Parenting: Teaching Justice and Mercy

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

Teaching Justice and Mercy

June Value: Justice and Mercy, Introduction and part 1

From Richard and Linda Eyre

 

family3-silhouettekeyObedience to law, fairness in work and play. An understanding of natural consequences and the law of the harvest. A grasp of mercy and forgiveness and an understanding of the futility (and bitter poison) of carrying a grudge.

Sample Method for Preschool Age: Turn Taking

Begin to establish the idea of fairness. One of the first words that toddlers should learn is turn. Two year olds (and even pre-two’s) can understand this most basic form of sharing. Help them to take a short turn with a toy and then say, “Jamie’s turn,” as they pass it to the other child. Then help them to watch and wait for a moment until it is their turn again.

Praise them generously every time they give a turn to the other child. As mentioned earlier, some sort of timing device makes “turns” work better. Use an oven clock or egg timer to help small children take turns of two or three minutes. Explain that equal time is fair.

Sample Method of Elementary Age: The Sun and Cloud Game

This will help younger elementary-age children see that they can make themselves happy or miserable depending on their ability to repent and to forgive. Cut a yellow sun and a black cloud out of construction paper, along with two stick men or figures labeled “Billy” and “Eddy.” Set Billy and Eddy on a table or on the floor and tell the following situations. Have the children put the sun over the head of the child who will be made happy by his actions and the cloud over the child whose actions will make him sad.

  • A boy trips Eddy at school. Eddy is mad at the boy all day and keeps looking for a way to get even. (cloud)
  • Billy opens his sister’s drawer and takes some of her pencils. Then he feels badly about it and brings them back and says he is sorry. (sun)
  • Eddy gets hit in the back by a ball another boy throws. It hurts for a minute and Eddy feels mad, but then he gets over it and tells the other boy he’s okay and he knows the other boy didn’t mean to do it. (sun)
  • Billy leaves his mother’s boots outside, and the dog chews one of them up. No one knows he was the one who left the boots out there, so he keeps it as a secret and doesn’t repent or tell anyone. (cloud)
  • And so on — make up your own.

Sample Method for Adolescents: Discussion: Accepting Justice, Giving Mercy:

This will help older adolescents see the importance of both values and the relationship between the two. At an appropriate time ask older adolescents which they would rather receive — justice or mercy. Try to evolve this into a discussion where you are able to understand together that justice is something we should all be prepared to accept — for justice will always come, in some form, sooner or later. It is the law of the harvest and of cause and effect. Discuss the following quote by Emerson:

“Cause and effect are two sides of one fact. Every secret is told, every crime is punished. Every virtue is rewarded, every wrong is redressed, silence and certainty . . . cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, the fruit in the seed.”

After discussing justice, turn to mercy. Explain that while we should accept justice, we should try to give mercy. Do not be interested in making others “pay” for their mistakes. Do not hold grudges or carry a chip on our shoulder. Discuss how these tendencies make us vindictive and vengeful and cause us to poison ourselves and our outlook.

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Jesus, the Fall, and Mercy for the Soul

Dinner Topics for Easter

What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Month-Defining Moment

See More Defining Moments

Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet

By  Jeffrey R. Holland

He died, a broken law to satisfy . . .

keyHow great, how glorious, how complete, redemption’s grand design,

Where justice, love, and mercy meet in harmony divine! ~Eliza R. Snow

climbupWithout safety ropes, harnesses, or climbing gear of any kind, two brothers—Jimmy, age 14, and John, age 19 (though those aren’t their real names)—attempted to scale a sheer canyon wall in Snow Canyon State Park in my native southern Utah. Near the top of their laborious climb, they discovered that a protruding ledge denied them their final few feet of ascent. They could not get over it, but neither could they now retreat from it. They were stranded. After careful maneuvering, John found enough footing to boost his younger brother to safety on top of the ledge. But there was no way to lift himself. The more he strained to find finger or foot leverage, the more his muscles began to cramp. Panic started to sweep over him, and he began to fear for his life.

Unable to hold on much longer, John decided his only option was to try to jump vertically in an effort to grab the top of the overhanging ledge. If successful, he might, by his considerable arm strength, pull himself to safety.

In his own words, he said:

“Prior to my jump I told Jimmy to go search for a tree branch strong enough to extend down to me, although I knew there was nothing of the kind on this rocky summit. It was only a desperate ruse. If my jump failed, the least I could do was make certain my little brother did not see me falling to my death.

“Giving him enough time to be out of sight, I said my last prayer—that I wanted my family to know I loved them and that Jimmy could make it home safely on his own—then I leapt. There was enough adrenaline in my spring that the jump extended my arms above the ledge almost to my elbows. But as I slapped my hands down on the surface, I felt nothing but loose sand on flat stone. I can still remember the gritty sensation of hanging there with nothing to hold on to—no lip, no ridge, nothing to grab or grasp. I felt my fingers begin to recede slowly over the sandy surface. I knew my life was over.

Helping_Hand_430-Large“But then suddenly, like a lightning strike in a summer storm, two hands shot out from somewhere above the edge of the cliff, grabbing my wrists with a strength and determination that belied their size. My faithful little brother had not gone looking for any fictitious tree branch. Guessing exactly what I was planning to do, he had never moved an inch. He had simply waited—silently, almost breathlessly—knowing full well I would be foolish enough to try to make that jump. When I did, he grabbed me, held me, and refused to let me fall. Those strong brotherly arms saved my life that day as I dangled helplessly above what would surely have been certain death.”1

My beloved brothers and sisters, today is Easter Sunday. Although we should always remember (we promise in our weekly sacramental prayers that we will), nevertheless this is the most sacred day of the year for special remembrance of brotherly hands and determined arms that reached into the abyss of death to save us from our fallings and our failings, from our sorrows and our sins. Against the background of this story reported by John and Jimmy’s family, I express my gratitude for the Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and acknowledge events in the divine plan of God that led up to and give meaning to “the love Jesus offers [us].”2

Understanding the Fall

AdamandEveresizeIn our increasingly secular society, it is as uncommon as it is unfashionable to speak of Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden or of a “fortunate fall” into mortality. Nevertheless, the simple truth is that we cannot fully comprehend the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and we will not adequately appreciate the unique purpose of His birth or His death—in other words, there is no way to truly celebrate Christmas or Easter—without understanding that there was an actual Adam and Eve who fell from an actual Eden, with all the consequences that fall carried with it.

I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that, but I do know these two were created under the divine hand of God, that for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family, and that through a sequence of choices they transgressed a commandment of God which required that they leave their garden setting but which allowed them to have children before facing physical death.3 To add further sorrow and complexity to their circumstance, their transgression had spiritual consequences as well, cutting them off from the presence of God forever. Because we were then born into that fallen world and because we too would transgress the laws of God, we also were sentenced to the same penalties that Adam and Eve faced.

adam-and-eve-offering-sacrificesWhat a plight! The entire human race in free fall—every man, woman, and child in it physically tumbling toward permanent death, spiritually plunging toward eternal anguish. Is that what life was meant to be? Is this the grand finale of the human experience? Are we all just hanging in a cold canyon somewhere in an indifferent universe, each of us searching for a toehold, each of us seeking for something to grip—with nothing but the feeling of sand sliding under our fingers, nothing to save us, nothing to hold on to, much less anything to hold on to us? Is our only purpose in life an empty existential exercise—simply to leap as high as we can, hang on for our prescribed three score years and ten, then fail and fall, and keep falling forever?

The answer to those questions is an unequivocal and eternal no! With prophets ancient and modern, I testify that “all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.”4 Thus, from the moment those first parents stepped out of the Garden of Eden, the God and Father of us all, anticipating Adam and Eve’s decision, dispatched the very angels of heaven to declare to them—and down through time to us—that this entire sequence was designed for our eternal happiness.

God’s Divine Plan Provides Mercy for Our Souls

Jesus-gethsemane-Greatest-of-All-Del-Parson-211887It was part of His divine plan, which provided for a Savior, the very Son of God Himself—another “Adam,” the Apostle Paul would call Him5—who would come in the meridian of time to atone for the first Adam’s transgression. That Atonement would achieve complete victory over physical death, unconditionally granting resurrection to every person who has been born or ever will be born into this world. Mercifully it would also provide forgiveness for the personal sins of all, from Adam to the end of the world, conditioned upon repentance and obedience to divine commandments.

As one of His ordained witnesses, I declare this Easter morning that Jesus of Nazareth was and is that Savior of the world, the “last Adam,”6 the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Alpha and Omega of eternal life. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,”7 Paul declared. And from the prophet-patriarch Lehi: “Adam fell that men might be. … And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.”8 Most thoroughly of all, the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob taught as part of a two-day sermon on the Atonement of Jesus Christ that “the resurrection must … come … by reason of the fall.”9

So today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins. That victory is available to us because of events that transpired on a weekend precisely like this nearly two millennia ago in Jerusalem.

Gethsemane-Adam-Abram-627013-Beginning in the spiritual anguish of the Garden of Gethsemane, moving to the Crucifixion on a cross at Calvary, and concluding on a beautiful Sunday morning inside a donated tomb, a sinless, pure, and holy man, the very Son of God Himself, did what no other deceased person had ever done nor ever could do. Under His own power, He rose from death, never to have His body separated from His spirit again. Of His own volition, He shed the burial linen with which He had been bound, carefully putting the burial napkin that had been placed over His face “in a place by itself,”10 the scripture says.

That first Easter sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life.

Jesus-Christ-holland-victory-fall-sorrow-This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that Jesus still stands triumphant over death, although He stands on wounded feet. This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that He still extends unending grace, although He extends it with pierced palms and scarred wrists. This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that we can sing before a sweat-stained garden, a nail-driven cross, and a gloriously empty tomb:

How great, how glorious, how complete

Redemption’s grand design,

Where justice, love, and mercy meet

In harmony divine!1

 

 

 

 

  1. Correspondence in the possession of Jeffrey R. Holland.
  2. “I Stand All Amazed,” Hymns, 193.
  3. See 2 Nephi 2:19–29, especially verses 20–23; Moses 5:10–11
  4. 2 Nephi 2:24.
  5. See 1 Corinthians 15:45.
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:45.
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:22.
  8. 2 Nephi 2:25–26.
  9. 2 Nephi 9:6.
  10. John 20:7.
  11. “How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” Hymns, 195.

Easter: Faith, Jesus Christ, and the Resurrection

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a Reality

keyoldGiven the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, doubts about the omnipotence, omniscience, and benevolence of God the Father—who gave His Only Begotten Son for the redemption of the world—are groundless. Doubts about the meaning and purpose of life are unfounded. Jesus Christ is in fact the only name or way by which salvation can come to mankind. The grace of Christ is real, affording both forgiveness and cleansing to the repentant sinner. Faith truly is more than imagination or psychological invention.

There is ultimate and universal truth, and there are objective and unchanging moral standards, as taught by Him. ~D. Todd Christofferson

 

jesusforgivemedI Stand All Amazed

Cecil Frances Alexander

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,

Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.

I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,

That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

 

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine

To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.

That he should extend his great love unto such as I,

Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

 

jesuswoundhandI think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!

Such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?

No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,

Until at the glorified throne I kneel at this feet.

 

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me

Enough to die for me!

Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

 

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

By Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

MarynresJesusresizeJesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer, and I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection.

A crushing sense of defeat and despair enveloped His disciples as Jesus suffered and died on the cross and His body was placed lifeless in the tomb. Despite what the Savior had repeatedly said of His death and subsequent rising again, they had not understood. The dark afternoon of His Crucifixion, however, was soon followed by the joyous morning of His Resurrection. But that joy came only as the disciples became eyewitnesses of the Resurrection, for even the declaration of angels that He had risen was at first incomprehensible—it was something so totally unprecedented.

Mary Magdalene and a few other faithful women came early to the Savior’s tomb that Sunday morning, bringing spices and ointments to complete the anointing begun when the Lord’s body was hastily laid in the sepulchre before the approaching Sabbath. On this morning of mornings, they were greeted by an open sepulchre, the covering stone having been rolled away, and two angels who declared:

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?

“He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

“Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”1

“Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

“And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.”2

As bidden by the angels, Mary Magdalene looked into the tomb, but it seems that all that registered in her mind was that the body of the Lord was gone. She hurried to report to the Apostles and, finding Peter and John, said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”3 Peter and John ran to the place and verified that indeed the tomb was empty, seeing “the linen clothes lying … and the napkin, that was about his head, … wrapped together in a place by itself.”4 John apparently was the first to comprehend the magnificent message of resurrection. He writes that “he saw, and believed,” whereas the others to that point “knew not the scripture, that [Jesus] must rise again from the dead.”5

Peter and John left, but Mary remained behind, still in mourning. In the meantime the angels had returned and tenderly asked her, “Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”6 At that moment the resurrected Savior, now standing behind her, spoke, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”7

Elder James E. Talmage wrote: “It was Jesus to whom she spake, her beloved Lord, though she knew it not. One word from His living lips changed her agonized grief into ecstatic joy. ‘Jesus saith unto her, Mary.’ The voice, the tone, the tender accent she had heard and loved in the earlier days lifted her from the despairing depths into which she had sunk. She turned, and saw the Lord. In a transport of joy she reached out her arms to embrace Him, uttering only the endearing and worshipful word, ‘Rabboni,’ meaning My beloved Master.”8

And so this blessed woman became the first mortal to see and speak to the resurrected Christ. Later that same day He appeared to Peter in or near Jerusalem;9 to two disciples on the road to Emmaus;10 and in the evening to 10 of the Apostles and others, appearing suddenly in their midst, saying, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”11 Then to further convince them “while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered,”12 He ate broiled fish and honeycomb before them.13 Later He instructed them, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”14

Other Sheep

jesuslambmedBeyond these confirmed witnesses in Jerusalem, we have the incomparable ministry of the risen Lord to ancient inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. In the land Bountiful, He descended from heaven and invited the assembled throng, some 2,500, to come forward one by one until they had all gone forth, thrusting their hands into His side and feeling the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet.15

“And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:

“Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.”16

Christ’s Resurrection shows that His existence is independent and everlasting. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.”17 Jesus said:

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”18

The Savior is not dependent on food or water or oxygen or any other substance or power or person for life. Both as Jehovah and Messiah, He is the great I Am, the self-existing God.19 He simply is and ever will be.

By His Atonement and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has overcome all aspects of the Fall. Physical death will be temporary, and even spiritual death has an end, in that all come back into the presence of God, at least temporarily, to be judged. We can have ultimate trust and confidence in His power to overcome all else and grant us everlasting life.

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”20

In the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “Christ’s victory over death ended the human predicament. Now there are only personal predicaments, and from these too we may be rescued by following the teachings of him who rescued us from general extinction.”21

jesusjusticemedHaving satisfied the demands of justice, Christ now steps into the place of justice; or we might say He is justice, just as He is love.22 Likewise, besides being a “perfect, just God,” He is a perfect, merciful God.23 Thus, the Savior makes all things right. No injustice in mortality is permanent, even death, for He restores life again. No injury, disability, betrayal, or abuse goes uncompensated in the end because of His ultimate justice and mercy.

By the same token, we are all accountable to Him for our lives, our choices, and our actions, even our thoughts. Because He redeemed us from the Fall, our lives are in reality His. He declared:

“Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.

“And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works.”24

Consider for a moment the significance of the Resurrection in resolving once and for all the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth and the great philosophical contests and questions of life. If Jesus was in fact literally resurrected, it necessarily follows that He is a divine being. No mere mortal has the power in himself to come to life again after dying. Because He was resurrected, Jesus cannot have been only a carpenter, a teacher, a rabbi, or a prophet. Because He was resurrected, Jesus had to have been a God, even the Only Begotten Son of the Father.

resurrected ChristmedTherefore, what He taught is true; God cannot lie.25

Therefore, He was the Creator of the earth, as He said.26

Therefore, heaven and hell are real, as He taught.27

Therefore, there is a world of spirits, which He visited after His death.28

Therefore, He will come again, as the angels said,29 and “reign personally upon the earth.”30

Therefore, there is a resurrection and a final judgment for all.31

Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, doubts about the omnipotence, omniscience, and benevolence of God the Father—who gave His Only Begotten Son for the redemption of the world—are groundless. Doubts about the meaning and purpose of life are unfounded. Jesus Christ is in fact the only name or way by which salvation can come to mankind. The grace of Christ is real, affording both forgiveness and cleansing to the repentant sinner. Faith truly is more than imagination or psychological invention. There is ultimate and universal truth, and there are objective and unchanging moral standards, as taught by Him.

Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, repentance of any violation of His law and commandments is both possible and urgent. The Savior’s miracles were real, as is His promise to His disciples that they might do the same and even greater works.32 His priesthood is necessarily a real power that “administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.”33 Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, death is not our end, and though “skin worms destroy [our bodies], yet in [our] flesh shall [we] see God.”34

President Thomas S. Monson tells of a Robert Blatchford who, 100 years ago “in his book God and My Neighbor, attacked with vigor accepted Christian beliefs, such as God, Christ, prayer, and immortality. He boldly asserted, ‘I claim to have proved everything I set out to prove so fully and decisively that no Christian, however great or able he may be, can answer my arguments or shake my case.’ He surrounded himself with a wall of skepticism. Then a surprising thing happened. His wall suddenly crumbled to dust. … Slowly he began to feel his way back to the faith he had scorned and ridiculed. What had caused this profound change in his outlook? His wife [had] died. With a broken heart, he went into the room where lay all that was mortal of her. He looked again at the face he loved so well. Coming out, he said to a friend: ‘It is she, and yet it is not she. Everything is changed. Something that was there before is taken away. She is not the same. What can be gone if it be not the soul?’”35

Did the Lord in reality die and rise again? Yes. “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”36

As the prophesied birth of Jesus drew near, there were those among the ancient Nephite and Lamanite peoples who believed, though most doubted. In due course, the sign of His birth arrived—a day and a night and a day without darkness—and all knew.37 Even so today, some believe in the literal Resurrection of Christ, and many doubt or disbelieve. But some know. In due course, all will see and all will know; indeed, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him.”38

Until then, I believe the many witnesses of the Savior’s Resurrection whose experiences and testimonies are found in the New Testament—Peter and his companions of the Twelve and dear, pure Mary of Magdala, among others. I believe the testimonies found in the Book of Mormon—of Nephi the Apostle with the unnamed multitude in the land Bountiful, among others. And I believe the testimony of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon who, after many other testimonies, proclaimed the great witness of this last dispensation “that he lives! For we saw him.”39 Under the glance of His all-seeing eye, I stand myself as a witness that Jesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer, and I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection.

Life vs. Abortion: Faith and Rescue

Abortion workers need rescue too

Even abortion clinic workers need the mercy of Christ

keyWhen  Johnson stepped in to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion and got a closer look at the brutal reality of abortion. Horrified by what she witnessed, Johnson realized the ocean of difference between Planned Parenthood’s carefully framed public image and what went on behind its closed doors.

plannedParenthoodAFABy Stacy Long
Standing outside an abortion clinic, it may be difficult to view compassionately the people who work inside, knowing their role. Abby Johnson, however, knows that they are also victims of the abortion industry and desperately in need of ministry. She knows because, once, she too was inside.

Truth takes over
Five years ago, Johnson was a model employee of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion services provider in the world. She even earned 2008 Employee of the Year. A clinic director in Bryan/College Station, Texas, with eight years of employment with Planned Parenthood, Johnson was confident in her career.

“I started working at Planned Parenthood because I believed I was genuinely helping women make the best choices for their lives,” Johnson writes on her website abbyjohnson.org. “I thought Planned Parenthood really believed in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, and, therefore, reducing the number of abortions.”

But that changed when Johnson stepped in to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion and got a closer look at the brutal reality of abortion. Horrified by what she witnessed, Johnson realized the ocean of difference between Planned Parenthood’s carefully framed public image and what went on behind its closed doors.

“In the last year of my employment, many things began to disturb me,” Johnson recalled, “the increase in our abortion quota, our new desire to expand late term abortion services and, in the end, watching a 13-week-old child in the womb struggle for his life and die during an abortion procedure.”

When Johnson made the decision to leave Planned Parenthood, she discovered another level to the deception. The one-time employee of the year found herself in court under a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood to have her silenced with a gag order.

The court dismissed the suit, and Johnson verified Planned Parenthood’s paranoia when she began to speak out about the truth of the abortion industry. Above all, she felt an urgency to correct the misconception she had herself fallen into by believing that the abortion industry is there to help women when, in fact, it hurts them.

“The thing most hidden by the abortion industry is that women regret their abortions,” Johnson told AFA Journal. “It’s something they live with for the rest of their lives. At some point in time, these women are going to grieve a lot for the child they aborted. And that’s something that the abortion industry desperately tries to keep quiet.”

baby_say_whatRescue requires healing
However, abortion workers are also injured by abortion, and they have become the focus for Johnson’s ministry. Soon after she had quit Planned Parenthood, workers began coming to Johnson’s door, asking for help and guidance.

“Seventeen workers came to me before I had even started a ministry, and my husband and I did what we could to help them financially so they could leave their jobs,” she said. “But when we had 17, I thought, ‘Okay, it’s time to start an official ministry reaching out to these workers and letting them know there is a way out.’ So that’s what we did; the ministry was started in June 2012, and since then we’ve had 80 more workers come to us.”

Suggesting that all workers in the abortion industry can be rescued and freed from their jobs – which would effectively shut down the abortion industry – Johnson has named her ministry And Then There Were None (attwn.org). The ministry helps workers in every way possible so that they can leave their jobs in the abortion industry.

“We provide emotional support through one-on-one relationships, and we also hold a healing retreat for former workers,” Johnson explained. “We provide legal support; Alliance Defending Freedom has partnered with us to support workers who are dealing with legal issues from their former employers.

“We support them spiritually. All who come to us are on a spiritual journey, so we want to connect them with a clergy member in their area who will support them and pray with them and also help them deal with the spiritual warfare – because the spiritual warfare after leaving the abortion industry is very great.

“We also provide financial help for them if they are in need during their transition out of abortion clinics. We don’t want them to feel like they have to stay in a clinic just because they need a paycheck.”

Often, when workers have found their way out of the industry, they are eager to speak out, as Johnson was, about the truth of the abortion industry. Johnson said ATTWN is willing to help in this area too, although it is not the main focus of the ministry.

“With a lot of workers who leave the industry, they know what’s going on, they’ve seen what’s happening to these women, and they want to speak out,” she said. “They want to shut down these clinics. That’s their heart’s desire.

“We can connect them with attorneys who can help them bring charges or expose information about things taking place in the clinics, and we’re always happy for them to do that, of course. But our main goal in ministry is to help them find healing. We do everything we can to help men and women feel a peace and joy they never felt inside the industry.”

Workers are reachable
And that is a mission that every prolife activist can easily take part in, simply by continuing to reach out with compassion and love to those inside as well as outside clinic walls.

“You just have to be there,” Johnson urged. “Show up where they work, outside their facility, and lovingly reach out to them. A lot of the time it seems like sidewalk counselors are hesitant to reach out to abortion clinic workers. But they are in a wonderful position for ministering to abortion clinic workers because they have the ability to develop a relationship with them. Unlike the woman walking in for one day to have an abortion, abortion clinic workers are there every day.”

Johnson encourages prolife activists and counselors to make an effort to reach clinic workers by trying to understand what may have led them into the job.  In her experience, Johnson has found that many abortion workers have suffered emotional damage from their own personal abortions.

Above all, it is important to remember that an abortion clinic worker is just like every other person – in need of spiritual rescue and restoration through Jesus Christ.

“They are sinners, like all of us,” Johnson said. “They’re all in need of God’s love and mercy. In that respect, they’re not any different than anyone else. They are misguided people, but they are reachable. No one is outside God’s reach. If we just show up and do His work, then we can leave the rest to Him, and He will reach the hearts of these workers.”

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Join the rescue squad

Learn more at attwn.org or call toll-free 888-570-5501. Website resources include:

▶ Downloadable flier for sidewalk counselors
▶ Johnson’s letter to abortion workers
▶ Form for reporting an incident at a clinic
▶ Testimonials from former workers
▶ Online donation form

Other recommended prolife sites:

liveaction.org
aul.org
all.org