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.