A few years back a friend of mine contacted me because she and I hadn’t seen each other in over a decade, and in her words, she said, “I found you on a site that listed you among people who have gone to the devil (along with a bunch of other people I really respect), and I just had to see what you were up to!”
Well, I’ve always wondered what site had me as having ‘gone to the devil’ but didn’t want to get mired down so I didn’t really look for it. In response (in case anyone cared to know what my response would be), I created a post called Trick or Treat.
But today, I think I may have found it (accidentally)!! I was searching for something else, and stumbled onto an article that debunked some things that were found on my site.
So, in case you didn’t know, I am LDS (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as a Mormon, which many people do not consider Christian, but that’s a topic for another day. One reader asked me about it, and you can read her question and my response here.)
Ironically, for those of you reading this who are not of my faith, it was a member of my own church who judged me to be deceived. I like to think that all Mormons and other Christians try to be Christ-like, which means not judging another, which means being patient, forgiving of all people no matter how sinful we think they are…
But we’re all on this journey together, just doing our best to become better every day. I’ve judged people too. Still, I’m trying to remember that I would probably do and say the same things as another person if I had the same upbringing, understanding, and experiences as him or her.
So I think this is a valuable discussion. Let’s begin…
I’ll quote from her site:
“Leslie Householder teaches the law of attraction. She is an LDS author…
“Where are we taught this in the scriptures? Where does the Lord promise blessings in this life? He promises eternal ones, treasures in heaven not treasures on earth. The Occult teaches men to will material success into their lives. Ironically they teach this at first, then they teach you not to want material things but to want to attract world peace instead. These principles are to catch people by their selfish desires for wealth and abundance. Then once they have caught them, they teach them the higher laws and to use the Law of Attraction for the good of all, not just themselves. So it is a great way to entice people by their temporal desires to turn into helpers of Lucifer by showing them it is best for them too. They then teach that if you live the higher laws of using the power of attraction, sending goodwill out into the world, you are invoking Lucifer to come forth with his Plan.
“I checked to see if Leslie Householder’s books were sold at Deseret Books they were not.”
Here is my reply (her site says she isn’t keeping up on her blog right now, so I sent my reply to her on Facebook instead.)
I was searching the internet and came upon your blog post at http://www.fatherthywillbedone.com/loa-changing-lds-and-christian-beliefs/ To my surprise, you were talking about me!
I completely respect your opinion, but felt like I needed to say something about your ~judgment~… You quoted a few paragraphs from my site and wondered, where was my focus on God? I realize you probably didn’t read any of my books (Jackrabbit Factor, Hidden Treasures, and Portal to Genius) because my words on the website may have appeared similar to occultist ideas… but the much needed focus on God is the main reason I wrote my books in the first place.
(You wouldn’t quote three solitary paragraphs of President Hinckley’s biography and say, “Where is the focus on his baptism?” It’s probably there, but not necessarily in those three paragraphs. I assure you, the importance of God’s role in our success is paramount in my work.)
I imagine you must be aware of the fact that Satan always has a slightly “off” counterfeit to the Lord’s true doctrine. Too often, we dodge the doctrine itself because it seems too similar to the counterfeits we are trying so hard to avoid.
In the last days, we were told that men would call good evil, and evil good. It happens all the time, and I see it happening here.
FYI, the source for my work was never The Secret (I wrote mine first), it was never Neale Donald Walsh (I had never heard of him), or Louise Hay (or her)… I’ve had to be discerning about my sources, too (because I care about that more than you seem to think I do).
Some of the primary sources I’ve drawn from for all three of my books are As a Man Thinketh by James Allen (whose book has been quoted many times by the church’s General Authorities including President Kimball in Miracle of Forgiveness), Sterling Sill’s book Laws of Success (he was a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Assistant to the 12 Apostles), and Bob Proctor (author of You Were Born Rich, and who, although he was not a member of the church, was brought in by the Toronto Mission President Carl W. Bacon in the 1980s to teach the missionaries how increase their success using these principles).
I also refer to a book called The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles, which in my opinion was named entirely incorrectly, because there is more reverence and reference to working with God and his universal laws to achieve your goals than there is about ‘doing it yourself’.
As I was learning these things, I wondered if it was SAFE to read from other sources besides the scriptures. It was while prayerfully seeking an answer to this question that I found my answer at the Los Angeles temple where there is a plaque on the wall – a quote from Brigham Young who said, “Mormonism’ embraces all truth that is revealed and that is unrevealed, whether religious, political, scientific, or philosophical.”
I’d like to also mention the last article of faith by which we Mormons try to live:
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
And then there’s our very own Doctrine and Covenants which says in 88:118:
And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.
You might find it interesting to know that I first heard of Bob Proctor at a seminar with thousands of attendees in 2000, when, although he is not Mormon, quoted this verse from the Doctrine and Covenants that he probably found in Sterling Sill’s book:
There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated– And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. [D&C 130:30–21]
Here is a man who recognized a true principle, and did not judge it to be evil, even though the source may have been contrary to his personal belief system. I think we can learn from his example.
Brigham Young also said, “‘Mormonism’ embraces all the truth that there is in heaven and on the earth; and if there is any in hell it belongs to us.”
So, if Mormonism claims to have the fullness of all truth (or at least claims to be gathering it as fast as the Lord reveals it), then we – especially as individuals – should never prematurely claim to have already received it all.
I think we shouldn’t be so afraid to learn from others, to take it all in and weigh it against the truth we have. If it’s true, it will fit. If it isn’t true, it won’t fit. I challenge you to read As a Man Thinketh or any of the other sources I listed and tell me what of them does not fit.
A few years ago I read another book that I feel did a much better job than I did at explaining the concepts from an LDS perspective. I wrote my book when I was only 30, but this other book was written by a retired BYU professor of ancient scripture, M. Catherine Thomas. Her book is called Light in the Wilderness and I’ve said many times it’s the book I wish I had written. (And yes, it’s available at Deseret Book) although…
I do find it interesting that you judge a book to contain true doctrine or not based on whether or not Deseret Book carries it.
To make my point: I just now did a random search on their website, and found a book called The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, – whose description of Book 2: The Magician was this: “It’s time for Sophie to learn the second elemental magic: Fire Magic. And there’s only one man who can teach it to her: Flamel’s old student, the Comte de Saint-Germain — alchemist, magician, and rock star.”
Alchemist, magician, rock star… Entertainment? Absolutely. Gospel doctrine? You tell me.
Besides that point, I will tell you why I am not at Deseret Book… (although my book IS at many of the other LDS bookstores) – because it wasn’t a popular topic in 2004 when I sent it to them for consideration, (The Secret hadn’t been released yet). And truly, it’s no sweat off my back if a person has to get my self-published book from a different book seller.
Additionally, when I sent them the manuscript in 2004 or so (to see if they wanted to publish it), as well as to several other LDS publishers, I had already been making it available as an ebook for two years prior, and people wanted the paperback asap. Deseret Book required that I give them an exclusive look for at least 3 months (which means all the other publishers had to wait in line) and even if they decided they wanted to publish it, it would have taken up to a year or more to make it available. By deciding to self publish it, I had it available to my readership within a few weeks. (Also, the book is for a wider audience than just the LDS people, so it was never my point to make sure they carried it.)
Deseret Book is a business. They are not the sole and exclusive library of Mormon Doctrine, otherwise you wouldn’t see Harry Potter, nor any other work of fiction there.
Not sure if you were aware, but yes, they did even carry The Secret when it came out because there was a demand for it. They also carried Twilight (vampire romance novel), but later pulled if from their shelves.
Each of these controversial books are currently “not available”, but were at one time sold through their store as you can see from the links above. Does that mean they were once doctrinal, but are no longer?
As Deseret News reported, Deseret Book spokeswoman Leigh Dethman issued a statement from the company explaining such decisions:
“Our top priority is to meet the needs of our customers, who increasingly represent a variety of viewpoints,” the statement said. “Like any retailer, our purpose is to offer products that are embraced and expected by our customers. When we find products that are met with mixed review, we typically move them to special order status.”
So, I’d think twice before you use Deseret Book as your measuring stick for what’s doctrine. They’re selling what people will buy. But don’t worry, people who understand this and how their business works will read your site commentary and understand that you’re probably just uninformed.
Because of sites like yours, there have been some people who won’t even dare look at the principles of right thinking. I know you mean well, but you might want to make sure you don’t steer someone from the answer that the Lord might be trying to send them.
This month’s issue of the Ensign is all about this topic. President Monson’s article is all about positive thinking… you should read that one. It’s called “Living the Abundant Life“. Elder Cristofferson’s talk about “Recognizing God’s Hand in Our Daily Blessings” is also spot on and in complete harmony with my books (especially Portal to Genius), and even very similar to my own family’s story.
To save you some time (so you don’t have to actually read my book to get the whole truth), here is MY official stance on the controversy:
Human Empowerment in Perspective
I thank you for your blog even though it wasn’t very flattering… because it spawned an important discussion.
About Getting Harpooned
By the way, one of my dearest friends is a public figure in Utah who keeps a close friendship with the President of the Church (current and previous). One day my friend was criticized in the newspaper for something socially controversial. In fact, he’s still a public figure, and still controversial.
When he was lynched in the paper, President Benson called him and said, “So! I hear you got harpooned today!”
My friend replied, “Yes, sir, I did.”
President Benson said, “Good for you, good for you. Go out and do some more good, so you can get harpooned some more.”
President Benson taught my friend, “It is the badge we wear when we are anxiously engaged in a good cause: that we will be known for good and evil.”
Those words bring me comfort when I read a blog like yours. I know that God is my judge, and I’m at peace with my work, just as I’m sure you are at peace with yours. Thank heavens we won’t be judged by each other, but by the Perfect Judge who will size us up by the thoughts and intents of our heart.
I learn a little more each day and make the adjustments needed when I find out I am wrong. Through it all, I’ve learned to accept the opinions of the critical few because I know they are only passing judgment based on where they are and their present understanding of things. I don’t think they will be condemned for that, and I certainly hope and pray they won’t be. Their intent is to protect and warn their fellow man from deviant paths. That’s definitely honorable and praiseworthy.
So these are my words of caution: In every case where I have passed judgment on another person, the Lord has an uncanny way of rearranging my life until I can see the world from that person’s point of view and it softens my heart to them. I’m sure by the time my life is complete, I will have no room to judge another in the slightest. Please do judge carefully.
I wish you well, and thank you again for giving me something to write about.
(I invited her to respond. I said: “PS. You’ll find my truncated post about this at [what is now] http://www.ararekindoffaith.com/. If you would like to respond to it, I would be happy to post your reply as well.” I hope she does.)
A new afterthought… I wonder if she was especially bothered because I used the word “self-help” on my webpage. If so, then the story behind that may be of interest, too:
I hired a marketing coach in 2006 to help me learn how to bring traffic to my websites. We determined that the word “self-help” was one of the keywords that my audience would probably be using to seek the kind of information I had to offer. Although my materials are about how to partner with God to achieve your highest potential, my target audience wasn’t necessarily going to be using the more specific words that my site naturally provided. So, as ‘naturally’ as I knew how, I intentionally worked that term into my webpages. I figured, people will go searching for how to help themselves, and if they end up on my site, and begin to read my books, they eventually realize my position, that they need to partner with their Creator to be wise about the goals they choose, and to enlist His help in accomplishing them.
New: One of my readers sent me this excerpt, which I think is a great addition to this discussion, CLICK HERE to read a powerful quote on this topic by President Boyd K. Packer.
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