Saturday, December 15, 2012


I spent the majority of yesterday feeling sad ... like two steps from tears.

It's just so ... I just don't want to believe that anything like that COULD happen, let alone that it DID happen.

My Facebook feed is full of people expressing their sorrow and compassion for the children and school personnel who were killed, and their support of the families and community involved. There are pledges being made to hug our own children more ... as there are many families that aren't able to do so.

There are people making calls for stronger gun laws (however, where it happened, the state gun laws are stronger than most).
I maintain that it's important that we have our Second Amendment rights ... Now, do we need, as a civilian population, to have assault rifles? Probably not.
I also maintain that these last two shootings are proof of how our nation is failing at handling mental health issues. If we removed the stigma AND increased the availability of care (especially emergency care), events like these might be avoided.

But the posts on Facebook that hurt most are the ones that ask "How can people believe that there's a loving God if He lets things like this happen. And then people say it's God's will. If there was a God, wouldn't He stop these things before they even start?"

And ... well, that's where faith does help. Even during a trial of faith.

If you don't believe in God, an event like this is harder to handle.

  • Men and women who invested a lot of energy and emotion into their offspring have an empty return.
  • They'll never see each other again.
  • Chemical imbalances (or something) along with the existence of firearms results in the unpreventable loss of life.
  • Etc.
Now, I can see why people will ask how God could allow this to happen.
And, with my understanding of the gospel, I can start to make an explanation. However, since I don't know everything, it is a limited explanation.

  • We have a loving Heavenly Father. He is all-knowing and all-powerful.
  • We are His spirit children. He loves each and every one of us. He wants the best for us.
  • It is important to Him that we have a mortal experience, to be tested and tried, so that we can learn to be like Him. Eventually, we will have opportunity to be like Him, truly.
  • As part of this mortal experience, we must have the ability to discern between good and evil. We need to be able to make choices, to have free agency.
    Without the ability to choose for ourselves, we cannot learn.
  • Every one of His children who comes to earth has the same gift of free agency.
  • Our choices have the potential to affect others ... it's not only having an effect on ourselves.
  • The effect of others' choices often gives us important learning experiences ... and we should take the opportunities for learning and growth when offered (or else there will be other, tougher lessons ... since we do NEED to learn and grow).
  • Heavenly Father also knew that we all would make poor choices, at one point or another. We would sin. And that sin would separate us forever from Him, as a spiritual death. We also would, with our mortal bodies, be subject to physical death.
    He knew that to overcome spiritual and physical death, we needed a savior.
When, in the preexistence, before any of us came to earth, there was a council in Heaven. Heavenly Father presented this plan, where we could grow to become like Him.
When He told us that a redeemer was needed, two of His children volunteered.
Lucifer proclaimed that he would make everyone be good. No one would ever be hurt or sad. No one would ever sin. Everyone would return to Heavenly Father. ... And, in return, Lucifer would receive the glory for his part of the plan.
Jesus also volunteered. He would allow us the freedom to choose, knowing that there would be consequences for those choices. There would be pain and sadness. ... However, he would come to earth and take the effects of our sins upon himself. He would suffer and die for us so that we could repent and live with our Heavenly Father again.

As I said above, we needed to have the freedom to choose for ourselves. Without the ability to choose, how could we learn? How could we prove, to ourselves, that we can be like our Heavenly Father?

And (as you probably know. Or deduced), Jesus was chosen.
There were other spirit children who followed Lucifer as he rebelled. They were cast out ... they never received mortal bodies. They are unable to progress ... they are damned. They, however, do hae the power to influence those of us with mortal bodies. They, along with Lucifer (now Satan), have the power to tempt us, to lead us astray.
They are miserable with the knowledge of what they gave up ... Their goal is to prevent us from progressing, to prevent our return to Heavenly Father's presence.

Jesus came to earth as the Messiah. He came humbly, born to a virgin, in a stable. His bloodline was that of the king of the Jews. He lived a sinless life, with the power and ability to bless, to command nature. He taught, through his sinless example, how we should live. He withstood temptation. He was hated and mocked by some. Others followed him and his teachings.
And, in time, he prayed for us in the garden of Gethsemane. He took upon himself all the sins of all the worlds, creating an infinite Atonement.
He was beaten and mocked and crucified for no crime. He allowed himself to die.
After three days, he was resurrected. He appeared to those he loved ... he proved that he was alive be eating and by letting them touch him. He then appeared to his followers on the other side of the earth -- He blessed them and established his church in the Americas. Then He returned to His father's presence, having completed all the work He was sent to do.

And He will come again. And when He does, it will be good.
We know, from the writings of the prophets (ancient and modern), that the world is going to be a complete mess. And, well, it's pretty much there.
So ... we just need to keep the faith and stay strong. This will end and we have wonderful things to look forward to.

Because of the Atonement, everything will be made right in the end.
Justice demands a price ... and it will be met.
Mercy is made possible through Jesus's suffering. If we allow Him, through our faith in Him, and by repenting, He takes upon himself the effects of our sins. We pay a much lower price as he takes our stripes for us.
Through His death and resurrection, we are able to overcome death. We will be made perfect. We can be reunited with our loved ones.
We also have the blessings that come from the covenants that we make in the temple ... that our family bonds are not broken upon death. Heavenly Father's plan for us is not "til death do you part," but eternal. Families can be together forever.

These are huge and wonderful blessings that are offered to us.

And ... that is how I know that we have a loving God.
Yes, He allows us to choose for ourselves. Because He loves us.
Yes, bad things will happen to everyone. That does not mean that he does not love us.
(Think of it this way -- would you appreciate your parents putting you in a bubble and monitoring every move made around you, picking out all your friends, what you can read, what you can think? Even if you knew that it would prevent anything bad happening to you? Really? ... If so, then maybe you're better than I am. I have an independent streak.)
AND, because He knows that bad things happen ... and that we bring some of them upon ourselves ... and that our choices and actions do affect others, He has made it possible for everything to be made right.

And, when you think of the horrible, terrible choices that others make that affect so many others, you have to remember that Heavenly Father allows them to make choices and doesn't kill them off as soon as they have a bad thought BECAUSE He is giving them the opportunity to repent. To come back on their own. To try and  make things better/right.

There are awful things that happen. People are killed, tortured, raped, beaten ... and many, many other things  happen. Miscarriages. Sexual Abuse. Bullying. Natural disasters.

Heavenly Father doesn't allow these things to happen because He doesn't care.
He allows them to happen ... even though I know that it causes Him intense sorrow to see his children doing these things to each other.
It's not because he can't stop it ... He allows us to make our choices. Even when it's not what He wants us to do or when He knows that it's something we shouldn't do.

But ... there is always hope.
He sent His son to make things right.
Everything will be made right in the end. All justice will be fulfilled. Mercy will be extended.
All wrongs will be made right. All sorrows will cease. All will be well.

We just have to be patient and keep the faith.

If we follow the commandments of the Lord, if we keep the covenants we have made as perfectly as we can, we will be blessed. And we will bless others.
(If we don't murder people, aren't we preventing their pain? And the pain of their families and friends? And that's just one example.)

When I start to get discouraged, I find myself remembering these words:
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.
(From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis)

Which is especially fitting, since it is Christian allegory (spoiler!).

But ... Heavenly Father loves us. He has given us the ability to have everything made right. We can be assured that things will be better. Even though it can be hard right now. But things will be better.
We shall have spring again after this winter of suffering.

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