What is the Lord’s and the Church’s view on suicide?

What is the Lord’s and the Church’s view on suicide?

Question

 

Gramps,

Over the last several of years I have had a few friends take, what they think is, the easy way out. This is devastating for all those left behind. A few have them are members, some not. Most of them I served with in the military and had a great deal of pain and anguish from deployments. Mental and physical wounds were severe. While others are just cursed with a mind that has turned against them in one form or another. I too suffer. What are the Lord’s and the Church’s views on suicide?

Bradley

 

Answer

 

Bradley,

I’m sorry that you have lost friends to suicide.  Yes, it is devastating for those left behind, enough so to cause PTSD in some. I have also heard of loved ones of people who commit suicide taking their own lives. It’s always hard to lose a loved one to death, but even more tragic when the cause is suicide.

I would caution you though not to judge that they were taking what they saw as “the easy way out”.  Unless we have been suicidal we can’t know what that feels like, and even if we have–each person is different.  The church leaders have said: Although it is wrong to take one’s own life, a person who commits suicide may not be responsible for his or her acts. Only God can judge such a matter.

Suicide

I have spoken with a few people who have been suicidal, and a few who have attempted suicide.  A common theme that arises is the irrationality of their thinking processes during those moments.  I truly do not think most people who come to that point are in a rational state of mind, and this may be why our leaders have said they “may not be responsible”.

You mentioned that you suffer as well.  I hope that you have loving and understanding family members, friends and a supportive Bishop. If thoughts of suicide come to your mind, please talk to someone right away. The National Suicide Hotline phone number is 1-800-273-8255.

Another common theme I find in talking to people that have contemplated suicide is that things do get better and they are all grateful they didn’t follow through on those thoughts.  Through Jesus Christ there is always hope, even when we can’t see any way things could improve.  Keep your hope in Christ, Bradley.  I am sorry for your pain.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Why do my prayers seem to hit the ceiling due to my depression?

Why do my prayers seem to hit the ceiling due to my depression?

Question

Hi Gramps,

I have been suffering from depression and anxiety most of my life.  I don’t know if the Lord will remove it in this life or the next life. It has been a struggle for me as well as for my marriage. I love Elder Holland’s talk a few conferences ago. It is so hard to deal with.  I love the Lord and try to do what is expected of me such as scriptures prayer etc. but I feel at times my prayers hit the ceiling.

Jann

 

Answer

Dear Jann,

Let me give you a bit of comfort here. But first, you should know that I am not a psychologist or an expert on depression. So I’m not really going to talk too much about that. You should seek the best help possible in this regard, both medical and spiritual.

No, here’s the part I hope will be comforting: I do not suffer from depression, and yet I also often feel that my prays are hitting the ceiling.

I hope that’s comforting. I hope you know and understand that although you may have some severe struggles that might seem particularly unique to you, the struggle to develop a close relationship with our Father in Heaven is UNIVERSAL! We all, who are working to do so, struggle in this way.

We live behind a veil. Our Father in Heaven set it up this way on purpose. That is part of our trial here. Part of the trial, as you intimately know, is physical, emotion, and mental trials that we face from being mortal. We have disease and death in this life. But the other part of our trial is another kind of death, that which is referred to as spiritual death. That is the separation from our Heavenly Father.

As we know, to help us through this time of separation and blindness, the Lord has given us some wonderful things. One of them is the Holy Ghost. It is through the Holy Ghost that we feel any of the closeness to God that we do in this life. So it seems reasonable to presume that when we don’t feel close to God, it is because we are not successfully receiving communication from His Spirit.

So, we have to ask ourselves one more “why”?

Well, let’s look at the criteria given for feeling the Holy Ghost. I am presuming you are a baptized member of the Church, and if so, you have been given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. This is a precious thing. It promises us that His Spirit, as reiterated each week in the sacramental prayer, will always be with us. And yet, as we have established, we often do not feel the Spirit when praying or going about our daily lives. Partially, in answer, we can look at the rest of the sacramental prayer for why this might be. Having the Gift of the Holy Ghost is conditional. The Spirit will be with us IF. If what? Well, if we take His name upon us, always remember Him, and keep His commandments.

So there is that. How successful are we at this? We know, as a matter of declared doctrine, that the only perfect man who ever lived was Jesus Christ. In that regard, only Jesus perfectly qualified to have the Spirit always be with him. The rest of us need to consistently repent for the privilege.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I do not think we must be perfect to qualify for the companionship of the Spirit. I hope not. That would eliminate us all and render the gift moot. But I do think that we need to be trying our best, and be fairly consistently mindful of it. When we fall into the trap of apathy, it’s pretty easy to get away from where we need to be for the Spirit to be a consistent part of our lives. And it is ever so easy to do this.

Keep in mind, we’re not talking major sin. If you have any major sins, obviously, you would need to get on top of repenting of them immediately. But even when free of major sins, all of us fall victim constantly to the natural man. We are irreverent, lazy, unkind, snarky, loud, unclean, etc., etc…. None of these things make us horrible people. But they are all imperfections to one degree or another that we all work on.

Notice that I keep saying ALL. I don’t want you to fall further into depression by feeling that any of these weaknesses you may have set you apart as someone worse than others. We ALL have these things in our life. Whatever things I’m good at, you may be struggling with, and almost just as assuredly, the things you’re good at, I’m struggling with, etc. I’m sure we also share strengths and weaknesses. This is life. We are mortal.

Do not despair. It’s supposed to be a struggle. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Keep praying. Keep working to improve. Keep struggling to set your life in order so that you may be worthy of the constant and clear guidance of the Spirit. It is a lifelong process. It’s part of why we are here on the earth. As you do so, bit by bit, you’ll see greater spiritual strength through the years. Hang on!

Long-suffering is a virture for a reason.

Another point to review in your life. How’s your scripture study? Can it improve? If it can, do it! (I know it can, because it always can.) Nothing, in my experience, has brought me closer to the Spirit of God than consistent, diligent, faithful scripture study.

Next point. How are you doing on serving others? Can it improve? Don’t feel like you need to bite off more than you can chew. Line upon line, right? But take another step. Serve someone a bit more. Work to lengthen your stride in this regard. As you do so, you will feel the Spirit come into your life in greater abundance.

Another point. What are you praying for? Is is all for you? Do you pray for others more, or can your prayers get a bit self-centered. I know mine do. But I have found that when I start letting go of my needs a bit and start focusing more on what I can be doing for others, and my prayers reflect that, the Spirit just comes coursing into my soul. It’s actually kind of amazing. That doesn’t mean we cannot pray for ourselves, of course. We are commanded to. But I think there are always ways to improve our praying.

Finally, are you taking time and effort to truly listen? I remember it being recommended once by a Stake President that we should set aside a healthy amount of time for prayer, find a quite place, get on our knees and just listen. Ponder and listen for a good time before we even start to pray, reaching out to our feelings and the Spirit. Then, as we begin to feel at peace, we pray. And take time to pause and really listen to your feelings as you pray too. Give it time and effort. This is part of the challenge of being behind the veil. And, I’ll say it again. We ALL have this challenge.

I hope these thoughts are helpful to you. As I said at the beginning, I’m not a depression expert. I’ve known close family members and friends who struggle with it. It can be debilitating. Seek the help you need. Get on medication if appropriate, etc. And definitely get spiritual counsel from your bishop, friends, family, and…well…me. I hope my counsel is useful at least.

I wish you the very best as you continue to press forward steadfastly, long-suffering with your mortal weaknesses as you learn to reach out to and listen to God and His Holy Spirit.

Gramps

Doubt

Doubt

Question

Dear Gramps,

I spent some time reading messages on this website trying to find answer on my problem and I wasn’t able to do so. Maybe that is because of complexity of my problem, and yet again, maybe my problem has no solution. I was exposed to LDS teachings for quite some time, and the Truth has been revealed to me. The problem is that I simply do not believe in it, nor I can make myself to believe in it. I have tried everything, but it doesn’t work. I am very depressed these days and I’m considering getting a shrink just for this matter. What should I do? Please help.

Charlie (more…)

Trials

Trials

My dear friend has been having a lot of trials lately. It seems everytime something is set to go well life pulls back and says “gotcha!” As a result her outlook on life is bleak and I can feel her losing faith. I remember reading a scripture about our trials always being consecrated for our own good but I can’t seem to find it. I feel like it might help her perspective. Do you know which scripture I mean or have an even better one for me to share?

Rachael (more…)

Understanding forgiveness

Understanding forgiveness

I suffered from rape/molestation as a child and was told by my mother that “that’s the way guys are.” My mother wasn’t mentally capable of helping me as her abuse was suppressed as well. I spoke to my grandmother and she told me that my grandfather used to beat and rape her and my mother and wear her dresses. My mother’s sister stated that she too was molested. Over the years, my mother’s sister has found a way of forgiving that man and actually has a loving relationship with him. Isn’t it a slap in the face for her to allow this sick individual to experience the love of an accepting family? The man has never been prosecuted for his sick crimes. He has remarried and lives a very nice successful life. Does he deserve this? I understand that forgiveness is crucial for one’s personal mental health but that is just forgiveness within yourself. That doesn’t mean that you must forgive the individual that committed such horrific acts and show them love?

Aimee (more…)

Returning to Church

Returning to Church

Sir, I was a member of the Church as a convert and was baptised back in 2005. Since then I gained a testimony about all aspects of the Church. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ exist, that they revealed themselves to Joseph Smith, that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet who was used to restore the Gospel on the face of the Earth, that the Angel Moroni revealed to him the whereabouts of the Golden plates etc, that as a result the Book of Mormon was brought forth as another Testament of Jesus Christ, that the Church is true and Thomas S Monson is a Living Prophet on the face of the Earth.Yet despite all this I’ve failed, fallen into darkness,been swayed by Anti Church individuals. I’m now miserable and lost. How I wish I could come back, to be restored and be forgiven but I don’t know how. I’ve tried coming back several times but always ended up failing Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Church. Please can you help, maybe pray for me? Thank you.

Peter (more…)

Chronic depression and illness

Chronic depression and illness

I am a member of the church. I have had depression and chronic fatigue since I was 11 years old. I’m now 55. Medication does not seem to help. Could you please help me understand a couple of things?

1) What can I learn from these illness’s?

2) Why would I choose this in the pre-mortal life? I guess I am wondering what kind of a spirit I was to choose this life?

3) It is difficult for me to learn and remember things. Will what I have read stay in my brain and count as knowledge in the next life?

I have a strong testimony of the gospel and live worthily of all the commandments. Thank you for your help.

Jan (more…)

Not Good Enough

Not Good Enough

Dear Gramps,

I have a testimony of the gospel, but I struggle to serve in callings because of my social anxiety. It seems whenever I accept a calling, I struggle with my activity. I have suffered from depression since my teenage years. I hate Sunday’s because I absolutely hate going to church. I know the gospel is true and believe in Jesus Christ, but I am just not good enough to be a member of this church. I am thinking about going inactive, which has caused a strain in my marriage. I don’t want to talk to my bishop because I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to lose my wife and children, but I can’t play this game anymore. I sometimes think about suicide, which I think would be better than going to church. What should I do?

Shaun (more…)

God’s Love

God’s Love

Lately I have been feeling more and more depressed. I feel as if God does not love me anymore. I try my best to be a good person but I have done some bad things. If I were Heavenly Father, I would not love me either. I feel like even though I have repented that I don’t deserve God’s forgiveness. At times I feel completely useless and worthless and just want to completely give up. I sometimes don’t have the energy to do anything because I don’t see the point because I know I’ll just end in failure. Even though I’ve repented I feel as though God has not forgiven me, and I also have not forgiven myself. I am so exhausted of this life and I just wish God would take me away because I don’t believe I deserve the gift of being here. I think Heavenly Father is punishing me though for my sins by allowing me to remain here and suffer. I don’t know what to do anymore. I just want to know how I can try to be in God’s Favor again?

Thank You,

Unimportant (more…)

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