How to reconcile agency with mental illness

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DarkJedi
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Mar 2017, 14:26

I watch Music and the Spoken Word almost every Sunday. I like the music and most of the time I like the short "word." I didn't not like the message today but an analogy they used didn't quite fit. The message was about choice in the face of trials or adversity, that we could choose to "harden our hearts" and become bitter, etc., or "soften our hearts" and learn from the experience, etc. The analogy was putting an egg and a potato in boiling water though. The egg will harden and the potato will soften. The thing about that object lesson is that the egg and potato don't have a choice whether they will harden or soften, it's what happens to them. While I agree that we do have some choice in those situations (we'll die if put in boiling water), I don't really agree that we have full agency in those situations because of other factors that affect us - including things like depression and other mental health issues.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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SamBee
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by SamBee » 12 Mar 2017, 18:03

LookingHard wrote:
12 Mar 2017, 08:16
SamBee wrote:
12 Mar 2017, 07:41
Is this free will or not?

http://nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/ar ... d=11811409
I almost wonder if this is getting back to the thread title. This person seems to have quite a compulsion to really be different.
It's drawn mixed reactions.

Depending on your POV:
* It's their body, they can do what they wants with it...
Or
* body dysmorphia is a severe mental illness.

Personally I think they will regret it later.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Roy » 13 Mar 2017, 11:36

Great comments have been shared.

One facet of my faith crisis is the realization of how much of my own destiny is outside of my control. I had thought that I could be smarter and work harder than the next guy to get ahead. I also paid my tithing and honored my priesthood so I had God on my side.

As a manager, employees would sometimes come into my office to complain about a supervisor or coworker that was "driving them crazy" or "making them mad". I had a copy of victor frankl's book in my office and I would sometimes read to them the following quote:
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
I had heard this quote used in church and GC repeatedly. If people living in Nazi concentration camps were free to choose their own attitude then individuals with difficult supervisors or coworkers must have the same choice.

I imagine I was not very helpful to the people that came to talk to me.

LDS dominant doctrine/culture is heavy on the agency side of the coin. Everyone must have the ability to choose in order to be judged. We are agents to act and "not to be acted upon" 2 Ne. 2:26

Elder Bednar believes in Agency so much as to say:
it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.

In the grand division of all of God’s creations, there are things to act and things to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:13–14). As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of moral agency, the capacity for independent action and choice. Endowed with agency, you and I are agents, and we primarily are to act and not just be acted upon. To believe that someone or something can make us feel offended, angry, hurt, or bitter diminishes our moral agency and transforms us into objects to be acted upon. As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond to an offensive or hurtful situation.
It lead President Packer to say:
"Some suppose that they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember he is our father."
I must not judge them too harshly. I was in their shoes and I gave much the same counsel. I felt that my positive choices were like deposits in a federally insured bank account. They were a blanket of security for me and gave structure and purpose to my life.

Now, post FC, I look back at the Victor Frankl quote. I do believe that humans can be capable of incredible things - but that does not necessarily mean that those that were not so exceptional were just not trying or pushing themselves hard enough. It can be like saying that Michael Phelps exists - so that means that everyone can be Michael Phelps. Maybe most were dealing with horrific circumstances in the best way that they knew how.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Roy » 13 Mar 2017, 11:58

Ray DeGraw wrote:
11 Mar 2017, 16:18
we all are deficient or disabled in some way.
I currently belong to a support group for parents of children with special needs. The children have disabilities of capacity. With some of the families this disability of capacity seems to be compounded by a dysfunctional family and learning environment. It can be hard to speculate at what degree a particular child has the capacity to progress if only there were changes made to the environment. One very wise Mom says gently but firmly, "they do not have the skills necessary for xyz".

Whether from nature or nurture the skills are just not present. Some skills can be learned. Perhaps there can be a "work around" or "coping mechanisms" for the lack of some skills. Other missing skills might best be accepted as realistic limitations.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by squarepeg » 13 Mar 2017, 12:37

Thanks, everyone. :)
Ray DeGraw wrote:
11 Mar 2017, 16:18
Agency is one's ability to choose what to do. It varies in extent from person to person - and we teach that people will not be condemned for things they can't control - areas where they aren't completely free.
Do you think that the fact that individuals possess different amounts of agency contradicts scripture? Or is there a way to reconcile it against scriptures like these?:

2 Ne 10:23, "...ye are free to act for yourselves--to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life."

Helaman 14:30-31, "...whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free. He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you."

D&C 58:27-8, "...men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves."

D&C 93:30-32, "All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation."
SamBee wrote:
11 Mar 2017, 17:16
Agency is relative. Can we stop breathing by choice? No.
ydeve wrote:
11 Mar 2017, 22:15
I don't have the agency to go out tonight and run a 4 minute mile...
Good point. No one, it seems, possesses a fullness of agency.
SamBee wrote:
11 Mar 2017, 17:16
As an observer of humans, I certainly think that many of us do NOT use our free will as much as we might and are instead swept along by the currents of animal instinct and society.
I'd like to think that's true, also. Does more diligent adherence to Gospel principles increase our ability to exercise our free will, do you think?

Heber13 wrote:
11 Mar 2017, 19:01
For example, with bipolar...the person's thinking may be impaired. That may make them impossible to deal with, and the person with bipolar can't see it to choose to think differently about things. [...] But they have a choice to fight against others trying to help them, or give in and accept the help and try to have a fairly normal life.
They might have a choice to fight versus give in...or they might not. But it sounds like you're saying that even when some degree of agency is stripped from us, we still (arguably) have some degree of agency remaining, and that is the portion by which we are judged. That would be fair. And maybe we have to also grant that there may be some whose physiology is so thoroughly messed up that they literally have zero agency. (For some reason, severe lead poisoning comes to mind.) I wonder whether there are more of those cases than we tend to acknowledge. I just feel like in the church we're all under the assumption that, granting a few obvious exceptions, different people kind of all have the same capacity for agency. Do you think so? Maybe that's just my misperception.
Heber13 wrote:
11 Mar 2017, 19:01
But, I believe our faith in the Atonement is that God makes up for the difference and so it becomes a level playing field for all.
This makes me think of the Parable of the Prodigal Son differently. Maybe the dad in that story knew that his younger son had an issue of some sort that prevented him from making the good choices that the older son made. That story always really bugged me as a young kid, because I was the oldest and the one who seemed to get punished when my younger siblings would get away with murder, haha. But if I'm honest, I think one of my younger brothers had mental and physical issues that actually did prevent him from doing what he should as easily as I could, and he was entitled to those "free passes."
ydeve wrote:
11 Mar 2017, 22:15
I spent a number of years of my life under the delusion that I had more agency than I thought I did. "Just trying harder" did nothing to address symptoms of what I now understand to be anxiety and ADHD. Understanding exactly where I do and do not have agency has been the main "trial" in my life so far, and I'm still learning how to best work within those limitations.
I have had very similar experiences, and now look back and realize the degree to which much of that effort seems wasted. It is so hard to figure out where our agency begins and ends!
Reuben wrote:
12 Mar 2017, 05:50
Psychological studies have found that people will defend decisions they didn't actually make if they thought they made those decisions. This suggests a model of decision-making where decisions are made subconsciously, and one purpose of conscious thought is to explain them.

Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to change basic desires and emotional states. (Most of the research has focused on reducing negative effects such as anxiety and intrusive thoughts.) This suggests that another purpose of conscious thought is to alter patterns of subconscious thought.
Cool studies! The results make me think that, even if 99% of our behavior is automatic, subconscious, performed on autopilot, the fact that conscious thought can influence and shift unconscious thought makes me believe that our agency consists of our ability to use the 1% to influence the 99%. I definitely notice that when I consciously select, for example, a book among hundreds at the library in which the characters are amazing/inspiring, that I'm often able to act a little bit more like those characters for a little while afterwards, without any noticeable effort on my part.
SamBee wrote:
12 Mar 2017, 07:41
Is this free will or not?

http://nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/ar ... d=11811409
I think we cannot possibly know.
nibbler wrote:
12 Mar 2017, 10:02

This quote is about judgment, which is slightly off topic, but I think it relates because when we talk agency it's often tied with how we'll be judged by god or others.
Joseph Smith wrote:... While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes ‘His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.’ He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, ‘according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,’ or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. He will judge them, ‘not according to what they have not, but according to what they have’; those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will be judged by that law. We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right.
What a beautiful quote. Thanks. So, clearly, Joseph Smith understood that agency is limited for many, if not for everyone, on this earth.
DarkJedi wrote:
12 Mar 2017, 14:26
The message was about choice in the face of trials or adversity, that we could choose to "harden our hearts" and become bitter, etc., or "soften our hearts" and learn from the experience, etc. The analogy was putting an egg and a potato in boiling water though. The egg will harden and the potato will soften. The thing about that object lesson is that the egg and potato don't have a choice whether they will harden or soften, it's what happens to them.
Yes, sometimes we are more egg than potato, despite wanting and trying with all our hearts to be the potato.
Roy wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 11:36
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
Yes, Roy, I completely agree! The problem with the Frankl quote is that it's not universally true. How I wish it were. We'd like it to be, because it means there is at least a little power within each of us that cannot be taken, and that's a comforting thought. And it may have been true for at least some of those employees. But after the experiences I've had over the past 2 years, I think it's possible for even the last vestiges of power to be stripped from a person, if their suffering reaches a certain threshold; effort ceases to be part of the equation - the ability to exert any type of effort or will is nonexistent in the midst of the excruciating physical or mental suffering. Perhaps some of those who were able to give bread away in NAZI concentration camps were experiencing a lesser degree of suffering in their frozen and starved state than others. We cannot know. But we'd be wrong to assume that all those who were in despair in the camps could have chosen a better attitude.

Similarly, if Elder Bednar thought about it a bit harder, he might change his mind about being offended being a choice, universally. Certainly it is a choice in many cases, but who is to say in what % of cases? And we could also argue that that contradicts Matt 18:6 when it says, "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones..." (Although that's maybe just a KJV semantics issue.) I can't even...President Packer. :silent: But I wonder how they each would respond to your Michael Phelps analogy.

A few more thoughts:

My 25-year-old brother-in-law is severely autistic, basically non-verbal. He is cognitively at the level of a 2-year-old. My in-laws chose not to have him baptized, and some extended family disagreed with that choice, but I support them. How can he make covenants that he doesn't understand? If you asked him if he wanted to be baptized, he would probably say yes, but it would probably be because he likes swimming and water. He likes the hymns and he likes to pray (with someone prompting him on what to say) but he shows no understanding at all of hypothetical constructs, so it's doubtful that he understands the Gospel anything like an average 8-year-old would. But that made me think how much 8-year-olds differ in their various capacities to understand the covenants they're making, and how adults differ in their capacity to understand temple covenants. Yet, these are choices that we're taught have eternal weight attached.

I have a lot of friends who are Evangelical Christians because of the area in which we live, and because we homeschool and lots of Evangelicals homeschool, too. Their Christianity is the grace-based flavor, while ours is a combination of grace and works. Do you think a more grace-based Christianity, in which salvation depends on belief in Christ independent of your actual behavior, solves this agency problem? It seems to, in my mind. And I often think that if we are truly looking to Christ that our behavior will take care of itself; it will automatically be as perfect as it can be, given environmental constraints. So why in LDS theology is there such a heavy emphasis on agency?

I fully agree with Reuben and LookingHard that even if we don't have agency, it is to our advantage to believe that we do. I actually gave a presentation with that very thesis in a Sociology class, once. The idea was pushed hard all semester that minorities and women in our society do not hold the same level of power held by white men. While that may be statistically accurate, spending much time/energy internalizing that on an individual level could hamper the ability of some women/minorities to reach their full potential.

While my mom was growing up, her dad became an alcoholic, her parents got divorced, and the whole situation really messed her up. As an adult she found books about the traits commonly found in adult children of alcoholics, and she related to them. She felt good having finally found explanations for some of her imperfections that she had long felt made her a bad person. I understand that there can be comfort in knowing that negative traits or poor behavior may be rooted in genes or environment that we couldn't control. But even if I have certain traits because of my genes or because of my parents/childhood, I like to believe that I have a lot of power to change those things about myself that I don't like. I recognize that I might be deluding myself, but I feel like if I maintain the delusion, I'm more likely to be able to change things than if I just accept those negative traits. It is a point my mom and I butt heads about periodically.

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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Reuben » 13 Mar 2017, 15:19

squarepeg wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 12:37
I just feel like in the church we're all under the assumption that, granting a few obvious exceptions, different people kind of all have the same capacity for agency. Do you think so? Maybe that's just my misperception.
This isn't just your perception. I grew up with hardcore self-determinism. I don't recall it ever being explicitly taught against in any ward I've lived in, inside or outside the US. When I tried in YM here in Europe, one of my counselors (a very rigid TBM sort) strenuously contradicted me.

Also, in a recent 5th Sunday lesson here in Europe, one of our high priests remarked, uncontested, about how we all have exactly the same ability to choose. I suppose I could have contested it. Instead, I sought out and commiserated with the person I knew would be most negatively affected by such talk and the comments that followed: a single mother who has a few children on the autism spectrum that also have ADHD.

Hardcore self-determinism, same capacity for agency - these ideas are self-evidently false to me. I have ADHD. Every morning, I take medication that literally functions as an agency pill.
squarepeg wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 12:37
Heber13 wrote:
11 Mar 2017, 19:01
But, I believe our faith in the Atonement is that God makes up for the difference and so it becomes a level playing field for all.
This makes me think of the Parable of the Prodigal Son differently. Maybe the dad in that story knew that his younger son had an issue of some sort that prevented him from making the good choices that the older son made. That story always really bugged me as a young kid, because I was the oldest and the one who seemed to get punished when my younger siblings would get away with murder, haha. But if I'm honest, I think one of my younger brothers had mental and physical issues that actually did prevent him from doing what he should as easily as I could, and he was entitled to those "free passes."
I think understanding this parable and the Parable of the Workers in the Vinyard is critical to understanding the atonement, in the sense that anyone who feels angst at the unfairness in either story hasn't really figured out grace.
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Heber13
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Heber13 » 13 Mar 2017, 15:55

Reuben wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 15:19
I think understanding this parable and the Parable of the Workers in the Vinyard is critical to understanding the atonement, in the sense that anyone who feels angst at the unfairness in either story hasn't really figured out grace.
Well said, Reuben. :clap:
squarepeg wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 12:37
I just feel like in the church we're all under the assumption that, granting a few obvious exceptions, different people kind of all have the same capacity for agency. Do you think so? Maybe that's just my misperception.
I feel like they talk in church about the stuff that makes sense to them and that applies to scriptures they interpret. They don't talk about the stuff that doesn't make sense. The problem is...that leaves the impression the stuff they talk about is all that matters and applies to all. When behind closed doors and in private conversations with SPs and bishops...they have acknowledged to me that mental illness is a game changer...some things we don't have answers for. It gets worked out in the next life.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by SamBee » 13 Mar 2017, 18:41

I'd like to think that's true, also. Does more diligent adherence to Gospel principles increase our ability to exercise our free will, do you think?
This is such a difficult one! I think when we slavishly follow the church we paradoxically are handing it over to someone else. We think it means "choose the right" - in many cases it is - we choose to follow decent principles. However, if we do this without question we head into cultish territory and hypothetically could get ourselves into bad situations. One example of each - the church teaches us to try and forgive which breaks the cycle of hatred (if we can do it)... but the recent stuff about gays - my free will goes against the church and says I should love them as much as anyone else.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Mar 2017, 20:13

Scriptures are generalized accounts of how specific people saw God in their time.

I honor that, but I don't see them as infallible or perfectly accurate for all people in all times. I believe in "real" on-going revelation and "real" eternal progression - and those are not possible with perfect scriptures. ("Whole, complete, fully developed") Our Articles of Faith say there are many "great and important" things yet to be revealed.

Thus, I am fine with new light and knowledge contradicting previous scripture. For example, we don't teach some of what is in the Book of Mormon, since we have evolved theologically since that time - whether "that time" is viewed as anciently or the 19th Century.

I believe what makes sense to my heart AND mind now.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by nibbler » 14 Mar 2017, 05:02

squarepeg wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 12:37
So why in LDS theology is there such a heavy emphasis on agency?
In the past and in my case? It satisfied my demand for justice. It goes back to the comment Reuben made, the parable of the day laborer doesn't sound fair. Human nature jumps up, waves its arms, and demands that people who work harder should be paid more.

That parable was one I always struggled to understand. I guess I was one of those that hadn't figured out grace. :P I remember having a discussion where I questioned elements of the story; for example, if that's how the steward of the vineyard operates, good luck getting workers in the morning during next season's harvest. Yeah, please reserve judgment, I see it now. ;) I also thought that the story made more sense when stripped of most of the original context and placed into a new context, like deathbed repentance or something, but I think there's more.

Anyway, in that discussion (maybe it was here?) someone pointed out how the laborers that were hired in the morning started their day with work, content with a hope of receiving a wage. Meanwhile the people that were left waiting for work continued to worry about whether they would find work that day, whether they would be able to put food on the table. The master of the vineyard went out to get more workers at the 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours. Each time people were left behind, I imagine their anxiety grew as the day went on. Eventually the steward of the vineyard came back in the 11th hour and made people's day.

So it was a trade off. The people that were selected earlier in the day had more physical labor but less emotional labor, the people selected at the end of the day had less physical labor but more emotional labor. I think that relates in the case of mental illness or in cases where we each have our own unique weaknesses. If we had our choice in the matter we'd all want to be selected by the steward of the vineyard to have peace of mind to ensure that our meal ticket for the day was punched, but we don't get that choice. We're mostly stuck with our weaknesses.

That doesn't mean we have to give up though, returning to the parable... what if someone waiting for work got discouraged in the 10th hour and went home, missing the opportunity that came in the 11th hour? Weaknesses or things that suppress our agency don't have to be obstacles that cause us to throw our hands up and call it quits (provided even that much is within our ability to choose ;) ).

squarepeg, in the case of your mother. She had a difficult childhood. Nothing will change that. Sort of like how praying, fasting, reading scriptures, attending church, and being as perfect as you can possibly be isn't going to take away someone's mental illness. Sometimes the things we can't change cause us to give up hope. I know, I've been there... but your mother continued to survive, continued to search until she found hope again. In this case a book that helped her understand the journey she had been through. Sometimes the hope comes back in unexpected ways if we find enough strength to wait a few more hours for the steward of the vineyard to arrive. The wait becomes easier when there are others waiting with us that we can talk to.

Yikes this is long. I didn't even get to my justice and mercy conundrum. I need to cut this short. I'll end things on this note, we often look heavenward for god's grace but I believe that god's grace comes when we extend it to one another... and dare I say to ourselves as well.
Of course I don’t want to get knocked down. But the single and sole solution to that fear is to not go anywhere where I can be knocked down. And is that not already being knocked down?
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

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