This is one of the more serious subjects that I have attempted to address. Suicide claimed the life of my friend Forrest, 7 years ago last week. The hurt that it caused me then, to say nothing of closer friends and family is something that cannot be worded well enough for me to write eloquently. To say that death brings a feeling of emptiness is an understatement. I have attended funerals where I have felt so very alone, knowing that I will leave this world alone, and that I cannot stop the inevitable. But I have also attended funerals that are full of love, compassion, hope, and faith. These are the funerals that incorporate the true message of the Gospel, the answer to the big question of death. It was phrased by the Prophet Job when he said, “If a man die, shall he live again?” I answer emphatically that YES, we will each live again, through the power of the Atonement, and the Resurrection.
It has been taught from the beginning that there would be a Savior provided for each of us, to answer the ends of the law. Lehi said that:
…redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
The Savior taught this in John, when he went to Bethany, hearing that his friend Lazarus was sick, and had died. This dialogue, taken from a non-KJV Bible states succinctly the power of the Lord to save us all:
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
The Lord broke the bands of death, allowing each of us to be Resurrected, to receive a perfected body that will never die. He broke those bonds through his selfless sacrifice on our behalf. “He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in.” He only had been perfectly obedient to His Father, and thus able to fulfill the ends of the Law. He is STILL, our only hope, our Savior, our Redeemer, the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls.
We will all be resurrected, regardless of our obedience, as a result of our receiving our second estate and coming to Earth to receive a body. While suicide is not a topic widely covered by Church leaders, this talk “Suicide, Some Things We Know, And Some We Do Not” by Elder Ballard is the best one that I could find.
Each person will be judged according to the circumstances, mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional condition, that they make decisions in, and suicide is no different. To any and all who are struggling to hold on, to keep going, to find hope in the hurricanes of life, there is a way to find the guiding light of the Spirit.
1. Ask for help!
2. Ask for help in prayer.
3. Ask for help from family.
4. Ask for help from Church leaders.
5. Ask for help from friends.
I am no expert on mental health, but I have felt the light come on, so to speak, of finding help when I desperately need it. I have felt the voice of the Spirit whisper comfort to me in times of struggle, and have had friends and family lift me, when I thought I could go on no more. I’ve seen others go the extra mile, and I am carried each day of my life by the hope that I have in Christ. These words of Elder Wirthlin often echo back to me:
“The Resurrection is at the core of our beliefs as Christians. Without it, our faith is meaningless. The Apostle Paul said, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and [our] faith is also vain."5 In all the history of the world there have been many great and wise souls, many of whom claimed special knowledge of God. But when the Savior rose from the tomb, He did something no one had ever done. He did something no one else could do. He broke the bonds of death, not only for Himself but for all who have ever lived—the just and the unjust.6 When Christ rose from the grave, becoming the firstfruits of the Resurrection, He made that gift available to all. And with that sublime act, He softened the devastating, consuming sorrow that gnaws at the souls of those who have lost precious loved ones.
I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross.
On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark. Frightful storms lashed at the earth. On that day the veil of the temple was rent in twain.
Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were both overcome with grief and despair. The superb man they had loved and honored hung lifeless upon the cross. On that Friday the Apostles were devastated. Jesus, their Savior—the man who had walked on water and raised the dead—was Himself at the mercy of wicked men. They watched helplessly as He was overcome by His enemies.
On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled.
It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God. I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world's history, that Friday was the darkest.
But the doom of that day did not endure.
The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.
And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise, for Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, stood before them as the firstfruits of the Resurrection, the proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence.
Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.”
I know that this is true. Let us share it with others.