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Dear Gramps,

I haven’t been exercising my faith lately and I started suffering from depression. I read that I can ask for a blessing, but I don’t feel worthy, not at all. So I wish I changed and know I need help, yet I don’t feel like I deserve the help.  And also, how can I help my husband to exercise his priesthood when he is as (in)active as I?

AnonyM

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Answer

 

Dear AnonyM,

Reading your letter, I couldn’t help but think of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  Remember the Pharisees and the scribes were complaining that the Savior “receiveth sinners and eateth with them” Luke 15:2.  It is interesting to note here that while these men who assumed themselves to be righteous thought the sinners should be shunned, Jesus did not.  In fact, He responded to them with three parables, apparently so they could not miss the point.

First, He gave them the parable of the lost sheep.  “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” Luke 15:4  Then the parable of the lost coin, “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Luke 15:8-10.   Then He reiterated His point a third time by giving the Parable of the Prodigal Son (also found in Luke 15).

The Prodigal Son, like you, felt unworthy to ask for his father’s help, but finally in desperation he did.  And notice the father’s response (remembering this was a lesson explaining why He, Himself, ate with sinners).   “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20  Notice his father didn’t stand back with arms crossed, taping his foot and waiting for the son to grovel.  As soon as he saw his son returning (the son had to make an effort, of course) the father ran to meet him and kiss him.

Perhaps, the Savior’s reason in repeating his message in three different forms was not so much so that the Pharisees and scribes would understand, but so that we, the sinners (for we are all sinners) would understand His love for us, and His desire for us to return to Him.  He loves you, and no matter how unworthy you feel, He wants you to return to Him.  He will run to you, but He won’t force you.  You have to reach out.

About your husband, there is a wonderful talk by Elder Brent H. Nielson that talks about what the family of the Prodigal Son should do while they are waiting.  I recommend the whole talk, but I will share this quote:

 “Some of you, like the Nielson family, have family members who have temporarily lost their way. The Savior’s instruction to all who have 100 sheep is to leave the ninety and nine and go after and rescue the one. His instruction to those who have 10 pieces of silver and lose one is to search until you find it. When the lost one is your son or your daughter, your brother or your sister, and he or she has chosen to leave, we learned in our family that, after all we can do, we love that person with all of our hearts and we watch, we pray, and we wait for the Lord’s hand to be revealed.” Waiting for the Prodigal (italics added)

 

The Lord loves you and He will welcome you back with open arms as soon as you turn to Him.  So absolutely, ask for a blessing.

About your depression, there is a wonderful and comforting talk by Elder Holland.  The whole talk is beautiful and I hope you will read it, but I will share this short quote now:

“If things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values. Be honest with them about your history and your struggles. Prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe. If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation.” Like a Broken Vessel

I know people how have been helped tremendously by therapy.

 

Gramps

 

 

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