Fether

The grave has no victory... why do we act like it does?

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If the grave has no victory, why is it we are sad when people die? Is it a sign that faith truly is not a knowledge of things? Does it show a lack of belief/faith in the gospel? Are we actually mourning the fact that we are worse off without them? Are we mourning because we won't see them for a long while?

This is a question I have been asking myself for years now, so if I have asked this before... well... too bad.

I first came across this question when I ran into a man on my mission who told me he can't believe in God because his 9-year-old daughter died. Now, I am not discounting this man's feelings as a loss of faith, rather just analyzing his experience up against what we know about the Plan of Salvation (after all, who would not be distraught over the loss of a child).

Christ also wept at the death of Lazarus. Was he weeping because he died, or was he weeping because he saw the sorrow of those close to the death? a semi-close family member of mine died this last week and I am only now realizing I am only sad because I see that her children may not understand it all and that they will grow up without their mother now. I wasn't so much sad at her passing itself.

Are our spirits just naturally inclined to value life since that is the whole purpose of our existence here? So despite there being a deeply rooted belief of an afterlife, our souls cannot help but feel sorrow when there is a loss of life?

Is it possible to experience the death of a close one and feel no sorrow because one's faith in an afterlife is so strong that they know they will see them again? If yes, should we be concerned about the strength of our faith if someone dies and we are sad?

Edited by Fether

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I personally am not sad when anyone dies; not one bit. In fact, I look forward to my own death in a way. I often wondered when I was younger if the faith and testimony of others was weak because they allowed death to shake them so seriously. My uncle is a counselor in a stake presidency, and has great faith...yet hates talking about death because it causes him so much grief and anxiety...and I do not know why because he won't talk about it. At funerals he just keeps to himself as he is on an emotional edge. I have been around a fair amount of death however, and we all process things differently I guess. I have been told several times that I am insensitive for talking about death, and for not seeming to care when friends, or family members die. Of course I will miss being around and spending time with them, but the time we will be apart is really just a blip on the map. A child losing a parent is sad to me because their life will be harder for a time, but kids are resilient, and many come out on top. They will see such parent again, and if sealed, they will remain a family beyond the grave.

My opinion of the Lazarus story is that Christ wept because He felt sadness from how much despair those around Him were feeling. It hurt Him to see others hurting. 

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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.

 

I have always read this verse in assuming that due to our love, we would weep from sadness at their momentary loss. A couple of reasons come to mind: 
 

Our loss of companionship for the time is a reason to weep. For example,  my mother cries every time our family leaves her home as it will probably be a few weeks or even months before we see them again. 
 

Thinking on what other service that person might have administered to others is also a reason to weep. How many more lives would they have impacted in a positive way had they been able to stay just a little longer? This is especially true of parents who pass with younger children. How much wisdom might they have imparted? Love that might have been grown through our experiences together. 
 

As our family relationships are so important that the Lord has provided a way to keep them forever, it just makes sense to me that not having them around is in itself a reason for sadness. 

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3 hours ago, Fether said:

If the grave has no victory, why is it we are sad when people die? Is it a sign that faith truly is not a knowledge of things? Does it show a lack of belief/faith in the gospel? Are we actually mourning the fact that we are worse off without them? Are we mourning because we won't see them for a long while?

I have wondered the same for much of my life. As Colirio quoted:

1 hour ago, Colirio said:

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.

In addition, consider this Joseph Smith quotation given in a BYU Education Week talk that was recently cited by a list member:

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “the Lord in his wisdom had implanted the fear of death in every person that [we] might cling to life and thus accomplish the designs of [our] creator” (quoted by Wilford Woodruff in Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, ed. A. Karl Larson and Katherine Miles Larson [Logan: Utah State University Press, 1980], 1:465–66).

In March 1995, then-Elder Nelson published a book, The Gateway We Call Death, that also cited this Joseph Smith quotation. In this book, Elder Nelson also recounted a well-known talk given by Heber C. Kimball, speaking at the death of Jedediah M. Grant:

"[Jedediah] saw the righteous gathered together in the spirit world, and there were no wicked spirits among them. He saw his wife; she was the first person that came to him. He saw many that he knew, but did not have conversation with any except his wife Caroline. She came to him, and he said that she looked beautiful and had their little child, that died on the Plains, in her arms, and said, 'Mr. Grant, here is little Margaret; you know that the wolves ate her up, but it did not hurt her; here she is all right.'"

To me, it is heartbreaking to think of having to endure such a trial, which I suppose makes the reunion and relief of the atonement of Jesus Christ all the sweeter. But we are beings of feeling; as Father Lehi taught, "Men are, that they might have joy." If we are left bereft, even if only for a relatively short time, it is appropriate that we allow that feeling of mourning to penetrate our souls and soften us.

That's about the best I can do to explain my feelings on the matter. We are literally commanded to live in such love that we mourn the passing of those we love. It feels right and proper, even necessary, to mourn the deaths of loved ones. As you pointed out, Jesus himself wept at the death of Lazarus, though he certainly knew and understood better than anyone the true nature of life and death.

My thoughts, for whatever they're worth.

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Why do many parents cry when they send there kids off on mission?  Its not like the kids are dying... they are just going away for awhile.

Yet we have no problem with that. We don't question its appropriateness.   We recognize that change can be hard, and that there is some loss, if only temporary.

Death is change... Death is loss, even if only temporary one.  Its ok and even acceptable to grieve and mourn when this happens.

The fact that we believe in a glorious reunion.. does mean we do not have a loss and its related pain now.

 

 

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I don't know about how others feel, but as I watch my kids grow, I'm excited for them, but also a part of me mourns that they aren't the cute, little infant, toddler, pre-schooler, etc that they used to be.  I think it's similar to that.  And @estradling75 said it better as I was thinking :) 

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4 hours ago, Fether said:

If the grave has no victory, why is it we are sad when people die?
...
Is it possible to experience the death of a close one and feel no sorrow because one's faith in an afterlife is so strong that they know they will see them again? If yes, should we be concerned about the strength of our faith if someone dies and we are sad?

I've had my share of funerals.  Both parents, my best friend, some random relatives and acquaintances.  Plus, I'm the guy in my ward who makes the youtube video of the funeral services during covid.  

It's sad because we won't have them with us for a time.  I suppose you could call us selfish, but yeah, all of the benefits people have from having loved ones close, go away when they are far.  

My favorite parts of funerals are the dramatic retellings of the treasured foibles and follies of the departed person.  More than half of the funerals I've been to, have people laughing through their tears. 

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Funerals are not for the dead, but for the living.

Though it is but an instant compared to the eternities, as we cannot remember the eternities, it seems an awfully long time for us when we are separated from loved ones by death.

We feel grief because we will miss them.  They are gone from our lives for the moment, and so most of us (I suppose there are some that can talk to those beyond the grave, such as perhaps the prophet) will not be seeing them for some time.  They have gone away for a while and we will no longer see them, and so our grief is because we will miss them in our lives as we know it.

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35 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

Funerals are not for the dead, but for the living.

Exactly.

I have told my wife that I would want a very small and basic funeral. Nothing grandiose in any way. I even want the coffin to be plain and simple wood. Plywood or OSB with a few nails would be fine with me...just as long as I have a comfortable pillow. :)

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My 7 year old daughter is .... well 7 and impatient.  She hysterically sobs when we leave Grandma's house like they'll never ever see each other again.  I'm sad when we have to leave too, even though I don't sob and understand the bigger picture.  I do like being at my folks' house and having them right there in-person. 

When somebody finishes their mortal journey,. people are sad that they no longer are right there in-person.  That's just natural- we like seeing our loved ones and hanging out.  Yes, we Saints know that we'll see them again and have that bigger picture, which greatly alleviates the bigger picture sadness.   But it doesn't mean we can't also be temporality sad in the moment of loss.   

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On 5/4/2021 at 7:31 AM, Fether said:

If the grave has no victory, why is it we are sad when people die? Is it a sign that faith truly is not a knowledge of things? Does it show a lack of belief/faith in the gospel? Are we actually mourning the fact that we are worse off without them? Are we mourning because we won't see them for a long while?

This is a question I have been asking myself for years now, so if I have asked this before... well... too bad.

I first came across this question when I ran into a man on my mission who told me he can't believe in God because his 9-year-old daughter died. Now, I am not discounting this man's feelings as a loss of faith, rather just analyzing his experience up against what we know about the Plan of Salvation (after all, who would not be distraught over the loss of a child).

Christ also wept at the death of Lazarus. Was he weeping because he died, or was he weeping because he saw the sorrow of those close to the death? a semi-close family member of mine died this last week and I am only now realizing I am only sad because I see that her children may not understand it all and that they will grow up without their mother now. I wasn't so much sad at her passing itself.

Are our spirits just naturally inclined to value life since that is the whole purpose of our existence here? So despite there being a deeply rooted belief of an afterlife, our souls cannot help but feel sorrow when there is a loss of life?

Is it possible to experience the death of a close one and feel no sorrow because one's faith in an afterlife is so strong that they know they will see them again? If yes, should we be concerned about the strength of our faith if someone dies and we are sad?

If the grave has no victory, why is it we are sad when people die? I think the reason(s)varies from person to person.

Is it a sign that faith truly is not a knowledge of things? Perhaps; it could be a lack of knowledge.

Does it show a lack of belief/faith in the gospel? Not necessarily; we awaken our faculties to draw near to God.

Are we actually mourning the fact that we are worse off without them? It depends, everyone is different.

Are we mourning because we won't see them for a long while? It depends, everyone is different.

Was he weeping because he died, or was he weeping because he saw the sorrow of those close to the death? I believe the latter.

Are our spirits just naturally inclined to value life since that is the whole purpose of our existence here? Yes, but that does not necessitate sadness with the passing of a loved one: "The afternoon my mother died, we went to the family home from the hospital. We sat quietly in the darkened living room for a while. Dad excused himself and went to his bedroom. He was gone for a few minutes. When he walked back into the living room, there was a smile on his face. He said that he’d been concerned for Mother. During the time he had gathered her things from her hospital room and thanked the staff for being so kind to her, he thought of her going into the spirit world just minutes after her death. He was afraid she would be lonely if there was no one to meet her.

"He had gone to his bedroom to ask his Heavenly Father to have someone greet Mildred, his wife and my mother. He said that he had been told in answer to his prayer that his mother had met his sweetheart. I smiled at that too. Grandma Eyring was not very tall. I had a clear picture of her rushing through the crowd, her short legs moving rapidly on her mission to meet my mother." https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/2003/11/a-matter-of-the-heart?lang=eng

So despite there being a deeply rooted belief of an afterlife, our souls cannot help but feel sorrow when there is a loss of life? Not necessarily.

Is it possible to experience the death of a close one and feel no sorrow because one's faith in an afterlife is so strong that they know they will see them again? Yes, it is possible.

If yes, should we be concerned about the strength of our faith if someone dies and we are sad? I think we should always look for opportunities to increase our faith, and observing (both in the sense of acknowledging and processing instead of denying or repressing) our emotions, in concert with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, is one way to to that.

Edited by CV75

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On 5/4/2021 at 6:31 AM, Fether said:

If the grave has no victory, why is it we are sad when people die? Is it a sign that faith truly is not a knowledge of things? Does it show a lack of belief/faith in the gospel? Are we actually mourning the fact that we are worse off without them? Are we mourning because we won't see them for a long while?

Death has no sting?  Yes, it does.  But it is temporary.  The grave has no victory?  Yes, it does.  But it is only temporary.

Paul's words are talking about eternal consequences, not temporary sorrow.

Humans are all about the immediate, not the eternal.  That is why we feel sorrow in spite of the end realization of all our promised blessings.  That is also why we tend to sacrifice an eternal good for a temporal good.

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I think that in all cases, a dead person is reunited with far more family members than they ever leave behind when they die. From one perspective, it could perhaps be said that grief is rather selfish - it focuses on the loss and sadness felt by the griever, rather than being thankful for the improvement in the condition of person that often comes about as a result of their death.

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