Lesson Four: Success

Definition of success: that which follows in this life and in the next. But there are two aspects of what follows:

  1. actual consequences,
  2. desired consequences.

Everyone succeeds (everyone reaps consequences of his or her acts). But not everyone has actual consequences that match his or her desired consequences. How does one assure that one’s desires will be fulfilled? This is the problem which faces every human being.

  • Machiavelli said success depends on learning to wield power.
  • Confucians say you must live by the customs of society.
  • Jews say you must meticulously observe the Law of Moses.
  • Buddhists say you must get rid of your desires.
  • Christian Scientists say it is all in your mind.
  • Catholics say works (sacraments) will bring success in the next world.
  • Protestants say grace will bring believers success in the next world.
  • American Indians say you must be one with nature, thus one with God.
  • Hindus say you must be reborn to frustration until you accept Karma.
  • Communists say you must yield your desires to the state.
  • Muslims say you must live a life of piety.

But what is the truth about success?

The scriptures say that every man does that which is right in his own eyes (does that which he believes will bring him the success he desires). But most men do not lead very happy or contented lives. In other words, most men fail to gain the desires of their hearts.

Is there a formula which will guarantee men the success they desire?

Every normal human being is guaranteed short range freedom: We are free to choose and seek that which we desire among the possibilities at hand at a given moment. But we do not always attain what we desire. Every human being may desire and choose the good to do in his or her environment, because each has been given the special gifts of God to do so. Anyone who consistently chooses only the good will find that his or her desires for good will be completely fulfilled in the long run. Real success is counted only in the long run, though some are wining to sell the long run for short range success.

The World’s Laws of success (some good, some bad):

  1. Buy low, sell high.
  2. Prioritize your goals, review them at least daily.
  3. You get no more than you pay for.
  4. Discipline wins over native ability.
  5. Early to bed, early to rise …
  6. Pray as if it all depended on God, work as if it all depended on you.
  7. No pain, no gain.
  8. Never give a sucker an even break.

Must we be simple, sentimental or cynical? Or just wrong?

The fundamental mistake of the thinking of the world is to believe that success and happiness is somehow produced by physical or external things such as pleasure, wealth, power, eminence and immortality. Those who gain any of the above quickly learn than no one of them nor any combination of them brings happiness or real success. But most persons would rather have any and all of the above if they have to be miserable anyway.

What is man? Who are we?

All men are the children of God, begotten unto him through two births, a spiritual one and a physical one. Each birth is the receiving of a body of a special order of material. Thus man is a dual being: “And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.” (D&C 88:15)

The spirit of man has two parts: heart and mind.

  • The heart is the decision maker.
  • The mind is the understander and facilitator.

The physical nature of man has two parts: strength and might.

  • The strength is the physical tabernacle, the body.
  • The might is everything which a person controls or influences through his body.

The character of a person is his or her habits, the patterns of choice, thought, action and stewardship which he or she displays. Habits are created by choices. We come to this world to make choices and thus to build our own character.

Mortals who eventually attain a celestial character have the character of God:

  • A heart which is righteous.
  • A mind which is omniscient.
  • A body which is immortal.
  • A might which is in perfect celestial order.

All of which makes it possible for him and her, becoming one, to become omnipotent and possessor of all things. (Cannot be done by one person alone.)

Mortals who have attained a perdition character have a character like that of Satan.

The following table suggests the pattern for a celestial character:

Aspects     Description      Function                   Character         Celestial
Heart        Decider             Choosing between  Pure (selfless) Righteous
–                  –                         good and evil                                      desires
Mind          Understander  Thinking, planning Knowledge      Omniscient
Strength    Doer                   Acting                        Skills, able      Omnipotent
Might         Dominion         Presiding                   Order               Possessor of  all

Question: What would the pattern for terrestrial, telestial and perdition character look like?

Question: Do the possibilities for heart, mind, strength and might constitute a menu from which each person chooses his eternal character by choosing his actions each day?

Question: The order of the four human factors is listed above in logical order. What is the psychological order? (Logical order: Most fundamental First. Psychological order: The order in which humans must actually act.)

  1. If every human being is a son or daughter of God, perhaps God has given men a formula for success. Is this true? Our Savior has told us that the goal for each man or woman is to conquer his or her own soul. He also pointed out that no one can do this without divine assistance. The laws of success in this world as given by God are the laws of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are:
    1. A person must put his or her whole trust and belief in Jesus Christ.
    2. Under the direction of Jesus Christ, that person must repent of his or her sins.
    3. The person must then covenant to become perfect in Jesus Christ.
    4. The person must then receive the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands of one who has divine authority.
    5. The person must then endure to the end in the New and Everlasting Covenant, which is to attain the same character as Jesus Christ.

Question: Can a leopard change its spots? Can I become like the Savior in heart, mind, strength and might?

One very interesting thing to note: Living the Restored Gospel does not require any special status except the ability to understand that gospel and to choose to follow the Holy Spirit. Thus it does not matter whether one is rich or dirt poor, healthy or sickly, male or female, old or young, bond or free, white or black, married or unmarried. Starting from any human condition, a person can achieve success in this world through the laws and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Question: If the way is open to every human being to become as Jesus Christ, why do so few find the narrow gate and enter into life?

  1. There is a powerful opposition to the work of Jesus Christ. The opposition has four factors, which might be described as follows:
    1. A heart which is set upon the things of this world.
    2. A mind which knows not God.
    3. A body which is easily habituated to ease and pleasure.
    4. An influence on others which promotes selfishness in them.

The principal opposition to the work of God is not Satan. It is simply every human being in the world. The description above is that of the “natural man” which the scriptures discuss. The only real enemy any person has is himself or herself. Salvation is thus the process of rescuing each person from his own slothfulness. Salvation through Jesus Christ and his New and Everlasting Covenant is the only true and eternal success available in this world.

The following table summarizes the contrast between the spiritually successful person (the saint) and the natural man:

Factor                  Saint                                          Natural Man
Heart                   Pure, desiring only                 Hardened, unwilling
–                             to do the will of God              to be entreated by                                                                                                                                 conscience
Spirit Body         Disciplined, good skills,        Disciplined only for
good habits                              personal benefit
Feelings               Appetites controlled by        Appetites rule for
the Holy Spirit                        pleasure, thrills, power
Brain                     Active, clear,                          Geared to fulfillment
coordinated                            of desire
Physical Body     Physically strong, hard         Suited to desire
working, able to endure

Problem: Show how the basic laws and ordinances of the Restored Gospel map on to heart, might, mind and strength.

  • Faith maps to:
  • Repentance maps to:
  • Baptism maps to:
  • Receiving the Holy Ghost maps to:
  1. The means to become as God is to love him with all our heart, might, mind and strength, and in the name of Jesus Christ to serve him (D&C 39:5).

Question: The above sentence is possibly the most important sentence in all the universe. Can you think of one that is more important, more powerful?

This sentence defines the human system (heart, might, mind and strength) and tells us how to perfect that system (by love of God by every aspect of our individual system). Gospel thinking is systems thinking.

The beginning of wisdom is to fear God. This is to respect him, realizing that he is perfect, has overcome every temptation we face, and cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.

The end of wisdom is to love God. This is to devote the whole affection of our heart towards him, to dwell on him and his ways in our minds, to serve him with all of our strength, and to set our stewardship in the precise order which he instructs. To love the Lord is to recognize in him the only true good, the sole source of righteousness, the only hope of man, the kind and loving Father in whom we live and move and have our being, drawing every breath by his power and permission.

As we love the Lord by keeping his commandments, he can bestow upon us his truth, his righteous desires, his skills, his priesthood, and his dominion. There is nothing greater to desire or receive in all eternity.

  1. Man is an agent. To be an agent one must have three prerequisites.
  2. One must be an intelligent being (goal oriented).
  3. One must have understanding of alternatives and choose among them.
  4. One must have power to carry out the choices made.

God gives men their understanding and the power to carry out their choices. Should he withdraw either, the person would lose his agency.

As men and women obey God, he increases their knowledge and power bit by bit. If they waver and retreat, their powers decline. But if they press on to serve God with all of their heart, might, mind and strength, he can bestow all of his knowledge and power upon them. Thus they can become gods, fully free agents as the Father is.

To be like God is to:

  1. Have a pure heart, to desire only righteousness. This is 90% of the human problem.
  2. Have a mind which clearly discerns truth from error and comprehends all truth. This is 9% of the human problem.
  3. Have a body as disciplined and capable as that of God. This is 1% of the human problem.

This course is concerned with both the heart and the mind problem, but the latter will consume most of our attention as we focus on intellectual skills.

  1. Skill learning is a specialized art which involves three essential steps.
    1. Clear comprehension of the skill to be learned. (The easiest and best way to this comprehension is to study a role-model who e::habits the skill desired.)
    2. Role-playing the skill until the basics have been mastered. This may require the assistance of a mentor.
    3. Fine tuning one’s performance by self-evaluation and correction.

The test of adequacy of skill learning is whether or not we have overlearned the skill so well that we can succeed in our tasks under great pressure and adversity.

The most important mentor in the development of any skill is God himself. That is why each covenant servant of Jesus Christ is promised that he or she can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. The next most valuable mentor is a human being who has overlearned the skill desired and acts under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Question: What skills are important to human beings? –

Human Skills

Heart: Feeling Skills

Type                                            Description

  • Compassion                          Ability to sense others’ feelings and to feel for them
  • Pain tolerance                     To allow pain to work its beneficence without masking it
  • Self-motivation                   To generate out of one’s own desire impetus to gain a goal
  • Purity of heart                     Discern needs of others without concern for self
  • Spirituality                           Identity both the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit unerringly
  • Discipline                             Strength to do what one knows one should when one should
  • Judging, Evaluating           Ability to establish a good or right for any situation

Might: Social skills based on communication

Type                                            Description

  • Motivating others               Using others’ desire to achieve a common goal
  • Manners                               Protocol to avoid unpleasant surprises in social relations
  • Management                       Coordinate the activities of others
  • Friendship/enmity             Ability to maintain warm/cold personal relations
  • Love/hate                             Ability to sacrifice for/injure another person
  • Priesthood                            Authorized sharing of light, truth, power from God
  • Mentor/Master                   Guiding the development of another person w/wo consent.
  • Disciple/slave                      Receiving regimen from another person w/wo consent
  • Business/extortion             Exchange of goods for mutual/one-sided benefit
  • War/assault                         Forcible deprivation of another group/person
  • Diplomacy/negotiation     Verbal process of reaching agreement
  • Training                                Programming the reaction patterns of another person

Mind: Intellectual skills

Type                                             Description

  • Philosophy                            Asking questions which elicit understanding
  • Science                                   Form of peer-acceptable assertions about the natural world
  • Scholarship                           Creation of imaginary accounts of past on record evidence
  • Mathematics                         Creation and use of systems of order
  • Engineering                          Ability to achieve specific goals using current technology
  • Thinking                                Relating patterns in the mind
  • Perceiving                              Identification of sensory phenomena
  • Comprehending                    Relating an idea to a matrix of relevant ideas
  • Systems                                   Representing things as organized parts of organized wholes
  • Deduction                               Deriving necessary conclusions from given premises
  • Induction                                Supposing the whole to be like the part
  • Adduction                               Creation of premises to deduce a given conclusion

Strength: Physical Skills

Type                                               Description

  • Walking/running                  Ability to change spatial location
  • Carpentry                                Ability to create structures of wood
  • Music                                       Ability to create patterned noises
  • Observation                            Ability to summarize sensory perception
  • Experimentation                   Observation of controlled experiment

All: Skills which specially involve heart, might, mind and strength

Type                                              Description

  • Learning                                 Achieving desired changes in one’s habits (religion)
  • Communication                    Achieving desired reactions in another person
  • Righteousness                       Achieving the action patterns of a god with help from God

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