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Ben, thank you for giving me a new way of thinking of myself and others as we mourn--not from weakness, but from love, and therefore into life.

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Dec 31, 2022Liked by Benjamin Peters

We have not sufficiently allowed grief to play its role due to what Ben Peters aptly describes as “our culture’s early-onset afterlife optimism, our tendency to comfort before we grieve.” Seeing the sacrament as a ritual of grief is refreshing-- perhaps helping us not to let that ordinance be ironically too self-centered. We could do with some additional grieving rituals, perhaps privately practiced rather than generally encouraged. My grandmother-in-law, Catholic, wore black for a year following her husband’s early passing. Too much? Maybe. But too often we Mormons are only good at responding to the first waves of grief and forget about the many subsequent tides that can inundate even years later. We could use reminding rituals to keep ourselves more aware of both our own and others’ long term needs to recognize and honor the wounds of grief.

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Jan 6Liked by Benjamin Peters

Beautiful and profound, Ben, thank you. My top takeaways: 1) mourning and comforting as sequential commandments; 2) bearing burdens by proxy vs proximity; and 3) the sacrament as a grief ritual with the Spirit as co-witness, co-mourner and Comforter.

Right after we moved into our new ward, the neighborhood experienced a devastating loss with the shocking death of a newly-returned missionary in a bike accident. It has been beautiful and terrible to see the shared grief. Mourning rituals included a candlelight vigil singing songs outside the bereaved family's home, and a special women's bible study focused on Lamentations, where memories of and expressions of love for Hunter were shared with his mother. Hunter is still mentioned frequently in Church settings, as is the family's grief. I hope those rituals are supportive in the right ways for the family, not just for the community. As you say, often what we do or say to the bereaved comforts us more than them.

I will also say, while too-early expressions of comfort and confidence are misplaced, I've also come to realize that we must also be careful that in "mourning with" a bereaved person we don't unwittingly put our grief on their shoulders too. In many, perhaps most, casual settings, a bereaved person may appreciate light, brief interactions that do not require him or her to find the words to respond to our own expressions of grief. It's not easy to know what to say, and heaven knows that grace is needed all around.

Thank you for the wonderful thinking and writing.

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Dec 27, 2022Liked by Benjamin Peters

Thank you, Ben Peters -- I needed this.

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Benjamin Peters' contribution touches me deeply. As a grief counselor myself, I have thought much about the light which the restored Gospel might bring to an understanding and practice of grieving, mourning and comforting. Benjamin's thoughts plumb many of the profound truths which a heartful discipleship of Christ can bring to each of us, in both the sorrow of our losses, and in the companioning of those among us who mourn. Thank you, Benjamin.

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Benjamin Peters' contribution touches me deeply. As a grief counselor myself, I have thought much about the light which the restored Gospel might bring to an understanding and practice of grieving, mourning and comforting. Benjamin's thoughts plumb many of the profound truths which a heartful discipleship of Christ can bring to each of us, in both the sorrow of our losses, and in the companioning of those among us who mourn. Thank you, Benjamin.

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