While the battle against perfectionism seems to have become a common discussion for Latter-day Saints, scrupulosity remains unknown and untreated. By understanding more about scrupulosity we can work towards managing it and finding peace in Christ.
What is scrupulosity?
Scrupulosity is a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that specifically involves obsessions relating to religious or moral purity. Those with scrupulosity have excessive and unhealthy concerns about personal sinfulness and divine retribution that often go beyond the laws and practices of the religion itself.
How does scrupulosity manifest itself?
Scrupulosity manifests in both mental obsessions and behavioral compulsions. A person with scrupulosity may:
- Excessively seek the aid and reassurance of ecclesiastical leaders
- Perform religious rituals, such as praying or reading the scriptures, to an obsessive amount in order to battle feelings of uncleanliness
- Self-sacrifice in service to others to the point of harming one’s well-being
- Feel unable to pray unless the pray is perfectly stated
- Experience fear over going to hell or being damned
- Memorize passages of scripture and repeat them over and over again
- Require themselves and others to perform religious rituals perfectly
How is scrupulosity treated?
Many of the same treatments used for traditional OCD are effective against scrupulosity. This includes cognitive behavior therapy and certain medications. One of the goals with all treatments is to help those with scrupulosity find a level of peace and comfort with their inherent imperfections and even sinfulness.
Understanding pure religion.
The scriptures teach us to embrace “pure religion.” Part of this includes gaining a testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ is ennobling, flexible, forgiving and designed to exalt us, not condemn us. You can learn more about scrupulosity from this article from the Church.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.