Thursday, February 09, 2006

How do you go forward when you pray and it seems as if no one hears you or cares? What do you do when the universe betrays you and your child dies? Countless parents have faced that bleak wall, and the core of many groups is that they are comprised of people who have come through that dark valley to the other side.

What is interesting about twelve step programs is that they all confront this issue, over and over again each time someone new comes to a meeting. The people in a twelve step program (such as AA) have already prayed and it seemed as if their prayers fell on deaf ears. As a result, while they have an intellectual belief that God can do anything, in their hearts they have learned to have faith that God will not help.

Yet, twelve step programs work because people find that God does help them after all, once they surrender themselves to God and begin to develop a new relationship with that higher power greater than themselves.

While current success rates are low, before Courts started ordering people to attend programs, the success rate was about seventy percent -- and almost all of these were people who had learned that God was deaf to them before they learned to approach God again in a way that involved faith and trust and surrender. By changing their heartfelt concept of what God was, they found help from God.

They found the truth of the promise that when we take upon ourselves Christ's yoke, the burden is light. But to do that, they had to admit that they could not succeed without God and that they did not know God the way they needed to know him. Much like Joseph Smith taught, to reach God you must know some true things about God and must realize that you truly need the Holy One.

So yes, I think that the scripture means it when it says:

Matthew 11: 28 - 30
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 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.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I also believe that learning that lesson is one of the mysteries of the gospel, along with faith and love, and I hope everyone who has suffered unbearable pain finds that rest for their souls.


annegb said...

I'm in a couple of 12 step groups, Stephen, and I think you've nailed it.

I didn't find God in Mormonism, I found Him in AA.

Stephen said...

hans, if it were easier, I'd have directions posted here, though I'm going to blog more on the topic.

annegb, I'd love another guest post when you have time. I worry that I won't have much more time knowing you, though I understand why you would want to leave.

annegb said...

Hans, it's not something you do.

You could try attending some AA meetings. Just don't identify yourself, you can say your name if they ask you to introduce yourself, but don't mention you're not an alcoholic.

Then listen and absorb.

Stephen, I didn't say I wanted to leave. At least that I remember LOL. I'm working at Wal-Mart now and my time and energy are limited, but I'm here for the long haul. I'll work on something.