This episode of the Church News podcast features anxiety — a problem that impacts all of us at certain times in our life, but that we often do not discuss with others. Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences. Each of us feel different levels of anxiety. But when those feelings become ever constant, they can interfere with our lives or the lives of those we love. A Church resource can help individuals and families dealing with anxiety. It’s called Life Help. Life Help is available on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and in the Gospel Library app.
Host Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News editor, is joined by Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, a General Authority Seventy who oversees Life Help, Sister Carol Costley of the Young Women general advisory council, who is also a social worker with a background in mental health, and G. Sheldon Martin, the manager of special topics in the Priesthood and Family Department and a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in issues impacting members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sarah Jane Weaver: I'm Sarah Jane Weaver, editor of the Church News. Welcome to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In this podcast, we’ll talk about a problem that impacts all of us at certain times in our life, but that we often do not discuss with others. And that’s anxiety. Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences. Each of us feel different levels of anxiety. But when those feelings become ever constant, they can interfere with our lives or the lives of those we love. On this Church News podcast, we’re going to talk about this pressing and important issue and a church resource that can help individuals and families dealing with anxiety. It’s called Life Help. Life help is available online and in the Gospel library app.
Today we welcome Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis [a General Authority Seventy] who oversees Life Help, Sister Carol Costley of the Young Women general advisory council, who is also a social worker with a background in mental health, and G. Sheldon Martin, the manager of special topics in the Priesthood and Family Department and a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in issues impacting members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Welcome, everyone. And thank you so much for taking some time to discuss this important topic with us.
Group: Thank you, thank you for the opportunity.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Before we start, I’d also like to give a disclaimer: The purpose of this podcast is not to dispense medical advice or prescribe any type of therapy. We just want to have a conversation about anxiety and other mental health issues and resources. So let’s jump right in and start. Elder Aidukaitis, can you tell us a little bit about what anxiety is?
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis: Well, I guess anxiety can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. To feel uneasy, apprehensive, nervous or worried in some degree during moments of our life should be considered as normal, part of our mortal journey. But all of this should not be confused with a clinical diagnosis of anxiety. And I believe that there are principles and various types of support that can be obtained from different sources, and that can be applied to all of these different circumstances. Perhaps during our conversation today, we'll be able to address some of these helps that are available today.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Brother Martin, let's jump right to you. You've had a lot of experience and you have seen how anxiety or emotional distress can impact Latter-day Saints of all ages and backgrounds and experiences. Can you share with us how worry or anxiety or emotional distress can impact us, especially when it comes to our church experiences?
G. Sheldon Martin: As Elder Aidukaitis has mentioned, anxiety or worry can be on a spectrum where we all worry to some level in our lives, and that can even at times be a healthy emotion. And it can also be on the other end of the spectrum, where it is a medical clinical diagnosis. But when we think about the church experience, if we were to simplify and to say worry, what could be worrisome about the church experience? Someone might be worried of what others think of them when they show up to church. Others might be worried about their standing before the Lord, and maybe not even their spiritual feelings of standing, but it’s grown into an obsession and excessiveness of perfectionism. Maybe their worry could be being away from home alone or going on a mission or meeting with a leader in an interview. The opportunity for someone to feel worried, I guess there are many, and we just need to probably be cognizant that because we all experience it. Being aware of it could be very helpful as we minister one to another.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Great. And Sister Costley, as a member of the Young Women general advisory council, you serve a segment of society that is often impacted by anxiety. In fact, Pew Research Center has identified a greater risk of anxiety and depression for teenage girls. A 2019 study found that teenage girls are three times more likely as teenage boys to have recent experiences with depression or anxiety. What insights can you share with us or experiences have you had as you have worked with the young women of the Church?
Sister Carol Costley: One thing that’s really interesting with young women, with anyone who comes to church, they often come to experience a spiritual or social connection. They want to feel a sense of belonging, find people that they can identify with. And when this does not happen, because of anxiety issues or other mental health conditions, this can worsen the problem, especially when they’re looking around and perceiving that others are fitting in and they are not. That’s something that I think a lot of people feel that they’re not quite meeting a specific standard.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Aidukaitis, I want to jump back to you. Can you share some of your insights or experiences or personal things that you felt as you have contemplated this issue of anxiety?
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis: Well, I was thinking here, as I was hearing the other participants, that it is quite normal in life, I think, to go through strong feelings from time to time. And many have said that change is often a trigger to these feelings. And change can come from various directions. Or they may be associated with, you know, a change in health or location or friendships or workplace or responsibilities or family circumstances, etc. And I believe we should be, at all times, be aware of this, so that we are not caught by surprise. And we should continuously look for signs that indicate if help is needed.
You know, I wish I knew this many years ago, when I think I went through a big change in my life through a certain very short period of time, several things changed at once. This is a, you know, a personal thing. But at that time, my wife was pregnant, and it was a pregnancy at high risk of losing the child. We had a family member with a serious health issue. At my work, my responsibilities were very great. We were working on a project that was extremely important for the company and with a very steep penalty if we couldn’t get it running by a certain date. And then at the same time, I was a stake president who had the responsibilities that that brings. I, unfortunately, at that time, I did not look at the signs. I’d begun worrying too much about some of these things that developed into things that were much stronger, and at the end, I became depressed. That was a very tough period in my life, very dark period of my life. I wish I had been able to find help much sooner, in order to prevent this from happening. And fortunately, the Lord blessed me in a way that I was able to recover. It took a long time. But I finally was able to. People who need help should look for help. And we should look for small signs of nervousness, of concern, of emotional distress, so that if possible, we prevent these things from developing further in the way that it happened to me, for example.
Sarah Jane Weaver: You know, we all have so many responsibilities in the Church, and so many responsibilities in our communities and with our families. Brother Martin, can you talk about some of this and how this sort of sneaks up on us? After working with those who struggle with anxiety, and possibly like all of us do, dealing with it yourself, what are some of the thoughts you have right now?
G. Sheldon Martin: Well, because of the doctrine and the gospel that we believe in, because of the Fall, we all are in a mortal situation. And that comes with mortal bodies, mortal hearts, lungs, brains and bones. And at times, I think we become excited and energized, and we want to do a good job in all the requests that we may receive in life. And at times, we may learn through hard experience that we’re unable to meet all of the demands that make it onto our list. And so we have to look and have an ability, I would say first of all, to have inspired neglect — to recognize that we’re not going to be all things to all people and all items at all times, that we can be disciples of Christ and strive to be what He wants us to, but that that does not mean that we have to complete every potential to-do item on the list. Some things just won’t get done. And I think learning earlier than later, to be OK with that, is a struggle that we all face. I have found that with anxiety, often, we will care too much what others think, or take situations in life and make them larger than they might be. And those two areas, I think we have the potential to, through the gospel and through professional resources, increase hope and get help.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I love that term inspired neglect. I think I want to use that more often. Sister Costley, talk about how this has impacted you and especially things that you want young women to know about anxiety.
Sister Carol Costley: What I’d like the young women to know about anxiety is that it is a real thing. And we recognize that it is a real issue, and we want to be sensitive to that. Children and youth feel a lot of pressure to succeed in every single aspect of their lives. They want to do dance, they want to do well in school, they want to have all of these different activities that they want to do well at. At the same time, there’s a lot of pressure from social media, and what they’re seeing and reading and experiencing. There’s a constant need to be connected. Social media is filled with some very false realities about our appearance, the lives that we live compared to the lives of others. And we can spread ourselves so thin trying to achieve all that we need to achieve, and get kind of lost in that. And so what I’d like young women to understand is that every once in a while, I think it’s important to take a step back, take a breath, and to really look at what’s important, and what they can do through prayer, through tapping into the specific spiritual tools that we have, like reading our scriptures and praying and not putting as much pressure on themselves to be accomplished in every aspect of their life.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I was so interested, Elder Aidukaitis, by your story, and by your willingness to share it with us. So often, we don’t even know where to turn when these feelings hit us or, or when we find ourselves being anxious. Was that part of the problem with your experience?
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis: Totally, totally. I, actually at the time, tried looking, for example, to see if the Church had any resources, but the Church was too incipient back then and didn’t have much. I really did not know where to turn. That’s why I think this conversation today may be so helpful, because today, there are more resources available. And the sooner we understand where to go — either as one that is going through a difficult time, or one that is seeing a loved one going through a difficult time — that is tremendously positive, because then we can receive good, insightful principles that may be very effective to help those in stressful situations. I wish I could have found those back when I was going through this period of time. I wish Life Help existed back then.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and let's talk about that. The Church does have a new resource that can help all of us. Brother Martin, can you detail some of the Life Help resource for us?
G. Sheldon Martin: You bet. And I love that you mentioned it as a resource. Because ultimately, what we hope with some of these resources is that it inspires individuals to turn to the source, that we turn to the Lord for strength, and we rely on other people. And the main objective of this Life Help area is to increase hope and to provide practical helps. That should never overshadow or neglect the role of professionals that we have on ground and the individuals that can help us in this area. You can find the Life Help resources on the Gospel Library app, and also on the web. And there’s a variety of things that you could find there — anything from employment, to resources as a parent to help teach your children regarding media safety. Or if you want to have a family home evening lesson on avoiding pornography, there’s a resources there. There are a variety of resources to turn to that we’ve tried to pull together from multiple places for two major objectives: increase someone’s hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ and to provide practical helps in knowing where to turn and knowing what they could do to take a step forward.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Great. And these resources, because they're translated into so many languages, are available to 98% of the membership of the Church, correct?
G. Sheldon Martin: Yes, most of the resources were intentionally kept principle-based and simple and straightforward, but very helpful. And then translated, so that we can offer it to as many of the Saints as we can worldwide. So they are translated, depends on the topic on how much the translation is completed, but ultimately, 98% of the members of the Church will have access to these resources on their phone or on the web.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Sister Costley, talk to us about how these resources can be used to help other people.
Sister Carol Costley: What I think is really helpful is the education. The resources can be used to educate leaders who are working with children and youth, and adults, so they can understand what is out there, where they can direct people if they come with a question or a concern. We can expose them to what’s on the site. And I think once they are heard, and they are directed to a place where they can get help, the healing process can begin, even though it’s different for everyone. No journey is the same. And so I think that it really is important for them to get on the website, listen to some of the videos and get a feel for people that are experiencing similar things, and get directed to resources within the community that they can access in the event that they have an experience where they’re by themselves or they need to reach out. So the thing I like about the website is that there are a lot of different topics and specific helps and direction for people.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And Brother Martin, these can actually help strengthen families as well, right?
G. Sheldon Martin: Absolutely. The resources are often prepared for different types of audiences: the individual who has the question, families or parents who have questions for their families. And also, there are resources for spouses in certain situations to support another. So you could think of Life Help in two major categories: help for me and help supporting someone else. And those resources are there for both of those purposes.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Aidukaitis, what do you hope will happen as people utilize these resources and take advantage of these helps?
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis: First of all, we can never forget that life is a test. And so to be tested to have these feelings, to have these challenges, should not surprise us. But what I think I would like to help is that people will notice sooner because of these available helps that we have, that they will be able to identify where they're at, and be able to resolve the issue in a proper manner without letting it developed in a way that may be only with professional help, you could resolve it later. That's what I would hope for.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And Brother Martin, so often we think we have to be perfect in the Church or that, that following the Savior Jesus Christ should make us so that we never make any mistakes. How can people approach their service in the Church, their life, all of their own mortal experiences? And how can Life Help help them view it through a more positive lens?
G. Sheldon Martin: I believe that in the gospel and in life, one of the healthiest principles we can come to understand is growth or progression or movement. And growth requires that there will be some pain along the way. If I was physically trying to get in better shape, there would be a little bit of discomfort that would lead to growth. And I think that it is very important that we focus on the key messages of striving to become as the Savior, that we are on the road, and we want direction first and velocity second. And as President [Henry B.] Eyring said “We try, try, try.” The healthiest thing I think we could maybe do for our emotional and mental wellness is that we resolve that we’re going to stick to it. We’re going to build some resilience and some grit and just keep moving down that road. I think that’s what the Lord wants us to do as well, in my very humble opinion. President [Russell M.] Nelson has spoken about repentance recently, and an emphasis on change. And it’s a newness, it is moving forward. Many times, I believe, members, and individuals in life, live their life as if it were a play, and the objective was to never make a mistake. I think if we switch that and thought of life more like a fitness center, and the objective was to grow, we might approach situations differently. So growth, I think, and striving are the keys.
Sarah Jane Weaver: I really liked that idea of resilience and grit and improving each day. Sister Costley, talk to us about how you think we can help our youth embrace some of these principles.
Sister Carol Costley: I think that if we could get our youth to understand perfectionism through an eternal lens, and that it's not a place that we will arrive at while we're here on Earth, and that it's something that we're striving for, to feel comfortable, making mistakes and having weaknesses, and being encouraged by opportunities to set goals and to change and to learn from the mistakes that they might make. I think that we could do better at moving away from reinforcing perfectionistic tendencies or behaviors of parents as we work with our children, and support them in having opportunities to correct mistakes and setting goals to change behavior, instead of focusing on getting everything just right. And I know I sometimes, as a parent, want things done a certain way, and sometimes I have a tendency to reinforce that behavior with my children. And so just to step back, and to allow a child to be OK with mistakes, and together work out how we're going to correct a mistake, or make the changes so that something that we don't want to have happen, doesn't happen again. But make that a natural part of life. This is what life is about. Life is about growing and changing, and becoming better, but not necessarily perfect.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Can you talk to us about how some of these things can impact families, especially when we look at the perspective between parents and youth?
Sister Carol Costley: I think from a parent perspective, our view is sometimes clouded because we have a story that we’ve prewritten for our children. Listening and validating really is the key because it helps give us perspective and a clear view of their life, from how they see it. Hearing the person’s story or hearing their child’s story increases your understanding and allows them to be heard. It’s easy to sometimes be dismissive, or to make snap judgments. But dismissals and snap judgments are never helpful and can drive a wedge in a relationship and take much more time to repair. Parents can practice listening and confirm that they are hearing their child by clarifying their understanding so that the child feels hurt. And don’t be afraid to offer an apology, or to request a do-over. I really believe that as we pray to identify goals to help them with their challenges, we will be able to be a resource, in addition to the Savior, in their lives. As parents, it’s so easy to personalize and to take the blame, and then we lose sight of how we can best help our children.
Sarah Jane Weaver: As I’ve dealt with some of these issues in my own family and within myself, we learned from one counselor that we sought for help that you cannot have influence without a relationship. How important is it to maintain relationships with our children?
Sister Carol Costley: It's critical. Because once that relationship is damaged, you can't maintain communication. You can't be a positive part of that healing with that child. And that's why it's really important to be comfortable with stepping back and saying “I am sorry, can we try this again?” and to be willing to be vulnerable about your shortcomings or about areas in which you've messed up in providing the support. And so that relationship is key. It's a relationship that you will need to openly share and discuss some very hard feelings when things are difficult.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and Elder Aidukaitis, you've been a leader in the Church in a variety of roles — from serving as a young missionary in Brazil, to being a regional welfare agent, and a stake president, a mission president and now a General Authority. What advice do you have for leaders or ministering brothers and sisters in regards to what they can do for others who find themselves in a place where they're struggling with anxiety?
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis: I believe a trusted mentor is key for everyone. So first of all, I would say that all of us should allow for trusted mentors to be part of our lives. A ministering brother or a ministering sister definitely fits in that category. We are all used to the concept of having mentors in our lives. And when we face apprehensions, uneasiness is of any kind, trusted mentors can be of a great help. We are used to that.
For example, here in the United States, when youth want to get a driver's license, a trusted mentor, with an authorized license, accompanies him when he's learning how to drive and this gives him direction. I'm going through that very system right now with my son, who wants to get a driver's license. At first, he was terrified of driving into the freeway. But then as he learned, and as he grew, now, he is feeling a lot more comfortable with that challenge.
Let me amuse you with another example, a personal example. Last week, I went skiing. Now for you in Utah, this is no issue, right? Everybody here is born with skis on their feet. But I was born in Brazil. And so the first time I skied in my life was 7 years ago. And I did it only twice. I went twice, because I was assigned here. And I took the opportunity and went skiing twice. I started on the bunny slopes, and then I was able to move to the green slopes. Now, I was transferred back to Brazil, seven years later and back. And I said, “You know what, I’m old, but maybe I can learn how to ski.” So I hired a mentor, a ski instructor. And we went straight to the green slopes. And she was teaching me things that I did not know. I felt more confident to the point that she said, “You know what, I think we can move to a blue slope.” And I was excited about my progress. And I said, “Let’s go for it.” But when I got to the top of the mountain, I appreciated that the view was magnificent. But when I saw the slope I needed to go down, I was terrified. I was really mortified. But I had a trusted mentor. That ski instructor just said, “Hey, you will do great. Remember to do this and that and we will do it.” So I followed her counsel and direction and made it down, not in the stretcher, actually on the skis. So when you have a trusted mentor, those can help you a lot. I cannot think of a more trusted mentor than a ministering brother or a ministering sister.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I just had a child learn to drive as well. I wish I could have had my ministering brother or sister help with that task. It did require a lot of patience.
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis: You know, when we are invited to be ministering brothers or sisters, we’re really being invited to be that in the Savior’s way, how He was. And the way I think in my mind is that this is an invitation for us to become like the Savior. And as ministering brothers and sisters, then be extremely aware to the promptings of the Spirit without being inconvenient, of course. But be sensitive to the Spirit in order to be able to identify opportunities to act on behalf of those around us. It could be people that we are assigned officially, or it could be other people. And a scripture comes to my mind, as I say this, which is found in Acts. It’s referring to that episode where Paul has a dream, and he dreams of this Macedonian individual who is asking for help. And in his dream, the Macedonian says, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us” (Acts 16:9-10). I do think there are many people around us that are praying that very prayer today, “come over and help us.” And I wish we would be in tune with the Spirit, so that we may feel it and immediately act on it.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Brother Martin, let's talk about that — this need for patience during these times and compassion and empathy.
G. Sheldon Martin: It’s important to think about the environment and the soil of someone’s soul, I think, if they’re asking you to help and to be a mentor. In my experience, many times, someone might even have an idea of what they need to do, but they fear doing it. I think this could be a wonderful role as a mentor because they’re going to still need someone to listen, to encourage, show love, that’s going to be part of their growth. And so many times, in complicated situations, I think ministering brothers and sisters or others and family think “I don’t know what to do” and maybe they neglect some of the most effective things they could do and they’re things that they already know how to do. And that’s to listen and to learn, and to be compassionate. We should never minimize the role and importance of medical treatment, and professionals and providers, and the role that the Savior can uniquely play in someone’s life. And so with those types of pillars, we’re often in a position where we can support and listen and encourage. As Elder Aidukaitis has mentioned, to provide some next steps, when it’s appropriate, and to help guide and lead. In a sense, a mentor could remove the pressure, that this is not their situation to entirely solve. They may just need to walk the path alongside. And that’s a very important role for someone to play.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and that's a role that's even important for our youth. So often, young people just need a friend or someone to listen. We've asked our youth leaders, Sister Costley, to sort of lead out, with young men, young women in planning activities and seeking inspiration and revelation for things that will help those in their groups and in their quorums. Talk about how youth can be a support to one another.
Sister Carol Costley: Youth think can be a support to one another because they know what each other is going through. Something that I found with my children, I have two daughters that are still in the Young Women’s program. And the other day, I was talking to my daughter who came home for lunch. And she expressed that she wasn’t feeling very well. And without hesitation, she just started to describe her symptoms to me, and request that I make an appointment for her to go to the doctor. And I cannot wait for the day that seeking help for anxiety or any other mental health condition is commonplace. And I think that the youth can get there a lot quicker than we can, as adults, with one another. They’re very open with each other. They talk and have similar experiences. And they’re comfortable sharing. And what I’ve noticed is as we have stepped back and let them take charge and do some of the things on their own, they have great ideas. They have great insight, and they are willing and wanting to do things. They are just waiting for us to step back and allow them that space to do what they need to do. And so I think that youth can take charge. They can get involved and create programs or support for their peers.
It was really interesting, we had a group of young men who in our ward saw a need to increase our involvement in temple work. And so what they did was they planned a whole activity for the entire ward to do indexing. They made it a competition and implemented this plan and had some due dates and everything. It was highly successful. And this was an idea for them. And so I think that as we have rolled out this new Children and Youth program with the emphasis on the youth being the ones that lead out, they can and will take charge. And implement programs and supports in living the Gospel that will be beneficial to not just their peers, but to other members in the ward as well, to the adult members in the ward as well, and the young children.
Sarah Jane Weaver: This is a time when our youth are becoming so resilient. Brother Martin, it's a time that's been stressful for young people, as they've had to deal with disappointment and unfulfilled expectations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. They've had to learn a lot of flexibility. How have the past 10 months impacted so much about anxiety and our youth?
G. Sheldon Martin: Well, I think it has definitely had an impact on many. I know that even in my life, when a routine is altered, so dramatically, just that experience can cause us to approach problems, meeting new solutions, and navigating life can feel overwhelming. For many of our youth, it's been very disappointing to have dances or sports canceled, or their camps that they're so used to having in the summertime. And so there's some disappointment. You've mentioned in the interview, Children and Youth. This is an area where, when we think about it more as an outcome, not a program, we might be able to have some wonderful growth during this time.
And I'll share an example. Instead of having long-term goals that feel really big and really overwhelming in a time when we don't know if we'll be in school the next month or not, one great indicator for emotional and mental wellness is very short-term goals, to build momentum and build that sense of moving forward and accomplishment. I think it would be perfectly appropriate for the youth to simplify some of those goals, try to grow and new areas that they have never been able to explore before because the world has changed for them. I think as adults and leaders, we need to recognize that this for our youth has been more impactful than maybe any other group. That their high school experience, their junior high experience, the children — this is such a unique time. Every month, there are changes. And so I think that if we can help them focus on the here and now, what can we do this week, to build a sense of growth and moving forward with what we know, as opposed to setting long-term goals where we don't know all of the indicators, and then just being disappointed again, over and over again.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Yeah, and it is a time when so many of us are feeling isolated as well. So being able to connect to one another, and to some of these resources that the Church has, is so important. Brother Martin, can you give us one more summary of what Life Help is, how people can use it and where they can find it?
G. Sheldon Martin: You bet. Life Help is designed to increase hope to individuals, parents, and others, families and leaders, and to give them helps, practical ways to move forward with specific circumstances and experiences in life. On the app, you can go to the Gospel Library app. There’s a little icon there that says Life Help. There’s many resources there. On the web, it is on ChurchofJesusChrist.org under Life Help. And it’s easy to remember LifeHelp.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. And those resources are there, intended to leverage these relationships among families and others so that we can increase hope and feel that we’re getting the help that we need.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And you have to have learned a thing or two as you've worked to develop these resources. Is there something that you know now that you didn't know before you started this project?
G. Sheldon Martin: Yes, absolutely. One is that, at times, the simpler, the better, especially with how we approach some of these topics. If something feels so overwhelming that we don’t even know where to start, then that also inhibits our growth. So we are trying to inspire hope quickly. And right away. There is a category there for employment. When you go there, there are resources right in front of you to connect with a job coach local in your area, or how to build a resume. When you go to another topic, such as mental health, there will be some principles, and then here are some strategies you can do right now, you start right now. And those resources, I would say simpler, the better and they’re desired. We have found that members of the Church find that these are helpful, and that they like sharing them with others, which is very validating for what we're trying to do.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And Sister Costley, what have you learned in this process?
Sister Carol Costley: I think the thing that I've learned in this process is that hard things may not go away completely. But with the help of Christ, the load can be lightened. I feel like with the resources that are out there now for people to access, they can read things privately if that's where they're at and they're not quite ready to speak out and share with someone else. I've learned that these resources can really help people. I know of people that have gone to the site and have used it or found out more about what it is that they're experiencing. And I had one woman tell me this, and she had gone through a very traumatic divorce and was in a lot of pain. And this is what she told me. She said that “When I aligned myself with Christ, I experienced the tiniest flashes of joy. And the very fact that I could feel this emotion,” it gave her hope for future. And she said that she needed her Savior so badly that she sought to stay close to Him. And she realized that just doing a little bit at a time was enough. And then the atoning process met her partway, the grace of God met her partway. And she said that although the joy was fleeting in the darkest moments of her life, she was grateful that she could even feel that again.
And I think that what is happening with the material that's out there is that people are finding scriptures, they're finding stories that are supporting and helpful to them, and give them a direction to go when they're at a loss of where they need to go. And I recognize that feeling because there have been times in my life where I've really felt like I was at the end of my rope, and I needed help. And I think finding that help was very freeing. And so I think that what I've learned is that getting help is freeing. It helps us to refocus. It gives us a better perspective. And so that's what I've learned, that the information that's out there now is very helpful for those who are seeking and looking.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Aidukaitis, we have a tradition at the Church News podcast, and it's that we give our guests the last word. And so today, I'd like to end with you. We like to ask the question that I have already posed twice: What is it that you know now after contemplating the issues of anxiety? And what do you know now as you think about the Church providing resources that can help those that do deal with this important issue?
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis: Thank you very much. Well, first of all, I now know that help is at our fingertips, literally. We can access it from wherever we are, if we have a smart device close to us. I also know now that in a deeper way, that the greatest mentor that we have is indeed our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. And He knows these feelings in a personal way. We shouldn’t forget that. He took upon himself our infirmities. He suffered what we are suffering in a very personal way. So He understands how to succor hHs people according to their infirmities. And He has also provided direction that perhaps could help us avoid some of these distresses, if possible. I’m thinking of a paragraph found in the proclamation to the family, which indicates that “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities,” which many times we forget. I wish I knew back many years ago when I went through a very difficult time in my life what I know today: the Lord is on our side. He has given us weaknesses that we may be humble and become stronger unto them. And if we follow the principles and directions found in Life Help and in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are bound to resolve most of the issues in our lives.
Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host, Church News editor, Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you’ve learned something today about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window. Thanks to our guests, to my producer KellieAnn Halvorsen and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channel or with other news and updates about the Church on TheChurchNews.com.