“We sense the complexity of such matters when we hear professionals speak of neuroses and psychoses, of genetic predispositions and compulsions, of bipolarity, paranoia and schizophrenia,” Elder Holland said. “However bewildering they may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.”
Like physical illness, mental illness is part of living in a fallen world “where for divine purposes our pursuit of godliness will be tested and tried again and again.” He spoke of a time earlier in his life when he experienced what he called a “psychic blow” that gave him a firsthand look at the abyss of depression, and mentioned others — Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and former LDS Church President George Albert Smith — who have struggled with it.
He reminded those who struggle with depression that “hope is never lost,” and he urged all of his listeners to “watch for the stress indicators in yourself and in others you may be able to help.”
“As with your automobile, be alert to rising temperatures, excessive speed or a tank low on fuel,” Elder Holland said, adding that “if things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills and good values.”
“If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available,” he said. “So, too, with emotional disorders. Our Father in heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts he has provided in this glorious dispensation.”
Elder Holland also spoke to caregivers, and suggested that “in all your devoted effort to assist with another’s health, do not destroy your own.” And he reminded all of his listeners that “the rest of us can help by being merciful, non-judgmental and kind.”
“I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind,” Elder Holland said. “What a thrilling moment that will be!”
Elder M. Russell Ballard noted church President Thomas S. Monson’s announcement during the Saturday morning conference session that there are now more than 80,000 full-time missionaries for the church all around the world.
“My message this afternoon is that the Lord is hastening his work,” Elder Ballard said. “In our day, this can only be one when every member of the church reaches out with love to share the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Elder Ballard acknowledged that many church members are reluctant to pray for opportunities to share the gospel because they are afraid they will be prompted to do something they are not capable of doing. But he assured his listeners that “fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when members and full-time missionaries kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless them with missionary opportunities.”
“Those opportunities will never require a forced or contrived response,” he said. “They will flow as a natural result of our love for our brothers and sisters. Just be positive, and those you speak with will feel your love. They will never forget that feeling even though the timing may not be right for them to embrace the gospel. That, too, may change in the future when the circumstances change.
“It is impossible to fail when you do your best and when you are on the Lord’s errand,” Elder Ballard added. “While the outcome is a result of the exercise of agency, sharing is our responsibility.”
Elder Ballard challenged every member of the church to reach out to just one person between now and Christmas. If they will do that, he said, “millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift to the Savior.”
The fourth apostle was actually the first speaker in the session, President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve. He noted some of the prophesied challenges and temptations in the world today, acknowledging that “for many it may be quite disturbing, even discouraging.”
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