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Mormon Culture and Mental Illness Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 24, 2021 8:09 pm

Mormon Culture and Mental Illness Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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.1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 limited sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism does Mormon culture influence mental illness trends among its members. Welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM. The question that I just asked is basically the title of a Brigham Young University newspaper called the universe it was an article titled Mormon culture influences mental illness trends among members, so I was not making that up.

It's an interesting article that appeared on February 5, 2018 and it addresses a very sensitive issue that we do find living here in Utah it's a sensitive subject. I need to repeat that and I do not want to treat this subject lightly. I know that it's a serious issue.

I do not feel comfortable knowing that there are Mormons that are living in a very painful situation that are going through depression. Certainly we do not glory in that we don't glory, and anyone who happens to be suffering from any type of mental illness, but there were some things that were said in this article that I wasn't really totally surprised and a Mormon might say will bill that's because you have your own prejudices against Mormonism and I've expressed some of those prejudices many times.

Of course, but some of the things it says seem to confirm what I have long believed that the Mormon religion does tend to cause depression in some people, not all people. In some people and I think it's erroneous to assume that the restored gospel of Mormonism doesn't have that kind of an effect on some of its members, but let's look at what this article has to say because again, this is not us making our observations. These are Mormons making their own observations based on what they have observed inside the LDS culture and again I think we got a point out that this is found in the daily universe which is the publication student publication at Brigham Young University of Mormon owned school and this is how it starts September day, Soto experienced her first panic attack sitting in the middle of an LDS church sacrament meeting she was 16 years old and unsure of what was happening to her. I couldn't breathe, De Soto said. I felt like the room was spinning and I couldn't feel my hands De Soto, a 20-year-old member of the church living in Utah has panic disorder and depression. De Soto is one of many who contribute to the unique statistics on Mormons and mental health. After studying and surveying samples of members Tim Heaton concluded in statistical profile of Mormons, health, wealth and social life is what he says LDS women are significantly higher in depression than non-LDS women. I think that's quite a statement because it obviously causes you to ask why would that be why would that be, especially in a culture where you were given the impression when we look at our Mormon neighbors that they always seem to be happy. They always seem to have a smile on their face there couldn't be possibly anything wrong in their lives because that's kind of the attitude that I think a lot of Mormons exude at least when they're around, not Mormons. Perhaps I don't know but you would first imagine. Nothing could possibly be wrong.

I remember years ago, going downtown to the visitor center and they had a display at the time. It's not there now. This is several years ago where they show this young boy talking about his Mormon family and how happy he was and there was some arguing in the background and the comment was made and again I'm paraphrasing it was a long time ago but he was referring to the non-Mormon family that lived in the neighborhood arguing and the comment was there not Mormons as if that's why they have problems so they were giving this impression that Mormonism somehow will will launch you into utopia and everything will be okay will this article doesn't seem to support that presupposition and by the way, that study that was done by this Tim Heaton statistical profile of Mormons, health, wealth and social life that is available.

It's quite expensive though. If you wanted to buy it but it is available. There is a link if you go to this article. The article continues about 1/5 of Mormons say they have taken or are currently taking medication for depression, according to a study by Jana Reese, published earlier this year for religion news quote. The numbers are definitely higher for Mormon women than for men 27% of women say yes almost twice the number of Mormon men who do which is 14.5% reset that let's stop there because when we look at the article by Jana Reese. She doesn't seem to go along with some of the conclusions that this article seems to have the impression that she thought there could be other reasons that are involved were sticking with what is in this article, in the citations that are being made by those that we are told in the article have a a face-to-face encounter with a lot of the individuals that have caused these doctors to draw these conclusions.

The article goes on to say Utah were 62.8% of the population his Mormon ranks poorly for several categories of mental illness, according to a 2017 survey by mental health America Utah ranks dead last in the nation when it comes to adults with serious thoughts of suicide and prevalence of mental illness and access to healthcare.

Utah also ranks 40th for adults with any mental illness, reporting on met needs that doesn't sound very good for the culture does it and if you do have 62.8% of the culture being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I think it's fair to ask, could in fact the church be behind some of these statistics. I've always thought that it has based on the requirements that the church has for its people. I can understand why some might feel depressed, wondering if there ever going to live up to those expectations and and to receive what they hope to get in the next life.

But of course the Mormon church is not to come out with these statistics and say yeah were the reason for it. They're not about to do that. They're not going to say that. So what I found fascinating about this article was we have people here who I assume are probably members of the LDS church in this one case that Dallas Jensen going to be siding here soon. I'm assuming he's LDS but he is talking with these people one on one that's his job. He's a practicing psychologist in Provo, Utah, Provo, Utah is in Utah County which un-affectionately is sometimes called Happy Valley and it's not because the people are joyous, it's because there many times on drugs and give the impression that they're happy let's go on with this article. On the other hand, Utah ranks as one of the least affected states for several categories that typically go hand-in-hand with mental illnesses, including a number to rank for adults with alcohol dependence and illicit drug use. Now that's an interesting stat many times it's the use of alcohol and illicit drugs that leads to the depression. What that sentence is bringing out is saying that's not a factor. It's not normally a factor when it comes to Latter Day Saints because the word of wisdom. The Mormon health code found in section 89 of the doctrine and covenants would tell the member that they are not to be engaging in alcohol consumption or illicit drugs. Although it doesn't mention illicit drugs. Specifically, that's pretty much understood from that.

It goes on and quotes from Dallas Jensen, a licensed psychologist practicing in Provo and he said the data about mental illness, and suicide in Utah is complex and any simplistic interpretations should be treated with caution.

I can't say that the LDS religion and culture are directly responsible for those types of statistics but I also think it would be silly to suggest they are completely unrelated. Now that's a telling statement. I can't say that the LDS religion and culture are directly responsible for those types of statistics that I also think it would be silly to suggest they are completely unrelated.

Yet, if you were to talk with member of the LDS church on this very subject a very sensitive subject. It is, we understand that I doubt if your Latter Day Saints counterpart is going to suggest that maybe the church is part of the problem right there. Not about to do that.

Remember, they believe that their gospel is also good news. Although we would object to that conclusion because we don't think the restored gospel of Mormonism as it's defined is good news at all. And that's why we think it could be leading members in this type of direction. The article goes on and says Jensen said he frequently sees religious and cultural influences interact with psychological concerns among his LDS clients.

Sometimes those religious factors seem to help. At other times they can exacerbate the problem. De Soto said she remembers young women's lessons, where she was taught quote. You can choose to be happy. You can choose to be not depressed" De Soto remembers thinking you kidding me I did not choose this in response to the lessons people in LDS culture pretend to be the happiest people because they believe they have the true gospel De Soto said I think we try to put on this face especially in the LDS church that our lives are perfect when that is completely false. The gospel is for the sick, it's for the people that need help and that goes along with what I said earlier, a lot of them put on this. :-) When inside there really hurting and they really are in a lot of pain and I think his evangelical Christians, we need to understand that we need to look past what we see is perhaps a :-) and ask ourselves is this person really is happy as their face seems to be saying and in a lot of cases.

That is probably not true in that individuals life you've got to understand Mormons go through a lot of the pain and suffering that all of us go through in a fallen world, how they handle it could be very different and we need to be understanding when it comes to that. And I think we also need to be understanding of Christian believers who go through depression because Mormons are not the only ones who get depressed, so do Christians and there are variety of factors we want to be sensitive to that. So if there's a Christian listener say why get depressed you yes there is depression that happens but it's just fascinating that this report is saying that Utah has a very high propensity.

Overall, when about 60% of the state are made up of Latter Day Saints and let me say this. In closing, though with a person be more likely to be depressed by having a consistent understanding of Mormonism, or do you think they would be more likely to be depressed if they had a proper understanding of the New Testament gospel. I would tend to think the chances would be much more swayed on the side of depression being if you understood Mormonism properly then if you had a proper understanding of the New Testament gospel and I think there's the problem they understand what their gospel quote" is telling them and that's why we've been asking the question for many decades is the Mormon gospel really good news. I don't think it is. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research.

We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is sharing your faith with the Latter Day Saints helps to know what their church is taught in several basic topics. For this reason, the research ministry has provided its crash course Mormonism crash course, Mormonism includes concise articles highlighting what LDS leaders and church manuals have taught on issues that will probably come up in a typical conversation. You can find these informative articles and crash course that's crash course

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