Monday, April 06, 2015

Hope and Hopelessness

As a depressive, I've often felt the requirement for hope and faith before the bestowal of a blessing was a bit harsh. The typical member's reading of D&C 9:11 follows this "well I guess it's you're own fault for being depressed" reasoning, and his reading of Moro. 10:22 is an even-harsher "you're probably depressed because you're a bad person."

I recently finished reading Joseph M. Spencer's For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope, and one of the things I appreciated most about it is the discussion in the first two chapters about Paul's description of Abraham as one "who against hope believed in hope," and Spencer's translation of this as "hopeless but hoping."

I feel there's got to be a blessing for hopeless prayers because the existence of the prayer shows the underlying hope. A complete lack of hope would have no prayers at all.

The widow of Zarephath's plan was to die, not to be miraculously saved, yet her hope was sufficient for the bestowal of a blessing. She wasn't told, "Well, you had faith, but then you didn't, so screw you," and she wasn't told, "You could have more faith if you'd stop being so terrible."

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