I don’t understand the mourning for a double murderer, a listener tries to explain forgiveness…

Why the mother?

Well over 100 people – about half of them children – attended a candlelight vigil at Mountain Gap P-8 school Thursday night to remember a mother and her two children lost in a murder-suicide that rocked the south Huntsville community in which they lived.

The bodies of Connie Henriksen Foster, 35, and her two children, Layla House, 10, and 8-year-old David House, were found Monday evening inside their home at 11408 Crestfield Drive by Foster’s husband, Graham Foster. Police have not said how Foster killed the children and herself, but have said there were no signs of gunshot or stab wounds.

She drugged them.

I will not mourn her.

An e-mailer thinks I have this completely wrong. It’s a long read but a good one…

Hello Dale,

I would like to start off by saying that your radio show is my favorite. I really enjoy listening, primarily because I feel that you usually treat others much better than other conservative talk radio hosts. Unfortunately, I’ve resorted to listening to NPR in the afternoons because most of the other talk show hosts on WVNN are way too negative, full of themselves, rant on and on forever, and put me in a bad mood. Secondly, I would like to state that I am not trying to convert you by any of the statements made in this email. Everyone is entitled to believe what they feel is right. The intent of my email is to provide additional perspective in regards to the issue.
While I understand where you may have been coming from in regards to some of the comments you made today regarding Connie Foster’s actions, I feel different about them and would like to attempt to explain why. You may have noticed that Connie’s visitation will be at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My thoughts and feelings regarding this situation are heavily influenced by the teachings of that same church to which Connie and I are both members. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a page regarding suicide at https://www.lds.org/topics/suicide?lang=eng which is important to understand for perspective’s sake. It states the following.
Although it is wrong to take one’s own life, a person who commits suicide may not be responsible for his or her acts. Only God can judge such a matter. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said:
 
“Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth.
 
“When he does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth” (“Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not,” Ensign, Oct. 1987, 8).
Here are some other important and relevant quotes from “Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not” that are worth mentioning.
“Suicide consists in the voluntary and intentional taking of one’s own life, particularly where the person involved is accountable and has a sound mind. … Persons subject to great stresses may lose control of themselves and become mentally clouded to the point that they are no longer accountable for their acts. Such are not to be condemned for taking their own lives. It should also be remembered that judgment is the Lord’s; he knows the thoughts, intents, and abilities of men; and he in his infinite wisdom will make all things right in due course.” (Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 771)
 
Peace came to me only when I recognized that only the Lord could administer fair judgment. He alone had all the facts, and only He would know the intent of the heart of my friend. I was reconciled with the idea that a lifetime of goodness and service to others must surely be considered by the Lord in judging the life of a person.
 
“A minister acquaintance of mine, whom I knew rather well, was found by his wife hanging in the attic from the rafters,” President Kimball wrote. “His thoughts had taken his life. He had become morose and despondent for two or more years. Certainly he had not come to suicide in a moment, for he had been a happy, pleasant person as I had known him. It must have been a long decline, ever steeper, controllable by him at first and perhaps out of hand as he neared the end of the trail. No one in his ‘right mind,’ and especially if he has an understanding of the gospel, will permit himself to arrive at this ‘point of no return.’” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, p. 106)
 
“While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard. … He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, ‘according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,’ or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. … We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, ed. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 218.)
 
I draw an important conclusion from the words of the Prophet: Suicide is a sin—a very grievous one, yet the Lord will not judge the person who commits that sin strictly by the act itself. The Lord will look at that person’s circumstances and the degree of his accountability at the time of the act.
 
“I believe the Lord will consider each case separately and judge the circumstances of each individual. I have sincerely sought direction from our Father in Heaven to help me understand the nature of suicide. And I have come to know, as well as anything else that I know from God, that these people have a place in the kingdom of our Father, and it is not one of darkness or despair, but one where they can receive comfort and experience serenity.”
I know that these statements address only suicide and not murder. Regardless, I believe that the references to a person’s mental state and level of accountability are relevant to this particular situation.
Up until the events of this Monday, anyone who knew Connie would say she was a great person and dearly loved her children. While it is understandable to me why many would question the validity of those statements after Monday’s events, I feel that calling her a monster is not accurate, does not take the entire situation into consideration, and is not respectful to those who are mourning her loss. It would be one thing if she regularly acted like a horrible person and mistreated her children before Monday’s events. Though, she was not a horrible person and did not mistreat her children. If legitimate mental illness is to blame, which I believe is likely the case, I feel she may not have been in control of and accountable for her actions, at least to some degree. I believe she and her family deserve the benefit of the doubt from us. Her family deserves closure and to be able to grieve without a mob who lacks a full understanding of the situation from publicly persecuting her. She was a wife, daughter, grand-daughter, aunt, cousin, niece, etc. It is hard enough for her family and close friends to deal with the situation without the rude and heartless comments made by others. Comments such as those provide nothing good and are contentious.
The events of Monday are extremely sad and shocking. It is a real tragedy. I knew the kids’ biological father from school and church. He is a super nice guy whom everyone likes. The mother’s family are also very upstanding people whom I have interacted with at church over the years. An event like this is completely life-altering and devastating. I do not doubt that the mother loved her children even if the investigators’ current speculation is accurate. Only God knows and understands all of the variables in our lives that affect our levels of accountability. As much as we may think we are qualified to pass judgement, we are not. Things are not always black and white, or even apparent shades of gray.
I do not expect you and I to hold the same beliefs or to even feel the same way about this situation. My hope is that this has provided a better understanding of how many are trying to handle and cope with the situation. I also hope that you will take these things into consideration before further discussing this matter. Many people look up to and listen to you. Your statements and opinions influence others. You have the opportunity to make a positive or negative impact in the lives of your listeners simply by what you say. Please don’t forget that.
Thanks for your time! I continue to look forward to listening to your show.

 

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