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Dear Gramps,

What is the purpose of pain?





Dear Marcia,

Think for a minute what it would be like if we had no pain. You would soon die. Pain occurs when something is wrong with the body that needs to be fixed. If there were no pain associated with a diseased appendix, for instance, the appendix would become inflamed, eventually burst, and we would die of peritonitis. Even an abscessed tooth could result in death from the spread of infection if we weren’t aware that it was abscessed.

Pain is also an aid in avoiding danger. If one puts his hand on a hot stove, the removal of the hand is a reaction because of the pain associated with the act. If we had to stop and think about what to do, it would take additional time and result in a more severe burn. If there were no pain to accompany a burning situation, we could burn up!

There may also be psychological advantages to experiencing pain, depending on how we respond to it. If we endure pain without complaining, for instance, we develop self control. If we cry for help each time we hurt, we may use pain in order to get attention. Acquaintanceship with pain may cause us to develop feelings of empathy for others who are sick or have been injured.

Knowing pain may give us some small inkling of the great atoning sacrifice of the Savior, who took upon himself our sins and paid the full price to an eternal justice for all the sins and iniquities of all of our Father’s children in all ages of the world. He described the degree of his suffering in the Mormon scripture, The Doctrine and Covenants, as follows:

For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;


But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;


Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit–and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink–


Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. (D&C 19:16-19)






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