My Madness

One of the defining events of my life was contracting a brain disease from an encounter in Vietnam with the bacteria, Burkholderia pseudomallei. Some of you might have read my article in Dialogue describing this. The podcast “Believable” just interviewed me and my wife, Lori, about these events and how it affected our life and faith. Many of you have heard my point of view, but Lori was there watching the events unfold, and her account has never been captured before. I thought you might enjoy hearing about this event from both our perspectives.


  1. A harrowing experience for sure! Still, I appreciate your testimony of relationships that emerged from the ordeal.

  2. Thank you. I missed the Dialogue piece so this is my introduction to your experience. I have my own. Not such a good story but also leading to a disbelief in certainty about anything.

  3. Wow. That was wild. Thank you for sharing this. I mean, really, thank you.

  4. I decided to crash your bioethics class during my last semester at BYU and was lucky enough to pick the lecture where you shared this story. It never gets old.

  5. Handlewithcare says:

    Amazing, amazing story. I think of dementia, and the multitude of illnesses and conditions that separate us out from reality as we have embodied experience. I choose to believe that this does not separate us from God’s love, but it feels that way due to our perception. So important to include these experiences as a real part of our mortal narrative.
    Really, what does’ knowing’ mean? I can only say that I choose to believe, in my better moments…

  6. I was married to a man who truly was insane, not just temporarily, but lifelong. It was a nightmare, one I am still dealing with since I married him because of a direct command from God. Long story that I will spare you.
    My concern today is twofold. Why aren’t bishops and stake presidents given more training in mental illness? They not only cannot help, but they do immense and eternal damage to people’s marriages through the sometimes terrible advice they give.
    Second, why is there not more research being done by LDS geneticists into mental illness? We have the database at familysearch to use for finding genes that both cause it and protect against it. We certainly have people willing to step forward to swab their cheeks for DNA samples.
    Instead we prefer to use these people as the bad example in object lessons. If you read the Ensign faithfully in the 1990’s, you read my former husband’s story being used by a general authority to warn people about how small sins lead to big sins. So unfortunate he did not speak with me because the story he repeated was not accurate. The madness was clearly visible in the complete story.
    While sin is real, so is mental illness. Confusing one with the other is deadly.

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