Remembering The Weeping God of Mormonism;Or Why I Wear A Poppy

I live just outside the city where John McCrae was bornmccrae.  The week of Remembrance Day, I always try to take a few minutes to stop by the small house where he was born.  It now houses a museum that commemorates his life.  McCrae is probably best known for scribbling a thirteen line poem on a scrap of paper, following the horror he had seen at Ypres.

"One can see the dead lying there on the front field," McCrae wrote ‘And in places where the enemy threw in an attack, they lie very thick on the slopes of the German trenches."   He worked on the bank of the Yser Canal, dressing hundreds of wounded. At times the dead and wounded actually rolled down the bank from above his dugout. Other times, while awaiting the arrival of batches of wounded, he would watch the men at work in the burial plots which were quickly filling up.   Finally, McCrae and his unit were relieved and he wrote home: "We are weary in body and wearier in mind. The general impression in my mind is one of a nightmare".   

Today, I remember the dead, those who "lived, felt dawn, [and] saw sunset glow".  Those, who innocently and not so innocently, were drawn into the vortex of the nightmare of war.  My own history is complex — I would generally place myself among those who seek for peace at all costs, yet my own family has been deeply touched and helped by war.  Some were liberated from Westerbork by Canadian soldiers, others died in the horrors of Auschwitz, Terezin and Bergen-Belsen.  These are central to my remembering as well.

Perhaps more than anything though, I remember our weeping God, who as an anguished parent lamented, "Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave them their knowledge in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father, but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;".

My poppy reminds me to strive to use my agency wisely, to work for peace and most of all to remember God’s love for his children and His eternal hopes that we will learn to keep His commandment to love each other.  Today as I pin it to my coat, and brave the cold November winds, I will remember.


  1. Thanks, Kris.
    Much love from this Briton to our Canadian friends today.

  2. Thanks for spreading the Commonwealth love, Ronan :)

  3. Thanks, Kris, from this Yankee, for all those Canadians who gave their lives in Flanders, on Vimy Ridge, at Dieppe.

    Let us never forget, though poppies grow in Flanders’ fields.

  4. Since seeing the stark and impressionistic red poppy memorial signs in France, I have always loved them. Thank you for the great reminder.

  5. Kris,
    Since I am only an occiasional visitor of this and other blogs, I am often way behind the times!

    I am another Yankee thanking you for this post. Beautiful. Thank you to those who have made comments as well. It gives me hope that people “remember” what “Rememberence Day” is all about. I have a living (really!) friend who served in the U.S. Army during WWI. He lied about his age but is still well over 100! I sent him an “Armistace Day Card.” I was also heartened to see a “Great War” display at my local public library in Salt Lake City. A woman who works there refuses to forget and her efforts help the neighborhood not to forget either.


  1. […] Elder Richard Hinckley has suggested that we keep a record of “what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means to me.” I invite you to contribute your thoughts below, thus creating a bloggernacle e-record to reflect Elder Hinckley’s challenge. Here’s what the Church means to me: Friendship and fellowship, the kind that transcends nations. A sense of reason and purpose amidst the madness of this world. A vision of Greater Things, a perspective of God and humanity that takes our souls to the stars but demands we keep our feet on the earth. The beauty of practical ethics, morality and sacrifice. Covenants and solemn promises for good. Family. Angel Moroni in the sunshine. The terrible empathy of Mormonism’s weeping God. The latter-day testament of Jesus the Christ. And much more… […]

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