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 Post subject: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:03 pm 
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Steve Densley, an officiator at FAIR who stays a step out of view by avoiding Mormon Dialogue & Discussion Board, has emerged from Mormon Interpreter's celebrated peer review process to get an article published that basically says people leave the Church due to mental problems. Now, Brother Densley has always struck me as an all-right kind of guy who is a bit out of place in not only the world of hard-core Mopologetics, but also the "apologetics of richness" popular at the new MI. I really don't think the man is going for the thinly-veiled insult that his article is destined to be taken as by his fellow Mopologist peers. On the contrary, I see it as an attempt to be sympathetic in "crucible of doubt" fashion, which has led to quite a division of opinions within the comments section. The growing faction of conservatives typified by Dennis Horne take issue with Densely's findings, insisting that apostasy is predicted in the scripture, is a matter of personal agency, and part of the Lord's separating of the wheat from chaff. But then to the contrary, others have chimed in to commend Densely, including fellow believers who have suffered from depression and also a therapist or two. So far, the differences in opinion have been expressed respectfully. Certainly, Densley's article is relevant and has got a conversation going from Interpreter's diverse readership. In this regard, the article is a success, and superior to Lou Midgley's traditional apologetic articles published in Interpreter that nobody talks about or comments on except for Lou Midgley himself.

I must warn potential readers that the article is a little slow going, and written in the kind of staccato sentences one finds in a high school book report:

Quote:
We probably all know people who have left the Church. Often, people become involved in apologetics because they want to help convince their friends or family members who have left the Church to come back. Or they want to understand why the friend or family member left. Or they want to help prevent others from leaving.


"I read Moby Dick for my book report. Moby Dick is a good book. A lot of people have read Moby Dick."

It also lives up to the Interpreter's well-established 20+ page minimum for a Friday centerfold spread and it has like 100+ footnotes.

I don't think we need to wade deeply into the paper to agree this much: If a person suffers from mental illness or "mental distress" then there will be social repercussions. If a person's community happens to be Mormon, then the social repercussions will involve Mormonism. It's probably not a stretch to say that a well-adjusted social butterfly raised as a strict TBM has little incentive to peek behind the paradigm of their clique and has a greater chance of staying active than a social misfit who may suffer from some kind of mental health issues. But that's not exactly the connection the author is ultimately looking for. His summary puts it best:
Quote:
Some interesting research suggests [Page 93]that the factors which produce depressive and anxious symptoms are also those which make it difficult to navigate conflicting information such as may exist about the Church’s history, policies, and doctrine


And earlier he writes,

Quote:
true doctrine changes attitudes and behavior, and there is evidence that it also can alleviate mental distress


I think we'd be forced to agree these are pretty childish observations. If anyone disagrees, I defer to the logic of Professor Jenkins': please cite an example of evidence that would whet an appetite enough that we'd trudge through all twenty pages.

And so on the one hand, I think the paper is timely and relevant for its readership but on the other, only in Mormonism would a trained therapist recommend psychiatric treatment for subjects who don't hear voices in their heads.

*ETA: For some reason I thought Steve was the tech guy at FAIR, that may be wrong. He's a lawyer though not in technology as I thought.

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Last edited by Gadianton on Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:06 pm 
Dragon
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Yes... Joseph marrying other men's wives was a sure fire stress reliever... as is his asking young girls to be his wives because although some things may appear abominable... they actually are not and there is perfect happiness in Spiritual Wifeism.

A perfect example of how a "true doctrine" alleviated the mental distress associated with it...

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:32 pm 
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Religion is arguably mass delusion to the point of mental illness.

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:37 pm 
God
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Or the link between apostasy and drug addiction. If the masses can't get a decent fix at church, they'll seek opioids on the street.

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:04 pm 
God

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So before we were informed it was wanting an excuse to sin or someone hurt our feelings now it is mental distress.

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:02 pm 
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I daresay this is a timely article--one that's long overdue, actually. It seems to me that the Mopologists have a strange relationship with mental illness. You'll recall that one notable Mopologists used the issue of suicide at one of the FAIR Conferences as a Mopologetic strategy--i.e., he suggested that the suicide was the result of the person growing disaffected with the Church. Plus, there was another hard-core Mopologist from New Zealand who once taunted a suicidal person, saying that the person's deep depression was their "own fault" for leaving the Church. Those are--to my mind--some key ways that the Mopologists have truly "shown their cards" on the matter, but consider all the other "smaller" things: how often, e.g., Daniel Peterson has casually described people as "loons," or whatever else; how often he treats people as if they are "psychologically fascinating" piss-ants who might as well be squirming amoebae in a petri dish. Think how often critics are told to "seek help," and how often Mopologetic arm-chair diagnoses have been dispensed.

Is Densley's article meant to serve as a corrective to all of that? (Is this Wyatt, once again poking a finger into the eye of his absentee "task master"?) Very tough to say. Still, I think we can all agree that the main Mopologists think it's uproariously funny to make light of mental illness.

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:59 pm 
God

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Densley wrote:
For many of us, when we encounter Church history or doctrine that is upsetting or hard to understand, we find some relief in “putting it on the shelf.” We stop thinking about it and perhaps come back to it later when we have more information.

However, those who are anxious or depressed seem to experience difficulties in ignoring or forgetting negative information.19 It is more difficult for them to divert their attention from threatening information.20

Many people cannot just “put things on the shelf” and forget about them. Instead, issues they find threatening just keep piling up but do not easily leave the forefront of their minds.

Did he just argue that people are more likely to stay in the church if they have the mental ability to practice avoidance, or to use "just stop thinking about it" as a way to deal with negative, difficult, or threatening issues?


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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:05 am 
God

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Quote:
Some interesting research suggests [Page 93]that the factors which produce depressive and anxious symptoms are also those which make it difficult to navigate conflicting information such as may exist about the Church’s history, policies, and doctrine


That's another way of saying that the conflicting information about Church histories, policies and doctrine causes depression and anxiety in believers. Another reason why the Church should be held to account for not telling the truth.

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:08 am 
God

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Lemmie wrote:
Densley wrote:
For many of us, when we encounter Church history or doctrine that is upsetting or hard to understand, we find some relief in “putting it on the shelf.” We stop thinking about it and perhaps come back to it later when we have more information.

However, those who are anxious or depressed seem to experience difficulties in ignoring or forgetting negative information.19 It is more difficult for them to divert their attention from threatening information.20

Many people cannot just “put things on the shelf” and forget about them. Instead, issues they find threatening just keep piling up but do not easily leave the forefront of their minds.

Did he just argue that people are more likely to stay in the church if they have the mental ability to practice avoidance, or to use "just stop thinking about it" as a way to deal with negative, difficult, or threatening issues?


He appears to suggesting that if you can't put upsetting Church history or doctrine "on the shelf" then you are mentally ill.

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:22 am 
God

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Quote:
Of all the reasons why people leave, one that has attracted little or no attention is the influence of mental distress. People who experience anxiety or depression see things differently than those who do not. Recognizing that people with mental distress have a different experience with church than others may help us to make adjustments that can prevent some amount of disaffection from the Church. This article takes a first step in identifying ways that mental distress can affect church activity and in presenting some of the things that individuals, friends, family members and Church leaders can do to help make being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints a little easier for those who experience mental distress.

https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/barri ... he-church/

His casual use of the phrase "mental distress" alongside terminology referring to "mental illness' suggests he really hasn't grasped or researched the theory he was attempting to explore. Inexcusable considering his co-author is a Psychologist. And he stops way short of exploring the types of "mental distress" that are potential causes of disaffection within Mormonism - such as the Church telling lies, the systemic conditioning into belief from an early age, the flip flopping of doctrines, the evidence versus the claims (spirit of discernment etc).

Quote:
Mental distress (or psychological distress) is a term used, both by some mental health practitioners and users of mental health services, to describe a range of symptoms and experiences of a person's internal life that are commonly held to be troubling, confusing or out of the ordinary.

Mental distress has a wider scope than the related term mental illness. Mental illness refers to a specific set of medically defined conditions. A person in mental distress may exhibit some of the symptoms described in psychiatry, such as: anxiety, confused emotions, hallucination, rage, depression and so on without actually being ‘ill’ in a medical sense.[1]

Life situations such as: bereavement, stress, lack of sleep, use of drugs or alcohol, assault, abuse or accident can induce mental distress. This may be something which resolves without further medical intervention, though people who endure such symptoms longer term are more likely to be diagnosed with mental illness. This definition is not without controversy as some mental health practitioners would use the terms mental distress and mental illness interchangeably.[2]

Some users of mental health services prefer the term mental distress in describing their experience as they feel it better captures that sense of the unique and personal nature of their experience, while also making it easier to relate to, since everyone experiences distress at different times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_distress

It seems a dangerously ill-considered piece. Members with anxiety and depression might read this piece, might be pointed in its direction, and might wrongly think their anxiety and depression is a simple case of them being unable to put things on a shelf. It also puts a stigma towards members in a faith crisis. Now that faith crisis can be labelled by other members as "mental distress" or "mental illness" and point to this article as justification. It needs removing from the public eye until it's been checked by a properly qualified mental health professional. He's also presuming to give advice to members of the Church on how to deal with other members they perceive to be in mental distress or mental illness such that they might convince them to stay members.

It should be noted that the co-author Geret Giles is advertising for new patients.
https://intermountainhealthcare.org/fin ... ret-nolan/

Such quackery (solicitation?) in apologetics, however well-intentioned, should not be tolerated. Especially where at least one of the authors is in a position to know better. How did this get past "peer review"? At least the pew gallery can add "mentally ill" to the list as to reasons why people leave the Church - porn addiction, offended, too lazy, wanted to sin, mentally ill.

It's simply another example of "Blame The Member".

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:00 am 
Prophet
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I have a question wrote:
How did this get past "peer review"?


It didn't, that is why it was not published in a credible journal, which the Interpreter isn't.


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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:15 am 
God
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Well, here I thought that the feelings of unworthiness, and inability to live up to perfection exacerbated my depression. Now it turns out that it was actually relieving it… somehow.

Interesting; feeling like complete garbage after reading The Miracle of Forgiveness was actually helping me. All along it was making me more emotionally stable, and mentally healthy.


#themoreyouknow


Quote:
Often, people become involved in apologetics because they want to help convince their friends or family members who have left the Church to come back. Or they want to understand why the friend or family member left. Or they want to help prevent others from leaving.

Or to try to convince themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:48 am 
God
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So when people apostasize from other faiths to join the LDS, is that also a sign of mental illness? :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:19 pm 
God
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Gadianton wrote:
only in Mormonism would a trained therapist recommend psychiatric treatment for subjects who don't hear voices in their heads.

:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:34 pm 
God

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Did the authors consider the link between non-apostasy and mental illness?

Quote:
After studying and surveying samples of members, Tim Heaton concluded in Statistical Profile of Mormons – Health, Wealth, and Social Life, “LDS women are significantly higher in depression than non-LDS women.”

About a fifth of Mormons say they have taken or are currently taking medication for depression, according to a study by Jana Riess published earlier this year for Religion News.

Utah, where 62.8 percent of the population is Mormon, ranks poorly for several categories of mental illness.

According to a 2017 survey by Mental Health America, Utah ranks dead last in the nation when it comes to adults with serious thoughts of suicide* and prevalence of mental illness and access to health care**.

*[from caption explaining statistic] The national percentage of adults reporting serious thoughts of suicide is 3.94%. The state prevalence of adult with serious thoughts of suicide range from Connecticut at 3.34% to Utah at 4.85%.

**[from caption showing the statistic]Lower rankings indicate that adults have higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care. Utah scored dead last in the country.

Utah also ranks 40th for adults with any mental illness reporting unmet needs.

https://universe.BYU.edu/2018/02/05/mental-illness-1/

[ source given in article for statistics:
http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issu ... lence-data ]


In the Interpreter article, the authors give this quote:
Quote:
the overall body of research from the early part of the twentieth century to the present supports the conclusion that Latter day Saints who live their lives consistent with the teachings of their faith experience greater well being, increased marital and family stability, less delinquency, less depression, less anxiety, less suicide, and less substance abuse than those who do not.*

*Daniel K Judd, “Religiosity, Mental Health, and the Latter-day Saints: A Preliminary Review of Literature [1923–1995],” in Latter-day Saint Social Life: Social Research on the LDS Church and Its Members, ed. James T. Duke (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, 1997), 473–97.


Note that the data I gave at the beginning of this post is from 2017; Judd's conclusion, quoted by the authors as apparently defining the mental state of Mormons who do not apostatize, was originally published in 1997 and is based on a cumulative literature survey of articles, published from 1923 to 1995.

Putting aside the obnoxious implication that apostatizing is equivalent to no longer living by a moral code, if mental illness is correlated with both staying in and leaving the LDS church, then this article's conclusions are, at best, meaningless.

Peer review at the Interpreter seems to lack a statistical analysis component.


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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:42 pm 
God
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This is a great point Lemmie. The church could actually be causing the high rates of mental illness among those living in Utah. Steve Young's mental issues could be because he stays in an organization that demands too much conformity? That person in the foyer could be there because that person cannot find the strength to leave given the possible repercussions to marriage, family and job?

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:20 pm 
Hermit
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Quote:
Did he just argue that people are more likely to stay in the church if they have the mental ability to practice avoidance, or to use "just stop thinking about it" as a way to deal with negative, difficult, or threatening issues?


I believe so, yes.

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"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero


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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:54 pm 
God

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Gadianton wrote:
Quote:
Did he just argue that people are more likely to stay in the church if they have the mental ability to practice avoidance, or to use "just stop thinking about it" as a way to deal with negative, difficult, or threatening issues?


I believe so, yes.

Unreal. Last week, I saw the Book of Mormon on Broadway. It's hard to take this "peer-reviewed" article seriously when the musical numbers written by the creators of South Park do a better job explaining the Mormon psychology.

Image

And this part hit hard....

Image


(If you don't mind an aside re the musical. It was the first time I'd seen it live, and I laughed my ass off the whole night, except when a couple of the Turn it Off verses got a little too real. It was heartbreaking. My husband said he didn't expect the show to be so ....blasphemous. He appreciated having me explain all the jokes afterward, though. )


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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:18 am 
God
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I've known people with mental illnesses. Of these people, many have stayed within their faith tradition and some have even interwoven their tendency for delusions with their faith and become stronger devotees to that faith. I wonder how Mr. Densley would classify those people in his theory?

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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:05 am 
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Quote:
Our point, of course, is that it may help those who experience mental health issues to stay if they received proper treatment, if they were to consider new perspectives on history, practice, and doctrine, or if they received appropriate kinds of support from Church leaders, friends and family. So it is our hope in introducing this topic that we can encourage people to be more aware of mental illness issues and seek help for themselves and others.


My god so our family is supposed to treat us like we're suffering from mental illness? Great. I think that's going to work smoothly.

Quote:
A significant amount of research demonstrates that religion has a positive effect on mental health. Daniel K. Judd found that “the overall body of research from the early part of the twentieth century to the present supports the conclusion that Latter day Saints who live their lives consistent with the teachings of their faith experience greater well being, increased marital and family stability, less delinquency, less depression, less anxiety, less suicide, and less substance abuse than those who do not.”29


Here's this Judd's work:

Quote:
Daniel K Judd, “Religiosity, Mental Health, and the Latter-day Saints: A Preliminary Review of Literature [1923–1995],” in Latter-day Saint Social Life: Social Research on the LDS Church and Its Members, ed. James T. Duke (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, 1997), 473–97


Based on literature up to 1995? How did that conclusion ever get stated based on that? I'm feeling skeptical.

Quote:
Similarly, if a person is distressed because of church activity, the answer would not be to stop going to church. Some may feel that it is
[Page 85]
church that is causing their depression and anxiety, but upon leaving, the mental illness does not go away. They have simply abandoned something that could have helped them. So the proper thing to do would be to seek treatment so those persons are able to gain all of the social, intellectual, spiritual, and mental health benefits that come from church activity.


What about those of us who stop going to church and do not have a mental illness? Is it also better for us to keep going? Why does this all come off as garbage to me?

Anybody have any familiarity with: Medeiros, “Intrusive Worries, Related Behaviors, and Religious Beliefs Among Mormons.”

I'm concerned this Densley guy has used it's findings a bit irresponsibly. The title specifies beliefs among Mormons but he seems to be using it as some sort of explanation for why those who leave suffer anxiety.


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 Post subject: Re: Interpreter: The link between apostasy and Mental Ilness
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:58 am 
God

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Stem wrote:

Quote:
A significant amount of research demonstrates that religion has a positive effect on mental health. Daniel K. Judd found that “the overall body of research from the early part of the twentieth century to the present supports the conclusion that Latter day Saints who live their lives consistent with the teachings of their faith experience greater well being, increased marital and family stability, less delinquency, less depression, less anxiety, less suicide, and less substance abuse than those who do not.”29


Here's this Judd's work:

Quote:
Daniel K Judd, “Religiosity, Mental Health, and the Latter-day Saints: A Preliminary Review of Literature [1923–1995],” in Latter-day Saint Social Life: Social Research on the LDS Church and Its Members, ed. James T. Duke (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, 1997), 473–97


Based on literature up to 1995? How did that conclusion ever get stated based on that? I'm feeling skeptical.

It's actually worse than that. I took a look at the paper and his work is a very simplistic literature review where he defined whole studies as simply showing a positive, negative, neutral or mixed relationship between religion and mental health. Then he added up the positives, equally weighing studies whether they were written in 1923 or 1995. Then, he simply noted LDS studies had a higher positive count, and boom- Mormons who live their religion have better mental health than Mormons who don't, even though the comparison was to other religions, NOT to whether a religion was faithfuly followed. You canNOT make the conclusion he makes, even if the data were valid.
Quote:
....Of the 540 studies that met the specific criteria for my initial study (1900–1995), 51 percent reported that religion was positively associated with mental health, 16 percent indicated a negative relationship, 28 percent were neutral, and 5 percent yielded mixed results.

....As a Latter-day Saint, I have been interested to discover that the research outcomes from studies on members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is remarkably positive. Nearly two-thirds of the research outcomes (71 percent) pertaining to Latter-day Saint samples indicated a positive relationship, 4 percent negative, 24 percent neutral, and 1 percent mixed.[6]

Here's another problem among the many, MANY statistical issues; given the comparatively small size of the religion, what are the odds the Mormon studies were written by devout and obedient Mormons, with an incentive to skew their results positively?

The statistical issues in this article are numerous and overwhelming. Once again, Interpreter "peer review" has utterly failed.


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