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Mental Health and Latter-day Saints (Justin Dyer) | Podcast


Hi, Y-Religion friends. Professor Anthony Sweat here from BYU Church, History and Doctrine. Welcome to another great episode of the Y-Religion podcast.

I want to start this episode with a word that can cause problems in our quest for truth. That word is the word narratives. Narratives, like weeds, seem to spring up often. If they aren’t kept in check, they can overtake healthy, truthful ground. Narratives take root, and they grow for many reasons, in my opinion. Who talks first or who talks the most or who talks the loudest? Who has the most persuasive rhetoric? Who has the best bumper sticker tagline? Who is out in front the most? Who has the most captivating TikTok video or the most social media followers. There are many reasons why narratives get formed and take root. The problem is that sometimes when prominent and persuasive narratives take root, that narrative can become confused as reality, and it takes a heavy dose of factual weeding to try to clear it out. I’ve noticed this in some instances with narratives about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members. One in particular has to do with narratives about Latter-day Saints and mental health.

In fact, I was recently talking with someone who just blatantly said that Latter-day Saints are more depressed than other people, as though that narrative was cemented in stone. I responded with something like, Well, actually, I don’t think the academic research supports that position, and shared that from what I’ve learned, actually, being an active Latter-day Saint, debates against depression. Well, where did I learn that from? Well, I learned it from my colleagues who study this thing, including my colleague Justin Dyer. Justin has studied and published frequently on issues related to Latter-day Saints and mental health, and is one of the leading researchers in this field. Putting popular narratives aside, with some of his colleagues, Dr. Dyer recently published a large literature review analyzing what the peer-reviewed academic research from 2005 through 2022 actually says about Latter-day Saints and mental health.

But we were able to comb through the various databases on mental health literature, identify. We had 46 studies that we identified, and we just went through them, each with a fine-tooth comb, and identified all the different aspects of mental health that they were looking at, all the different aspects of religion and spirituality they were looking at, and how they tied religion and spirituality being a Latter-day saint or not a Latter-day saint, how they tied all of those together to predict, well, what’s the mental health of these individuals like?

In this episode of Why Religion, Professor Dyer takes us into these research studies and why, despite some common narratives, the research shows that being an active Latter-day Saint typically produces better and not worse mental health. This is why religion.

Each year, religion professors at Brigham Young University produce hundreds of publications on subjects related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This podcast brings this research into one place to enlighten the everyday seeker of truth. Seek learning, even by study and also by faith. Interviewing the author, we discuss why the study was done, why it matters, and why the professor chooses to be both a scholar and a disciple. This is why religion. Research to enlighten your mind.

Recently, Why Religions? Jarrett Halverson sat down with Professor Justin Dyer from BAU’s Department of Church, History, and Doctrine to discuss Dr. Dyer’s research findings on mental health and Latter-day saints. In part one, we’d like to look at why this study was done. What are we seeing in the peer-reviewed academic literature about Latter-day Saints and mental health when you look at the study statistically as a whole? Well, here, Professor Dyer discusses this large question, along with touching on some of the subsections that they examine in the research, including suicide, body image, and LGBTQ. Here is Jareda Halverson interviewing Justin Dyer.

Well, I am here with Justin Dyer, and I couldn’t be happier about that. Justin, we’re so glad to have you here back on Why Religion podcast. You were here about three years ago, and we’re glad that you came back for more.

Oh, I’m happy to be here. What a wonderful thing. Thanks so much for having me.

Actually, to any listeners who might be new to Why Religion, if you missed that first interview, I would highly recommend you go back. This was, I think, May of 2020. You talked about youth and suicidality in the Church, such an important topic. I’ve listened to that interview over and over and over again, and I get new insight every single time. Well, since that time, you have been hard at work digging even deeper into that topic and a lot of other topics that are related to mental health. That brings us to the article that we’re going to be discussing today. It was just published, caught off the presses in the journal, Religions, and it’s a review of literature regarding religion, mental health, and the Latter-day saints. Now, for those of us that are not experts in these fields like you are, could you explain what a literature review is and why you decided to do one at this time?

Well, a literature review is simply going over everything that’s been published in peer-reviewed journals over the last certain number of years, and this one covers about 17, 18 years worth of research. And sometimes it’s really important for us, as we’re doing our research, to just pause and take stock. Just say, all right, what’s everything that’s been done in a particular area? And these then become really important for us to see where have we been, what’s been done, and what do we need to do in the future. So we decided to take a pause about a year ago. We’ve been working away on religion and mental health, particularly Latter-day Saints. Me and my colleagues have been publishing on that, but it was clear that it was time to slow down a little bit and don’t think it’s a great article that helps to see everything that’s been done over the last about 18 years. A lot of the research findings are pretty clear, pretty much what you would expect. Other research findings are not quite as clear. They’re maybe not what you would expect to find. It’s really nice to look at everything as a whole to try and see what it is that is emerging in the research literature.

What is it that doesn’t make sense? How do we reconcile that with what does make sense? What does that mean for what we need to do moving forward?

As I read your article, I was blown away at how much work you and your team had to do to be able to sift through so much material. What numbers are we talking about? How much has been written on this topic? How did you get to the findings that you’re going to talk about today?

With the research that we reviewed, again, there’s been a lot written on it, but we were only reviewing those research articles that were in peer-reviewed journal articles, and this is what we call primary sources. These are studies that have been conducted, and all of them included some statistical analyzes to compare Latter-day Saints to non-Latter-day saints, or compare more religious Latter-day saints to less religious Latter-day saints. All of these made some statistical comparison and said, Okay, well, on average, if you’re a Latter-day saint or you’re more religious, what does your mental health look like? But of course, all of this, and this is so important to note, all of this is on average. We’re looking at average differences. There’s going to be people who fall outside those averages. And we really need to make sure that we’re not painting with too broad a brush stroke, but we were able to comb through the various databases on mental health literature, identify. We had 46 studies that we identified, and we just went through them, each with a fine-tooth comb and identified all the different aspects of mental health that they were looking at, all the different aspects of religion and spirituality they were looking at, and how they tied religion and spirituality being a Latter-day Saint or not a Latter-day Saint, how they tied all of those together to predict, well, what’s the mental health of these individuals like?

Overall, I was impressed with what you said in the article about the correlation between religion and spirituality and improved mental health, which I think would come as a surprise to many because it seems like social media will tell you the opposite. Could you speak a little to that? In what ways does religion and spirituality help improve mental health?

Sure. Well, to be quite honest, when I started in this, it was a surprise to me as well. My research in this really began as I started to teach the eternal family class here at BYU. I got a lot of questions from students about religion and mental health being a latter-saint in mental health. And I said, Well, why don’t I just go look up that research on religiousity and mental health? And to my surprise, I found that the general research on religion and mental health shows that on average, people who are religious have better mental health. Again, that’s on average, but they do tend to have better mental health. Now, when I was in graduate school, that wasn’t something that would have been very well known. Academia, in general, is a little less religious than the general population. I’ll just put it like that. I mostly got the sense from my academic studies, and this is just the sense, not actually having reviewed the research, I generally got the impression that, well, religion is probably not all that great for you. It probably gives you anxiety and depression, and there’s perfectionism and all those kinds of things.

And so when I started to actually dig in and do the research in terms of just looking at the research on religion and mental health, I was, well, pleasantly surprised to find that, in general, religious people do better. And there’s a host of reasons for that. One reason is that religion provides meaning in suffering, and it provides meaning to life in general. It’s really, really tough for human beings when things don’t seem like they are reasonable, or they don’t seem like they make sense at all. And religion provides a way to see life in ways that does make it meaningful, it does make sense. Religion also provides typically this sense that no matter what happens, I’m going to be okay in the end. Even if I mess up, it’s going to be okay. Sometimes we think, Well, religious people must be just super perfectionistic because they feel like they have to make it to heaven. And, Well, okay, yeah, there could be something there to that. But we also believe, religion typically also teaches, particularly Christianity, if you mess up, it’s going to be all right. You’ve got a savior. He died for you. You can still be perfect.

You can be cleansed from your sins. That’s an incredibly hopeful message, and that you are loved infinitely no matter what. Not that if you don’t have those beliefs, you can’t still have hope in the future and all those things, but when a person attends a location once a week, like, and they’re told nine times out of ten from the pulpit that you’re loved infinitely, and that if you mess up, there’s a way to repent. We have the sacramid table, where you make covenants, and it’s understood that you’ll be cleansed from your sins. There’s a really specific way back, and we actually go through motions. We go through ordinance s that reinforce that. So that’s one reason. Another reason why religion tends to be related to better mental health, that meaning, that purpose in life, that ability to the idea that you can change, you can become better, you’re not stuck in your past. Another reason why religion tends to be related to better mental health is that you have this network that’s around you. You have this network of people who are interested in you. If you’ve ever sat in a ward council, guess what?

You’re talking about a youth who hasn’t been to church in a while, and you’re trying to figure out what you can do for that youth. I just know so few places on the planet where you have adults and other youth who have, on a volunteer basis, sit around and try and figure out how do we help this person or that person, and who have people show up at the door and say, Hey, would you like to come do this activity with us? And if somebody comes into sacramat meeting and they’re a little depressed or distressed, guess what? There’s probably going to be somebody that says, Hey, how are you doing? Are things going okay? So you have this social network around you of people who are interested in you, and that also provides a place where you belong. One thing that’s incredibly painful for human beings is a sense that they don’t belong. And so, yes, we have the social network where we have connections, but we also then develop this place where we can feel like we belong. And this is a sense of home. And in fact, we have those emblems of belonging that I think are perfectly named that you don’t have to do anything to get the emblems of belonging, you just belong.

And you have a necklace or ring, whatever it is, to you belong. Those are some reasons that are shared among so many religions of the world, why we typically find people who are religious have better mental health than those who are less religious.

That is fascinating. But overall, how do Latter-day Saints compare to people of other faiths? How does it compare current Latter-day Saints versus those who may have stepped away from the faith? What kinds of findings are you seeing there?

Oh, that’s a great question. One of the biggest studies that’s ever been done on comparing Latter-day Saints to those of other faiths was known as the National Longitude Survey of Youth. This was done by Professor Christian Smith. He’s at Notre Dame University, and just did a wonderful job of this. The study began in the early 2000s, and he’s, I think, one of the first ones that really alerted us to the idea that Latter-day Saints tend to do really well in their mental health compared to others. And one of the reasons is because Latter-day Saints are some of the most religious people around. I mentioned the reasons why religion, religionosity is related to better mental health. Well, Latter-day saints tend to be really religious, and therefore they tend to really benefit from that. Latter-day saints really do a very good job in the community building aspect of things, particularly with seminary. What an excellent program that’s been in helping to get our young people together, learning the gospel with those who are their age. We have our youth groups who are led by youth. We have presidents of the young men’s, of the young women’s organizations.

They have those opportunities to serve. I really struggle to think of any other organization that does such a phenomenal job in developing our youth and creating opportunities for our youth to be religious, to serve to look out for one another. There’s just so many aspects about the church that really build that up. And then with the divine nature, I love both the young men’s and the young women’s team, you mentioned that first off, we’re beloved children of deity. And you say that enough, it doesn’t always penetrate, but you say it enough times and something does start to get in. Where identity really is one of the most crucial aspects of the human being. Of we as people, identity forms so much of how we see the world. It forms the basis for our choices in our lives. And that’s, of course, why President Nelson gave the choices for eternity discussion on the various identities that we should keep at the forefront, child of God, child of the Covenant, disciple of Jesus Christ. And the Church does an amazing job of that. But then also, and here’s one of the really important things, the Church is sometimes referred to as a high demand faith.

Now, sometimes that’s said in a negative tone. Well, you’re just so high demand. But there’s some really nice aspects about that, because what it does is it really helps individuals avoid negative sorts of things. For example, word of wisdom. What we find is by far one of the major contributors to Latter-day Saint mental health is the word of wisdom. It’s simply this notion that when you avoid those kinds of things, your mental health is so much better. And when you have temple recommend interviews, well, you know you’re going to be asked about the word of wisdom and about the law of chastity and those kinds of things, it just does so much good for your mental health. So Latter-day saints, again, not always and not across every single instance, but on average, we see pretty clearly that Latter-day saints do just as good and almost always better than other faith groups or those of.

No faith. I really appreciate that. Though I can hear people in the distance probably pointing fingers are saying, But wait, wait, but what about? And you hear stories of increased rates of depression in Utah or a higher rates of suicidality, much of which you discussed in your last podcast interview. Are there areas that you see some a particular minefield or something that we as Latter-day Saints should be aware of that we should guard against? Are there some negatives in the research as well?

Yeah, oh, absolutely. I think that’s really important idea. Just to mention really quickly about Utah. Utah is often taken as the indicator of how well Latter-day Saints are doing, and there’s actually a lot of problems when we do that. So, Utah does have a higher suicide rate, but nationally, but actually within our region, we have a much lower suicide rate. Utahis lower, has a lower suicide rate than nearly all the surrounding states. We happen just to live in what’s called the Suicide Belt, where the difference is more regional. It has more to do with the fact that suicide is related to race, and YTS and Native Americans are the highest in suicide rates, and that happens to be higher concentration here. More rural areas have higher suicide rates. Locations at higher elevation have higher suicide rates. When there’s more guns, more gun ownership, there’s higher suicide rates in those areas. Those are actually the five areas for why here in Utah we have higher rates. Then nationally though, actually, Utah is lower than the surrounding states. Even though we have many, many times higher Latter-day Saint population, our suicide rate is actually lower. That does not in any way excuse us from working really hard to lower suicide rate.

If the suicide rate isn’t zero, we have lots of work to do. One of the reasons why people feel that way is because, well, I heard that Utah might be higher in these areas, but really it’s just because we have this region of the country that’s higher for a lot of very understandable reasons, and really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with being Latter-day Saint, which actually, again, Utah is lower for its region. To your question about what is it that we need to watch out for? The kinds of things we need to watch out for are really things that we need to watch out for across the board. And I would be able to say this to any group that we need to watch out for certain things. A sense of shame is one of the most… Was one of the strongest predictors of depression and particularly suicide. What is shame? Shame is simply the feeling that I am bad, that I am broken, that I am worthless, that I’m more trouble than I’m worth. And we can unfortunately make people feel that way in all sorts of ways. Now, shame and some research that I’ve done found that shame is a bit lower for Latter-day Saints, but it’s not zero again.

And so what we need to do is we need to evaluate how is it that we’re talking to our youth and adults about the things that they’ve done wrong? Are we doing it in a way where we’re calling them stupid or dumb or being sarcastic? And how could you do that? Or are we doing it in ways that, hey, you know what? People mess up. This is wrong. This is not a good thing, and so we need to improve. We can err on the other side and say, Well, I don’t want to shame, so I don’t want to correct. Correcting is really good. Correcting is healthy. If we don’t recognize when we make a mistake, that’s actually a mentally unhealthy… That’s mentally unhealthy when we don’t recognize we do something wrong. And so pointing out when things happen that are wrong is a really good, positive, mentally healthy thing. But if it translates into their minds to be, I am wrong, I am bad, I’m more trouble than I’m worth, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Along with that are feelings of being isolated or social isolation. And each one of us and each ward, if you will, has a flavor to it.

And some people will feel like they fit more with that flavor than others. The idea of broadening our horizons in terms of how is it that we can make you feel comfortable in this location? Again, the patterns of the church are essential, and we should never not try to follow those patterns or teach those patterns, because that is super healthy to do in and of itself. But we need to be cognizant of how people are experiencing us, experiencing their elders core, experiencing their relief society, their young men’s, their young women’s groups, help people feel like no matter what you’ve got going on, you belong. Now, interesting enough, the group who is most likely to die by suicide in the ward or an individual who is most at risk are those people in your elders quorum. People who are men in their mid 40s to about 60s are the highest risk suicide group, white men in that area. We tend to have a hard time as men in our middle age in connecting with people and making friends in feeling- Do we need help? Right. We don’t reach out for help, but 70 % of suicides in Utah are men in that age range.

I would say part of it is, yes, focus on youth, absolutely. But you know what? There’s a lot of adults. That are really struggling, and there’s a lot of men who are really struggling. Women tend to be able to make those networks a little bit stronger and a little bit more easily than men. One thing that we as Latter-day Saints can focus on is, let’s make sure our elders are doing okay.

One last question before we shift gears. Having reviewed so many studies, were there any that particularly opened your eyes? Just any that strike you looking back thinking that particular study was worth the read?

When I was reviewing all of the research on LGBTQ individuals and Latter-day Saints, that was really a wonderful thing to do is to read everything that’s been written. I’ve written on it and I’ve done research on it, but to be able to go through all of that. And I think the number one thing that came out of that was there’s a study or two that identified identity as being so important. Some people feel like, well, you have to be one or the other, right? Or you really can’t be a Latter-day Saint in LGBTQ. When in fact, what we tend to find, and what some of this research shows, is that it’s the all-in LGBTQ, Latter-day Saints. Those that say, No, I’m a Latter-day Saint, and I love being a Latter-day Saint, and I want to hold on to the patterns of the Gospel, those tend to be the most mentally healthy individuals, LGBTQ individuals. It’s actually those that are stuck in between. Sometimes we find that, oh, it’s those that are all in, and sometimes those that are all out that are actually doing better. It’s the ones that are stuck in between that don’t know which way to go, that don’t know how to resolve conflicts that they might be experiencing.

And so it’s that resolution of the conflict there. And some people resolve, Okay, I’m going to be all out. I’m not going to be connected with the Church. Those individuals in terms of mental ill health seem to do better than if you’re stuck in the middle. But also those LGBTQ individuals who say, I am all in and this is how I identify as a Latter-day Saint, they do, again, on average, really well with their mental health. If you’re.

Interested in more peer-reviewed, high-quality gospel scholarship about Latter-day Saint history, doctrine or practice such as this publication, then BAU’s Religious Study Center is a great place for you to check out. The RSC has recently published a new book called Temples in the Tops of the Mountains, sacred houses of the Lord in Utah by Emeritus church history and doctrine professor Richard O. Cowen and Clinton D. Christensen, a historian for the church. This volume shares the story of Utah’s temples, now number 28. Organized chronologically, this gorgeously illustrated book begins with the iconic pioneer era temples and elaborates on each era of Utah temple building since, including temple remodels and renovations, tabernacles renovated into temples, and new temple designs that maximize efficiency and accommodate patrons in less populated areas. The stories of the miracles behind these temples show the hand of God in the lives of the saints and the faith and the efforts that have built so many temples in the tops of the mountains of Utah. Again, the book is called Temples in the tops of the Mountains: sacred houses of the Lord in Utah. Check it out and pick it up at rsc. Buau. Edu.

We have been listening to Professor Justin Dyer discuss his research literature on Latter-day Saints and mental health published in the academic journal called Religions. In part two of Why Religion, we’d like to explore a little bit more why research matters. How can it help or inform us in living, learning, or loving aspects of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ? In the second part, Dr. Dyer discusses why we should each come to a better understanding of mental health, and also certain religious rhetoric and approaches that we should avoid that are detrimental to mental health.

Now, Professor Dyer, in this second segment, we talk about why the publication matters. And for this particular topic, I think it’s been obvious the whole way through. I don’t know if there’s anyone here among our listening audience that doesn’t know and love someone that has been affected by mental health challenges. This topic matters because people matter, and we all know that. I’m curious, because you are an expert in these fields, and so many of us are not, but wish we knew more. Again, that’s why I’m so grateful for the work that you’ve done. I don’t know if I was going to read 46 studies. I’m really glad I could read one that drew upon 46. I’m curious, though, why would you suggest that all of us try to come to a better understanding of mental health?

So much of that is about trying to understand where somebody is coming from in these areas, which is why it’s been useful for me to study about mental health, is that it’s enabled me to just be able to better minister there, to carve out your soul a little bit more and to understand where individuals are coming from. What I found is that it just enables a better discipleship. Knowing where people experience pain and understanding that pain enables us to more meaningfully engage with that pain. There’s a quote from President Nelson that I love, and he says that everyone has pain somewhere. And then he talks about how it’s our job to try and understand that pain, and that the patient, he says, is always the expert. So as we listen to that individual, we can try to understand where that pain is coming from. As a dad, I’ve got six kids ages 18, down to six years old right now. There’s a lot of good material within that. Serving in my ward, working with youth, these issues are just going to increase over time. They’re not going away. The rate of mental health problems is not slowing down the increase.

We have seen vast increases over the last number of years. It’s probably not simply because we’re diagnosing it better, though there is some of that. There does seem to be a genuine increase in mental health problems that’s occurred. And part of me studying religion and mental health has helped me to better see how I can… Maybe this probably could say this a better way, but how I can deploy my religion in ways that are really going to help individuals. And I think today is sometimes parents are a little bit fearful to do that. In fact, recently, just after a presentation I gave, I had a presentation on religion and mental health. I had a mother who attended that send me an email, and she said the following. She says, As a mother of young children, I have sometimes found myself aching over the possibility of causing my children future anguish by immersing them in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What if they are LGBTQ? And then she went on to thank me for some of the information that she was shared. She says, I feel more confident in my quest to continue teaching my children all I can.

Now, isn’t that an interesting idea that a parent would feel anguish and not want to immerse them in the gospel of Jesus Christ because of what she’s heard. And unfortunately, what she’s heard is not uncommon that, Oh, if you’re LGBTQ or you’re even just a Latter-day Saint, you’re probably going to have mental health problems because of all the difficulties. Unfortunately, that just seems to be the water that we swim in. And so the more I’ve done science in this area, the more I have grown in confidence and just joy for the gospel of Jesus Christ, because before I… You have faith and you believe, and good things come, and that’s wonderful. As I’ve learned the science and I have come to this profound appreciation for what the Church is doing, I honestly cannot think of a better way to help individuals with their mental health than just diving into the gospel of Jesus Christ, diving into his church. Yes, there’s going to be difficulties. Yes, there’s going to be people who are mean. Yes, there are going to be people… That is part of the human condition. There simply are no organizations on this planet without people in them.

And so we’re going to experience those things no matter where we go. But there is a profound blessing to being part of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and me understanding that and then enabling me to live my religion more fully and confidently and helping others to do the same. And again, making sure we’re avoiding shame and all those kinds of other things that we need to be avoiding, which are important. But it’s just really helped me to see the wonderful blessing it is to be a Latter-day Saint.

That’s one of the most hopeful things I’ve heard in a long time regarding mental health, and I really appreciate that. What a tragedy when something meant to offer solutions is presented as the problem and to keep people from the very thing that could be granting them the help that they need. Thank you for sharing that concern from that mother as well. I want to mention one thing or just ask you one thing, because something that struck me in my driving, I’m always looking for potholes. In my discipleship, I’m looking for minefields that I want to steer clear of. And sometimes it helps me to know what not to do, and it pushes me in the direction of what I should be doing. In your article, you mentioned that there are some aspects of religion and spirituality that can be risk factors for mental health. And we’ve talked a little bit about some of those, but you listed four that really captured my attention. One was when… One was when fellow members or leaders are critical or demanding. I think that can be an occupational hazard for parents, for leaders. We want the best for our youth, for example, and how do we inspire them to be better?

But are we being too demanding? Are we being overly critical? The second was when God is viewed as being distant and having little or no interest in our problems. And again, you discussed that so beautifully as far as the true doctrine and what a close and personal relationship we can have with heavenly Father. The third was when divine favor is viewed legalistically. And the fourth was when a religion is rejected by society. And that does seem to be to describe the society that we live in. Anything you’d like to say about any of those four that would help us steer clear of those kinds of issues with those that we’re teaching or leading or loving?

Yeah, I think another way to say it is religion. C. S. Lewis said, All bad men, religious bad men are the worst. We do have within religion a wonderful tool set, a wonderful organization that can help us, but it can be used for negative sorts of things. And the savior seemed to understand that and gave the Prophet Joseph Smith some pretty direct words about that when he was in Liberty jail. As soon as some people get a little bit of authority, unfortunately, they begin to exercise unrighteous Dominion and to gratify their own pride and their vain ambition. Do I need to have all of the youth attend my activity, or else I’ll feel bad about myself, and so I’m going to twist their arms as hard as I can to get them there? Is this all about me, or is this about actually serving the others? A lot of these things can simply be boiled down to, is when religion is devoid of the first and second great commandments, it’s going to turn ugly. If religion becomes devoid of love of God, if religion becomes devoid of the love of our fellow man, then all it is is it’s a shell that people can use in negative ways.

And so we just have to keep our eye on that ball, if you will. We just got to keep our eyes on the first and second great commandment. Again, in 121, the Lord does a fantastic job only by persuasion, long suffering, gentleness, love unfamed. We can’t fake it. If we have to correct somebody, let’s make sure we do it when we’re moved upon by the Holy Ghost. And after that, let’s make sure that we’re showing forth an increase of love toward whom we’ve reproved, because we do not want them to esteem us to be their enemy. We have got to, and the Lord knows very well that this can go awry. We’ve got to make sure those first and second commandments are embedded within it, and that we’re following all of those Doctrine Covenants 121 mandates, because otherwise, Amen to the priesthood or any authority that we might have. Nope, no power can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood. Now, I don’t know that I know everything that goes into that, but I think at least it means that I cannot have power or authority. I do not gain power or authority simply because I have a position.

You just can’t maintain it simply because, well, I’m the dad or I’m the bishop, or whatever it is, that you cannot maintain power or authority just because, well, I have this position, therefore you need to listen to me. You can only maintain that on those principles that the Lord outlines there.

I love what you’ve been describing here, Justin. It reminds me of actually the last sentence of your article. And I think you’ve described this so beautifully in our discussion today. You end your article with this, The better Latter-day Saints mental health is understood, the better able, ecclesiastical leaders, clinicians, and the religious will be able to accentuate the protective factors that may be found or developed within the faith. I love these protective factors that you’ve helped us come to understand today. If you’re.

Interested in Justin Dyer’s research on mental health and Latter-day Saints, that he has helped us understand today, we’ve provided some links to his publications in the episode notes and on our website at whyreligion. Bau. Edu. There you can also learn a little bit more about Professor Dyer, his training, and his research and teaching interests. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, I’d also highly recommend you listen to Professor Dyer’s past why religion episode that was mentioned, episode number seven, called Youth, Suicidality and the Church. Okay, we have arrived at our last segment, part three, where we’d like to discuss things more personally with a professor. Since Justin has been on the podcast before and discussed his journey that led him to B-Y-U, here he briefly concludes by talking about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has helped him with his own mental health and personal relationships.

I imagine 25 years from now, it will be time for another literature review. I imagine that there will be many articles that you have written and studies that you have conducted that will be part of that review of literature. We’re grateful for you taking the time today to help us. If I could just ask one last question, and this one more personal. As a father of six, teaching your own children and teaching so many other people’s children here at BYU as well, how has the Gospel of Jesus Christ helped you and your family have healthy relationships, have improved your own mental health? How has the Gospel helped you and those that you love?

It is not too much to say that it’s been everything. It’s been everything to us. The more that I have learned about mental health, the more I can look back and say, I wish I’d done more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I wish that I had been even more involved. It is the… Well, it is the Sure Foundation. If we build upon it, we won’t fall. We will have difficulties. We will have our own mental health challenges. Part of the reason I’m interested in this is I’ve experienced the suicide of a loved one. I’ve had my own difficulties with mental health challenges. I just simply have eternal gratitude to the savior, Jesus Christ, for providing his restored gospel for us. It is designed to save the world. It is designed to help us out in every instance. There are difficulties that we’ll struggle through in the church. The church is run by individuals who are imperfect. At the same time, there is simply nothing that I can even come close to fathoming that has done more for me in my life and my family’s life to keep us in a really fantastic, amazing spot in our lives and provided eternal, eternal hope.

It’s not just, all right, I have some techniques to make it through today and tomorrow, which are nice and wonderful, but they are teachings that give us just ultimate hope in the future. And what a… It is a gift, unspeakable, how wonderful it is.

Thank you for listening to Why Religion. This podcast is a production of Religious Education at Brigham University in Provo, Utah. My name is Anthony Swet, the host and producer. The Why Religion podcast team also includes from B-Y-U Religious Education, professors Brad Wilcox, Casey Griffith, Ryan Sharp, and Hank Smith. Recording, mixing, and original music was done by B-Y-U student, Alec Galloway. Say hi, Alec. Hi, guys. Original music and scoring for Why Religion podcast was also created by the fabulous B-Y-U student musicians, Grant Kegel, Sam Klawson, Collette.

Jones, Alistair Schoierman. If you enjoy.

What you’ve heard, please like and subscribe to Why Religion on wherever you get your podcasts and leave us a rating. It really helps. Join us next time as we continue to bring the everyday Latter-day Saint, fascinating gospel studies done by Brigham Young, university religion professors, to enlighten your mind and strengthen your faith.



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