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Saturday, February 18, 2006 

Is There a Reason?

At moments in my life when everything is going wrong (or more likely, just not going my way) I have a way of saying, “Well…everything happens for a reason.” I somehow make myself believe that me having no control over a situation is supposed to happen. That in the grand scheme of things, it was meant to be. Somehow, my cure all for when bad (or unpleasant) things happen is to believe there is a plan…an idea of a plan. Even when tragedy strikes, I try to tell myself that it is supposed to happen like that. There must be a reason.

But is there? Really?

Is it faith or ignorance that protects my fragile heart when tragedy strikes and I seem to believe that what happened was “part of the plan?” Is it faith or ignorance that keeps my childlike belief that everything happens for a reason and that there is something to be gained by the circumstance?

Could there really be a reason one of my dearest friends lost a baby and her father so very unexpectedly in the span of one year? Is there an explainable reason that there are tsunamis and hurricanes that cause such destruction and devastation? Is there a good reason why there are children in this world that are tortured and abused?

Would finding out the reason for those things happening make it any easier to deal with? No, I would say not. Just though of thought of such pain and tragedy happening to someone for a planned out, orchestrated reason is just too much to handle.

It’s just way too much to comprehend.

Posted by JP.

The real question you are asking is why is the world a place of trial and struggle? Why is life mortality?

The reason is because mortal life is mortal life. From an eternal perspective it is relatively short and it is filled with experiences we can't go through any other way. We know that the unborn are clamoring to have the experience, even the worst possible circumstances.

In that regard, death and tragedy are found in a hangnail or momentary bad breath as much as plague and war and the terrible losses so many go through.

Boy, you guys both said some pretty profound things.

I would feel better if I knew, beyond a doubt, that there was a reason for my loved ones' deaths beyond my own failures. I know I would.

If God came to me and said, "James time was up, I took him for this and this reason" I would be better with that. Not okay, but I would quit bugging Him about it.

So far, nothing.

Anne, I'm sorry.

A related take on your post is, "Should we throw out coping mechanisms if they are working for us and we have no alternative way to cope, even if we don't believe they are true?"

Athletes often develop superstitions to help them do better. Keith Langford, who used to play basketball for the Kansas Jayhawks, would change his shoes at half-time if he had not performed well during the first half. It worked for him. Now, rationally, I don't think he assigned any supernatural powers to changing his shoes, but he was able to take advantage of the improvement in his abilities that comes from confidence, by giving himself a shot of confidence through his superstition.

I think we should take advantage of the placebo effect. If believing things happen for a reason helps you cope, then don't give it up just because you have some theological qualms with it. Especially, since your belief does not have any ill effects upon you and you don't have any coping mechanism to replace it with that works as well.

Personally, I do believe in the doctrines of the LDS Church, so I believe that the fallen nature of the earth is here for a reason.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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