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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mormon Mental Illness

by Eliana:

After Elder Holland spoke about mental illness during October 2013 conference, I heard from a lot of people from my past. I’ve been fairly open about my life-long struggle with serious depression, and the talk came during a particularly challenging period. Later someone asked me to put some thoughts together to help her teach a lesson about the talk. MMM has had some great posts about depression and I’d like to add my two cents as a believer and sufferer.

If you are not depressed, it is hard to understand what it feels like because it doesn't make sense. When you are depressed, it feels like you have always felt this way and will always feel that way. One of the biggest things is a lack of hope or perspective. It feels like nothing matters because nothing will change it. That is irrational for a working mind.

In my life, I have always known that my Heavenly Father is real and loves me. That is what has kept me from killing myself time and time again. Even when I felt like I couldn't feel the spirit, I know it was there reminding me of this basic knowledge. Reading my scriptures, even when it seemed useless, built up my knowledge of how God has helped others in the past.

I took an antidepressant for fifteen years. It changed my life because I stopped crying every day. It didn't cure my depression. I still got sad a lot, but at least for reasons instead of just all the time. I think of it as taking the edge off. That seemed good to me but I now realize that it probably wasn't enough. I couldn't imagine feeling any better though. I was lucky to have a doctor when I first sought treatment who didn't worry about a label for my problems but tried lots of different things to try to improve my life. I will always be grateful for his gentleness with me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why I’m Glad I’m Not That Good at Soccer

by Shawn Tucker:

This week I’m glad that I’m not that good at soccer. I’m good enough to get together on weekends to play with some friends, and I can hold my own. But when I was growing up, I wanted to be a very, very good soccer player. I wanted to play professionally. I played on some very good teams, but I was always just a player who could make a solid contribution, nothing more.

So when I turned 19, well, no one from Barcelona or Arsenal or even Tottenham (who I would have told “no”) was hoping that I would be playing for them. Without those prospects, and mostly because I really wanted to, I went off to Chile for two years. No need to talk about my mission experiences, as they were pretty typical—I saw the historical shift in Chile as they moved from dictatorship to democracy, witnessed miracle after miracle in the lives of amazing people, and had a knife pulled on me by someone who ended up just being a knife salesman. You know, typical stuff.

Mr. Parker is very, very good at what he does, and he has an entirely different set of circumstances. Not only am I glad that I’m not that good at soccer, but I’m glad that I didn’t have to make the decision he has made. I will add, for the sake of full disclosure, that as a Tar Heels basketball fan, I’m glad about the inspiration he received.

This week, it turns out, I’m especially glad that I’m not that good at soccer. On Wednesday I saw a picture and then a video on Facebook of a young Chilean man opening his mission call. He and his parents are clearly filled with joy. And his parents were two people who were baptized in Chile when I was there. I had the privilege of teaching them, loving them, and yearning for them to receive blessings that I felt God had for them. When I commented on their son’s picture, Mauricio, the father, wrote “mira tus frutos—gracias” which means “look at your fruits, thank you. I wrote back, “this makes me shout for joy and weep with gratitude.”

And that is why I’m glad that I’m not that good at soccer.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Saintspeak 21: The Letters Q & R

by Seattle Jon:

Another installment from Saintspeakthe mormon humor dictionary from Orson Scott Card. Previous installments can be found here. Reproduced with permission from Signature Books.

Quorum A group of men or boys who compete to see who can go the longest without volunteering to do anything.

Radical Before the presidency of Heber J. Grant, what all Mormons were perceived by nonmembers to be. After all, they practiced polygamy, despised capitalism, insisted on equal rights for women under the law, and believed that the government had no right to interfere with people's private sexual practices.

Reactivate To make life so miserable for an inactive Mormon that to escape your constant visits and unbearable cheerfulness, he begins to come to church again.

Rebellious Spirit What tempts some Mormons to think before doing what they're told.

Reliefsocietese The dialect of sweetness. The language is spoken in its most refined form by persons who are, have been, or want to be in a Relief Society presidency, but it is also spoken by parents of children who are misbehaving in church, any speaker who is talking to Mormon teenagers, and anyone who doesn't like you but has to work with you anyway. It can only be spoken while smiling, and only positive things can be said. Thus the English sentence, "You really botched the assignment," would be translated into Reliefsocietese as, "You're just such a choice individual, and I'm so very prOUd of you for doing the best you could. And I just know that next time you'll do even better," and the English sentence, "Will you please be quiet so we can get back to the lesson?" is rendered in Reliefsocietese as, "We're all so very grateful for your special ideas, and we'll just for sure plan a special day really soon when we'll have a chance to hear all about them." While it takes years of practice to become fluent in this dialect you can fake it right from the start by imitating the expression of rapture found in Renaissance madonna paintings and saying special, choice, just, or so very at least once in every sentence.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Guest Post: Personal Responsibility

Personal Responsibility: fill our own lamps with oil

In the Church at present, we assert that obedience to certain mortal officers is the same thing as obedience to God, and thus, that our salvation will be assured if we obey those mortal officers. Meanwhile, there are teachings in our history which adamantly reject that worldview. Here are a few of them:
“President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves.”(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 237-38).

“If we have presidents or apostles or anybody that we do not like, let us vote them out, and be free men, and cultivate and cherish in our bosoms the principles of liberty.” (John Taylor, 7 October 1872; “Discourse,” The Deseret News Weekly, volume 21, number 48.)

“We have hitherto acted too much as machines, as to following the President. I will confess to my own shame that I have acted contrary to my own judgment many times. I mean hereafter not to demean myself, to not run contrary to my own judgment. When President Young says that the Spirit of the Lord says thus and so, I don’t consider that all we should do is to say let it be so.” (Elder Orson Pratt, 1847; see Conflict in the Quorum, Gary James Bergera 2002)

“We can tell when the speakers are moved upon by the Holy Ghost only when we, ourselves, are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. In a way, this completely shifts the responsibility from them to us to determine when they so speak”. (President J. Rueben Clark, CN-7/31/54)

“Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (2 Nephi 28:3; also see 2 Nephi 28:21, 24-25, which warns us about “carnal security”, and warns us against being complacent in Zion. Might these warnings be referring to excessive trust in mortal officers?)
The basic predicament that exists is as follows: if a member feels that the Holy Ghost is impressing him with the knowledge that a particular policy/doctrine within the Church is not inspired and shouldn’t be obeyed, should he stand his ground, or should he abandon what he feels, and yield to the Prophet?

In August of last year, I presented this question to several thousand of my fellow members via email, and received 401 replies. Of those respondents, 12% answered that they would stand their ground, 26% answered that they would yield to the Prophet, and 62% chose a third answer: that neither option was satisfactory to them, thereby manifesting their unhappiness with of the wording of the question, or simply their unwillingness to answer it.

For a longer discussion about personal responsibility within the Church, see here.

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Raised mostly in Utah, Joe Murff is a transplant to Massachusetts. A technical writer by trade, his avocations include gardening, carpentry, and trying to keep up with his wife and two daughters. After serving a mission in Milwaukee Wisconsin, he attended the University of Utah and completed an English degree.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Handbook of Instructions (1940): Removal of Women's Hats

by Seattle Jon:

My youngest brother gifted me a Handbook of Instructions from 1940 signed by first presidency members Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr. and David O. McKay. At 170 pages, the handbook is much shorter then our current versions (Handbook 1 alone is 186 pages) yet contains some interesting rules and regulations - and language - which I'll share over time.

Removal of Women's Hats in Meetings

No specific instruction has been given that women should remove their hats during Church services. Common courtesy would, of course, require that any large hats that obstruct the view of those in the rear should be removed in Church as well as in other gatherings, but where the hats do not obstruct the view, the matter of their removal should be left to the individuals. Ushers should refrain from asking any woman to remove her hat.

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Seattle Jon is a family man, little league coach, urban farmer and businessman living in Seattle. He currently gets up early with the markets to trade bonds for a living. In his spare time he enjoys movies, thrifting and is an avid reader. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the Japan Fukuoka mission field. He has one wife, four kids and five chickens.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MMM Library: Welcome Casserole

by Bishop Higgins:

Brother Royal Samuelson, executive secretary, calls members of the ward for various reasons. This time, to bring over a welcome casserole.

This post was originally published on May 16, 2011.

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Bishop Gerald Higgins is the bishop of the 3rd Ward and the first thing you should know is that Bishop Higgins loves Jesus. Also apple juice, marching bands and things that are soothing, like sunsets, the holy spirit, and hand lotion. Now, hasn't he met you before? Perhaps 2.5 million years ago in the pre-existence. It seems you've changed some since you've taken on this mortal coil. Remember how we could never wear hats in the pre-existence? Too windy. Twitter: @bishophiggins. Blog:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Are Kids Sports a Hidden Scourge in Society?

by Seattle Jon:

I'm coaching my son’s little league team again this year, which meant 2+ hour practices three days a week in March and 2.5+ hour games three days a week through the end of June. That's a lot of baseball. And when you spend that amount of time around baseball you meet other parents who also spend a lot of time around baseball. So what do we talk about?

Mostly about how to balance being the supportive parent who spends three hours a day driving all over town to allow our child to pursue his or her dreams without becoming the supportive parent that drives all over town to allow our child to pursue OUR dreams.

I've witnessed a few situations with kids over the last few years that I can only describe as exhausting. Little league baseball wasn't enough, as parents spent thousands of dollars on "select" baseball to get formal training and weekly tournaments, hired local celebrities for private hitting lessons and bought top-of-the-line equipment and gear. Not to mention these kids were also still playing select soccer, basketball or lacrosse. Just imagining the time and money required to make this work makes me want to take a nap then start looking for a second job.

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