He told us about many of his visits to the prison. Once, a young man asked if there was any hope for him. He was in for some other crimes, but the real sin that he wanted to confess was that he had killed a man.
I think it is a big misconception that the murderer can never redeemed. Murder is one of the most serious of sins. It is "an abomination" to the Lord, because it involves another human soul. But the murderer also has a soul. And I think we need to be careful... Nothing is of more value than a soul. So when our speaker (who didn't have an answer for the sorrowful murderer) talked to the Stake President, he was instructed to bring him back a message of hope: "Never let that man give up hope of being redeemed."
I have read the scriptures on this and I have found different things. One says "he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this life or in the life to come," but many many other scriptures, while seriously denouncing murder, still offer hope. This one from 1 Timothy:
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, (1 Tim 1:9)
There are also many examples in the scriptures of murderers being redeemed--for example and entire group of people called the People of Ammon--sometimes called the Anti-Nephi-Lehis. They had been a blood-thirsty people who "delighted in the shedding of blood."When they were converted to the Gospel and vowed never to take up weapons again even in self defense, because they felt such remorse for all the killing they had done before.
There are also many murders in the scriptures that I don't really understand, yet I accept and trust that God does. Here are just a few examples:
- In one of the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon, in an unprecidented act, God commands Nephi to kill Laban--not during a war or in self defense, but when Laban is passed out drunk. (1 Nephi 4:10)
- In the Hebrew Bible, it is briefly mentioned and then glossed over, that when Moses was young, he killed a man. This is why he was hiding out for several years herding sheep, until a nearby bush started burning. (Genesis)
- David, the famous King of Isreal, who seems to have been a favorite with God, lost some status after the murder of Uriah incident, but not all his status. (Sam 12:13, D&C 132:39)
In truth, I think there is only one sin that cannot be forgiven and that is a sin against the Holy Ghost and I'm still trying to figure out what that exactly means. I think it means that you deny the God/the gospel/the truth after having a knowledge (not just a belief) that it is true. I don't think very many people in all the history of mankind fall into this category. Not even Hitler. Maybe Cain. A few others who knew God and then turned on Him.
When I started writing this post a month ago, I had no idea why was writing it. I thought perhaps someone out there might need to read it. Then I had a momentary freak out where I was afraid if I posted it that someone I knew would be murdered and I'd have to practice what I preach and forgive. But then I realized that in fact, there have already been several murders in my family tree.
Mom's side: My great grandfather. I knew he died in a mental institution, but I recently learned that there was suspected foul play. (Head injury may not have been accidental.)
Dad's Side: My biological grandfather (the one I didn't know about till I was older. Read all about that here.) Murdered execution style in the back of the head outside of Las Vegas. Body was found in a sand dune several weeks later. We suspect he was running with a bad crowd. Mafia perhaps.
The crazy story that came out of that is that when I finally tracked down this side of the family and found out I had all these living relatives in Detroit, I learned that my cousin (would have also been grandson of murdered guy) was also murdered. He was shot in the back in a Detroit night club. The sad irony of this is that he never knew anything about his grandfather or his death, yet he repeated it.
|At the old Ojai Jail.|
He said, "You can't pray for that, but you can always hold out hope."
I love him for that. Appropriate humor is sometimes the only thing that saved me.
Well, though I felt totally healed from those years, I found that there was still some belief about murder hiding out on my brain stem and causing me a lot of fatigue, and I had sent that "part of me" that wanted to murder to go live in a metaphysical dungeon. When we the belief away and brought my soul fragment out of the dungeon, I felt my radiant body expand immediately and I almost shouted Wahe Guru.
|Writing on the wall from the 60's in the old Ojai city jail.|
Perhaps someone out there needs to read this. And if so, I hope that it finds you, and that you never give up hope for yourself or your family member or friend. Always have hope in brighter days can come.