As part of a yearlong series on teens and anxiety, the Deseret News talked with mental health experts, former mission presidents, religious scholars and 20 returned missionaries who dealt with mental health challenges while serving — exploring the global problem of anxiety in the unique context of religious service within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
More Missionary Features
Elder Spencer Owusu, a 24-year-old full-time missionary serving for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, died Thursday after the sudden onset of an illness.
When Bruce Bowen’s retirement became a possibility, he and his wife Valerie began to think about a mission. The couple felt they had a few things they still needed to do before they were ready to go but decided to start the process. The Bowens continued to prepare until they received some advice from their stake president: “Don’t put it off.”
A growing majority of the world’s population experiences or encounters depression and anxiety in some form, making education, specifically advice for missionaries with respect to these complex issues, almost as important as knowing the gospel principles themselves.
To counter anti-Mormon efforts in Europe and America, where the popular perception was Mormon women were polygamous slaves and young men were secretly recruiting plural wives, then-LDS Church President Wilford Woodruff felt inspired to break with a 68-year tradition of male-only missionaries. He called upon single young women to help dispel these misconceptions and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In light of continued violence and deteriorating conditions in Nicaragua, the Church has decided to transfer the remaining 158 missionaries out of that country. Those missionaries are being moved to temporary assignments in North America, South America, the Caribbean and New Zealand. Most of these missionaries have already left the country.
A new feature on LDS Tools and LDS.org lets you refer a friend directly to missionaries and collaborate with them as they contact and teach your friend. Watch this video to learn how members and missionaries can work together more effectively to help people come unto Christ.