Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Uses of Adversity

The Uses of Adversity
by Carlfred Broderick
Deseret Book, 2008.  58 pgs. Nonfiction

LDS readers could scarcely find a better text about the place of suffering in mortality, nor better intellectual as well as spiritual resources for dealing with adversity. Dr. Broderick, with degrees from Harvard and Cornell, was a professor of sociology and the head of the marriage and family therapy program at USC, and a past president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists before he passed away in 1999.  His book is painful, beautiful, and  funny.  With self-deprecating humor he describes his own attempts as a professional counselor and stake president to help others come to terms with the griefs and injustices of life. He neither hides behind the notion that bad things are good for us if we have the proper perspective, nor that pain, injustice, and loss are necessarily ennobling. ". . . I do not want you to think that I believe anything good about pain," he says. "I hate pain.  I hate injustice.  I hate loss.  I hate all the things we all hate. . . .  I want to discuss how to encounter that pain in such a way that it does not destroy you, how to find profit in that awful and unrewarding experience."  Dr. Broderick is fierce in his caring about those in trouble, and as fiercely filled with faith about the help that he believes is available to all.  The Uses of Adversity is a thoughtful, memorable book, addressing questions it would be insulting to try to answer too glibly.


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