There just seem to be so many people who feel much more comfortable relating to Jesus Christ as the Savior or at best our Savior–using a word that still keeps them “hiding in the crowd” so to speak. Using a word that still does not get one-on-one with Christ, and definitely not on the first name basis that Nephi used in 2 Nephi 33:6.
And so, I have to return to my wonderment over what the difference is between these people and those who have to “cleave unto God,” and must think of Him continually in the most familiar and personal of terms, as “my Savior,” and even as in such a close and mutually intimate relationship as to refer to Him as “my Jesus.”2 Nephi 33:6 I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.
It seems to me that this kind of person has to have come to the realization that they, themselves–in a very personal and singular way–need Jesus Christ to be their Savior, not just the Savior.
In fact, I think these are the people who Elder Scott was referring to in his most recent General Conference talk when he used the Ammonite fathers as an example of individual souls who knew that they could not go back to their old ways with impunity.
They could not be brave and valiant, though, as Elder Scott indicated, they were most likely humbled into the very depths of humility to admit that they couldn’t. They knew they could not go anywhere near what had once been their obsession and even compulsion. Instead, they had to be prayerful and intensely focused inward, tending to their own spiritual lives in order to retain what was a remission of their sins–not a complete cure.
And so it is with addicts as well. They must always be allowed to keep their “special needs” status and allowed to continue attending recovery support meetings as often as they need to for as long as they feel they need to. No non-addicted person can ever exercise any kind of “righteous dominion” or authority over them and advise them that they are all better and can take up the trappings or responsibilities of a non-addict again. Only the addict, themselves, can know if and when–if ever–they can bear to “strap on the armor of righteousness” again.
Some addicts are so damaged that they can never be expected to fight on the front lines again, and to keep indicating to them that somehow they are defective or failing if they do not, is to seriously risk shoving them right into the grasp of the evil one who has already gotten such a grip on their lives.
ADMITTEDLY IT IS DISCOURAGING TO HAVE SO MANY DISABLED
Admittedly, it feels terrifying and scary to the “whole” to have so many wounded and disabled around them. How can the war ever be won–or even the daily battles–with such a maimed and broken bunch of cripples for an army? Do we have to carry these pitifully weak people on our backs while we are doing all we can to not be brought down by the enemy ourselves? Surely, we would be better off to either insist on their full service or write them off completely. Write them off as too far gone to be of any good, to be of any use. Let them know that. Create a division in heart and mind between we, the whole, the not yet maimed or crippled, and those who cannot qualify.
Surely, some of them must be faking the extent of their woundedness. Surely they must, once again, be held in suspicion as being “less than.” If not less valiant than we are, then maybe it is that they are less honest than we are.
We’ve got to get them back on their feet and back on the front lines, carrying a weapon again.
AND THE ADDICTS–LIKE AMMON’S LAMANITES–MUST ADMIT THEY HAVE ONLY A REMISSION–NOT A CURE
And they, the addicts, are left to plead: Please don’t make me take that responsibility. It was “all that we could do to get the Lord to take away our addiction/compulsion/obsession before. Please, don’t set us up to think we can take that much responsibility–that much ability, that much power again. You see, we are responsibility addicts. We cannot handle responsibility. It makes us drunk with it. We don’t know when to stop taking responsibility. We take responsibility for everything. We think that somehow we are “in charge,” responsible, guilty for everything that happens or even needs to happen—and whether it does or doesn’t, it’s our fault. We are the addicts. We feel like if anything bad happens, it is our responsibility. We’re responsible for that.
Please, don’t push us back into that role again just because you want to relieve your need to see us “all better.” It makes us crazy with guilt and shame to think that we should have the ability to do something important or significant or worthy. We know this is crazy thinking to those of you who are not addicts, who have never been that far gone in your hearts or minds–but we have. And it is all that we can do to just keep our heads above water as the saying goes. We must be allowed to focus as continually on the spiritual, interior life as possible. We can never let the spiritual life not be our priority. Prayer and not just obligatory prayers, expected prayers, but alone with God, heart-deep, two-way conversational prayer must be frequent for us, usually multiple times a day; scripture study–not just scripture skimming–but scripture feasting, spending a prolonged time ingesting and digesting them, slowing down and asking our Savior to open them to us. In other words, we must remain in intensive care, one-on-one, with the “Great Physician,” with the Good Shepherd of the lost lambs, with the Savior of the lost and fallen. He is our only hope. Only through Him can we ever hope to come back into the Presence of our Father and all of heaven again someday. Only by cleaving unto Him, looking to Him as continually as necessary. And please don’t tell us that we don’t need to look to Him continually. Please don’t tell us that we can ever go back to thinking in terms of just needing to take His name and then hurry off to do good works in His name, or in His church, or in His service.
We are so grateful to still be in His Church. Thank you so much for allowing us, tolerating us, having compassion on us. But, please understand, that we are the crippled ones, the weak ones, the so very nearly lost ones. Please don’t heap shame on us for being as broken and weak as we are. Shame was what drove us to act out the way we were acting out. We were so ashamed that we couldn’t make things happen perfectly or even better, back then–in the old days.
Please forgive us for being the way we are. Maybe all we can do at this point is the behind the scenes stuff–like pray and study and testify of the saving power of our Savior, our Jesus, who snatched us back from the brink of hell and gave us one more chance to do what we are now only able to do–to live our lives humbly, from the inside-out–not with glory and fanfare. Not with prestige and position. We can only hope that somehow our prayers and our testimonies might be of some help to you who are not addicted.
Someone once coined a name for us, “the Ragamuffins.” The “rag-tag” bunch. The “also-ran” crowd. The stragglers, the shufflers, the halt and lame–the cripples. Please notice, though, that even though we’re crawling and some of us are barely able to drag ourselves–and though we have to lean continually upon our fellow ragamuffins and work so hard to cleave to our Savior–we’re still coming back. True, compared to your contribution, ours is only a “mite,” but it is all we can do, at this point. We have to trust the Savior to forgive us and make up the rest. We are those who have no hope but Christ. We hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive us for that. You see, we are the addicts.