Ep. 22 Maurice Harker: How Can We Be “Warriors” in Our Healing Process?

Ken Krogue: Hello everybody. This is Thom Harrison and Ken Krogue with the EternalCore podcast. Today we’ve got Maurice Harker from Life Changing Services. We just met Maurice a couple of weeks ago and excited to learn more about your program. Tell us a little about how you got started in this and a little about your program that you’re doing.

Maurice Harker: Okay. Let’s see. I started out as a clinician with LDS family services. And as I started to discover the diversity of needs there as well as long-term I was wanting to be at work with myself, by myself. It was never intended to become a massively large organization. I just wanted to help people and provide a few services.

Ken Krogue: I hear it’s getting larger pretty quick.

Maurice Harker: We are having growth strains, not growth pains, learning how to serve the thousands of people that we serve now per week. But we call it Life Changing Services, because simply, we just want to change lives. We just want to make a difference. And we liked the line upon line, just baby steps as necessary. So let’s teach you something, teach you something. And over time, we’ve learned that in addition to individual therapy and marriage therapy, that sometimes a less expensive team-oriented, group oriented, some kind of classroom-oriented services can be very powerful.

Maurice Harker: Originally, I wanted to focus on marriage therapy. I have eight brothers, as I mentioned earlier, and no sisters, and a strong affinity towards young men and their phase of life. And as I was doing pre-mission assessments for LDS family services, the reoccurring need for something that would help them bridge that sexual self-mastery issue that was causing many of them to be delayed. One on one therapy was inadequate for them, because they would often have that sensation of I’m still the only one with this problem, and only the really messed up young men have this problem. So I’ve pre-categorized myself into someone who probably can’t go on a mission. And I just kept thinking about if they could just meet each other. If they could just meet each other…

Ken Krogue: Community.

Maurice Harker: Yeah, and it also eliminates like shame and confusion. And the most common thing that happens when a young man enters one of our Sons of Helaman meetings is the surprise of how normal the guys are that are there. And it’s not uncommon for them to go, “Wait a minute, you look like a seminary class president. Wait, you look like someone who is strong in the community.” And they’re like, “Wait a minute. I thought only really messed up people have these issues.”

Thom Harrison: And immediately that starts changing their conceptualization of self, and they then can open themselves to a new understanding about, “Maybe I’m not so bad after all.”

Maurice Harker: Yeah, and…

Thom Harrison: “Maybe I can function differently than what I put in my brain”

Maurice Harker: Yeah. And we’ve decided to have an open enrollment process, which means there’s usually only one new guy at a time. So there’s always, there’s guys that have been there for eight weeks, guys have been there for four weeks, guys at 12 weeks, and then you have one new guy. And he slides right in. And he’s usually an observer going, “Wow, this is way different than what I was expecting.” Because people, church leaders and others, have asked us, “How do you create a culture that’s not shame based? How do you create a culture where there’s not some kind of a negative pressure going on.

Maurice Harker: Because every other thing that we’ve seen, the boys are like sneaking in and trying to like, “Oh, I don’t want anyone to know I’m here.” And when these young men come out of your meetings, they’re like laughing and playing and goofing off. And the camaraderie is dynamic. I think some of that comes from the concept that we believe that this is not a, “You’re weak and you’re broken and there’s something wrong with you issue.” We believe in the psychological reality that we have a 7,000-year-old genius named Satan who is intentionally, strategically trying to mess with their way of processing. And because these are the noble and great ones of the final generation, it’s not mysterious why Satan would target them and attempt to convince them it’s because there’s something wrong with them.

Thom Harrison: Beautiful. Well said. Well said.

Maurice Harker: And so we try to create a…

Ken Krogue: So you mentioned there are steps to help them overcome shame. What are some of the best practices or thought processes that you’ve helped them understand about shame, if you don’t mind me asking.

Maurice Harker: No problem. One of the most important things is like first impressions, their first experience. If the clinician starts the whole conversation with some kind of a sensation of, “Well, I’m sad that you’re so broken and you’re such a disappointment to your family.” Okay, we’re up a creek already right from the start if you start it like that. But if you treat them like someone who has been fighting valiantly but is bleeding and hurting and scared, and you welcome them into your psychological boot camp and say, “We can train you. We can train you on how to understand what’s happening here and what’s going on for you.”

Maurice Harker: So we tell them the story of how Satan gets in their head and messes with them, including a concept we call psychological civil war, which is the trick that Satan uses to get you to think that it’s you against you. That it’s your brain against your brain. It’s your heart against your own heart. The most common comment and insight that our clients tell us, and their parents, once they understood that they are not the enemy, “I’m not the enemy. It’s not me against me. It’s me against someone who is intentionally trying to ruin me because I threaten him.” So the step is, the first step is, putting the entire battle in context. It’s you against an enemy who is intimidated by you. It’s not you being pathetic.

Maurice Harker: And once you create that… And because the next step is to introduce them to others who already get that concept. So now that they’re all, “Really, this is what it’s like?” “Yeah, this does…” So you’ve got a 16 year old explaining to you the importance of that psychological position. They’re going, “What? A 16 year old’s explaining it to me?” Yeah. Now, here’s a 14 year old who can teach it to you also. And here’s a 19 year old that can teach it to you also. And when we have new clinicians that come in to be trained on how to run our groups, we let the teenagers train the therapist for their first few sessions. So the therapist is going…

Ken Krogue: Wow. That’s refreshing.

Maurice Harker: Oh, it’s amazing. The therapists are on the edge of their seat going, “What? That’s not what I learned in school. They told us, “Don’t talk about spiritual things. Don’t talk about that.”” Well, the ethics book says you’re supposed to have an understanding of and a validation for the religious background of your clients. And you want to do therapy with someone who’s deeply ingrained in the LDS culture or Muslim or whatever it is and pretend it doesn’t matter? And pretend you shouldn’t include that? If you can’t tell I have some feelings about that.

Ken Krogue: No. That’s awesome. So where are you currently located?

Maurice Harker: All over the place, but our headquarters is in Farmington. Farmington, Utah. We have clinicians around the country, all over the place, who will do in person sessions. But the most bizarre thing, about four or five years ago, one of the clinicians came to me and says, “Can I please run a group on video therapy, video screen?” I’m all, “I don’t love that idea. I don’t know if it’ll even work.” We’ve been doing that for three to four years now, and we have no difference in our results.

Ken Krogue: Really?

Maurice Harker: The results of the young men who attend by video are equal to those who’ve attended in person.

Thom Harrison: And they’re from just anywhere.

Maurice Harker: All over the country.

Thom Harrison: And they just log on and join the session. And you’ve found no difference whatsoever.

Maurice Harker: Now they have to be committed to that organized… So they don’t just show up. Of course, there’s paperwork and all the different things so that they make sure there’s… So it’s not a support group, because you don’t just show up and get support. It’s a, (I’ve got feelings about that word too). I come from a background where, if you want to get what you want, you have to work for it and be trained. Recovery from sexual addiction and or just sexual self mastery is not a, “I’m more motivated than the person next to me.” It’s not, “I have higher values than the person next to me.” It’s a training system. You have to get your brain to work right.

Maurice Harker: It’s just as likely to beat a temptation battle as it is to hit a 90 mile an hour curve ball. You can want to all you want, but if you haven’t been trained, you’re not going to hit the ball. Okay? Responding to temptation is a skill, not an attitude. You have to want to. You have to be motivated to in the same way an athlete has to, but we train them and we train them and train them. Our meetings are like a psychological boot camp. So if you came there for a friendly group hug, you’re not going to get it. Okay. If you’re not sweating and like, “Oh my gosh, what did I just experience?” Then you didn’t go through a Sons of Helaman training session or our adult version Men of Moroni.

Ken Krogue: Now you’ve got several different programs. I’ve got your site on the… Talk about some of the different groups and programs that you work with.

Maurice Harker: So we started with Sons of Helaman because that was our core issue and my personal dedication’s to that. My personal commitment is to Sons of Helaman. All the other programs are actually started by other people who came to me and said, “Can we do more?” And so the worth group, Women of Rebirth Therapeutic Healing, I found myself a little in over my head with the number of wives I was meeting who were traumatized by sexual misbehaviors of their husbands. It’s now called betrayal trauma. We didn’t have that term back then. So I would do my one on ones with them. And I think my naivety with female psychology actually was to my advantage, because I didn’t go in with this, “I know exactly what you need.” I was listening to them, and I was like, “Wow.” And my natural empathy was limited being raised in Idaho with boys. So listening and listening and listening and listening, the same phrase kept going on in my head.

Maurice Harker: “I need to get these women together. I need to create a culture where it’s productive and not just a swirl of pain.” So we just brought like six of the women together, and then we did more, and then we did more, and then we’ve trained therapists to do more. So now we’re serving in the neighborhood of two, something like that, hundred women per week in the worth group, with therapists who run those groups. Men of Moroni, a father came to me who’d been working with some other programs and he was not satisfied with the results he was getting. His son was attending Sons of Helaman and he says, “Can we create a Sons of Helaman for the fathers?” And so I say, “I don’t have time to do that.” So he followed me for six months. And, we created the Men of Moroni program. That’s a replica. It’s just a duplication of Sons of Helaman but for the adult men.

Ken Krogue: Gotcha. Great.

Maurice Harker: Daughters of light is similar, but for young women and adult women who are dealing with sexual self-mastery issues. It’s more common than we might think. Women are actually more ashamed than men are. “That’s a guy issue, a boy issue. You shouldn’t be dealing with that.” The eternal warriors, another person following me around. “Can you create your program for people who have other issues different from sexual self mastery? What if they just want self mastery?” Eternal warriors is the training system for people who just want self-mastery.

Ken Krogue: What are some of the other issues that you’re seeing?

Maurice Harker: They don’t usually make it to my office, because I usually deal with the worst cases, the most catastrophic. But Eternal Warriors attends to things like, “I want to be able to get up and get to the gym every day. I want to stop yelling at my kids. I want to stop caving into somebody when they keep pressuring me in this type of situation.” So we use a term called lost battles for everybody. A lost battle is anytime your behavior contradicts your value system. So we establish your value system, and then we draw the lines based on your value system. And if you cross that line, that’s a lost battle. So we train you to live up to your value system. So for some people the lines are different. So when people say, “Stop making people do stuff against their values system,” I don’t ever do that. If a person is okay with a sexual liberal life, I’m not going to do therapy with them. Go ahead. That’s not a lost battle for you.

Maurice Harker: And then mother, oh Mothers Who Know, I can’t skip that one. One of the mothers of the Sons of Helaman 10 years ago, she was in tears and she’s all, “Okay, I get that I can’t micromanage my son. I get that I can’t force him. Is there any other way I can participate and help?” So we brainstormed some ideas and I say, “Can you just call the other moms and just make sure they’re okay. Just see what they need.” And Mothers Who Know now has 2000 or more members of mothers whose sons have had issues. And every week she does a free training session on how to respond to your son’s having issues or your children having issues. And she wrote a book called Mama Trauma. The trauma of being a mother, “Whoa. I didn’t know my kids had this issue.”

Ken Krogue: Gotcha. Well, Thom and I have been having just quite an adventure interviewing lots of folks from different elements of this community that we’re forming called Eternal Core. And you know, we’re launching here in Utah. The community is not focused specifically on members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In fact, we’ve got speakers now coming in; we’re talking to from all over the country. But your program, as we know, is one that’s very specifically targeted. Right from the get go you decided to include God in your discussion. That’s a rarity from what we’re finding. But tell us about how you made that decision to move into a very open faced, open approach to bringing God into the therapy process.

Maurice Harker: Okay. It actually started many years. I’ve been a therapist for 16, 17 years. I’ve been studying psychology and I started out yes, for personal reasons. Like I gotta get my own act together. And so in my early twenties, mid twenties, I’m discovering you can’t do legitimate psychological work without spiritual involvement. In fact psych, in its original term, is the spirit—ologies. So psych-ology was supposed to be the study of the spirit all along. It’s our scientists who’ve struggled with incorporating the two. And since I couldn’t find a way to do it correctly without spiritual involvement.

Maurice Harker: And I felt a calling, if you will, to serve people of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. One image I had was, if I was in great pain and struggling, and I was walking down the street. And I saw a Muslim or a protestant or something like that, an organization that created a beautiful training system. And I went in there, and I listened to it. And I felt inspired by it, and I felt motivated by it, and I thought it could do something for me. And then I say, “You know, I would really use your program, if you would just take your religion out of it. And that would be ridiculous. Not to mention, if you say that to someone outside of the LDS culture, that’s considered inappropriate. But it’s totally okay to tell someone in the LDS culture to take their religion out of it.

Ken Krogue: Isn’t that interesting?

Maurice Harker: Well, it’s disturbing. And so I made no effort. People have asked me to water down my stuff. My the, Like Dragons Did They Fight book. “If you could just make it a little more… ” “No, that would just be disrespectful to the principles, and then it wouldn’t work.” And they’d say, “Well, now that you’ve watered it down, it doesn’t work. So your system doesn’t actually work.” Well, it does work in its pure form. So if I went to a Muslim person, and they had learned how to use those principles in a way that was miraculous, then I would learn it the way they teach it. I cannot tell you how many people have learned how to apply these principles, like I remember mothers that are in their 50s reading the like dragons book in its original form, when it was specifically custom made for teenage boys, going, “This has changed my life. All I had to do was change a few pronouns and a few words in it, and it fit me perfectly.” Now the current edition, we have made it more gender neutral. We’ve made it more self-mastery based, instead of addiction based. So it’s a little more palatable for someone who’s looking at more broad issues. But any reader who’s learning, it’s not appropriate to water down the information.

Ken Krogue: Is it possible to get this in electronic form? I understand there was like 10,000 copies have been out already. Is that correct.

Maurice Harker: Oh that’s just in the last… Well 10,000 copies, I just updated it. We’re over 20,000 on paperback, but just last year we gave away over 10,000 electronic copies. I have no…

Ken Krogue: Wow. So was that sort of the entry point? We want them to read the book first or?

Maurice Harker: Yeah. Well, it helps you decide. If the book does not inspire you, then the rest of the training probably won’t either.

Ken Krogue: I see.

Maurice Harker: It’s carefully written. A team of us came together and carefully put it together. Lots of inspiration, revelation, plenty of science behind it. If you want to fight with me about the science of it, because I don’t… It’s not written for scientists, it’s written for the layman. I’m told it’s written at an eighth grade level. So an eighth grader can understand it, but if there’s any part of it, you go, “Okay, can you show me the science behind this?” Yes. If you want to sit down, I can break it all down at the very meticulous, scientifically accurate principles. But I’m not going to write it like that for an eighth grader.

Thom Harrison: You’re dealing with some very underserved populations in our general… And I love the fact of, you know, you’re treating Women of Rebirth Therapeutic Healing and Women Who Know. I’ve seen those two areas being very underserved in my own practice of 41 years. And it’s wonderful to hear that, you know, you’re stepping up and really serving that population. Because, I think if you’re treating men and boys, and the women don’t understand the process, the success would be diminished quite significantly. But if they understand it, and understand those principles, I can see that as really creating a wonderful familial therapeutic environment.

Maurice Harker: And sadly, we rarely will meet the sons and the husbands without the wives and the mothers sending them to us.

Ken Krogue: Is that the fact is the moms usually or wives one of the first contacts?

Maurice Harker: Yes. Most of our outreach efforts are for the moms, because the likelihood of a young man self-referring is about 0%. So we send all of our literature out with the intent for the mothers to see it first. The mothers go over and say, “Son, I’m thinking dah, dah, dah, dah.” We also try to make it palatable for ecclesiastical leaders so they can feel that it won’t contradict what they’re trying to do with them. That it’s in harmony with what a spiritual leader would like their people to learn. So by getting those two in alliance, the husband and or the young man or the young woman or the adult woman, they’re like, “Okay, it’s time. It’s time to get help.”

Thom Harrison: Maurice, I loved your concept of the idea that if we get a job, we have to be trained. And I think so many people see sexuality as, you know, “If I do the right thing, and if I keep the commandments and if I functional along, then some magical way it’s just going to kind of fall in place.” But they don’t have the experience of learning that process. So I love that idea because you know, I’ve seen so many young men come to my office, and they feel so broken. And when you help them realize that this is a process, and they just need to learn a process, you just see so much relief. And they walk out, not in shame, they walk out going, “Oh, I’ve just never learned this. There are structures just like learning how to drive a bus, or learning how to be a computer engineer. It’s not going to happen just because now that you’re married, or it’s not going to happen just because now you’re back from a mission, or you’ve turned 18 or 21, you need to learn these processes. I love that idea.

Maurice Harker: Well, you know, as I looked more closely at the Book of Mormon itself, and how it was written for our day, and to resign ourselves that we are at war. And to approach this war as if, what you do as a son of Helaman is, you pray for protection, and then hope the Lamanites don’t kill you. Yes, there’s a spiritual side to being a warrior. You must have a connection with God. But then you have to go to boot camp. To win the war you must understand your enemy. You must understand the resources and weapons you have your hands on. And then you must have appropriate, well-channeled ferocity, which can sometimes be called determination. But if you don’t kick in the appropriate amount of aggressive intent with skill, because there’s nothing more embarrassing than a highly motivated athlete who has no skill. Okay. It’s like, “Wow, he’s motivated, but he has no idea what he’s doing.”

Maurice Harker: But psychological warfare must be trained. So yes, they need to be motivated. And sometimes when they’re beat up, and they’re laying on the ground and they’re bleeding, we have a motivating conversation. And there’s plenty of that to go around. And then we do paradigm shifts. “Oh, now I see it differently. Now I see it differently.” But watching someone hit a 90-mile an hour curve ball and going, “Oh, that’s how it’s done,” doesn’t mean you can now do it. So we do drills and drills and drills and drills and drills and more drills and more scenarios and more drills and the guys are all, “Do we have to keep doing this?”

Maurice Harker: I’m all, “Would you tell that to your football coach? Coach, do we have to keep doing this?” “No, you can sit on the bench.” Okay. And when you’re dealing with… It’s a little more challenging with the youth, because they don’t have crying wives today. So we have to help them be aware that that can happen with the adult man. It’s really easy to tell stories of, “So whose wife cried this week? Who wasn’t able to make it this week?” So yes, thank you to all those who are trying to motivate through inspiration. Thank you to all those who tell the youth how ruined their life is going to be if they don’t get it fixed. But telling the person that people are going to die if you’re not motivated to be a soldier isn’t adequate. They have to be trained and reading is not adequate.

Ken Krogue: Yeah, there’s just been learning and doing.

Maurice Harker: Thank you.

Thom Harrison: Maurice, this has been so wonderful. We really appreciate you taking the time and coming down and visiting with us today. We’ve learned some great things, and we hope that people will contact you and get the help that is appropriate. And we appreciate your willingness to be involved today with us.

Ken Krogue: Everybody, this is Thom Harrison and Ken Krogue. We’ve got Maurice Harker here from Life Changing Services. He’ll be joining us as a speaker at Eternal Core March 29th and 30th at the Little America hotel. As you can see, we’ve got quite a crew starting to shape up here. We’re very excited. We’re excited about your programs, some of the neat things you’ve been able to accomplish. Hopefully we can get you back on the program again soon.

Maurice Harker: Very good.

Thom Harrison: Thanks.

Thom Harrison: Thanks.

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