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Suzie

Asking God to take away life....

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I was thinking about this yesterday as I was reading the horrible story of abuse of a little child who have been tortured for years. Is it a sin for someone to ask the Lord to take away his/her life because of extreme life conditions/challenges that make daily life totally unbearable? What about if the situation isn't as extreme but yet unbearable for the person? We can argue that God can give us the strength to cope with whatever life situations we are living but that's not the point....I am interested in knowing whether asking God to take away your life is a sin. Thoughts?

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If we are sincere and wish the best for someone I don't believe it's a sin to ask God that a suffering individual die. However, while not a sin we may err in our asking, for we are so limited in our understanding of the reasons for pain. We only see the immediate effects of suffering here in mortality.

I think back to a story about B. West Belnap and a comment from Harold B. Lee. Bro. Belnap suffered from a brain tumor which caused excruciating pain. He asked Pres. Lee if he should keep fighting it. Pres. Lee said, “West, you and I...know that life is a very precious thing,...every minute of it, even the suffering of it....How do you and I know but what the suffering you’re going through is a refining process by which [the] obedience necessary to exaltation is made up?...Live it out to the last day....Who knows but what the experience you are having now will pay dividends greater than all the rest of your life. Live it true to the end, and we’ll bless you and pray to God that pains beyond your endurance will not be permitted by a merciful God.” (Bruce C. Hafen, A Disciple’s Life, 561)Teaching Legacy - B. West Belnap | Religious Studies Center

Now, for those who offer heartfelt prayer the spirit will whisper the words to say. But I suspect he will not often guide the petitioner to ask that another die.

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Dravin, what about asking God the same but for other people?

My first thought is do they even want you praying for them to keel over? I suppose as long as your heart is in the right place and you react appropriately to the answer I don't see why it'd be a sin.

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so, the all knowing God sent them down to those experiences and you are saying you think its all a mistake that needs correcting?

Are you saying that we should never pray for an ill person's recovery since the all knowing God sent them down to those experiences?

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I don't know if it's wrong but here's a thought:

Heavenly Father, by keeping someone alive, seems to think that this person's earthly trial is not yet over. Who are we to question Him?

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I don't know if it's wrong but here's a thought:

Heavenly Father, by keeping someone alive, seems to think that this person's earthly trial is not yet over. Who are we to question Him?

Who are we not to question him when our brethren are in distress? Why should we take the fatalistic stance of 'it is what it is'? Don't you think that we should at least ascertain God's will first rather than assuming that God wants a person to remain as they are? I am not saying that we should bitterly fight God's decisions. What we should do is to attempt to have God change a person's situation for the better. If it truly is not His will then He won't change it.

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Who are we not to question him when our brethren are in distress? Why should we take the fatalistic stance of 'it is what it is'? Don't you think that we should at least ascertain God's will first rather than assuming that God wants a person to remain as they are? I am not saying that we should bitterly fight God's decisions. What we should do is to attempt to have God change a person's situation for the better. If it truly is not His will then He won't change it.

I like what Volgadon is saying here. The question is do we believe that we can intervene on behalf of another person via prayer? Of course, we have been commanded to pray and not only for ourselves but for others. We are "...commanded in all things to ask of God" (D&C 46:7). Trying to forestall the warned of destruction because of the wickedness of the Nephites, Nephi "...he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people" (3 Ne. 1:12).

We don't have God's wisdom but we do have access to it. We also have a responsibility to intervene on behalf of our fellow man to help them and to bring them up. We tread woefully close to the path of apathy if we simply shrug our shoulders and say that a person has the trials they have because God wants them to have them. It's one thing to say that we can grow from our trials (which is true) but it's another thing to say that we shouldn't question or petition on behalf of another so that their burden may be lighter.

God, at any point, could simply command and all things would be set in order. However, this short circuits the purposes of God which is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Part of this process is learning to understand the nature of free will and making good choices. The making choice part is easy. We do that all day long, all of the time. It's understanding the nature of free will that is more difficult because it requires understanding that we simply cannot make a descision and it not have some ethical or moral implications on others. We cannot know how our choices can affect others but if we ensure that we are always doing what is right then the message of a Sunday hymn applies and we can just "let the consequence follow". We don't have to worry about the consequences of our choices when we good. So, all of these situations we face in life are all opportunities for us to be refined and we do this as we act out in righteous ways, slowly becoming a true disciple. But, we must act. We must choose. We must decide to help others or not. We should "succor those that stand in need of your succor" (Mosiah 4). We can't assume God's justice is in play in another's life because in condemning others we then condemn ourselves. King Benjamin said, "Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery...for his punishments are just. But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent" (Mosiah 4).

Now, when it comes to praying for people to die...I guess such a specific prayer assumes that "death" is the only relief or solution. I think this is problematic because in the specific case of an abused child aren't we ultimately just wanting to remove a child from the miserable and wicked situation. Death certainly will do that but is it the only option and should we be assuming that it is? I don't think so. I think our prayers should be to help end the suffering by whatever means God seems fit and to pray to know what you can do to make the suffering end and then, once we know God's will or we have satisfied our responsibility, we accept it.

Regards,

Finrock

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As near as I can determine there is nothing in scripture or anywhere else that I have encountered that tells us not to pray for any certain concerns we may have.

Can the will of G-d be changed by our prayers? This seems like a rather silly question however, we need to understand that what G-d does and the blessing given can be changed by our prayers. If we read the Bible Dictionary in our LDS scriptures we learn that blessings are with held until sought by prayer. I interpret this to mean that our prayers do make a difference in how things turn out.

I am not sure this concept is being understood in this thread. However, I also believe that the greatest change that will take place through our prayers will be in our core soul.

The Traveler

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As near as I can determine there is nothing in scripture or anywhere else that I have encountered that tells us not to pray for any certain concerns we may have.

Can the will of G-d be changed by our prayers? This seems like a rather silly question however, we need to understand that what G-d does and the blessing given can be changed by our prayers. If we read the Bible Dictionary in our LDS scriptures we learn that blessings are with held until sought by prayer. I interpret this to mean that our prayers do make a difference in how things turn out.

I am not sure this concept is being understood in this thread. However, I also believe that the greatest change that will take place through our prayers will be in our core soul.

The Traveler

Interested in learning!

How are prayers changing the will of the lord, if when we pray we are only requesting blessings that God has for us? It seems to me if prayer is just to request blessings the lord has stored for us, it is not changing his will. It is in my mind more aligning with the will of the lord. That is why prayer is so important it aligns us with the will of the lord. It also is a better reason why prayers don't give you exactly what you want, they are not in alignment with God. Although I believe God being all loving, will still bless us for praying to him, even if they are not in perfect alignment with his will. As long as you are praying for righteous "things."

Sorry to drift off topic! Traveler, your post interested me and want to see what you have to say about the above.

Anybody can answer...

Edited by Tyler90AZ

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Asking to take us now, isn’t a sin, but more a matter of obedience. We certainly do not want others to suffer an agonizing death or life. Only God knows the reason for that person to suffer. For example, Joseph Smith suffered greatly and prayed that his suffering be taken away. It wasn’t and God gave him a good reason for it. It would all be for his benefit and if he endured it well he would receive the blessings of exaltation. In my opinion, it would have been a sin for him to continue to pray that his suffering be removed.

Last year, before my own mother passed away from the influence of cancer a dear friend asked me to pray that she would pass away rather suffer the agony of a terrible death from the ovarian cancer. I love and respect the person who gave me the advice and I thought that is what I should do, pray for mother to pass away.

I wanted, however, to be sure that she was going to suffer an agonizing death by hearing the doctor’s diagnosis of her physical condition. After she diagnosed mom as terminal, I reevaluated the advice from my dear friend to pray that mom would not suffer and to pass away peaceably.

With tears in my eyes I prayed that she would pass away peaceably, but as I thought of those words another still thought yet stronger than the intensity of the request came to my mind that I shouldn’t do that. He [God] had his reasons for her to live and He would take her when it was her time to go. Instantly, I recognized that feeling and immediately stopped saying my prayer. Instead, I prayed that God’s will be done for her and I promised God that I would continue to stand by her until her time came to pass away. Oh yes, I still had my agency to pray for to pass away, but what was God teaching me about obedience? Would it have been a sin to continue to pray for her to pass away?

Life hasn’t been easy for many people and I can understand why so many would pray to die rather endure the afflictions they face now. The trials we can receive are sometimes unbearable. But what I am trying to explain through the example of my mother’s situation is that though I wanted her not to suffer and pass away, God had his higher reasons for her living and experiencing her life to the end.

Additionally, there are reasons that God will allow some to suffer and He knows that reason. For instance, In the Book of Mormon Alma 14:9-11 9

9. And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.

10. And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.

11. But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

Though this instance is sad, we we can clearly see that God His higher reasons for His children living or dying in a specific manner. We should always pray for understanding of our afflictions and look even past what may be a strong desire to pass away and not experience what difficulties we face now. In His own due time, God will give us understanding of the reasons for all trials and why others have suffered as well.

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I was thinking about this yesterday as I was reading the horrible story of abuse of a little child who have been tortured for years. Is it a sin for someone to ask the Lord to take away his/her life because of extreme life conditions/challenges that make daily life totally unbearable?

The commandment is to "endure to the end" - we're supposed to do it.

I know someone who used to live the life you mention. She grew up, got married, and has kids. None of that would have been possible if she had died in her misery.

Wanting to end suffering is good. Wanting to end life as a way to end suffering is going a bit overboard and missing the point.

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The real question seems to be "is it sin to pray for something that is against the will of God"? The fact that that "something" is someone's death seems secondary.

Christ, in prayer at Gethsemane, let His will be known to the Father ("let this cup pass from me") but also declared His resoluteness to follow His Father's will ("not my will but thine be done"). Christ asked for his own desires, but followed the will of the Father perfectly.

Praying for the death of a suffering friend could stem from entirely righteous desires. Following the will of God, in the way that He chooses to make it manifest, is the key.

If you do pray for your own death, you're in good company- Moses, Elijah, Samson, and many of the other holy prophets prayed for their own death in the face of great trials. Death was granted to Samson, but withheld from others.

Following the will of the Lord is righteousness. So long as you don't take matters into your own hands if the answer is "no", you're probably all right. :D

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