Hush, Sonia! I am not laughing. I know myself that it was the devil leading me. Hush, Sonia, hush! he repeated with gloomy insistence. I know it all, I have thought it all over and over and whispered it all over to myself, lying there in the dark.… I've argued it all over with myself, every point of it and I know it all, all! And how sick, how sick I was then of going over it all! I kept wanting to forget it and make a new beginning, Sonia and leave off thinking. And you don’t suppose that I went into it headlong like a fool? I went into it like a wise man and that was just my destruction. And you mustn't suppose that I didn't know, for instance, that if I began to question myself whether I had the right to gain power—I certainly hadn't the right—or that if I asked myself whether a human being is a louse it proved that it wasn't so for me, though it might be for a man who would go straight to his goal without asking questions.… If I worried myself all those days, wondering whether Napoleon would have done it or not, I felt clearly of course that I wasn't Napoleon. I had to endure all the agony of that battle of ideas, Sonia and I longed to throw it off: I wanted to murder without casuistry, to murder for my own sake, for myself alone! I didn't want to lie about it even to myself. It wasn't to help my mother I did the murder—that’s nonsense—I didn't do the murder to gain wealth and power and to become a benefactor of mankind. Nonsense! I simply did it; I did the murder for myself, for myself alone and whether I became a benefactor to others, or spent my life like a spider, catching men in my web and sucking the life out of men, I couldn't have cared at that moment.… And it was not the money I wanted, Sonia, when I did it. It was not so much the money I wanted, but something else.… I know it all now.… Understand me! Perhaps I should never have committed a murder again. I wanted to find out something else; it was something else led me on. I wanted to find out then and quickly whether I was a louse like everybody else or a man. Whether I can step over barriers or not, whether I dare stoop to pick up or not, whether I am a trembling creature or whether I have the right … To kill? Have the right to kill? Sonia clasped her hands. Ach, Sonia! he cried irritably and seemed about to make some retort, but was contemptuously silent. Don’t interrupt me, Sonia. I want to prove one thing only, that the devil led me on then and he has shown me since that I had not the right to take that path, because I am just such a louse as all the rest. He was mocking me and here I've come to you now! Welcome your guest! If I were not a louse, should I have come to you? Listen: when I went then to the old woman’s I only went to try. … You may be sure of that! And you murdered her! But how did I murder her? Is that how men do murders? Do men go to commit a murder as I went then? I will tell you some day how I went! Did I murder the old woman? I murdered myself, not her! I crushed myself once for all, for ever.… But it was the devil that killed that old woman, not I. Enough, enough, Sonia, enough! Let me be! he cried in a sudden spasm of agony, let me be!
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I think one of the sweetest lessons taught by the Prophet and yet one of the saddest, occurred close to the time of his death. He was required to leave his plan and vision of the Rocky Mountains and give himself up to face a court of supposed justice.These are his words: 'I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God and towards all men' (D&C 135:4). That statement of the Prophet teaches us obedience to law and the importance of having a clear conscience toward God and toward our fellowmen. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught these principles--by example.There was to be one great final lesson before his mortal life ended. He was incarcerated in Carthage Jail with his brother Hyrum, with John Taylor and with Willard Richards. The angry mob stormed the jail; they came up the stairway, blasphemous in their cursing, heavily armed and began to fire at will. Hyrum was hit and died. John Taylor took several balls of fire within his bosom. The Prophet Joseph, with his pistol in hand, was attempting to defend his life and that of his brethren and yet he could tell from the pounding on the door that this mob would storm that door and would kill John Taylor and Willard Richards in an attempt to kill him.And so his last great act here upon the earth was to leave the door and lead Willard Richards to safety, throw the gun on the floor and go to the window, that they might see him, that the attention of this ruthless mob might be focused upon him rather than the others. Joseph Smith gave his life. Willard Richards was spared and John Taylor recovered from his wounds.'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends' (John 15:13). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught us love--by example.
Thomas S. Monson