Tuesday, July 29, 2008


D&C 42:45. "Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection."
There was a double homicide at my apartment complex this morning. A man killed his estranged wife and then himself (she was staying with a friend who lived here). That explains all the sirens and stuff that I heard this morning when I woke up. I was pondering my natural, callous reaction to this--I can take death moderately casually because of what I know about the gospel, even if it were someone I care about like T. or B. or K. It's not qualitatively different from having them move to another country for 80 years and not be able to write back, which stinks if it's someone you rely on in your daily life but is otherwise no sadder than moving in 2nd grade[1]--when this scripture came to mind. It reminds me of Jesus weeping at Lazarus' tomb.
"Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!"
I'm probably alone in this, but I get the idea from the way John phrases this that the Jews who said this were missing the point. ("The Jews" in the NT usually means "the leaders of the Jews," i.e. Pharisees and Sadducees, not known for their spiritual insight.) Jesus was not weeping because he was sad that Lazarus was dead. What is death to Jesus but a place? He can reach into the world of the dead and pull them back to the living, or walk into the land of the dead and return as he wills. Jesus was sad that Martha and Mary and other people whom he cared about were experiencing grief, even though the grief was over something which really wasn't important or lasting. "Mourn with those that mourn," says the scripture, "and comfort those that stand in need of comfort." It doesn't say you have to be sad for the same reasons they are.
Anyway, I think it's kind of interesting that we have to be commanded to be sad for the dead (because it sure wouldn't come naturally), and especially for the poor fellow who was responsible. There's a lesson in compassion there although I'm still puzzling out exactly how to surface it. Interesting, no? Especially for a black-hearted, superficial cad like myself.
[1] I need to think more about this analogy because, to a 2nd grader, moving away from your best friends and all your classmates is in fact horrifying. As you age, gain experiences, and know more people it becomes less scary. That *sounds* a lot like death, doesn't it?
"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)
Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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