Step 3: Trust in God: Gophers and Guidance

Trapping gophers was not my favorite job. I have no desire to harm any creature, but I grew up on a ranch where my Grandpa was concerned about erosion from the gophers destroying the sheep range, so I was often sent to run a trap line to reduce their numbers. While preparing to go on a mission this was my task. I was paid by how many gophers I trapped and so I asked my Heavenly Father to guide me to where I could be most effective so I could raise the money I needed to be on His errand.


The impression came clearly: “Go to Davenport.” This was not what I wanted to hear. I prayed again, “Are you sure? Davenport has a pond, but is largely treeless so the ground is sunbaked and dry. I don’t think that is such a good idea.” I knew it was hard to set traps in dry ground. It was hard to dig, and the crumbly tunnels would cave in on the traps. The Lord was patient and once again impressed me to “go to Davenport”. I fought this impression for a full week, before finally moving my trap line there.

It was as I thought: hard work and tough going, but I hadn’t been trapping there many days when I caught an albino gopher. The only one ever recorded on that mountain. It was like the one in the picture, but lacked the faint brownish shading, being completely and uniformly white with pink eyes. For me, it was a sign that my Heavenly Father loved me enough to answer my simple prayer. I sent the gopher to a taxidermist, but was unable to follow up because the week I delayed put me into the start of my mission. The gopher disappeared, but a lesson more valuable than money (and one I’m still learning) remained:

If one seeks the Lord’s help, one’s real intent must be to follow through without delay. God loves us, but will give us a trial of our faith before sending Heaven’s blessings.


Welcome to Step 3 of the Addiction Recovery Program: Trust in God – “Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.” Please remember that I call this program a graduate course in Eternal Life Recovery. This is the decision step. Every person needs it.

My favorite quote from this step is from Boyd K. Packer, a man who I feel love and kinship for:

“Perhaps the greatest discovery of my life, without question the greatest commitment, came when finally I had the confidence in God that I would loan or yield my agency to him— without compulsion or pressure, without any duress, as a single individual alone, by myself, no counterfeiting, nothing expected other than the privilege. In a sense, speaking figuratively, to take one’s agency, that precious gift which the scriptures make plain is essential to life itself, and say, ‘I will do as you direct,’ is afterward to learn that in so doing you possess it all the more” (Obedience, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Dec. 7, 1971], 4).

There is an element of hesitation and sometimes fear of overcoming anything and everything that holds us back from the being with the Lord. In addiction recovery, several honest souls admitted the real fear that they don’t know who they’d be without their addiction. “I don’t even know what it would feel like to be normal!” This applies to us all though. Innocent distractions we know are holding us back are not so innocent. “Do I really have to give up this habit I enjoy?”

And so, for those struggling with soap operas, pain killers, excessive passive activities, compulsive social media, romance novels or whatever we find holding us back, re-read Step 1 (honesty), ask “What Lack I yet?”, and then make the decision.

I promise you that whatever you lose will be, “replaced with an abundance of happiness and joy, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” (President Uchtdorf, April 2014 Conference).