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The desire for death may mask God’s loving purpose for us. Most readers probably know of someone who has either died by suicide, or was deeply hurt by someone else who had. Here are some 2013 facts from the CDC: There were over 41,000 suicides in the U.S. Just over one-third of them test positive for alcohol, 24% for antidepressants, and 20% for opiates and prescription pain medications. Sobriety may be the most underrated mental health goal there is!

 4% of adults had thoughts of suicide—with the highest rate being the 18-24 year-olds, at 7.4%. Over 1% made a suicide plan, and again, that rate was much higher—2.5%--in the 18-24 year-old group. Among 9th-12th-graders the rates of suicidal thoughts are much worse—at 17%.

 The horror of suicide is all too common. So, what does the Bible say about it? The two main examples of suicide in scripture are men who had turned away from God. In the Old Testament, King Saul had disobeyed God by sacrificing animals and taking bounty that He had declared off-limits.  He furthered his treachery by repeatedly trying to kill God’s choice to replace him—David. Saul was wounded in battle, and asked his armor-bearer to kill him. Ironically, the servant knre this was wrong and would not do it. So, Saul fell on his own sword.

 In the New Testament, Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  While he shows he regretted his betrayal by returning the money, his final act is also one of defiance against God. He hanged himself.

 Suffering and hurt are real, but isolation and abandonment are lies from the pit of Hell. Like Saul and Judas, Elijah was afraid. He had just called down fire from heaven, and destroyed 400 of Baal’s prophets. The queen, rather than repenting, issued a death warrant for Elijah. This proved to be the sucker-punch that drove the prophet to suicidal ideation. He asks God to take his life.

 What happens next is insightful. God sends an angel to feed the prophet, and assure he gets plenty of rest. After a few days of this, Elijah’s perspective and faith are restored.

 We must never feel shame about taking time to care for our physical and emotional needs. Self-care is not selfish. It allows us the restoration we need to serve God and our loved ones well!

 Even after Elijah’s restoration, he remains downcast. He believes he is the only one left, who is faithful. We must not underestimate the suffering, the frustration, and the sense of hopelessness people feel! On the other hand, if we are the ones discouraged, let us not forget that God is never dormant, and we never see the full picture of what He is doing.

 Elijah learns that there are 7,000 who remain faithful, and that God plans to use his successors to destroy his enemies. In fact, these conquerors are already prepared to exact the Lord’s vengeance.    

 What if King Saul had trusted God, and obeyed his command to kill the animals and enemy king? What if Judas had kept faith, & seen Jesus’ resurrection?  What if we believed that all things work together for good to us, who love God?

 Jesus says He is the Life. We who love Him must live. Faith destroys depression, defeat, and death. Suicide is defiance against God. Life,and yes suffering, will gain us the victor’s crown!

To see on linked in and access a link to a podcast of all 4-parts of my death series see:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/suicide-life-tommy-ellis?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish

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Thanks, PC.  I wanted to say two things. 

First, I'm not convinced that Elijah was suicidal in the sense we think of it today.  He just thought his work was done.  And when a prophet's work is done, he's usually done.  So, it's time for him to go.

Joseph Smith was once quoted as saying,"Sometimes I just get so tired!  And I long for my rest.  But the Lord has yet more work for me to do."  He had also said that he could not die because the Lord still had work for him to do.  Later, he said that he'd completed all the Lord had told him to do, so now he could die.  This was not a statement of suicidal thoughts.  It was an observation of the pattern of prophets.  When they're don, they're usually done.

Second,  I've been looking into Japan and what is going on in that culture.  So many are unaware that the 2nd/3rd largest economy in the world would have so many societal problems.  They have over four times as many suicides and only 1/3 the population of the US.  It is difficult to tell what the causes truly are because the statistics add up to more than 100%.  So, there's something not right with the numbers.  But it seems that their record high unemployment of 5.7% has cause an unprecedented number of work-related suicide.  We should be so lucky as to have such a record high unemployment rate.

Something the statistics do not go over is purpose and decadence.  People spend a lot of time talking about Germany and other European countries and their decadence.  They don't talk about Japan much.  It is bad.  I'm not going to go into detail on a forum such as this, but it is really bad.  Living conditions are declining in a socially acceptable way.  People basically live in very nice, very fancy boxes/cubicles all by themselves.  Marriage rates are pretty low.  The population hasn't significantly increased in 60 years.  The once close family ties are now becoming separated.

There will always be individual cases that can't really be addressed.  But  the larger societal problems cause much larger widespread issues that have a huge impact on suicide.

 

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Suicide, whatever the proximate cause(s), is primarily a result of despondence.

Like all sin, murder is a manifestation of pride, and self murder is the ultimate fruit of pride.  I'm not interested, right now, in investigating the pride side, but it is elemental/critical and we need to look at it. The problem is, as I said, it's the fundamental cause of all sin, so our discussion would take forty-four days and three thousand pages of comments.

The despondence, loss of hope, despair, and feeling of helplessness, stems from a lack of accomplishment. People who've done hard things, who do hard things, who attempt (and even sometimes or often fail) hard things are people who can justifiably say, "I can do this. I've done it in the past, I'll do it again." But those who've been sheltered from hard things, who've never been permitted to try because they might fail, whose parents, teachers, leaders, and peers dissuade them from attempting the hard things do not have that reservoir of confidence that makes crossing the darker parts of the path of life possible.

The first principle of the Gospel is Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. While the next is not strictly true, I believe it is very nearly impossible to have faith in oneself without having faith in Christ. (In the cases where faith in oneself does not rest on the foundation of faith in Christ, it is not true faith, it is arrogance, but that gets back to pride.) However, faith in oneself with or without true faith is critical to not giving up on life. Faith gives rise to hope, and hope is what makes living beyond the immediate problem possible.

We know that there are true mental illnesses that can override the person's native faith and hope. That isn't the issue here (at least for me). It's the person who decides that his life isn't worth living, who commits (or attempts) suicide because he's lost sight of a bigger picture, who wants to show "them", who wants to duck out, who places less value on living than on avoiding his problems who is "interesting".

There are many reasons for losing hope. But, as I said above, the first one is having never built up a store of successes, successes wrenched from difficult tasks, that gives a person the confidence to tackle "just another hard thing". One of the chief blocks to doing hard things is never having to do hard things. We live in an easy world. We eat better than our forefathers, and don't have to worry about food in January, so we don't pass on seconds in August. We don't have to chop wood in September to be warm in February, and we can buy a house without building it ourselves. Our clothes come from a factory  in Pakistan, not from the loom in the kitchen and the needle in the basket yonder. Worse, for some people, they need not even work to get the cheap food and clothing: the government just gives it to them. They not only have no hard things to do, but need not attempt moderate ones, either. No wonder people people value others' lives so little: they value their own almost not at all.

Socialism in any form is a serious cause of suicide because it removes cause from effect. It diminishes the humanity of the recipient, and the "giver", and the administrator. Without humanity, without a due regard for human life, there is nothing wrong (in the perpetrator's mind)( with murder, including self murder.

Suicide is caused by the loss of hope, and the loss of hope by a depleted store of faith in oneself. The loss of this faith comes from not having succeeded.

Lehi

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LeSellers, 

While I agree with much of what you are saying in theory, I think this is a complex problem.

I like the way the church leaders have approached it:

Quote

Suicide

Although it is wrong to take one's own life, a person who commits suicide may not be responsible for his or her acts. Only God can judge such a matter. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said:

“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.”

(“Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not,” Ensign, Oct. 1987, 8)

https://www.lds.org/topics/suicide?lang=eng

 

Edited by tesuji

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3 minutes ago, tesuji said:

While I agree with much of what you are saying in theory, I think this is a complex problem.

I like the way the church leaders have approached it:

Quote

“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” (“Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not,” Ensign, Oct. 1987, 8).

If I said anything that contradicts this, please show me:

40 minutes ago, LeSellers said:

We know that there are true mental illnesses that can override the person's native faith and hope.

Lehi

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Oh  wow - it's not often I find a post to which I disagree to this extent.  

Suicide, whatever the proximate cause(s), is primarily a result of despondence.

Primarily?  Hogwash.  Suicide stems from many sources, only one of them is despondence.  Mental illness, unbearable pain, desire for revenge, chemical addiction, and hatred are all things that can result in suicide. 

 

The despondence, loss of hope, despair, and feeling of helplessness, stems from a lack of accomplishment. People who've done hard things, who do hard things, who attempt (and even sometimes or often fail) hard things are people who can justifiably say, "I can do this. I've done it in the past, I'll do it again." But those who've been sheltered from hard things, who've never been permitted to try because they might fail, whose parents, teachers, leaders, and peers dissuade them from attempting the hard things do not have that reservoir of confidence that makes crossing the darker parts of the path of life possible.

Oh wow - so suicidal people are just lazy and sheltered?  What utter, base, total hogwash.  Where on earth are you getting this nonsense?  LeSellers, have you actually ever known someone who has killed themselves?  I've known six.  Maybe one or two of them fit what you describe above, the rest very much don't.

 

It's the person who decides that his life isn't worth living, who commits (or attempts) suicide because ... 

Something important to note - people who feel suicidal and make suicide attempts, are in very different camps from people who actually commit suicide.  They have different issues and should be thought of and handled differently.  Your post might more closely describe those with suicidal thoughts and a few attempts under their belt.  I run into them all the time on the internet.


Socialism in any form is a serious cause of suicide because it removes cause from effect. It diminishes the humanity of the recipient, and the "giver", and the administrator. 

Please share - on what facts you base this notion?  Is there a study or something?  Where did you get this notion?

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First, I would argue that Elijah expressed what we would call today "suicidal ideation.": That is, he was thinking about it.  His risk would appear to be low.  His plan was to ask God to do it. So, yes, he was tired.  More than that, he was indeed despondent.  Secondly, while I describe the defiance of Saul and Judas in my post, suicide is more complex than one word can describe. Nevertheless, in most cases, there is at least an element of rebellion. Most people believe there is a god, and most of those believe that the god does not approve of death by suicide. So, on some level, in many/most suicides, there is a kind of, "This is the life you dealt me--well, take this."

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2 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Oh  wow - it's not often I find a post to which I disagree to this extent.  

That's your right.

Lehi

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I will also add some thoughts of my own:

From my understanding, it is harder to repent in the next life. Suicide, to the extent that it is an escape from something (in those cases), will not solve the problem. You will then merely be in the next world, with the same problems, but without some of the blessings and advantages you have here - namely, being able to do something about it. 

I think sometimes people get into a distorted frame of mind, where they just want to escape their life, or just want the pain to end. Severe depression, for example, is a very painful state. But are you really saying you would rather take the drastic step of ending your life, rather than face up to whatever you are afraid of, or face whatever other challenge you have?

However, as Elder Ballard said, this is not something we can judge. Everyone's case is different, and Christ will judge us all perfectly according to our specific situation.

 

Edited by tesuji

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Hi LeSellers,

Do I take it, by your lack of answers to my questions, that you have no sources other than your own notions, and you have never known a person who has committed suicide?

 

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9 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Do I take it, by your lack of answers to my questions, that you have no sources other than your own notions, and you have never known a person who has committed suicide?

How you take it is up to you.

I'm not going to argue about it.

Lehi

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5 minutes ago, LeSellers said:

How you take it is up to you.

I'm not going to argue about it.

Lehi

LeSellers, I think the problem we have had is that the overall thrust of what you said sounded like you were saying suicidal people were lazy sinners. I can see now that's not entirely what you meant.

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Person makes claims on internet.
Reader requests clarification and inquires about sources.
Person declines to clarify.

That's totally fine, LeSellers.  It does put you in the camp of 'internet opiner refusing to substantiate claims'.  It's a flag that your opinions really aren't based on anything. I mean, that's fine - we all see it all the time - I do it myself a lot.    It's just that, well, just sayin' stuff and then not backing it up when asked, is basically good cause to jettison what you're saying.  

"Though argument does not create conviction, the lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. 
Austin Farrer, "The Christian Apologist,"

1 Thessalonians 5:21:  "Prove all things; hold fast to which is good."

 

 

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If discussion forums are a good sample of how the people of the world generally think, color me disheartened. 

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1 minute ago, Eowyn said:

If discussion forums are a good sample of how the people of the world generally think, color me disheartened. 

It's worse than that. Discussion forum participants, at least the non-troll variety, tend to be more rational than many.

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2 minutes ago, Vort said:

It's worse than that. Discussion forum participants, at least the non-troll variety, tend to be more rational than many.

So the lack of charity (not to mention the staggering ignorance) in regards to mental illness and hopelessness is even worse out there than it is in here? <sigh>

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1 minute ago, tesuji said:

Eowyn and Vort, please tell us who you are talking about and what you object to.

I was talking about no one and nothing in particular, just a general observation. No idea what Eowyn was referring to. As far as I know, she might well consider me one of the discouraging factors in her statement.

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8 minutes ago, Eowyn said:

So the lack of charity (not to mention the staggering ignorance) in regards to mental illness and hopelessness is even worse out there than it is in here? <sigh>

Assuming you are talking about me, something frequent in these parts, I assume, further, that you missed the part where I distinctly said that mental illness often plays a part:

2 hours ago, LeSellers said:

We know that there are true mental illnesses that can override the person's native faith and hope. That isn't the issue here (at least for me).

I was not talking about hose who succumb to mental illness.

Further, I did not say that people were lazy. I said that people don't have or are not allowed to do hard things.

You can interpret anything anyone says in any way you choose. But recognize that it is your interpretation, not the meaning, that you object to.

Lehi

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Well, I quoted specific parts of your post and inquired about them.  Since you're refusing to clarify or cite source, we're sort of forced to interpret here...

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13 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

The desire for death may mask God’s loving purpose for us.

I'm beginning to believe that I almost always misconstrue your original posts, Chaplain. You are right to observe that most of us have some personal experiences with regard to people who have committed suicide. Those personal experiences often determine to large degree how we feel about it along with or despite what others say (or preach) about it. Are you looking for something from me (as just another reader of your post) that I in all likelihood have overlooked? :)

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Just now, NeuroTypical said:

Well, I quoted specific parts of your post and inquired about them.  Since you're refusing to clarify or cite source, we're sort of forced to interpret here...

Yes. 

LeSellers, if you are interested, I'd like to see you restate your view, more concisely this time, so we can understand better what you are saying. I suspect we are largely misunderstanding you.

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13 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

The desire for death may mask God’s loving purpose for us.

I'm beginning to believe that I almost always misconstrue your original posts, Chaplain. You are right to observe that most of us have some personal experiences with regard to people who have committed suicide. Those personal experiences often determine to large degree how we feel about it along with or despite what others say (or preach) about it. Are you looking for something from me (as just another reader of your post) that I in all likelihood have overlooked? :)

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You're not the first who surprised me with their views on such things, LeSellers. 

I was thinking about this a little while ago, and tried to surmise, based on the New Testament, how the Savior would react to a person who was so ill or felt so helpless that they saw suicide as the only option for relief. I doubt he'd call them lazy or entitled or lacking in bootstrap-pulling grit; or as I've read here before, too focused on their own happiness or "pretend" suffering for attention or whatever reason that person conjured up as part of their ideas. The words that came to mind were Him being "deeply troubled", "groaning within the spirit", having "compassion in his bowels"; and the actions I imagine (and have indeed experienced) are comfort and healing, not condemnation.

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One thing I do know, if you haven't experienced major depression it's hard to understand what it's like. As has been discussed here elsewhere, including quotes by Elder Holland, mental illness is seldom a matter of just snapping out of it.

Edited by tesuji

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