Happiness. It is the elusive thing we all seek. But as Elder James B. Martino taught graduates at BYU–Hawaii, “The degree to which we seek [happiness] will ultimately determine our destiny,” while acknowledging that in the case of clinical depression, professional help is needed. Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto also addressed depression and mental health this week on the Church News podcast.
Learn more about their thoughts and see social media posts from Church leaders below.
Great Power in Choosing to Be Happy
Elder Martino taught that “when it comes to the ups and downs of life we all experience, there is great power in accepting the premise that we can choose to be happy.” He outlined different principles for choosing to be happy:
1. Feed happiness and starve unhappiness
2. See trials and difficulties as blessings
3. Choose to act and not to be acted upon
To illustrate the second point, Elder Martino told of a museum with marble tiles and a marble statue. One of the marble tiles complained that the marble statue received all the attention despite coming from the same place.
Church News relayed the story: “The statue pointed out that the tile had resisted the tools of the sculptor and therefore limited what he could make out of him. The statue, on the other hand, bore all the painful chiseling and grinding and polishing and allowed the sculptor to craft as he wanted. ‘There is a price for everything in life,’ the statue told the tile. ‘You made your choice, and you cannot blame anybody who steps on you now.’”
Read more on the Church News.
“Emotions are Just Part of our Soul”
Sister Aburto has repeatedly taken opportunity to address mental health, which has affected her family, and her recent appearance on the Church News podcast was no exception. When asked why this topic is so important to her, she replied, “Well, because I think that as human beings, emotions are just part of our soul. They are with us all day, every day. Sometimes for us, it’s very hard to really understand them or to manage them, and mental issues, problems with our mental health are so prevalent, and so universal, they can affect anybody anywhere.”
Sister Aburto shared that when her own daughter began to experience depression, her daughter was withdrawn and looked sad.
“I made the mistake of kind of keeping my distance because I wanted to give her her space. But I think that was the wrong thing to do, I should have just reached out to her more—even if she, in a way, rejected me—to try to open the conversation and to build those bridges,” Sister Aburto recalled.
Refugee Camps, Faith, and Mental Health
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Sister Sharon Eubank both participated in the 2021 AMAR Windsor Dialogue Conference, where mental health was also discussed. According to the Church News, about 32 percent of Syrian refugee adults report feeling so hopeless they do not want to continue living. As president of Latter-day Saint Charities, Sister Eubank said that they have learned much from working with organizations throughout the world and would offer three critical suggestions
1. “Recognition that spiritual healing is powerful medicine and vital to services.
2. “Offer basic emotional and spiritual care, including examples of others who have recovered and how they found relief.
3. “Connect the dots of emotional and spiritual care for a full-range, consistent plan.”
Elder Holland said that that religious freedom is crucial in aiding refugees. “Let’s make sure we give them that opportunity to continue their hope, their expression, their love of God or their relationship with God in whatever way it is that they believe,” he said.
Church Leader Social Posts
Elder Dale G. Renlund
President Camille N. Johnson
President Steven J. Lund
Elder Quentin L. Cook
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto
Brother Ahmad Corbitt