This talk was given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on March 18, 1980. I share only a few quotes from this address that have helped me a lot recently as I've dealt with a great deal of depression and discouragement.
"In doing so, however, I wish at the outset to make a distinction F. Scott Fitzgerald once made, that "trouble" has no necessary connection with discouragement - discouragement has a germ of its own, as different from trouble as arthritis is different from a stiff joint". Troubles we all have, bu the "germ" of discouragement, to use Fitzgerald's word, is not in the trouble, it is in us. Or to be more precise, I believe it is in Satan, the Prince of Darkness, the Father of Lies. And he would have it be in us. It's frequently a small germ, hardly worth going to the Health Center for, but it will work and it will grow and it will spread. In fact, it can become almost a habit, a way of living and thinking, and there the greatest damage is done. Then it takes an increasingly severe toll on our spirit, for it erodes the deepest religious commitments we can make - those of faith, and hope, and charity. We turn inward and look downward, and these greatest of Christlike virtues are damaged or at very least impaired. We become unhappy and soon make others unhappy, and before long Lucifer laughs."
"As with any other germ, a little preventive medicine ought to be practiced in terms of those things that get us down. There is a line from Dante that says, "The arrow seen before cometh less rudely". President John F. Kennedy put the same thought into one of his state of the union messages this way: "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining." The Boy Scouts say it best of all: "Be prepared." That isn't just cracker-barrel wisdom with us; it is theology. "And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice...Prepare ye, prepare ye" (D&C 88:92). "But if ye are prepared ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30). And fear is part of what I wish to oppose this morning. The scriptures teach that preparation - prevention if you will - is perhaps the major weapon in your arsenal against discouragement and self-defeat".
"If there is one lament I cannot abide - and I hear it from adults as well as students - it is the poor, pitiful, withered cry, "Well, that's just the way I am." If you want to talk about discouragement, that phrase is one that discourages me. Though not a swearing man, I am always sorely tempted to try my hand when I hear that. Please spare me your speeches about "That's just the way I am." I've head the from too many people who wanted to sin and call it psychology. And I use the word sin again to cover a vast range of habits, some seemingly innocent enough, that nevertheless bring discouragement and doubt and despair."
"In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike - and they will - you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham's seed."
I have listened to this talk three times this week, and listened to it twice. I love it more and more each time and feel myself making more and more progress away from my depression and discouragement. Satan is good at what he does, but Heavenly Father is better. I'm making sure that I am prepared now in every aspect of my life so that I do not have to live in fear. I am staying on the side of light so that discouragement will not overpower me quite as easily.