3, 2009 by ETTE
Short term goals    
"I just wanted to comment on your "one day at a time" mentality. This was something that helped me a lot. Thinking about never acting out again, when I was new to recovery, was overwhelming, and I was sure I couldn't do it. I started making progress when I took each day and said to myself "today, I can stay clean". And then after a while it was "I will stay clean for a week, so I can feel worthy taking the sacrament". Starting with these short term goals gave me a feeling of success, no matter how small. Those small victories helped me to gain the confidence I needed in order to commit to a longer-term goal; it was not long before I was setting goals for a month at a time, then three months, and now, after working up to it, I feel ready to commit to "never again". But, for sure, in the beginning it would not have worked (and didn't work in the many times I had tried before) to say "I will never do that again", no matter how much I wanted that to be true. Also, I found that counting the days in a row that I had succeeded made it a little bit easier to convince myself, when strong temptations came, that I really didn't want to do it. Anyway, that's my two cents."
posted at 22:51:30 on October 4, 2009 by ican
ICAN,    
"I really appreciate your perspective on the "one day at a time" mentality. I would really like to have the confidence to start promising an entire week at a time. It feels like I might be selling myself short of what I'm capable of accomplishing at this point in my recovery by only promising one day at a time.

If everything goes well this week, then I'll commit myself to staying clean an entire week starting on Sunday.

Thanks again for your comments, it's been a great help to hear from people that can relate to what I'm going through."
posted at 14:31:15 on October 5, 2009 by ETTE
my experiences    
"I'm not qualified to give advice on this, but here's what I've experienced:
- Not feeling ready to go to the temple is a tool that the adversary uses. He wants me to feel like I'm not good enough and that I'll never be good enough so why bother trying. Heavenly Father, on the other hand, loves me even with my imperfections. He knows I'm not perfect but wants me anyway.
- Relapses are not inevitable. Sin is something that I either choose to do or choose not to do. And today was a good day because I chose not to sin.

Best wishes and prayers, man.

-J"
posted at 13:01:10 on October 6, 2009 by jhamilton75


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"If, through our unrighteous choices, we have lost our footing on that path, we must remember the agency we were given, agency we may choose to exercise again. I speak especially to those overcome by the thick darkness of addiction. If you have fallen into destructive, addictive behaviors, you may feel that you are spiritually in a black hole. As with the real black holes in space, it may seem all but impossible for light to penetrate to where you are. How do you escape? I testify the only way is through the very agency you exercised so valiantly in your premortal life, the agency that the adversary cannot take away without your yielding it to him. "

— Robert D. Hales

General Conference, April 2006