What do Mormons/LDS think causes mental illnesses?

I've been interested in the LDS church for a while, but as I suffer from mental illness I'm curious as to what mormons think causes it. I've been told by other churches that it was caused by the devil, evil spirits, unrepented sins and the sins of my parents. None of these sound right to me, so I wanted to get some people from LDS's opinion, as I feel very drawn to the LDS church but am worried I wouldn't be accepted.


Those articles on mental illness are some of the most balanced and positive I have read. It is a truly excellent way to look at health issues. Thank you for showing me that!

14 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best answer

    Sweetie, there are lots of things that cause mental illness. Stress, chemical imbalances, genetics, medications.... each reason is as unique as the individual!

    We believe in seeking help from professionals if you are seriously ill. We have counselign services, I think, depending on where you are. but we don't believe it's caused by any of that junk you said.

    You'll likely have no problems with acceptance, and if you have fears and concerns that you share with someone else, then you'll probably find more love and support than you ever expected. I know if you were joining my ward you would.

    Source(s): LDS and a psych major
  • rac
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    You have some good responses so far. Mental illness can be caused by the imperfect nature of our mortal state, a biological fluke, or by substance abuse (not your case I'm sure), or by living environment such as abusive upbringing and mental compensation as a defense mechanism. Those have all been addressed by other respondents. They can be treated with medication, counseling, love and blessings.

    The last item is the possession of evil spirits. My maternal grandmother suffered a mental/nervous breakdown when my Mother was only three. She spent the last 15-20 years of her life in the Camarillo State Mental Hospital where she finally passed away at the young age of 61 from lung cancer of all things (she never smoked a day of her life). My mother asked her Stake leaders what they thought of the situation and they told her the evil spirit story. Just as she was nearing death, her mind cleared and she recognized my grandfather and mother which she had not done for the whole time she was in the hospital. The story was that the evil spirit, knowing that its host was dying, left and that her natural abilities could again come forth. I don't know if I believe that story or not but you can think about it for what it is worth. My grandparent were not LDS. My mother is a convert and the only member in her otherwise Protestant family. They are all good people and faithful Christians as far as they understand it. The point is that grandmother never received a priesthood blessing that could have released her from possession, if indeed that was the cause of her illness.

    In my own family, my wife suffered from what she described as dark influences after we got married. She had been inactive and reactivated when I met her. We were married in the L.A. temple and the influences from her inactive days were trying to reclaim her. I gave her a blessing and those influences left her and she has never been bothered by them again, more than 33 years later.

    So, your question does not have a simple answer. There are many factors with many potential solutions. Please know that we are aware of mental illness and treat it with love, concern and respect. There will be no need to fear rejection. I hope this helps a little bit.

    Source(s): LDS
  • My husband has a mental illness (he has post traumatic stress disorder from being at war) and never has one of our church leaders suggested his illness is anything other than the result of a traumatic experience. My aunt has panic attacks sometimes in public, but still wanted to interact with people and serve in the church, so they were able to find her a job where she could control how much she interacted with others (she works in the family history library now). I have never seen any of them be anything other than supportive. There are many causes of mental illness (evil spirits being waaaaay down on the list, and sins not even making it on the list). The only thing I've heard that even comes close to it being caused by the devil is that for some people it is one of the challenges they will face during their lifetimes, but it's not looked at as a stigma, it's considered to be like any other physical disability like losing a leg. It's just something you address the best you can, get what help you can get, and make adjustments in your life to get around the things you can't heal. Never once have I had a leader suggest I should divorce my husband (though they have expressed that if I am in fear of my safety or that of my children I should consult with the Lord in prayer and make the best decision for my family). We have struggled a great deal as a family because of his condition, but we have found that addressing it as a part of our lives and trying to find ways to live with it have made it easier to deal with. My husband has still been able to serve in the church. His behavior has not always been what most would hope for, but the attitude of our church leaders has always been that as long as he's doing his best, he's okay. He's gotten a lot of peace from that, and has felt very accepted.

  • 1 decade ago

    I can only give you my experience, which was that some are accepting and some are not. I have a close relative who has suffered from severe depression and anxiety, and some told his wife it was because he didn't pray/read the scriptures enough. Someone else told me that if you're living righteously you won't get a mental illness. Some of the LDS folks were understanding and others were completely judgmental and rude.

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  • 1 decade ago

    mental illness is like any physical ailment mankind suffers because of the nature of the Fall. It can be caused be a variety of factors or a combination thereof - among those being: genetics, toxic environment, chemical inbalance, etc. Unfortunately, there are some people who may still try to attribute mental illness to the devil or evil spirits - this is not something taught - but there are some persons who develop this belief/thought on their own.

    I will say this: through the gospel of Christ and the power of the priesthood, you may find greater relief from your illness. This is available through blessings & the understanding and proper application of the atonement of Christ [this is not a suggestion of faith healing, etc - merely that through the priesthood, you may receive counsel from your Father in Heaven as well as blessings from on High which are not available otherwise - and one can find peace through the atonement and receive strength from the Savior to fortify you during mortality].

    best wishes

    btw - I too, have suffered from depression in the past, as has my eldest son. We received proper medical treatment & care to resolve it. One of my dearest friends has severe epilepsy and receives regular care from her physicians as well as blessings at the hands of the priesthood to assist her and give her strength.

    Source(s): LDS
  • 1 decade ago

    John 9:1-3

    1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was ablind from his birth.

    2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

    3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

  • Ender
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I know of no official church doctrine or belief addressing this. Most of us probably think that it's a genetic factor or an environmental factor that caused it (or a combination). We don't believe or teach that it's caused by devils or spirits, or sins of your parents.

  • 1 decade ago

    I know a woman in our ward who is a doctor, she would probably say it's caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and prescribe anti-depressants, or send you to a psychiatrist or something.

  • 1 decade ago

    There was a very good article about this in the October 2005 Ensign - Myths about Mental Illness

    By Elder Alexander B. Morrison Of the Seventy

    **I would suggest reading this**

    There is other information about mental illenss on lds.org

    My sister and her family have had this trial/blessing in their lives.

    see links

  • 1 decade ago

    We believe that it is caused by chemical imbalance and other things. As I remember, we go for possession last, after all other possibilities have been exhausted.

    I was diagnosed with severe depression, and a few other things. I attend the temple, get callings and go to church. As people have learned of my problems, they have worried about me, prayed for me and I am accepted and loved.

    Source(s): LDS and happy to stay that way!
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