Ten years ago, just as my Mom turned 80, she sold her home in Southern California where she had lived for over thirty years. She left being a part-time worker at the San Diego Temple to be a full-time worker at the Washington, D.C. Temple. Still sharp and driving, she purchased the car of her dreams to drive to and from the Temple:a shiny, cranberry red Pontiac Grand Am with all the bells and whistles. Her only regret was that it was not a convertible. We were all just tickled, as she had longed for a little red sports car her entire life.
Shortly after settling in, she and I met to shop one afternoon. When we were done, we said goodbye, and each went to our own cars. As I watched from my parked car, she pulled out of her spot very carefully and waited in the lane for another car to move in front of her. She suddenly started banging furiously on the horn as a large SUV parked to her right backed directly into her front fender! The SUV driver retreated back into her parking space, but didn’t get out. I immediately hopped out of my car and ran over, along with another witness, to make sure Mom was OK. She was, although her fender had been seriously damaged. We went to the driver of the other car, who had the windows rolled up and was staring straight ahead.
“You hit a car!” We shouted through the closed window. It took several tries, but at least the window rolled down and a little old Hispanic lady peered out and said, “I what?! I no hit no car!” At last she got out and walked over to see the damage to the fender of Mom’s car. “I no do that! I drive for 53 years and no accident!” “Didn’t you hear the horn?” The other witness asked? “No, no! Nothing!” she replied.
At last a policeman came. The lady changed the story three times and at last denied even having moved out of the parking spot. The whole thing was so obvious that of course, the policeman believed us, but couldn’t issue any charges because it was a parking lot. When the insurance company called to investigate, she was still actively stating that nothing had happened at all.
As I finish reading the Book of Mormon before April General Conference for healthy living perspectives, denial is a big part of the action and basis for conflict in the last third of the Book of Mormon.
I am struck, as always, with the rapid cycles of pride and humility that mark the last third of the Book of Mormon. Why, when they are so blessed and happy during periods of righteous living with the Lord, prophets and the commandments to guide their lives, are they so quick to deny Him? It’s perplexing, and we are quick to condemn. Yet, this time as I read with health and eating in mind, when I compare how easy it is for me to depart from healthy eating for varied periods of time and for various reasons(even when the blessings are wonderfully evident both physically and spiritually) it’s rather humbling to acknowledge my own faulty and irrational inconsistencies with eating and health behaviors that make or break an hour, a day, a year … a life.
With the temptation of a lot of treats in our home recently for the farewell open house for a missionary son, along with some revealing conversations with dear LDS friends about sugar, I’ve done a little research. Am I addicted to sugar? Are you? Does it matter?
Elder Bednar, in his talk “Things As They Really Are”says:
Because a physical body is so central to the Father’s plan of happiness and our spiritual development, we should not be surprised that Lucifer seeks to frustrate our progression by tempting us to use our bodies improperly. One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, invites and entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies. The very tool he does not have and cannot use is thus the primary target of his attempts to lure us to physical and spiritual destruction.
The Adversary’s Attacks
The adversary attempts to influence us both to misuse our physical bodies and to minimize the importance of our bodies. These two methods of attack are important for us to recognize and to repel.
Now brothers and sisters, I cannot tell you all the ways whereby you may misuse your bodies, “for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them” (Mosiah 4:29).
So … here goes. After compulsively eating the chocolates treats we’ve had available this week, and being soooooo tired, I have to ask myself: Am I in denial like the lady who hit my Mom’s car, or the Nephites and Lamanites in their roller coaster cycles of pride and humility? I found this online quiz that may be as revealing for you as it is for me. The website requires you to answer the questions to get the results, but I don’t need their answers. I have my Heavenly Father to guide me. Perhaps it will be insightful for you as well:
1. Do you have sugar daily or at least every other day? (cookies, pastries, chocolate, candy)
Yes, almost always
2. Do you often think you will feel better indulging and afterwards you feel worse?
Yes! I thought I was the only one that experienced this!
3. Do you have a hard time resisting dessert when it’s offered to you or when your at restaurants?
Yes! Are you kidding? That’s why I go!
4. Do you eat too much sugar to the point of feeling sick?
Yes – Sometimes
Yes – Frequently
5. When you eat sugar does it make you want more of it?
Yes. More! Now!!!
6. Do you have a hard time stopping at a small serving, like 2 cookies instead of 4 to 10?
Yes, more like 10 to 20
7. Do you over eat sugar when you eat it, like go off the “deep end” and eat lots of it?
Yes, I really “go off”!
When you eat sugar, does it seem like it’s beyond your control? You feel like you “have” to eat it?
Yes. I don’t feel I can say No
9. Have you ever tried to stop eating sugar and couldn’t stay off it?
Yes, but I don’t feel like I can be without i
10. Do you hide sugar from family or friends so they don’t know you are eating it?
YES, not even my close family knows how much I eat and need it
11. Do you feel an impulse to eat it when you see it, like you have to eat it and its drawing you to it?
Yes, like it “talks” to me!
12. Does it feel like it’s never enough…. you eat it once and you want it over and over again?
Yes, of course!
13. Do you feel ashamed or guilty when you indulge in sugar?
YES, not right away, but later
14. Do you often tell yourself this is the “last time” I am doing this and tend to over eat because you “thought” it was the last time?
Yes, practically every time, have you been following me around?
15.Are you tired a lot?
Yes, I take naps, or want to
How many years have you struggled with this sugar issue?
Just a few years
10 or 20 years
Most of my life
I don’t struggle with sugar, just taking the quiz for fun!
How bad, on a scale of 1-10 would you rate your sugar addiction, with 10 being the worst?
At the bottom of my article is the link where you can take this quiz and have it analyzed. But I have my answer and I am turning to an Apostle:
You know what is right and what is wrong, and you have the individual responsibility to learn for yourself “by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118) the things you should and should not do and the doctrinal reasons why you should and should not do those things. I testify that as you desire to so learn, as you “watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives” (Mosiah 4:30), you will be spiritually enlightened and protected. And according to your faithfulness and diligence, you will have the power to discern the deception and repel the attacks of the adversary as he tempts you to misuse your physical body.
(Elder Bednar, “Things as They Really Are, CES Fireside for Young Adults May 3, 2009 Brigham Young University-Idaho)
There’s No Denying …And A Challenge!
As I finish the Book of Mormon over the next two weeks and prepare for General Conference, I cannot deny it: I feel healthier, happier, and more in tune without sugar and plan to be there at the opening session of General Conference, sugar free for two full weeks, and ready to move forward. How about you?
Read Elder Bednar’s Talk, “Things As They Really Are“:
Meet My Mom, Barbara Brewerton Lee aged 90, as she sings “In the Garden” on Youtube:
Learn about the herbal product that has truly changed my Mom’s Life (constipation and acid reflux)
Enter the words “GrandmaLee” for a 10% discount on all purchases
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success – One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She is the owner and president at MyMiracleTea.com, an herbal detox tonic in keeping with the Word of Wisdom. She is the mother of five and the grandmother of a growing number of delightful grandsons and granddaughters and lives with her husband, Bob, in Springfield Virginia, where she serves as the Visiting Teaching District Supervisor. She has been writing for Meridian since 2007. Her favorite foods are broccoli — lots of it! and chocolate frosting … just a taste every now and then. Her book is available at both Amazon.com and her website, www.MyMiracleTea.com