Monday, January 31, 2011

Tree of Life Hypnosis

Align Center
My new logo for Tree of Life Hypnosis

On a personal note.... If you have been reading long, you know that I am obsessed with the tree of life. It has so much symbolism and meaning in not just our religion but in many religions and cultures around the world. In Judeo-Christian theology, the tree represents the divine feminine--or Heavenly Mother. But the reason I chose it for my company name is because the core values of my practice center around the tree metaphor--including planting seeds, nurturing growth, ripening, and harvesting good fruit.

So this is my new logo. I had an artist draw it for me, and I'm very pleased with the results. If you have chance to check out my site, I'd love feedback.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Relief Society's Legacy of Maternal Care - Guest Post by HeatherLady

This guest post comes to you from my collaborator, Heatherlady, who writes Women in the Scriptures.

I’ve been doing a lot of delving into LDS church history, especially women's history, for this book. It has been such an incredible experience for me. Recently when reading “Women of Covenant”, the unofficial “official” history of the Relief Society, I discovered an interesting piece of Relief Society history that I was unaware of.

Clarrissa Williams

In October Conference 1921 Relief Society President Clarissa Williams announced a plan “to establish a maternity home in Salt Lake as a sort of experiment, and later, if this is successful, to extend the work by establishing similar homes in various centers.” She wanted “to encourage motherhood and to make it possible for women in child-birth to have good care at reasonable rates.”

The Relief Society, in a sense, started opening Birthing Centers. These maternity homes were generally houses that were converted into places where women could come to give birth. The one that opened in the Salt Lake Area, called the Cottonwood Maternity Hospital, had 10 beds and was furnished, run and maintained by the Cottonwood Relief Society. Relief Society sisters volunteered their time as nurses, laundresses and anything else that needed to be done. The hospital fee was $40 for the standard two-week stay. Additionally the doctor’s fee was $35, which was $5 less than the doctor fee for home deliveries. The center was dedicated on December 10, 1924 by Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Initially the hospital struggled for acceptance and didn’t have many clients. Home deliveries were still the norm and women either didn’t see the need to deliver at a center or were hesitant of the idea. In fact, when the Relief Society in Snowflake, Arizona opened their own small maternity hospital the stake Relief Society board had to go on a speaking tour through the wards trying to convert mothers to hospital deliveries, which as they later remembered turned out not to be an easy task.

Since the majority of women gave birth at home until around World War II, many stakes and wards responded to President Williams' plea for “a movement in the interest of maternity and motherhood through the church” by preparing maternity loan chests that included bedding and other supplies needed for home deliveries. They also put together layettes and other items for new mothers. President Williams allocated the interest money from the Relief Society’s wheat trust fund (nearly $412,000) for such projects as these throughout the church. In the fall 1921 Relief Society conference Lucy Woodruff Smith reported that in the European Missions almost every branch had a “maternity chest”.

In addition to the “birth centers” and the “maternity chests” Relief Society sisters also participated in a variety of public health events, conferences and campaigns to increase the number of breastfeeding mothers, to educate women on the proper ways to clean baby bottles, hand washing, and proper infant care. In 1924, Johns Wells of the Presiding Bishopric credited the Relief Society for a decreased death rate among LDS children under the age of five—500 lives saved in one year. Historian Thomas G. Alexander also stated that, “Cooperation between the Relief Society and public agencies produced in Utah the greatest reduction in the maternal death and infant mortality rates in the nation. By 1931 Utah ranked with five other states in the lowest group.”

Relief Society Leadership in 1916

It is also interesting to note that by 1959 the demand at the Cottonwood Relief Society’s maternity hospital had grown so much that the LDS church, still under the direction of the Relief Society, built a 2 million dollar hospital with 120 beds on the same site as the original maternity hospital. The LDS church eventually opened other hospitals, including Primary Children’s Hospital, and by 1974 the church was operating 15 hospitals and was one of the largest major hospital operators in the US. (Divett, 174-176) Yet, in September 1974 the First Presidency announced that “After a through study and consideration, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have decided to divert the full efforts of the Health Services of the Church to the health needs of the worldwide church membership.” (Divett, 179) In April of 1975 the church transferred all 15 hospitals to Intermountain Health Care, Inc., a non-profit corporation they had established to operate the hospitals. The board of directors consisted of both Mormons and non-Mormons. With the membership of the church increasingly becoming less and less centralized in Utah the church could not longer justify the allocation of resources to run hospitals. Saying that, “ the operation of hospitals is not central to mission of the church.” (Jones, 1992) Instead they chose to expand the number of Health Service Missionaries and to focus on ways to improve the health of all Saints through the world. Today a good portion of these health service missions are being filled by young women missionaries (270 in 1990)-- a fitting way to continue on the Relief Society legacy of improving maternal and child health (Walters, 1992)

Today the original hospital system started by the Relief Society is still run by Intermountain Health Care (IHC) and recently has been recognized as one of the best hospitals systems in the United States. It is also interesting to note that in 2007 the Cottonwood Hospital was closed down and replaced with a new hospital, Intermountain Medical. What a great legacy to those early Relief Society sisters to see what there little maternity hospital had grown into.

Intermountain Medical Hospital, in Murray, Utah.

As I read through all this history I was so impressed by the Relief Society’s success in improving maternal and child health in Utah and surrounding areas. President William’s initiative came at a time when she wanted to ““to encourage motherhood” amongst the women of the church by making sure that they were receiving good care and support during pregnancy and that the support originated from the women around them. The image of these Relief Society sisters banding together to support each other in pregnancy and birth is so inspiring to me.

I can’t help but feel that if President Williams was living in our day she would look at the needs of our mothers and see that there is still a great need for women of the church to “encourage motherhood” amongst themselves. Many of the childbirth “maladies" facing women today are spiritual, emotional and mental rather than physical. There are the young women who postpone motherhood because they are unprepared or misinformed about childbirth, breastfeeding and motherhood and are terrified of it. There are women who have already given birth to children but who had traumatic or negative experiences that makes them scared or unwilling to have more children. There are women, more than most of us realize, who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after giving birth or have moderate to sever post-partum depression, much of which goes undiagnosed and untreated for years. We might not have women and babies dying in our Wards or in our neighborhoods, but we still have mothers who need the same sort of support and care that Relief Society sisters at the turn of the century provided for each other.

What ways do you see that women in the church could emulate our sisters of the past and “encourage motherhood” and improve the care new mothers receive?

Side Note:

As I was reading through historical documents I discovered that the State Health report in 1912 is the first accurate statement of maternal and child deaths in Utah and it showed that the maternal mortality rate in Utah was 14 deaths per 100,000 births and that the infant mortality rate was 110 deaths per 100,000 live births (Divett, 197). I was curious to know what the maternal mortality rate is today and was a bit shocked when I saw that, a hundred years later, the US's overall maternal mortality rate is 17 per 100,000 and places like Washington D.C. have a maternal mortality rate of 34.9 per 100,000 and the State of Georgia has a 20.5 per 100,000 maternal mortality rate. Utah currently has a 8.9 per 100,000 maternal mortality rate, and is ranked 20th in the nation in terms of maternal safety during childbirth. It is always hard to compare statistics across generations because of the different ways in which numbers were gathered and counted, but those numbers were still a bit shocking to me.


Derr, Jill Mulvay, Cannon, Janath Russell, Beecher, Maureen Ursenbach. (1992). Women of the Covenant: The Story of the Relief Society. Deseret Book: Salt Lake City, Utah.

Divett, Robert T. (1981). Medicine and the Mormons: An Introduction to the History of Later-day Saint Health Care. Horizon Publishers & Distributors: Bountiful, Utah

Jones, William N. (1992). “Hospitals” in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Volume 2. Edited by Daniel H. Ludlow. Macmillian Publishing Company: New York, pg. 660.

Walters, Christine Croft. (1992). “Maternity and Child Health Care” in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Volume 2. Edited by Daniel H. Ludlow. Macmillian Publishing Company: New York, pg. 867-68

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Hey! I just made a button. I'm very proud of myself. So if you want to grab the button, you can get it in the sidebar at the right. If you want to make it smaller to fit your own sidebar, all you have to do is change the part of the code where it says "200" x "200." If you need it smaller, 125 x 125 is a good size. Thanks for spreading the word!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Mind-Body Connection and Agency

Here is a little preview of part of the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection chapter of the book. Would love feedback and comments.

A Sack of Molly, originally uploaded by Extra Medium.

Many of us think that we direct our own lives through our conscious thoughts, desires, wishes, goals, and hard work. However, only a small percentage of our mind (about 5 to 10%) is conscious. The other 90+% of the mind—the unconscious, or subconscious as it is sometimes called—is like a machine. It does not think. It runs a program that some people call a life script, that is our unconscious conditioning. We become conditioned based on our life experiences—most of it from early life—or before 8 years old. New research shows that babies are already beginning to accumulate unconscious conditioning in utero. By birth, experts estimate that 50% of their personality is already formed by things they have experienced and learned from other people.

Conditioned responses are thoughts or behaviors that we feel we have no control of, because there is no conscious moment of choice between stimulus and reaction. For example, if I was conditioned early by experience to fear dogs and my friend conditioned to love dogs, we would each react quite differently if a dog rounded the corner. Neither of us would stop to think, “I am going to be afraid now,” or “I am going to making cooing noises at this dog now.” These are unconscious or conditioned responses.

Changing unconscious scripting is not just a simple matter of changing one’s mind or thinking positively—positive thinking is helpful, but it comes from the conscious mind, which is only 5-10% of the mind. When 10% enters a tug of war with 90%, 90% wins. Put differently, maybe 10% of the time you will think positively, or resist your habit or change your behavior, but the other 90% of the time, you’ll fall back or be triggered back into conditioned responses.

Conditioned responses rob us of free agency. However, our creator--who sent us here for the purpose of learning and using that free agency we fought for in heaven--knew that this could and would happen as a condition of mortality, and did not leave us helpless. Since the dawn of time, God warned His people of the dangers of unconscious scripting, and He also prepared a way for them to free themselves from past experience and rewrite their script.

How is it done? As a hypnotherapist I help people do this every day by delivering suggestions to their unconscious mind when they are in a highly receptive state which we call hypnosis. However, this highly receptive state has other names and existed long before people called themselves hypnotherapists. As you will can read in my meditation post, regular communion with God through various means—is another way to train and recondition the mind.

A careful study of the scriptures show God has warned his people of unconscious scripting. I would love to share just a few examples I have found in the scriptures which discuss unconscious conditioning (by other names) and how it is overcome.


“And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked. And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith.” (Jerom 1:4)


“I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these [records], which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.” (Mosiah 1:5)


“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. (2 Cor 3:14)

From the above scriptures we learn that it is through this communion with the Holy Spirit (meditation), immersion in the scriptures (meditation) and Christ (meditation and Atonement) that our divine nature begins to incrementally change and unfold in our thoughts and behavior and we can become free from the limitations of past experiences and conditioning.

In the New Testament, Paul’s words to the Romans, seem particularly poignant for laboring women:
“I beseech you therefore, [sisters], by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
In childbearing, women offer their bodies as living sacrifice in the service of God. Yet in order for this sacrifice to be holy, acceptable, and not just mere conditioning, Paul’s next sentence instructs:

“And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12: 1-2)
Paul seems to warn, that even a sacrifice as holy and perfect as giving birth can become conformed to the world, and it is God’s will that we transform ourselves by renewing our mind. We can do this through study, meditation, and seeking more personal revelation about what God wants for us as we experience this divinely appointed process of giving life.

Monday, January 3, 2011

On Being a Child of God

Over the holiday I opened an old notebook and found this quote:

"The more we come to know Christ, the more we come to know ourselves, because we are all children of God."

It occurred to me how amazing this is and as I thought of Mary, I realized that every birth is of as much importance to Heavenly Father as the Christ child's. Every woman giving birth of as much importance as Mary. I think Heather is writing something about this for our book, but I just wanted to share.

"The more we come to know Christ, the more we come to know ourselves, because we are all children of God."

I am grateful that I know I'm a child of God and that my daughter knows she is. I sat with her in Primary on Sunday and she looked up at the picture of Jesus with the children and said to me, "That's Jesus, with children. Jesus loves Children. And he loves me. He loves all the people. Even the sad people."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Meditation #1

This video is meant as the first supplemental video to my meditation post. I hope that it is helpful and instructional. (I also hope my audio-visual skills improve or that God sends me help.) I will attempt to post a new one in two weeks with a different kind of meditation. Also, if you are an experienced meditator, I welcome guest posts.

I invite everyone to please share your experiences with meditation. We need more for the book.

Peace and Light.


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