As part of Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption, all of us experience adversity. Trials, disappointments, sadness, sickness, and emotional problems are a difficult part of everyone’s life. By learning to approach these problems in the Lord’s way we will grow spiritual and progress.
GUIDELINES FOR CHURCH LEADERS
Church members should make a diligent effort, including earnest prayer and scripture study, to find solutions and answers themselves. IF they still need help, they should counsel first with their bishop. Leaders encourage members to develop spiritual self-reliance. Leaders avoid making decisions for those whom they counsel. Instead, leaders help them make their own decisions with the Lord’s guidance. The stake president or bishop should also avoid immediately offering solutions to those he counsels. To the extent possible, he helps them analyze and resolve their own problems or questions in the context of the doctrines of the gospel and the plan of salvation. Ideally, he teaches members how to find solutions and strength from the scriptures on their own.(Handbook 1, LDS Church, 2010, Pg. 79)
GUIDELINES FOR MEMBERS
This is also a very clear guideline….
The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional,spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, … No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able will voluntarily shift the burden of his own … well-being to someone else. So long as he can, under the inspiration of the Lord and with his own labors, he will supply himself … with the spiritual and temporal necessities of life. (Spencer W. Kimball, Welfare Services: The Gospel in Action, Ensign, Nov 1977)
Perhaps this process can best be depicted in the figure below. First, recognize the life challenge; explore personal resources; and if your personal resources are unsuccessful in resolving the life challenge, then use Outside Resources.
Unless it’s a matter of “life-and-death” or “an angel tells you otherwise” never START solving a emotional problem with outside resources.
Some want to start with psychologists, with professional counselors, or to go directly to the General Authorities to begin with. The problems may need that kind of attention but only after every personal, and family, and every local resource has been exhausted. …There may be a time when deep-seated emotional problems need more help than can be given by the family, the bishop, or the stake president. (Boyd K. Packer, Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Own Way, Ensign Jan 2010 & May 1978)
IT IS NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GOD’S PLAN (OR GOOD PSYCHOLOGY) TO SHIFT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF YOUR EMOTIONAL PROBLEM OVER TO A COUNSELOR, DOCTOR, PRESCRIBER, BISHOP ETC ETC.
EVEN when you are using Outside Resources …
you peronally continue to remain responsible for you. Sure you might be involved with a counselor, a prescriber, medication etc etc and they might be a TREMENDOUS help – but they are your resources.
In other words:
Zoloft, a therapist, a sponsor, a whatever … is not responsible for you -regardless how helpful they might be. (See: The Gift: Between God and I)
They are a resource that YOU use to deal with YOUR emotional problem. You – remain responsible to do your best to reach the Measure of Your Creation.
This is how I view an individual experiencing something like depression and sample resources they might use.
Identify at least five resources (See: Five to Survive). From time-to-time your resources will change. But you being responsible for your emotional problem – will not.
There are many reasons why the principle of Self-Reliance is so important other than “God Says So.”
THE WRONG WAY
Unfortunately, what I typically see with individuals is they recognized a Life challenge and immediately consider outside resources.
For example, if you’re experiencing depression resources suggested by others and the media often include – medication. An appointment is made with the general practioner or OBGYN and within a few days you’re taking Zoloft. Typically with very little time spent on personal problem solving.
NOTE: No, I have no problem people taking medications for mental illnesses-I often refer people to prescribers myself. My problem is seeking outside resources BEFORE you explored/exhausted personal resources.
Here is a four minute video illustrating The Wrong Way – Developing Self Reliance
Here is Boyd Packer’s original 1978 talk: Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Own Way.
Ponder. As you watch this video search for an impression on how you might strengthen your self-reliance or the self-reliance of a loved one.
Note: I still haven’t shared ideas of personal resources that would prove helpful in dealing with depression. Maybe this week. 🙂 But…. self-reliance is a corner stone for solving emotional problems and frankly it took longer to develop than I thought.
Here ya go… the blog dealing with overcoming depression: Got Depression? Do This…
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