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Question

Gramps,

Our son in law committed suicide a few months back, a non member and a bit on the agnostic side. He had a problem with alcohol, raised in a family of alcoholics. He was a good man, hard working, loved his family, sacrificed so much for them and always, very loving, kind and considerate. J just couldn’t get his addiction under control. The last time he had a bad drinking binge, when he got sober he promised and folowed through, getting help, going to a recovery center. J came back a new man, health wise anyway, started school to finish his degree, failed a test miserably and Satan being Satan, got him to go drink. Well, this ended in suicide, feeling such a failure, or so we think. Can he be forgiven and be sealed to his family after his work is done in a year? I have heard conflicting things here, I know there hasn’t be anything written on suicide.

Patty

 

Answer

Dear Patty,

I’m so sorry to hear about your son-in-law and wish you and your family the best in finding peace in the wake of this personal tragedy. You may find some comfort in Elder M. Russell Ballard’s article entitled “Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not” from the October 1987 Ensign, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s October 2013 conference sermon entitled “Like a Broken Vessel“. From Elder Ballard’s article:

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.

I am not aware of any Church policy prohibiting proxy temple work for those who have taken their own lives. Indeed, you may find that taking your son-in-law’s name to the temple and performing his ordinances, will be an instrumental part of your family’s healing experience.

 

Gramps

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