The next day, Sunday, was a somber time in the ward. I'm told that the bishop spoke and C.J.'s parents visited the various auxiliary organizations to offer comfort and solace, to acknowledge the grief and outpouring of love they and others felt. The funeral was the next Saturday. The building was filled to capacity. The message centered on the plan of salvation and on comfort, hope and healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The great Christian activist Josephine Butler lost her 5-year-old daughter when she toppled over a third-story banister to a stone floor below. The family’s grief was palpable. Josephine turned to God in prayer and came to realize, “Do the words ‘accident’ or ‘chance’ properly find a place in the vocabulary of those who have placed themselves, and those dear to them, in a special manner under the daily providential care of a loving God? There entered into the heart of our grief the intellectual difficulty, the moral perplexity and dismay that dark passage through which some toil only to emerge into a hopeless and final denial of (God), the complete bankruptcy of faith; and others, by the mercy of God, through a still deeper experience, into a yet firmer trust in his unfailing love.”
As wrenching as that experience was, Josephine’s loved ones wrapped their arms around her, and through prayer she drew closer to God. She came to understand that she and her beloved daughter were under God’s watchful care, as is C.J. Udall’s family.
The gospel of Jesus Christ provides us innumerable blessings. Ward families and the support they can, and must, provide one another is one of those great blessings.
Kristine Frederickson writes on issue-oriented topics that affect members of the LDS Church worldwide in her column “LDS World." She teaches parttime at BYU. Her views do not necessarily represent those of BYU.
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