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Mosiah 27:29—My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss;…My soul was racked with eternal torment.

Gall of bitterness? Bonds of iniquity? Darkest abyss? Racked with eternal torment? Have you ever heard a better set of phrases to describe the experience of hitting bottom?

Step One is the establishment of absolute need for God. For most of us, this is not a very pleasant experience. We feel like our mortal weaknesses have sucked us down into the clutches of insanity and the pits of hell.

How paradoxical it is to realize that this bottomed-out place of absolute humility is actually the same firm bedrock upon which all the other principles of recovery, repentance and redemption are grounded. (See 12&12, 21.)


Ponder and prayerfully write about one or more of those pits of hell moments, or periods of insanity, in your own darkest abyss experience. This exercise of remembering is not for the sake of further torture, but for the sake of stripping away any layers of denial that may still be covering up our full consciousness of how awful it was—and maybe still is.

Bitterness. Bonds. Iniquity. Darkest abyss. Eternal torment. (See D&C 19:5–12.) How could you use these words to apply to your past? If you feel these words don’t apply, you may be one of those who will be spared from having to bottom out because of your willingness to learn these things without being compelled (Alma 32:16; 12&12, 23). Write about the hardest moments you’ve had, or that you’ve seen others have.

Please feel free to share some of your thoughts and ideas in the comments. You may use a fake name if you feel uncomfortable sharing openly. An email address is required (to help with spam) but it will not be displayed.

~Excerpted from Patterns of Light I ©2013, 2000 Hearthaven Publishing

©2013 Hearthaven Publishing. All rights reserved.

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