True Doctrine Changes Behavior

You may have noticed that my blog posts about being a wife of a pornography addict have very little to do with the actual topic of pornography.

True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.
The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel.
(Boyd K. Packer, Little Children, Ensign October 1986)

If I became preoccupied with the things that were wrong in my life it gave them a disproportionate position of priority in my life.  It is only when I learned to step back and look at the bigger picture of life that I could see past the problems that someone else needed to fix to see the problems that I, myself, need to fix.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
(Luke 6:41)

This is exactly the reason we are not to judge others, yes, even our spouses.  I was so busy pointing out all the things that he had done wrong that I completely neglected my own responsibility to ‘come unto Christ and be perfected in him’ (Moroni 10:32).  By allowing my husband’s mote to occupy my life I was breaking a number of commandments, or being lead to unworthy behavior, basically I was (and still am, I’m a work in progress) a prideful person.

Though our problems differ, our solution is the same.  It is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that we can be forgiven, cleaned, perfected and saved.  Read President Packer’s quote again:

True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.
The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel.
(Boyd K. Packer, Little Children, Ensign October 1986)

It is only through dedicated, diligent study, consistent obedience, and personal revelation that we can begin to identify, understand and enact the true and eternal doctrines of the gospel that change our behavior.  The thing that changes our behavior is the atonement of Jesus Christ.  The atonement is not just a button we push and say “activate atonement now!”  Although it lies in wait for all of us to use we cannot access it by being passive.  It is something that we, as receivers, must activate in our lives by showing that we are serious in our desires to “become inwardly what the commandments are intended to help us become.” (David A. Bednar, Power to Become, p.87)  We cannot access the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ if we are not following Jesus Christ.  He will help us to the extent that we are willing to put forth effort to help ourselves.  When we are putting forth our best but imperfect efforts we will be blessed with forgiveness, power and grace far beyond mortal abilities.

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