Can religion be good for mental health?
As a general rule, I have often thought so in general for the average already well balanced, non war mongering, non bigoted person, 'accepting about other religions and practices' kind of person.
But I'm bringing this up because Elizabeth Smart got married in Hawaii very recently and she is a practicing Mormon.
I find her to be an astounding, deeply interesting person who comes from an equally astounding and interesting family.
For what she was put through, which could warp anyone, this beautiful young woman has managed to deal with it and got on with her life in an apparently happy and balanced way. I don't understand how this is possible in as rounded a way as Elizabeth has, but if seeing is believing, she has managed it.
I give a lot of credit to good mental health genes and make up, fabulous parents who are not only extremely level headed but apparently really *knew* their daughters and how to best approach them both when helping them, both Elizabeth and her younger sister (who was key in Elizabeth's being found) - both unusually perceptive parents who, I believe who had pinpoint instincts on what best to do/not do - say/not say.
But I think that both their spiritual belief, religion AND their religious (Mormon) community helped them a great deal, in being there to support them through the worst of it and being there to celebrate with them during the best of it but also in a very big way, united around them and helped to protect the family's privacy through the experience and recovery.
I personally think that in the Smart family's case, their belief in God, the kind of God they believed in, their religion and their religous community perhaps made a huge difference, perhaps the key factor in Elizabeth's remarkable ability to put her kidnapping etc. in it's place and get on with her life.