17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Andrea Yates

The thought of what Andrea Yates did really horrifies me to no end. I can't bear to think that any mother could be capable of such acts. But in the context of eternal life and the gospel, wasn't she doing a service to those souls by giving them a sure ticket to the Celestial Kingdom? Haven't you ever wished you had died before the age of accountability rather than slog through a life filled with trial and affliction (or on your mission or some time in your life when you were at a spiritual peak)?

Our ultimate goal is the Celestial Kingdom, yet I usually feel just barely worthy of the Telestial. So why couldn't I have died young? And why do we mourn these innocent deaths (and I really do) when they get the ultimate reward?

My intellect and my spirit are in conflict on this issue. Any enlightening thoughts out there?


  • Is this a serious post? You're wondering if Andrea Yates did her children a _favor_ by drowning them in the bathtub? I don't see how under any scenario, religious or not, the grisly drowning of these children makes them somehow better off.
    posted by Anonymous ECS at 11/27/2006 03:49:00 PM  

  • Darn it, that came out wrong. Didn't mean to be so rude. Sorry, Squiddy.
    posted by Anonymous ECS at 11/27/2006 03:53:00 PM  

  • Well, aren't we working for the Celestial Kingdom? And didn't she ensure their entrance???? I'm NOT joking.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 11/27/2006 04:05:00 PM  

  • Squiddy,

    I've wondered the _exact_ same thing myself about this case. I'm glad you posed the question, since I'm as puzzled as you are about the matter.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/27/2006 04:14:00 PM  

  • Well, funny enough, Andrea Yates thought she was doing just that...saving them.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/27/2006 04:29:00 PM  

  • In the context of the gospel, the idea of Andrea Yates guaranteeing her children entrance into the Celestial Kingdom sounds a lot like Satan's plan. He wanted to guarantee everyone entrance into the celestial kingdom, too. But, we elected to follow Christ's plan and allow each person individual agency. I'd rather have my agency than a guaranteed ticket to the Celestial Kingdom. Being murdered before I was 8-years-old would have ripped away many of my most cherished experiences in this life, like getting married and having children.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/27/2006 04:50:00 PM  

  • I've been thinking about this exact topic as well. Two weeks ago here in South Bend, a mother killed her four young children (and then tried unsuccessfully to kill herself) in what was called by a social worker "altruistic filicide-suicide." The mother suffered from severe depression and was facing the prospect of her children being taken by their father. By all accounts, she loved her children very much. She may have truly believed that this was an act of love.

    Anonymous brings up a great point about this being so similar to Satan's plan.
    posted by Anonymous Melissa DM at 11/28/2006 06:42:00 AM  

  • In addition to it being similar to Satan's plan, it also completely thwarts the command to "multiply and replenish the earth". If everyone killed their children to make sure they made it into the Celestial Kingdom, there wouldn't be any children left on earth to grow up and become adults and have children. The entire human race would stop. Hardly an effective means of forwarding the Plan of Salvation when it brings it to entire stop. The promise to Abraham is to have endless generations. How can this be accomplished if the earth is utterly wasted, by people choosing death over life?
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/28/2006 06:53:00 AM  

  • It is my understanding that when you die before the age of 8 in the gospel, that it doesn't secure a place in the celestial kingdom, it rather means that ordinances won’t have to be preformed (baptism, temple…). The reason I don’t think that it’s an automatic shoe in is because there is still agency. Now chances are that children who die before 8 do choose Heavenly Fathers plan, after all they did once (we all did) and came down to earth for a body. Maybe that is why it is our job as parents to teach, guide, and prepare children, so that when death comes (at whatever age) we will be worthy of obtaining the celestial kingdom. Who knows what those dear children could have been when they grew up, or what they could have accomplished in the life that they would have made, or the love and joy they could have been in someone’s life, etc... Also, if you think about it, if she really did save her children by killing them, what would be the point of securing them a place in the celestial kingdom if when she died that she didn’t get to be with them? Seems to make the idea of the eternal family not so eternal. And what about the people who kill their children who don’t believe in God? Andrea Yates made a choice of her own will, but in turn she took away the opportunity of her kids growing up and exercising their agency, so what about the choice of the children? It makes me angry to here the stories like this, and it seems like there are far too many like this to be told. I’m at the point in my life that I don’t know if I will ever be blessed with children of my own (yes, in this life, I know), and that’s one reason that I get so heated. Children are born into families to be loved, watched over, care for, protected, nurtured, taught, etc. Heavenly Father sends down His children in hopes that He will see them again someday. I highly doubt that killing your children before they are 8 was what He had in mind. Hmmm, sorry so long, I realize that people may have a difference of opinion, which is fine, these are just my thoughts.
    posted by Anonymous JS at 11/28/2006 09:51:00 AM  

  • No, no, no....it was NOT what he had in mind! my fingers got infront of my brain.
    posted by Anonymous JS at 11/28/2006 10:01:00 AM  

  • (JS, I think it's OK that you said "was what He had in mind," since you prefaced it with "I highly doubt.")

    JS brings up a good point. I hadn't thought of it exactly that way, but I think she (or he) is right. Mormon told Moroni (Moro 8) that little children shouldn't be baptized because they don't need to be; they are "alive in Christ" and won't go to "an endless hell" if they die before the age of accountability, presumably because they are unable to sin the way adults can. Interestingly, Mormon testifies, "For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being" as part of his logic that God wouldn't leave poor little unbaptized children out to dry (pun not intended). By the same token, I think Mormon's statement supports JS's point that we all have equal chances under God's law to exercise our agency and ultimately return to Him or not.

    So maybe it follows in the case of children who die, as in the case of people who die without knowledge of the gospel or who die without receiving full blessings, they'll have their chance to be fully exalted (as in, accept the gospel, receive the ordinances of the temple, build an eternal family) at a later time (if time applies after we die).

    I remember when the Andrea Yates thing happened, the hardest part for me to understand was how Christ's atonement covered the confusion, fear, terror, etc. of those children who, for instance, watched their mother drown the other kids, and knew they were next. The fact that Christ understands all forms of suffering and can completely alleviate it through the Atonement applies here and in other cases like it, but it's still a mystery to me when I try to put it into words.

    Normally I don't comment on this blog, but this post and comments so far really made me think. Thanks.
    posted by Blogger Eliza at 11/28/2006 10:23:00 AM  

  • What about the Millenium? It is my understanding that after the first resurrection our spirits will return to our bodies in the way our bodies were laid to rest. D&C 45:58-59. So if we died as a child, we will return in the millenium as a child. Our bodies will then grow until they have reached their full maturity. I also have understood that during this time(the millenium) children will be raised by "worthy parents." They will get to have all of life's experiences. And Jesus Christ will be our King and lawmaker. They will get to exercise their free agency and ordinances can be performed. The only difference is who will be their "worthy parents"? I believe children will be adopted into worthy families, with parents that will teach and love these children. As a parent who lost a child this gives me hope, that one day I will have that opportunity to raise my child if I remain worthy to come forth in the first resurrection. As for Andrea Yates fate, I believe in a just Heavenly Father who knows each one of us and what is in our hearts and will judge all of us fairly and justly. Am I wrong?
    posted by Anonymous idaho at 11/28/2006 01:11:00 PM  

  • Which is the better gift: guaranteed exaltation, or agency? According to our doctrine it is agency, and Anonymous' point about her actions resembling Satan's plan is spot-on. By guaranteeing them exaltation (if that is in fact what happens) she gave them a good gift, but only by denying them the better gift of a chance to live their lives and exercise their agency.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/28/2006 08:16:00 PM  

  • Wow.

    I know it's pretty much been said, but what Andrea Yates did was NOT a favor to her children. I mean, I'm sure those kids are safe in Paradise with Christ right now --and perhaps they will be in the Celestial Kingdom --but I can't even begin to relate the horror I feel everytime I hear of Andrea Yates. I know she had severe post-partum, but I cannot imagine how a mother, who is supposed to protect her children, would murder them like that. Seriously, the whole situation makes me shake.

    I agree with what anonymous said. Nobody should have their life experiences taken away from them. I mean, isn't that why we're here? To learn, grow, experience, and enjoy? How can we do that if we're murdered by our mothers?
    Ooooh...I'm just so worked up. I better stop now...
    (not worked up at you, Squiddy, just at Andrea Yates).
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/28/2006 08:24:00 PM  

  • It is my understanding that Andrea Yates not only had severe post partum, but had also been medicated with anti-psychotics off and on over the course of her lifetime. So I think there's more to her mental health problems than just ppd.

    Possibly she did ensure their entrance to the CK. Probably they deserved it, having lived, ever so briefly, with a mother like her. But I will have to throw in my agreement with anonymous, that getting to the CK that way is Satan's way, not God's way, and anyone who believes killing children is doing them a favor really does need to be in a hospital for the rest of her life.

    It is a disturbing case, on many many levels, and one that we will probably never fully understand.
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 11/28/2006 09:09:00 PM  

  • Thanks for all the great insights and comments. Again, I hate to even think about these incidents because I believe in my soul there's a special Hell reserved for anyone who abuses or harms these innocent ones.

    I guess since I've had a lot of sadness and pain in my life (and severe depression that can't be fixed), the thought of dying young myself often seems a nice alternative to the mess I am as an adult. But still, death can't be the answer, even if we understand it to be a better place. The Savior suffered much much more, so who am I to complain -- I'm just that much more pathetic.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 11/29/2006 10:26:00 AM  

  • Your insight in the last paragraph now makes more sense as to why you'd post this. I initially thought the same as most......what the freak, is this for real??? Sorry you've had such pain and hurt, you can feel it in your initial post and comments. I do however have to agree that NO, it's not God's plan, it's just a sick, demented, cruel, horrific story. Nothing positive and "happily ever after" about it. Agency is the plan, and I'll take that over a free ticket anyday!
    posted by Anonymous msl at 11/29/2006 03:10:00 PM  

  • I always hate to see Andrea villified, with little to no mention made of her husband's role in the whole thing.
    From Wikipedia:

    According to trial evidence in 2006, Rusty Yates did not follow through with Dr. Saeed's medical orders not to leave Andrea unsupervised, as she was when Andrea killed her children. Without informing the doctor of his plans, Rusty announced to a family gathering the weekend before the tragedy of his decision to leave Andrea home alone for an hour in the morning and evening, so that she would not become totally dependent on him and his mother for her maternal responsibilities. Andrea's brother Brian Kennedy told Larry King on a broadcast of CNN's Larry King Live that Rusty expressed to him in 2001 while transporting Andrea to Devereux treatment facility that all depressed people needed is a "swift kick in the pants." Andrea's mother, Jutta Karin Kennedy, expressed shock at such a plan, insisting vehemently to Rusty that he not leave her alone. Mrs. Kennedy added that Andrea was not safe to leave alone with the children, citing that Andrea had recently fed her toothless infant Mary solid food which could have choked her, something Andrea was meticulously careful about when she was lucidly herself, Mrs. Kennedy said.

    Not that what she didn't isn't awful, but I don't think it's fair to imply that it's all her fault.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/29/2006 04:19:00 PM  

  • Thanks Starfoxy, I thought to add something similar but got distracted. I DEFINITELY think her husband was irresponsible to say the least.....so tragic.
    posted by Anonymous msl at 11/29/2006 04:33:00 PM  

  • Holy, cow! I had been so shocked and freaked out when the whole thing happened that I hadn't read anything about her husband --that is just sick. Yes, I would say he has some responsibility in what happened, for sure!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/29/2006 06:06:00 PM  

  • I have wrestled with this question in the past as well. I think we get closer to an answer when we remember that the ultimate goal in life is not simply to "make it to the Celestial Kingdom," but rather to become like God. The experience we gain in this earth life is essential to our progression toward Godhood. Children who die before the age of 8 will have to gain that experience one way or another in order to reach their ultimate goal. Even if there were such a thing as a free ticket to the CK for those who die before the age of 8 (and I am not convinced we believe that), there is definitely no such thing as a free ticket to becoming like God.

    So, I do not believe that Andrea Yates helped her children get closer to their ultimate goal of Godhood. Quite the opposite.
    posted by Blogger Todd L. at 12/04/2006 12:59:00 PM  

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