Sunday, January 26, 2014

Medications, Illness, God, and Diet

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Mormon Quorum of the...
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Mormon Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)
Today in Relief Society, our lesson was on Elder Jeffery R. Holland's Fall 2013 Conference Talk regarding mental health and the spirit. I, like 100% of the other church members across the globe, look forward to his talks above most of the other general authorities. And this time, he again, did not disappoint.

However, there is something about church members' reception of this talk that bothers me, and I want to address it. Now, I'm going to disclose right now that I'm not trying to be insensitive or unfeeling in what I have to say. Having a family member who struggles with Epilepsy, I know the difficulties of physical limitations in that regard. And I'm fully aware that there are illnesses and trials that we may go through that don't have a "quick fix" or "just stop being sad" resolution.

That being said, I feel like a lot of people heard this talk, read it again, and study it in class and come to the conclusion of "it's inevitable. I, and others like me, are dealing with depression, multiple sclerosis, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, high blood pressure, cancer, fibromyalgia, lupus, anxiety, and many other physical ailments . . . and it's okay. As long as I face the issue, take my medication, and lean on Christ, I'll be blessed through this trial."

And that really bothers me.

Again, don't get me wrong, I truly, truly believe that these are not issues to brush off. They need serious help. But with all due respect to what people think Elder Holland was talking about . . . it's not about medicating. Even he said, "If we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill."

But what does it take to be well? I'm afraid that many of us feel like being well consists of continuing to regularly take our medications, eating a "well-balanced" diet of meats, dairy, veggies and the lie that is low-carb, and taking a 30 minute walk every day.

Studies, studies, studies, studies, studies, studies, and more studies have shown that every disease I listed above (depression, MS, postpartum, SAD, high blood pressure, cancer, fibromyalgia, lupus, anxiety, etc.) can be prevented and treated with a plant-based whole foods diet (aka. The Word of Wisdom -- or the way God intends for us to eat). And these are not tales of "I finally have learned how to cope," these are stories of "I got rid of what hung over my head."

Yes, these illnesses are serious. They are not cured with just service towards your neighbor. They aren't cured with working harder and working out. They aren't cured with positive thoughts, prayer alone, or simple faith. They require a fix. Not a medicated mask, but a fix.

And again, I truly hope that you readers don't think I'm judgmental or uncaring. I know that there are even serious mental illness that can not be cured or completely cured.

But so much of it can. And we spend so many of our days "dealing with it." Coping. Trying to find that one shred of strength to get through another day -- when there is a possibility of being set free from the illness and/or the symptoms.

Like I said above, I have a family member who struggles with Epilepsy, and needs to be medicated daily as a protection to the individual, as well as the people around them. Yes, there are cases that are severe enough to require the blessings of modern medicine (I'm not a hippie, remember? I believe in the benefits and blessings of both worlds). In our day in age, however, I also feel we rely too heavily on the "pill fix."

Again, there are times where everything is crumbling around us and real depression can nearly tear us apart.

Life isn't easy.

But are we doing all we can to alleviate the pain?

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  1. I agree. I think one thing that would help people is to eat enough leafy greens each day (have you seen this?: I will have to check out all the "studies" links. :)

  2. Thank heaven something happened to prevent me from going to RS this past week!!!! To say I was absolutely devastated by that talk when it was first given is an understatement! An understatement because I knew that 25 years of my hard work to teach the Saints to stop relying on the Arm of Flesh and turn to God instead was destroyed in that one talk!

    Why? How?

    After working with those on antidepressants for 25 years now I knew his words would be used as an excuse to use drugs to force the body, (Satan's plan) rather than to nourish the body (God's plan). I explain that fully in this article written several years ago for the newsletter of a dear Christian minister friend of mine, Rev. George Malkmus. The article "Spirituality and Sorcery" can be found here:

    From the day I first read his book "Why Christians Get Sick" I have said it should be required reading in the Church!

    Few members are aware at all of Dr. Candace Pert, yet they should be. Elder Holland should be. Dr. Pert was one of the two scientists who discovered the serotonin binding process that made antidepressants possible. And she publicly came out against these drugs in October of 1997 in TIME magazine. She boldly stated: “I am alarmed at the monster that Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon Snyder and I created when we discovered the simple binding assay for drug receptors 25 years ago. Prozac and other antidepressant serotonin-receptor-active compounds may also cause cardiovascular problems in some susceptible people after long-term use, which has become common practice despite the lack of safety studies.

    “The public is being misinformed about the precision of these selective serotonin-uptake inhibitors when the medical profession oversimplifies their action in the brain and ignores the body as if it exists merely to carry the head around! In short, these molecules of emotion regulate every aspect of our physiology. A new paradigm has evolved, with implications that life-style changes such as diet and exercise can offer profound, safe and natural mood elevation.”

    Dr. Pert served as a member of our Board of Directors at the International Coalition for Drug Awareness ( from that day until her death just a month before Elder Holland's talk or I am sure she would have given him a call to repeat her statement above basically bearing testimony of our Word of Wisdom. What a shame that non-members are doing a better job of standing for the truths of the Word of Wisdom than our own leaders!