Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Have you heard of this book? ARE WE SPECIAL: The Truth and the Lie about God’s Chosen People
The Title of this book is quite intriguing, even scandalous, and that is what drew me to read it. It was written by two men who are specialists in the field of human behavior. So it’s not a self-help book, but maybe a more “self-aware” book.

The Synopsis:
"The truth, simply put, is that we are special, each and every one of us, because we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father with whom we shared a close personal relationship prior to coming to Earth. As a consequence of our necessary separation from Him and the veil of forgetfulness, we are each left with a vague but deeply felt sense of absence, of something missing, or, for lack of a better term, of a kind of homesickness. We also have a latent awareness that we are more than just mortal beings owing to our very special divine heritage. Knowing we would sense and feel these things and seek out ways to fill the void that results from our separation from Him, our Heavenly Father provided the means for us to learn the truth about ourselves (revelation) and to feel of His love for us on a regular basis through the Holy Ghost."
"There is also a lie competing for our attention whispered into our ears by the adversary through many means and various media which tells us that these vague feelings we sense actually signify our uniquely special nature and our superiority to others, that our being chosen means that we are better than others. As with the truth, the adversary’s lie offers us a way to fill the void created by our separation from God, but the adversary’s way only ever acts as a counterfeit of that which can truly fill our lack: the love of God. In his cunning, the adversary knows that when we indulge the lie and are lifted up in selfish pride, the Spirit necessarily withdraws and our feeling of a void is enlarged. Without corrective repentance and the renewed companionship of the Holy Ghost, we are likely to return to the very artifices which enlarge the void in our lives and lead to emptiness, despair, and often addiction."
My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading this book, it has 10 chapters and they are fully evolved and tight. I resonated with the discussion on the “void” that we as sons and daughters of Heavenly Father experience and subsequently try to “fill” in order to make sense of this life. The author’s talk about some of the methods we use to fill ourselves up, that include addictions and an inflated sense of “self”. Chapter 4 stood out to me, it is headlined as “Pharisee” with Matthew 23:13 as the referring scripture. A character profile is set up and we are introduced to a person who believes the “lie” that surround being a “chosen one” instead of living the truth of one who has been chosen.
A Pharisee thinks of church callings hierarchically and associates higher church callings with greater righteousness. 
We are told that it is the mantle, not the man or woman, that we honor, and that we should not think of callings and worth as positively correlated. But the Pharisee who first believes he is part of a chosen people standing above others can’t help but think that there are those who are more chosen than others. One way to measure that added chosenness is to look at Church callings hierarchically. The higher the Church calling which a Pharisee holds, the more confident he is that he was one of Gods most special and valiant spirit children in the pre-mortal existence, or that he was foreordained to do something great and significant in this life. Callings provide Pharisees the signs of assurance they need to feel special and chosen.
I have been struggling with this issue and only recently I was prepared to submit my resignation from my calling and demand a better one. Seriously, although at the time, I felt misunderstood. As a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the concept of “Callings” is daunting to say the least. I have tried to compare it to a “job”, because it is, and in jobs there are opportunities for advancement and/or promotions. So this is how I approach callings, Visiting Teaching, etc.  I am in a calling that is so out of my comfort zone, that at times I have felt almost invisible and as someone jokingly stated, I was a body filling up a space. So of course I stung by that and asked my Bishop to find a better calling for me where I would be utilized better. He didn't seem to take me serious, so that’s when I wrote out my resignation. I told my husband and he is so wise, he asked me to pray about it. So I did, like a pouty child pouring out my frustrations. I prayed about it for about a week, and I even played hooky from Sacrament (to show that I meant business); No answer. So the following Sunday, I dragged myself into Primary and sat in my chair sulking. I have 3 very interesting kids in my class, who I thought hardly paid attention to me. But as I was sitting in my chair sulking they all came to me in their own way and asked me where I was last Sunday, one little girl snuggled against me, another brought in cookies. I realized that this was my answer. I was loved by my 3 charges and I was not invisible to them. So, I got over myself, asked for forgiveness and determined to be a better teacher.

The information presented in this book is not new, or a new invention of the authors. Every thing can be found in our scriptures, conference talks, other books. The core message is of the Atonement, of learning to accept ourselves as we are and then asking the Father to open our eyes to see ourselves as he sees us and to believe that Truth. I recommend this book and  I hope you will enjoy it.

About the Authors
Jeffrey S. Reber, PhD, has a doctoral degree from Brigham Young University in psychology with a dual emphasis in social psychology and theoretical/philosophical psychology. He is an associate professor in the department of psychology at Brigham Young University. He has published numerous scholarly articles and book chapters on the relationship between religion and psychology and interpersonal relationships and is co editor of a textbook on critical thinking about psychology. He is a licensed professional counselor and worked for several years as a part-time counselor with LDS Family Services. He also served for five years as the bishop of the Carrollton Georgia ward.
Steven Moody, MSW, received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and social behaviors from the University of California Irvine. He went on to receive his master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Southern California. At USC, his clinical focus was on working with families, including marital therapy and relationships. Steven worked for three years as a part-time counselor with LDS Family Services and is currently working as a therapist in private practice specializing in both relationships and addictions.
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