Comments about ‘A nail in the heart drives home a lesson on faith and prayer’

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Published: Thursday, July 25 2013 10:30 p.m. MDT

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American Fork, UT

Faith? Prayer? Skill? Luck? Fate? This situation could validate any of them, and more. I do not claim to know by what means this lad survived his ordeal. I don't permit myself to claim what I cannot know. But I do ask why any intervention capable of preventing his death from the accident didn't prevent the accident itself.

Tooele, UT

Re: "I don't permit myself to claim what I cannot know."

Neither does the Tullis family.

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

@ Hutt
Ah, the problem of evil. We've seen in the last week two different outcomes for two different missionaries. We cannot know why in this life, only speculate.
In the mix are intangibles like faith, prayer, agency (of the victim and those around him), the will of God.
Greater thinkers than you and I have grappled with this issue since humans first walked the earth.
For myself, I am convinced that God doesn't run the lawnmowers for us, nor does He sweep for nails. But I believe he does answer prayers. The boy had excellent medical care from the moment it happened.
He was lucky/blessed/fortunate.
I'll meet you on the other side to talk about it.


"He heared the lawn mower give a soft purr that grew to a mild roar."

He heared it....

Only in Utah.

Universal Truth
Salt Lake City, UT

I have been through some extraordinarily trying circumstances, some based on my own deficiencies. I have a brother for whom one could say the same thing. We have chosen to respond differently; I have viewed my trials as a wakeup call; he has given up. Tellingly, he has not been content to let things go, but instead has taken every opportunity to prove that what he once believed was instead untrue. It is a pattern we have seen with early members of the Church that turned their backs on it, and it is a pattern that we continue to see today through various media. This should be a big red flag, but the ability to see it requires humility. And of course, if humility were there in the first place, my brother and others like him would have allowed themselves to see the positive along with the negative. In so doing, they would instead have been able to continue to grow "line upon line, precept upon precept" until their experiences had become sufficient to change faith into knowledge.

sandy, ut

Say No to BO

So do you really believe that god wouldn't have blessed him if people wouldn't have prayed for him?? That makes little sense. Why would god make the fate of ones life rest in the hands of other people? Surely people have survived horrific things without prayer, and people who have been prayed upon die. So what do the prayers actually do? I have a hard time believing that god would let somebody suffer more for not praying, or make them suffer less just because they prayed.

Aberdeen, ID

I am not sure that the outcome was changed because of the prayers that were offered. However I do believe that the comfort and the peace that they received was because of the prayers. Prayer is an act of aligning our will to God's will not the other way around.

West Jordan, UT


I believe that is something our mortal minds cannot connect with and understand. I believe prayer is a way to show our faith and belief that God can perform miracles in our life. "For if there be no faith among the children of men, God can do no miracle among them;"

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

Prayer brings the will of God in alignment with the will of the supplicant.
Those who prayed for the boy were obviously sincere. Most of our prayers are not.
C S Lewis wrote an interesting essay on Petitionary Prayer, revealing his ignorance in the matter. There's a fair amount of misunderstanding all around when it comes to placing orders with God.

sandy, ut

Say No to BO

that in no way answers the questions I asked you. Essentially you are saying that what would happen would happen anyway, but pray to help what was already going to happen anyway to still happen. Does that kind of logic make any sense?


It's the latest fashion around here to throw out the term "tender mercies" when what is really meant is "coincidences". I'm frankly quite surprised no one has used it yet in response to this story. Oh well, the day's not over.


Theistic folks in general believe god is an all-knowing being; he already knows precisely what is going to happen to each of us in every instant. And yet, these same people pray to god believing that if they have sufficient faith, they can change his all-knowing mind, and the more friends they can recruit to offer up additional prayers, the better their chances. It seems so clearly contradictory, I think I must somehow misunderstand the whole idea. I suspect Abe survived because his father and others had sufficient medical training to know to do the right things to optimize Abe's odds of survival. It's difficult to envision a god who would have let Abe die because he was one prayer short, especially since he supposedly knew the outcome from the beginning. And as Hutterite points out, why would any intervention capable of preventing his death from the accident not prevent the accident itself?

moniker lewinsky
Taylorsville, UT

Are people to whom bad things happen unimportant? Are people who aren't spared less loved? I'm happy that all turned out well, but we should remember not to insult people who have to go through horrible, merciless, brutal trials in life.
I'm an atheist. Based on the year I've had, if I weren't an atheist, I'd conclude that God hates me. I'd rather be an atheist, frankly.

moniker lewinsky
Taylorsville, UT

Universal Truth: (no irony in that moniker)
I don't think you have the right to judge your brother, nor do you have the right to judge early members of "the church" with whom you have never even spoken. I understand that when one attends church, they are given generalized, "universal truth" explanations for why a person might leave. There are typically about three of them: Apathy. Sin. Misunderstanding. Nevertheless, there are likely stories you haven't heard and things you haven't considered. Even if you are a very smart person. People get through things differently and you simply don't know enough to adequately judge a person's heart or their decisions. I would suggest that you spend less time trying to make assumptions about people who have come to different conclusions about life and more time trying to help your brother, in a nonjudgmental way, overcome his problems. Not necessarily what you perceive to be "spiritual" problems. There might be other ways you can help that don't involve judgment or a lecture. Maybe what he needs is different from what you need. Maybe for him, peace will come in a different package.

lehi, ut

What I don't understand is all the hate on this column. If you don't believe in God who cares that these parents attribute the survival, and well being of their son on divine intervention. Them believing that does not hurt you, or infringe on you in any way! Can't we all just be happy that the boy is ok? Or is it necessary to ridicule what others sincerely believe?

Mapleton, UT

I'm surprised...no, actually shocked by the comments posted about this story. Regardless of what you believe, this is an amazing story. I, for one, am so glad that he is ok. I can see the love this family has for each other. Maybe a kind word and empathy for what this family has gone through would be more appropriate for such a story. Hopefully none of us will have to experience something like this. It's always easy to judge others when we are not in their position. I wish health and happiness for this family :)

moniker lewinsky
Taylorsville, UT

If it is not okay to ridicule a person for what they believe, then it should go to reason that it is unacceptable to ridicule them for what they choose not to believe. This was my point in my response to "universal truth".
I am happy that the boy survived. But if you want to talk about humility (as universal truth did), then I believe it's not humble to assume that God (if you believe in God) decided to show mercy to somebody because of how special they are or their faith or the love shown to them by others. Such thinking is, in my opinion, prideful- the opposite of humble. Of course, I've also heard it said a time or two that if a person is not spared, it is because were so special that God needed them on the other side. I'm no expert on faith. But it seems that the explanation is being tailored to fit the scenario.
In any case, losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to somebody. Ask anybody whose child is not spared.

Joe Bauman
Salt Lake City, UT

I attempted to file a comment critical of the Deseret News' journalistic judgement for turning a story about a simple accident into a faith-promoting homily. It was rejected on the ground that I indulged in "personal attack," yet no individual was attacked in my comment. I have posted both the comment and the rejection on Facebook, in hopes that a wider audience will see the paper's true tactics in what it calls "a civil dialogue among its readers." Now to see if the Deseret News has the courage to even post this.

moniker lewinsky
Taylorsville, UT

Joe, it happens to me ALL. THE. TIME. I would love to take a day and read all those reader comnents that go into a black hole. I may be a bit snarky, but I think it's in an endearing way. I can't be the only one. Somebody should put together a website of denied comments. Lol.

Medical Lake, Washington

It is good to hear stories like this.

From what I have learned of prayer -- it is often an exercise in learning to better understand the will of God. I have ached and yearned and prayed for good outcomes. Some times those outcomes were not as I had prayed for. Yet, during the efforts, I came to understand more fully that the Lord was present and aware of my pain; as well as the needs of the person I was praying for. My prayers may not have changed the outcome, but they helped to change me. I have come to understand better that prayer is not futile, it is a blessing. I know that God hears and answers my prayers -- because the answer was not always what I wanted, does not mean there was no answer. To the contrary, I have learned through prayer to better understand the concepts of eternity and to focus more on that.

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