It's amazing how a single choice can alter your whole life. I've been struggling to post about something so personal in my life because I didn't know what to say or even how to feel about it. My husband called me last week from work and asked me if I'd seen the article that the Salt Lake Tribune posted about my cousin being arrested for murder. I told him no and I hurried and logged on to read the article and was in complete shock. You can read the specific article here. Basically, my cousin, Henry Kaufusi, beat his girlfriend's ex-husband to death. I was so confused when I read the article and thought for sure that there had to have been a mistaken identity. I've grown up knowing Henry since I was little. He's never even been one to get into fights or cause trouble. He started a clothing company where he promoted the talents of polynesians in pursuit of their dreams in all different areas of life. What we call the Poly Movement. I couldn't wrap my mind around what he did.
This past week's reading really hit home for me while I was going through this roller coaster of emotions. It's easy to read this article and automatically pass judgement on a man accused of beating someone senseless. . . .even to death, but it's different when you actually know the accused as someone being THEE total opposite of this terrible, terrible act of violence. Of course, Henry isn't perfect and has made many mistakes in his life just as we all have, but this? This is so unimaginable, yet it happened. I am in no way passing judgement on my cousin, who I love so much, but my eyes were opened in a different way when reading Elder Dallin H. Oaks conference report from the Ensign, Oct. 2001, where he says, "the Final Judgement is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts - what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts - what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become."
I have complete compassion and so much love for all those that are grieving the loss of Sione Mangisi, which is the man that was murdered. I can't even to begin to comprehend their grief. I, honestly, shed so many tears on their behalf for their loss. I also shed many tears for my cousin, Henry. I have no idea what caused him to go over the edge, but that single choice has altered the life of so many people. No one can relate to this horrible tragedy like the Savior can for He literally prayed for those that were crucifying Him on the cross and asked His father to please 'forgive them for they know not what they do.'
I broke down when I explained to my kids about this tragedy and took the opportunity to teach them about how a single choice can alter your whole life. My kids cried with me because they know I'm not a crier, but to see me in such a vulnerable and sad state made them feel the same way. I bore my testimony to them on the atonement of Christ. How it's everything! It's the only thing I can turn to when I can't even comprehend the things of the world and what's going on in it. It's my only source of comfort and I hope and pray that they realize that as well. It's helping me to heal from this horrific tragedy.