My sister recommended that I should listen to John L Lund’s three-talk set called How to Hug a Teenage Porcupine. This isn’t the normal type of talk that I listen to because these talks often seem simplistic and syrupy. While there was plenty of syrup, I thought Brother Lund had some interesting insights that I wanted to share, and I think his advice for dealing with toxic relatives was outstanding. I wanted to share a few of his insights. In discussing teenagers, he touched on the topic of suicide (relating it to how teens can make bad choices.)
In one of my previous posts, a few commenters seemed to try to condemn a mentally ill man for killing a bishop, but I think we should not be so quick to judge. In discussing suicide, Lund says that General Authorities have often counseled people that we should not judge the mentally ill.
I have attended several funerals in my lifetime because I’ve worked primarily with the young people of the church where some of them have committed suicide. On several of those occasions a General Authority has been there to speak. I was interested as I listened to the funeral sermon how similar their counsel was in every case, because in every case there was a suicide they said, ‘don’t judge the soul’ and do not assume that they will be in the Telestial Kingdom even though they have taken their life. You have no right to make that judgment. Only God can make that judgment.’ I’m paraphrasing several actual talks. We don’t have the right to make that judgment and we don’t know. We don’t know the state of mind or the spiritual condition or the things that brought that about and only God can make that judgment.
I am uncomfortable in dealing with the mentally ill. I previously blogged about a man I home teach with some serious mental illness. While he is friendly with me and seems to be taking his medications, recently he took medication with beer, and ended up in the hospital. He does seem to share some similarities to the man who killed the bishop in California. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but he makes me nervous even though we get along well.
What can we do to help the mentally ill effectively? How can we deal with them effectively without harshly judging them?