Comments about ‘Ask Angela: I suffered from depression, should I hide my cutting scars for my mission?’

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Published: Monday, March 10 2014 2:10 p.m. MDT

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Morm On
Mesa, AZ

Use the Spirit. Perhaps your story is just what an investigator needs to hear and it wouldn't be brought up unless they saw your scars. Or maybe it's the opposite and they shouldn't know. If you pray to know what the investigators need, the Holy Ghost will tell you what you need to do.

Poqui
Murray, UT

If more LDS were open about their bouts with depression then it wouldn't make those suffering feel so "alone." Horray for wanting to serve a mission, one of the most important things you can bring is yourself. Your scars will change more lives than you think, it may even save lives as it allows people to openly discuss depression. You cannot bear one another burdens until you share them.

Only Human
Syracuse, UT

I never was a Missionary but I am a convert (14yrs and 3 months) and I will never forget the Zone Leader I had an interview with before my Baptism. He knew of my past and it wasn't pretty at all, but he shared with me his past which was not any better than mine and you could see his past on his face and his arms, he knew who he, why he was there and where he was going, he bore a powerful testimony to me of the change that can take place within a person when God is invited into their life.
You have battle wounds so do I and so will those you talk to on your Mission, don’t let those wounds make feel insecure use them to make you strong.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

The past is determined, the future is uncertain, the present is what you have. I know about drowning the past in the present and never thinking about the future. But by the grace of God go I

B ob
Richmond, CA

To Sister Missionary: Your worthy of your call. Forget yourself and go to work. Don't let anything block you from reaching your potential as a missionary…especially a past that you have worked through.

RRB
SLC, UT

Use it as a teaching tool. Your experience might save someone's life.

PepperLayne
Salt Lake City, 00

Sometimes investigators and convert look at missionaries and think that they must be 100% perfect and there's no way that they could measure up to that. But we all bear scars of one sort or another and we all need the Atonement to help us heal. It's so important for people to know that's the most vital part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it sounds like that's something you are well-acquainted with.

One of my mission companions struggled with depression, but she also had the sweetest, most touching testimony of the Savior and the Atonement. Her experiences enabled her to teach that most fundamental core of the Gospel in a way that I could never do. She also taught me about relying on the Savior in all things. The Lord sent her to specifically teach certain people that needed to hear her testimony and I'm certain that He is doing the same with you. Let the Spirit guide you to those you can best help.

(Enjoy Florida! That's where I served as well. The weather in December is amazing!)

Shuzzie53
HAYWARD, CA

Cool sweater visual.

LittleStream
Carson City, NV

Ask yourself only one question: Will my scars help me on my mission? My bet is that they will. Many people see the missionaries as "perfect their whole life" Mormons who don't have the same struggles as a non member or new convert. We love the missionaries. We love their stories. The ones you are directed to meet will love you too! Have a great mission!

eastcoastcoug
Danbury, CT

One of my favorite companions had a difficult past and his openness made him so accessible for so many people. He had such an easy rapport with investigators and members alike talking about how he dealt with this challenges. In many ways, it's a lot easier for us as members and missionaries when we're open about how the Gospel helps us solve problems rather than acting like we have none at all when we are members (and a lot more realistic).

Expect to have new stressors as a missionary. The church now has more qualified professionals and a better handle on depression and other issues you may have. Be aware that you may encounter new challenges and be ready to take care of yourself and reach out if you feel you need help. And know that there are so many of us out here who are ready to love you and be supportive of whatever your needs may be as a missionary.

Scott H
Ogden, UT

At the beginning of my mission I tried very hard to be the perfect missionary — or to at least appear to be so. It nearly drove me crazy. After two months in the field my companion sat me down and explained that I was driving him, the members, and our investigators crazy too. He said that God didn't want me to hide who I really was in my efforts to properly represent the Savior.

My companion's counsel helped a lot. Not long after this an investigator turned to my companion and said, "What have you done with him?" I thought, "Uh oh." The investigator continued, "It's wonderful!"

As others have said, our imperfections are a strong witness of our personal need for the Savior and his atonement. The Apostle Paul did not try to cover up his thorns in the flesh nor his past sins. He openly used them to preach the gospel.

Dadof5sons
Montesano, WA

You have been called of God by revelation scars and all. I think the Savior has some scars too he carries with him. so don't worry about it.

Dennis
Harwich, MA

Always, always, always. Live in the moment. The past and the future have no relevance in our daily lives. Only now. Only today. Only this minute.

Kinderly
Riverdale, MD

I agree with others that you don't need to hide who you really are and those scars have helped form who you are. I love that you think of your scars as battle scars. You're amazing for conquering in that battle.

But I also agree with Angela that there may be times when you feel self conscious and want to hide the scars. So I think you should be prepared. Get a couple of really light weight long sleeve blouses and maybe bring the make up, enough for occasional use.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

Too often we hide in shame from our past and our imperfections when we should celebrate when repentance is embraced. Hiding, covering up, or even lying about our past only deepens those wounds and will lead to more hurt for us AND for others. As we are able to openly talk about our problems we can better help each other and we can better feel God's love for us.

jamsenior
SANTAQUIN, UT

Al Fox the tattooed Mormon wrote about her tattoos in her latest blog.. She had tremendous insight about the visible past that some carry. The blog was very powerful!. Lack of awareness and insensitivity about is an issue that society has not delt with very well. It is not just members of the church who don't understand these issues. I recommend very one to read and listen to Elder Jeffery Hollands landmark and very powerful sermon from the Oct 2013 conference about the "Broken Vessel." The sermon is a life changer for those ready to accept the change.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

The serenity prayer; God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

mawirt
Roanoke, VA

It would be difficult to provide a better answer than that given by Dadof5Sons. The Savior indeed carries scars. Press onward and God be with you.

kvnsmnsn
Springville, UT

Poqui posted:

=If more LDS were open about their bouts with depression then it wouldn't make
=those suffering feel so "alone."

I agree. May 1980 I served as the mission commissary for the Chile Concepcion Mission, and our office was on the tenth floor of a Concepcion office building. I was so depressed that at one point I told my mission president I was thinking of jumping out one of the windows. It would have helped a lot if I had known other Latter-day Saints got that depressed at times too.

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