Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: 'Through cloud and sunshine, Lord'’

Return to article »

Published: Thursday, June 19 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Buena Vista, VA

We had a similar experience with our newborn daughter 4 years ago. I am so sorry for this loss, Dr. Peterson. We likewise experienced special spiritual feelings during our grief.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

So sorry to hear of your heartbreaking loss. God bless.

Weber State Graduate
Clearfield, UT

The loss of a child is perhaps the most emotionally devastating experience a parent can ever have. Children are the essence of innocence...let's hope they all have a chance to grow up as healthy, vibrant, happy, and responsible adults.

Tooele, UT

Dr. Peterson, my heart is touched deeply by the events you have so beutfully and touchingly written for us. My heart goes out to you and your family. Would that I could do something. Thank you for sharing such a personal event. It has generated deep feelings of love for you and your family, none of whom I know. It also has generated a throbing hope in my soul that the tomb really was left empty. I know that the little, but no less sacred spot of ground into which the earthly remains of your precious granddaughter will be placed, will likewise be left empty. "Sunday will come."

The Scientist
Provo, UT

The loss of our infant daughter tested my LDS wife's faith more than anything else she has encountered. She was handling it quite well until Church the Sunday following the burial of our little one.

People stood up and "testified" that god loved them and, as proof of god's love, he saved their infant from death. Others testified that, although they lost a child (or loved one), they were blessed with "spiritual experiences" and "blessings" of various kinds.

The hurtful implication for my wife was that god did not love her (us) enough to provide the miracles that others experienced. Or that god found her (us) too unworthy to qualify for a spiritual experience or blessing.

It is still a very touchy subject for her to this day.

Salt Lake City, UT

Sometimes we see things more clearly through the tears in our eyes and sense life more acutely through our aching hearts.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better. Negative energy can not effect my mind, body or spirit. I have a friend in Jesus and I accept life, the way to the wisdom and the truth. I will protect my liberty and I will pursue happiness. But by the Grace of God go I. I'm more than enough.

These are my words I say to my self over and over to reprogram my mind to move. The world will keep going. you have to keep moving.


Thank you for your inspiring article, and my condolences to your family.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

“Mortality offers happiness and sweet satisfactions, but also deep disappointments, intimidating obstacles and — sometimes — almost unbearable sorrows that pierce like a knife.”

Here, and in the subsequent T.S. Eliot quote, Dr. Peterson touches on the underlying motivation for all religions – fear of death.

We can either come to terms with this fact – as many secular people and even some religions (e.g., Buddhism) have – and not let it keep us from leading happy, fulfilling lives, or we can continue the strategy of our infantile ancestors of making up comforting stories about gods, deities, afterlife etc. and “desperately want it to be true.”

I prefer the real world over the Matrix-like fiction of mythic religion…

Lexington, KY

Dr. Peterson,

I have been reading your column for several years and have never made a comment until now. First, I want to say many, many thanks for all of the energy and time you give to write these regular columns, which have given substantial spiritual nourishment to my soul countless times, and have also been appreciated by many of my friends and family with whom I've shared them over the years. My heart aches for the loss that you and your family have experienced over these past few days. There are no words by mortals sufficient to fill the hole in the heart created by the loss of a loved one. Over the coming days and weeks, may you and your dear family feel with great power the strength of the Savior's words, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."

All my best,
Cheryl M.

1.96 Standard Deviations

Tyler D:

It is the exact opposite. Mortal life has much more meaning when one knows that Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. A resurrected Christ means life is not over when we are dead. I also don't fear death since I am prepared to meet God when I die. I have repented of my sins, been baptized and am striving to endure to the end of my mortal life being faithful to Christ's gospel.

I look forward to my own resurrection, and also the day when I am brought before God for the final judgement. The gospel gives me confidence that I will be held guiltless and forgiven at that time, and then I may enjoy eternal life in God's presence together with my family.

1.96 Standard Deviations

Tyler D:

It is quite a bold thing to declare life ceases to exist with mortal death considering the massive amount of witnesses there are of a resurrected Jesus Christ. Consider some modern-day witnesses of a resurrected Jesus Christ.

1) "I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra."

-HENRY B. EYRING, April 2013 General Conference, “Come unto Me”

2) "Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon recorded the following after a sacred experience: 'And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him' ...

Their words are my words."

-BOYD K. PACKER, April 2014 General Conference, "The Witness"

How can you disregard such witnesses?

Phoenix, AZ

Death comes to us all. Sorrow shapes our hopes and wishes but it can not alter the inevibility of the reality of truth and the grace of mans search and understanding of accepting truth and reality.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@1.96 Standard Deviations – “How can you disregard such witnesses?”

Quite easily actually…

Regarding ancient history there are numerous stories of people being raised from the dead (e.g., Apollonius of Tyana, Cleomedes, Glycon, Asclepius, etc…) and for those living at that time it would have been unusually to NOT believe in this (given the widespread belief that the dead ascended to the clouds… why wouldn’t some come back?).

Also, the gospels were written decades after the events when the proselytizing mission was in full force, so I hardly consider them solid evidence.

As to modern visions, these are also ubiquitous in world religions. In fact you can go to India today and hear accounts of Biblical-type miracles and god-men walking among them.

The better question then is “why don’t any of these stories inspire similar feelings of religious awe and devotion in you (yet they do for millions of others)?”

I do not fear death either which likely baffles you, but it should make you wonder why.

PS – I apologize if the timing of my comments were in poor taste (was not aware of a personal tragedy here).

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Dr. Peterson,

May God bless you and your family at this difficult time.


Bro Peterson,
I am so sorry about the loss for your family and our friends. Your son and daughter-in-law are in our hearts and prayers. We will do everything we can to love and serve themmin a way that is helpful to them.

Lewisville, TX

We will sorrow for losses, even knowing the end will be glorious. This is especially true when losing a baby.

Orem, UT

Tyler D.: With all due respect, the last sentence of your comment above suggests that you respond to Dr. Peterson's columns without reading them -- or at least that you did so in this particular case.

But that's not why I'm writing. There was a note from Professor Peterson on his Facebook page last night indicating that he's going to be looking at the historical evidence for Christ's resurrection -- the specific topic that you raise above -- at BYU Education Week in August. I thought that maybe you or somebody else here might be interested in that.

layton, UT

RE: Tyler D. The primary reason why we can reject the idea that Christianity borrowed from ancient mystery religions is that the parallels simply are not there. There is always some borrowing from the culture of the day for various reasons, but when it comes to the key doctrines of Christianity–especially the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ—the so-called parallels are not very striking.

CS Lewis likened these pagan resurrection myths as God giving “good dreams” to the world. A sign pointing forward to the myth become fact. In his view even the pagan religions point to Christ.

Philostratus is the source for of Apollonius where the Bible is multi-sourced. In other words, we have different writers writing about Jesus. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, etc.

@Belief: But can unborn babies believe? Not by themselves, just like you and me. It takes a work of the Holy Spirit to make that happen. ( II Samuel 12:23) Suggests He might, “now that he is dead,… I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (I Cor 7:14) Suggests He might and John leaping in the womb at the presence of Christ (Luke 1:41)

Denver, Colorado

We never truly know what we believe and what we will hold to no matter what, until we go through something like this--as Joseph Smith said, "That pulls our very heartstrings".God bless you and your family, Bro. Peterson.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments