Things which should be Cancelled 2: Watching for iniquity

We live in a judgmental culture. Very judgmental. Every social media post is held as a document of condemnation, of a potential failing of the moral character. That scrutiny for iniquity is destroying any hope we have of being friends.

Isaiah 29:20-21 (KJV)

20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:

21 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

Isaiah 29:20-21 (NIV)

20 The ruthless will vanish,
    the mockers will disappear,
    and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down—
21 those who with a word make someone out to be guilty,
    who ensnare the defender in court
    and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.

2 Nephi 27:31-32 (Quoting Isaiah)

31 For assuredly as the Lord liveth they shall see that the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off;

32 And they that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught.

Doctrine & Covenants 45:50

50 And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.

There are plenty of verses in all books that tell us to avoid iniquity, but only these one tells us to avoid watching for it. And you have to admit, social media is all about watching for iniquity. And condemning the "guilty."

Why do we watch for iniquity?

We are human. We can't be expected to be perfect.

Now, speaking of why, perfectionism is an emotional health problem. Probably from childhood, some of our parents made it clear that unless we are perfect for them we can't be loved. It's part of performing well in school, part of being obedient when we were little, and certainly part of being on social media. Perfectionism is one of the poorest ways to "earn" love. Because you can't earn love, it is given freely. But when we were kids it wasn't given freely. It came with conditions. And that makes perfectionists out of kids (and those it don't become perfectionists become rebels, which isn't as bad, or become loathers of themselves, which is way worse).

Where does the desire to watch for iniquity come from?

Moses 4:1-4 (Pearl of Great Price, LDS Scripture)

And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

Forcing everyone to be perfect while here on Earth is the only way I can imagine Satan making sure that no one would ever make any mistake. Perfectionism was Satan's plan. We would give up our agency (and any possibility of eternal progress) and Satan would get the glory; we sacrifice for him. Heavenly Father's plan was to give us our agency, and Jesus would make the sacrifice. His was the better plan. The biggest thing ever to happen on this planet was when Jesus performed the atonement for all of us, freed us from our own iniquity, and made it so that having accepted Jesus our mistakes would never trail after us.

Pretty amazing, I think.

Rewriting your childhood

You can't rewrite your childhood. It's there, traumas and all.

But you can rewrite how you feel about it. I have been responding to the mini-traumas from my childhood most of my life, having never been taught how to deal with feelings. 

But by re-imagining those episodes I can change how I still feel about them.

Is it easy? No.

Is it possible? Always yes.

Is there healing in the end. Yes. That's where I am now.


I always knew there was something wrong with me, but that was part of the story I had been led to believe. It was eight years ago I realized it was wasn't me, but the way I was raised. I've been at it a long time.

I still have a lot to process, (seems like a lot, but when I count out the episodes on a hand it's not so many), and others might show up, but I know how to deal with them. Keith Louw in North Orem helped me a great deal in re-imagining those episodes, which takes the emotion right out of them. Thanks, Keith!

The Banner-waving Incompetent

Everyone is incompetent. I cannot lay a brick wall nor install an AC system. And I don't feel the least bit bad about that; it's not my job. I haven't pretended to be competent in those things, so I have no ego invested there. It just doesn't matter to me.

But in other things I do profess competence. Teaching chemistry is one of them. I worked very hard to be competent. And I feel good about my competence. Do I still make mistakes? Sure, on occasion, but I recognized the mistake when it happens and fix it as quick as I can. That, too, is part of being competent.

But what happens when we find we are not competent? In thinking this over I've come up with three responses:

  1. Internal, or private incompetence, left behind from our early childhood, we deal with by punishing or limiting ourselves.
  2. External, or public incompetence from promising beyond our means we deal with by deflection.
  3. Unadmitted incompetence we deal with by narcissism.

1. Private incompetence

The most difficult thing every human does is transition from being the center of the universe as an infant, where all our needs are met by our parents, to being independent. A lot of things can go wrong. We likely think we are not loved or cared for sufficiently. Our parents can see things from a very different viewpoint than can a one year old and the baby will take things in a far more personal way than any adult can realize. If they are not very aware of how we are experiencing the world they might not make an effort to love us thought it. Donald Winnicott said parents don't need to be perfect, just good enough.

How do we deal with these internal, mostly unconscious, feelings of rejection? We sometimes hate ourselves, sometimes isolate, many times distract via addiction.

Healing can be helped by talking about it to a therapist who understands, or if you are very fortunate, a spose who understands by having been through it themselves. Then by re-experiencing some of those core feelings, reprocessing them, dealing with them.

2. Public incompetence

How does a person deal with the discovery that they are being paid for a job they feel deep down they can't do properly? Especially those who have made big promises to get the job? Like celebrities, and politicians and YouTubers and Instagrammers and Tik Tokers?

They deflect. They might either blame someone else in a way that doesn't make them look too petty (but which always leaves them looking too petty), like blaming it on another race, or how they were born, or politics, or The Man, whatever. As long as someone else is to blame, they are okay feeling incompetent.

Or they might take up a cause in a very public way. We see this in many societies, particularly in the socialist countries. Incompetent Germans waved the red Nazi banner; incompetent Cambodians wore a red sash about their waists; incompetent Chinese carried a red book. All red, all very visible to others.

In the U.S. today the banner is "Woksim." Wave that as a CEO and nobody cares that you have 6-hour customer service wait times. Wave that in sports and no one cares that you lose more than you win. Wave that in your job and no one cares that your accomplishments are very small and short of expectation. Wave that as a teacher and no one notices your class A+ average grade and that you won't give your students a standardized exam so they know what sort of education they just got.

Wokeism is the current banner of the incompetent.

What did the incompetent have before Wokeism? They have UFOs, conspiracy theories, essential oils, mysticism, the worship of the almighty dollar, binge-watching, stereophilia, transgenderism, wannabes, pet rocks, hippies, following a band, the list goes on and on. Anything you tie yourself to which isn't your own accomplishment.

Do I want these things to go away? By no means! I love when the incompetent fly their banners! What better way to know them from a safe distance?

3. The Narcissists

Narcissists won't recognize their incompetence by complete denial. The roots of narcissism are in private incompetence, but they have gone to a private extreme in denying their own inner, hidden identity and have adopted a public face of perfect competence in everything. To pull this off they lie to everyone on an as-needed basis. They don't need banners to wave, they wave their outward identity.

Narcissists are in more need of a good therapist than anyone, but are the last to seek one out.

Of the few narcissists I've known, I can only profess my own utter incompetence in helping them. They are to me beyond help because there is nothing I can do to shake their believe in their own perfection.

The trouble is they are devilishly difficult to spot from a distance. Some have even learned (most maybe, I only know three I can pin down) to mimic humility at first to draw you in thinking they are aware of their own limitations, only to later tire of that and let their narcissism run rampant. Alas, then I recognize I cannot help and only then seek to escape.

I'll watch for banners being waved. I'll watch when I wave my own.

Live and learn.

The right therapist...

...can make such a big difference. I found a good one, Keith Louw, who has no qualms about addressing the difficult things form my past. Others are good at talking about them, but the conscious is but 10% of what's in my head; the other 90% is unconscious, and he knows that's where a lot of work needs to be done. He's in North Orem.

Process Communication Model

An interesting psychological/personality model that Becky is looking into is PCM, Process Communicaiton Model. Invented in the 1970's by a guy named Talib Kahler, and marketed heavily to businesses, it categorizes people by what general schema they use to interpret the world around them.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR STRUCTURE THE TYPES First, note that you are not one of these types instead, you have all six types within you with some being more pronounced. Below are the six types with a brief explanation. More detailed descriptions of each are available in the reference material at the back of this profile.

Harmonizers are warm, compassionate, and sensitive people who see the world through a filter of emotions or feelings. They prize relationships with family and friends. They are motivated by unconditional love, emotional safety, and environments that please the senses.

Thinkers are logical, responsible, and organized people who see the world through a filter of their thoughts. They prize data and information. They are motivated by recognizing work done efficiently and time that is structured appropriately.

Persisters are dedicated, observant, and conscientious people who see the world through a filter of their values. They prize loyalty and commitment. They are motivated by recognizing work that furthers their values and by sharing their conviction.

Imaginers are calm, reflective, and imaginative people who see the world through a filter of their imagination. They prize space and privacy. They are motivated by having solitude.

Promoters are adaptable, persuasive, and charming people who see the world through a filter of action. They prize resourcefulness and self-sufficiency. They are motivated by incidence, defined as lots of action in a short period of time.

Rebels are spontaneous, creative, and playful people who see the world through a filter of reaction or likes and dislikes. They prize originality and authenticity. They are motivated by playful contact.

Nobody is just one, but there is at least one which was the basis of most of your interactions as a kid. And there is one you are using now. Managers and friends can do well by understanding which is being used now and what the fallback is. The fallback is where we go when under stress. It's been difficult for me to understand all the permutations because they don't seem to be presented well anywhere.

I'm a bit unusual because I have three bases, which means I changed the way I dealt with the world twice. I probably started as an Imaginer, became a Thinker in Junior High or High School, and became a Persister in Graduate School. I think I changed to feel loved and have a place, but it doesn't work that way. My current working set is Harmonizer.

I took a test (had to pay for it) and here are my results:

14844+Bruce+Wilson+(ENSBDIP).PDF (2.09 mb)

As I say, it's an interesting way to look at people and interact with them better.

Please Hear What I'm Not Saying by Charles C. Finn

Please Hear What I'm Not Saying

Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
masks that I'm afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.

Pretending is an art that's second nature with me,
but don't be fooled,
for God's sake don't be fooled.
I give you the impression that I'm secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water's calm and I'm in command
and that I need no one,
but don't believe me.
My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,
ever-varying and ever-concealing.
Beneath lies no complacence.
Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don't want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
That's why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope,
and I know it.
That is, if it's followed by acceptance,
if it's followed by love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself,
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.
It's the only thing that will assure me
of what I can't assure myself,
that I'm really worth something.
But I don't tell you this. I don't dare to, I'm afraid to.
I'm afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,
will not be followed by love.
I'm afraid you'll think less of me,
that you'll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep-down I'm nothing
and that you will see this and reject me.

So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without
and a trembling child within.
So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that's really nothing,
and nothing of what's everything,
of what's crying within me.
So when I'm going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I'm saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I'm not saying,
what I'd like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say,
but what I can't say.

I don't like hiding.
I don't like playing superficial phony games.
I want to stop playing them.
I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me
but you've got to help me.
You've got to hold out your hand
even when that's the last thing I seem to want.
Only you can wipe away from my eyes
the blank stare of the breathing dead.
Only you can call me into aliveness.
Each time you're kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
each time you try to understand because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings--
very small wings,
very feeble wings,
but wings!

With your power to touch me into feeling
you can breathe life into me.
I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
how you can be a creator--an honest-to-God creator--
of the person that is me
if you choose to.
You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
you alone can remove my mask,
you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic,
from my lonely prison,
if you choose to.
Please choose to.

Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me the blinder I may strike back.
It's irrational, but despite what the books say about man
often I am irrational.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls
and in this lies my hope.
Please try to beat down those walls
with firm hands but with gentle hands
for a child is very sensitive.

Who am I, you may wonder?
I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man you meet
and I am every woman you meet.

Charles C. Finn
September 1966

You can read a collection of stories about the poem's impact in Please Hear What I'm Not Saying: a Poem's Reach around the World

Hierarchy of Human Needs

I always thought Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs (the colorful 5-layered pyramid we've all seen) completely useless.

Here is the real list, from Charles Whitfield's "Healing the Child Within:"

  1. Survival
  2. Safety
  3. Touching, skin contact
  4. Attention
  5. Mirroring and echoing
  6. Guidance
  7. Listening
  8. Being real
  9. Participating
  10. Acceptance
    Others are aware of, take seriously, and admire the Real You
    Freedom to be the Real You
    Tolerance of your feelings
    Belonging and love
  11. Opportunity to grieve losses and to grow
  12. Support
  13. Loyalty and trust
  14. Accomplishment
    Mastery, "Power," "Control"
    Having a sense of completion
    Making a contribution
  15. Altering one's state of consciousness, transcending the ordinary
  16. Sexuality
  17. Enjoyment or fun
  18. Freedom
  19. Nurturing
  20. Unconditional love (including connecting with a Higher Power)

This is the list I'll work on. Since finding my real self I've struggled to find out how to feel being real. Knowing I have a real self wasn't enough to be happy. I finally found out how. Some I missed out on growing up (those are in italics). Some I found as an adult. Some important ones I found when I married Becky. Some I discovered in books, some with a therapist. Not done yet.

What type of parent did you have?

This list identifies a certain type of parent. Recognize them?

1. They tried to control you through codependency

In other words, you were told by your parent/s, “Don’t leave me. I need you. I can’t live without you.” This made it impossible for you to live an autonomous life or establish independent priorities other than catering to the needs of your parent/s.

2. They laid on the guilt thick

Another method of controlling you was to constantly guilt trip you into doing what they wanted. They may have told you, “I’ve done so much for you, I’ve sacrificed everything for you.” As a result, you felt indebted to them and as though you “owed” them complete obedience.

3. They only loved you when you did what THEY wanted

Your parent/s withdrew love very easily. If you failed to do what they wanted, they would either punish you severely, or give you the silent treatment. You had the impression that they only loved you when you PROVED your worth to them.

4. They liked to “get even” with you

When you did something “wrong” or against their will — even in the smallest way — they made sure they punished you. This petty and childish way of “getting even” may have been subtle or very obvious. For instance, they may have deliberately sabotaged something you cared about, broke something of yours, or hid something to get back at you.

5. They never respected your boundaries

There wasn’t any “private” space to call your own growing up. Your parent/s would go through your room and private belongings, without a thought, sometimes even using what they found against you.

6. They competed with you

If you ever got something nice, they took it from you, or got something nicer to “out-do” you.

7. They “owned” your accomplishments

Whenever someone complimented your achievements, your parent/s would instantly jump in and shift the attention to themselves. For example, if someone congratulated you for winning a soccer trophy, your parent/s would butt in and say something along the lines of, “Yes, she gets it from me. I was always athletic as a child.” They love the spotlight and frequently stole it from you.

8. They constantly lied to you

Your parent/s lied to manipulate, control and take advantage of you in some way, shape or form. You never knew what you could trust was “real” or truthful around them, or whether they were setting up a hidden trap for you to fall into.

9. They never listened to (or cared) about your feelings

You felt that you could never share your feelings with your parent/s because they would either make fun of you, or talk about themselves instead. Somehow, whatever issue you faced as a child was spun into a pity party for them, not you.

10. They constantly insulted you

Your parent/s berated, demeaned and harassed you on a constant basis. They may have even latched onto an insecurity of yours and used it to humiliate you.

11. They exerted explicit control over you

In other words, when you didn’t obey them, they would punish you. The message was very clear, “Obey me, or I’ll punish you.” You were punished through emotional or physical abuse including emotional blackmail, hitting or beating.

12. They gaslighted you

In order to control you, they used a psychological manipulation tactic known as gaslighting. What this means is that they would deliberately make you feel crazy, or cause you to doubt your sanity, in order to gain the upper hand. This led to the development of constant self-doubt during your childhood, adolescence and present life. 

13. They “parentified” you

As a child, you were expected to “parent” your parent, or behave as a surrogate parent to cater for their needs, instead of them catering to yours.

14. They had a “favorite” or “golden” child

In your family there was the “golden” child and the “scapegoat” child. In other words, one child was seen as perfect and capable of doing no harm. The other child was seen as the black sheep, and the cause of all issues (this is also known as an identified patient). These roles could have also switched frequently.

15. They reacted intensely to any form of criticism

Did you ever criticise your mother or father? What was their general reaction? If your mother and/or father was a narcissist, they likely reacted in an extreme way. They would scream at you and likely physically hurt you through smacking, or some other method.

16. They projected their bad behavior onto you

For example, if you were in an argument, they would hysterically scream at you, “ How dare you talk to your mother that way. Go to your room. We’ll talk after you stop screaming at me.”

17. They never displayed any empathy

They never asked about your feelings, sympathized with you, or cared. They seemed to be solely interested in their own feelings.

18. They were infallibly correct and never wrong

Even when they made a mistake or treated you in an unfair, or unjust way, they never apologized for their mistake. When you confronted them about it, they denied all accusations and tried to spin the blame onto you.

19. They liked to present a perfect family image to outsiders

Your parent/s went to great lengths to ensure that others perceived you as a loving/successful/enviable family. Likely, you were very aware of this ploy, but kept silent for fear of wrath from your parent/s.

Do You Struggle With These Problems?

  • Codependency in other relationships
  • Weak sense of self
  • Poor interpersonal boundaries and inability to say “no”
  • Chronic guilt or shame
  • Self-loathing
  • Emptiness
  • Trust issues
  • Inability to express or handle emotions
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Being a people-pleaser

My process of healing

My process of healing (sorry, this is long):

These are the events and books, in the order I found them, which had the greatest impact on understanding who I was and teaching me how to heal:

I grew up as well as any kid could, was smart, and thought I had a pretty good life. I didn't seem lonely, though I was always alone.

I had a very poor interaction with a woman, and began to realize there was something seriously wrong with me. I had no idea what, but it was big enough and so painful that I said the most heartfelt and honest prayer of my life: "GOD, FIX ME!" That was five years ago.

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert A. Glover

This book validated the feeling I had that in some fundamental way I was "broken." No particular way to heal, though. Before this I thought I had a good upbringing and my problems were my fault, like the inability to talk to people, especially girls. I had elaborate daydreams/fantasies which I used a lot to aswage bad feelings. I also had long experience of finding distractions (hobbies, mostly, I could throw myself into). This book helped me understand the covert deals I'd make with people: if I do you a favor by going out of my way to help you without complaining, you'll see how I was helpful and return love to me. No one but me knew this was the deal I was making, and of course I was continually disappointed, so I'd fantasize more about being loved and go back to my hobbies.

My Dreams

I had two very revealing dreams. One taught me very early on that there was a major part of me that I didn't know about. I saw a big, sleek black cat, a disembodied old cat's head that was still alive, but could not talk, and a small dog waiting to have fun. They were all parts of me, though I was only aware of the old cat's head, the intellectual part of me which could not really communicate.

Another dream was very revealing. I saw myself as twin babies, both sleeping. One I could see, the other was wild and I didn't look at it. I witnessed the dream from my grown up point of view, in charge of the infants. Then a devil came in through the front door: short, black, wispy, dread, sucking the light out of it's vicinity. It started toward the babies, and to protect them I moved to the side, toward the couch, to attract it away from them. I sat, and pulled my knees up like I was giving birth (I'm a guy, so that was strange to me). The devil surrounded me and I was filled with despair. Then a being of light emerged from within the house, bright, good, loving, with an effortless light that immediately lightened and loved all around, dispelling the darkness. It went to the babies to protect them with love, as the devil settled around me, engulfing me, and I had no protection against it. It took me years to understand all the parts of it, as you'll see below.

Articles at

These are great articles, most by philosopher Alain de Botton. It was here I read about the work of child psychologist Donald Winnicott, who identified the development in some children of a "false self," constructed by the child to respond to the emotionally distant adults around him, and the suppression of the true self. This idea resonated strongly with me, though I had no idea how to deal with my false self. I could then acknowledge my true self, but by false self was still in charge. I began to develop confidence in being true to myself, I was just very bad at it. The big black cat of my dream was my true self. The being of light was my true self, and my point of view was my false self, powerless to resist evil, powerless to protect, could not love, it could only follow orders and obey or disobey.

I got married to a fantastic woman. She has problems she's mostly dealt with, and her kids have problems, but we have a house with love in it, which makes the process of healing better.

Secret Attachments by Peter Michaelson

A minor book centering on the idea that the way we were raised sets the standard for how we recognize love, and that standard can change.

Running on Empty by Jonice Webb

This is the book that opened everything up to my understanding. It explained me. It explained that puzzling halo of symptoms of childhood emotional neglect that I could never put together myself. The advice the author gives didn't help me to the end of my healing, but it was a very good start for someone with loving people around. Everyone who is shy should read this. It's important, with the best set of explanations I've read so far.

The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmine Lee Cori

Another of the great CEN books. Essential reading. This book recommends journaling and using sentence roots to open your inner world to you. Very effective for me. The idea of the Good Mother is explained in this book. That was the figure of light in my dream. It was that part of me which knows and understands love. Love dispels the darkness, not through any effort it takes, but just because of the nature of love.

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson

The third of the essential CEN books. The author makes two big points that really struck home to me: CEN victims entertain elaborate healing fantasies invented by us to give us hope of feeling loved, and that we all take on self-roles. these self roles are behavioral roles we invented as children to earn love. Mine was that I'd do things for those around me, and they would see and respond with love. It never happened, but these are the same covert deals that nice guys use. The really interesting thing is that once I knew what these fantasies were about, they had no more audience and dissipated as soon as they started. I am now far more in the moment now.

I'm not completely healed, but happiness has returned to my life. God is fixing me.