Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guilt, Darkness

"Many victims of mental illness wear themselves out emotionally by repetitive futile attempts to remember something they or someone else might have done that resulted in the terrible suffering they are forced to endure."  Alexander B. Morrison
            Maybe dark is not the right word. It was like a dismal, dreary fog, perhaps?  It was uncomfortable, oppressive, and there was a continual gloom.
             If you were to open the scriptures you would quickly come across the warnings for choosing the wrong path. They seemed to be everywhere.
            The only conclusion possible was that there was some terrible transgression. What had I done?

            If you do not keep my commandments the love of the Father shall not continue with you, therefore you shall walk in darkness.
            They who are not chosen have sinned a very grievous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noonday. 
            And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair, and despair cometh because of iniquity.
            Darkness is always followed with light.
            Similarly, those who are of the children of the light, having been made partakers of the revelations from God, but who fail in obedience to them, walk in darkness at noonday.
            Darkness reigns where there is ignorance.
            The kingdom of the devil is full of darkness.
            I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me shall not abide in darkness.
            The saints who do not magnify their callings are walking in darkness at noon day.

Alma the Younger, in Alma 36, of the Book Of Mormon, paints a very vivid picture of what happened when an angel appeared to him and the sons of Mosiah. He describes what he mentally went through during the …“three days and three nights that I could not open my mouth, neither had I the use of my limbs.”  He was unable to respond to the world around him. For those three days, he lived in his mind.  He experienced every negative feeling possible, his soul was racked with inexpressible horror. He felt the pains of a damned soul. He thought it would best if he could be banished and become extinct both body and soul, rather to stand in God’s presence. The pain was described as exquisite. Were his neurotransmitters malfunctioning?  Were the normal levels of Serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine being disrupted? 
Is he suffering the anguish of one recognizing his sins, and experiencing to some degree, the promise made to those who do not accept the Atonement, and must suffer even all that justice requires.  
There are many places in the scriptures that warn of the judgments of God. The words used to describe these judgments, portray through imagery how terrible that day will be. 

“It had been better for them that a millstone had been hung about their necks, and then be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  --- D&C 121:22

 “And said to the mountain and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb”

            In my mind, the imagery Alma uses is much “more express” than of millstones, mountains or gnashing of teeth
When darkness is spoken of in the scriptures, it is usually a description Satan’s realm. Associated with darkness is wickedness, guilt, defeat, grief, despair and self-condemnation, loss of hope. Add to those, Rejection by God, sinful, fallen, faithless, alone, filthy, apostasy, ignorance, bondage, loves darkness rather than light. 

Many of those descriptions are associated with Major Depressive Disorder, is it any wonder that we feel guilt?
When you add to these, periods of uncontrolled crying, being overcome by gloom, finding the most basic requirements of life, overwhelming and freighting, find that thinking and concentrating take tremendous effort. Anxiety, Loss of interest, pleasure, love, excitement and accomplishment are just gone. The inability to concentrate, or carry on a normal conversation because of the fear of looking foolish, having no desire and ambition to take on a new project, obligations seem overwhelming. No energy, pure exhaustion.
Then there is a feeling of rejection, a feeling of being judged by those around them, and when there are strong religious commitments, a feeling of guilt, guilt and more guilt. And then there is darkness. A literal darkness, with seemingly no way out.

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