I had a great time at BYU’s Education Week. My absolute favorite was Joseph Grenny’s class, “Four Skills to Happiness: How to Change for Good”. His specific Tuesday class was titled, “Thriving in the Age of Addiction”. This was part one. Sadly, I missed part two on the next day. He started the class defining what addiction was and said, “Everyone in this room has some form of addiction they are working on.” His definition:
“Any habit that reduces agency by trading short-term pleasure or relief while producing substantial long-term pain or cost.”
He quoted D&C 89:
Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of…evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days…
Joseph Grenny contends that in the latter days “conspiring” and “evil” people will manipulate us into surrendering our agency. He had us talk with a partner to think of some addictions. Besides the obvious ones, my husband and I came up with anger, control, sports, body worship, social media, work, and perfection, among others. Most of what you see below is copied word for word from his slides.
He set the subject of addiction asidefor a minute and said the Book of Mormon is 531 pages long and covers 1000 years. Mormon chose to spend 30% of the Book of Mormon on just 39 years and takes up 160 out of 531 pages on the section about Alma.
He said the major topics in this section are Antichrists, perfecting the saints, missionary journeys, counseling children—And then there is Alma 46-62, or the account of the war years.
Why the Warfare?
- 19 battles
- 17 Chapters–Alma 46-62
- 45 pages—Almost 10 % of the Book of Mormon–30 % of Alma.
- 12 years out of 1000.
Then Joseph Grenny asked, “Is Mormon marketing to 12-year old boys?” We laughed when he said that and showed a slide of 12-year olds fighting with wooden swords. Then he said, “What is the spiritual significance in proportion to the textual real estate they require?” Or, what could be so important to us in the latter days that Mormon chose 30% of the Book of Mormon from Alma’s life?
This next part was so brilliant. He sums up Moroni’s Principles, (Moroni was a Nephite General at that time) from this section on fighting addictions of you or your loved ones.
- It’s okay to make mistakes. You are a “savior”, not THE Savior.
- You may be weak and outnumbered—but victory has nothing to do with the strength of the enemy.
- The best way to motivate the rebellious is to get out of God’s way.
- You can feel joy while the war still rages by surrendering to God.
- You can’t rush deliverance.
- It takes a family.
It’s Okay to Have Bad Days
Moroni was unconditionally committed to fighting for his loved ones.
So Am I
Moroni had a “perfect understanding” of Gospel principles
So Can I
Moroni led a 12-year effort to deliver ambivalent Nephites out of the bondage they created.
I Can Be Patient
He goes on to say Moroni makes mistakes and talked about what his mistakes were—and Victory had nothing to do with the strength of the enemy.
- You think meth is strong?
- Do you fear heroin?
- Pornography seems to powerful?
- Alcohol is in your very cell stucture?
Then he listed the battles in the 12 years and said, This is s story of deliverance and delivering. Eight times Moroni shows us that when we fight the right way, we win.
NOT ONE WAS LOST IN THESE 8 BATTLES.
Again, Victory has nothing to do with the strength of the enemy. The predictor of success has everything to do with the condition of the Nephites.
Moroni’s promise: It is the condition of the Nephites NOT the strength of the Lamanites that predicts the outcome.
Joseph Grenny then told the story of his son, Seth, who was awkward in middle school. When he was 15, he had marijuana and alcohol in his locker. He got into more and more trouble and had to leave their house. He came back to them and said, “ I will stay, I will follow the rules, I want to be at home.” They set up rules in order for him to stay there–no drugs delivered, no druggy friends, among others–Joseph said it took 24 hours for Seth to have drugs delivered. With heavy hearts they helped him gather his belongings into two black garbage bags and Joseph said, “Where do you want me to take you?” Seth said, “Wal-mart.” It was a cold and snowy night when Joseph dropped him off there and after leaving the parking lot, he pulled over and cried.
The best way to motivate the Rebellious is to get out of God’s way.
My Question: What can I do to get my loved one to change?
What are you doing that is keeping them from changing?
When you stand between your loved one and justice, you stand between your loved one and God.
Agency is not just the power to make choices.
Agency is the power to become like God by creating consequences.
The Best Way to Motivate the Rebellious is to Get Out of God’s Way.
- Moroni faced ambivalent Nephites throughout his 12-year campaign.
- After covenanting to defend their freedom, they backslide. What does Moroni do when his own people make self-destructive choices?
- Moroni allowed his people to make their own choices, then refused to stand between them and God’s way of teaching.
- When we remove the natural consequences from those we love, we interfere with God’s ordained process.
- We assume our own design is superior to His or that those we love are too fragile to learn in His way.
You can feel joy while the Battle rages…by surrendering.
- I begin to feel like I am the Savior rather than a savior.
- The more responsible for RESULTS you feel the less inspired you will be.
- I feel most miserable when I feel most responsible for results.
Practice Gratitude by Watching for Tender Mercies.
Joseph said the night he dropped off his son at Wal-Mart an hour later or so he received a call from someone who had picked Seth up and had taken him to dinner. Joseph said that a western twang greeted his ear. The voice said, “I just want you to know that your son is with us and having a good meal.”
- We need the most motivation at the times we have the least hope.
- Gratitude is the best inoculation against despair and impatience.
Gratitude is a habit (Alma 56:56) This is Helaman’s epistle to Moroni:
56 But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war.
Joseph Grenny and his son, Seth, have written a book on this whole topic of addiction and deliverance. It’s called, Moroni’s War on Addiction. It’s not available on Amazon or Deseret Book. I called the BYU Bookstore and they have 10 copies. It is in their religious studies section of the Bookstore. I thought I would find a used one on Amazon, which is my practice, but it’s such a new book and it is not offered there, so I need to head over to the Bookstore. This class was so profound and raw for me to hear Joseph tell about how they had to surrender and let the consequences AND God teach their son. I couldn’t make it the next day to hear part 2. I asked Joseph Grenny’s partner after class what happened to Seth. Ron MacMillian said that Seth finally went to prison and became a better, rehabilitated person there. He now volunteers at The Other Side Academy, a highly successful drug rehab that Joseph and Cela Grenny started in Salt Lake City. That is a whole different post in itself. Their website is here:
Look it up and be inspired.