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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Soul Survivor Update - It's Not Your Fault

Over the last week or so I have received a number of wonderful eMails from people who have read my book. I noticed a theme appearing in some of the eMails and I wanted to do a blog about because I was worried about the regret that some people were feeling. In the notes I received I saw a tendency on the part of members of the Church to hold themselves accountable for things that they had no control over. Worse yet, they beat themselves up over the issues and have apparently done so for a long period of time.

In the years that I have been a member of the church I have seen Latter Day Saints feel guilt for so many things. They feel guilt for things they do and for things they leave undone. Some even feel guilty because they don't feel guilty enough. As a convert I have witnessed my fair share of guilt from other religions and I would say that Mormons are second to none when it comes to holding themselves accountable. As a people we often take the weight of the world upon ourselves and accuse ourselves of the worst things. This entry is specifically for those people who have an overdeveloped sense of self accusations.

Many members of the church who knew someone in high school reach adulthood feeling like they should have been a better example for or should have done more to help someone else. To those Latter Day Saints I say God bless you and thank you for what you did but please let yourself off the hook. Adolescence is a difficult enough time without having to worry about whether or not you compromised the salvation of another teen. You didn't. In fact that is the entire point of my book.

We make choices and are accountable for our own decisions. Right or wrong we are accountable for what we do and not for what others do and the lack of an example doesn't let anyone off the hook. The Article of Faith that this brings to mind is "We believe that men will be apunished for their bown sins, and not for Adam’s ctransgression." I think that remembering that is important for at least allowing ourselves the freedom to feel guilty only about the actual things we do or don't do personally.

Moreover, the people that tend to accuse themselves usually have nothing to be ashamed of. The very fact that they are conscious of their behavior leads me to believe that they do the right kinds of things on a daily basis so that the world is a better place for their having lived. It is my hope and prayer that through these challenges that each person that reads my book will remember that choice is a unique and special gift that enables us to be accountable for our own actions and which gives us the chance to choose to embrace God. I hope that this serves to be a useful bit of information for any that have had similar feelings.

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