Jacob and Mental Health

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Episode 101: Jacob and Mental Health
Jared Halverson
April 2024

The word anxiety (or anxious) is used nine times in the Book of Mormon, and it appears in both positive and negative forms. In the positive form it refers to something more akin to “eagerness” (see Mosiah 29:38 and 3 Nephi 3:3), whereas the negative refers more to “uncertainty” or “troubling fear” (see 2 Nephi 1:16 and Mosiah 28:12). Of the seven negative references, four are penned by the prophet Jacob, including one in which he couples “great anxiety” with the counterbalancing attribute of “faith” (see Jacob 1:5). In this episode Dr. Jared Halverson, associate professor of ancient scripture, discusses the mental, emotional, and spiritual issues related to anxiety as explained in the life and teachings of Jacob. Professor Halverson closely examines Jacob’s writings on the anxiety born of adversity (trauma), anxiety due to responsibility (pastoral perfectionism), and anxiety over one’s standing before God (scrupulosity). In analyzing Jacob’s words, we can find counsel and compassion, whether we struggle with anxiety or are anxious to support those who do.


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