"Such are not to be condemned for taking their own lives.  Judgment is the Lord’s; He knows the thoughts, intents, and abilities of all his children; and he in his infinite wisdom will make all things right in due course."


Because our thirteen year old son died by suicide, we needed an answer to this question in order to have some peace in our heart. I hope others can benefit from what we have found through our study of the scriptures, and the words of wise leaders of various religions. 


From experience, we know that the act of taking one’s own life is truly a tragedy because it creates so many victims.  Family and countless friends are left to bear feelings of undeserved misery, guilt, grief, sometimes anger, and years of deep pain and confusion.  The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is written in four verses of scripture in the Bible.(1)   Not one of them grants self-exclusion. The rational mind knows it is wrong.


Unfortunately, forces of stress and depression incite behavior that is not always rational.  An apostle, Bruce R. McConkie wrote:  "Persons subject to great stresses may lose control of themselves and become mentally clouded to the point that they are no longer accountable for their acts. (As mentioned above),  Such are not to be condemned for taking their own lives.  It should also be remembered that judgment is the Lord’s; he knows that thought, intents, and abilities of men; and he in his infinite wisdom will make all things right in due course."(2) 


We know the Lord loves each of his children and understands the good they have done during their lifetime and the desires of their heart.  This will all be taken into account when the final judgment comes.  The prophet Alma taught: 


"The plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself. 

"And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good." 

(Alma 41:2-3) 


We can feel peace in the infinite atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, that it applies so broadly.  A great prophet, Mosiah said, 


 "His blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the  transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned."       (Mosiah:3:11) 


The Prophet Joseph Smith offered this remarkable insight regarding judging those who died by suicide, or may have been considered wicked by man’s standards, "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 human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring… 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,’ or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India… 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 desserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; 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."(3) 


An Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, M. Russell Ballard, said, "I draw an important conclusion from the words of the Prophet, Joseph Smith: 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."(4) 


We must all recognize that only the Lord can administer fair judgment.  Only He can know the intent of the heart.


The sin of Suicide is not always as cut-and-dried as some of us seem to think. Some of the questions we may ask when a loved one has died by suicide is: Was the person who took his life mentally ill? Was he or she so deeply depressed as to be unbalanced or otherwise emotionally disturbed? Was the suicide a tragic, pitiful call for help that went unheeded too long or progressed faster than the victim intended? Did he or she somehow not understand the seriousness of the act? Was he or she suffering from a chemical imbalance that led to despair and a loss of self-control?(5)  Was their physical or emotional pain too much to bare and in a state of hopelessness they saw no future?(6)  Only our Father in Heaven knows the full answer to these questions. 


When the judgment day comes, M Russell Ballard comments that the Lord 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,"(7)  and might I add, age. 


This does not mean that no repentance is required. The Prophet, Joseph Smith said, "The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,  And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation." (D&C 138:57-59) 


Be assured that we as victims, those left behind, can know that our loved ones are in good hands by a kind and loving Father.  Immortality of the soul applies to all, as does the privilege of repentance and forgiveness.(8) 


As I sometimes agonize over the loss of my son, Jared, I find deep comfort and faith in the Lord’s promise and blessing as I, and my loved ones, remain here on earth: 

 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:
  not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
  Let not your heart be troubled,
  neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)  

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Providing the Way

Recommended Reading:

THE GATEWAY WE CALL DEATH, by Russell M. Nelson (Deseret Book Company, S.L.C., UT.) 1995  Comments: This book was the first book I read after Jared’s death and it gave me answers to my spiritual questions about death, and the process we all must pass through. 


SUICIDE, SOME THINGS WE KNOW, AND SOME WE DO NOT, by M. Russell Ballard (Deseret Book Company, S.L.C., UT.) 1993  Comments:  Our Bishop gave us a copy of this little book the same day our son died by Suicide. We couldn’t read it right away because we were in such great sorrow that we couldn’t concentrate, but when we did read it we wished we had read it that very day we received it. 


SUICIDE, THE FOREVER DECISION, by Paul G. Quinnett (The Crossroad Publishing Co. N.Y., NY) 1987 Comments:  This book was recommended by our counselor and has become my favorite.  Although it is written to speak to the suicidal person, and is not meant to be a spiritual book, it answers so many WHY questions. WHY did Jared do that?  We now understand much more about the mind of depression and hopelessness. 


THE BIBLE  Comments:  A few scriptures a day keeps the blues away. 


THE BOOK OF MORMON  Comments:  Joy! 

(1)  Exodus 20:13;  Deuteronomy 5:17;  Matthew 5:21;  Romans 13:9
(2)  Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce R. McConkie (S.L.C., Bookcraft 1966), p. 771
(3)  Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 218
(4)  Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not, Ensign, by M. Russell Ballard, October 1987, p. 8 or Deseret Book Co. S.L.C., UT. 1993
(5)  ibid.
(6)  Suicide, The Forever Decision by Paul G. Quinnett (Crossroad Publishing Co. 1987)
(7)  Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not, by M. Russell Ballard
(8)  The Gateway We Call Death, by Russell M. Nelson (Deseret Book Co. 1995) pg. 1-110



Life Before Birth   Where do we come from?
What's the Purpose of Life?   Why are we here?
Where do we go when we die?   What will happen to us when we die?
Everyone will have an opportunity   What about people who didn't know?
The Full Blessing  Life can be short for some.  What about babies who die?


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