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The Boleyn Sisters


In our spare time last weekend we researched the Boleyn sisters. Our interest was sparked by the current movie about them. We found that Mary Boleyn was Henry’s mistress for a time. Then, after awkwardly
dispatching his first wife, he married Ann who spent vast sums refurbishing castles and buying exorbitant furnishings. In fact, Ann had 250 personal servants and 50 maids of honor. She became quite irritated when Henry had affairs. He became irritated with her irritation and had her beheaded. He famously continued through four more wives and unnumbered mistresses. Their lives sounded unrelentingly miserable, filled with conniving and treachery. As I read about the Boleyn sisters, I felt that our simple lives are immeasurably blessed by comparison. I thought of Mozart’s statement: “We poor common folk must take wives whom we love and who love us.” I am one of those poor common folk. What a blessing!

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20 Comments

  • Reply Kristen March 31, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    This makes Jacob’s rehearsal of the Nephites’ sins in Jacob 1-3 even more real. As the Nephites labored in sin and for riches, they also embraced immorality as a way of life. Not so for the Lamanites.

  • Reply Charmaine March 31, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    The problems with societies and groups that have an insatiable desire for stimulation–they never experience the joy of reverence. Too much money buys too much stimulation and it becomes obsessive and ultimately destructive. Movies, porn, video games, I pods, cell phones–who has time for quiet contemplation of the simple life. These things promote the “eat drink and be merry” philosophy. Some of my children are caught in the “why marry” at all group. It is hard for family life with simple domestic doldroms to compete with the world. Things haven’t changed since Henry and the Bolyn sisters. The distractions are a little different but it all leads to the same place.

  • Reply admin April 1, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Kristen,

    What a great observation! I had compared the royals to us but had neglected to compare them to the Book of Mormon peoples. Apparently there is a well-established pattern. Thank you for that insight!

    Wally

  • Reply admin April 1, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Charmaine,

    I think you have identified the key to all addictions: the insistence on stimulation at all costs. Perhaps peace is the most undervalued of the fruits of the Spirit. Do you think our dilemma might be rooted in our internal emptiness? How can we help people fill their souls?

    Blessings!
    Wally

  • Reply Charmaine April 1, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    How do souls get filled?…sometimes “compelled to be humble” (Alma 32) works. But if we get too far over the line we become like those at the end of the Book of Mormon who were angry and bitter “the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin.” (Mormon 2) I think the over indulged tend to take the latter road.

  • Reply Barbara April 2, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I heard a quote over the weeked. Unfortunately I do not have the exact wording, but I can paraphrase: That which is good, in reality ultimately produces joy. That which is evil, in reality ultimately produces monotony, boredom and emptiness. But in our minds we imagine the opposite to be true.

    So perhaps one of the ways we might be able to help people fill their souls is to examine how we offer Gospel principles. Do we hound or guilt people with lists of what they must give up or must do? Do we inadvertently suggest that the Gospel is all about the emptiness of always feeling you don’t measure up? Or do we teach the Gospel as the path to joy and peace and fulfillment? Do we display and point them towards the love of the Savior as a life-changing experience?

  • Reply admin April 2, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Great observation, Barbara! Maria Montessori said that “the first idea that the child must acquire, in order to be actively disciplined, is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.” Good is the active, life-giving and life-affirming. Evil takes away light and truth. So joy is a reliable marker of goodness.

    Thank you for your quote and your challenge. I think we both agree with Henry Ward Beecher when he said that “the test of Christian character should be that a [person] is a joy-bearing agent to the world.”

    -Wally

  • Reply Candleman April 2, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    I think your characterization of addiction as seeking stimulation at all costs completely misses the mark.

  • Reply admin April 4, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Candleman,

    I would love to hear more of your thoughts about addiction.

    -Wally

  • Reply lindac April 4, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Being an addict, being addicted to something (anything, everything) is NOT simply “seeking stimulation at all costs” but it is an actual, real, Over Powering physical, mental, & emotional NEED to be BALANCED. In my case, whether from some element in the environment (being fed sugar water as a baby instead of breastmilk)or whether it is to a large degree genetic,(I believe both),it has been a life long battle to first understand, and then to overcome the many things I had used to maintain peace and balance (so I thought). When I began to understand addiction after my marriage of 20 years ended because of my compulsive, uncontrolled need to “feel” whole, important, loved, whatever….Only when I was on the ground, not on my knees but on my face with my whole body completely covered in the mud, when I KNEW that the addiction, the compulsion would indeed kill me, did I cry out to my Heavenly Father and plead with him for His help. I got on my knees and opened my scriptures with tears streaming down my face and opened to Mosiah 4.
    ” 1 And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
    2 And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
    3 And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.”
    I personally cried the words outloud “apply the atoning blood of Christ”…
    Now I see. That is when things began to go uphill, not everything was taken all at once, but I felt a REAL POWER COME UPON ME THAT HAS ALLOWED ME TO OVERCOME THESE DEADLY ADDICTIONS ONE AT A TIME. AND HERE IS THE KEY.

  • Reply lindac April 4, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    (I wrote so much I have to do two entries!)
    Here is the Key.
    Daily, hourly, sometimes moment to moment, I must depend on the Savior Jesus Christ for His strength. I KNOW that without him I will literally die. I am completely dependant on Him whom I love, adore, and worship.
    You see, I believe that Heavenly Father allows us to be addicts because, unlike any other affliction or disease(such as cancer where you can also go to a doctor for help), an addict MUST go directly to God for their help. We all do, it’s just that to an addict, it is KNOWLEDGE.

  • Reply Candleman April 6, 2008 at 11:52 am

    In compliance with Dr. Wally’s request:

    First of all, the behavior or substance “used” in the case of any instance of addiction, is not the problem. Underlying the obvious is a real, deep seated pain. The pain may be as yet, unexamined by the addict, but it is real and it is always there. The substance abuse, or misbehavior is a form of self medication contrived to eliminate that pain.

    Clearly addictive behavior doesn’t eliminate pain. Some behaviors may anesthetize the pain, others overwhelm it and others confuse it. While it is true that many addicts use stimulation to deal with pain, many also use sedation. Therein lies my exception to your statement.

    Fundamental to recovering from addiction is the elimination of the source of the pain, not just the treatment or “mistreatment” of it.

    The causes of the addict’s pain are as wide as the earth I suppose. It may come from abuse, either inflicted by self or others. It may come from an accident. It may come from a lack of understanding. It may come from any form of affliction. Indeed it is part and parcel to mortality. Every addict, who begins to examine the source of his or her pain discovers what AA calls the “hole in the heart”, the emptiness you describe, the ultimate and primal pain.

    Ultimately, there is only one way to fill that emptiness. That way, is to drink of “living water” to partake of the “bread of life.” There is only one way to heal that primal pain, to “repent, that I (Jesus Christ) may heal you.”

    Dr Wally asks: How can we help people fill their souls?

    For most addicts the answer lies in Ether 12:27. In our 12 Step Meetings we often hear some statement like this: You may not be ready for recovery now; be assured, if you stay on your path of addiction, God will get you there. When that day comes and you do hit your bottom, we will be here, to love you, pick you up and lead you home.

  • Reply Candleman April 6, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Lindac: I loved your testimony. Thank you for sharing that. My personal experience was so similar in so many ways. I struggled with my addiction for 45 years. I spent most of those years in hand to hand combat with it.

    In so many ways, I was like the people of Limhi, who were captive and forced to pay tribute to the Lamanites. I was in bondage, very real bondage. I was forced to pay tribute at a devastating price. Occasionally, I would take up arms and do serious battle with my addiction. Always, I was beaten back having suffered serious losses. Weakened, I would submit to my fate for a while and then rally another offensive that resulted in additional devastation.

    Then one day Limhi, in giving wise counsel to his people, gave wise councel, from God, to me.

    Mosiah 7:33 – But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this HE WILL, according to his own will and pleasure DELIVER YOU OUT OF BONDAGE.

    From that moment on, I turned my back on my captor and set my sights on my Deliverer, and that has made all the difference, just as it did for the people of Limhi.

  • Reply Kristen April 6, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Candleman, I love this scripture too. May I ask what you did in order to turn your back on your captor (I don’t mean you need to be too specific), and how did you set your sights on the Deliverer? Was it keeping your very thoughts focused on him at all times? Thank you.

  • Reply Candleman April 6, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Your surmise is exactly right. I was sitting in a gospel class on the following weekend after I decided to let God deliver me. In the lesson the teacher mentioned praying always. As I was pondering what “praying always” means, the Spirit gave me a sudden stroke of inspiration.

    Suddenly, I realized that I was always having an on going conversation going on in my head. Most of that conversation is critical and negative. Much of that conversation is scripted by notions established long ago and under less than ideal conditions of understanding and faith. Because most of that conversation is automatic and scripted, it is also borrrrring and because of the constant repetition I also realized that I didn’t often pay serious attention to the conversation.

    If the student is ready, the scripture will come. And most certainly and soon it did. Alma 37:36 – “….let ALL thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord.” I began directing my thoughts unto the Lord. I was amazed at the completely different nature of my internal conversation when it was directed unto the Lord instead of to myself.

    An example: I was driving down the road and someone waved at me. I waved back and my internal conversation kicked in. “That was a nerdy wave.” I then spent the next mile or so practicing a cool wave, in hopes of avoiding looking stupid again. Then, I realized that I had not directed that conversation unto the Lord. I began to talk my nerdiness over with God. I immediately realized my concern was an open manifestation of pride and how foolish it seemed to God. He had other, important things to talk over with me. He didn’t put me down, He lifted me up and still does.

    I no longer discuss decisions with myself. I talk them over with God. I no longer listen to the scripted judgements that are apt to replay in my mind. I listen to affirmations, expressions of love and kind instructions, He offers. It isn’t that hard, we must only be willing.

    As Alma told Corianton, “…whosoever will may…” (Alma 41:8) or less simply “…whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely;…” (Alma 42:27)

  • Reply Charmaine April 6, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I have a brother who has spent many years in AA sometimes sucessfully sometimes not. He started drinking as a teen to have fun. He has told me often that he is not sure when he crossed the line– where it was no longer fun and became something that was destroying him. I do think some get into trouble with addiction thinking in the beginning it will not happen to them…just seeking a little stimulation. How about porn? I know people addicted to video games who have lost their marriage over it.

  • Reply admin April 7, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Wow, Linda. Thank you for sharing your journey. I honor your resolve and resonate with your discovery. “Daily, hourly, sometimes moment to moment, I must depend on the Savior Jesus Christ for His strength. I KNOW that without him I will literally die. I am completely dependant on Him whom I love, adore, and worship.” Beautiful and powerful. Addictions–and all afflictions–are blessings when they cause us to go directly to God. Blessings to you.

    -Wally

  • Reply admin April 8, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Charmaine,

    There is the irony of addiction: What is billed as fun becomes destructive. Cocaine is a great example. The use of coke destroys the capacity to experience pleasure. There’s a pact with the devil!

    As in Adam and Eve’s experience, we must obey even when we are not sure why.

    -Wally

  • Reply admin April 8, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Candleman-

    [Regarding your first post]

    Thank you for the insight. Again, I feel blessed by your insight and warmth. Is it possible that all of us are either addicted or distracted unless and until we make Jesus the focus of every thought?

    [Regarding your last post]

    Wow, Candleman, that was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. We turn our conversation from internal blabbing to heavenly dialogue! I love that and felt the invitation. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    How do you feel about expanding your comment to an article for Meridian Magazine?

    -Wally

  • Reply Candleman April 8, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Okay by me. Email me some details, okay?

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