Short Stories » Deaf and Dumb
THE child who is possessed of the five senses, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and speech, and has a well-formed body, is greatly blessed, though lowly and poor, whether he knows it or not. To be a cripple is an affliction; to inherit a sickly body is a serious barrier to enjoyment. Then how thankful children should be who have sound bodies and all their faculties! Imagine a watch or a sewing-machine with one or more parts missing ! There are so few cases among the Latter-day Saints of .physical or mental deficiency that our children cannot realize how it is out in the world. If we placed a proper value upon these gifts of God, we would never use them unwisely.
We would not lend our eyes to gaze upon forbidden pleasures (gambling, horse-racing, evil company) or books, such as by false teaching or fascinating stories lead the mind astray; our ears to listen to calumnies, profanity, or impure conversation; our. tongues to speak falsely, or taste intoxicating drinks, or tobacco, or in saying anything we should be ashamed of.
In resisting these temptations lies the chief trial of life. "What!" asks one, "do the chief evils of life come through the use of eyes, ears, and tongue ? I thought it was what we did." Yes, but your eyes, ears, and tongue lead you into the acts. The souls of the blind are unsullied by sights of sin. The hearts of the deaf have never ached in response to angry tones. The tongues of the dumb have never uttered profanity.
When I have heard and seen children quarreling, with discordant voices, and darting angry looks as challenges or resentment, I have wished that I might take them to an institution where the deaf, dumb, and blind reside. I think their hearts would be touched with pity and sorrow.
Look upon the eyes that have never seen one of the millions of beautiful things in this world, the ears that have never heard music or a loving voice that exist in eternal blank. Think of the tongues like frozen brooks, fettered prisoners that cannot utter one sound, though in peril or the pains of death. Try to realize such a life as this would be, or all of these combined, and then ask yourself if God has slighted you.
But the fortunate possessor of all these gifts must not be too sure that they are his, or his to keep ; they are not; God has lent them to us, and requires us to make a wise use of them.
Some have kept these blessings all their lives, but I have known of instances to the contrary. In two cases, where falsehood and abuse had been exercised, the parties were for several days before death unable to speak. Tears and anguish of the countenance told plainly of the soul's punishment, but the words of repentance could not then be spoken ; it was too late ! There have been many instances of God's visitation and judgment. O children of the Latter-day Saints, you have been taught of the watch that is over you by day and by night! Shun such dangers, and live in such a manner that you may feel a right to claim the blessing and protection of the heavenly Parent.
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