"Suicide is a sin-a very grievous one, yet the Lord will not judge the person who commits that sin strictly 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."
Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, comments on a controversial action that results in great anguish and heartbreak. He offers hope in a day of despair through faith in the atonement of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Elder Ballard's perceptive observations and wise counsel will bring peace of mind to tormented survivors who must deal with the realities of a deceased loved one's final actions.
I recall attending the funeral of an older man who had unfortunately taken his life. His wife had died years earlier, and as his health declined, he felt he had less and less of a reason to live. Gradually he found himself confined to the four walls of his home. A semi-invalid, he was unable to visit friends or go grocery shopping. His food was delivered to his door. He missed going to church, missed regular fellowship with other members of his priesthood quorum.
Although he wasn't able to get about, the doctor assured him he could live many more years. "You neither smoke nor drink," the doctor said. "You've taken good care of yourself. Other than the fact that you're confined to your house and [pagebreak]wheelchair, I give you a clean bill of health."
While the doctor was trying to be encouraging, the man felt discouraged. This good brother felt his earthly life no longer had any value, and he wanted to join his beloved wife in the spirit world. The more he thought about death, the more appealing it became to him. He had been a faithful member of the Church all his life; he had served two [pagebreak]missions and had been diligent in several leadership positions at different times in his life. But as he thought about the release he would find through death, his mind became muddled. He unwisely concluded that taking his own life would solve his problems.
I visited with the family after the funeral. As you might expect, they were greatly disturbed by what their father [pagebreak]and grandfather had done. Their feelings ranged from grief to anger to guilt.
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