Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Day I Stopped Following Matt Walsh

I have enjoyed reading Matt Walsh's blog for nearly a year now. He's made me laugh and nod my head in agreement many, many times. But today, I stopped following Matt Walsh. I deleted him from my Google+, Blogger Dashboard, and Facebook accounts.

Why, you ask, did I stop following Matt Walsh? Why would I stop following someone that I agree with 70% of the time? (Give or take 10% points.) Well, it's because he wrote a post that I absolutely cannot get behind. He's written posts before that I don't agree with, but I just let them go. Not today.

Today, Mr. Walsh posted about Robin Williams' suicide. I knew what Mr. Walsh's title was before I read the post, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and read every word he had to say. Yet at the end of his post, I was done.

You see, Mr. Walsh, we must not judge another person's soul when they commit suicide. We cannot possibly know or understand where a person was in their mind when they took their life. There is no way to ever comprehend what truly happens when a soul commits suicide, until we make it to heaven ourselves and can have a conversation with them. To judge someone so quickly, so harshly, so finally, is reprehensible.

I highly recommend this article about suicide, Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not, by Elder M. Russell Ballard. He's a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Here are some of my favorite sections from his article:
"The late Elder Bruce R. McConkie, formerly of the Quorum of the Twelve, expressed what many Church leaders have taught: 'Suicide consists in the voluntary and intentional taking of one’s own life, particularly where the person involved is accountable and has a sound mind. … 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. Such are not to be condemned for taking their own lives. It should also be remembered that judgment is the Lord’s; he knows the thoughts, intents, and abilities of men; and he in his infinite wisdom will make all things right in due course.' (Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 771; some italics added.)"

"I feel that judgment for sin is not always as cut-and-dried as some of us seem to think. The Lord said, 'Thou shalt not kill.' Does that mean that every person who kills will be condemned, no matter the circumstances? Civil law recognizes that there are gradations in this matter—from accidental manslaughter to self-defense to first-degree murder. I feel that the Lord also recognizes differences in intent and circumstances: 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? 
"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.
"We learn in the scriptures that the blood of Christ will atone for the sins of men 'who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.' (Mosiah 3:11.)"

"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," 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 deserts, 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.' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, ed. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, 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. Of course, this gives us no reason to excuse ourselves in committing sins, nor will the Lord excuse us, if I understand correctly. We must constantly strive to do our best in emulating the Savior in every aspect of our lives. At the same time, however, let us remember that 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."
No, family/friends/acquaintances/strangers, we must certainly not judge what someone else is going through! Now that I've expressed my frustrations, I'm going to follow my own advice and not judge what Mr. Walsh wrote, for he is entitled to his opinion. But that doesn't mean I need to agree with him, or continue supporting his blog.

In the end, I will continue following our Savior, for Jesus Christ is the only one who knows and understands all of us. It's truly because of Him that we can be restored to our heavenly home, and live with our loved ones for eternity!

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