Death is one of those universal laws that all mankind are subject to, yet it remains a mystery to almost everyone and considered part of the “Great Unknown”. An extra burden is added to the Great Unknown when life is taken by suicide. M. Russell Ballard wrote an article pertaining to suicide that may be helpful.
“The act of taking one’s life is truly a tragedy because this single act leaves so many victims: first the one who dies, the dozens of others such as family and friend who are left behind.
Some to face years of deep pain and confusion. The living victims struggle, often desperately, with difficult emotions (in addition to the feelings of grief, anger, guilt, and rejection which the victims of such a family feel).
Judgment is the Lord’s
“It should also be remembered that judgment is the Lord’s; he knows the thoughts, intents, and abilities of men; and he in his infinite wisdom will make all things right in due course.
Not long ago I was asked to speak at the funeral of a dear friend who had committed suicide. Knowing the person and the circumstances as I did, and researching the doctrine on the subject, I had some difficult moments in preparing for my remarks.
Peace came to me only when I recognized that only the Lord could administer fair judgment. He alone had all the facts, and only He would know the intent of the heart of my friend. I was reconciled with the idea that a lifetime of goodness and service to others must surely be considered by the Lord in judging the life of a person. In the Lord’s mercy, perhaps the words of Alma will apply:
‘And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.’ (Alma 41:2-3 in the Book of Mormon)
We do not know the challenges of the person
“Was the person who took his life mentally ill? Was he or she so deeply depressed as to be unbalanced or otherwise emotionally disturbed? Was the suicide a tragic, pitiful call for help that went unheeded too long or progressed faster than the victim intended?
Did he or she somehow not understand the seriousness of the act? Was he or she suffering from a chemical imbalance in their system that led to despair and a loss of self-control?
Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth. When he does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth. Lord will not judge the person by the act itself. The Lord will look at that person’s circumstances and the degree of his accountability at the time of the act. We must constantly strive to do our best in following the example of the Savior in every aspect of our lives.
Peace from the savior
“I am grateful for the great plan of salvation our Father in Heaven has provided for us. It is a plan of great fairness and a plan of great love. As I think about the worry and agony of those whose loved one has taken his or her own life, I find deep comfort and faith in the Lord’s promise and blessing to us who remain in mortality: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.'” (John 14: 27 in the Bible)
Overcoming death and making possible the eventual resurrection of all mankind
The Savior came into the world to break the bands of death by initiating the eventual universal resurrection of all mankind. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept… For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15: 20, 22 in the Bible). All the sons and daughters of Heavenly Father that live and die on the earth will be resurrected including those that commit suicide and will again have association with family and friends.
Dallas Jones is the local leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The column quoted part of an article by M. Russell Ballard in the March 1988 edition of Ensign. For further discussion call (231) 383-8359 or send an email to [email protected] If interested in reading my previous articles printed in the newspaper visit djonesarticles.com.