Only the Lord knows . . . he will judge

"Latter-day Saints trying to cope with the suicide of a loved one or associate . . ." experience anguish and uncertainty that is "extremely painful and difficult," wrote Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve in the October 1987 Ensign.

"The act of taking one's life is truly a tragedy because this single act leaves so many victims: first the one who dies, then the dozens of others - family and friends - who are left behind, some to face years of deep pain and confusion. The living victims struggle, often desperately with difficult emotions. . . . ""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. . . .

"Thankfully, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught this enlightening doctrine: `While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard. . . . He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, "according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil. . . ." We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts . . . and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right.' " (Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 218.)"

"I draw an important conclusion from the words of the Prophet: 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. . . . Let us remember spiritual growth comes `line upon line,' that the key - in the spirit world as well as in mortality - is to keep progressing along the right path."

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