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.”
Well, #1, I won't try to pretend I know how every Mormon applies grace vs. merit to their lives...but we can take a look at Book of Mormon passages and make a few surface conclusions:
Q. According to the Book of Mormon, who initiates grace -- man or God?
A. Per the BoM, Man does
Q. Where is that found?
A. Helaman 12:24 and 2 Nephi 25:23
And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS. (Hel. 12:24)
If grace is "merited" "according to...works" -- then, sorry, "grace" is no longer "free." It's been turned on its head & 100% redefined. (Just try teaching your kids to merit their birthday & Christmas "gifts" "according to their works.")
...for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, AFTER ALL WE CAN DO. (2 Nephi 25:23)
And here, grace only kicks in like some afterburner on a rocket after you've used all your own fuel to get to a certain location. Tell us, what Mormon would actually have the gall to say to God, "Lord, I've done EVERYTHING I could possibly do. Spiritually. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Relationally. Etc. I've 'initiated' it, Lord, for your grace" ???
So...it's no wonder both Mormon women -- as well as Mormon men -- put all of this misguided religious perfectionism as a big burden on their shoulders!
Secondly, Lds HEAVILY stress the word "worthy" ... as if they constantly need to find a way to become "worthy" in God's sight.
Worthiness is actually related to the word, "worship." And Jesus -- ALONE among men -- is "worth-ship" - able ... meaning He is the ONLY ONE found "worthy"...not only to be worshiped...but the ONLY ONE Heavenly Father finds worthy...At least in terms with living with Him -- all-holy -- forever!
God in His holy Word didn't say 'twas the obedience of the many that was the center point of the Gospel [that's the Mormon version & many other cults]...Here's what He said in contrast:
19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
Jesus' perfect obedience is what the standard of the Law called for...NONE of us could match up...Therefore, we need His righteousness imputed -- given -- to us (1 Cor. 1:30). Jesus ALONE is worthy -- and that worthiness is based upon Him as the Lamb of God being slain (see Rev. 5:9 in my previous post).
Now...how else is this distorted by the Lds concept of worthiness and sweat labor?
Q According to Mormon writings, what makes you "worthy?"
A Your perfection (3 Nephi 12:48; Mt. 5:48)
[Whereas, in contrast, a good definition of a "Christian" is someone already perfect in the Father's eyes thru Jesus sacrificial death (Heb. 10:14) -- where His perfect righteousness is substituted for our imperfect righteousness. (1 Cor. 1:30). Heb. 10:14: ...because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.]
We are perfect due to Christ's sacrifice, says Heb. 10:14.
Just to be sure I was representing the Mormon position, I looked up this key Lds concept of "worthiness" in the 1977 "Topical Guide to the Scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" published by church-owned Deseret Publishers.
I found verses like Doctrine & Covenants 59:4: "And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time--they that are faithful and diligent before me."
"Commandments not a few"? -- sounds like a long checklist to me.
I then looked at the 1979 "Topical Guide" in the Lds version of its KJV -- and turned to the "worthiness" entry there: It tells me right up top its related to the concept of "qualifying for" & then proceeds to verses like D&C 31:5: "Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live."
Ah. There it is: The Mormon "strategy." Don't "trust" another's blood-death sacrifice for your salvation; no..."thrust in your sickle"
So it sounds like the Mormon god wants plenty of soul labor
-- paid labor
-- garden sweat
-- spiritual hirelings
-- earned labor
No free gifts here.
No grace here.
Just follow the rules, ma'am.
Indeed, the LDS are the "rules oriented" ones: The purity and perfection we seek is unattainable without this subjection of unworthy, ungodlike urges and the corresponding encouragement of their opposites. We certainly cannot expect the rules to be easier for us than for the Son of God... (Lds 13th "prophet" Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 28)
Just look @ all the "rule extensions" Lds have imposed upon their followers in order to live forever with Heavenly father:
(1) You have to be obedient to all the commandments & ordinances of the Mormon god
(2) You have to tithe -- what Lds reference as the "Law of consecration"
(3) You have to obey the "Word of Wisdom" -- not drink coffee, etc.
(4) You have to get married -- sorry, no never-married single people allowed
(5) You have to have as many children as possible
(6) You have to perform temple work for the dead
(7) You have to perform endowments essential for this highest degree of salvation
(8) You have to be a member of the right church (Lds)
(9) You have to receive & perform the rites and ordinances established by that church
(10)You have to have Joseph Smith's consent to enter into your highest afterlife
That is 19th-20th-21st century legalism!
No wonder depression is so rampant!!!
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.
At the same time if you think that this is really a problem you should figure out if the problem is just with the attitude of the average woman in todays world or if the problem is the Church.
I was going to suggest that you read and reread every word of what Jesus said and dwell on it and to even follow the path to the cross where he was slain as the lamb of God and see how much of it you can recognize in your Church.
But i see you have read about Jesus and as you say he is what this is all about to begin with.
There seems to be a LOT of simple words from history that are forgotten:
"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned;
and I will go still further and say, take this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord has given,
and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be damned.
Brigham Young - JoD 3:266 (July 14, 1855)