Prof. Richard G. Benefield

"It is by body, and I can do anything with it that I want to."  This is the claim of many religious people and people who believe in some type of religion.  If you want to destroy it gradually by abusing it, or instantly by killing yourself, then you can.  You can alcohol it, nicotine it, mutilate it, dope it, AIDS it, burn it, drown it, poison it, stab it, shoot it, hang it, disease it, and so on.  You can also psychologically damage it and kill it.  But why would you want to do any of these things?  Is suicide a normal act of behavior?  Is suicide self-murder?   Is religious suicide a normal act or is it immoral and sinful?  Does the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" forbid suicide?


"What?  know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."  Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  Christians should accept these passages.  Real Christians must not think that they can do anything they want to with their bodies.  They cannot and remain Christians.

Abortion, as a method of birth control, is the deliberate killing (murder) of a living thing.  Many abortions are now performed in the third trimester of pregnancy when many babies could live outside the womb as premature babies.  This baby killing practice is planned murder.  Scriptures of the Bible teach against all murder.


Is deliberate self-injury or mutilation a normal act of behavior?  Neither act is normal.  Religious suicide and all other acts of suicide are abnormal acts.  Many religionists, and non-religionists, often want to fulfill death wishes although they might not know it.  Death wishes can be cowardly wishes of "give up".  People should stand up to life not hope to end it.

"Escape from life" can be a coward's way out!  People ought to welcome the challenges to live life to the fullest.

If a person is psychotic (insane) then suicide often cannot be prevented.  Although the person is mentally ill the suicide act is yet abnormal.  There are times when an elderly person, because of suffering, wants to die.  Some elderly people or terminally ill suffer, and/or are so deeply depressed that they commit suicide.  Although many, perhaps most, of the suicidal people were not responsible for their behavior, their suicides would be abnormal behavior.

Assisted suicides are other acts of abnormal behavior.  People who help people kill themselves should be considered to be murderers.  Assisted suicides are against the law of God.  In many places they are against the secular law and are considered to be murders.  As long as there is life then a person or patient ought to be helped. There are times when miracles happen.

How many people would a person need to kill, or how many people would a person need to help commit suicide, before that person became insensitive to killing people?


Inference from numbers 1 and 2 above show that suicide is self-murder.  If a person is mentally normal, then self-murder is immoral and a severe evil.


No.  Religions, church denominations, and cults have many abnormal beliefs and practices.  The increase of Eastern religions and suicide cults have greatly increased the number of suicides in the United States and in other countries.


Yes.  See above.  "Thou shalt not kill."--Exodus 20:13.  Neither shall you kill yourself.


My maternal grandfather was near 90 years old, and a physician told my mother, "That old age wore out his mind."  That happens.  My grandfather wanted to kill himself.  In the first attempt he jumped into a dry water well (cistern).  My father climbed down on a rope and then carried grandfather out and he recovered from the attempt.  Later he jumped off of a windmill and was successful that time.  His suicide hurt his family and bothered his friends.

My paternal grandfather, William Lenin Benefield, was one of the leaders in Oklahoma's Green Corn Rebellion.  He helped lead 300 men in revolt against conscription (the draft) in World War I.  The revolt deteriorated into an outright limited war.  The Absentee Shawnee Indian tribe's Festival of Green Corn (Spring) started about the time of the rebellion, hence the name of the rebellion.

The Green corn rebels used dynamite and exploded bridges and railroad tracks in Eastern Oklahoma.  My grandfather, before the outbreak of the revolution, made speeches in open-air places, buildings, and some churches.  He opposed federal government power including the draft.  The rebellion included conflicts against some armed civilians, the National Guard, and the army.  The Battle of Corn Cobb Hill, near Sasaskwa, Oklahoma, ended the rebellion.  My grandfather, and another leader, were sentenced to 20 years in the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  The 300 men were sentenced to five years each, but all sentences later came under the federal amnesty program.

William Lenin Benefield never got over the rebellion and prison.  He committed suicide by swallowing poison.  He was 46 years old, married to a Mohah Choctaw woman, and father of eight children.  My father thought that, "Pa ran out on his family."  No other Benefield has ever attempted suicide.

I do not accept suicide as a way to solve problems.


Before I was excommunicated from a major denominational ministry, I preached (conducted) three suicide funerals near the end of the ministry.  I was called to Arkansas for one funeral.  It was for a manager of a large corporation.  The other two funerals were in Oklahoma.  Oh, how terribly suicides hurt families!  Indeed some people commit suicide to hurt some other people.

One funeral was in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  The suicide victim was a chef in a large inn.  He waded out into the water and shot himself in the head.  An Oklahoma City University graduate psychology class was given permission to attend the funeral in a closed room section of the funeral home.  They watched it on closed circuit television.  The victim was young, and left behind a lovely wife, and three children.  During the family part of the processional by the casket, she only said, "Why, why, why?"  I started the funeral sermon with, "This man did the best he could."  That was an assumption, but perhaps it was true.  Later the psychology professor mailed a letter to me, and explained that he and his class thought that the funeral service and sermon were really professional jobs.

When we got to the cemetery the victim was buried by his mother's grave.  Her tombstone date showed that she died young.  I asked the pallbearers, "How did his mother die so young?"  They said, "Suicide".  There are times when suicides appear to run in families and other times when they do not.  Suicide is a "wrong act" either way.


Suicides by celebrities do not make it either right or acceptable.

Terminally ill Ernest Hemmingway committed suicide.  So did famous actresses Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland.  So did many other famous people including many other movie stars.


Many military personnel committed suicide in the past.  Some religious war codes dictated many of the suicides.  The Japanese military acted on the Shinto religion's war code and on Buddhist suicide teachings during World War II.  Suicide was considered to be honorable.  But suicide is not honorable.



Teenage suicide is a leading cause of death among American teenagers.  Teenage self-murder statistics are high in many nations.  Yet, it is wrong and evil.


Buddhism is a suicide religion.  Buddha started it about 2,500 years ago.  He taught suicide to be a religious act.  Buddha committed suicide.  He practiced what he preached.  Cult leaders and many church denominational people commit suicide.  Regardless of so much religious involvement, religious suicide is evil, sinful at the present time in Judaism and non-Institutional Christianity.  But practices can change.

Religious suicide is an evil and abnormal practice.


I have taught university counseling courses, and did counseling for a state and an American Indian tribe and in pastoral ministries.  Many troubled people need counseling, and other psychological help, and/or care in psychiatry or psychoanalysis.  Referrals are often needed.

One of my counseling cases was a young American Indian lady who had a small child.  She attempted suicide by slashing her wrists which was a botched effort.  The scars on her wrists were very bad.  She jumped off of a railroad bridge in her second attempt but she lived.  She went to some other people for counseling, but eventually she was referred to me.

"Why do you want to die?" I asked this question upfront.  She said, "I have been to preachers and to a psychologist.  The preachers told me what a nice place heaven is, and that it will have green trees, and rippling brooks."  She wiped away some tears and said, "I want to go there as soon as possible."  It was time for reality therapy.  Her illusions needed to be shaken out of her before it was too late.  I told her, "If you murder yourself, then you will reduce yourself to a pile of rotten worm meat."  She immediately started crying very hard.  "But preachers never told me that," she stated.  "Kill yourself and there will be no rippling brooks, green trees, or happy hunting ground," I told her.  She was so upset that she had to be referred to more professional help.

Much later she contacted me.  She got married and she and her husband had a baby.  "Thank you,"  she said, "for being real with me."  I returned, "Okay, but I wasn't sure at the time."  Then she explained the strongest reason why she wanted to die and attempted suicide.  "My father seduced me, and I  got pregnant.  My first baby was my father's baby."  She said, "An Indian tribal religion can't make that right or take away the hurt."  Other counseling followed, and this counseling case concluded by being about as successful as it could be, given all the circumstances.


Many people commit murder and then commit suicide.  This is often in the news media.  People who threaten to commit suicide often do it.  Those who threaten suicide, those who have attempted to do it, and people who are in a high risk category to commit suicide need professional help from the mental health profession.

Religions, many, teach that suicide is a noble act, which it is not.  Many, probably most, church denominations are not qualified to offer professional help.  Many clergypersons are too otherworldly and to nonrealistic to help, but not to hurt.  Cults certainly are not qualified to offer professional help.  But they can further damage people, encourage them to commit suicide, and often set examples by committing suicide.


Religious suicide, and all other types of suicide are immoral, non-ethical, wrong and evil.  They are also abnormal acts.