Suffering, philosophy of

(also see “The Atonement”, “Comfort” and “Hell”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Believing members are taught that suffering helps us develop empathyMormonism encourages us to mourn with those that mourn. Suffering also helps us to become more like God, as we suffer like Christ suffered. The believer has some peace when they suffer, because suffering due to the actions of another person will be made right in the end; God is able to offer judgement. The believer knows that, regardless of how we suffer in this life, all will be made right in the next world through the atonement of Christ. His comfort can be felt now.
Nonbelieving Mormons might agree with the Mormon doctrine that suffering helps us develop empathy, and agree it is good that Mormonism encourages us to mourn with those that mourn.
 
 
Cons of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Some believers suffer cognitive dissonance when they wonder why God allows suffering to occur that is not related to agency. Couldn’t we be tested without an abundance of natural disasters and medical illnesses? Is suffering really necessary to develop empathy? If it is, what level of suffering, exactly, is necessary? The believing member can sometimes experience increased suffering when they have trials because they can feel the painful depression of doubt and wonder why the loving God they believe in is allowing them to suffer.
The nonbeliever might worry that Mormonism encourages people to minimize, trivialize, or explain away the suffering of others. When somebody loses a child or gets sick it can be offensive for a nonbeliever (or even a believer) to hear a believer say that that this was somehow what God wanted. Nonbelievers frequently do not want to hear others explain why their suffering occurred or to justify it; rather, most people seem to only want others to mourn with them. Mormonism encourages people to mourn with those that mourn, but the cognitive dissonance involved in a benevolent God allowing seemingly needless suffering can reduce the ability of believers to empathize.
 
The nonbeliever might also worry that Mormonism encourages people to procrastinate helping people and reducing suffering in this life. Mormonism provides a safety net of God making things right in the next life, which minimizes the importance of acting now to reduce suffering now. The nonbeliever can be concerned that Mormons are more concerned about teaching people the gospel than alleviating suffering.

 

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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