When memories of childhood sexual abuse came flowing back into my mind, I felt as though my whole world came crashing in around me. It was raw and painful and I truly couldn’t see how I could possibly keep going. Questions of my virtue and value began to swirl through my mind. Overwhelming thoughts and feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness consumed me.
Why, if God loved me as much as the scriptures profess he did, would he allow such a terrible thing happen to an innocent child, let alone a righteous covenant keeping adult? He being the all powerful and merciful being that the gospel professes him to be, could have just scooped me up and saved me from the terrible acts that would come upon me, or he could cause the perpetrator to be consumed in some other activity right? Why then, would he allow something so terrible, so life altering, so denigrating, happen to one of his precious little ones?
I asked God in fervent prayer this very question only to realize that I had asked it before, even in the moment of my terror. He lovingly reassured me of the most simple and pure principle of agency that was surprising and powerfully reassuring to me.
When the earth was created and the plan of salvation was rolled out and put into motion, God made a promise to each person who accepted that plan and came to the earth. He promised to allow us agency to choose to do for ourselves rather than be forced or “acted upon” as the scriptures say. He promised not to interfere with our agency to choose. Had he interfered and prevented my abuse from happening, he would have been removing the agency of one of my brothers or sisters (who originally chose the plan of salvation) to act for themselves. As difficult as it is to watch one child bring harm to another, if he were to prevent it from happening, he would be undoing the entire purpose of this life here on earth. There would be no need for a Savior, because there would be no covenant or law. His promise to us would essentially be voided and life on this earth would have been for nothing.
We are here to make choices, good and bad. Those choices are essential to our progression on this earth and in the life to come. Without that opportunity to choose for ourselves, we would never have the opportunity to understand and know all things as our Heavenly Father does.
Why did our mother Eve make the decision to partake of the fruit of the tree when she knew the sorrow that would come upon her and her posterity in being spiritually dead or separated from our Father in Heaven? She was wise beyond our understanding. In partaking of the fruit, she provided for each of us that great opportunity to progress from being spirits, only knowing the good, to becoming flesh, experiencing pain and sorrow. She provided us with that opportunity to become agents for ourselves. She created a path for us to become as Gods, knowing the good from the evil.
God’s eternal purposes are no mistake. His love for us is unending, and his allowing for us to make mistakes is for our good and progression. As much as he wants for us all to live perfectly, we must make mistakes in order to learn. We didn’t learn how to crawl or walk without falling over and over again. We cannot become perfected through our Savior Jesus Christ without the opportunity to make mistakes, no matter how terrible. That is why it is for him to determine our forgiveness and not us. He knows perfectly the circumstances of our lives that have led us to making those decisions.
How grateful I am to have obtained this simple truth for myself, and how grateful I am to have a God who is merciful to all of us and provides for us learning and knowledge that could not be obtained in any way but by him.