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Jeff Benedict: Witnessing grief and compassion in Newtown

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  • TheDuke Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
    Dec. 27, 2012 6:24 p.m.

    I heard him talk on Saturday night after the shooting. I was preparing a talk for my Teachers Quorum for Sunday morning. The talk was on "spiritual Gifts" and I used a quote from Robbie Parker and talked about his gift for forgiveness. “As we move on from what happened here, what happened to so many people, let it not turn into something that divides us, but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble people.” I thought to myself wow what an example of God's grace and I bet he is LDS. When I gave the talk a member of our Bishopric commented that he was actually LDS.

    I have prayed for all the families and friends of the victims and all others affected. I know those children are being cared for on the other side. Such a tragedy.

  • VA Saint Chester, VA
    Dec. 19, 2012 9:20 p.m.

    Such a beautiful story, thanks for it. My prayers are with the Parker family, and with President Checketts, who helps watch over and care for the members of his stake.

  • chatchett Greenfield, NH
    Dec. 19, 2012 8:40 p.m.

    We were in Utah for our son's wedding when this tragedy occured. Over the next few days we followed and grieved with the nation over it. When we heard the remarks by Br. Parker on the national news, we forgot for a moment that this was not a local report from Utah, because it was easy to recognize from his language that this was a devoted member of the Church.

    I don't think it was ever mentioned that this was the case during the original or subsequent commentary. That may have been the family's preference, which I certainly respect, but I can't help wishing this point could have been made to show what faithful "Mormons" really can be like rather than the false view the media so often pushes before the public.

    I couldn't help thinking how often they did mention that a murder committed near our home was partly the work of a young LDS man. What a sad contrast and error to emphasis that against this amazing family.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 5:49 p.m.

    Amen to all of the above. Inspirational article. Thanks Jeff Benedict! It's wonderful to see the Gospel in action in the face of tragedy.

    God bless all those who mourn that they might be comforted.

  • Gina Johnson Gilbert, AZ
    Dec. 19, 2012 5:30 p.m.

    Small world. Dave Checketts is the brother of one of the most spiritual and kind people I know. It does not surprise me that he would be so thoughtful and got to help this dear family. It makes me cry, for Emilie, for her parents, Robbie and Alyssa Parker and their other children. Ironically we saw him on TV and though we knew nothing about him, my husband commented that the way he carried himself made him think he was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints. We love you dear Parker family. We love all those families who lost a loved one. And my heart even goes out to the man who took these innocent lives. He was so troubled. May God bless all of those involved. Love, David's Mom

  • AndrewP Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 11:58 a.m.

    Thank you for this piece. It helps keep it all in perspective. I love the quote:

    "What happened in Newtown is unthinkable," Checketts said. "But little children are alive in Christ. Though the nature of the crime is the essence of evil, our faith tells us that these children burst into the presence of God and are safe in his arms."

    Those innocent children are in the loving arms of God. Still, my heart aches and I continue to pray for the grieving families. I look forward to the glorious reunion that will come in heaven one day.

  • StateTheFacts SAlt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    Amen to the kind and endearing emotions and compassion described in this article. God bless the memory of each child and adult taken in this senseless crime. We add our prayers and faith to the families. May the tender mercies of our God embrace them and may we, through our everyday actions embrace goodness and kindness to those we encounter. Let us act with forbearance and rise above the ugliness and even pettiness of evil—let our actions honor and respect those affected.

  • justice4children Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 8:34 a.m.

    What an absolutely beautiful story, Jeff. Would that more of the world be so fortunate to have the inner strength that that young father did on Christmas Eve so very long ago. I pray that many were inspired by this story. I can't even imagine how this compares to the horrific tragedy in Conn.......both events have touched many hearts for a long time to come. God Bless!

  • sixdays24 Provo, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 8:06 a.m.

    Well written. Thanks to those who have inspired us, Mr. Benedict, President David Checketts, the funeral director, and Robbie Parker. Bless them all!

  • awsomeron1 Oahu, HI
    Dec. 19, 2012 1:27 a.m.

    I think if my kids where young in this day and age. I would seriously consider Home Schooling.

  • awsomeron1 Oahu, HI
    Dec. 19, 2012 1:23 a.m.

    We did not cause them the greatest grief. We where at war and did what we had to do to win the War and save the further loss of American Lives. It was perhaps not these peoples fault that we where at war. That said they where where the War was at.

  • WayneDe MONROVIA, CA
    Dec. 18, 2012 9:07 p.m.

    A touching account of reactions to tragedy. My heart also goes out to the Lanza family who have lost loved ones and are trying to fathom how one of their family members could do such an evil act.

  • lindasdf Columbus, OH
    Dec. 18, 2012 7:52 p.m.

    I live in Ohio, which has a large Amish population. I can't help but remember when a man came into an Amish school of little girls, and killed about six of them before taking his own life. The Amish people involved showed up at the man's funeral, in large numbers, to tell his family that they forgave him, and held no ill will against his family, and wanted to mourn with them, as they had lost a child the same as the Amish people did.
    Oh, that we could ALL be so forgiving!
    God bless all the surviving family members, on both sides.

  • johnwalker USA, TX
    Dec. 18, 2012 7:44 p.m.

    During such a time of tragedy for these families, what an inspirational article about all of those personally impacted by this senseless act of violence. While away from my family on business, it brought tears to my eyes.

  • Kay B. Harmon Salinas, CA
    Dec. 18, 2012 7:05 p.m.

    It is so difficult for me to even imagine what these families are suffering... I find comfort in reading 3 Nephi Chapter 17, verses 21--24. I pray that the families of these sweet children as well as the teachers may be comforted by these words...

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 6:58 p.m.

    The face of Mr. Parker trying to suppress his tears is heart wrenching. But some pictures showed Emily's mom. Her face was twisted with incomprehensible suffering and pain. I have never seen the face of such deep, soul wracking grief as was in her face. My heart breaks for her and her family. This is an excellent story which gives us a deep insight on the faith and spiritual depth of the Parker family. May our Father in Heaven shower them with His Spirit and give them the faith and courage that they will so need in the coming months and years to come. May they have peace. Our prayers and love go out to them.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Dec. 18, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    I appreciate Pres. Checkett's remarks about the families and even the community. He spoke with such empathy to our congregation and truly shared the grief of all. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Parker family and all others who suffered loss. Robbie has been such an inspiration to us all.

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 4:41 p.m.

    May God bless the funeral director for his kindness to the family. And may God bless and comfort all who are affected by this awful event.

    Thanks for a moving story.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Dec. 18, 2012 4:31 p.m.

    Sometimes a horrible tragedy can help us to discover the best in ourselves and best in others. Thank you for this beautiful account of how people responded to this sad event.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 4:03 p.m.

    This begins a time of healing. thank you!

  • cerana Littleton, CO
    Dec. 18, 2012 2:36 p.m.

    Crying silently here in my little office...it hurts.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    Dec. 18, 2012 2:09 p.m.

    Too often the comments on this site are filled with pettiness about whose team is better or whose beliefs are in error. Shortly after the Newtown tragedy, someone even posted a criticism of Robbie Parker for being the first one to "cash in" on the tragedy. Obviously, that person had no knowledge of the circumstances of Mr. Parker's remarks.

    Thanks, Mr. Benedict, for these insights into the situation and the unwritten challenge to all that we need to apply the principles Lincoln expressed and put aside all of the vitriol and bitterness. That would be a good gift to all at this time, whatever one's political, religious or school affiliation might be.

  • Clint2 Lake Worth, FL
    Dec. 18, 2012 1:50 p.m.

    What a great story, the Lord will Bless this family eternally. President Checketts is a great example of what a true Christian. The funeral director is a great and loving person that is an example to all. Story brought me to tears.