hildale flash flood flds
The Virgin River in Zion National Park before the flash floods

The flash floods that devastated Utah last week are now blamed for 20 deaths, and I for one would like to know where God was during this catastrophe which included 13 children of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

Was he at LaVell Edwards Stadium helping the BYU Cougars defeat Boise State?

Was he helping someone win the lottery?

The answer is, we’ll never know.

As someone once said, “If I can know the mind of God, then God isn’t God.”

Although if God had a hand in the suffering and death of innocent children by killing them in the murky waters of the flash floods created by the Virgin River, then I have to say it out loud: he is an evil God.

I can’t imagine the pain and suffering of the families of the seven hikers from California and Nevada who were killed in the flash floods in Zion National Park while hiking and rappelling in the slot canyons of Keyhole Canyon.

As a mother and a member of an extended family, I can’t fathom the pain and suffering that, due to the Hildale flash flood, FLDS community members are going through over the loss of their mothers, sisters, brothers, and children.

Which again raises the question of God’s intentions. If he smites a community that loves him so much that they fight the government over their interpretation of His word, what hope do the rest of us have for survival?

Again, as someone who considers herself a deist, I have no difficulty with the connection of nature and suffering. Nature, including natural disasters, is indifferent, and that leaves no one to stop the cruel deeds of evil humans or the devastation of natural disasters or disease.

However, if we are to believe in God, we face the big question: why in the world would a loving God allow such evil things to happen to people, especially children? If he loves our children more than we do, why would he create a world filled with horrors and not save them?

The doubter in me sees these floods not as an act of God but a cold fact of nature, although I am sure someone will point out to me that the Bible speaks about loss in the story of Job and God’s hand in the killing of his 10 children.

According to the story, there was a wind storm that blew down Job’s house, and he was confronted with the fact that, because of a natural disaster, there would soon be 10 fresh graves—all of his children’s—on the hilltop. How would he react to this loss?

His wife says to curse God and die. But Job said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” And he went on with his (doomed) life.

I, for one, am not buying it.

These floods, likes Job’s “wind,” were natural disasters. I hope (to God) that He wasn’t lending a hand to a football player didn’t stand by and watch as the people in Utah drowned as some of them, most likely, even called out his name. If he did, in fact, turn his back while the waters swept people away who loved and believed in him, who had families and people who cared for them and are devastated by their deaths, then truth be told, he is no God of mine.

“Why should I allow that same God to tell me how to raise my kids, who had to drown His own?” — Robert Ingersoll



  1. Thank you for this opinion which I happen to share. I learned a long time ago that I didn’t need to give 10 percent of my wage to guarantee my happiness or safety from the powers of evil. I’m a utah atheist and while I will never try to persuade people in the direction I have chosen it is quite refreshing to me for someone to openly share the same beliefs I have! Thank you Robert!

  2. We live in a fallen world. Death and sickness entered into the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. God warned them that this would happen but they still did it anyway. God gave man free will and man chose to go his own way instead of God’s way, and this is the end result of it. So this lady asks what kind of God would allow something like this flood to happen and these people to be killed? Well I say what kind of God allows his own son to be flogged and crucified on a cross? A loving God, that’s who. He paid the penalty for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to, and he conquered death and the grave, so death is nothing to fear, this life is temporary, we’re just passing through on our way to a glorious eternity where there will be no more death and suffering. THAT’S who my God is!

  3. I have always wondered why, when something good happens, people say, “Thank God!” But something like this flood is blamed on “Mother Nature.”

    If God gets the credit for good stuff, she should get the blame for bad stuff. Fair is fair.

    But I also agree with Tandemrock … sort of. Writing (or talking) about people’s relationship to their God never does any good and I don’t do it anymore. Occasionally, I can get motivated enough to toss off a comment (like now) but I never bring up the subject myself. People just don’t respond well.

  4. I believe one can know the mind of god, if you further believe that you are an integral part of the universe, it makes sense that you have at least some access to god’s mind, or intent, because it’s YOU. These deaths have nothing to do with god’s intent, or where he was. The natural world is where we presently exist; it likely cannot be transcended at this time. We therefore are subject to both the beauty and the terror this reality contains. My thought is that we must be alert, and thoughtful and yes, wary – if we want to avoid a similar fate.

  5. How can any human being claim to be able to define who God is and what he would do? If there is a God only He could do that. All we have are the scriptures and latter-day prophets if you beieve in such a thing. If we don’t belive in them then there can be no definition of who He is if He indeed exists. Why even ask where he was if you don’t believe in him?
    God created ths earth and set things in motion for our experience. If everything was perfect how coud we learn and grow? God allows such things to happen to teach us humility and to give us opportunties to serve others. I see God in the actions of the volunteers and rescue personel who helped those affected by the floods. I see God in the expressions of love and prayers offered on their behalf.

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