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mikbone

Looking beyond the mark.

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I have seen so many people struggle with this throughout my career as well as counseling friends and family.

Example:  Morbidly obese patient enters my office with the chief complaint of knee pain.  I review the x-rays which demonstrate mild arthritis which I had expected.  

I recommend the obvious: Physical therapy, weight loss, routine exercise, healthy diet, & anti-inflammatory over the counter medications.

The response is almost universal.  “I have tried all those things and none of them help.  I came to you because I need you to help me.  You are my last resort.  My family doctor said you could help.  Can’t you do a knee scope or some other surgery.  How about stem cell injection?  Isn’t there some kind of special injection or medicine that can repair my cartilage?”

I then explain that all those suggestions do not work.  I then delve deeper into the weight loss, and exercise routine and find that in reality they never really tried therapy and do not understand or care to try lifestyle changes.  

Usually, they then request a steroid injection, which i can give but I explain that it only gives temporary relief and that they would be much better off with the lifestyle changes.  

The same happens in the Gospel… Recommendations: Read the scriptures, pray, follow the commandments, attend church services, partake of saving ordinances.

Unfortunately many people don’t know how to study the scriptures.  They don’t pray and then listen.  Or they (can’t) keep the commandments.  Or don't understand ordinances and even partake of them when unworthy…

They then look beyond the mark and expect others to solve their problems for them: support from social media, prescription medication, therapy, blaming others, leaving the church…

 

What do we do for these people?  How do you help them? Do you see this in your work or local ward?  Is it a generational problem?

 

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I'm a nurse (spent around 2 years in the OR) so I have seen it at work also. My ward sounds the same as well. This month I have assigned Sacrament meeting speakers the basics - faith and repentance - in hopes that it will get a few lost folks back on the right track. So many people are struggling with basic faith in God right now, which I do not understand.

One man has been dealing with a particular sin for over 35 years, and he never changes. He meets with every new Bishop every few years or so hoping to hear something different. He just expects some grand thing to change him, when all he really needs to do is "wash in the river 7 times".

Enduring to the end is not easy for the masses...it takes work, faith, and patience. Our oil lamps are filled drop by drop, not by a gush. Each drop is difficult to notice on it's own, but they do add up. Sadly, even if some have the necessary faith, they do not desire to put forth the needed effort. And, even if they do, their supposed faith is weakened when the desired blessing is not bestowed immediately after doing 1 or 2 good things. Waiting on the Lord is near impossible for some folks with today's "have it now" mentality.

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7 hours ago, mikbone said:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2003/03/looking-beyond-the-mark

“The “Mark” Is Christ - When we look beyond the mark, we are looking beyond Christ”

It is interesting that he gives so many different definitions of the phrase in a single talk.

Elder Maxwell gave a simple example of looking beyond the mark:  Contemplating and debating the dimensions of the cross rather than the significant event which took place upon it.  We tend to look at the more mundane aspects of gospel "related topics" rather than the gospel topics themselves.

Then I re-read your OP.  I don't see that as the same phenomenon.  I see that as people wanting to make bad choices and wanting quick fixes so they don't have to live with the consequences.  People lie to themselves by saying that they "tried".  In reality, they thought about it, but never actually followed through.  This really has nothing to do with looking beyond the mark.

So, what connection are you drawing between the experience you shared vs the idea of "looking beyond the mark"?

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14 hours ago, mikbone said:

.....

 

What do we do for these people?  How do you help them? Do you see this in your work or local ward?  Is it a generational problem?

 

My father would use the example of money and weight to explain why so many people are unhappy and miserable.  He would say, "You can ask anyone and they will say that they would like to have more money and that they would like to loose some weight and be in better shape."  They make their concept of money and weight impossible to be happy.  Why or How?  Lets look at the concept of being wealthy.  Most everyone wants to be independently wealthy.  They all know that to become independently wealthy they must invest money.  But in reality they will spend their money even before they get it.  This is called credit.  The worse kind of credit is compound interest.  Credit (especially compound interest) means that whenever they get any money it all must be used to pay bills.  Thus they can never be happy.  They are either unhappy because they have spent all their money -- or they are unhappy because they have some money and must invest (save) it rather than purchase something they want.

The same applies to their body.  Everybody says they want a strong healthy body.  They know that to have a strong healthy body they must discipline their eating and exercise.  So they are unhappy -- either because they have to exercise and discipline their eating (which makes them unhappy) or they have to look in the mirror at a fat flabby body (which makes them unhappy). 

According to my father the mark is missed because we look at the destination and not the journey.  We all think we want to go to heaven but doing the things that will get us there is a drag that makes us unhappy - or so we think.  So the great secret to happiness is learning to love doing the things that will get you to where you want to go.  The scriptures use the word misery to express this unhappiness.  If we are not happy doing the things that will bring us what it is that we say we desire - we are of all men most miserable and happiness is impossible -- even if we get everything we think we want.

This is a problem as old as time and has not changed since before G-d said, "Let there be light."

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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15 hours ago, mikbone said:

The response is almost universal.  “I have tried all those things and none of them help.  I came to you because I need you to help me.  You are my last resort.  My family doctor said you could help.  Can’t you do a knee scope or some other surgery.  How about stem cell injection?  Isn’t there some kind of special injection or medicine that can repair my cartilage?”

I then explain that all those suggestions do not work.  I then delve deeper into the weight loss, and exercise routine and find that in reality they never really tried therapy and do not understand or care to try lifestyle changes.  

Usually, they then request a steroid injection, which i can give but I explain that it only gives temporary relief and that they would be much better off with the lifestyle changes.  

The same happens in the Gospel… Recommendations: Read the scriptures, pray, follow the commandments, attend church services, partake of saving ordinances.

You describe a very real issue.  

Some folks look beyond the mark in the other direction too.  I've heard variations on this over and over again: "I don't understand.  I go to church, pay my tithing, go to the temple, work endlessly at my calling, pray 3x daily, spend an hour in family scripture study, and yet I'm struggling just wanting to give it all up, it all seems like such a waste of time."   The times I've asked these folks if they believe in Christ and have been born again, they return a blank look like they don't understand.

An analogy would be someone whose hyperfocused dieting and endless hours of exercise, wreck his family life and give him physical issues related to such things.

It's important to keep our eye on the mark.

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15 hours ago, mikbone said:

I have seen so many people struggle with this throughout my career as well as counseling friends and family.

Example:  Morbidly obese patient enters my office with the chief complaint of knee pain.  I review the x-rays which demonstrate mild arthritis which I had expected.  

I recommend the obvious: Physical therapy, weight loss, routine exercise, healthy diet, & anti-inflammatory over the counter medications.

The response is almost universal.  “I have tried all those things and none of them help.  I came to you because I need you to help me.  You are my last resort.  My family doctor said you could help.  Can’t you do a knee scope or some other surgery.  How about stem cell injection?  Isn’t there some kind of special injection or medicine that can repair my cartilage?”

I then explain that all those suggestions do not work.  I then delve deeper into the weight loss, and exercise routine and find that in reality they never really tried therapy and do not understand or care to try lifestyle changes.  

Usually, they then request a steroid injection, which i can give but I explain that it only gives temporary relief and that they would be much better off with the lifestyle changes.  

The same happens in the Gospel… Recommendations: Read the scriptures, pray, follow the commandments, attend church services, partake of saving ordinances.

Unfortunately many people don’t know how to study the scriptures.  They don’t pray and then listen.  Or they (can’t) keep the commandments.  Or don't understand ordinances and even partake of them when unworthy…

They then look beyond the mark and expect others to solve their problems for them: support from social media, prescription medication, therapy, blaming others, leaving the church…

 

What do we do for these people?  How do you help them? Do you see this in your work or local ward?  Is it a generational problem?

 

I love this. Follow-up question. At what point do we prescribe the analogic surgery or steroid shot to those that request it?

Someone who is struggling with anti, or is angry about tithing and doesn't understand why the church is "hoarding" it is also likely not reading scriptures, fasting, having meaningful prayer, or attending the temple. And if they are doing those things, they are often doing them as a checklist and not seeking meaning in them. Answering their concerns for them or engaging in debate is, unless I am mistaken, analogous to doing the surgery as mentioned above. Do we just brush off the concern and just say go exercise? Do we do the surgery, but then leave expectations to exercise? What if they come back? Do we do the surgery again and continue to tell them to exercise? At what point do we stop offering the surgery?

Edited by Fether

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6 hours ago, Fether said:

 Do we do the surgery, but then leave expectations to exercise? What if they come back? Do we do the surgery again and continue to tell them to exercise? At what point do we stop offering the surgery?

What is interesting is that if one doesn't do their exercise / therapy after surgery (or repentance), their chances of success are very slim. In many cases people can end up in a worse position than they were in to begin with. Orthopedics, Bariatric surgery, Cardiac Surgery, etc... Surgery won't truly "fix" anything if we do not also change the lifestyle that led to the problem and/or abide the prescribed therapy. In reality, you can only have surgery on a part of the body so many times.

Repentance, having faith, and keeping the commandments is the same thing - our testimonies must always be nurtured. The basic things we teach in Primary are taught because they provide the best long-term growth and true foundation. Prayer, scripture study, and serving others are just some of the small things that bring true, lasting conversion. One of the most hidden secrets of the gospel (hidden because people choose not to see it) is that the big things are actually the small things.

Edited by scottyg
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3 hours ago, Carborendum said:

So, what connection are you drawing between the experience you shared vs the idea of "looking beyond the mark"?

The patients have a fuzzy idea that they should lose weight, diet, and exercise.

But they don’t do it or have half-hearted efforts.

They look beyond the mark by deflecting their shortcomings via magical thinking that a silver bullet medication or procedure will solve all their problems.

I see the same with the Gospel. 

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28 minutes ago, mikbone said:

They look beyond the mark by deflecting their shortcomings via magical thinking that a silver bullet medication or procedure will solve all their problems.

I see the same with the Gospel. 

Ah yes, the 2 Nephi 28:7 diet.  One of the reasons I now have three artery stents from a heart attack.  I mean, yes, artery stents are indeed silver bullet procedures that solved my problem of dying in my '40's.  But yeah, relying on them to get me to my '70's is most likely a losing proposition.  

I have a buddy who had to go through a divorce before he finally got serious about his personal discipleship.   We connect on some pretty deep levels about a lot of things.

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55 minutes ago, mikbone said:

They look beyond the mark by deflecting their shortcomings via magical thinking that a silver bullet medication or procedure will solve all their problems.

"looking beyond the mark" = deflecting shortcomings via magical thinking.

???

Quote

Focusing on the philosophies of men, pursuing “gospel hobbies” with excess zeal, and elevating rules over doctrine are ways we may look beyond the mark.

 -- Elder Cook

Edited by Carborendum

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3 hours ago, Fether said:

l love this. Follow-up question. At what point do we prescribe the analogic surgery or steroid shot to those that request it?

For mild arthritis the surgical recommendation from the academy is never.  Although you can find many unethical surgeons willing to provide surgical procedures…

Steroid injections can give relief of symptoms sometimes 6 mo to a year or more.  But at some point the injections stop working thus should be delayed until moderate arthritis.

Joint replacement should not be done on the morbidly obese and should be reserved for severe arthritis.

 

Edited by mikbone

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38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

looking beyond the mark" = deflecting shortcomings via magical thinking.

 ???

Quote

It means not doing the overwhelming obvious thing that you have been taught over and over as well as ignoring common sense and expecting someone or something else to fix your problems.

I hope this answers your questions.

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21 hours ago, mikbone said:

I have seen so many people struggle with this throughout my career as well as counseling friends and family.

Example:  Morbidly obese patient enters my office with the chief complaint of knee pain.  I review the x-rays which demonstrate mild arthritis which I had expected.  

I recommend the obvious: Physical therapy, weight loss, routine exercise, healthy diet, & anti-inflammatory over the counter medications.

The response is almost universal.  “I have tried all those things and none of them help.  I came to you because I need you to help me.  You are my last resort.  My family doctor said you could help.  Can’t you do a knee scope or some other surgery.  How about stem cell injection?  Isn’t there some kind of special injection or medicine that can repair my cartilage?”

I then explain that all those suggestions do not work.  I then delve deeper into the weight loss, and exercise routine and find that in reality they never really tried therapy and do not understand or care to try lifestyle changes.  

Usually, they then request a steroid injection, which i can give but I explain that it only gives temporary relief and that they would be much better off with the lifestyle changes.  

The same happens in the Gospel… Recommendations: Read the scriptures, pray, follow the commandments, attend church services, partake of saving ordinances.

Unfortunately many people don’t know how to study the scriptures.  They don’t pray and then listen.  Or they (can’t) keep the commandments.  Or don't understand ordinances and even partake of them when unworthy…

They then look beyond the mark and expect others to solve their problems for them: support from social media, prescription medication, therapy, blaming others, leaving the church…

 

What do we do for these people?  How do you help them? Do you see this in your work or local ward?  Is it a generational problem?

 

This was something I needed today.  Thank you so much for posting it.   I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.

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On 6/25/2021 at 1:01 PM, mikbone said:

It means not doing the overwhelming obvious thing that you have been taught over and over as well as ignoring common sense and expecting someone or something else to fix your problems.

I hope this answers your questions.

I've never heard anyone call this "looking beyond the mark."  I've never heard any definition of looking beyond the mark being characterized in the manner that you just did.

If you want to be the first, great.  But it might not communicate too well with that title.  You offered a great explanation.  But if I were to expertly describe an automobile to you and explain just how it worked to precise detail to the point you knew exactly what it was, then called it an "airplane" how would you react?

I get your point.

I agree with your point.

I believe it is mislabeled if you want to call this "looking beyond the mark".  It is more like (but still dissimilar from) "missing the mark".  Or, it could be more appropriately labelled "Denial". 

They knew something was wrong.
They did it anyway even though they knew it had bad consequences.
They received the bad consequences and can't figure out why they have to go through that.
Then when they're reminded of what got them there, and what they need to do to fix it, they refuse -- insisting there must be an easier way.

That's denial.

If we consider the stages of grief (I see they have increased the steps to 7 now.  It used to be 5.  I even have a vague recollection of when it was only 3).

Shock:  They got that news.
Denial:  Trying to avoid the inevitable.
Anger:  Outpouring of bottled-up emotion.  (Looks like they haven't gotten there yet.
Bargaining: They are trying to get out of the full consequences by seeking a simpler solution.
Depression:  Not there yet.
Testing:   Nope, not even close.
Acceptance:  You're kidding, right?

It seems that they are somewhere between denial and bargaining.

Edited by Carborendum

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On 6/24/2021 at 7:56 PM, mikbone said:

I have seen so many people struggle with this throughout my career as well as counseling friends and family.

Example:  Morbidly obese patient enters my office with the chief complaint of knee pain.  I review the x-rays which demonstrate mild arthritis which I had expected.  

I recommend the obvious: Physical therapy, weight loss, routine exercise, healthy diet, & anti-inflammatory over the counter medications.

The response is almost universal.  “I have tried all those things and none of them help.  I came to you because I need you to help me.  You are my last resort.  My family doctor said you could help.  Can’t you do a knee scope or some other surgery.  How about stem cell injection?  Isn’t there some kind of special injection or medicine that can repair my cartilage?”

I then explain that all those suggestions do not work.  I then delve deeper into the weight loss, and exercise routine and find that in reality they never really tried therapy and do not understand or care to try lifestyle changes.  

Usually, they then request a steroid injection, which i can give but I explain that it only gives temporary relief and that they would be much better off with the lifestyle changes.  

The same happens in the Gospel… Recommendations: Read the scriptures, pray, follow the commandments, attend church services, partake of saving ordinances.

Unfortunately many people don’t know how to study the scriptures.  They don’t pray and then listen.  Or they (can’t) keep the commandments.  Or don't understand ordinances and even partake of them when unworthy…

They then look beyond the mark and expect others to solve their problems for them: support from social media, prescription medication, therapy, blaming others, leaving the church…

What do we do for these people?  How do you help them? Do you see this in your work or local ward?  Is it a generational problem?

I would develop such a relationship with them that I could drill down on inspiring them to do any of the basics they are missing.

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