Sunday, February 03, 2013

Suicide: "You've got to go back"

God has laid it on my heart today to blog a story that I believed I had blogged years ago. After a long time searching the Internet, this site, and W4 and not finding the story, I searched my computer, found the links in a document, and used the Wayback Machine (hurray for the Wayback Machine) to find the story.

Via the WM, here is the story from 2005. David Preuitt, a former lumberjack in Oregon, tried to commit suicide using prescribed drugs. He slept for several days,  woke up, and told the people around him that while he was out of it he heard a voice saying, "David, I don't want you to do it this way. You've got to go back." Information in this story (also via the WBM) indicates that David Preuitt was not a particularly good candidate for religious suggestions. He was a hard-living logger with a rape conviction and prison term behind him.

After he came back, David insisted to his wife Lynda that she needed to be a voice and to get out the message to other people not to commit suicide, that suicide was not the way to heaven. She attempted to do so, but unfortunately, the story seems to have dropped off the current links on the Internet. Most current stories about David Preuitt just talk about the scandal of David's not having died--the drugs were not effective in the way that they were supposed to have been. The possibility that God really did, you know, send a message back with David against suicide doesn't get much press.

Readers know that I'm more the rationalist type, but evidence is evidence, and this story needs to be heard. The fact that Dave Preuitt's story accords with Christian tradition as well as with the biblical teaching against murder (in this case, the killing of oneself) is confirmatory. The Apostle John said to test the spirits, and in this case there is no biblical reason to believe that David Preuitt's message is not veridical. I preserve the story and the links through the WBM here in case anyone should be looking for them later. Hopefully they will find them this way.


Jeff Culbreath said...

Great story, Lydia! Thanks for telling it. My son has some thoughts on the subject today as well:

Lydia McGrew said...

Thanks, Jeff! I was much struck by the story at the time and was astonished to find now years later that I never wrote about it on-line. It was surprisingly hard to find it again.

Was that just a coincidence that the Maestro blogged about suicide at about the same time, or had he read this post?

Jeff Culbreath said...

I think the story (assuming it is true) is important on several levels. The redemptive element is also illuminating.

As for my son's post, I'm sure it was just a coincidence ... he's been ruminating on similar topics for a while.

Lydia McGrew said...

If I were to choose to be skeptical about the story, it would be about the interpretation of what Preuitt experienced, not about the external facts. Evidently there's no question that he was a real person who tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide, and it looks like his wife really did tell this story on his behalf. I wouldn't see any reason to think that he had made it up, either.

Granting all that, the remaining question is whether it was a veridical communication from God as opposed to a vivid dream that he had while under the drugs. I don't have a super-strong opinion on that subject, but I would say the evidence tilts in the direction of its having been veridical, particularly when we consider the fact that the message in question does appear to be the kind of message God would want to send.