Sunday, September 11, 2011

On this Sunday we remember

I find it spiritually appropriate that the day we remember today, September 11, falls on a Sunday this year: marking ten years since those sobering events happened. Sundays always are days for remembering and reflection. Remembering Jesus Christ, and reflecting on our week as one ends and another begins. And today, we remember how much has happened these past ten years since September 11, 2001, and we remember how many people were affected because of it.  There have been ten years worth of thoughts leading up to this post, but what has really affected me this week are the interviews and documentaries that have been airing in the days leading up to today---particularly their views and comments about God.

One interview I saw was of a man who knew it was God who saved him that day, and yet he was immediately filled with anger towards God when he looked back at the collapsing tower and remembered all those people who were still in there. Another man said he considered himself religious, but he lost all faith and hope in God that day. They interviewed rabbis who said that if we try to solve the mystery of why God let this kind of thing happen, we would go crazy. I've been crying over a lot of things lately, so naturally, hearing these kind of things reduced me to tears as well.

I can't imagine what it would be like to feel like this. I have been taught about how much God loves all of His children, and I have had enough experiences to know that this is absolutely true. But this love is also demonstrated in the fact that God has given everyone agency, and as much as it pains Him to see suffering like what happened on September 11, He can't take away a person's freedom of choice.

The answer to the question of why God let's this kind of thing happen, along with most questions we have in life, is found in the Book of Mormon. When Amulek and Alma were forced to watch as innocent believers of Christ were being martyred, Amulek cried to Alma, "How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore, let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames."

To which Alma says, "The Spirit constrainteth me that I must not stretch forth my hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgements which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day." (Alma 14: 10-11)

I hope that those who have lost hope in God can hear these things some day. I hope that today more than ever we remember that God never forsakes us. I admire the extraordinary courage of those heroes from September 11: whether it be the firefighters, the brave men from flight 93 who took a stand and gave their own lives to save others, the people who are prompted to fight for our country to make sure these things never happen again, and mostly to all the people who came away from it with a closer relationship to God and greater sense of patriotism.

Ten years ago, Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Dark as is this hour, there is shining through the heavy overcast of fear and anger the solemn and wonderful image of the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace, the examplar of universal love, and it is to Him that we look in these circumstances. It was He who gave His life that all may enjoy eternal life." (quote found here)

And now, ten years later, Thomas S. Monson tells us, "Our Father's commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winters of our lives, but He also brightens our summers. Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us. He has promised us that this will never change." (quote found in the Washington Post)

I love this promise. And I hope that today and always, we remember it.
I took this at the crash site of United flight 93 in Pennsylvania.
That place has an overwhelming spirit. 


  1. That Pennsylvania was definitely one of the most overwhelmingly powerful places we've ever been. What a sad and lonely place to be in if you blame God for the evil choices.

  2. This was beautifully written Annie!

  3. Beautiful post. I appreciate your testimony of God's enduring promise to let us all use our agency, even if it seems unfair.

  4. Beautiful post Annie! We were just reading this story in Alma as a family this past week. How fitting it is for the anniversary of Sept 11.