All Lives Matter

DC 18.10 Worth of soulsOver the last few weeks I’ve sat on the sidelines watching the rhetoric escalate regarding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner at the hands of police. I just want to scream to everyone, “STOP IT!” It is Christmas, and the fighting back and forth is not helping anyone. That said, I’m not here to blame the men who died or the police – I don’t know enough about either situation to comment on blame, nor is this post about blame, or actually these very tragic situations.

Both of these situations, however, have prompted me to think a little deeper about life and the worth of the soul. In both cases protesters have chanted the phrase, “Black lives matter”, over and over again – to the point of being ridiculous.

The Lord has taught us, to “remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (see Doctrine & Covenants 18:10). Yes black lives do matter. But white, yellow, and red lives also matter. Every life matters to our Father in Heaven. And I have been particularly impressed with this thought as Christmas has approached.

All lives matter. All of them.

We know that all lives matter, because of the Plan of Salvation and the role that Jesus Christ played in that plan. The scriptures provide more insight into this. The book of Abraham tells us about the great council in heaven before the world was. We were there and the Lord knew us.

“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good” (see Abraham 3: 22-23).

Jeremiah provides more evidence that the Lord knows us: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nation” (Jerimiah 1: 5). And because the work and the glory of the Lord is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (see Moses 1: 39), he provided a savior for us.

Nephi teaches,

“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.” (See 2 Nephi 2 6-7, 26).

John said it so simply, but powerfully, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (see John 3: 16).

A few days ago I read a blog post by one of my favorite commentators, a man named Joe Dallas. He said, “Christmas is about Christ, of course, but it’s not about Christ in a vacuum, since He existed long before the nativity. (John 1:1-2) It’s about Christ in relationship to the people He came for, and their value in His sight. Angels said as much when they heralded the shepherds with “Peace on earth, good will towards men.”

I’m pretty sure I am a spectacular failure at many aspects of the Gospel, and at being a Latter-day Saint. However, one thing I do know, and I know as much as the sun rising in the east, is that our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. And that he loves me. I know that we matter, that we have value to him, and because of that there is a way to succeed at life and at sainthood.

If you know this, that you matter and are loved, help other people realize this, and come to know this. I have always felt that if we remembered that we are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us, and that each of has value, a lot of what plagues the world would quickly disappear.

All lives matter and all souls have worth. This is why we celebrate Christ’s birth now, and in a few more months why we will celebrate His resurrection – a literal triumph over physical and spiritual death, a triumph that allows us the opportunity to return to that Father, who knew us before we were formed in the belly, and who loves us all very dearly.

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About Joyce Anderson

Joyce is a mother, wife, sister, school teacher, Bulgarian speaker, conservative, lover of good music, social media junky and a two time culinary arts Grand Champion bread baker. She and the family reside in a remote mountain community where great discoveries have been made. When not changing the world, she enjoys the occasional bowl of chips and salsa. She can be found at:

12 thoughts on “All Lives Matter

  1. What a wonderful post. Thanks, Joyce. Sadly, some think that certain lives are worth more than others.But as you show, ALL of God’s children are precious in his sight.
    We can see from such events as these and the killing of cops by angry citizens as retribution that the Spirit of the Lord begins to cease dwelling among the people. They choose anger and vengeance over the Love of God and forgiveness. They do not understand that true peace only comes from Christ, not from getting even or ahead.

    Let’s hope this Christmas season that people can remember the true nature of Christ and His message.

  2. We oughtn’t forget to include the fact that purple lives matter. As well as pink and blue lives. And I think brown is sometimes used with respect to hispanics, as in the US News and World Report article in the 1980s regarding the browning of America. Such an offensive title, I thought at the time.

    The inchoate rage over the deaths of Michael Brown and others is based on a vast reserve of wrongs across the decades and centuries. That is a well of hurt that will take time to plumb and cleanse. But I do believe we can hope for a future where there is kindness and civility.

  3. Meg,

    I have and continue to appreciate your use of words. Assuming as I do that your use of “inchoate” intended the meanings associated with that word, can you develop your thought that the rage of the descendants of Africans who were sold into slavery and then kept in bondage for centuries, remains “inchoate.”

  4. I disagree that there is a “vast reserve” of wrongs that have somehow accumulated and are sitting in some kind of Eternal Cistern of Resentment. Most of the folks chanting “death to cops” were born after blacks had achieved full legal equality in the US. In other words, these folks by and large haven’t grown up with Jim Crow or having burning crosses planted in their front yards. Quite the contrary.

    In short, they have been programmed by certain folks in their cultural milieu who profit off of “inchoate rage”. But witness Dr. Ben Carson, black neurosurgeon who grew up in the grips of poverty with an illiterate single mother.

    The only thing I’ve ever agreed with Attorney General Eric Holder was when he stated back in 2009 that we are a “nation of cowards” with respect to race. I completely agree with him, although for opposite and contradictory reasons than the one he subscribes to.

    We *are* a nation of cowards. See here:

    This university president shared the same message that Joyce shared. Rage and anger forced her to apologize for stating a truth. Our society has totally and irredeemably jumped the shark.

  5. Michael,
    I have no pioneer forebears. However, I am moved, deeply, when I hear the stories of privation and sacrifice which laid the foundation for what I have and enjoy. I grew up hearing them and they are now my stories, my people. I must conclude it is possible to inculcate a feeling of ownership of the wrongs done to others to whom we are taught to hold and declare allegiance. I agree that much of the public foment to cling to rage is politically motivated; but there must be more happening at a basic level, and that without malice aforethought, in homes and churches to perpetuate the sense of injury and hopelessness that seems yet to abound.

  6. Joel Winter,

    I respect your opinion but I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at here. I just have a view that is informed by my profound belief in agency, and that people who are angry, hurt, or who proclaim perpetual victimhood status are choosing to do so when they continue to nurse those grievances for decades.

    For example, I could have spent the last decade stewing in my anger over the actions of an ex-wife. And indeed, for a time, I was a rather jaded and bitter dude. But you know, I decided one morning that the garbage of the past wasn’t going to chain my potentialities. Folks — whether they are black or white or whatever — all need to learn to let go and channel those frustrations in positive change in our communities. Instead, on those rare occasions when I do see a TV set to CNN, MSNBC, or Fox, I see crowds of angry people who are letting the puppet masters pull the strings. And those puppet masters are cackling all the way to the bank.

    The aforementioned Dr. Ben Carson chose a different route, and he’s about to run for president. He could have spent his entire life moaning and complaining about his childhood poverty and his illiterate mother, but he actually *chose* to let go of the anger and the victimhood. By doing so, he became a first rate pediatric neurosurgeon.

    The race hustlers and the resentment grievance-mongers are doing a lot of harm to the social weal.

  7. I watched the biopic on Ben Carson, “Gifted Hands” some years ago. If the story of his childhood in the movie is to be believed, his mother was adamant that he not be influenced by what I’ll call the “doctrine of the oppressed.” This doctrine is not just preached over the media pulpit. It is taught in the streets and what passes as home. We can observe all we want that they are generations removed from slavery. I drew the parallel to mormondom and myself because not only am I separated by generations but also by blood from the driven and persecuted saints. I recall an instance on my mission in Japan using the word “hakugai” (persecution) when talking with a potential investigator–and I wasn’t talking about the early saints–only to have my Japanese companion tell me how odd that sounds to him. I had to laugh and agree. I had never suffered persecution, but in my ignorance I did hold the notion that Mormons are still persecuted.

    I am not arguing that they are still systemically oppressed.

    The only point I’m trying to make is that there are many Americans of distant African descent, not blacks, who retain a perspective on every action and word directed toward them, that is, to borrow Meg’s term, “inchoate” but no less real, that reinforces their belief that they are still, inescapably, under the heel of the Man. And the Man’s enforcers are the police. All lives do matter. They just feel like their lives still don’t matter as much to “us.” Thus, they believe, the justification for their differentiation.

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