Reading your scriptures, praying often, serving a mission, keeping the Commandments, Temple marriage, being faithful, magnifying callings, all good options. Doing some or doing all, none of them make a person exempt from tragedy.
Yesterday's episode of SIZ Radio was an eye opening, powerful and empowering show on violence, it's prevention and the might of forgiveness. If you missed the live show, you can listen here. We listened to Carly Ostler of Voices of Courage speak on the impact that violence can have in our lives, how a NCMO (Non-committal Make-out) can be damaging, and most importantly, ways that we can eradicate violence from our culture. We heard first hand from Mariama Kallon as she tearfully shared with us her painful experiences of sexual assault, child slavery and the murder of her entire family.
|Left: Mariama Kallon, Right: Carly Ostler w/ BYU's VOC|
Rape doesn't care if you're Mormon. Neither does divorce, adultery, low self-esteem, bullying, pornography or any other of life's tribulations. Yes we can make choices in life that put us in harm's way, but being Christian doesn't automatically make one an exemplary decision maker.
We have never thought that because we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints trouble would just pass us by, in fact our life experiences pointed out the contrary from a very young age. But we can't deny that we too had certain naivety as to why other people's lives seemed so much more than ours or how we could prevent things from happening to us. On the show Mariama told of a saying in Africa that says; "After God, is the white man," and spoke of how she would go through the garbage cans of a white person in Africa because even their garbage seemed better.
When we look at our lives or the lives of others with skewed perception it's easy to think that we aren't susceptible to abuse or crime. Or to think that the statistics don't apply to us. It's easy to look at the life of another and think we know why their life appears better or worse than ours. Trial, tribulation, and sin know well the lesson of sharing, and they can be doled out on anyone.
So if your faith doesn't exempt you, what good is it? Now that we know that we can all find ourselves IN trouble, their must be a way OUT of it. Mariama spoke of how she prays daily for a "heart of forgiveness." In the end she says that the people who have done things to her have moved on and are living their lives, and that if she does not forgive and dwells in the past that she will only hurt herself. Mariama testified that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is helping her to do just that, so that she can heal.