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Posted by: tiffanyspencer ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 08:42PM

So, when I was a missionary (1998 to 2000), I was introduced to the book "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven". After applying this book's principles to missionary work, I was convinced that the same methods would work in post-mission life as well, let me explain:

-I learned that anything I wanted/needed would be provided given sufficient faith and obedience.

-If I didn't have what I needed/wanted (righteous desires only) then it was because I was either being tested or wasn't be sufficiently obedient

-If I combined this book's teachings with the Book of Mormon's "prosper in the land" teachings, then I would become wealthy.

Product of this "new-age" belief system:

Armed with these "new age" beleifs, and after returning home from my mission, I did everything in my power to control my environment through "steadfast faith and obedience"; for example:

-I believed in these principles so much that from just minor disobdience, I ended up homeless twice (each time for about a year), addicted to heroin, methamphetamines, alcohol, etc. ... you name it, I've injected it, snorted it, inhaled it, or swallowed it.

-I convinced myself that if I was disobedient, even slightly disobedient (i.e., forgot to read the scriptures), then "God would withdraw the Holy Spirit" from my life thereby causing me to falter ... and I proved this to myself by allowing my life to go into a dark and bleek abyss each time I forgot to read the scriptures, pray, pay tithing, etc.

-During this time, I had also dropped out of BYU ... my grades were extremely poor because I felt that I "couldn't do well on tests because I had forgotten to read my scriptures" so I didn't study for the tests, given that I was convinced that I would do poorly no matter what because I was "disobedient" to God's commandments.

-My disobedience was nothing more than forgetting to pay tithing, or forgetting to read the scriptures and pray. During this time I never sinned in a "sexual manner", however, because of my self-defeating belief system of perfection I did fall into severe drug addiction, as explained above.


I've only explained some of the details of my experiences with this flawed belief system. I remember that after being homeless and explaining my situation to doctors, I was diagnosed with "bi-polar mania". However, after living through a horrible marriage, being forced to give a child up for adoption, and being considered an "outcast". I finally cleaned up my life and got back into BYU. In fact, and while I won't go into specifics, I did so well at BYU and I was accepted into a prestigious graduate program at BYU. During this time, I still had the idea of Mormonism, bipolar-mania, and my past hovering over my head.

After living this way for about three years, the ideas from "Drawing on the Power's of Heaven" came back to bite me in the ass. Fortunately, however, this it was different. While my life did fall into disarray once again, and I nearly become homeless and addicted to drugs once again, I decided to question my belief system that I held to strongly for the last 9+ years of my life. I studied everything I could find about the orgins of Mormonism, faith, religion, Jesus Christ, God, etc. Because my brain was so tightly alligned with the ideas from "prosper in this land" and "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven", I became physically ill when I started to "deprogram" myself from Mormonism and the self-validating "faith experiences" that I previously held onto as validation factors for my faulty belief system. I remember that I had bronchitis and pneumonia as well as leisions on my skin for nearly entire year while I tried to weed out the horrific and unfounded beliefs that I had formed while I missionary.

Well, to make a long story short, it's been about two years since the beginning of my "self-deprogramming", and through this process I've learned quite a bit about myself and how the world works:

-I now believe that I can accomplish things without being obedient to a "religion". Because of this "new-to-me" belief system, I've been able to keep a job, I've not even been close to becoming homeless, and I don't have even the slightest desire to use drugs of any sort, except for of course, perscriptions from my doctor.

-A 18 months ago, I went to a "non-BYU" doctor who diagnosed my "mental condition" as ADHD, and since being on the "correct medication" I've finally been able to change my belief system even more. The interesting thing about "BYU" doctor's diagnosis of my past "mental states" was that I was never depressed, I was merely "off my rocker" so to speak with the belief system that I was following. BYU doctors misdiagnosed my "mental state" due to their own undiagnosed bias toward Mormon belief and it's "truthfulness." I am now working with a lawyer to have my medical record expunge as was recorded at BYU's health center.

-I am finally very happy when I want to be happy ... knowing that Mormonism is bullshit was very hard at the begginning, but now after having both successes and failures as a non-believer, I am able to show myself each and every day that I am worthwhile and that I can accomplish whatever the hell I want to accomplish despite a religion or a God. Granted, I still have days where my brain tries very hard to divert to my previous "mormon methodology", but this is happening much less frequently that before.

-I still have quite a bit of "life fixing" to do. The last two years have been a whirlwind of learning and new experiences that I quite literally dropped everything, both school, church, family, job, etc. to sort out my mind and deprogram myself. It's only been six months since I stopped living off of unemployment and started working again.

-While I have a very long road ahead of me in life, I am more confident than ever before that I can now logically manuver through life without having to rely on a crazy set of beliefs like reading the scriptures or paying tithing--I now believe that I deserve to live in a house and feel good about myself despite "being obedient" to a set of ridiculous Mormon beliefs.


I've tried to keep this post as short as possible so as to not bore anyone here on the board, and hopefully I've accomplished this task. I've not shared this experience with anyone as of yet, so my mind is still very much jumbled and unorganized when it comes to explaining my "disbelief" in a faulty "beleif system". Anyway, I figured I'd share my experience with others. I'll end with this:

I believed that I could do anything, I mean ANYTHING, by following a ridiculous belief system that included praying to imaginary beings, reading imaginary scriptures about imaginary beings, attending sacrament meeting, devoting my life to Mormonism and an imaginary Christ and God, attending the temple regularly, and doing my home teaching. Because of Mormonism, that is because I could never have enough "faith" in Mormonism or "obedience" to Mormon principles, I ended up homeless, addicted to drugs, divorced, misdiagnosed as bipolar by Mormon doctors, and scored poorly on exams and homework assignments in college, all the while believing that these "side-effects" were products of faithlessness and disobedience. I gave Mormonism 100% of my heart, time, and soul, and in return for my efforts, Mormonism stole 100% of my life.

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Posted by: notnewatthisanymore ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 08:57PM

While not as dramatic as your experience, I went through a small portion of what you did. I was getting depressed to the point where it was impacting my work and studies. I was depressed because I was trying so damn hard to be a good Mormon.

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Posted by: Mia ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 09:04PM

I forgave myself for a lot of things after being diagnosed and treated for ADD.

The Mormon church did not.

Their loss.

P.S. I quite like myself these days. The mormon church does not. Once again, their loss.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 10:38PM

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 10:39PM

yuk! yuk! yuk!

Don't quit your day job. Oh wait...

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/26/2012 10:59PM by bc.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 12:04AM

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Posted by: Greg ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 09:13PM

I remember that book very well! It went the rounds of the Toulouse France mission when I was there. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who also tried so hard to put into practice the principles of that little tome.

We started getting pretty wacky, praying about which street to turn down, thinking we were being led by the Spirit, only to be disappointed about ninety percent of the time. Naturally we got lucky at times, and of course it was always because god had heard our prayers and seen how faithful we were.

I look back on it now with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was exciting and challenging, but on the other, we were simply deluding ourselves and creating distorted thinking patterns that, in my case at least, caused mental and emotional difficulties also.

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Posted by: Cynthia ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 09:20PM

My brother-in-law raved about this book. I read it and even as a TBM I thought the author was an arrogant know-it-all who knew nothing.

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Posted by: Don Bagley ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 09:31PM

All those times my mind was on fire in sacrament meetings and the times I fainted as a kid could simply be explained as an anxiety disorder. I was accused of being less than reverent or distracted by Satan.

I was diagnosed with epilepsy at five years old, and my parents hid that from me (and, more importantly, other members). I saw my medical records when I was in my forties. But I had already taken the blame as an unrighteous child.

Right with you, tiffany.

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Posted by: shannon ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 09:56AM

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 09:37PM

I'm very sorry for what you have been through.

I hate to say this. I only do it because I think it may be helpful to you. That book and the Mormon church did not ruin your life. You did.

Yes they were significant influences in bad decisions you made. My concern is that if you don't own your own choices and destiny that you are going to end up right back where you were.

Best wishes. I am truly proud and impressed with you for what you have done and overcome.

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Posted by: tiffanyspencer ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 09:42PM

Yep, you are right, I should have made my post "clearer" in that regard, but I totally understand what you are saying. I realize that my own belief in an idea was the problem, since not everyone who read that book and knew of the "prosper in the land" belief ended up going through the same "troubles" that I went through.

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 09:45PM

Great to hear that. Now that I think of it - it's very unlikely that you could have made the fantastic progress you have made without understanding that.

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 10:41PM

By the way, can I interest you in reading The Secret? ;)

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Posted by: tiffanyspencer ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 10:43PM

Yes, my mother already tried that one on me years ago. She was certain that "The Secret" was in fact ... fact.

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Posted by: lucky ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 09:42PM

MORmONISM baits people with superlative promises. WHen there is no Jesus dividend/ pay off/ big time blessings then MORmONISM puts the blame on the individual for not really being compliant/ up to par enough to be blessed.

There was a couple in my ward. Their young son was hit by a car.
He should have died. He didn't. He would have been better off dead. He was a vegetable. It was terrible strain on the couple.
Later, A stake high council man spoke in our ward. He was un aware of the accident. He had recently been to a Steve Young fireside. SO inspired by steve young, He told how God was just waiting to bless all of us, more than we could ever really comprehend, just as God had blessed steve young, IF ONLY we would just be Faithfull enough.... just like steve young had been. God was just waiting for us to be sincere and devout enough, like steve young! That was the thing God was waiting for!

I wanted to puke. I am certain this couple had prayed as sincerely as humanly possibly, as sincerely as anyone ever did in the interest to see their son healed. It did not happen.

The stake high council man thought he had been so profound.
He thought he had given the best talk ever. He had a big cheesy grin on his face. After the meeting many ppl were shaking his hand, I went up and just stared at him, because it was one of the most pathetic things I had ever heard. My testimony was breaking down very quickly due to my questioning of IDIOCY like this talk.

that book drawing on the (NON existent) powers of heaven is GARBAGE just like The MORmONISM that inspired it ! MORmONISM has RUINED many lives and it NEVER really delivers and then puts the blame on the individual. MORmONS claim that MORmONISM is good. It is really very EVIL and destructive.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/26/2012 09:46PM by lucky.

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Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 10:17PM

This is the type of thing the Smith family was trying back before the BoM scam. They were trying to learn the supposed secrets of making God rain wealth upon them. Sure beat working for a living.

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Posted by: xyz ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 10:44PM

I hope you see that you are a survivor.

You've given yourself the best gift possible: that of being able to re-evaluate the so-called values of those around you, and finding them wanting with regard to you.

Sloughing them off and seeking a new set of values to define your convictions with gives you enornous powers of self-actualization and self-respect with which to move forward through life.

Best wishes.

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Posted by: Mia ( )
Date: November 26, 2012 10:48PM

This tripe is getting a 41/2 star rating on Amazon. The reviews are singing its praises.

I think it's time that some of our more articulate RFM members took that rating down a few notches.

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Posted by: anonforthis ( )
Date: October 09, 2013 12:29PM


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Posted by: cheezus ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 12:18AM

Is that the book about covenanting with god about stuff? If so it went around my mission and I had a hard time with that. The ZLs were pushing the zone to make a pact with god for baptisms. Utter rubbish for even a tbm like myself. I wonder where those ZLs are now with their testimonies. I would imagine burned out like the rest of us. It sure would be nice to get an apology from them.

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Posted by: tiffanyspencer ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 12:33AM

Yeah, that's the same book. Essentially, the book lays out a method whereby you convenant with God that you will do "XXX" and then he will do "XXX" in return--subsitute "XXX" with whatever the hell you'd like to, because no matter what ... God is bound by this dual contract that stipulates if you follow exact obedience then God will be required to deliver on the promise you imposed on God in the first place. This contract was so serious to the point of it being necessary that if you woke up even 1 minute later than you promised in your contract then through this negligence on your part, God would not be required to deliver on his part of the bargain. Furthermore, since this was a contract of a convenant nature, the shere fact that you woke up 1 minute later than what you stipulated in the contract would thereby result, in some situations, in your eternal damnation. I remember missionaries going all out on this one, they would fast for three days, pray for nearly 1.5 hours/day split into 15 minute prayer intervals. "Drawing on the POwers of heaven" required strict, almost impossible obedicence. The worst part of this process is that if it worked so as to increase your baptisms, then one's mind is forever engrained with the idea that in order to acheive something in life, then one must use the same "Drawing on the Powers of Hevean" message. Ultimately, this methodology does not consider the will of the Lord, but it relies on the will of the one who wishes to prosper in the ladn.

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Posted by: cheezus ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 12:39AM

I was so conflicted with that concept in the mission. When looking at the bible dictionary, and seeing that god allegedly set the conditions for the covenant, it blew my mind that missionaries would try to set god up in a contractual agreement without Him being present to sign. We knelt as a zone after being peer pressured into the thing. Even though I have no belief in god at his point, I still feel disturbed thinking about that experience. I ignored the "covenant" part of it, and said as little about it as I could to the ZLs. I hoped a transfer would distract too much from the continuity of such nonsense. This gives me some 'Nam flashbacks.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2012 12:40AM by cheezus.

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Posted by: amos2 ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 09:54AM

It came from a Hartman Rector book I think (He was a GA?)

My trainer actually had us pray a "contract" and then we'd hit the street and do our part.

It never worked.

"Goals" on a mission are largely a farce. You're expected to have faith and set ambitious goals...and they always flopped. And it wasn't for lack of trying. I worked hard.

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Posted by: Elwood ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 12:56AM

What a sad story. Very glad you turned things around.

That book was a major pain to me too. First, before I had even heard of the book I ended up with Grant von Harrison, the author, as my MTC branch president. I thought he was an uptight, mean spirited asshole. He didn't like me either and that did not bother me. (He did, all of a sudden, start treating me much nicer after a GA friend passing through the MTC called me out of a branch meeting just to say hi.)

Then I got to my mission and that stupid book was gospel according to my mission president. People were not to talk about anything but the gospel - you were not supposed to even know where your companion was from. Obedience would get you whatever you wanted. Then there was the "covenanting" with god that if they would make certain sacrifices - only eat once a day, not take a day off, only sleep 6 hours a night, run from door to door all day, etc. - that he would bless them with baptisms. People were doing some really wacky stuff and the MP encouraged it. And if it didn't work it was your fault for being a disobedient slacker. I didn't buy it. It really hurt people. My second companion's body was falling apart because of all this crap - an otherwise healthy 21 year old guy had ruined his body in the name of sacrificing and covenanting with god.

The good news is I discovered I had a backbone, and told the MP I didn't believe in what he was telling people to do. He said some very demeaning things and told me I would be a failure in life and I must come from a family of failures. Yup, the guy insulted my family. The funny thing is I got the last laugh because I wrote my GA friend and told him what was going on and less than two months later Tom Monson came over and held a mission conference and told everyone to knock that crap off. Monson even singled me out in a positive way when the missionaries all introduced themselves. The MP didn't ever apologize - he just put me in places far from the mission home so we wouldn't see each other.

Anyway, this is too long, but I just wanted to say that that stupid book has done harm to me and many, many other people too.

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Posted by: cheezus ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 01:07AM

That covenanting concept is utter freaking bull crap! How could am MP take it serious? I don't know if my MP knew about the crap in my mission. It is great tommy sorted it out for you though. Covenanting just does not fit the mould of Moism. Funny that the author was your MTC branch president. There are some real winners there at the MTC.

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Posted by: upsidedown ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 03:06AM

Cheezus: Why do you say that, "Covenanting just does not fit the mould of Moism." I dont understand. The whole Book of Mo is built around covenants in almost every story.

It seems to me that Joe wrote the book based on the same premise of keeping the commandments and prospering in the land.

Anyway the post seems spot on to me and I have also been affected by the bull crap philosophy that we as humans could put god under covenant to test his love. Total crazy making thinking.

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Posted by: cheezus ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 12:43PM

This covenant conditions and blessings originating from the ground up is what I meant. In the bible dictionary is says that a covenant is a promise between god and man where god sets the conditions. Man is free to accept or reject making the covenant, or enter into that "contract". That is the mould I was speaking of. I cannot imagine that the 15 want the general membership binding god to things that are outside of their control or narrative. And I'm surprised some dipstick published a book about this and it gained traction. Shows how much of suckers the membership is. Now if the author would frame it as we really hope god will answer our prayers and petitions if we do such and such, that would be more palatable. But the idea of obligating god to do our righteous bidding is goofy as hell. Makes for crazy church theatre.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2012 12:45PM by cheezus.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 03:40AM

And for constipation (at least of the moral kind) ;-)

I spent part of my (nevermo) childhood in this sort of mindset, although I developed it myself at a period when my parents were on the verge of breaking up (I must have been a genius... or just very sad and stressed out). It's a surefire method for taking all the joy out of your life.

Tiffanyspencer, congratulations on turning your life around and thanks for coming to this board, which you have considerably enriched by your recent presence here.

Wishing you all the best

Tom in Paris

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 05:08AM

What an awful book!!

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Posted by: dogzilla ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 09:15AM

I'm very proud of you for taking control of your life. Good for you!

I wonder if you could elaborate a bit on this:
"Because of Mormonism, that is because I could never have enough "faith" in Mormonism or "obedience" to Mormon principles, I ended up homeless, addicted to drugs, divorced, misdiagnosed as bipolar by Mormon doctors, and scored poorly on exams and homework assignments in college..."

I do not understand how you are making that connection, so perhaps there's some detail missing that I don't know about. I can't understand how obedience to mormon principles would make you A) lose your home, B) get on drugs, C) divorce, D) do poorly in school. I really, really, really do not understand. Remember correlation does not equal causation.

I suspect that whether you are bipolar or ADHD, THAT is the cause of the drug use, the homelessness, the poor school performance, problems with the marriage. I don't really think you can blame all that on one book or on a religion. So, could you please draw the connection for me? How did you get from "obey everything" to "Yikes, I'm homeless and on drugs"?

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Posted by: kookoo4kokaubeam ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 10:08AM


Talk about a facist GA wannabe, he was the poster child.

My Mission President made Drawing On The Powers of Heaven our defacto mission bible. Every neuron in my brain screamed that it was BS. It made for some interesting times on my mission.

I even had Bro Von Harrison as a bishop at a BYU ward for a few months. He was every bit the sphincter I had imagined him to be. If drawing on heavens powers meant abandoning any joy in life or kindness to others, i'll pass.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2012 10:54AM by kookoo4kokaubeam.

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Posted by: starkravingmad ( )
Date: November 27, 2012 01:25PM

I really identify with you tiffany and I know what you mean about feeling like you can't "do it all" so you go completely off the deep end. I'm glad you are where you are now.

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