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Mormon Culture and Mental Illness Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 25, 2021 8:13 pm

Mormon Culture and Mental Illness Part 2

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 Mormonism 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 so glad to be with us for this additional 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 yesterday show. We started off by asking the question, does Mormon culture influence mental illness trends among members that I wasn't just making that question up arbitrarily.

I got it from the title of an article that was in the BYU daily universe newspaper published online on February 5, 2018 and I want to preface this program by again saying that I know when you talk about the subject of mental illness. This is a very sensitive subject. Some Mormons might be thinking that maybe were gloating in the fact that there are a lot of suffering Latter Day Saints that struggle with depression.

That is certainly not the case.

It grieves us that anyone has to be pained in such a way but what causes us to be interested in this article is it seems to confirm some of the thoughts that we have held for years and that is the high standards of the Mormon church seem to lead a lot of its members in this particular direction and so in this piece. It is citing various people one it starts off by citing Latter Day Saints by the name of September De Soto who experienced a panic attack when she was 16 and seems to still be suffering from panic disorders and depression as an active member of the LDS church but yesterday we introduced another person in this article in he is a practicing psychologist in Provo, Utah which is in Utah County's name is Dallas Jensen and he has some interesting things to say on this subject that I think confirms some of the suspicions that we've long had about depression and the Mormon culture and yesterday we cited some of the things that he was saying and he admits that he can't directly point to the church as being responsible for these types of statistics and the statistics are the ones we quoted yesterday showing that in Utah it doesn't look good on a national level as to where Utah falls on in this area of mental health affect. We read yesterday, 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 ulcer rates 40th for adults with any mental illness, reporting on met needs so that's not a real positive statement for the state and I think you would agree with that and it should concern us as Bible believing Christians, especially those of us who live in this state of Utah to know that there are so many that we live among that are hurting in this way, Dallas Jensen's going to go on in some of his conclusions regarding his I guess you would say personal encounters with his patients and what they are obviously telling him regarding why they think they may face depression as members of the LDS church. The article continues and it says Jensen said perfectionism the damaging belief that one's worth is inherently attached.

Always doing or being their absolute best is often a factor that negatively affects his patient's mental health will stop you there Eric because when he says the damaging belief that one's worth is inherently attached to always doing or being their absolute best. When you read church manuals and you hear church leaders telling you that you're saved by grace. After all you can do would you not agree that that phrase alone from second Nephi 25, 23, which is found in church manuals, which is proclaimed over the pulpits in general conference and in the writings of various church leaders. Would you not say that that seems to go right along with this idea of members always doing or being their absolute best. After all you can do.

Doesn't that sound like that's marching orders for always doing their absolute best. And if you don't disgrace that forgives you of your sins is not going to be applied to you when you need that in order for the exultation that the individual Latter Day Saints is obviously seeking a leader like 12 Pres. Spencer W. Kimball very clearly said on page 164 and in 165 of his book the miracle of forgiveness to try is weak to do the best you can, is not strong, you must always do better than you can.

And I think that is at the heart of the issue for Latter Day Saints who understands that no matter how hard he works. He's not can be able to do what is required to be done and it leaves him in a lurch.

How do I ever get this assurance of salvation, and that is something that Latter Day Saints are not able to have because of the religion and was so tragic about that is, they can try and emulate their evangelical counterparts in St. Louis were saved by grace, but they don't really believe that because that grace that they need doesn't apply to them. As we said till after they do all these things I think one of the greatest benefits of the Christian faith, one that I have cherished ever since becoming a believer is the fact that because Jesus paid the total debt for my sins, taking care of everything that I personally need in order to receive the salvation that I seek. That gives me that peace that passes all understanding. Now, as we've talked about in past shows the Mormon could easily say you just like that because it gives you a license to sin. What a horrible conclusion to say about an evangelical Christian that were just looking for a way to sin. That doesn't speak very well. I think of the Latter Day Saints who makes such an accusation.

And of course it wouldn't speak very well of the professing Christian who might even believe that. And I would hope that there's not too many that do. I think a person who truly understands what the New Testament gospel has to say would know that just because were saved by grace that does not give us a license to go out in sin and do everything that we know would bring shame to our Savior that graciously saved us by his sacrifice on the cross at Calvary will be article goes on to quote Jensen and Dr. Jensen says I see people stuck in erroneous beliefs that negative feelings must mean that they are less righteous or being punished by God are deeply flawed. I hear people say they are doing everything the church tells them to do, but they are still unhappy and then assume it's because they are just bad people.

When you think about it though. Eric, are we bad people is the point we are bad people.

We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, our actions are thoughts. All too often prove that verse to be true. That's the interesting irony of Christianity we can come to the table, knowing that we in fact are bad people, especially when compared to the righteousness of Jesus himself in the righteousness of God the father, but at the same time we can find pleasure and rejoice in the fact that Christ's righteousness makes that okay that are badness is not really an issue any longer because our faith in Christ has allowed us to receive that righteousness of Christ himself. As we talked about many times that imputation of Christ's righteousness, but what you do if you're Mormon, and everything is hinged on you doing good things and you realize I can't do as many good things as I am told to do. I keep coming short of that as they will. You can understand why that would have a negative effect on them. They are really not going by grace. They are going by the law and the hammer of the laws coming down on them because they find themselves guilty and not living up to the standard that unfortunately the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has imposed upon its membership. See that's not the first time that he has heard this, he hears it continually.

Obviously, when he says I hear people say they are doing everything the church tells him to do, but they are still unhappy and then they end up pointing to themselves and blaming themselves, and I think that's what the Mormon leaders do it every general conference there there called kick in the tail talks to get the people to become more righteous and then you wonder if the men who are delivering those sermons are doing everything that they say that the people are supposed to do, so no wonder there are so many Latter Day Saints with this guilt complex thinking their bad people.

Again, this man is seen people in his office who are telling him this and he even said us there, doing everything and they're still depressed over it only as natural will think about. He says they're doing everything I have. The question that I think people who say they're doing everything probably when they're alone by themselves and think through that realize there could be more that I'm doing the fact that I'm sitting here just thinking about it shows me that I probably could be out doing something more.

And this is why they have these guilty feelings Mormonism I think brings that upon them. It primes the pump for that kind of guilt in this article it goes back to referring to September De Soto who is the female member who suffer from the panic attack that was mentioned at the beginning of the article, she makes an interesting comment in the De Soto said the aspect of the LDS church that is helped her mental health.

The most is the knowledge of the atonement of Jesus Christ. She said it changes everything. How does that change everything and does that imply that those who are suffering depression that are members of the LDS church perhaps don't have this knowledge of the atonement of Jesus Christ that Ms. De Soto is claiming to have what I mean by that is she saying it's the atonement of Jesus Christ that I guess gives her some kind of peace but yet there are other Latter Day Saints who also believe in the Mormon version of the atonement and apparently they are not having that kind of peace. According to Mormonism. You only get the full blessings of the atonement. When you're doing everything you're supposed to be doing well, isn't that kind of the foundation of the problem here. They realize they're probably not doing everything they're supposed to be doing and that's why they feel depressed and that comes back to second Nephi 2523 that a person is say by grace but only after all they can do. There's a quote by James Faust, James Faust was a member of the first presidency before he passed away, and in a conference message called the atonement. Our greatest hope found in the November issue of the unsigned magazine beginning on page 19. November 2001, page 19. The atonement cleanses us of sin on condition of our repentance. Repentance is the condition on which mercy is extended notice. You've got to truly repent in order to get the mercy that you seek after all we can do to pay to the uttermost farthing and make right or wrong is the Savior's grace is activated in our lives through the atonement, which purifies us and can perfect this DC folks the condition that the latter-day St. must meet in order to get the full benefits of this atonement they have to repent. Now we have a doctrine of repentance and Christianity of course. But it's not defined the same. We certainly believe that repentance should cause a person to have a different way of thinking and a turning away from the sin, but in Mormonism, it's implied that you must have a 100% success rate. At this that can cause you to be depressed. I'm sure because you know in your heart that you're not going to do that they are incapable of meeting the Mormon definition of this word.

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