Aug 6, 2009

The Euthanasia Debate Hits Close To Home

Yesterday I found out that my grandfather is dying.

We were prepared for this, as he is in his late 80's and had recently stopped eating and experiencing symptoms which indicated something very serious. The diagnosis is now official: prostate cancer that has mestastasized to the bones.

As the doctor told my grandmother, there are difficult months ahead. I know this all too well, working in elderly care myself and sometimes having tended to patients in the last days of their lives. Some go relatively quickly and peacefully, while others have to endure a long, difficult battle.

I was thinking last night about a great conversation we had on Mormon Heretic's blog a while back about euthanasia where we discussed at length the situations of terminal patients, among those Chantal Sébire, the French woman who fought for the right to assisted suicide. Nothing has really changed in my opinion on the matter since then.

Yesterday, before I got the news about my grandfather, the subject of euthanasia was already weighing heavily on my mind because of a foster cat I have been taken care of who has kidney failure. I talked to my vet and now it's just a matter of keeping her happy and comfortable for as long as we can. Once I can tell she is suffering, I know what I have to do. With previous pets, I had made the mistake of prolonging their suffering and it's something that I regret.

Euthanasia is a very difficult, sensitive subject. When I think about how adamant I am about preserving animal and human life and how I've often fought for it -- everything from rescuing unwanted animals from being killed and protesting against the meat industry, to opposing the death penalty even for convicted criminals and encouraging adoption over abortion -- it seems kind of ironic that I'd want people to be able to end their lives with assistance.

The Church's official stance on euthanasia is as follows:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life, and is therefore opposed to euthanasia. Euthanasia is defined as deliberately putting to death a person who is suffering from an incurable condition or disease. Such a deliberate act ends life immediately through, for example, so-called assisted suicide. Ending a life in such a manner is a violation of the commandments of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not believe that allowing a person to die from natural causes by removing a patient from artificial means of life support, as in the case of a long-term illness, falls within the definition of euthanasia. When dying from such an illness or an accident becomes inevitable, it should be seen as a blessing and a purposeful part of eternal existence. Members should not feel obligated to extend mortal life by means that are unreasonable. These judgments are best made by family members after receiving wise and competent medical advice and seeking divine guidance through fasting and prayer."

I find it interesting that in regards to people suffering from a painful, terminal illness, "(e)uthanasia is defined as deliberately putting to death a person who is suffering from an incurable condition or disease" and the Church is opposed to it. And yet, when it comes to abortion, the Church states that it is acceptable when "(a) competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth."

Why is it OK to actively end the life of the baby, but not the terminally-ill cancer patient, when there is no hope of either of them surviving? Why is the baby not obligated to live for as long as it survives and endure a natural death like the cancer patient?

The common argument I hear from those who are opposed to euthanasia is that it's up to God to give and take life. But is it really all His doing? In the creation of life, God has empowered us human beings to decide together with Him (hopefully wisely) when a spirit should be sent to them in the form of a new life. Could it be that God has empowered us to make such decisions at the end stage of life as well?

God sees the sparrow fall, but is it He who causes it to fall? We know that God doesn't always intervene and gives us free agency to do good or inflict evil upon others. Does God purposely inflict us with diseases like cancer? Most would say no. So does He really want people to suffer horribly and, sometimes, seemingly endlessly when it doesn't have to be that way?

I outlined my view on how I think a euthanasia law should be on Mormon Heretic's thread, but wish to include it here:

1.) There would be a law allowing only for patients deemed terminally ill by at least two medical professionals to have access to the cocktail of meds that would allow the person to end his/her life peacefully and as pain-free as possible on his/her terms. I think it’s important to specify that it shouldn’t just be available to people in horrible pain because some terminal illnesses result in a slow death that may not cause horrible pain per se, but perhaps cause horrible symptoms like suffocation. It would be understandable that some would want to end their lives before they get to the later stage of their illness.

2.) If possible, the patient should administer the fatal dose his or herself. If the patient is unable to do so and yet able to state clearly his/her wishes, then a willing doctor or family member can administer it in the presence of medical witnesses, “willing” being a key word because some people would have a moral problem with being the one to administer the fatal dose, which should be respected.

3.) The part I’m not sure about is whether doctors and/or family members should have the authority to decide for a mentally incapacitated person (i.e. Alzheimer’s patient) that a fatal dose should be administered. Perhaps it should only be allowed if the patient had stated on record his/her wishes in such an event while he/she was still mentally sound enough to make that decision. Sort of like what people do now with “Do Not Rescucitate” orders.

I just can't help but find it ironic that most rational people will agree that animals -- the creatures that mankind has abused, exploited, neglected, and devalued all throughout history -- are entitled to a humane death, either through euthanization or (supposedly) humane slaughterhouse laws (which we all know are frequently abused and broken), whereas human beings that are in a hopeless, painful situation with no end in sight, are not permitted to exit this life as gracefully and compassionately as possible.

If we were never ever given the right to intervene in matters of life and death, one would think that Mormons would mostly be pacifists (they are not), opposed to capital punishment (they are not), opposed to abortion in all cases (they are not) and vegetarians (they are not). Why, then, are we opposed to giving someone the opportunity to end his or her life peacefully at the time when it seems to make the most sense?

I don't know what lies ahead for my grandfather. I hope that it won't be a long battle and that he will go home to the Lord without having to suffer much pain. But as I thought about him last night, I couldn't help but think how comforting it would be to anyone in that situation to know that they would have the option to go peacefully, surrounded by their loved ones, when they feel the time is right.

My grandmother reads my blog, so please show a little compassion and consideration in your comments. Also remember that it's easy to say what you would do until you're in such a situation yourself.


Urban Koda said...

I think that perhaps as it is with many sensitive issues, when you know someone who might be effected by a specific law, very often your perspective on the law changes as well.

I couldn't agree with your points more, and offer my condolences to your grandmother, and to you and your entire family.

Alice said...

When my grandmother was dying, she was given morphine so she wouldn't be in pain. There was some (minor) discussion about how much morphine would end her life. Thankfully she didn't linger for more than a few days.

I do have to say, though I'm sure they were not pleasant for her (although I question how much she really was with us and how much she was with those waiting for her), that I will cherish every second I sat with her holding her hand, talking to her, and the last time I saw her, as I got up to leave, I kissed her forehead, and her face fluttered a smile.

There are no easy answers.

Frank Lee Scarlet said...

I agree with Alice that there really isn't a single easy answer here, and with U. Koda that feelings on a law may well change when it affects you or yours. God bless you, your grandmother, and your family at this time.

As a legal issue, I feel people should have the choice to do something if it doesn't harm others (some might argue that euthanasia would be emotionally harmful to loved ones, but so might prolongued suffering). As a moral issue, I think that agency is one of God's greatest gifts to us, and we are to employ it in matters of life and death (as with procreation, as you pointed out). Either way I agree with the points you make, especially about the double-standard with abortion and other policies.


The Faithful Dissident said...

I know what you mean, Alice. If it were me personally, I'm not sure I would want to miss out on even a day. Neither am I sure I would have the courage to take my life. But when the pain becomes unbearable, I suppose one feels differently, and so I think it's the humane thing to do to at least have it as an available option for those who can benefit from it.

Alice said...

I don't feel like it's my place to make choices like that for others, but I do wonder at what point is a life in enough pain to warrant legally ending it?

Does emotional pain count?

People can commit suicide so what is the purpose of laws against assisted suicide anyway?

The Faithful Dissident said...

No, I wouldn't favour assisted suicide for mental illness. I think that's a much too dangerous road to tread. I'm only in favour of it for terminally ill patients of a sound mind. Mental illness, although terrible and not always curable, is usually treatable.

It's true that people can commit suicide anytime they want, but not with legally-obtained barbituates, in a controlled setting with medical officials present who know how to best administer them. It's different than being driven to consider more painful, "ugly" methods of suicide, which can also be much more traumatic for the family. I think that's the choice that people like Chantal Sébire and Dr. Kevorkian fought for.

As to how much pain is enough and when it's OK, I suppose that would be up to the patient to decide together with medical professionals. Once again, I only support this in the case of terminal illness with no hope of recovery, and particularly those which are slow and painful.

Urban Koda said...

I think each case would be different, which would make trying to legislate such a decision incredibly difficult.

I think you definitely need input from at least 2 medical professionals, and that the person themselves needs to be involved.

From the limited experience I've had with terminal patients, it almost seems as though each has reached a point when they felt it was over. I would think at that point, the decision would be easy to make. It would allow your loved ones to say good bye and allow the person to slip away peacefully and with dignity.

Alice said...

I'm just wondering why there are laws against assisted suicide in the first place. Is it to protect patients? Some kind of moral law?

It seems like it should be a decision between the person, their family, and their doctor.

Anonymous said...


God bless. All I can suggest is that you be sure that your Grandfather does not hide pain from you, your family, or the staff in order to not be a burden.

You have professional training, and that will be a gift. You also will have personal feelings that may or may not feel like a gift.

The deaths of both my parents were experiences of release and joy in assurance that they had gone home. I hope and pray that will be the experience for your grandmother and the rest of your family.

Bruce in Montana said...

My condolences to your and your family.
I was my Mom's hospice provider and it was both tragic and beautiful at the same time. (liver cancer)
We were given an oral morphine for her and allowed to administer it at will...keeping her out of pain.
I totally agree with your assessments of the Church's stance on the issue.
It's probably time that those views were reconsidered.
All the best to your and yours during this temporary separation from you grandfather.

Carol Brown said...

My aunt was revived by paramedics after she suffered a heart attack when she was 90 years old. After 3 unbearably painful years, she decided to quit eating and drinking and died after several horribly difficult weeks.

I have great compassion for those who are terminally ill. Both of my parents died--my father of cancer, my mother of congestive heart failure at 93. I know how difficult end of life issues can be.

I believe we show more compassion to dying animals than we do to many dying people. I believe that if life became unbearably painful and if I am terminally ill, I would consider euthanaia. I have watched enough people suffer so horrifically when they are dying--even with the best of hospice care--that I can't imagine a loving God would want His precious child to suffer so.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Thanks, everyone, for all your comments so far.

Alice, to answer your question:

"I'm just wondering why there are laws against assisted suicide in the first place. Is it to protect patients? Some kind of moral law?"

I'm not exactly sure, but I think it's a combination of several things:

1) The medical Hippocratic oath ("do no harm"), which some would see as being in conflict with active euthanasia.

2) As well, I'm sure that religion plays a big role. For example, the Catholic Church is staunchly opposed to euthanasia, although I find its stance more consistent than the LDS Church because it doesn't even allow abortion under the exceptions that LDS does. (FYI, my personal abortion stance is in line with LDS.)

3) I think that people recognize what a huge power and responsibility it carries and they fear that it will be abused and people will be put to death against their will. It certainly could be, if it were not strictly regulated.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Fire Tag, I'm a long way from home, so I know it's unlikely I will see my grandpa again in this life. But if I feel that I am really needed, I will try to make the necessary arrangements to make the trip home. Above all, I just want him to be comfortable and at peace.

Alice said...

I had forgotten about the Hippocratic oath, but your other two reasons were kind of what I was thinking.

The idea of euthanasia makes me uncomfortable, but it really seems like one of those things that ought to be between the family and the doctor.

I like government intervention in some things, but others I just can't quite figure out how the laws are supposed to benefit society.

Anonymous said...

FD: I well appreciate the problem of distance. I knew for several years before my Mother's death that I would not be able to make the trip to Independence again because of my own physical limitations.

I was able to share a daily ritual of phone conversations with her almost to the last day of her life.

(Sometimes we even repeated the same conversation because she'd forgotten the beginning of the conversation by the end; it was kind of neat to see her laugh again at the same joke I'd just told her a few minutes ago. Good memory. It wasn't always that easy to please her as a boy.)

I hope you'll be able to do something similar with both your grandma and grandfather.

Kaylanamars said...

Thank you for your beautiful and enlightening post, FD. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

I agree with your ideas on euthanasia. I haven't really thought too much about it since I've never had a loved one in this kind of situation. But it's what feels good and right to me.

Mormon Heretic said...

FD, I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. I remember my sister said that she would rather suffer than watch one of her children suffer. In that sense, I think it is a little easier for the person with the affliction to deal with than for the loved ones. Even though we don't want our loved ones to suffer, it is excruciatingly painful to go through this process. I pray that your family will receive some comfort, as I know all too well how difficult these decisions can be.

I want to point out that I did an update on my original Euthanasia post over at Mormon Matters. I want to point out that the Stanford University website tells us that it is only within the last 100 years or so that western societies have taken the idea to keep someone alive at all costs. Let me quote from the Stanford University website:

"Debate about the morality and legality of voluntary euthanasia has been, for the most part, a phenomenon of the second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty first century. Certainly, the ancient Greeks and Romans did not believe that life needed to be preserved at any cost and were, in consequence, tolerant of suicide in cases where no relief could be offered to the dying or, in the case of the Stoics and Epicureans, where a person no longer cared for his life. In the sixteenth century, Thomas More, in describing a utopian community, envisaged such a community as one that would facilitate the death of those whose lives had become burdensome as a result of ‘torturing and lingering pain’. But it has only been in the last hundred years that there have been concerted efforts to make legal provision for voluntary euthanasia.

While I know that God can teach us through suffering, I believe that God does not want us to unduly suffer.

The Faithful Dissident said...


That was VERY interesting, thanks for sharing. Somehow I missed that post over at MM. I'm thinking of doing a post over there about the apparent inconsistency between the Church's stance on euthanasia and abortion of fetuses who will not survive.

Also, thanks for your kind sentiments.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the changing attitudes in the West were a reaction to the World Wars, given the eugenics movement and the rise of totalitarian states in between, with the concern that in the real world, euthanasia might indeed not be voluntary.

Mormon Heretic said...


I agree with your sentiments that that Hitler's atrocious practices in dealing with the Jews may have had some impact on euthanasia. However, I think that modern medicine has made some incredible improvements over the last 90 or so years. With the new vaccines, pasterization, the iron lung, and many other medical advances, it does seem that we have a much greater ability to prolong death.

I suspect this change in philosophy regarding euthanasia has a big part to do with the Hippocratic Oath "do no harm", though I don't think Hippocrates intended for us to carry his phrase as far as we do. Certainly the ancient Greeks and Romans were much more sympathetic to suicides when it was apparent that such a suicide would end unbearable suffering.

Anonymous said...

And in the US we are now having to confront the impact on the society at large (and maybe the world economy) of the costs of prolonging life.

I'd have been dead at 15 without modern medicine, and at 55 without taxpayer financial support. I certainly appreciate the moral imperative of society helping the poor, and not just in the US. Sometimes when I add up what it costs to keep me alive, it's morally sobering. Before I become depressed, I usually have to remind myself I won't be costing the taxpayer that many years of social security, so the taxpayers get a lot of money back later.

But I also think it is morally responsible to worry about how we are supposed to produce the wealth to pay for the entitlements we've already promised our elderly. (Especially when we have to do so while educating our children, absorbing immigrants, and NOT triggering environmental disruptions that will impact poorer countries throughout the world). They've relied on those promises (perhaps too trustingly) and have no time to adjust now.

Because of my personal situation, I've been worried about this issue throughout the Clinton and Bush administrations, as well as during the current debate, and the numbers grow increasingly alarming.

We're talking entitlements for out own citizens with present worth funding SHORTFALLS that amount to from one to five years of the economic output -- everything -- of the entire planet, depending on which economic assumptions you believe. And the events of the last year were worse than ANY of those assumptions.

We don't want to use the dreaded "R" word, but we're already doing it in an informal way by people gaming the existing system. The rationing is going to become more organized one way or another, and I do think we face an important societal decision about how voluntary that rationing will be, and the extent it will be decided by patients, family, and friends, or by the broader society.

I'm afraid I've spent too much time around government to have confidence that the government elites won't quickly corrupt the system in their own interests. It will especially influence end-of-life issues, because that's where the costs rise sharply, so I hope this isn't off topic.


The Faithful Dissident said...

Fire Tag, interesting thoughts. How do you think end-of-life issues will be affected? I actually imagined the opposite, that by allowing terminal patients assisted suicide, it would cut down on costly hospital and palliative care, especially in very prolonged illnesses. But maybe I'm wrong.

I think that opponents of assisted suicide also fear that terminal patients will fear pressured to end their lives to cut down on hospital costs (where there is gov't-funded medicare). Sort of like one politician in Norway was in real hot water a couple years ago when she pretty much said that women should abort Downs babies because of the cost to society in terms of special care, special education, possibly institutional care. (Yes, it's costly, but I think it was a pretty horrible statement on her part and I was happy about the backlash she received.)

But you bring up some valid and very real concerns.

Anonymous said...


I think what you picture in your second paragraph is what we actually risk, even though advocates in most cases have the best of intentions. Once you are in "lifeboat economics" there are no good moral choices for anyone, which is all the more reason for society to think about "less-than-rosy" assumptions regarding the consequences of good intentions BEFORE it hits the iceberg. American entitlements are a looming iceberg that can affect much of the world -- maybe all of it. So the overwhelming priority is don't hit the iceberg.

Regarding your first paragraph, the more we can make end-of-life decisions the province of the people closest to the patient (and therefore most inclined to protect their interests as well as those who will be most affected by those decisions), the surer we'll be that those decisions will be voluntary.


Mormon Heretic said...

I think this is where a living will becomes imperative. Some people want to live at all costs, some do not. For an outsider to impose his will one way or the other is going to be seen as an act of tyranny. If we make our intentions known before hand, then I think that will alleviate much of the possible corruption of a misguided public policy debate.

sxark said...

Any thoughts on Masada? Was it a type of euthanasia or a calculated moral military issue? Any thoughts on how Heaven might feel about this?

The Faithful Dissident said...

Yes, a living will would be a must, IMO. The person would have to state clearly on record his/her wishes for ending his/her own life while still in the mental state capable of making that decision. That way, if the person becomes physically incapable of administering the fatal dose, a willing medical professional would be allowed to do so without facing prosecution.

As well, a "Do Not Resuscitate Order" is important to think about for everyone, regardless of how we feel about euthanasia.

Anonymous said...

MH and FD:

The steps you advocate are necessary and vital.

However, when I speak of concerns about end of life care cost issues, I'm more concerned about a larger issue in which society judges it necessary to ration care.

The "who decides" and "by what standards" debate needs to recognize that what goes on behind the scenes is often more decisive than individual wishes.

If a drug isn't developed because we impose price controls on drugs (which may or may not be the same as cost controls), or if there is no one to detect the terminal condition before the condition becomes terminal because doctors don't choose to go to medical school in numbers sufficient to meet rising health care demands, we've already "biased" the individual's end-of-life decision.

On the otherhand, if some drug company gets favored treatment by regulators because of political connections...

Or if some patients get priority treatment because of social biases of evaluators in setting up or enforcing the regs...

Entitlements form such a large component of the US economy, and are rising so fast, entanglement is political considerations seems unavoidable.


The Faithful Dissident said...

FYI: I've done a spin-off post of this topic on Mormon Matters, which you can read here.

Anonymous said...


Read your Mormon Matters post and was very interested, particularly in the discussion of Mormon theology as it applies to the situation.

But maybe this is a more appropriate thread to comment on the theology of the issue, since more of the audience have previously read my suggestions about the sense in which God "tests" us.

God rewards personal moral heroism; He does not require it as a condition of salvation. He does not even tell us in most cases what He considers moral heroism or what is morally ignorant. Perhaps, like the last Pope believed, there was something to be experienced to the end that would help our Spirits. Perhaps once one experienced their own helplessness and utter need for grace, the lesson is over and the pain should be relieved.

What we choose determines who we are. God does not condemn either choice, but supports our development as a loving parent either way.


The Faithful Dissident said...

"God rewards personal moral heroism; He does not require it as a condition of salvation. He does not even tell us in most cases what He considers moral heroism or what is morally ignorant."

Interesting. Can you elaborate, Fire Tag?

"Perhaps, like the last Pope believed, there was something to be experienced to the end that would help our Spirits. Perhaps once one experienced their own helplessness and utter need for grace, the lesson is over and the pain should be relieved."

I can certainly respect that. In fact, although I support the choice/option of assisted suicide for terminal patients, I am in no way convinced that it would be right for me. It's impossible for me to say, not having been in that situation. I would perhaps see things as the pope did and hope for some last minute wisdom gained by hanging on to the last breath. But I also think that I have a fairly low pain threshold and I'm not sure I wouldn't "take the easy way out," as some view it.

"What we choose determines who we are. God does not condemn either choice, but supports our development as a loving parent either way."

That is how I see it. I wouldn't believe for a minute that God would condemn someone for desiring to await a natural death despite intense suffering. And one would hope that there would be something to gain from it. But I also can't imagine how God would condemn someone for going out of their minds from pain and suffering and just wanting to end it. And those who support euthanasia are, I think, mostly motivated by compassion, a desire to relieve suffering, and how is that not consistent with God's will?

Anonymous said...


This goes back to the notions you've heard me express on my own blog that because spacetime is infinite, everything that can happen does happen, repeatedly throughout spacetime.

(I think preexistence is tied up to this as well as the relationship of our spirits to our bodies in general, as you're read in my posts, although I know that is neither CofChrist nor LDS theology.)

So at least exact copies of us (if not, as I believe, our own spirits) have already faced the decisions about assisted suicide for ourselves or euthanasia for loved ones. We've already faced decisions about abortions, and, for that matter, been aborted. We will face those decisions again elsewhere in spacetime, and will not always decide the same way.

The nature of our spirits, IMO, emerges gradually as we make these decisions and respond to their consequences. In a kind of eternal "now" which I won't get into here, the judgement of God of what we are, how we fit into his Kingdom (which the glories only describe in general), and our own understanding of the justice of that placement are all one action.

Since it involves all of the decisions, in all the variations of detail, we are always left with uncertainties to deal with about right or wrong. God can't give us a cookbook small enough for us to read in advance. Our spirits have to experience right and wrong for ourselves. That's sort of the point of multiple copies, I suspect, in the first place.

Don't know if that helps clarify, but I'll be happy to try again if it doesn't.


sxark said...


Did I miss something? Where does personal responsibility and the day of judgement, from God, come into play?
According to your position, are the various experiences of copies of spirits of one's self, at some point, added up, to see what the majority of their actions were? - so that a "judgement" could be made by the Maker of us all?
I take it, that you would agree, that your position is in conflict with those that proclaim that they are in direct communication with the Maker of us all.
Are you suggesting that personal responsibility is lessoned somewhat, because what the individual is doing now, they did it before and will do it again, in the future, and that individual makes different actions in these different time periods?

Anonymous said...


Think of how your own mind works. Conscious thought and subconscious behavior both involve complex interactions among huge numbers of individual neurons, none of which can individually conceive of the mind (although the mind can conceive of the neuron and has an extraordinary genetic system to regulate every part of the body, including the neurons).

As part of the learning of that mind (its "progression" if you wish), the connections of individual neurons get strengthened or weakened, and there are points where individual neurons are culled and stripped from the mind ("cast into outer darkness" if you wish).

The "judgement" on the neuron is very decisive for the neuron's fate, but doesn't really have much impact on the totality of the mind at all. The mind develops into its own unique self, governs its developing body, and finds its place within God's larger world (the earthly Kingdom if you wish).

Now extend that analogy to the level of the Spirit: our individual physical copies are like the individual neurons.

The scriptures that talk about the judgement we face as individual copies are doing just that -- talking about individual copies. They only need to talk about the fate of individual copies because we have no capability to knowingly influence any of the others. That is carried out above our pay grade.

What you miss is that time has nothing to do with either "preexistence" or the "afterlife". The maker of all made time too, and the passage of time has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the description of things from the other side of what Mormon theology refers to as "the veil".


sxark said...


Suppose, for example, that one has an "unrighteous agenda" in regards to euthanasia and abortion and they run amok, creating havoc where ever they go.
They like the activities that make babies, but don't like babies, so they have abortions.
They feel that the world is over populated and become quite liberal when it comes to euthanasia.

This individual trips over something, hits their head and dies.

According to your scenerio, do they then meet their Maker - "in their sins"? Is the Judgement of God any different than what is generally believed by the 3 great religions, who worship the "One God"?

It just seems to me that your scenerio places less responsibility on this individual - who should account for their behavior, on this earth, and in this time frame, and who's judgement would be final.

Anonymous said...

I will leave it to God to determine what constitutes an "unrighteous agenda", but I take your question as what happens whwn such a person dies.

In my scenario, the irredeemable gets culled. The potentially redeemable but evil gets quarantined (in terminology which is more vividly descriptive, "suffers the pangs of hell") where it can do no harm to its or others spirits "until" it can be integrated into the lesser glory.

In other words, what happens to the "neuron" in my scenario is exactly the same as in your standard doctrine.

What happens in my scenario that's different from yours is that the other versions of that person that did NOT make those same choices -- where they were martyrs for good, for example -- are preserved to take their part in the Kingdom. THOSE versions still take their place in the Kingdom; they still get to live "eternally" with their loved ones. And most importantly, THEIR LOVED ONES MAY STILL LIVE WITH VERSIONS OF THEM.

Please note that I put "until" and "eternally" in quotes because the concept of TIMELESSNESS doesn't translate well into English, and I'm pretty sure from previous discussions with you, that different concepts about the nature of time are at the heart of our communications difficulties with each other.


Peter R. said...

Just a comment about suicide laws: in some jurisdictions it is actually against the law to commit or attempt to commit suicide. Sometimes there is a specific statute governing suicide; other times the general manslaughter or murder statutes are extended to suicides. These laws don't seem to make much sense to many people, but one rationale is that a suicidal person needs intervention of some kind, and when those laws were written there weren't many mental health options available. I do not believe that suicide statutes were originally intended to apply to end of life suicides, but I am not sure.