Monday, September 15, 2014

Diversion = Slavery. Simple as that.

"There’s a lot of talk currently in America about empowerment. Certainly economic and political slavery should concern us, and rightly so, but what of being in bondage in other ways? What of emancipation from the enslavement resulting from so many subtle forms of servitude? Listen to these words of Peter: “For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Peter 2:19). So many different things can overcome and capture us.

"The fundamental fact is that if we do not deny ourselves, we are diverted. Even if not wholly consumed with the things of the world, we are still diverted sufficiently to make serious discipleship impossible. As a consequence, all the gifts and talents God has given us are not put meekly on the altar to serve others and to please God. Instead, we withhold to please ourselves. Diversion, therefore, is not necessarily gross transgression, but it is a genuine deprivation—especially if we consider what we might have become and what more we might have done to bless and to help others.

"Ironically, brothers and sisters, the natural man who is so very selfish in so many ordinary ways is strangely unselfish in that he reaches for too few of the things that bring real joy. He settles for a mess of pottage instead of eternal joy.

"By denying the desires of the natural man (to the degree that these exist in each of us), we avoid this diversion, making it easier for us to take up the cross of discipleship. Of course, when it occurs in our lives, emancipation from various forms of bondage brings no celebrating parades, nor does it make the evening news. But it is big news because we come off conqueror!"

~ Neal A. Maxwell, "Called To Serve" BYU Devotional

Monday, July 14, 2014

Personality Profiles - The "Mall Map" of Secular Psychology

The shopping mall.  Those bastions of retail commerce and chain franchises.  Consumerist wonderlands that dotting the country from Los Angeles to New York.

Although I don't make it a habit to frequent such bastions of retail commerce and chain franchises, I've been in a few here and there.  I've been to some of the smaller ones growing up in my home town, I've visited them here and there as the need arose living wherever we were, and I've even been in some of the larger ones in the United States while travelling on business. 

I am by no means a "Mall Expert", but I have noticed a few things that are common to all of them.

One feature they all share are both unavoidable and ubiquitous. Sometimes a simple sheet of plastic, sometimes a lighted kiosk, and sometimes a full-blown interactive multimedia experience.

The map. Those indispensable visual vanguards that lay out every store, restraint, exit, stairwell, restroom, and every other highlight or point of interest contained in those gilded walls.  (And, if you find a really good one, they may even give you the infinitely helpful "You are here" marker).  They can be immensely helpful to determine your position in relation to landmarks and shops; they show you where you can go, but lack one very important piece of information, (but we'll get to that later...)

I've recently completed a class on an introduction to psychology.  It was quite interesting to hear many of the theories of behavior and the people and historical events and popular ideas that influenced them.  (It was really interesting to compare and contrast what was being taught to the teachings of the Gospel, especially Elder Maxwell's thoughts on the Gospel and behavioral sciences).

One of the topics that was covered was the study of personality and personality development.  The class  reviewed the different theories and aspects of personalities and personality development, as well as talking about the authors of the different approaches and the historical and academic background that may have influenced them and their ideas. 

One of the last sections was talking about the methods and tests that have been developed to assess
and categorize personality and personality traits.  We covered shallow but broad overview of the major types of personality tests and their pluses / minuses from Rorschach inkblots to Myers-Briggs  Inventories.  There are many more that I've seen or heard about dealing with colors, or seasons, or "Which Disney movie are you" or other such things that pop-up on Facebook here and there. I've taken a few of these before, some as part of corporate team-building exercises, some as related to different activities in academic circles, some as part of career counseling and job searches, and some just out of curiosity.  They all seem to be somewhat accurate and highlight traits that I have noticed in myself, or patterns of behaviors that I have seen in myself, (although didn't always tell the whole story).  It has also been interesting to compare with others that I took the same test with and see how accurate theirs was compared to things I have seen in them.

Some of the tests included not just traits, but suggestions for what activities or interests someone with that personality may find an interest it, or situations that the personality profile may succeed in or find difficulty with.  The information was interesting, and in some instances aligned with what I had noticed as common to people with the identified personality types.  Something, however, was missing, and although I haven't done a totally exhaustive search of all these different tests and assessments, didn't seem to be common among them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Link: Over-acceptance is NOT Christ-like

Couldn't have said it better myself...

From Greg Trumble's blog:
Too many people are neglecting what is in the scriptures and trying to “customize Christ”. You can’t do that…seriously.
Too often we read a few scriptures that make us feel good and then omit everything else that we know about Jesus that might make us feel bad. Some have bowed down to modern trends and allowed themselves to be manipulated by the media and false teachers. Too many people are looking for a religion that is easy. In the world, we are offered instant salvation and taught about a Christ that accepts everyone just the way they are. There is no difference between our day and Isaiah’s time when the people asked him to “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things” (Isaiah 30:10) Instead of looking for a Church that teaches truth, many are on a quest to find a church that can satisfy their innate desire to worship God, and yet at the same time, live the lifestyle that they want to live regardless of how ungodly it really is. Some consider it a great feat to find a church that allows them to live how they want to live, and still feel like they are worshipping God.
Read the rest here...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Radical Feminism / Peter Pans / Sexism = Imbalance and Madness‏

(This was an e-mail I sent to the author of this post: "Mormonism, Feminism, and being snarky."  Thought it was long enough that I might as well throw it up here...)

Ginger -

I appreciated your bold words on your post of Feminism and Mormonism. I, too, have been thinking much on this topic, and thought I'd share some of the relevant thoughts on this topic from various (mainly Church centered) sources.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fear is Selfish and Lazy

Fear is inherently selfish and lazy. There is no effort, work, or knowledge required – it simply takes giving into our default behavior. Faith in Christ, on the other hand, is a principle of action and power; it is the result of hard work and demands personal sacrifice. It takes a great deal of sustained effort and energy, giving up our "comfort zone", putting aside what we think we know, seeking out salvational truths, and applying them consistently in our lives no matter the immediate or apparent outcome. Faith and fear cannot co-exist because one cannot be both lazy and industrious or charitable and self-centered at the same time, just like something cannot be both wet/dry, high/low, or on/off at once.