Facebook Twitter

Righteous path to peace

SHARE Righteous path to peace

In the mire of the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C., some things are perfectly clear. Especially where one can turn for peace.

For one sister, that reassurance came in a post-tragedy memorial service:

"As the Tabernacle Choir sang, I closed my eyes. Into my mind came the thought of Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, taking upon Himself the sins of the world. Then my mind flashed to Jesus hanging on the cross, then on to the destruction in New York City and Washington. At that moment, Jesus' role in our lives became so clear. He atoned for our bad choices. He gave us hope that we may come home to Him and our Father again.

"I thought about all the sorrow and suffering this tragedy caused. Then I realized that Jesus has already felt it all and that the enormity of this day is but a portion of what He endured for us."

Christ's choice to suffer, immediately mutes — and eventually obliterates — the suffering of us mortals.

But, also in the aftermath, some things might not be as immediately clear.

"We don't understand everything, but we do know that Our Father loves us and watches over us," President Gordon B. Hinckley told a worldwide audience on CNN's Larry King Live.

And we also know that much in this world has been done in the name of God that, quite simply, has nothing to do with God. Mortal men and women are free to act for themselves. Terrorists, and others, may say they are doing God's will, but, in truth, they have chosen otherwise.

To the timid notion that religion justifies such unjustifiable behavior, President Hinckley said, "The God in whom I believe does not foster this kind of action."

For those truly seeking direction on the proper purpose of religion, modern scripture is quite clear. (See Doctrine and Covenants 134:4-10, which is included in "a declaration of belief" regarding governments and laws that states that all men should uphold their governments and owe respect and deference to the law, and that religous societies should not exercise civil powers.)

Religion is instituted of God; our practice, thereof, is between God and us. Thus, none of us should attempt to inhibit another's practice of religion. However, the right to freely exercise religion does become the concern of others if "religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others." (Verse 4.)

Further, all people should be accorded the right to freely exercise their religions, "so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the law and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy." (Verse 7.)

The reasons for these protections are obvious: Without respect and deference to the law, peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror. (Verse 6.)

Also worthy of note is the doctrine that religious societies have no right to deprive men and women of "property or life, to take from them this world's goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb or to inflict any physical punishment upon them." (Verse 10.)

Civil authorities, on the other hand, have a duty to "restrain crime" and "punish guilt." (Verse 4.)

Successfully completing mortality's journey can be difficult. But it is eminently possible — by choosing to follow the Lord, as asserted by President Hinckley on the very day of the tragedy:

"But dark as is this hour, there is shining through the heavy overcast of fear and anger the solemn and wonderful image of the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace, the exemplar of universal love, and it is to Him that we look in these circumstances. It was He who gave His life that all might enjoy eternal life.

"May the peace of Christ rest upon us and give us comfort and reassurance. . . ."