Utah, Mormons and Depression

In Joel Campbell's column on depression coverage Mr. Campbell writes: "There are no clear cause-and-effect relationships established between membership in the LDS church and depression . . . Could it be more prevalent among non-Mormons in Utah? Maybe, but we dont know."

In fact, we do know, and the evidence strongly supports the view that in fact membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually lowers one's risk for depression and suicide. I have summarized the evidence here in a 2006 post. — Kevin J. Black, M.D., St. Louis, Mo.

ABC's article (referenced in Joel Campbell's "Mormon Media Observer" column 3-30-08) didn't just malign Mormons, it maligned everyone who seeks help for depression. Worse, it encourages people who need help to only seek it if they're willing to admit depression if their fault or the fault of everything they may identify with.

By the way, here's a much less shocking possibility for why more Utahns seek help: we're the youngest state. Statistically, tons more of our population is young than in other states. And, despite the diehard efforts of people like ABC, the stigma of depression isn't as great as it used to be. Young people are more willing to seek help for depression and to see it as an illness. — Karen Walch, Bountiful, Utah

Favorite LDS fiction authors — or not

To find Stephanie Meyers name among favorite LDS authors concerns me greatly. While I dont argue her talent as an author, I do not believe that her books represent and uphold LDS beliefs and standards. As a teacher of young 7th graders, I grow very concerned at the popularity and influence these books have among young girls.

These books glamorize and popularize sensuality and sexuality, couched in a fantasy world of vampires and werewolves. To see my young students obsessed and fantasizing about relationships like those in the "Twilight" books, which are becoming increasingly sexual, (however veiled it may be) deeply worries me.

The relationships in these books are not consistent with those standards that the church and prophets have set for its youth in the official publication "For the Strength of Youth." However, these standards pertain to all church members, making these books uncomfortable and inappropriate to read no matter your age.

Just because these books are written by an LDS author does not mean that the content is appropriate or safe. — Jennifer Hulse

Deep religion

On Orson Scott Card's notion that raising children without religion is actually raising them "with the deep religion of open-mindedness": Open-mindedness is not a bad thing in and of itself, of course (and I allow you the right to disagree with me if you don't share that opinion), but any virtue taken to the extreme becomes warped, including tolerance.

So when we teach our children to avoid distinctions, such as "good" and "bad" or "true" and "false," we rob them of the very tools they need in order differentiate and measure the contours of life. Of course what we teach them will be flawed, as we are, but in giving them the framework for judgment we prepare them for those adolescent moments of awakening, when they will use those tools to assess and develop their own deep religion.

Simply stated, as we provide our children (admittedly imperfect) answers we prepare them to take the right questions into their own sacred groves. — Scott Miller, Provo, Utah