Article of the Week

Grace, Legalism, and Mental Health among the Latter-day Saints

Grace, Legalism, and Mental Health among the Latter-day Saints

Today we are featuring an article from our newest journal, “Grace, Legalism, and Mental Health.” It focuses on how the relationship between works-only thinking versus grace-and-works and depression, and other mental health issues. 

The theological principle of the grace of God is found in the teachings of most world religions and is integral to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The doctrine of God’s grace has been given greater institutional and personal attention among Latter-day Saints during the last several decades than previously. We recently published an empirical analysis on the relationship between God’s grace and the mental heatlh of Latter-day Saints in an APA (American Psychological Association) journal, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. What follows is an overview and summary in and observers of the Latter-day Saint community. The reporter here examined the relationship between grace, legalism, and mental health (related to depression, anxiety, perfectionism, and shame) in 635 students at Brigham Young University students. Although causality cannot be determined, the results of this study are consistent with the postulate that experiencing the grace of God is related to better mental health and that legalistic beliefs negatively affect the same experience.