The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Posts Tagged ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

That Time I Quit Meth and Found My Savior, Jesus Christ

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Guest Blog by J. A. Ebberts – @JAEbberts on Twitter

Love of Christ

Editors Note: This was taken from a thread in J. A. Ebbert’s’ Twitter feed by permission.

So there I was, minding my own business on day 3 or 4 of a meth induced “walking coma”, checking from behind the mini-blinds at every car that passed by my house to make sure it wasn’t the “Po-lice” or some sort of body snatching skin-walker…

Paranoia had riddled my mind. I lay in bed and could feel my body shutting down from exhaustion, but my mind refused to shut up long enough for me to get some sleep.

Every shadow in my room concealed some terrible entity bent on my destruction. I was tired, I was sick and I was rapidly losing my mind.

A few weeks earlier I had met some dudes in Dallas heavily involved in the trafficking of a certain party drug, and has some friends who were moving down there to set up a “business.” I was invited to participate with them and was seriously considering the offer. All of my friends had moved down there and the parties were a non-stop love fest of good vibes and PLUR nonsense, but in an inexplicable moment of clarity, like a focused beam of sunlight piercing a storm cloud, I had the awareness to ask myself “is it worth it?”

Was the paranoia, the physical emotional and mental toll on my body, the self-inflicted annihilation worth it?
after finally finding maybe an hour or two of sleep, I decided that I needed to know, once and for all, what this life was all about.

For about 6 months prior to this moment, I had a nagging feeling like there was something “more” I needed to be doing. I was agnostic. I didn’t care to really know if God was real, because if he was, and he was who they say he was, then he totally understood why I did what I did and wouldn’t judge me harshly for it. “He gets it”, I reasoned. And that worked for me.

But still, there was something more to be had and I somehow knew it. I felt like there were good and malevolent forces around me all the time. I remember a girlfriend kind of making fun of me for saying so, but still I felt it, even without context.

I’ll spare you the details of a very specific mescaline trip that in retrospect served as a tipping point for the lifestyle I had been leading (maybe a story for another time?), but here I now found myself on the brink of making a decision.
A decision that could very realistically land me in prison, land me dead, or who knows what.

While mulling it over, I remembered something my dad had said to me a year or two prior to this moment. In his efforts to get me to consider a larger spiritual existence (and clean up my act) he approached me one day and said “Adam, you’re a logical guy. Why don’t you apply the scientific method to this question?” He said “These are the things that we are told to do, if we want to receive an answer to whether or not God exists. This is the experiment and these are the conditions for replication. Why don’t you try it and see?”

At the time, I didn’t really give it another thought, but in this moment, that idea became very attractive to me. Why couldn’t I find out, once and for all, what was real and what was not? Replicate the experiment and see what happens. So, as I sat in my room contemplating my future, I decided to first find out if God was real or not. Once and for all. If nothing happens, then I have nothing to lose and can move to Dallas with my club-kid friends and move massive quantities of MDMA. But if he was real… if he did show up for me… then suddenly I have another option. Maybe even more than one option. Maybe an entire universe of possibilities opens up to me. All it takes to find out for sure is a little commitment to find out and some honesty with myself.

So, taking my cues from what I had heard and read about how to conduct this experiment, I decided to fast with the purpose of having God reveal himself to me.

I began my fast with a prayer, probably the first real prayer I have ever offered in my life. I told him that I wasn’t sure if he was there, but was going to fast anyway and if he was there to show me in a way unmistakable to me and that I would accept whatever that answer ended up being. I would ACT on whatever response I got. If I got nothing, then call me Dopey McSlangsalot and I’ll see ya in Dallas.

But if I got something, I was willing in that moment to do whatever that something required with no preconditions. No bargains. If God was real, then I was willing to accept that and let it transform my life. It’s not like I was doing anything productive with it at that point anyway.

So, I prayed, and I fasted. I went without food and water and had determined to do so for the next 24 hours at least, while I sought to overcome the self-imposed damages to my mind and body, and “recenter” myself.

It wasn’t long before I started to notice some things. Thoughts came to my mind, sometimes faster than I could grab them and really understand them. I started having some sensations in my body that I had no words for. At one point I thought I was having an acid flashback or something, as everything became quite vivid and clear. An overwhelming feeling of purpose and importance filled me.

I want to be careful here about what I share, because some of this experience I consider sacred and not for general consumption. I was told, in my mind in a voice not my own, in no uncertain terms, that I was receiving my answer. That what was taking place in and around me was the beginning of what would last for the next several hours as I sit alone in my room, upstairs in my parents’ house.

Not only was God real, but I was given some understanding about man’s complete insignificance in the universe. That at any moment the four walls that I thought protected me could explode in infinite directions, leaving me alone in space. I was powerless to stop it from happening and imagined myself left to ruin in the vacuum and the void and then almost simultaneously I was given the understanding of the complete care and love and intentional nature of this entire existence. That all of this was held together and in place for ME. For MY benefit and progression.

It immediately challenged everything I thought I had believed about so many things at that point that I don’t have time to list them. But I knew God was there, I knew he had real, tangible power and I knew, for the first time, that he answered sincere prayers.

I also knew that yes, there was something else for me to be doing. There was a better use of my time and talents than selling ecstasy to frat boys and that the time had come for me to be about whatever that was.

In an instant, I was transformed. The knowledge I had gained that night changed EVERYTHING about who I was. It changed every appetite that I had, and it took every paranoid thought and craving I had been wrestling with.

Through Christ, through the grace of God, I found real healing in the moment I had been willing to do, without precondition, whatever God wanted me to do, if he would reveal himself to me. I quit smoking, I quit meth and acid and X all immediately. That very night. Threw it all away and never had another craving or desire to ever touch the stuff again.

When we say “born again”, I was truly, born again. I was a new man much to the displeasure of many of my friends I may add. The very next day my best friend at the time came over with about 40 X-tabs and “a hot tub full of girls waiting for us.” I immediately recognized it for the temptation it was and turned him down. Not only did I turn him down, I started to tell him about what had happened to me the night before! He was confused and then angry and then maybe a little sad as he left.

It went that way with nearly all of my friends. None of them stuck around. None of them could abide me and my newly found Christianity, though many of them acknowledged that they could see the difference in my face and in my eyes.

The next 9 months of this story contain a lot of ups and downs. A lot of spiritual lessons and incredible truths and experiences prepared me to eventually serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Perhaps I’ll share some of those stories with you sometime. Stories about all of this and to those who consistently claim that I am not a Christian because of my Church membership.

There is absolutely NOTHING but the REAL Christ who could have saved me at that time and in that way.

Nothing but the REAL Christ would have had the power to transform a 130 pound drug addled punk rocker into what I am today and into what I am yet to become.

No other power exists in this universe to transform men in this way.

None.

There is no argument anyone can make about history, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or God himself that will have enough power to take this from me.

Written by DCL

March 26, 2021 at 1:41 pm

He Is Risen –

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The empty tomb that first Easter morning was the answer to Job’s question, “If a man die, shall he live again?”

More than 2,000 years ago, Christ, our Savior, was born to mortal life in a stable in Bethlehem. The long-foretold Messiah had come.

There was very little written of the boyhood of Jesus. I love the passage from Luke: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”  And from the book of Acts, there is a short phrase concerning the Savior which has a world of meaning: “[He] went about doing good.”

He was baptized by John in the river Jordan. He called the Twelve Apostles. He blessed the sick. He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. He taught, He testified, and He provided a perfect example for us to follow.

And then the mortal mission of the Savior of the world drew to its close. A last supper with His Apostles took place in an upper room. Ahead lay Gethsemane and Calvary’s cross.

No mere mortal can conceive the full import of what Christ did for us in Gethsemane. He Himself later described the experience: “[The] suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit.”

Following the agony of Gethsemane, now drained of strength, He was seized by rough, crude hands and taken before Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod. He was accused and cursed. Vicious blows further weakened His pain-racked body. Blood ran down His face as a cruel crown fashioned of sharp thorns was forced onto His head, piercing His brow. And then once again He was taken to Pilate, who gave in to the cries of the angry mob: “Crucify him, crucify him.”

He was scourged with a whip into whose multiple leather strands sharp metals and bones were woven. Rising from the cruelty of the scourge, with stumbling steps He carried His own cross until He could go no farther and another shouldered the burden for Him.

Finally, on a hill called Calvary, while helpless followers looked on, His wounded body was nailed to a cross. Mercilessly He was mocked and cursed and derided. And yet He cried out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

The agonizing hours passed as His life ebbed. From His parched lips came the words, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

As the serenity and solace of a merciful death freed Him from the sorrows of mortality, He returned to the presence of His Father.

At the last moment, the Master could have turned back. But He did not. He passed beneath all things that He might save all things. His lifeless body was hurriedly but gently placed in a borrowed tomb.

No words in Christendom mean more to me than those spoken by the angel to the weeping Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when, on the first day of the week, they approached the tomb to care for the body of their Lord. Spoke the angel:

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?

“He is not here, but is risen.”

Our Savior lived again. The most glorious, comforting, and reassuring of all events of human history had taken place—the victory over death. The pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary had been wiped away. The salvation of mankind had been secured. The Fall of Adam had been reclaimed.

“In our hour of deepest sorrow, we can receive profound peace from the words of the angel that first Easter morning: “He is not here: for he is risen.”

President Thomas S. Monson – President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints