What’s With All the Guilt?

Mormon women are really good at laying on the guilt, and not just on our spouses and children, but on ourselves. I have had many conversations with women who have suffered from depression throughout their lives and felt immensely guilty for it. I mean, think about it. We’re mormon! We’re known for being joyful. We have good news. We know that Christ suffered for our sins, so we could return to live with our Heavenly Father. We call it the plan of happiness, so how is it that we get sad sometimes?

I don’t know why some struggle with depression more than others, but I do know that it’s nothing to feel guilty about. We tell our kids that it’s OK to feel sad sometimes, so why don’t we give ourselves the same leeway?

The scriptures are filled with examples of prophets who felt a full range of emotion, from grief, anguish and sorrow, to happiness, joy, and I’d even venture to say that Ammon is downright hyper from time to time.

Here are a few examples of prophets who have felt sorrow:

Jeremiah

Jeremiah 20:18 – Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?

Nephi

2 Nephi 4:17 – Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities

Isaac and Rebekah

Genesis 26:35 – Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah. (After Esau married outside the covenant)

Lehi and Sariah

1 Nephi 18:17 – Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.

Our Savior Jesus Christ

Isaiah 53:3 – He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Jesus Christ

Even God feels sorrow when he sees the the pain of His children. So please, don’t feel guilty if you suffer from depression, and know that there is hope.

God loves us and wants us to be happy. Life is good.

“In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”  – Gordon B Hinckley

Life is better because we experience a wide array of emotions. The good times are made that much sweeter because of the bad.

In one of my favorite musicals, Children of Eden, Adam and Eve are remembering their time in the garden, and they sing these words:

“And I remember, in someone else’s garden long ago
We had all we could eat
But it seems the fruit our own hands grow
Somehow tastes twice as sweet”

We’re here learning how to grow our own fruit. We’re not alone, He is here helping us along – we just can’t see Him. And I don’t think He is condemning us when we feel sad, I believe that He is crying with us.

I am not an official spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is my own personal opinion and perspective.

Comments

  1. Hey Amber! That is a really interesting post. I have a question. How hard would it be for you to look up the scriptures you referenced in the Bible? I think you said one time that Nephi was similar to Isaiah? (I think that’s what I remember.) Anyway, I would really like to look those scriptures up if there is a correlation between them and the Bible. That would really interest me. As far as guilt, I think we all have our share of guilt feelings. I know as for myself, I even find myself wondering if that song “Does He Still Feel the Nails” holds true . I don’t know if you ‘ve heard it but it pertains to wondering if Jesus goes through the feelings of crucifixion (nails in His hands and feet) when we fail and fall into sin again. It is definitely a thought provoking song. I cry every time I hear it, so yes I think we all have our moments. The thing is I don’t think it is really guilt we feel. I think it is “conviction of our spirit. Now, I don’t know if your faith believes this way or not, so take it as you will, but In the Bible, Jesus said “He did not come to condemn the world… and then again in Romans, it says that There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Guilt is condemnation, which is caused by someone other than God, and is used for the purpose of tearing us down. Conviction in our hearts which is from God is what He uses to teach us. Next time you start getting depressed, think about what I’ve said and see if it makes you feel better. I would much rather be convicted and learn something from it, than be condemned the the “prince of the world” and be torn down.
    Love and Prayers,
    PJ

    • Amber Mae says:

      Hey PJ,

      Nephi quotes Isaiah at times. He says that his “soul delighteth in the words of Isaiah”. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. We believe that after Christ was crucified he went in body to the American continent – to his “other sheep” – and the Book of Mormon is a record of that event and of those people. Looking up scriptures is really easy for me, When I’m doing a scripture chase like this I already know which ones I’m going for, but not exactly where they are. I go to LDS.org and do a search in the scripture section, whenever something correlates with Isaiah their is a note about it at the beginning of the chapter.
      here’s the link:
      http://www.lds.org/scriptures?lang=eng
      We use the King James version of the bible.

      I definitely believe what John wrote in John 3:17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved “.. I believe that come judgement he will be our advocate with the father.

      We also believe that the atonement was infinite and eternal, That means that when Christ suffered the atonement he was suffering for all sins at once. Based on this, I don’t think he still feels the physical pain of the nails. I do think he feels sorrow when we sin though. It’s always bothered me when people tell their kids to not do something because they’re causing Christ physical pain. I don’t like parenting by guilt :)

      I like the idea that God uses conviction to teach us. It’s a nice way to frame the emotions we feel – although the way it’s phrased is new to me. :)

      P.S. Thanks for the awesome reply!
      love
      Amber Mae

  2. Well, I just figured out the problem! I have tried twice to reply to you but I kept getting an error message. Therefore I will try again now that I figured out that I have to type in the password! LOLl! I’m so sorry! I just got home from cleaning a house and I’m exhausted as I was moving BOXES of books and stuff. Anyway, here we go.

    I was saying that I know that Jesus doesn’t literally still feel the nails, as He is a Spirit. After the second time of tying my reply, the thought occurred to me that God’s Word says there is no pain, no sorry, no sickness or worry in heaven, so He probably doesn’t, but then again, WE SHOULD. Too many people have a laxidasical attitude that “they are forgiven, so it doesn’t matter. I personally think (unfortunately sometimes after the fact) about that very statement. Even though I know better because God’s Word doesn’t lie. It helps me to put myself in Jesus’ shoes and “hang on that cross” mentally and emotionally and think about how I would feel if it was me giving up my life for people who didn’t care or take into consideration the length I went to to save them from a fiery Hell.
    OK, I’m off my soap box. LOL!

    God Bless,
    Love and Prayers,
    PJ

    • Amber Mae says:

      I think we’re coming across slight doctrinal differences here. We believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do have bodies – it’s one of the reasons people say we aren’t Christian, but man do we ever agree on the lackadaisical attitude thing. I believe what James wrote when he said that faith without works is dead. Faith is SO important, but so are our actions.
      What are you referring to when you talk about God’s Word? I’ve heard reference to Christ as The Word, but I’m not sure what you mean.
      Thanks again PJ. God bless you, you really are one of his brightest children. I love how you let your light shine :)
      – Amber Mae