Saturday, February 7, 2015

Boyd K. Packer on discouragement and February

President Packer (1924- ) served as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve (a position that no longer exists) from 1961 to 1970, when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  He currently serves as the president of that Quorum.
"Did you know that it is normal and healthy to be depressed occasionally? As General Authorities, we face a long line of people who call upon us because they are unhappy—they are depressed. They are worried about this and that and really not certain what they are worried about. They are a little like the man who insisted: 'You can't tell me that worry doesn't help. The things I worry about never happen!'
   "When we search the revealed word for some evidence of the nature of man, we find statements such as this:
   "'For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, ... righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.' (2 Nephi 2:11.)
   "If you happen to hit a good sorry mood once in a while, relax and enjoy it—it is a good sign that you are normal. It is all right to worry about things now and again, I suppose, but when you get worried about being worried, that is when you are getting off the track....
   "Watch out for February! We learned in supervising teaching that after the interesting beginnings of school—you have the football season, the holidays, the beginning of the basketball season—then, after the first of the year, come the cold, dreary days of winter. We noted that at that time the teacher would fail and the students would have problems. Depressions are then accentuated. It has been interesting to notice this and to point it out when people come in during those dreary days of winter, depressed and unsettled. Then they find out that there was not anything wrong—it was just February. It is worthwhile to know that."
  - Boyd K. Packer, address at BYU, October 4, 1966; see Let Not Your Heart be Troubled, pp. 247-8
Since we're now a week into the month of February, this quote might be helpful for some of us! February, according to President Packer, is a time when it's somewhat normal to feel some discouragement and depression, as we deal with what is (normally) the "cold, dreary days of winter."

President Packer acknowledges in his article that there are serious cases of depression that require professional assistance. But his point is that all of us will deal with challenges from time to time; and with the proper perspective, with encouragement and with Divine help, we can survive the "opposition in all things" and move on with the "righteousness" and "holiness" that life has to offer.

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