Brigham Young on “Who has the greatest reason to be thankful?”

In the Epilogue to Perfect Brightness of Hope (page 188), I provide the following quote from Brigham Young, Second President of the LDS Church.  In view of the prevailing misunderstandings regarding addictions and alcoholism, it is worthy to examine this quote against ourselves:

“Who has the greatest reason to be thankful to his God–the man that has no strong passion or evil appetite to overcome, or the one that tries day by day to overcome, and yet is overtaken in a fault?

Who has the reason to be the most thankful? The being that has comparatively no strong passion to overcome ought constantly to walk in the vale of humility, rather than boast of his righteousness over his brother.  We are under obligation, through the filial feeling and ties of humanity, to more or less fellowship those who do evil . . . If brethren and sisters are overtaken in faults, your hearts should be filled with kindness–with brotherly, angelic feeling–to overlook their faults and far as possible. [Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1977, page 180)] Emphasis added.

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His Holiness, The Dalai Lama on “The Root of This Civilization”

I was recently re-reading Essential Teachings: His Holiness The Dalai Lama, (North Atlantic Books, 1995) when I came across this quote.  I was taken a back by the awesome power and simple truth of his observation: (Bold and Italics added by Phil)

Look around us at this world that we call “civilized” and that for more than 2000 years has searched to obtain happiness and avoid suffering by false means: trickery, corruption, hate, abuse of power, and exploitation of others. We have searched only for individual and material happiness, opposing people against each other, one race against another, social systems against others.  This has led to a time of fear, of suffering, murder, and famine . . . It is because each person has looked only for his own profit without fear of oppressing others for selfish goals, and this sad and pitiful world is the result. The root of this civilization is rotten, the world suffers, and if it continues in this way, it will suffer more and more.” (pg. xii)

His Holiness offers the cure–and he does so with so much love and conviction!  Can we not practice and train ourselves daily to comply?

“Training our minds, renouncing excess, and living in harmony with others and with ourselves will assure us happiness, even if our daily life is ordinary. And if we should encounter adversity, others will help us because we have been good and kind. We must not forget that even in the most perverted and cruel human being, as long as he is human, a small grain of love and compassion exists that will make him, one day, a Buddah.” (ibid, pgs 6-7)

Observe everything – judge nothing. I offer this teaching with the deepest of love and gratitude to each of you.

Namaste, Phil

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Prisoners & Perfect Brightness of Hope

I recently sent a copy of my new book to a good friend who is serving time in a Utah prison. In a letter to his mom, dated Jan 27, 2012, he mentioned the following:
     “I think I mentioned [in an earlier letter] the (LDS) Branch President’s plan to order 15 copies of Phil’s new book, “Perfect Brightness of Hope,” and his intention to give them to friends and some of the inmates here.  Well, he did so and I’m happy [and not a bit surprised :)] to say that Phil’s life and story have impacted our little community in wonderful ways.  Our Institute class Wednesday night was devoted to the subjects of hope and commitment and Phil’s book was at the center of discussion.  You [Phil] are an inspiration my friend, and your book is a Godsend reborn.  God Bless you for your tireless service.”  Josh
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Intended Audience for Perfect Brightness of Hope (Segment 2)

Continuing with the “Intended Audience for Perfect Brightness of Hope” topic, the following experience emphasizes how my book affected someone with no direct experience regarding addiction or alcoholism.

When I retired from a career with FranklinCovey Co., I left a copy of my book with my co-worker and friend, Sean Covey. Sean was like most of the good people I knew in the company, unaware and uninformed of the plight of alcoholics and addicts. Frankly, he thought he had no reason to read my book. A few years later he was working on a book entitled, “Six Decisions You’ll Have to Make: A Guidebook for Teens.” He knew one of the decisions had to be about addictions as this was swiftly becoming a major issue among teens. He was stuck. He had no personal experience and had no idea where to begin. Here is what he wrote to me in an email:

“I wanted to share what happened to me the other day.  I am writing a book for teens and one of the chapters is on addictions.  I was stuck and didn’t have anything to say.  So I picked up the book you gave me several years ago (which I hadn’t read) and started thumbing through it.  Hours later I finished the whole thing.  I was taken aback by the book.  When I finished, I wept because I had experienced everything you went through.  I felt the spirit so strong.  I felt like I was led to read that book and it influenced the way I wrote the chapter on addictions.  After reading it, the words just flowed.  It was one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. Thanks so much for writing it.  Every church member ought to read it.  Sean” (*Note: Sean briefly tells my story in his book and includes the notes my daughter left on my desk. See Chapter 5 of PBH, pages 74 & 75.

I share this experience because it captures perfectly what I had hoped would be the effect of Perfect Brightness of Hope: Increased understanding leading to increased compassion for those with little or no direct experience with alcoholism or addiction.

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