News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pittsburgh area, counsel from its leaders, and reflections from its members.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lessons from an Ice Storm

In Backwoods Home Magazine Anita Evangelista shares "Lessons Learned from an Ice Storm"—the recent ice storm that took out electrical power throughout much of New England. She records her own family's experiences, confirms the importance of preparedness and home storage, and gives practical advice on how to weather the storm.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Barack Obama and Smoking Cessation

An Associated Press article by Jocelyn Noveck, "Anti-smoking groups hope Obama will be role model," reports:

"Anti-smoking advocates are counting on Obama as a role model for others trying to kick the habit . . . a former smoker who says he's quit, but admittedly falls off the wagon—is potentially 'the ultimate teachable moment.'

"Obama has done a lot right, [including] using nicotine replacement, in the form of Nicorette. Those using the gum are 1 1/2 times more likely to quit.

"Even more important, Obama keeps trying." The article reports that typical smokers make between four and eleven attempts before they're able to quit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Moral Inventory

Last night's Addiction Recovery Program in-service training meeting included 38 participants from the Michigan and Pittsburgh PA Welfare Regions and Brother George McPhee of Boston, who helped write step 4 of the program, on making a "searching and fearless written moral inventory." Brother Kirk Lillrose took the following excellent minutes of the meeting:

Opening Prayer: Amanda Anderson
Conducting: Gordon Fletcher

Bishop Mark Scofield, Dearborn Ward – shared comments from his experiences conducting meetings over the past few weeks for someone who had been called back to work. Initially went in with attitude of wanting to help others change, but over the course of time learned that it was a program to help myself look inward, a program of change. Big concern from the start was that if I show weaknesses as a Bishop, it would make me less effective as a Bishop and members would lose confidence in me. But what I found was just the opposite; I’ve found that I am more effective in working with others. I plan to continue to attend meetings for myself personally whether or not I’m serving as bishop.

Introduction of George McPhee and discussion of Step 4 – Truth

Basic overview of the entire program and introduction of PowerPoint presentation
5 things everyone should know
• AA origins are the Bible
• Fellowship of AA is not the program that this was for
• First 11 of 12 steps actually = the 1st principles of the gospel
• Correlation Review Committee Final report on “ A Guide to Addiction Recovery & Healing”
• Benefits of local priesthood leaders
Steps 1 -3 of the program = faith in Jesus Christ
Steps 4-11 = repentance
Step 12 = service and enduring to the end

Benefits to local priesthood leaders
• Groups self-regenerate as members become group leaders and facilitators
• Groups are practical and foolproof course in methods of life long repentance
• Relieves all but the core priesthood burdens from the bishop – huge time saver
• Serves large numbers of members with a minimum investment of priesthood talent
• Constantly reinforces our need for activity in the church and reliance upon the atonement of the savior

Most important thing you can do in the program is apply the 12 steps in you own life
Example: These are the things I’ve struggle with and through the program I’ve found help with…
Worst thing you can do is say something in the directive “You” voice instead of “I.”

Tonight’s Topic: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself
Notes: on slides
#21 in the church participants often times don’t show outward resentment but to some extent participants don’t take responsibility for their actions to some extent
Often times we don’t admit to places where we are wrong.
#22 start to get glimpses of yourself and the self-deceptions begin to fall away
• Resentments, people I hold resentments against: family, friends, neighbors, institutions, etc.
• Selfishness/self-interest
• Dishonesty
• Fear
• Sexual relationship behaviors – by the time you get to this part, the Lord has taken away a lot of self deceptions and fears. By the time you get here, you should be ready for this part.
This is a big project and exhausting both emotionally and spiritually. But with God’s help, we can see ourselves clearly.


How do the 2 spreadsheets relate to each other?
Answer: Sheet 1 lists people and incidents that come to mind that have a negative thought in 10 words or less

I’ve been a member of Alanon for several years and they use sponsors to help people do an inventory, how does the church want us to assist people? Do we wait until they come to us or do we go to them?
Answer: Referred to website for conference of last year that tells what the support in recovery consists of. Tells how to sponsor and what to sponsor. If you feel comfortable sponsoring people you can go to them but you have to make a disclaimer that you don’t represent the Church. You also open yourself to sponsoring a lot of people. It needs to be done with a little bit of caution because you can be overwhelmed if everyone wants you to be their sponsor.

If it takes 2 years to write you inventory, that’s a lot of 12 week cycles. What is the relationship between the 12 week cycle and the 2 years?
Answer: It’s like the layers of an onion. The more you go through, the deeper you go. The process continues. Repentance is a lifelong process. Step 10 things happen to us daily. I’ve gone to meetings for 24 years. It’s not once around, twice around or 4 times around. It’s something I’m still working on.

In your list where do self-harm issues come in? Where are they addressed?
Answer: We have a group leader in the Boston Area who was into cutting herself. The cause is still based on fear. She would look into herself and family and eventually she would get to the point of how to react to them? "I got depressed, I acted out, and I cut myself so I could move the pain I felt on the inside to the pain I feel on the outside." All addictions come from a basic lack of faith: they are based on a fear of some sort. As you go through the steps, you gain insights and things slowly begin to fall away. All of the behaviors are symptoms of underlying causes. The process to change is the same.

The spreadheets and PowerPoint presentation are available from Brother McPhee.

Testimonies from Elder Gordon Fletcher, outgoing Pittsburgh PA Regional Coordinator, and Ed and Debbie Greenwald, incoming coordinators.

Closing Prayer: Brother Cloud

Deseret Recipes

Sister Barb Lefler of the Pittsburgh 2nd Ward makes the following suggestion to help promote menu-driven orders from the bishops' storehouse:

One idea to make this easier on the family and to assist the Relief Society presidents teach the menu concept is to have a few Deseret Recipes cook books on hand. Most of the recipes can be made from storehouse food. That way there is a baseline of ideas to menu creation.

Great idea, Sister Lefler!

Deseret Recipes is available from the Church Distribution Center.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Charities struggle to stock pantries"

"Demand is so great, some food banks turn people away." So reported the December 5-11 issue of the Pittsburgh Business Times. Continuing, the article reported, "The number of people seeking food handouts in western Pennsylvania is up sharply in recent months." Stake and district presidents can respond to such needs by requesting humanitarian food orders of up to $1,000 from the bishops' storehouse. Priesthood and Relief Society leaders will want to be alert to needs for food in their communities that the Church can help to meet. The Lord has blessed the Church abundantly, making it possible for us to share with those who are not as fortunate.

The Arbor - December 2008

The December issue of The Arbor includes two stirring testimonies of the power of the Savior's Atonement to bring those who repent into the light of a new life. In both cases the Addiction Recovery Program played a significant role.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Menu-driven Bishop's Orders

Following is a "best practice" recommendation from Elder and Sister Reed, our area welfare specialists, who have now toured and inspected bishops' storehouses throughout the East Coast of the U.S. Following Elder and Sister Reed's recommendation will help those who receive assistance from the bishops' storehouse to become more self-reliant, which is one of the important goals of the Lord's welfare program.

"We know that Bishops and Relief Society Presidents are busy and that orders are frequently given less attention than they deserve. These are sacred funds, after all. The most elegant solution is the menu-driven Bishop’s Commodity Order. We have never seen a menu driven order that was unreasonable. Relief Society Presidents should see that patrons are taught how to do a menu and ask for a menu for every food order. Bishops should require a menu be attached to every order they sign."