Autism and Positive Psychology and Mormonism

STscienceofficersSo my son who was working through the mission application process (extended due to a diagnosis of ADHDi) suddenly quit that process and going to church generally.  So I’ve been thinking more than normal about how people manage happiness in ways other than I do.  And about the distinction between happiness and joy, which is kind of a Mormon question.  (If “men are that they might have joy” why is the world such an unhappy place).

I mean, it’s a question I stopped taking serious after I became a linguist but I guess studying positive psychology has brought it back.  Happiness is but one dimension.  There is also relationships, meaning, achievement and accomplishment.  (Tongue in cheek on those last two, they are engagement and accomplishment.  But there will always be seeming synonyms people insist are not the same at all.  At least in English).

So is my son able to know joy?  Not because he’s drifted away from yhe church, but from some root cause having to do with his autism, of which his lapsing of interest is a symptom?  He still retains conservative values, interestingly.

It raises another “semantic question” between the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ (another thing Mormon aspiring Scholastists debate).  It brought to mind the scripture: “The Love of God sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men…and is the most joyous to the soul.”  (where Romans 5:5 focuses on the physical sacrifice of Christ, this passage in 1 Nephi focuses on the gift of Christ’s miraculous birth).

So that opens, for me, a third possibility between Holy Ghost, Light of Christ, and Love of God.  Plus, I don’t know, is there something cognitive that isn’t one of these?  Social?  Not dependent on Social Cognition?  (Whereas I think Mormonism rather favors Restrictive and Repetitive Behaviors).

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