Skip to comments.Study: 'Toxic Perfectionism' Major Part of LDS Women's Depression
Posted on 02/14/2013 3:33:33 PM PST by fattigermaster
OREM Striving for perfection may be driving some female members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to depression, one researcher says.
Utah Valley University professor Kris Doty looked at depression among LDS women, finding that "toxic perfectionism" was one major factor of depression reported by the group. The other four factors, Doty found, were genetics, history of abuse, family relationships and feeling judged by others.
Over a one-year period, Doty and her colleagues looked at clinically diagnosed depressed women who identified as LDS. Seven of the women were using multiple medications to treat their depression, 19 were on only one medication and 10 had participated in therapy. Women in the study said the church's teachings about perfection led to painful misinterpretations wherein many women believed they could not make mistakes. This belief, Doty said, caused them to "become hyper-competitive and anxious."
At a symposium on the topic Thursday, study participants said church leaders were reminding women especially mothers that they are not required to be perfect.
More bull manure.
9 out of 10 doctors (outside of Utah) do not recommend taking bull manure as an anti-depressant.
It isn’t just the irrational striving to be perfect but, worse that of proving themselves worthy and well qualified.
Worthy and well qualified are concepts created by men that enslave you and constantly push who you really are to something someone else’s judges you to be or not.
Yuge waste of time this approval and being adjudged and either denied or given a card enabling you entry into all churches within LDS.
The matter is even foreign to God, who tells us “There is none worthy, no, not one”.
Why should anyone have to prove they are a genuine and worthy Mormon, which implies all others are not?
God treats us all equally under his judgement and through his love.
All are his children and all Christians come to God the Father in Jesus name.
God, being the ultimate arbiter and having the biggest ego decides what a thing is and what a thing is not.
For instance, on the issue of salvation. God’s mercy, through Christ, is a gift given to any why ask.
It cannot be earned, it cannot be repaid and it can’t be taken away or qualified by anyone but God.
Prefer those who have any question regarding how God views us to the Three Great Parables in Matthew 13.
Our intent is what is important in our hearts. No man May judge that and should never be allowed the imprimatur to. For they, like the of us, are flawed and have no legitimate claim of sovereignty over our soul, much less undermining our spirit.
If you want to know if you are doing life right ask God. That’s an answer that is always answered quickly, in fact, immdiately.
My dos centavos ....
Not being able to achieve perfection through any amount of human effort can be depressing.
Add to that the mormon cultural issues of appearing perfect.
Add to that the pressure that if your husband doesn’t call your “secret name”, you won’t be resurrected to spend eternity with him.
Drugs. Common in Utah, as numerous articles posted on FR have indicated.
And yet they cling to their hopes of perfectionism, instead of turning to the real Christ as Savior and real Gospel of Grace.
Legalism and heresy always die hard.
I'm a Mormon, have been my whole life. I have NEVER understood this kind of depression and guilt among LDS women. I know it exists among a lot of women of my faith. I've heard women say stuff like "I feel like I'm not doing enough. I could have done more." It makes me want to grab them by the shoulders and say:
"Stop it! God does NOT expect you to be perfect. He knows it's impossible for ANY human to be perfect. Only one person was perfect, Jesus Christ. Do the best you can, but don't beat yourself up when you screw up. We all screw up. Accept it. Accept the grace that Jesus provides to make up for our imperfections and mistakes. That's what He's there for."
This kind of depression and guilt is a trap they allow themselves to fall into, nothing more. I wish more LDS women would see it for what it is and realize that God loves ALL of us, despite our failings. That's why He gave his Son. That brings me joy. So why are these women so miserable? I think they forget those simple words of John 3:16.
Just my two cents.
The heresies of mormonism lead to this problem - and it is widespread. For example, here is something from BYU:
“In the LDS Church its like, I feel depressed, and its like, Oh you must not be righteous, maybe you should go serve somebody and then you would be, Lindsay (name changed) said. She told Doty how feeling judged by others contributed to her depression. Lindsay, age 32, also said, Its just something we do to ourselves, thats not coming down from the prophet, its not coming down from God. Thats just us comparing ourselves to each other and having that perfect standard.
“Doty found that Lindsays struggles were common among 75 percent of volunteers in the study. All 20 women are residents of Utah County, all 20 are self-described as active Latter-day Saints, and all 20 have been diagnosed with depression by a medical doctor or mental health professional.”
Fifteen of the 20 women felt like they were under a microscope in this community, Doty said. Another 15 also struggled with toxic perfectionism.
“Nineteen of the 20 women said they used antidepressants in their treatment. Its like its ok, and in some cases a badge of honor, to be on an antidepressants, Doty said of the social acceptance of medication. She fears many women compare themselves to others, sometimes measuring their struggles based on the dosage they take.”
"Well the standard answer is that LDS women are overworked, heading large families, and struggling to meet too-high expectations of perfection. But is that what is really going on? The report states that three realities are much more basic. In the Mormon Church: 1) for females, One size fits all, 2) females obey males from birth to death, and 3) females lack control of their own life choices. What follows is a laundry list of expectations and rules Mormon women are to uphold to be in good standing with the Mormon Church:
Be respectfully, politely, humbly and gratefully subservient to Mormon males in personal demeanor, activities, beliefs, plans and thought.
Not be, nor aspire to be, nor hope to be, independent from authoritarian males, nor independent in thought.
Attend male-directed religious services.
Participate in male-directed activities. (Even female-led projects are organized under male authorities.)
Attend male-directed weekday seminary classes in addition to academic school.
Obey all male-hierarchy-generated directives.
Submit to male-originated personal-matter (including sexual) private interviews.
Obtain a Patriarchal Blessing which usually promises becoming a mother in Zion if faithful and obedient.
Do genealogy research on male-headed (patriarchal) family lineages.
Marry an LDS man in an LDS templeand live in a state worthy to do so beforehand.
Accept counsel from her husband and not as just his opinionbut as God-inspired revelation.
Look to her husband as essential to her entry into the best category of Heaven.
Have children, more being far better than few.
Raise all of her children in this exact-same religious and social system.
Attend only the chapel assigned to her residence address, regardless of preference.
Accept that if she and family attend any other than this chapel, she and they cannot enter Mormon temples.
Know that her husband may, in the next life, marry numerous additional wives.
Know that she may not marry any additional husband, here (if still married to the first one) or hereafter.
Accept callings to work in church, auxiliary and welfare-project organizations.
Make several forms of financial contributions, ten percent tithing being only mandatory one; but with pressure to make even more.
Teach her children to become missionaries to convert other individuals into this same system.
Teach this same system to her grandchildren.
Teach her daughters and granddaughters to obey males at home and at church.
Never openly criticize any doctrine, practice, directive or male authority related to any of the above.
And that is the one-size-fits-all-females laundry list of expectations. Each LDS female gains and retains respect, and even acceptance, only by adhering to these behaviors and attitudes, assigned to her by others, most often males, rather than freely chosen by herself. And, her sole judges on her efforts and merits are men placed in authority above her by what shes told is Gods Divine Plan.
Reminds me of a story.
The Devil held a garage sale, and put out some of his tools on a table. A guy came by to shop and asked the Devil about them. “Well, this one is temptation. This one is resentment...” and so on. “They are all things that bring people closer to me and further from The Big Kahuna.”
Then, the shopper noticed one tool that was really pricey, and he asked why.
“That one is despair. It’s an important tool for me, because it is one of the few that works well on good people.”
THIS is why LDS are depressed...."after all you can do"???? Thats not grace! WHat if I could have tithed 21 percent instead of 20? I did not do all I could do, did I? THis is in no way Grace, this is WORKS.
This is her perception, that others are judging her. My question to her would be: So what if other people are judging you? Why are you so concerned about what other people think when you have no control over what other people think?
These women put the pressure on themselves, which is wrong. She admits that it's something she does to herself, which means she chooses to continue in her negative thought patterns. She chooses to continue to participate in the stupid, useless, and destructive Compare Myself to Others game rather than let go of whatever issues she's hanging onto.
Great story. And so true! Despair and Disouragement. Satan’s two best tools.
Luna, I agree that she is experiencing problems because she is being judged by others. It is easy to say, who cares? But of course, the “others” are her peers in her mormon family, her peers at her mormon barracks, her religion that requires performance to achieve the highest levels of heaven, “marriage to her husband in eternity”, entrance into a temple to see her kids married some day, elders overseeing her, obedience at every turn and the expectation that she will smile and be happy.
All of those things stem from her religion in the heresy of mormonism.
Now, I’m not a woman and can’t speak directly to what it is like to go through that, and I’ve never been trapped in mormonism. I do have friends here who have been on the hamster wheel of mormon worthiness and they may want to comment.
cc: colorcountry, greyfoxx39, reaganaut, all delightful women of God who now know His truth. If any of you would like to comment about your own experience inside the mormonic borg of performance as a woman, feel free. If not, I understand.
I'm a never-been-married LDS woman pushing 40. My chances of getting married probably aren't that great. Do I feel as though I can't get into the highest level of Heaven because I don't have a husband? Nope! Why? Because I have hope in Christ. He is the Way.
I've never felt pressue by my male leaders to be perfect, to get married, to go to the temple, to pay more than just tithing, to do this, to do that. I've turned down a calling before and didn't get in trouble for it.
I just want LDS women to know that they don't have to put the pressure on themselves. Do the best you can with what you have and leave the rest to God. Everybody's "best" is going to be different.
obedience at every turn
God wants men and women both to obey His commandments. We're His children and He wants all of us to return back to Him. I think that God has a special place in His heart for His daughters. I think it pains Him to see these women push themselves into depression when it doesn't have to be that way.
When I was a young Mormon mother of 5, yes 5 children, I was under so much pressure. I exercised every day to keep my weight at 130 pounds, I baked bread three times a week, I rotated cleaning one of my three bathrooms every third day, so I cleaned a bathroom every day. I washed three loads of laundry every day, and mopped my bathroom and kitchen floors every other day. Every day was the focus of special cleaning for one of the rooms in my house so that I could keep up with continual cleaning. This was all done in order that I would keep the appearances of a good, clean, Godly woman.
I had five children ranging in ages from pre-school to Junior High. I had three boys in baseball, and a daughter in dance and Cheerleading. They all needed to get to practices and games, so that there was a great deal of driving, running and coordinating. Then there was the homework - endless homework with the kids and keeping them at their ultimate performance...this so that we could show how successful, good and Godly we were.
Sundays were their own special kind of hell. Hair washed and curled, dressed in the best fashion in proper dresses, ironed shirts and ties, and arriving on time. Sundays dinner were a requisite, so roast, potatoes, dinner rolls, jello and salads were prepared before Church to be presented in Sunday best fashion when we returned home.
Oh, and did I tell you I worked full time? Yes, and so did my husband. He worked 7:00 to 4:00 and I worked from 4:00 to about 10:00 or more each night. We barely saw one another, but we tried very hard for date night. Date night for us was an Archery league where, you guessed it, I was under a supreme amount of pressure to hit the mark!
Eventually, I failed. I figured out that I was failing BIG TIME, no matter how hard I tried. I hit a point where my kids were failing, my marriage was failing, and my health was failing - and I just wanted to die, and even THAT was a big failure!
That’s when I was introduced to God and His GRACE, and He reached down to the very bottom of my deep, dark pit and breathed into me His life.
I have never, ever looked back upon my Mormonism. It is a trap, a horrible almost inescapable pit. But for Him, I would be dead in my sin, my trying, my ambition, my standing and my ego.
Thanks for your response. Our journey on this earth is a very individual one.
“Salvation is individual, not collective. We’re not the borg.”
Actually, if you do not do everything you are commanded to do, including supporting the leadership, you will not get into the Temple, not get into the highest levels of mormon heaven, etc. So, according the mormonic theology, you will be judged individually based on your conforminity to the morg collectives rules. You can argue semantics, but in practical terms, you are not some kind of free agent, apart from the rules of the morg that are not found anywhere in mormonic scripture. Perhaps you are a rogue? :-)
“My chances of getting married probably aren’t that great. Do I feel as though I can’t get into the highest level of Heaven because I don’t have a husband? Nope! Why? Because I have hope in Christ. He is the Way. “
Perhaps the newly minted mormonic male gods can divvy up the females who are unattached among themselves? My understanding is that polygamy is practiced in eternity by your male gods.
“We’re His children and He wants all of us to return back to Him.”
This concept of “return back to Him” is not Biblical.
Still, I appreciated your response.
Reading the story of this so called therapist is just like reading the msm news paper, half truths if not out right lies.
Is this guy preying on Mormon women or what?
In the first place any one who is brought up in a false Church will come to be a mixed up creature and some one who joins the same is most likely a little nutty to begin with.
Now why would a life long Mormon come up with this kind of a story if he really believed in his Church?
If he don,t believe in it and what he said is true instead of only half truth why would,nt he get the hell out of it?
Now i could pretend to believe what he says if i wanted to say ( See i knew that Mormon Church was evil ) but under the circumstances how could any one with half a mind believe what he says.
I lived in the Mormon community for years and was even married to a woman who became a Mormon and believe it or not the Mormon women want to rule the roost just as much or more than women from other denominations and my wife is not the only one i got this opinion from.
The difference is of course when the Mormon leaders teach something they teach it in a more serious way that does not sound like an Alice in wonder land tale which you can take it or leave it, truth or not.
If people take anything serious it is bound to have a different affect than things given with a shrug of the shoulders attitude as in many Churches.
Needless to say a false religion taken seriously will have a negative affect.
I have a nephew who was brought up in the Mormon Church, after he grew up and started reading the Bible for him self he publicly denounced the Church and left it, i was right proud of him, but i am not proud of any traitor as this guy who treated his wife like a second hand citizen for years and now is blaming the church.
Maybe part guilt for his own actions but i would suspect more financial.
I would think that people in a true Church would not have as many problems as those in a false Church but i do not know because i have saw very few that seemed to be teaching the doctrine of Christ but the ones i saw impressed me.
As far as false Churches go it would appear that the ones who took the doctrine the most serious would be where we would find the most depressed people.
Wonder what the out come if some therapist come up with the same kind of story but just change it from a Mormon to another denomination, might be interesting but it would still be half truths if not out right lies.
I have a question for you in all sincerity and without any judgement attached.
What was it that made you think or feel that you needed to do all those things in order to feel Godly, or as you wrote "show how successful, good and Godly we were"?
This topic intrigues me greatly. Probably because I've never experienced the pressure and I don't understand where it comes from. Every person's life experience is unique, so every person's story is valuable.
9 out of 10 doctors (outside of Utah) do not recommend taking bull manure as an anti-depressant.
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