About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/04/dna-mormons/ and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009 http://theredbrickstore.com/sunstone/becoming-hong-meis-mother/.

Nobody’s Perfect: A Look at Toxic Perfectionism and Depression


By Joanna Benson and Lara Jackson

Guest blogger:
Lara Branscomb Jackson has her BA in psychology, her master’s in counseling and is completing her PhD in counseling. Lara has a private practice and works at a Wellness Center that focuses on eating disorders, addiction, diabetes, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.  She grew up in North Carolina in the LDS faith and is an active member in the  LDS church. An interesting aspect of Lara’s experience is that her parents were converts to the church from the Baptist faith. Her parents were the only converts to the LDS faith of her extensive family. Lara has been in numerous callings in the church including multiple opportunities with the Young Women’s program.

Utah Valley University professor Kris Doty observed first hand how depression affected LDS women, when she worked as a crisis counselor in the emergency room at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Doty saw increased activity of LDS women on Sunday evenings after church meetings suffering from feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and guilt.

Doty concluded the LDS women’s depression was caused by genetics, abusive history, family relationships, and judgment by others. However she found that toxic perfectionism was the major cause of depression among LDS women.

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The People Desired a King Over Them -Ether 6:22

One of my more worldly indulgences is picking up a People Magazine every so often at the doctor’s offices where I enjoy a few frivolous empty-headed moments reading about the lives and loves of various celebrities. My rather harmless habit has been with me for the last (ahem) 30+ years, and I admit I am a British Royal Watcher. Occasionally a fleeting thought came to mind that the royals cost the people of Great Britain an enormous amount of money, and was it really worth it?

And A big Mazel Tov to Prince WIlliam and Duchess Kate on their blessed event! photo from Mirror News

What I was shocked to discover this week, was the cost numbering 16 or so individuals and in some cases their dependents, who earn a salary from the British government, is quite a big less compared to what the US government pays  President Obama and his 3 dependents.  According to this article in The Daily Caller, referencing author Robert Keith Gray in his new book “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” past presidents have enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, but the Obama presidency has especially taken advantage of the American people. Last year the Obama family of 4 cost the American taxpayers a whopping 1.4 billion! The British royal family of 16 or so individuals/families living in numerous drafty big old estates/castles cost the British taxpayers £36.million/$76.77million.  Considering the state of our economy, I am disappointed the Obamas have not set an example of frugality. Considering they expect wealthy Americans to sacrifice by paying higher taxes, the Obamas should follow suit and trim their budget.

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The Book of Mormon Musical: To Embrace or Heed It Not


Before we go any  further, dear reader, you have homework to do. If you wish to participate in this conversation it  is necessary to read the required reading the synopsis of the Book of Mormon Musical. I apologize for the smut you will encounter, but hey, the Pandora Box has been opened, and not by me.


Jumbo Stick It Pad


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To Laura: A Rebuttal and a Revisit with the Sephardic Jews and the Melungeons and the Mormon Pioneers

Note: When I began my rebuttal to Laura’s comment , I meant for it to be a comment, but realized it was a post instead…

Jewish Star on SLC Tabernacle http://www.2topfs.net/May_%202008.htm


When our people, the Sephardic Jews, left Spain, during the 400 years  of the Inquisition, they numbered from ¼ to ½ million people.  A large population of highly educated skilled individuals just did not go POOF into the night!

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“We’re Just Jesus People” and Street Cred

Another one of the Benson boys is serving a mission. Piano Man, who is now Elder Benson, wrote to us from his mission in California:

“There is some serious gang activity here. I hear cops all the time, and I’ve heard gunshots. Gang members have talked to my trainer in the past;  he says gang members are  really nice and don’t bother us (missionaries), because we’re just Jesus people.  One of our investigators, who used to be in a gang, told us the only gang that will mess with missionaries is a gang moving in from Fresno called the Bulldogs. They beat up pretty much everyone, but the other gangs have had a ceasefire with each other, and are focusing on getting the Bulldogs out. There is a lot of pot here. The air smells like a mixture of dry, sea salt, and Mexican food. It’s interesting.”

Richard Drutcher's States of Grace


Am I worried? Well, yeah kinda.  Elder Benson is a happy, confident, hippie-kind-of-guy who could make friends with a rock;  except for stray bullets and getting hit by a car while riding his bike, I think he will be okay. What I am wondering, how much “Street Cred” do Mormon missionaries get in dangerous areas around the world. For those of you who have served in places which “kinda made your mama nervous”, what kinds of advice or tales do you have to share with me, and the rest of our readers.  Please do tell, because inquiring minds want to know.