When you sue God you are going to lose!
As a kid growing up I use to watch the show Cops and wonder, do police officers like watching the show or are they so tired of their job by the end of the day it is the last thing that they want to watch. Well, having gone through law school and now being a practicing attorney, I find myself loving law shows like Suits, Franklin and Bash, and The Good Wife. I also enjoy reading various legal cases that are on interesting topics.
With regards to religious cases, I tend to find it interesting when someone tries to sue God or the Devil for the things that have gone wrong with their lives. Here are a couple examples of people trying to sue God or the Devil:
Senator Ernie Chambers v. God:
Nebraska Democratic State Senator Ernie Chambers decided to go straight to the heavens in an effort to stop natural disasters from occurring. Chambers filed a lawsuit against God in Douglas County Court in 2008. The suit asks for a "permanent injunction ordering Defendant (God) to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats."
The lawsuit identifies the plaintiff as, "the duly elected and serving State Senator from the 11th Legislative District in Omaha, Nebraska." Chambers also cites that the, "defendant directly and proximately has caused, inter alia, fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornados, pestilential plagues…"
While Chambers bases his ability to sue God, as, "that defendant, being omnipresent, is personally present in Douglas County," the Judge in the case dismissed the suit because God could not be properly notified, not having an address.
Gerald Mayo v. Satan & his staff:
In 1971, the case of United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff was filed before the United States district court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. In the case, Gerald Mayo alleged that "Satan has on numerous occasions caused plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats, against the will of plaintiff, that Satan has placed deliberate obstacles in his path and has caused plaintiff's downfall" and had therefore "deprived him of his constitutional rights".
Mayo asserted that he would not be able to afford the costs associated with his lawsuit and that they therefore should be waived. The Court refused the request to wave the fees because Mayo had not included instructions for how the U.S. Marshal could serve notice on Satan.
In life it seems that when things are going great we tend take all the credit. We tell ourselves that we are great and that everything we have is because of our labors. Conversely, when things go wrong, we tend to blame God or the Devil for all the trials in life. In both instances, we are wrong. Heavenly Father is a gracious father who wants to bless his children. At every corner he is looking for ways to help us better are lives. He is not a mean overlord with a magnifying glass looking down from heaven and frying his children.
To bless us, Heavenly Father has given us the Book of Mormon and the Bible that lets us know the laws that we must follow to receive blessings from heaven (See D&C 130:20–21). The formula is simple (but not always easy to follow), if we follow the laws of heaven we will be blessed. So Heavenly Father is not to blame for our trials.
So if Heavenly Father isn’t to blame, then it must be Satan’s fault when life does not go well? Again, this is incorrect. Satan can certainly tempt us to do wrong. He can put obstacles before us in the hopes that we will stumble and fall. However, just as Heavenly Father is not to blame for our trials, neither is Satan. It is up to us to choose to follow Heavenly Father’s plan. As we do, we will be blessed and supported by the Holy Ghost to choose the right.
So it is just that simple, we just need to choose the right. But life is never that simple. Since, Heavenly Father loves us he gave us prophets and apostles to guide us in choosing the right. In a 1993 conference talk, Elder L. Tom Perry shared a great story about choosing the right:
On a recent trip to New Zealand, I met with a mission president who wore a beautiful tie tack with the inspiring CTR, or “Choose the Right,” emblem. I had the impression that there must be a story behind this unique CTR pin. When I returned home, I wrote him a thank-you letter and asked him about his tie tack. I received this answer:
“You are very perceptive. Yes, there is a story behind the tie tack I’m wearing. I have a number of tie tacks I really prize. They have been gifts from my children, my wife, and friends. However, I choose to wear this beautiful silver shield inlaid with lovely blue turquoise, with the inspiring CTR emblem of our Primary.
“Why? I suppose it started back when I was a bishop and had an interview with a good-looking young man who was to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. He told me a special story. He related to me how one day after school, he and some of his friends found a package of cigarettes. They decided to go down on the cliff alongside some large boulders and smoke them. They lit up, and the young man said that as he was looking down at the smoldering cigarette that he held between his fingers, he saw his CTR ring. He quickly put the cigarette out and made a very wise choice, never ever to do such a thing again. He chose to choose the right, as he remembered what the emblem stood for. From this story I gained a special love for the CTR emblem.
“Now for the story of how I came to be a recipient of the CTR tie tack. A few weeks ago before coming to New Zealand as a mission president, I was in the Kayenta Ward in Kayenta, Arizona. As I was saying some tender farewells to many of my Navajo friends, a remarkable young Navajo bishop gave me a big hug, then removed his tie tack and pinned it on my tie. As he did so, he asked me not to forget him.
“Now here in New Zealand, the last thing I do every morning as I dress for this great calling is to pin my tie tack with this beautiful silver and turquoise CTR emblem on my tie. I love it! It helps this old boilermaker make the right choices throughout the day. I know that it also helps fulfill the prophetic promise made to my wife and me from President Gordon B. Hinckley as he laid his hands on our heads and set us apart.
“He said words to this effect: ‘You will have an instant bonding of love for every missionary in your mission.’ I can’t tell you how many times that a missionary, during a visit, has said something like this: ‘President Gardner, I love your tie tack.’ And then he or she will show me their CTR ring.
“I believe that Navajo bishop was inspired to give me the tie tack and that I make the right decision every day when I choose to wear it. And the beautiful blue and silver CTR pin is helping bond me to a royal army of missionaries in the New Zealand Wellington Mission.
“I appreciate the opportunity of relating to you my special experience associated with this great Primary children’s motto, ‘Choose the Right.’”
May everyone have the strength and power to choose the right!