A Man of Sorrows, and Acquainted with Grief

Great Mysteries of Heaven

What’s the difference between God causing something to happen

And God allowing something to happen?

This all-powerful being could stop every misdeed

And right every wrong.

No ill would ever occur if he were to free his hand,

Yet he stays it

And allows woman and man

To choose their own course.

He allows us to face the deliberate temptation of demons

And to elect to follow them,

Harming those that lie in our way,

And all this that we might be proven

And that we might learn

And grow.

But wait!, a voice cries,

He does intervene,

Prompting his children in whispers of spirit

To heal each others’ wounds,

But not always,

At least, we don’t always listen.

We can never know if God has whispered in someone’s heart,

To mend the tears in another’s soul,

Or if He chose to refrain,

And abstain.

We can only have faith

In his ne’er-ending love,

And know that he either advocated our temporal happiness,

Or that, in some mysterious way,

We needed sorrow more.

by Allen L. Warner

Everyone who believes in a loving, all-powerful God must confront the question of why he allows or perhaps causes such grief and sorrow.  This is a part of our answer as Mormons: that grief and sorrow can lead to blessings in the end.  Perhaps God himself does nothing to cause sorrow, but only takes advantage of it to teach us and help us see, to refine us and purify us.  Perhaps it is a test or a chance to grow and become more than we would otherwise be.  Perhaps we suffer because of our own choices, beliefs or desires (or attachments as Buddhists would describe them).  Some people would say there is no higher purpose for suffering.  Even if there isn’t, we may still agree with the famous words of Friedrich Nietzche: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

It’s amazing how comforting words like that are…after the sorrow is past.  In the middle of it, none of those concepts seem to take away the pain.  Afterwards, we find comfort in perspective.


A Poet

A poet bears a special burden,

Unlike any other load:

The burden to teach, to tickle, to touch,

To define the lonely road,

But the greatest burden is the one he feels

In thinking that he should,

Someday, somehow, in some kind of way,

Write something that’s actually good.

by Allen L. Warner

On the Importance of Believing Right

On one thing they agree,

The Scientist and the Theologue:

There is no matter,

There is no affair,

There is nothing greater,

Nothing more urgent,

Nothing graver

Than believing true.

On that, the fate of humanity rests, they nod,

Smug in knowledge that they, above all others,

Are the ones who are right.

Knowledge has the power to save, they concur,

And error the power to damn.

Whatever one does, it’s knowing that’s best,

Whether you’re a child, a woman or a man (the scientist insisted on inclusive language).

Oh, sin, if you must, but never depart

From the right path of knowledge fair.

Better to be transgressors

Than to deny the faith;

Better to list in murky waters

Than to take a false course;

Always, always, you must always be right.

So they warmly shake hands as they part,

Knowing that what they believe is what’s true,

That it’s the things that you think that matter in life,

And not anything that you do.

by Allen L. Warner

Ask (Not) What Your Country Can Do For You

Be Bold

Be Strong.



(That’s what some people do.)

What can your country do for you?

It can defend your security,

Protect your interests,

Build your roads,

Educate your children,

Help you when you’re struggling,

Provide you with retirement

And cut your taxes.

Yes, your government can do all of that

All at once,

But not for very long.

Because prosperity

Isn’t free.

By Allen L. Warner