Elder Alexander Morrison, emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was honored by LDS mental health professionals Thursday for his effort to de-stigmatize mental illness among Latter-day Saints.
During a lunch presentation of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists, he received the group's Distinguished Service to Humanity Award. Elder Morrison, whose daughter, Mary, suffers from ongoing mental illness, wrote what many believe has become a landmark book on the subject called "Valley of Sorrow."
His reasons for doing so were "deeply personal," he said, noting with emotion that "I wish I could tell you the ordeal was over, but it is not." He wanted to "open the door on a subject which has been too long denied and whispered about behind closed doors." He said it was an attempt to help dispel "some of the ignorance, long-standing prejudice and wrong-headed foolishness which characterize the attitude of many Latter-day Saints" regarding mental illness.
"Prejudice and bigotry" lead to valid and widespread fears about employment, education, family stability and the opportunity for marriage among those who suffer, he said, asking for help from AMCAP members.
"All who know about mental illness and the terrible toll it takes must join together to show the truth, to blow away the winds of error." LDS professionals must be "the very best in your field" both spiritually and professionally, he said, before the wider psychological community will accept the fact that religious resources are available and helpful, in addition to counseling and medication.He asked them to "wear out your lives" in that pursuit, promising that "you, your families, your patients and their families will be blessed profusely" as a result.
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