Sunday, November 25, 2012

President's Weekly Letter #11

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission


Since this Operation Build a Stake was announced on September 19, 2012, we have baptized 22 people through 4 Nov. 2012.  We have 428 to go.  Keep up the great work.

In the 1960’s a successful plastic surgeon by the name of Maxwell Maltz specialized in operating on peoples’ faces.  His patients were people who had a conspicuously ugly face, or some other freakish feature. Dr. Maltz would operate and correct the face into a beautiful or handsome face as the case may be.

He also found something very interesting.  In most cases that person would experience an almost immediate rise or improvement in self-esteem, self-confidence, his personality, his behavior and sometimes even his basic talents and abilities as a result of correcting the superficial feature of the face

But, this was only in most cases.  In some cases, the patient continued to feel inadequate and inferior.  They would feel, act and behave just as if they still had an ugly face.

He learned that reconstruction of physical image itself was not the real key to change in personality.  There was something else.  When this something else was reconstructed, the person himself changed.  When this something else was not reconstructed the person
remained the same although his physical features might be radically different.

That something else is the self- image.  The self- image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment.  It defines what you can and cannot do.  Expand the self- image and you expand the area of the possible for yourself.

Dr. Maltz wrote a book, titled Psycho-Cybernetics, about his findings with case studies.  As a plastic surgeon, he was reluctant to publish his book because it probably would not be received well in the medical profession for a surgeon to write about psychology.

 Dr. Maltz learned two things about self image:
1 – All your actions, feelings, behavior and even your abilities are always consistent with your self-image.
2 – The self-image can be changed!

I believe our personal self-image is tied closely with our personal faith and if that is the case our faith can be changed.  Elder Neil R. Anderson stated:

“Several years ago a friend of mine had a young daughter die in a tragic accident. Hopes and dreams were shattered. My friend felt unbearable sorrow. He began to question what he had been taught and what he had taught as a missionary…I laid my hands upon his head…the impression that came to me was: Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision. He would need to choose faith.  (Nov. Ensign 2008, You are Enough)

Faith is not only a feeling, but a choice!  Regardless of the adversity, we can choose to go out every day working hard, optimistic, enthused, and friendly, loving the work and fully expecting miracles and success.  If that is not what faith looks like, I do not know what does. We have power to control this behavior by simply choosing it.  The atonement allows us to forget yesterday and old habits and then focus on today’s work and tomorrow’s plans.  Of course our actions must be centered on faith in Jesus Christ and his power to bring about our desired success. 

Unshakable faith in Christ does not necessarily mean that we never waiver.  The righteous people, many of whom survived the destruction that occurred in the Americas at the time of the crucifixion of Christ, experienced persecution when Christ was born.  The scripture records:

“…the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass….they watched steadfastly...that they might know that their faith had not been vain.” (3 Nephi 1:7-8)

Those people continued with their behavior of faith in the coming of Christ, even though it meant being put to death the following day.

Elders and Sisters, I encourage each of you to be the one who goes out every day working hard, optimistic, enthused, and friendly, loving the work and fully expecting miracles and success.  Burn this self-image into your definition of who you are.  I know we will see great fruits from our labors as we do this.  We are building stake number 5 here in the Belgium Netherlands Mission.

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