very timely message from one of my favorite writers...
From: Jack Rushton [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 12:20 PM
April 23, 2007, Observation:
Last Thursday evening
(April 19, 2007) Jo Anne and I had the privilege and opportunity of speaking at
the interfaith Chapel at Chapman University in Orange,
California, to a group of faculty
and students. Being on a college campus so soon after the
Virginia Tech Massacre brought into our minds and hearts most vividly the great
tragedy that had occurred in the lives of those young students and some of
their professors. We were all still
sobered and saddened by what happened at Virginia Tech. Being with these students at Chapman University,
we could feel their enthusiasm for life and hopes for the future, as well as
sense their great potential, which made what had happened earlier in the week
at Virginia Tech all the more heart rendering. That evening at Chapman University, our
hearts and prayers went out to the families and friends of those whose young
lives were cut short by this senseless act of violence.
I suppose that for many years
to come, people will be asking the question why something like this ever had to
happen. I have been thinking about
this question a great deal this week, and probably don't have any better answer
than anybody else I am sure.
However, let me share with you some thoughts that have come into my mind
as I have pondered "why."
Years ago, a wonderful
English teacher, in trying to teach me how to write, making a thesis statement
and then supporting and defending it in each succeeding paragraph, gave me the
following statement as an example of a thesis statement: "The history of the world is a bath of blood." It was plain for me then to see how by
using that statement as a thesis for an essay, I could easily marshal evidence
from history that would substantiate and defend that statement as being very
At times I think we may
believe we are the only people that have ever experienced terrorist attacks,
suicide bombers, senseless murders, and those of us who are older, many major
wars where literally millions of people have been killed. Of course, all we need to do is look at
the history of this world to realize that from the time Cain killed Abel
"the history of the world truly has been a bath of blood." Instead of just focusing on what
happened at Virginia Tech, perhaps a question that would put all of mankind's
experience on this earth from the beginning of time into perspective, is why
has "the history of the world been a bath of blood?"
I am no psychologist or philosopher, and I don't
believe they have the answer anyway, because the ultimate answer comes from the
Scriptures and is spiritual in nature.
As I have pondered the question of man's inhumanity to man from
literally the beginning of time, I have concluded that King Benjamin in the
Book of Mormon went to the heart and root of the problem better than anyone
else ever has.
"For the anatural bman is an cenemy to God, and has been from the dfall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever,
unless he eyields to the enticings of the Holy fSpirit, and gputteth off the hnatural man and becometh a isaint through the atonement of Christ the
Lord, and becometh as a jchild, ksubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of
love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon
him, even as a child doth submit to his father." [Mosiah 3:19]
I believe King Benjamin selected his words very
carefully in speaking to his people.
The natural man is, and has always been, an enemy to God from the very
beginning. The natural man, void of
the Spirit, can enter a state the Scriptures describe as "past feeling",
and which I call a state of "spiritual paralysis". One who is physically paralyzed cannot
feel those parts of his body that are paralyzed, and one who is
"spiritually paralyzed" cannot feel the still small voice of the
Spirit and in that state can do unthinkably horrible things. Nazi Germany became "spiritually
paralyzed" as did the Nephites and Lamanites in Book of Mormon times as
well as countless other civilizations and people from the beginning of time.
King Benjamin however, gives us the key to
overcoming the "natural man."
He says that if we will but "yield" to the
"enticings" of the Holy Spirit we can put off the natural man. The word "yield" means
"to give up and cease resistance or contention." Some synonyms are, surrender, submit,
"Enticings" or entice means "to attract artfully or
adroitly or by arousing hope or desire." A synonym is the word "lure". Isn't it interesting that skilled
fishermen know how to use a "lure" to artfully attract a fish to
bite? Then they are able to work
the fish until it "yields" or surrenders. The Holy Spirit will not beat us over
the head or use any kind of force, but will constantly entice us to yield -- to
surrender our pride, arrogance, vanity and lustful desires. As we are willing to yield to the
enticings of the Holy Spirit we can put off the "natural man" and
become saints through the atonement of Jesus Christ, possessing the qualities
of little children, being: submissive, meek, humble, patient, and full of love.
I doubt that CNN or politicians will jump on this
as the solution to tragedies like the Virginia Tech Massacre, bloodshed and
violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and
hatred and murder between Israelis and Palestinians and etc., but truthfully
"putting off the natural man" is the only solution to these kinds of
problems. Will this ever
happen? Sad to say it won't until
the Prince of Peace ushers in his millennial reign. In the meantime I believe we will
continue to see escalating terror, senseless murders, and the nightly news
filled with stories of man's inhumanity to man. Those of our generation will come to
know only too well the truthfulness that "The history of the world is a
bath of blood," because the "natural man" is an enemy to God.
I don't think the Virginia Tech Massacre has
anything to do with who has or hasn't guns, or an adequate security system, but
it has everything to do with "the natural man" and "spiritual
paralysis." Until individuals
all over the world are willing to yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and
become like little children we basically as a world population will be at a
constant state of war.
Am I overly simplistic and idealistic? I am sure I am, but I know in my heart
the truthfulness of King Benjamin's words as being the only solution to the
wickedness and violence in which we live.