depressionSome readers know that there is a history of mental illness in my family, as I’ve written about before. This includes but is not limited to my father, who died in 2010.

Without going into specifics, I would say that there is no getting around the pain that mental illness can bring into a family’s story. This pain is only deepened when well-intentioned persons want to sweep mental illness under the rug, or—even worse—smugly inform those who suffer from it that they can surely overcome it if they pray harder and have more faith.

In this context, Elder Jeffrey Holland’s talk at General Conference on Saturday—which would have been my father’s 74th birthday—was an unexpected blessing for me.

It wasn’t just that he matter-of-factly stated that mental illness, like cancer or heart disease, is biologically rooted and can strike anyone in any family.

It wasn’t just that he told those suffering from mental illness and emotional disorders that they have a responsibility to find the best medical care, as they would with a physical illness. Prayer alone is usually not enough; priesthood blessings are usually not enough. Mental illness is intractable and often very difficult to diagnose and to treat, requiring the long-term expertise of trained professionals.

It was that Elder Holland allowed himself to be transparent and vulnerable. My heart broke for him when he related his own struggles with depression. This personal story, even more than any of the wise advice Elder Holland provided in the talk, helped to demystify and destigmatize mental illness. I applaud his bravery. Often in General Conference, I feel so separated from the leaders speaking, who by custom rarely discuss personal failure or serious family problems. What stories general authorities do tell of their own frailty tend to be far in the past—childhood peccadilloes, or the clueless errors they made early in their marriages.

Those far-off personal struggles are non-threatening, or even related in order to make listeners chuckle. It is as though an unwritten code prevents Mormon leaders from exposing their authentic selves: a complex mix of inspiration and flawed humanity.

Elder Holland’s talk gloriously broke that mold. He risked a great deal to portray himself as a fellow sufferer, someone who has walked the often bewildering and always lonely path of depression. I found his reflections beautifully real, even incarnational.

When he spoke of the hoped-for day when we will see our loved ones who have been broken or damaged by mental illness as they truly are—heavenly creatures and perfect children of God—I cried tears of relief. The frustrations of caring for loved ones with mental illness can sometimes prevent us from seeing that larger, divine picture of who they are in God’s sight. I wept at the beauty of that image.

I suspect that Elder Holland’s talk will mark a turning point in Mormons’ understandings of mental illness. Those who are fortunate enough not to have personal or familial knowledge of mental illness may be more inclined to err on the side of compassion than judgment. Those who are suffering in silence may be more likely to seek treatment. As one commenter noted in the live blogging session on By Common Consent:

“My husband I suspect has an anxiety disorder, but refuses to get help. He basically wants to ‘pray it out.’ His family has a major bias against mental health issues and he was raised that way. My husband greatly respects the apostles. To have an apostle directly address these biases and direct people to get help was a miracle I never thought would happen.”

Amen to that. As Elder Holland noted, “Though we may feel we are like a broken vessel, we must remember that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter.”



If you or someone you love is suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other mental illness, I highly recommend the services of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which offers excellent free classes for family members and for the patients (“consumers”) themselves. Find your local NAMI chapter at You are not alone.


  1. Jana,
    Are you aware that Utah leads the nation, per capita, for women on anti depressants like Prozac? As if that is not bad enough, we also lead the nation, per capita, with diagnoses of Bi-Polar diseases… One of the sad outcomes of polygamy, is that caused an explosion of Bi-Polar disease spread because of a few male members that had genetic bi-polar disorders….. That said, thanks to polygamy and the relative small nature of the Utah Mormon population, unless one does a genetic blood test before marrying, it is really difficult to not be marrying your 4 or 5th removed cousin!… :( You would think the the enormous finds that Sorenson Genetics has made, that they and the LDS Church leaders would be encouraging these tests by ALL members in an effort to reduce the nation leading numbers of genetic disorders which sadly include Autism, for which Utah also leads the nation, per capita…

      • Jana Riess

        Well said, Wayne. I am grateful that you had the chance to serve as a bishop, and I’m sure that your own experience with depression and bipolar disorder made you a compassionate one.

    • Utah is not even in the top 10 of most depressed states. If what you say is true, then UT has a drug problem.,,20483493,00.html

      • Ah Dave,
        You might want to get your statistics from a source other than the State Health organization as the pieces of information I just gave you are from Federal registers….. You can understand the bias on State government, especially when the leadership of the LDS Church is still tip toeing around this HUGE problem in the state that is the home of the Mormon Church…. And, yes, it is well known nationally, that Utah has a HUGE psychiatric drug problem, especially amongst it’s females, most of whom have spent their whole lives doing nothing but keeping a home and raising children during an era reminiscent of the 1950’s rather than this current century…. Small wonder, aye?

      • Wayne Dequer

        A possible question would be are anti-depressants being over-prescribed in Utah and/or under-prescribed elsewhere?

        The inner mountain west, which includes Utah, has long been known as the “suicide belt.” There is a strong correlation between depression and suicide. Here are two well referenced and self-admittedly pro-LDS articles on these topics as related to Mormons. As with all sources, I encourage checking the accuracy and context of references and looking at most everything with healthy skepticism for hidden biases. 😉

        • charlie mivchasrl

          maybe depression in the western states- nevada, utah, parts of az, is caused by nuclear fallout and radiation (downwinders) that blew across the desert and into towns mostly east of Nevada. I am monitored every 3 years for damage and maladies caused by my own exposure.
          if not that, maybe exposure to mining debris/talus, or associated with genetics by those who worked in such industries in the past. for sure depression’s an epidemic not easily managed. However, someone had the key to helping the depressed by inventing a pill that god inspired to help those with these conditions to manage their suffering.
          suicide is probably not the answer because things tend to go wrong- guns won’t fire, body mangled but the crippled— too many variables; leaving the poor soul in a worse state than before

      • AAAhhhh….. the voice of reason… with studies and clear thinking…

        Verses… the off the wall statements… with no studies… and biased thinking…

        LIKE this one: We are the only species that drinks milk… after weaning…
        AS IF this is a good reason to avoid it.
        We are the only species that Does lots of things. Some good and some bad.
        The question is… are we convinced of the Truth or Falsehood of various FACTS…. after careful and repeated study? Or do we hear one statement and leapfrog into a pot of boiling water… forever believing that IT Is and WAS true? We are better served… BY always having an open mind to the possibility that they and we have partly or totally got it wrong.

      • You might want to check the IHC site for the explosion of whooping cough in Utah thanks to the mistaken belief that autism comes from vaccines… If it was the vaccines, why is this not happening in the rest of the country? Sadly the “Pro Business” stance of the Mormon Church, make the powers that be, less likely to consider the huge amounts of Mercury and other toxins being showered over the Salt Lake Valley by our Huge refineries , Kennecott Cooper, the Magnesium plant in Grantsville and the dust from those huge above ground mines in Nevada, all of which are up wind from Salt Lake City… You might also want to ask yourself why the Salt Lake Valley is often covered with smog in the morning when there was none the evening before… Again, when a religion is so interconnected with the development of wealth and a leadership so steeped in making money than looking out for one’s flock, this tend to happen… You do the study to bear me out as wrong, or you could just believe that it could not happen here in “Zion” if, in fact, this is really “Zion”, aye?

      • Tom,
        Also, before you quote certain sources, could I suggest that you ask yourself if there might be a bit of bias on the part of the organization that you are quoting…… The LDS church is a very wealthy organization and it’s wealth allows it great success at producing articles that agree with its position on many subjects… Try the U.S. government sites for more truthful quotes…..

  2. Jenny Wilson

    Have you heard of the micronutrient treatment for Bi-polar disorder called Empower Plus. I have done a lot of research and it is an extremely effective solution. Thousands of people with Bipolar live on this without any other meds. I have personally met a few and they say it’s life changing. It’s been in Canada for the last 15 years or so. Here is a website you can look at.

  3. More than one person I have spoken to since last weekend has referred to Elder Holland’s talk as the most important he has ever given, and that’s saying something!

    With regard to past church leaders ever venturing into the topic of mental illness, I’m sure there have been periodic references along the way but nothing of this magnitude. Back in the last 1970’s (so I’m dating myself here), I remember attending an “Education Week” session for the Youth (back when there was actually a touring lecture series during the summer) where a speaker named David A. Christensen talked about the importance of getting a regular physical examination because a prophet (he was referring to Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Twelve) had taught this. Part of the explanation was that our ability to deal with the rest of life was impacted by our mental state, and if there was a chemical imbalance or other matter which could be treated by competent medical professionals, it would help us in every other aspect of life.

    A quick check of led me to this link for an October 1974 conference address from Elder Benson:

    Not close in content to Elder Holland’s remarks, but some interesting excerpts nonetheless:

    “We should work at taking care of the spiritual, mental, social, and physical needs of ourselves and those whom we are charged to help.”

    “The condition of the physical body can affect the spirit. That’s why the Lord gave us the Word of Wisdom. He also said that we should retire to our beds early and arise early (see D&C 88:124), that we should not run faster than we have strength (see D&C 10:4), and that we should use moderation in all good things. In general, the more food we eat in its natural state and the less it is refined without additives, the healthier it will be for us. Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies in certain elements in the body can promote mental depression. A good physical examination periodically is a safeguard and may spot problems that can be remedied. Rest and physical exercise are essential, and a walk in the fresh air can refresh the spirit. Wholesome recreation is part of our religion, and a change of pace is necessary, and even its anticipation can lift the spirit.”

    “The fellowship of true friends who can hear you out, share your joys, help carry your burdens, and correctly counsel you is priceless. For one who has been in the prison of depression, the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith have special meaning when he said, ‘How sweet the voice of a friend is; one token of friendship from any source whatever awakens and calls into action every sympathetic feeling.’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 134.)”

  4. It is very simple.
    Many take pills …. of all kinds…
    Then MANY… say that is all they need…
    The fact is that Many Manic phases are worked through because the Manic is
    confronted with listening… rather than talking…
    Strong… humor… and in your face… discussion…TILL they wind down…
    NOT letting them leave… when they are moved to acknowledge how absurd they are being…
    OH they are ready to stay as long as they are carrying the show…
    But confront them… gentle… or otherwise… and they engage in the TACTICS… Abuse, of all kinds… escape… Indifference….
    THEY often think… I am all knowing…. how could I be wrong…
    And HOW far is that thinking from… this is the only true church?
    Notwithstanding… some things are true…
    We often have no clue as to what we are really saying…
    MY father… over decades… went through many manic highs…
    They were often nipped in the bud… with… a MENTAL yank… and solid, firm confrontation…
    “THESE thoughts are pure nonsense…. and You are a know it all arrogant fool”… with a little humor and laughter… and lo and behold… they become less possessed with the strutting know it all attitude…that often comes with a Manic high…
    The key is many different approaches… to various people… and various medications…

  5. Jana, In the closing to your article, where you list “If you or someone you love is suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental illness…” I wish you would also say the word. Schizophrenia.
    Schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia.
    It is so stigmatized and taboo, but Elder Holland said it out loud, so can you. Please do.

    • Jana Riess

      I just added that to the list. Schizophrenia is likely what my father suffered from, so please know that I didn’t leave it out in order to stigmatize anyone. Thank you for your courage in coming forward, and God bless you as you continue your journey. Schizophrenia schizophrenia schizophrenia.

  6. The South U.S. is not far behind Utah in taking anti depressants. My parents were converts. Mental ilness and addiction illness runs on both sides of my family. I suffer from mental illness. My husband has a line of non LDS who suffered/suffer mental illness and addictions.
    I think educated people who have jobs with insurance will get treatment versus un insured and un educated. LDS as a whole are educated which probably why Utah leads in taking medications.
    I know of LDS who try to pray and study scripture to deal with anything and will not go to a doctor for anything. they self medicate with herbs and it does not always work. Yes polygamy has caused problems. but close cousins marrying close cousins happens in non LDS people/other cultures as well.
    I am glad to see the SLC leaders start to address problems. It is long over due.

    • While I absolutely believe in the importance of prayer and priesthood blessings, the church has never taught that these should be used in lieu of competent medical care but rather in conjunction with it. Even going back to the New Testament, Christ said: “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.” (Luke 5:31)

  7. I think that what is always so evident is that these men of God, are not pretentious and they state often that they are not infallible. . . how many others would do the same?

  8. I think more GA’s should talk openly like this. When they pretend to be as perfect as Jesus, members freak when they see their faults. They feel they can never be good enough. They forget that our leaders are just men.

  9. I am not a bit surprised that it was Elder Holland who made these statements. Several years ago in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in SLC he was the key note speaker and addressed over 150 psychotherapists at a convention of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists. He profusely thanked us for the “great work” we are doing to bless the people in our communities and the Saints. He also pronounced an apostolic blessing upon us. That was a fantastic meeting.

  10. David D. Burns, M.D. wrote “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” in 1980. Several clinical studies have shown (as published in the NYT and the preface to his later book) the cure rate for reading the book in 4 weeks is between 66% and 70%. That is CURE RATE. No psychotropic medication comes close! This has been my own antidotal experience also. The book is less than $10. (A dollar or $.50 at DI).
    Why isn’t this better known and talked about at every discussion of depression???

    • Dean: I certainly found “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns to be immensely helpful in the short and long term. Personally I needed a good kick in the pants, support and meds from a couple of wonderful psychiatrists to move forward in doing the writing Burns prescribes. For me, it wasn’t cognitive restructuring, cognitive therapy or meds, it was all 3 + different meds when the bipolar component was eventually identified.

      P.S. I still have 2 copies of “Feeling Good.” One to use and one to give away. 😉

      • Wayne, I am happy you found the right combination for you. In my 12 years of part-time work, I have only pressed three clients to see a psychiatrist to be evaluated for meds. (many clients were already on meds) In all three cases, they were not doing any homework or trying to make any changes. Those meds can be a great kick in the pants along with a good Dr. Also, you are not the only one with bipolar that wasn’t found out until after the anti-depression meds kicked in and you went into a manic state (an assumption here). For the ones I know that manic state was greater than any other due to extra “high” the depression meds were providing.
        Thank the Lord for good doctors.
        God Bless –

  11. Raymond Takashi Swenson

    I hope the message will get through to a lot of LDS members who have false ideas about mental illness. Some 20 years ago, I knew of a BYU student who had to withdraw from school for a time because of an acute anxiety disorder that was newly diagnosed at that time. One of the student’s instructors refused to give a simple “withdrawn–incomplete” grade and insisted it be “withdrawn–failing”. The instructor explained that her father told her that people are culpable for their own mental health, and should not be cut any slack. The administration at BYU was aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act and got the instructor straightened out.

    Around the same time (again, two decades ago), an article in the Church News showed a complete misunderstanding of the nature of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, giving anonymous advice that assume it was something that could be self-cured through self-discipline.

    The fact that many mental illnesses can be ameliorated by medications, and that there are significant genetic components in their occurrence, has helped to teach many people that these are disorders based in the physical aspects of the brain, just like any other disease that impairs normal functions of the limbs and senses and organs. A lot of health insurance programs, however, have reflected the notion that treatment for such disorders is to be grudging and limited in extent, as not being a legitimate illness that could happen to anyone, with arbitrary limits on the number of mental health appointments during a year.

    I was gratified that Elder Holland also noted the fact that President George Albert Smith, whose sermons were the subject of church-wide study two and three years ago, suffered from serious depression during a period before he became president. Indeed, a special spiritual vision he experienced of his namesake grandfather, early apostle George A. Smith, and which has often been recounted, occurred in the context of a bout of debilitating depression.

    Those Latter-day Saints who have not seen depression and other mental illness in themselves and people close to them need to learn more compassion for the many people of all ages who suffer from those conditions, and who may come under their personal care as a home teacher or leader.

  12. As someone who has (and continues to) struggle with depression it is nice to see it recognised as something real and not simply ‘feeble-mindedness’.
    I heartily concur with Nancy’s comment.
    While I sometimes find it uplifting to hear the stories of those who have their prayers answered in remarkable ways I personally find it much more inspiring to hear of those whose faith goes on, undeterred, when their burdens are not lifted, not matter how often or fervently they pray for relief.

  13. It is true that Schizophrenia can result from a Niacin deficiency, and it is true that Niacin in water soluble so it won’t build up in your system over time, but that doesn’t mean that you can take an awful lot at once with no ill effects.

    I was told by my doctor to take Niacin 250 mg and Fish oil to help with lowering my cholesterol, but after a while I got a funny tingling sensation and flushing, and determined it was the Niacin, because a similar thing had happened to my husband when he took an even lower dose.

  14. I am fortunate to have been spared major depression, myself, but I am deeply sympathetic to those who have suffered with it. I am glad you had a lot of good things to say about Elder Holland’s conference address, Jana, and that you’re doing your part to raise awareness of it.

    I would just like to say that I have lived in Utah most of my life, as has my husband. I don’t know if I can say anything that will clear up some of the misconceptions that some people have, but:

    1. There is a prevailing thought that living here, or being Mormon, causes depression.

    2. Because of the statistics, doctors are anxious to provide SSRI’s to patients who live here, so it isn’t surprising that more SSRI’s are prescribed to patients in Utah.

    3. My own long time family doctor, who was not LDS, was certainly tuned into the idea that SSRI’s are likely needed by people here, but he also said that it might be just as true throughout the country, but non-LDS people would be more likely to attempt to self-medicate with alcohol consumption.

    4. Since my old doctor retired, I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem. If I understand correctly, depression is a symptom of low functioning thyroid, and the major health organizations dealing with the thyroid (the ATA and the AACE) recommend that the thyroid should be tested before prescribing SSRI’s.

    5. While I hardly ever experience even mild depression in the sense of having a persistent sad mood, I have felt “depressed” as if a giant tongue depressor stick were holding me down, figuratively speaking.

  15. I was also going to say that my husband and I are not related genetically in spite of a long heritage of Utah pioneer ancestry, and some polygamous descent on his side of the family. My experience is that it isn’t very common to have a chance meeting with someone who shares a Utah immigrant ancestor, unless you stay in the same community your ancestors were in.

  16. Schizophrenia 5 – Fern, with all due respect, 1) google- Dr Hoffer schizophrenia
    17,000 mg of Niacin. Niacin is safe, non toxic, and curative in heroic dosages.
    2) Did you ask your Doctor if he has nutritional training ? Did you ask your
    Doctor about Dr Abram Hoffer ? Dr Hoffer didn’t have a single patient suffer
    ill effects from high dose Niacin. 3) The CDC, Center for Disease Control
    says 100,000 people die every year from pharmaceutical overdose. How many people die from vitamin overdose each year ? Zero. Phd nutritionist Andrew Saul at loves repeating this fact. Read his interviews with Dr Hoffer at

  17. Schizophrenia 6 – Fern, at, simply type in the search
    box, Hoffer and you will see more than 5 articles and interviews with this great

  18. Epilepsy 3 – Fern, I read a case on the internet about a 13 year old girl who had
    great success with Magnesium taming her Epilepsy. At her next appointment
    with her Doctor, she was shocked at his response. “Stop this nonsense and get back on your prescription”. Doctors are not happy for you when we find inexpensive nutritional cures on the internet. Phd nutritionist Andrew Saul
    has written how many times he has seen Doctors bully and bluff patients off
    nutrition and back on to drugs. His website –

  19. Vitamin C Dosages – You can get the dosage info from 2 sources. 1) the 1971
    Klenner paper at, or 2) the 2002 book by Dr Thomas Levy,
    Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins

  20. Maka – go to Orthomolecular.Org – put your mouse cursor on the History Tab –
    click on Hall of Fame. You will see the names of Phd’s and doctors who
    have dissented from the pharmaceutical monopoly and are finding real answers with nutritional science. Why would they refuse the big money of pharm. drugs?
    You are right pigs can’t fly but pigs will lie for money. Google this article –
    What You Need to Know About the Fraudulent Nature of the Pharmaceutical Investment Business With Disease . So, Mako, how many Nobel Prizes have been awarded for scientific breakthroughs in Vitamin research?

  21. Reply to Maka part 5 – Muscular Dystrophy is curable. It has been known since 1953 that Selenium is part of the natural protocol for MD. Agricultural scientists know this. You will have little trouble finding research studies on the role of selenium or vitamin E in preventing muscular dystrophies in chickens, cattle or calves, sheep or lambs. What works with calves should be applied to people. Google this Maka – Muscular Dystrophy – selenium – cattle. and Maka why don’t you read this article at ? It’s titled, “Muscular Dystrophy and Nutrition Therapy”.
    Note- Synthetic Vitamin E won’t work; avoid inorganic Selenium, you want bioavailable, so selenomethionine is best. Finally, Liposomal Vitamin C is 7 or 8 times better absorbed than regular vitamin c. Buy Liposomal vitamin C at or learn how to make it on

  22. Reply to Maka, part 9 – Vitamin C Mystery – Why can dog and cats eat their
    food off the floor and not get sick Maka? Animal livers produce Vitamin C. A
    160-pound goat will synthesize about 13,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day.

  23. part 15 – lecithin is good for the Brain, Heart, liver –
    We use the Jewelry cleaner to make sonic wave to create nano- bubbles to
    envelope the Vitamin C, (liposomes). The lecithin transports the Vitamin C thru the intestinal wall into the body with an Absorption rate of about 70 – 80% .
    The brain is about 30% lipids and so lecithin is an essential nutrient for the

  24. Magnesium Miracles part 2
    The 4 Magnesium bullets I listed above are why some hospital emergency
    rooms use Magnesium drip to revive heart patients. So why are we all
    deficient. Two reasons. Mg is removed from 1) grain during the milling
    process and it is removed from 2) water during municipal water treatments

  25. Maka, How do you like the biased “research” studies that support the use of expensive drugs as detailed in the featured articles….. “the research gives the perception of science when really it is a heavily manipulated process designed to control and deceive. Case in point, here again we have an example of widely accepted, published research that turned out to be fabricated”.

  26. Fabricated Research is More Common Than You Might Think, Maka
    Peer-reviewed research published in medical journals gets the golden star of approval in the media, yet most, of the findings are incredibly misleading. One of the best exposé’s into this muddled system came from none other than Dr. Marcia Angell, who was the former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). In her book The Truth about Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It, she exposed many examples of why medical studies often cannot be trusted, and said flat out:
    “Trials can be rigged in a dozen ways, and it happens all the time.”
    Reference – New Discovery Shakes the Foundation of Cancer Research by
    Dr Mercola, October 15, 2011 –

  27. Dr Mercola’s Top 12 Tips for Cancer Prevention
    1 – Avoid Fructose and Sugar
    2 – Optimize Your Vitamin D Level
    4 – Get high quality animal-based omega-3 fats.
    11- Reduce use of cell phones & other wireless tech.

    • GUILTY.. windbag?

      I can’t imagine that you ever … felt any guilt…

      I am curious though…. Have you been set up?

      Because it appears you are near a GREAT FALL….
      and NO… everything you are SPOUTING…. isn’t wrong….
      But you have so little evidence…. to really be certain….

  28. Cataracts can be dissolved inexpensively. google- Dissolve Cataracts
    2013: Yohanan from Israel: “Cataracts can now be easily removed without surgery using drops. These drops use a chelation process to remove cataracts, which are advanced glycation end products, from the lens.The drops contain N-Acetyl-L-Carnosine and colloidal silver and can be found on the internet. A crust will form outside the eye as the cataracts are removed.”

  29. Cancer Cured by Intravenous Baking Soda

    over 30 years ago, Dr Tullio Simoncini cured his first cancer patient with intravenous baking soda. The boy was 8 years old and comatose. After the first treatment, the boy could talk to his sobbing mother. The size of the tumor determines the number of treatments. Why does baking Soda cure Cancer ? It’s simple high school chemistry. Cancer is acidic, baking soda is alkaline. See his book, Cancer Is a Fungus. Go to YouTube or to his
    website, and

    • HOLY TOLEDO batman…. it is so simple… Even I can get excited…
      and why isn’t baking soda… being used by tons of desperate people today?

      Because IT doesn’t work….

  30. Cancer Survival Rates

    Before doing chemotherapy or radiation, always ask your Oncologist,
    “what is the survival rate”. The survival rate is low for most cancers…
    less than 5% for most cancers. So why Chemo? Money…. lots’s of Money

  31. Guilty…. Windbag?

    Surely you have ever felt any guilt….

    And even though you have very little evidence… to MEET my standard for being certain….
    NOT all of your wind…. is wrong…. You are spot on… in many instances… BUT… the wind is blowing so strong…. all I can smell is arrogance….
    You would think …. If I didn’t know better… that Nearly all Dr’s are idiots…

    Oh by the way… I have’t taken a Dr. Prescribed Medication other than some antibiotics… 15 years ago…. in the last 60 years…
    Yes I have been lucky…

  32. A certain man was feeling lousy so he went to a doctor who put him
    thru a battery of tests. After 2 hours, the Doctor told the man, “I sorry you
    have cancer”. The man said, “I want a second opinion”
    The Doctor said, “Ok, you’re ugly too”…..rim shot….but seriously folks.

    Is that joke brutal? Well yes and no. It is no more brutal than the medical
    mafia offering us treatment instead of cure. The joke is no more brutal
    than the Devils in white coats impoverishing the future of our children.

    • Jana Riess

      Dear Steven,

      I have deleted most of your comments — about 80 of them — as spam because you are abusing this blog as a platform for advertising something over and over. This conversation is about Mormonism, General Conference, and mental illness. Your comments are entirely off-topic. I have not yet permanently blocked you as a user but please be advised that I will do so if you cannot avoid hijacking this forum for your own purposes. If you have something to add to the post or to the comments that are related to its topic, please do so. If you continue spamming and wasting people’s valuable time, you will no longer be welcome here. — JKR

  33. Lindsay Johnson

    I was very happy to hear Holland discussing mental disorders, but frustrated to hear the example he gave of a woman battling depression. Holland opens his talk with a discussion on psychoses and neurosis, chemical imbalances and inherited mental disorders like bipolar. But it seems abundantly clear that mental disorders are all the same to him- when he concludes giving a prolonged example of a mother battling depression because she faces the consequences of her decision to risk her life by taking a small plane ride. WHAT? I wont ride in a small plane because I’m not willing to take the risk. She was and now must deal with the unfortunate consequences. Boo Hoo. Bipolar isn’t a risk or a consequence someone has a choice of dealing with in their life. We are aware of a teenager in our stake whose family was unwilling to help him. In fact, they allowed themselves to be estranged from him. He was an only child. They allowed him to join the military, early entry. They didn’t like his symptoms- strong sex drive, explosive behavior etc. He tried to commit suicide while in HS living with his father in UT. He was explosive and depressive. He didn’t stay with them while visiting before his deployment. He killed himself with his own service revolver less than a week after reaching Afghanistan. And yet his so called parents pretend they’re parents of a war hero.. according to their facebook page etc. NO KNOWS the agony this poor fellow faced because his family didnt help him and the military wouldn’t accept him if they knew he was bipolar. He couldn’t get help there without revealing the inherited illness he suspected he had. The risk and danger to fellow soldiers is too great to allow bipolars in. It was a secret and it’s still a secret to- classmates, teachers, church leaders, the entire community. We are only aware because NCIS visited and told us so just 10 days later. It’s infuriating that his family members don’t shed any light on the taboo subject of mental illness. Rather than working to prevent it from happening to others, its a secret. I believe Holland gave lip service to the subject of mental illness, but did a disservice, with his lame example, to those who are dealing with REAL mental imbalances & inherited mental illness. They don’t have a choice deciding whether or not they want to take a risk. The mother depicted in the story took the risk. Bottomline- She must live with the consequences of her poor choice, a principle taught to EVERY primary child in the church.

  34. charlie mivchasrl

    maybe depression in the western states- nevada, utah, parts of az, is caused by nuclear fallout and radiation (downwinders) that blew across the desert and into towns mostly east of Nevada. I am monitored every 3 years for damage and maladies caused by my own exposure.
    if not that, maybe exposure to mining debris/talus, or associated with genetics by those who worked in such industries in the past

  35. david zaitzeff


    While I appreciate your blog, would it be bad of me to question the following suppositions you state as fact?

    “[M]ental illness, like cancer or heart disease, is biologically rooted.”

    “Mental illness is intractable and often very difficult to diagnose and to treat . . .”

    Without denying that genetics may play a role in some people having some dispositions, it takes less than an hour of searching on the Net to find that, at least in the case of “depression,” that the following modalities have been scientifically proven to have extremely strong effects in reducing or eliminating depression: TLC, listening to Mozart, hugging, art appreciation, taking an hour a week and someone praying for you with you, meditation and expressive writing.
    Moreover, caning and spanking have often been found anecdotally to be of value and are believed valuable by some clinicians . . . and studies such as by Klukow find that certain strains of religion are a strong risk factor for depression.

    There are 8 known modalities (7 of them absolutely proven) for treating depression and one hypothetical one of re-examining one’s religious beliefs.

    Apparently you would or some other religious persons would skip over the known and proven modalities, some of which are instructed in or suggested by the Bible, and jump to saying that depression is biologically rooted and/or may be intractable.

    Why you would do that, I do not know. Do you have some dislike for the known and proven modalities of ameliorating depression?

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