Monday, March 24, 2014


Saturday I accompanied an older couple I know and love on a trip to visit their son in prison.  He has been convicted of a heinous crime and has little possibility of ever seeing freedom again.  The slim hopes the family once had for his eventual release have been mostly extinguished by bureaucratic fiat, causing great anguish for their child.

Never a good place to be.
I freely admit that I am conflicted about how to feel towards this young man and the situation at hand.  What he has done deserves punishment.  And the courts, for the most part, have made effective decisions when handing down sentences in these things.

On the other hand, I have no qualms confessing an enormous feeling of sorrow for my friends and their circumstances.  Their age will most likely preclude ever seeing their son regain his freedom – even if more lenient individuals one day occupy the board of pardons.

Of course, I tend to look at these things from the perspective of a father/man.  Fathers (at least the ones I know) work hard to raise up good children and provide them with the necessities of life.  They also teach principles that will guide their children to live in a way to be happy.  But fathers, while loving their children, see the world in a different way than mothers.  That was true from the beginning.  Adam said the following when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden:

…Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.  (Moses 5:10)

Adam and Eve after their
removal from the Garden.
 Eve responded to their dismissal from the Garden differently --  by remembering the greatest blessing she received in partaking of the fruit: posterity.

…Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed… (Moses 5:11)

In a way I cannot explain (probably because I am not built to get it), mothers are tied to their children as fathers can never be.  Some of it comes because she has to travel through “the valley of the shadow of death” every time a new child is brought into the world.  But I suspect there is more to it than that.

My friends are a wonderful couple and both grieve for the losses their son will inherit because of his actions.  But as I watch them, I am deeply touched by the nearly unbearable struggle the mother of this young man endures. I don’t mean to denigrate the father’s pain – I am sensitive to what he feels.  Yet, it seems to me the personal misery of the mother is so much deeper than what her husband feels – it is as if life is cut right out of her.

Considered from the perspective of a father and a son (I qualify in both cases) I can say that I am so thankful for whatever it is that gives women/mothers this special insight and ability in life.


I don’t know if I could handle the sorrow a mother must endure with the challenges her children offer.  Not just sinful acts that cause so much heartache, but the daily events – sicknesses and pains and sufferings – that come with even a well-lived life.  To internalize all those things for the sake of children is an amazing feat – one not easily accomplished unless some god-like power is involved.

When this life is complete and all the pluses 
and minuses are counted, our Heavenly Father has promised, through the Atonement of Christ, to make right all those things that were wrong in mortality.  At that time, recompense will be offered to those who have carried their great burden of motherhood through mortality.  And they will find:

…the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.  (Moses 5:11)

Christ's atonement is meant for all.

Then the joy of motherhood and a mother’s love become an eternal blessing to those who have endured the difficulties of mortality. 

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