Evil, the problem of

(also see “Miracles” and “Prayers”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Mormonism explains the timeless problem of evil. Believers know that God is not the author of evil; all that is good is of God, all that is evil is of the devil. Opposition in all things exists in nature; it does not come from God or Jesus. Eliminating this opposition and agency was Satan’s plan. Evil in the world actually serves to explain God’s great plan of Salvation and help us understand his plan for us. We were given our agency and the earth is our chance to suffer and grow and choose to become like God in all of our tribulations.
 
Believing Mormons not only understand why evil exists, but they have the answer to it as well. Indeed, the problem of evil is completely resolved in the atonement. Christ suffered the pains of all men and knows how to succor us in the flesh. The gospel provides hope to overcome evil, comfort, and knowledge that all evil men will be brought to justice. In the end right will prevail and evil will fail. God has our best interest at heart, and even if we don’t understand everything we have faith that it will work out in the end.
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Cons of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
The faithful, believing Mormon who suffers the effects of evil and does not feel succored might start to doubt and feel unworthy. Instead of the gospel being a comfort amidst the evils of the world, the gospel in this instance can make suffering worse.
For some nonbelievers, the problem of evil makes the Mormon God become a being not worthy of emulation. If God is all knowing and all powerful (or extremely knowledgeable and extremely powerful), why does he permit an extreme level of suffering? For those that experience extreme suffering because of the actions of another, it’s a tough sell that this suffering was necessary to preserve the evil person’s agency. How can the victims of war, rape, and abuse be told that their suffering was necessary because God had to let evil people make bad choices? Why does God allow evil people to hurt some people but not other people? Why is agency respected in some situations, causing terrible grief and sorrow to innocent victims, but in other situations God chooses to intervene?
 
The nonbeliever might especially struggle with instances of suffering that do not involve agency. Why does God allow natural disasters in one instance but thwart them in another? Why does he allow children to starve in one instance but not in another? Why is he so selective in allowing childhood cancer, birth defects, tsunamis, and so forth?
 
The nonbeliever might see a God that allows such a terrible world to exist as evil. Many nonbelievers would feel extreme discomfort going to church and hearing other people praise God’s name for the trivial blessings they receive. When one is aware of the severe evil and suffering that exist in the world, it becomes unbearable to hear about the mundane things in testimony meeting attributed to God’s loving care.

 

Comments relating to your lived experience with Mormonism are welcome. Although it can be difficult to distinguish at times, please focus on how the church helps and harms rather than it being true vs untrue.

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