My MTC sister district (entered at the same time, went to Italy, same branch, next door) had two missionaries go home from the MTC. One left after just a few weeks. The other left the day before we flew to Italy.

I didn't know either missionary very well. I didn't really know anyone except for my companion, and even then that was a stretch. But when I learned that the first missionary was just gone - without telling us - and the second made his rounds right before leaving, something inside me took blame. I've been there for people in the past, been able to watch them work through their problems and come back from the edge of suicide or crises of faith. Most were strangers. And when someone close needed my help, I wasn't there.

It doesn't matter that I don't know what it was that made them go home. That it was their choice and that there were other people definitely involved in helping them make the right decisions. I watched it happen, I was close... and I felt responsible.

The same thing happens when someone I know loses someone to suicide. I wonder if maybe I were a better friend, had gotten to know their son/daughter... maybe I could have averted the disaster.

It's delusional. I know. And, according to psychology, probably horribly egocentric, since it means I believe I have influence over the choices of others. But don't we? Aren't we all our brothers' keepers? And shouldn't we feel intense and immense sorrow when we realize that somewhere along the line the pain happened?

This all came on as I realized that yet another person I know has left the Church because of same-sex attraction. It's never a split-second decision... but a long pathway of changing and substituting beliefs and immense frustration and pain.

And I was clueless.

When things go right, God should always get the credit. He enables me to do the good things I do. Honestly, all the good things I've done in my life have been things God set me up to do - not just in preparation, but by barring every other door. But when things go wrong, it's always a mortal failing. And it makes me wonder who else is suffering... who else is going through silent turmoil and needs a friend to listen and understand. Maybe nothing would have changed had I known and done my best. Maybe. But I still feel like there are people of the world in silent pain... and I should somehow be doing more.

Continue reading at the original source →