I gave this thought in a lesson to a combined Priesthod and Relief Society meeting last Sunday on the nature of evil. I’m not sure it went over well, but I wanted to post it here.
“I propose a thesis for you, you who call yourself God believing and God fearing Mormons. I will make a proposition. I’d like your thoughts.
I begin with a bedtime story, though it might give you nightmares.
“Genghis Khan was Khan of the Mongolian Empire from 1206 to 1227. In that time he conquered most of China and all the land through the Caspian Sea. He was ruthless, vengeful, cruel, and bloodthirsty. He and his army destroyed countless numbers of cities, solders, civilians and children. People were killed by having molten metal and silver poured into their eyes and ears. In one massacre alone, 700,000 people were killed. At another place, the poor were decapitated and the rich were tortured to find out where their treasure was. Women were sometimes raped in front of their families. Hundreds of thousands had their lives ruined. It is said that if his army of men had no water they would cut a horse’s vein and drink its blood. He would use people as human shields. Tens of thousands became slaves. He would order you to be killed immediately if you were an enemy, if you betrayed him or if you were disloyal to him.
Genghis and his army killed 20 to 60 million people (or 10% to 30% of the known world’s population). He killed three-fourths of the population of the Iranian Plateau which was 10 to 15 million. He also killed his brother at age 13 just because his brother had stolen a fish from him. Genghis Khan once said “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.” Genghis Khan died of natural causes in 1227.”
God created Genghis Khan and God knew what Genghis would do and he allowed him to be created.
Osama Bin Laden, Ivan the Terrible, Jeffrey Dhamer, Caligula, Atilla the Hun, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedung, John Wayne Gacey, Talat Pasha, Adolph Hitler, Sadaam Hussein, Nero, Ayatolla Khomeini, Idi Amin, Justin Bieber, Kim Il Sung, Pol Pot, Vlad Dracula.
God created these people and knew what they would do and he allowed them to be created.
It has been said, all in the name of free agency. All because evil needed to be created. This makes the religious feel better. It allows them to be complacent and indifferent to the evils of men. It allows them to continue their prayers to the supernatural.
The problem of evil exists in the nature of it. Laws to show obedience to the law of chastity, drinking alcohol, consuming drugs, keeping the sabbath day holy are nutty, but should be temptation enough. Can those not be enough? Is a deeper, more evil rooted temptation such as driving a stake up the anus of an innocent peasant for the enjoyment of watching them scream, as Vlad Dracula often did, a required temptation for some to reach the highest kingdom and receive all of God’s glory?
John Wayne Gacy said, “A clown can get away with murder.” John had his free agency. You may ask, was it necessary to tempt John Wayne Gacy to lure children by dressing as a clown, kidnap, sexually molest and then strangle young boys? Was it to teach their parents and siblings forgiveness? Could they not learn it any other way?
Why would God create these beings of destruction and horror, when he knew not only the pain and misery they would create, but that they would be worthless in the end, punished for all eternity? Why create them?
He created beings he knew would sexually molest and kill small children, torture and rape, drive millions of men to their deaths, perpetuate starvation and poverty, create deep depression, suicide, and life long misery for the friends and loved ones of their victims. Why?
It has been said that this question cannot be answered unless you accept one or more of the following propositions: God is evil, God is extremely limited in power, God has a mental disability, God is a psychopath, or God does not exist. I would propose another reason, keep listening.
God created the ultimate evil, his own son Lucifer, who he knew would carry out schemes and plans that tempted all of these men and countless other men and women, do such horrible things. Is he not guilty? Should God not be punished?
If you created a robot you knew would go out and rape and kill little children, would you do it? No. However, if you did anyway, are you innocent? Should you be held accountable? Should only the robot be punished or should you?
Evil is a problem, not part of a solution. Or is it? Should we put aside for a moment the suit against Thomas Monson, should we not sue God? He must have fantastic and well paid attorneys in high places, but perhaps should we at least give it a shot. We have been taught to fight evil, to do anything to stop it. Is God not evil? Should we sit back and do nothing?
Yes, we should sit back and do nothing. God is not evil. God loves us and wants us to be near him. We have free agency, what a wonderful thing. We just HAVE to keep on following his prophets. We HAVE to Read our scriptures. We HAVE to wear our holy garments. We HAVE to stop drinking that cup of Starbucks. Drinking coffee, THAT is evil.”
At that point, one of the sisters raised her hand and asked why her son was allowed to be kidnapped and murdered before he was old enough to serve a mission. I told her, ‘I know this church is true, I love my mom and dad. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.’ I quickly sat down, and the room fell silent. Awkward.
Good? Sometimes I feel like I’m already becoming disconnected from my ward.