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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : And It’s Me You Need to Show, How Deep is Your Love? » And It’s Me You Need to Show, How Deep is Your Love?

And It’s Me You Need to Show, How Deep is Your Love?

David - July 31, 2008

**This is my first entry on Nine Moons and I just wanted to thank Rusty for inviting me over. I confess I feel a little unsettled out of the “safe zone” of my own blog and room of regulars. It reminds me of when I was on the drama team in high school and I brought a Woody Allen humorous reading to state competition. I killed when I performed for my own team, but when we went to finals at BYU– judged by BYU drama students– you could hear the cicadas across campus. I hope my thoughts here will find some resonance and touch on things relatable. Thanks.

It’s only too evident that my faith is far from what it should be.

Saw Million Dollar Baby again last night (that final half-hour is brutal) and my reaction was the same as before: I saw myself doing for Hillary Swank exactly what Clint did at the end. Turn off the machine, give her the injection. Send her on her journey. Put in the same position, I would have begged her not to ask it of me. I would have prayed, talked to my bishop, pleaded with my Lord. I would have given the woman a blessing– a battery of blessings. Then, when put to the test– when all efforts resulted in no results and it was apparent my beloved was destined to a long, drawn-out existence of paralysis, machine-assisted breathing, pustulent sores, persistent reminders of amputed limbs and endless days of misery– I’d drop the curtain on her.

I think I interpret the Church’s position correctly, that it agrees with me. But for those who’d immediately respond with “You’ll be held accountable for her murder,” I would fire back, “How’s the view from the cheap seats, bud? Seriously.” I’m not entirely convinced that, in such situations, the Lord expects us to sit by and wait for Him to do His will, and I think if those who disagree with me found themselves in precisely that same scenario, more than a few of would change their minds. “But there’s a reason the Lord is allowing them to linger in their pain. It’s a test for them, and their loved ones.” I agree, but what’s the test? Is it for them to learn patience in their afflictions, or is it for us to learn mercy by relieving them from their perpetual and inescapable hell? What more could they possibly gain from their mortal journey?

In truth, I’m torn. I would not fare well with this test. Either decision would haunt me, even if I almost convinced myself it was the right thing to do.

And now for a little Johnny Cash. See how many faces you recognize.



  1. This may sound lame (and snap! That’s actually a pun and I haven’t even starte), but I always wonder why people feel it’s okay to kill the horse (see the lame pun! Ha!) to put him/her out of his/her misery, but the idea of the Million Dollar Baby scenario is evil.

    I totally agree with you on all fronts. I wouldn’t want to make a decision like that, nor would I want to live with whatever decision I would eventually make.

    Btw, pulling the plug will be right there in my will, so my loved ones won’t have to worry about these decisions…

    Comment by cheryl — July 31, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  2. I haven’t seen MDB, so I don’t know what Clint does. But if I read your post correctly, I think you’re conflating two different things here. There’s letting someone die by not providing them with things that are artificially keeping them alive, and then there’s taking a life by poison or whatnot. My understanding of our doctrine (or at least our policy) is that we’re okay with the former, but not okay with the latter.

    Comment by jimbob — July 31, 2008 @ 9:54 am

  3. Actually, jimbob, that’s a very good point. I was referring to the euthanasia that deprives them of the apparatuses keeping them alive, not the poisoning approach. I think the latter crosses the fine line between mercy and murder, although there may be exceptions.

    Comment by David — July 31, 2008 @ 10:04 am

  4. Million Dollar Baby is on my top-5-all-time-list. I love it. And the end is the best part. If that ever happens to me, I hope I have a friend like Franky by my side.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — July 31, 2008 @ 11:18 am

  5. um, Bee Gees?

    Comment by Steve Evans — July 31, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

  6. Steve-
    We totally did this exact BeeGees song in the marching band back in the day. Seriously. The Marching Band. And it was our final song, too.

    We were pretty cool.

    Comment by cheryl — July 31, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

  7. Steve (#5),

    Yeah, it kinda got stuck in my head. Sorry.

    Comment by David — July 31, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

  8. I was bummed that they took a perfectly good boxing movie and turned it into a statement on euthanasia. Lame.

    Comment by Susan M — July 31, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

  9. I sorta faced the lite version of this in my mother’s last weeks. There were no plugs to pull, but the quality of her life was so low, and there was no realistic chance of her recovery, that I prayed constantly that every day would be her last day. My aunt kept loudly if sincerely proclaiming that we must all endure to the end, that it would be wrong to interfere with God’s will — as if asking Him to end her suffering was interfering with His will, while praying that she recover was not. I went on praying, without discussing it, and was grateful when she finally went.

    But I recognize that thinking and praying are very different from putting your hand out and taking hold of a switch or plug. If it had come to that, knowing Mom’s wishes and having her living will in hand, I think I would have been able to do even that. I think.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 31, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

  10. I was bummed that they took a perfectly good boxing movie and turned it into a statement on euthanasia. Lame.

    C’mon Susan, There is a big difference between a Dr. Kevorkian style assisted suicide and unplugging a machine. A machine!

    Comment by CJ Douglass — July 31, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

  11. I’m not clear what privileges the pro-euthanasia viewpoint over the anti viewpoint coming from the “cheap seats.” From what is written, this little essay is based on the experience of watching a movie.

    Comment by John Mansfield — August 1, 2008 @ 2:01 pm

  12. I don’t believe assisted suicide is right. If someone I loved wanted me to “kill” them, I think that if they loved me they wouldn’t ask me to do that. If they want to die so badly, they need to take responsibility for that. Not make someone else do it for them.
    Unplugging a machine or not going with further treatment is a different thing.
    I haven’t watched the movie, so I don’t know what they movie situation was.

    Comment by JKS — August 1, 2008 @ 3:06 pm

  13. John,

    I guess I see how the “little essay” (I’m flattered; it was really just a brain fart) might be construed as a pro-euthanasia position, but it really wasn’t. I was singling out the scenario in the film– and those similar in real life– and trying to come to terms with what I would do in Clint’s place. But if you read the Church’s position (see link), removing someone from an artificial means of life support is not considered euthanasia and their natural death is “a blessing and a purposeful part of eternal existence.”

    Comment by David — August 1, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  14. David you already have my ‘intense’ true story answer via your mailbox, here’s some more fodder:

    Dear ol’ dad worked the ER for many a moon and saw, on more than one occasion, “DNR” tattoo’d across a person’s chest…obvious signal to anyone that they would prefer to be left to Nature’s devices to decide their life or death fate. And the med team did just that. Legal, and no arguments.

    There is another movie which sparked conversation on this topic: “Beloved”. A truly ‘interesting’ movie to be sure, but if I were raped by my ‘master’ and knew that my daughter would be raped repeatedly by him as soon as she was of birthing age until she produced another slave for him, I would have killed my baby daughter also. There I said it, I’m horrible, but death for my daughter would insure her, and more than likely damn me, but oh well.

    Both these deaths, the euthanasia of a terminal person and the out in out murder of an infant, to me are in the end the same. They saved the recipient pain, torture, and ultimate loss of a quality life.

    chicks. peas. discuss.

    Comment by s'mee — August 1, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

  15. JKS,
    What do you mean by taking the responsability for that? Very often this people cannot make a single movement and this is why they need someone to do it.
    I have not set my mind on the subject yet but I can’t picture myself saying to someone who cannot make a single movement “hey buddy! Don’t trick me into this, if you want this to happen then do it yourself.”
    I may have objections but not this one.

    Comment by G — August 2, 2008 @ 4:50 am

  16. Be kind to the David-he is gentle of heart and talented of keyboard. Slightly nutty with a hint of spice on occasion too, but that delightful discovery must be made on one’s own.


    Comment by xoxoxo — August 3, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

  17. I have pondered how much more humane it seems to stop human suffering as people do with animals. I think there is a reason they call it playing God though. It really is not for us to say. In my Catholic school in 8th grade, I remember the lesson on the need to do ordinary means but not extrodinary means to save a life. And of course, there are times when we feel prompted to do extrodinary means. As that can seem gray, I think that is when the choice is hard. The choice is clear when it comes to mercy killing that we are not allowed to make that choice. I know the slippery slide of some nations. I heard in one country where it is common to let family members know when you are going to be euthanized that they put pressure on the person if they back out. “Look, you caused all the time and expense of family to come and see you in your final hours.” It is not mine to say. I think that the doctor who favors mercy killing had ocd on the list as a legitimate reason for a mercy killing. And at times, I would have begged for that mercy. Now I get to work from home and so that makes me less jealous of dying people. :) If only I could have a completely separate environment while still living with my parents or stable person and also if I didn’t feel I was messing up on the comuter at work all the time. I should add that I do have my fears of dying as I don’t know if I am right with the Lord and concerns about family and temple work for family that has passed away. And I like life a lot less the ocd or fear of harming other people part. You may think you are doing the person a favor taking them out. But what if you are wrong and that person has to face eternal damnation because they were considered in their right mind. Better to try to do everything possible that is ethical to eleviate suffering from meds to psychological help.

    Comment by Barb — August 4, 2008 @ 5:44 am

  18. David, I just read your comment about this not being about pro-Euthenasia and in light of that, my comments were off base.

    Comment by Barb — August 4, 2008 @ 5:52 am

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