All Things Witness

Thoughts on the mission and power of Jesus Christ


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When God Hath Tried Me

I was asked to give a talk in our Stake General Priesthood meeting last night about how we can support those who suffer from depression. For those of you who know me, it is a topic close to my heart. Depression is something that I am unfortunately far too familiar with, but I have recently been discussing it much more in the hopes to provide both some degree of comfort for others who suffer, as well as a greater understanding for those who don’t.

Anyway, here is my talk, below. Because it is a talk to men who hold the Priesthood, there are references to Priesthood Quorums, and to Home Teachers (in the LDS church, Home Teachers are men who are asked visit individuals and families in the church to watch over and care for them), but the principles apply more broadly.

Whatever your own circumstance, I hope you find it helpful.

 

As the book of Job begins in the Old Testament, the writer tells us that Job was a, “perfect and upright [man], and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” (Job 1:1) In addition to his righteousness, Job had also been blessed with great material possessions, making him “the greatest of all the men in the east.” (Job 1:3)

Within a short period of time, however, Job had lost everything. His herds had been stolen, his servants slain. His children had all died in tragic accidents and his property had been destroyed. And after all of this, his body then became covered, “with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” (Job 2:7)

When we speak of Job, we often refer to his continued faith despite his trials – certainly a lesson worth studying – but I would like to focus on a different aspect of Job’s experience. Continue reading


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Depression and Church service.

© Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Christ taught the importance of both faith and works

© Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Christ taught the importance of both faith and works

I was very blessed to have been born into a Christian family. My parents never wavered in their testimonies or Church attendance, and I grew up learning from them the importance of it.

I’m not sure at what point I began to understand the difference between the Church and the gospel – the earthly (though divinely mandate and approved) organisation through which gospel ordinances are performed in our day, versus the eternal principles by which our future happiness is governed.

At some point I did, though. And at about the same time, I also began to notice other principles we often conflate within the Church. Believing versus faith. Doing versus becoming. Reading  – or even studying – versus feasting.

Whichever set of words you look at, they’re both necessary: essential even. But our ultimate aim is always the second. We strengthen our belief until it grows into faith. We study the scriptures until we come to a point where we love them: our soul “hungers”, as Enos put it, and we desire to feast (see Enos 1:4). We do the things the Lord commands until we become a people who would naturally choose those things anyway – even without commandments, and without thinking about it.

It wasn’t until my darkest time of despair, however, that I realised my understanding of these things was intellectual only, a mere grasp of the theory. Continue reading


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The Holy Ghost and Depression

Sunlight on green fieldsThis post is a little more rambling than usual, so I apologise for that. Hopefully I’ll still be able to make the point I want to.

I often think that when we get to the next life and see things as they really are; when the scales of our mortal blindness fall from our eyes, that we will be surprised with both how much simpler things were than we thought, as well as how much more complex. If that sounds contradictory, let me explain.

We spend our lives running to and fro. We have gadgets that improve our efficiency, but the result is we feel pressure to get ever more done. Our children must be in after-school clubs. We must be available for our employers 24/7. Work is increasingly demanding, while so are the requirements to fit society’s standards of good parenting. And then we add church responsibilities, social activities, and so on, and so on. We spend so much time and effort on these things when our main purpose in life is really the much simpler “Come, follow me.” Not easy, for sure, but simple. I’m sure that when I kneel at a future day before my Saviour and look back at my mortal journey I will say some variation of “Oops”, as I recognise how much time and stress I wasted on things that really didn’t matter. Continue reading


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Pleading

Image from Flickr, by hjukkhj

Image from Flickr, by hjukkhj

Life is hard – really hard.

We all have times in our live when we feel that we are alone.  We may not lose faith that He lives – or that He cares for others; but we lose hope that He cares for us.  Others may be important; just not me.  Such feelings may be fleeting; or they may endure for hours, days, weeks, months, or even years.

It was during a time when I was contemplating this, that I wrote the following.   Continue reading


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Really? Wow!: A Discussion about Mental Illness and the Atonement

Stairs up to the lightI’ve found this a particularly difficult post to write, so I hope that a) I can do it some justice, and b) those with particular insights and experience will comment*. It is a subject we rarely discuss, but which I feel we need to gain greater insight into, so that we are better able to comfort those in need.

A few months go I posted a couple of articles on the subject of depression, one of the great plagues of our age, and how we can find relief through Christ. Those posts can be found here, and here. While depression is fortunately becoming increasingly discussed in the Church (not enough yet I think, but we’re making some positive progress), other aspects of mental illness or disability are generally discussed either rarely and on obscure internet forums, or (more likely) not at all.

But if Christ suffered for ALL of our pains, sicknesses, and afflictions, that means he suffered also for our mental illnesses and disabilities; it means that through His atoning sacrifice there is power for those suffering. Elder Joseph B Wirthlin said, “No grief is so great, no pain so profound, no burden so unbearable that it is beyond His healing touch.” (Special Witnesses of Christ, Ensign, April 2001).  That includes Continue reading


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Depression and the Atonement (part 2)

In the first post on this topic I looked at examples of several good “righteous” people, who have suffered from Depression, including I believe the great Old Testament prophet Moses, as well as the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob.  In this post I’ll discuss another example from Moses’ life that I think helps us to understand how we can be supported Cloudsthrough such feelings ourselves, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Continue reading