Episode 37: Sister Aburto on mental, emotional health and the power of turning to the Savior for comfort

All of God’s children deal with ups and down, happiness and sadness, stormy seas and quiet calm. Some may also deal with depression and anxiety and need to seek help.

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, joins this episode of the Church News podcast to discuss mental and emotional health and the power of turning to the Savior for comfort, learning from the scriptures and seeking professional help.

Born in Nicaragua, Sister Aburto moved to the United States as a young adult and met Latter-day Saint missionaries. The gospel led her to greater happiness and an eternal family. In April 2017, she was sustained to the Relief Society general presidency. In that capacity, she has spoken out about mental and emotional illness — including during her October 2019 general conference talk, “Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide with Me.”

Emotions are just part of the soul of all human beings, she said. “They are with us all day, every day. And sometimes for us, it is very hard to really understand them or to manage them.”

Subscribe to the Church News podcast on Apple PodcastsAmazonGoogle PodcastsStitcherSpotifybookshelf PLUS or wherever you get podcasts.

Transcription

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 with leaders, members and others on the Church News team. We end each Church News podcast by giving our guests the last word and the opportunity to answer the very important question: “What do you know now?” We hope each of you will also be able to answer the same question and say, “I have just been listening to the Church News podcast, and this is what I know now.”

In all of our lives, we each deal with ups and downs, happiness and sadness, stormy seas and quiet calm; but there are also times for some of us when those things, including depression and anxiety and other aspects of mental and emotional health, become something more. Today for the Church News podcast we are joined by Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the general Relief Society presidency. She gave a talk in general conference titled “Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide With Me!” In the talk, she discussed the reality of recognizing these different types of mental health illnesses in ourselves and in others and in the power of turning to the Savior for comfort. Sister Aburto is no stranger to life’s storms. Born in Nicaragua, her childhood was rocked by earthquakes and political upheaval. As a young adult, she moved to the United States and met missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The gospel led her to greater happiness and an eternal family. She was sustained in April 2017 to the general presidency of the Relief Society. In that capacity, she has given more than one talk about mental and emotional illness. Sister Aburto, I am so glad that we get to talk about this important topic today. Welcome to the Church News podcast. 

2:09

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Thank you so much, Sarah Jane. I’m so excited to be here and I am so grateful for the opportunity, so thank you for inviting me. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I hope we can just jump right in and have you tell us why mental health is such an important thing to talk about.

2:26

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Well, because I think that as human beings, emotions are just part of our soul. They are with us all day, every day. Sometimes for us, it’s very hard to really understand them or to manage them, and mental issues, problems with our mental health are so prevalent, and so universal, they can affect anybody anywhere, and especially now with the pandemic and with all the things that we are going through the last year and a half, it seems like that these problems have increased and they are worse in many people, and so, it is important for us to just open up and talk about them, because they are part of our life, and also because we can find ways to help each other. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: You know, the Church’s website, churchofjesuschrist.org, actually states that mental health challenges can impact anyone regardless of education, geography, faith, what they may or may not be doing in the Church, or their family situation, and that we shouldn’t be ashamed of these things. Furthermore, I’ve learned that 1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by mental illness at some point in their life and that currently 16 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode. So you’re not a mental health professional, but you’ve learned something about these issues. Tell us how you came to study or think about some of these things. 

3:53

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Yes, I am not a professional in the field. What I have learned is because it has affected my family, it has affected me somehow, because I have gone through hard times in my life, and even though I think — maybe I’m wrong — that I have never suffered from clinical depression, but I have had my sad moments. I have had those moments in my life in which I had needed and still need the support of others. 

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, center, speaks during BYU Women's Conference on April 29, 2021. Sister Aburto, along with President Jean B. Bingham and Sister Sharon Eubank, emphasized the importance of belonging.
Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, center, speaks during BYU Women’s Conference on April 29, 2021. Sister Aburto, along with President Jean B. Bingham and Sister Sharon Eubank, emphasized the importance of belonging. Credit: Ryan Campbell, BYU Photo

So the ways that I learned more about it was because I tried to help my daughter. She was probably one of the first cases in my family that affected me personally and directly. As I saw her struggling and trying to understand what was happening with her, and trying to support her. I realized one day that I didn’t really know a lot about it, and that I needed to inform myself. So what I did that day, and it was after a night of struggle and prayer and sadness, the thought came to my mind the next morning. I just thought, “OK, I’m going to research this.” So I went to the Church website, and I started looking for talks from general conference or articles in the Liahona and different materials that helped me understand this. For me, it was very eye-opening, because I realized that I really didn’t know how prevalent it was, that the signs can be so subtle that sometimes it is around us, but we don’t really realize it, and how important it is for us to know the signs and to know how to help ourselves and how to help others. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I’m so glad that you talked about your daughter. My producer, KellieAnn, showed me a quote that you had shared, that your daughter said, where she said: “There was a time when I was extremely sad all the time. I always thought about that sadness and that it was something to be ashamed of and that it was a sign of weakness. So I kept the sadness to myself, I felt completely worthless.” How do we bring these issues and talk about them in families so that people don’t feel this way?

6:11

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Well, I think that the first thing is to be watchful. I remember in the later teen years in my daughter’s life, that she was withdrawn and she looked sad, and she didn’t really want to talk too much to us. I made the mistake of kind of keeping my distance because I wanted to give her her space. But I think that that was the wrong thing to do, I should have just reached out to her more, even if she, in a way, rejected me, to try to open the conversation and to build those bridges, and to ask, “Tell me how you’re feeling, tell me what you’re going through.” So I think that there is so much that we can do, and I think that if we are sensitive to the Spirit, if we pray to be able to help people, we will be guided to them. We will know when someone is suffering, we will know when they have a burden that they are carrying by themselves, and we will be able to open up with them and to ask them questions and to support them. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: What do the scriptures teach us about mental health? So often, that’s where we turn to as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when we’re seeking answers. 

7:23

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: If we really look at the scriptures as a source of inspiration — not just stories that happened many years ago, and that are distant from us — If we understand that all of these people that wrote the scriptures, the ones that we read about in the passages, that they were human beings trying to know what to do in every circumstance and that they really didn’t know what was going to happen. They were trying to look for help from God, and that their faith helped them through those struggles. I think that there’s so many examples. 

I just love reading the stories about the ministry of Jesus Christ. In there, we can see how He was always ministering to others, how He would ask questions to them, and He would listen to their answers, and then He would just give them enough so they could go, reach their own conclusions, and find their own solutions, and find that strength inside so that their faith and their belief, would allow them to overcome those issues. There are so many places in the scriptures. Again, the Lord, I think, is the best example on how to help people and how to listen to them and how to support them.

I talked about this in a recent general conference talk, about the experience that Mary Magdalene had when she was at the tomb of the Savior, and she went there because she wanted to keep ministering to Him. She went with some friends and they wanted to further prepare the body of the Lord. But when they got there, they realized that the body wasn’t there. 

Let’s just think about how she was feeling at that moment. After all those years following the Savior and learning from Him and feeling that sense of safety around Him, that sense of protection — then she saw how He was crucified. She saw how He died. I’m guessing that it must have been very hard for her and she was really weeping, not just because the body wasn’t there, but because of all the things that had happened. 

Then the Savior came to her, the resurrected Savior, and He asked her why she was crying. He said: “Why are you weeping? Who are you seeking?” and He allowed her to express her feelings. He allowed her to tell Him what was in her heart. Of course, she said, “I don’t know where the body is; I want to find the body.” But in reality, she was crying for that and for many other things, but He allowed her to express her feelings. And then after she expressed her feelings, He called her by her name, and then she turned, and then she could recognize Him. 

But I think that is so symbolic of could happen in our life. We could be going through a hard time in our life, we feel lost, we feel that we are surrounded by darkness, we don’t really know what is going to happen in the future, and we can express our feelings. By expressing our feelings, we name them and we are able to understand what is happening with us better. 

I think that prayer is one beautiful way of doing that. If we come to our Heavenly Father in prayer, in humility, and express to Him how we are feeling, then that process of expressing our feelings and feeling His love allows us to look at things with a different lens, and to realize that both Heavenly Father and the Savior are always by our side and that they can give us the strength to go on, to continue trying, to continue looking for ways in which we can overcome the struggle that we are going through.

Sister Reyna I. Aburto second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints talks about the Book of Mormon videos in Provo, Utah, at the Motion Picture Studio on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
Sister Reyna I. Aburto second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints talks about the Book of Mormon videos in Provo, Utah, at the Motion Picture Studio on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Sarah Jane Weaver: Sister Aburto, I recently heard you speak where you emphasized some things and taught some things that you had learned from 3 Nephi. Can you share some of those with us? 

11:37

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Yes, I always love to read the ministry of the Savior, both in Jerusalem and in the Americas. As I was reading 3 Nephi 17 just a few months ago, I was so touched about that part when we read about the Lord, and how He was teaching the people for one day, and then He realized that they were weak, and they were not understanding His words. Then He sent them home to rest so they could be ready to listen to Him again, but then He could actually sense that they were sad because He was leaving. They were in tears and looking at Him as if asking Him if he could stay a little bit longer. So He said to them — and I think this is so beautiful, because He said, “Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.” And then He asked them, “Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner?” …

And when I was reading this, one day, I thought: Wait a minute. I think that, in a way, He’s talking about each of us in this passage, because if you think about it, we are all lame in a way because we cannot walk upright before God. In a way, we are all blind because our eyes cannot see the miracles around us sometimes. In a way, we are all halt, because we stop and doubt in our faith sometimes, when we are not on a steady pace, we fall and get up. And then in a way, we are also maimed because we have all lost something, and we have all suffered from those losses. And we are also lepers in a way because we have faced rejection in our life, one way or another. We are all withered because we are suffering for the things that we have gone through. We are also all deaf, because we cannot hear sometimes what the Lord is trying to tell us. And we are all afflicted in some manner. So what does the Lord tell us, what did He tell them? He said: “Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy … I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you … And all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.” 

So the Savior is always inviting us to bring to Him all of those who are afflicted in any manner, and that, in reality, includes all of us. We are all suffering from something, we are all healing from something. But He invites us to bring them hither, to bring ourselves hither. And the most beautiful thing about this, I think, is that as we bring others to Christ, He can see our faith and He can heal them, but He can also heal us. 

And as the disciples of Christ, I feel that that should be our biggest desire, our biggest motivation — to serve others, to bring them to Christ, so He can heal them, because in a way, we are all suffering from something, we are all afflicted, and He is always there with His arms open to receive us and to heal us. I know this, because He has done it to me, He has done it to the people around me, and I keep seeing the miracles in my life. I keep seeing the miracles in other people. I can see His powerful hand reaching others, and reaching me to give us that grace and to give us that healing.

Sarah Jane Weaver: I’m so touched that you have talked about this idea of giving people the opportunity to express their feelings. Sometimes I like to tell people what to do. I like to jump right into the solution and say, “Well, let’s do this,” and that idea of the first thing to do is just to stop and listen — what a beautiful sentiment. 

16:14

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Yes, and I am still learning about this Sarah Jane, that it’s not easy. I know that when someone comes to us, and they tell us about their issues, we immediately want to help them because that’s so innate in us. We want to help people, and we think that we just need to give them a solution, we need to fix them. But the reality is that one of the best things that we can do for them is to just listen: listen to what they are expressing, try to understand where they’re coming from, try to put ourselves in their shoes, and also to cry with them. We read that in Mosiah, and this is part of the baptismal covenant that we have made, that we are willing to mourn with those that are mourning, and we are willing to cry with those that are crying. Part of that is just to refrain ourselves from jumping into trying to fix the person, but really to stop and just try to listen with sincere hearts, with a sincere desire to understand what is going on with them, and then keep asking questions: “So what is happening with you? So why have you tried? What else can you try? What could be a step that you can take from now on that will help you?” And then, of course, testifying to them about the Savior, because in the end, He is the one that heals us. There are so many things that we can do to help ourselves and to help others, but in the end, we need to rely on His grace, and to also do the small and simple things that will allow us to feel the Spirit, to strengthen our faith, and to be sensitive to the needs of others. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: These are issues that you have chosen to talk about in general conference. What made you want to address these in such an international, public way that, in so many ways, has defined your ministry as a member of the Relief Society general presidency? 

18:16

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Well, Sarah Jane, the reality is that, to receive an assignment to speak in general conferences is such a sacred assignment, and it’s such a sacred process to prepare for it. You know how it is that as we go through life, and as disciples of Jesus Christ, as we have served in different callings, and as we have felt the Spirit in so many different ways, there are some issues and subjects that are very close to your heart, because of different experiences that you have had. So for me, every time that I have received an assignment to speak in general conference, for me, it has been such a — like I said — a sacred process of pondering and thinking and reading and praying and pleading to ask for that inspiration and guidance. So I know, first of all, what to talk about, and then what to say, and how to say it. 

So I can testify to you that as we are given that assignment as General Authorities and General Officers, the Lord guides us through that process. It’s not an easy process, but I know that He’s guiding us. So, for me, the topics that I have addressed have been things that I have felt the inspiration and the revelation that there is a need to talk about those things and that there is a need to bring people to Christ, because in the end, that’s what we are trying to do — is to testify of Him, to testify of His power, to testify of His Atonement and His power and His ability to help us in our struggles, so we can bring people to Him as we are strengthened by Him. 

So, for me, that has been the main incentive and the main purpose and the main aim that I have had when I have tried to fulfill those assignments — is just to bring people to Christ and to help them see that we have been given so many resources, so many things that can help us so we can go back to our Heavenly Father, and do our best in this life as we have our struggles.

Sarah Jane Weaver: A few years ago, you were willing to talk about your father’s suicide during general conference. That was a talk that brought so many people peace and comfort, and actually brought this issue to the forefront, when you say untreated mental or emotional illness can lead to isolation and misunderstandings and broken relationships and, unfortunately, even suicide. That must have been a hard thing for you to do. 

20:57

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Yes, it was hard. It was hard, particularly because I feel that I’m still grieving from that. I think that that kind of experience is something that you probably never totally overcome. Particularly, just to give a little bit of context, my father died 28 years ago, and for me, as you can imagine, the fact that he died by suicide was shocking, as it was for our family, and back then I didn’t even know much about about mental issues, and I didn’t know, we didn’t know that he was suffering to that point. 

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, a member of the steering committee for the Book of Mormon Video Library project, talks with cast members on set near Springville, Utah, Friday, June 22, 2018.
Sister Reyna I. Aburto, a member of the steering committee for the Book of Mormon Video Library project, talks with cast members on set near Springville, Utah, Friday, June 22, 2018. Credit: Ashlee Larsen, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

What happened to me, I think, is that as a part of my grieving process, I kind of shut down about it in a way that I didn’t really talk much about it. And so as my children were growing up as they were born and growing up, I honestly kind of chose not to talk about that. I didn’t tell them the details on how he had died over the years. As I was preparing for that conference talk and reading about the issues of mental health, I realized that one of the consequences of not treating mental health, among other things, is suicide. People are so immersed in darkness that they make that decision, which is devastating for them and for their families. 

So what happened is that as I was preparing for that, I realized, “OK, this is something that I have chosen not to speak about with my family, and that is so wrong because I cannot go and tell other people to open up to be vulnerable, to help each other, to avoid this kind of problem if I’m not willing to talk to my family.” 

So it was just a few months before that October general conference that I sat down with my children finally, and I told them about how my father had died. And it was such a relieving thing to do because, as you can imagine, we cried a lot, we mourned together, they gave me comfort, they grieved with me. For me, it was such a beautiful experience, to be able to finally tell them and to finally cry with them. 

So that shows, that’s why it’s so important for us to not try to hide our feelings, especially to the people that love us, to really open that communication so you can express your sadness and sorrows and also your joy, your spiritual experiences that have given you the strength that you need to go on, and to just share them with the people that you love, and that when they are expressing them to you, that you can actually comfort them, that you can actually listen to them and cry with them. 

So for me that was a sweet experience, and I felt that I needed to share it, that I needed to tell others. I went through this, I know how hard it is, but I know that that’s why we have a Savior, because we need a Savior to atone for all of those things and all of those sorrows that we have gone through, and He has done that already for us. And to know that He understands perfectly how we are feeling because He already went through all of those hard times. He already knows how we feel, and He has the ability to succor us and to heal us. So, part of that healing process involves other people, and by other people knowing what we are going through, then they will be able to help us. And together, we can turn to the Savior, and He can provide that healing that we need through His Atonement, through His power, through His love.

Sarah Jane Weaver: It’s so touching that that talk started with the conversation in your own family, because I think it brought families across the globe peace and comfort, and opened up conversations in their families. How did people respond to that talk and the other talks you’ve given on mental illness?

25:15

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Well, first of all, I would like to say that I feel very humbled for the opportunity to have this calling and the opportunity to be able to give messages that I know that are going to be heard all around the world. I would like to testify that, in reality, those messages come from the Lord, they don’t come from us because we humbly submit our will, our energy and our time to Him in trying to find that revelation, and I testify to you that it’s very clear to us when He is guiding us. But something that has happened to me is that some people have come to me and say that they are grateful that those things are being said, because they realize that they are not by themselves, that they are not the only ones that are going through those things and that there is hope. Because that is my greatest motivation and my greatest desire is to testify that there is hope. There is hope in the Savior. There is hope in His promises. There is hope in His Atonement and His ability to guide us and to give us healing and peace and hope in this life. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: I’ve been touched in recent months, as I’ve heard President Nelson. When he asked us to pray for the pandemic, he started those conversations and he said, “I am a man of faith, and I’m also a man of science.” So, I was so touched that at this time when so many people are turning to two things, he said, “We all have to have great faith, we all have to come to know our Savior, that is the most important thing, but we also have to tap into the resources that are available to us.” And that may be reaching out to medical or emotional health professionals. 

27:11

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Yes, that is so right. President Nelson has given messages about this in different occasions. The truth is that if we think about it, science, really in a way, is revelation from God. It’s God allowing us to understand how His creations work and how we can use all the blessings that we have received from God which are found on this earth for our benefit and for the benefit of others. So that’s why if we are dealing with any kind of mental issue, it is OK, it is acceptable, it is something that is desirable, to try to look for help from other people, and that can include our loved ones. But it can also include professionals, people that have been trained and who have the ability and the knowledge to help us navigate through those trials. One of the things that we can learn to do through therapy and also through informing ourselves is to identify when we are having negative feelings, feelings that harm us or that keep us in darkness. We can actually learn to turn those feelings into positive ones and into ways of controlling our minds so we can feel hope we can feel joy, and we can feel faith and feel the Spirit again that can guide us so we can overcome them.

Sarah Jane Weaver: That’s such a beautiful message and one that’s so simple, that we can turn to the Savior and to those we love. What else do you wish Church members understood about mental health? 

29:03

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Well, one of the discoveries that I’ve made when I was researching these topics years ago is that one of the causes of depression and anxiety and other issues is perfectionism. The reason why it was shocking for me was that I always thought that perfectionism was a good trait, it’s something that we needed to aspire for. And in a way, I think it is because we all need to keep trying to improve, we all need to be able to stop and to assess how we are doing and what we can improve. I’m so grateful because I think that prayer allows us to do that, and also the ability to partake of the sacrament every week is a way for us to pause and to stop and to think about the things that probably we didn’t do right, but also to realize all the little victories that we had during the week because of the grace of Christ that allowed us to maybe overcome some situations or to think differently. And then to actually set goals for improvement, I think that is a divine process, and that is also called repentance, to try to do better every day. 

But at the same time, I feel that sometimes we go to an extreme and we don’t allow us to make mistakes. We don’t allow us to fall. We need to understand that we are human beings, we are in a fallen state, we are going to make mistakes, but that is part of our human journey, and we need to understand that because we make a mistake, that doesn’t mean that we are the most terrible person in the world.

That is why we also have a Savior, so He can help us overcome those trials, those mistakes that we make, He is able to make us whole. He is able to help us every day so we can learn from those mistakes, so we can become more compassionate to others and so we can be better. But that doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect today or that perfection has to be acquired from one day to the next. It is a process in which we all are. It is a process that will take our whole life and even after and it’s a process that requires a Savior and a Redeemer who can actually make up for everything wrong that we have done. He can make up for everything that we have failed and He can make up for every shortcoming that we have because we are not perfect in this life but eventually, we will. 

That is something that I learned when I was studying a talk from President Nelson that he gave many years ago that is called “Perfection Pending,” in which he said that perfection is a process and we all need to strive and try to reach it, but it’s something that will not happen until we go through so many things that still need to happen in our life and even after. He gave a beautiful example of the Savior when he was in Jerusalem. He taught his disciples: “Be thou perfect as thy Father is perfect,” and then when He was in the Americas with the Nephites, he said something similar, but He said — and there was a little difference — He said, actually, “Be perfect as I and thy Father that is in heaven is perfect.” So when He was in the Americas, He included himself. He didn’t include himself in Jerusalem. That means that what happened in between those two occasions in which He spoke about that made him perfect, which was, among other things, the Atonement and the Resurrection. 

So, for me, that was eye-opening, because then I realized, “Okay, yes, I need to strive, I need to strive to be better, I need to strive for perfection, but it’s not going to totally happen until after I am dead and I am resurrected.” So because of that, I need to realize that I will have times in which I will make mistakes. I will not be who I need to be, but that I can keep trying, that I can keep improving myself and relying on the grace of Christ, knowing that He can fill those gaps that I am not able to fill, that He actually can embrace me in His grace and allow me to be better every day and to reach to that point in which after I am resurrected, if I’m faithful, if I really try, then I will reach that perfection state. 

That’s one of the things and then another thing that I think that I would love to tell people is that we should not be ashamed. If we feel sad, if we feel that we cannot control our emotions, if we sometimes feel that we just cannot go on, we should not be ashamed of that. We just need to realize that we have a problem and to ask for help, first to our Heavenly Father, also to our Savior, and to other people, and to do the little things that will allow us to feel the Spirit again, and to go back so we can feel joy, and to also find ways to help other people. 

I think that that’s one of the things that probably will help us feel the Spirit again, is to get out of our shell, to get out of ourselves, and to try to find people who we can help and to be sensitive to their struggles, and to give them hope, the hope that we have felt through the Savior. 

Another thing that I would also like to say is that we should avoid judging people. That’s one of the problems that surrounds mental health, I feel, that there is so much skepticism. Sometimes, the people that have not suffered these ailments, sometimes it’s hard for us to believe what others are going through. But I think that if we stop and truly listen to them, and to truly understand what they’re going through, and to fill our hearts with empathy, then we will realize that these are real issues. Just by being sensitive to each other, just by being patient and validating the pain of others, there is so much that we can do as we realize that these problems are real, and that we, each of us, can actually do something about it. But most of all, that each of us can come to Christ, and help others come to Him.

37:15 

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, speaks during a BYU-Idaho devotional in the BYU-Idaho Center on June 4, 2019.
Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, speaks during a BYU-Idaho devotional in the BYU-Idaho Center on June 4, 2019. Credit: Ericka Sanders, BYU-Idaho

Sarah Jane Weaver: Sister Aburto, I have learned so much today about having conversations, and especially about listening, about avoiding judgment, about knowing when we need to encourage and seek professional help, and especially about looking to the example of the Savior and studying all that He taught about these issues. 

We have a tradition at the Church News podcast where we like to end each podcast with the same question, and that question is, “What do you know now?” So I’m going to give you the final word today, and I hope that you will be able to answer that question for us and share your testimony with us of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just let us know what you know now that you didn’t know before reading about mental health and seeking to understand and help family members who deal with this issue, and what you know now after being willing to talk about it, and open conversations about mental health.

37:22

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto: Something that I know now that I didn’t know just a few years ago is that as part of our mortal experience we all go through struggles. I used to think that I was the only one going through something in the past. But then I realized that as we open up to each other, as we share our struggles with others, we realize that we are not alone and that the things that we go through can give us that strength and that compassion and that empathy that will allow us to help each other in our journey. And that we can see problems as opportunities. When someone is struggling, and when we are struggling, we can see that as an opportunity to learn more about things, to strengthen our faith and our testimony of the need that we have for a Savior and to try to understand how He is always willing to help us, how He’s always willing to give us the strength that we need, that as we turn to Him, as we try to understand each other and as we try to understand our emotions, those struggles can actually become a source of greatness inside us, that greatness that comes from that grace that the Savior gives us. That we can actually become stronger, and that, again, gives us the ability to go and look for others and try to help them. 

I would like to just testify to everyone that I know that we have a Savior and Redeemer, who has all the power, and all the desire and all the love to help us every time we reach for Him. He has already suffered everything. He understands us, He knows what we are going to do. He is always willing to listen to us, and to help us in our struggles. I know that because of that, we can receive His strength, we can receive His power and He can heal us. He has done it to me and I have seen this happening in the lives of so many people around me. I know that that’s why we need to go and testify of Him. We need to go and tell people about Him, we need to go and tell people: “Come to Him and feel of His love and His healing,” And I say this humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 


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. Please remember to subscribe to this podcast, and if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others. 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.