Latter-day Saint Psychologist

September 23, 2021 05:00 AM MDT
"Recognize your limitations and strive to increase your capacities. Tune your mind and heart to hear Him. Strengthen your resolve to follow His counsel, even when conventional wisdom may dictate a different path."
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April 22, 2021 12:00 PM MDT
I recently received an email from a friend looking for advice. He related how he has been diagnosed with major depression for several decades. Throughout that time, he has gone to counseling, read self-help books, taken antidepressant medication, and done his best to keep his covenants. Still, his feelings of depression never fully resolved and have waxed and waned. Then about five years ago he was diagnosed with a chronic nervous system disease which has increased his suffering and decreased his hope. Although he tries every day to look forward with faith and gratitude, he finds this more and more difficult as his situation deteriorates. I empathized with his situation. Reflecting on his case, I realized he was definitely not alone. I have personally known many individuals who suffer with persistent problems. Despite their best efforts, they are not able to fully overcome their challenges.
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March 25, 2021 12:00 PM MDT
My dear grandmother recently passed away just a few days shy of her 100th birthday. My father tells the story of speaking with her many years ago, not long after he married my mother.
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February 26, 2021 02:17 PM MST
Almost everyone wants stronger and more resilient relationships but getting there can be a significant challenge. In many cases, the roadblocks to improved relationships consist primarily of fear.
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January 27, 2021 01:00 PM MST
When I was little, I begged my parents to let me stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. I wanted to experience that magical moment when the old year passed, and the moment when a new year began. Sometimes they would humor me and set the clocks forward so that we could “ring in” the new year at 8:00 p.m. As I’ve grown older, I’ve struggled to stay awake until midnight but have had ample opportunities to witness the dawn of the new year. I have to say, it’s not as dramatic as my young, innocent brain imagined it to be. For sure, there are hugs and kisses and glasses of sparkling apple cider, but in reality, it’s just one moment going into the next. Even so, I believe many of us stayed up late on December 31, 2020, at the very least to bid good riddance to what had been a very difficult year. Almost all have looked forward to 2021 to be a better year than the previous. Truly, I hope it will be. But I’ve also discovered that a change in circumstance, like one year passing to another, does not automatically make things better.
7 Min Read
January 05, 2021 08:45 PM MST
This article was originally published by LDS Living in March 2020.
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October 09, 2020 01:09 PM MDT
As a mental health professional whose desire is to help people with mental health concerns, I was dismayed by some of the feedback I received publicly and privately about a recent article of mine that was shared on LDS Living.
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September 29, 2020 01:18 PM MDT
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided wonderful mental health resources in recent years. There is even an entire “mental health” section in the Gospel Library on the Church’s website. The content is excellent, and I encourage you to explore it.
9 Min Read
May 26, 2020 09:40 AM MDT
In Washington state, we are in our eighth week of our governor’s “stay at home” order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Personally, I try to look forward to better times, but there is a lot of pessimism out there. I’ve stopped reading certain news outlets because it seems the only information it publishes is dire predictions and dismal forecasts. As a social scientist, I know that statistics can be adjusted to make almost anything appear factual, so it’s difficult to know which reports are accurate and which are exaggerations or half-truths. Sometimes it is hard for me to stay positive and endure well when negativity is often the prevailing sentiment; perhaps you have had a similar experience lately.
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February 25, 2020 11:01 AM MST
When asked to return to Jerusalem and retrieve the plates of brass, Nephi responded in faith that he would “go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded” (1 Nephi 3:7). He later learned from experience that the Lord was true to His word, providing divine assistance to help him accomplish the task. As I talk with Latter-day Saints who struggle with anxiety or other mental health issues, they often look to the example of Nephi. If the Lord wants me to overcome anxiety, He will provide a way, they reason. But what is the way? How much am I supposed to do and how much will He help? It is a very legitimate question. We know the Lord will bless us with divine assistance, but He also insists we do our part. So, what is our part? Coincidentally, Nephi’s own life experience also answers that question.
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January 22, 2020 10:58 PM MST
This article is written by Dr. David T. Morgan, who writes for LDS Living under the title of “Latter-day Saint Psychologist.” He has a special connection with the person featured in this post.
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December 30, 2019 10:00 PM MST
Our son returned home early from his mission due to anxiety and depression symptoms. His early return was the culmination of weeks of discussions with his mission president and medical professionals who determined that the best thing would be for our son to come home.
7 Min Read
December 20, 2019 01:59 PM MST
When I was a seminary student many years ago, I loved short scripture mastery scriptures, as they were easy to memorize. One still lingers in my mind today: “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). Back then, this scripture didn’t mean much to me besides being an easy “check off” on my scripture mastery list. Now 30 years later, after disappointments and stress and challenges and heartbreak, this scripture carries more personal meaning. If men and women exist to be joyful and happy, they why do so many seem to be unhappy and depressed? If happiness is the design of our existence, has that design been thwarted?
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August 27, 2019 09:39 AM MDT
I have a very distinct memory of sitting in a car in the parking lot of the Provo Missionary Training Center. Less than 24 hours before, we had been notified that our son would be coming home early from his mission. We were there to pick him up. If someone had walked by our car that morning, they would have seen a man and a woman, clearly grief-stricken, with their heads bowed in prayer. They would not have been able to hear the soft but sincere pleadings from my lips, imploring Father in Heaven to allow our son to stay and fulfill his mission. My prayer was not answered in the way I had hoped, as about one hour later there were three of us in the car, heading back to our home in Washington.
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July 30, 2019 09:08 AM MDT
Our youngest son recently graduated from high school with plans to attend college in the fall. Because of a number of vacations and other summer plans, it hasn’t worked out for him to get steady employment during the time between graduation and college departure. As such, he’s kind of broke most of the time, but he has things he wants to do, some of which cost money. I will periodically get a text message saying, “Dad, could you loan me some money for [insert item here]?” When I get such texts, I usually have two competing thoughts. The first is I love my son and want to do everything I can for him. I want him to be comfortable and enjoy life. Just give him the money! The second thought is Hold on! He needs to learn to be responsible and that money doesn’t grow on trees. Make him work for it. Those thoughts duke it out in my brain for a moment, and then after consultation with my amazing wife, we usually arrive at a compromise that enables generosity combined with responsibility.
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June 03, 2019 09:23 AM MDT
In creating the world, God was organized and methodical. The foundations were built such that each step built upon the next. But when almost all the creative work was done, the Lord noted that Adam was alone: “And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that the man should be alone; wherefore, I will make an help meet for him…. And I, the Lord God, caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and he slept, and I took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof; And the rib which I, the Lord God, had taken from man, made I a woman, and brought her unto the man” (Moses 2:18, 21–22). It was clear that Adam, on his own, was unequal to the tasks ahead of him. He needed a partner. It was then that Eve was brought forth. It was only after her creation that the world was complete.
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April 23, 2019 10:19 PM MDT
For many years I have been interested in the relationship between mental health and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe the gospel holds many keys to increasing happiness and decreasing fears. As I’ve started to write about my beliefs to a larger audience, I’ve come in contact with some individuals who often express skepticism about mental health issues being resolved through a deepened understanding of the gospel. They make comments such as:
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