‘Mormon Land’: When righteousness becomes a debilitating obsession

Latter-day Saint author discusses his struggles with scrupulosity and how he learned to view the church’s theology in a different, more correct, way.

Latter-day Saint author Taylor Kerby's new book is “Scrupulous: My Obsessive Compulsion for God.”

Taylor Kerby persistently feared he would fall short of God’s love — no matter how many prayers he offered, no matter how often he read or recited scriptures and no matter how pure he kept his thoughts.

Growing up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kerby fixated on living every commandment, avoiding a hint of anything that could be termed a sin. Righteousness was not a desire or a goal or a pursuit. It was life, and it was crippling him.

He suffered from “scrupulosity,” an obsessive-compulsive disorder that focuses on moral rectitude and brings with it pathological guilt.

As a teenager, this religious mania “was all-encompassing, flowing into every aspect of my life and informing the most insignificant decision,” Kerby writes in his new book, “Scrupulous: My Obsessive Compulsion for God.”

On this week’s show, he talks about what that was like, how he learned to deal with it and where his faith is today.

Listen here:

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