A conversation I had recently with a neighbor spurred on this thought process:
Should we blame God for Eli and Evan's disease and struggles?
Short answer: No
At the risk of sounding preachy, I wanted to share my thoughts and conclusions that I've come to over the past 3 years as I've started to watch Eli regress. It's caused me to think a lot about God's role in all of this, especially as Brad and I have had many discussions (or "arguments"!) about it.
Here is some of what I believe about God and his nature:
I think that God is a loving God who wants us to be happy and who has an eternal perspective. I think that God can cause illness, disaster and disease because he is all powerful and can do all things. There are accounts in the scriptures of God causing illness and disaster. But I also believe that God, Jesus Christ and righteous priesthood holders can perform miracles. There are accounts in the scriptures of God, Jesus Christ and others performing miracles. I believe that miracles also happen today. It may not always be God's will for a person to be healed, but knowing that he is a good, loving God, makes me confident that his purposes are going to work out for our good.
(Some friends of mine here in Tucson, The Curtis Family, just lost their boy to a failed heart transplant last night. I don't know all the details but I believe his body rejected the heart transplant. I have been thinking of them and praying for them today. I also believe that God loves that family in a perfect way and each individual is precious in his eyes.)
He may have the ability to change circumstances, but that doesn't mean he always will. We live in an imperfect and fallen world. Yes, Jesus Christ has atoned for all men, but the world in which we now live is imperfect. Diseases, illness and disaster are a natural part of our human existence. I think faulty genetics are a part of this mortal probation as well. God has given his children agency, the ability to choose right or wrong. I've heard terrible stories in which some disgusting person hurt, abused or killed a child. It must be VERY difficult and sad for God to watch his children choose such evil and not intervene. We don't understand when and why he sometimes may step in and other times does not. We do not see what he sees. I do know that he has given his children agency and will allow them to choose and then allow them to suffer the consequences. God does grant his children the right to make choices, good and bad.
My understanding is that one of the main purposes of this life is to be tried and tested. We are here to prove ourselves, whether or not we will be true and faithful even amidst adversity and challenges. Many times, trials and hardships bring people closer to God and greatly improve our character, sensitivity and understanding. Hardships and trials can also break us, IF we don't turn to God for his help. We are all imperfect, fragile human beings, we need deity to help strengthen and direct us. It is difficult to humble ourselves enough to realize that we can't and shouldn't do it all on our own. He wants us to come to him because he loves us, not to force us to live a certain way. Satan's way is by force, God's way is by letting us choose. He wants us to be happy and he knows the way to do it, better than any of us do. He wants what's best for us. I think he is sad and grieves when his children turn from him.
In answer to my question above, I don't think God caused Eli and Evan's Genetic disorder. At least I don't think of it that way. I'm more inclined to think that it is a natural product of this life and the generations gone before. I think that God did know that we would have this situation and allowed it to happen. I think he probably sent us the spirits of Eli and Evan to those bodies specifically for his own purposes that are beyond our understanding at this time. It may be that Evan and Eli are such stalwart individuals that they don't need to prove themselves in this life. It is a teaching and principle in my Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) that children who die under the age of accountability, 8 years of age, or those without understanding, (those who may be older, but are childlike of mind) will automatically be saved in the Kingdom of God. They are perfect before God and don't need baptism or repentance. If Eli and Evan continue down the path that Gm1 is likely to take them, they will fall under that category. Eli already has become much younger of mind than his age. I don't understand all the reasons, but I believe that God loves Eli and Evan and the rest of us. He is not trying to punish us. I think by letting this happen, he has given us an opportunity to learn and grow in deeper love and understanding. He will provide for his children.
It's been taught to me that Jesus Christ has saved all men by atoning for their sins and being resurrected. Because of him, we are able to repent of our sins and turn to God. Because of him, all of God's children will one day be resurrected. I have hope and faith that Eli and Evan will one day have perfect resurrected bodies and minds. If Brad, Laya and I repent of our mistakes and sins and try our best to live the gospel, we will be with them forever, sealed together as an eternal family. I believe that I will always be their Mother and Brad will always be their father.