The most important thing we must remember when discussing suicide is that Heavenly Father is a merciful and just God who knows the intents of our hearts.
Suicide is understandably a difficult topic to address emotionally, verbally, and socially. In his article “Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not,” Elder M. Russell Ballard very clearly addresses this topic and invites us to treat one another with great compassion and love.
As we “‘reach out the arm of love‘ to those who might be struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide,” says Elder Ballard, we need to remember the things we do and do not know for certain about this topic so that we may be loving, compassionate, and “kind in word and thought for those who have passed.”
Some things we do know:
- We know that the taking of any human life is a sin.
- We know that “only the Lord [can] administer fair judgment. He alone [has] all the facts, and only He would know the intent of the heart[s]” of those who take their own lives.
- We know that the Lord “will be merciful and kind.”
- We know that when someone does take his or her own life, there are many victims: the one who died and those left behind to “face years of deep pain and confusion.”
- We know that “God is there. . . . He loves us and we will see [those who die] again.”
Some things we don’t know:
- We don’t know the thoughts and intents of those who take their own lives.
- We don’t know the final destination of those who take their own lives.
“It is clear that hope exists,” says Elder Ballard. “. . . I am grateful for the great plan of salvation our Father in Heaven has provided for us. It is a plan of great fairness and a plan of great love.”
Let us be messengers of compassion and love when we are confronted with suicide, and let us remember the grace of the Savior, who seeks to succor and heal all people.
Read the full text of Elder Ballard’s hope-filled article.
—Carli Hanson, Mormon Insights
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Find more insights
Visit the Church’s website dedicated to suicide prevention.
Watch this video in which individuals discuss how suicide has affected them. Then offer hope and advice to others struggling with similar trials.
Read a Q&A from the New Era addressing concerns about suicide.
Read more of Elder Ballard’s words in the Church News article “Elder Ballard Offers Comfort and Counsel to Those Affected by Suicide.”
Listen to a podcast on the Mormon Channel discussing how the gospel of Jesus Christ can help individuals and families who have been left behind because of suicide.
Read Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s thoughts on struggles with depression.
Check out the lds.org Gospel Topic article about suicide and the extra resources listed there.