June 15th, 2011
12:03 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Among the 24,000 pages of e-mail from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin released on Friday, one message stands out for its signature line. It's signed by the "Creator" and "Your Heavenly Father." In other words, God.
Palin sent the e-mail to family and friends in April 2008 in anticipation of the birth of her and her husband Todd's fifth child, Trig. Palin knew her son would have Down syndrome, and the e-mail is a meditation on that knowledge and on how others should view him in light of the diagnosis.
"I am blessing you with this surprise baby because I only want the best for you," the e-mail message begins. "I've heard your prayers that this baby will be happy and healthy, and I've answered them because I only want the best for you!"
Palin included most of the e-mail in her 2009 book Going Rogue.
"In my research on Down syndrome, I learned that these special kids most often bring joy into their family’s lives," she wrote in that book, explaning her decision to pen a note in the voice of God. "While they had developmental challenges, they were also affectionate, generous, and cheerful. Rather than focus on what could be perceived as negative, I wanted our loved ones to focus on the fact that this baby, every baby, has purpose, and that not only would he learn from us, but we would learn from him."
"I decided to write the letter as though it were from Trig’s Creator, the same Creator in whom I had put my trust more than thirty years before," she continued in Going Rogue. "I hoped that even though this new baby would present challenges, we’d trust that God knew best, that He didn’t make mistakes."
The e-mail message released last week includes lines that Palin edited out of her book.
For instance, Palin - channeling the voice of God - wrote in her message that a Down syndrome child will make family and friends rethink traditional notions of perfection. The e-mail released last week includes subsequent lines that were edited out of Going Rogue:
The full e-mail message is below. What do you think of the idea of penning a note from God? Let us know in comments.
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2008 14:17:11
To the Sisters, Brother, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Friends of Trig Paxson Van Palin (or whatever you end up naming him!) :
I am blessing you with this surprise baby because I only want the best for you. I've heard your prayers that this baby will be happy and healthy, and I've answered them because I only want the best for you!
I heard your heart when you hinted that another boy would fit best in the Palin family, to round it out and complete that starting five line-up. Though another girl would be so nice, you didn't think you could ask for what you REALLY wanted, but I knew, so I gave you a boy because I only want the best for you!
Then, I put the idea in your hearts that his name should be "Trig", because it's so fitting, with two Norse meanings: "True" and "Brave Victory". You also have a Bristol Bay relative with that name, so I knew it would be best for you!
Then, I let Trig's mom have an exceptionally comfortable pregnancy so she could enjoy every minute of it, and I even seemed to rush it along so she could wait until near the end to surprise you with the news – that way Piper wouldn't have so long to wait and count down so many days – just like Christmastime when you have to wait, impatiently, for that special day to finally open your gift? (Or the way the Palins look forward to birthday celebrations that go on for three, four days... you all really like cake.) I know you, I knew you'd be better off with just a short time to wait!
Then, finally, I let Trig's mom and dad find out before he was born that this little boy will truly be a GIFT. They were told in early tests that Trig may provide more challenges, and more joy, than what they ever may have imagined or ever asked for. At first the news seemed unreal and sad and confusing. But I gave Trig's mom and dad lots of time to think about it because they needed lots of time to understand that everything will be OK, in fact, everything will be great, because I only want the best for you!
I've given Trig's mom and dad peace and joy as they wait to meet their new son. I gave them a happy anticipation because they asked me for that. I'll give all of you the same happy anticipation and strength to deal with Trig's challenges, but I won't impose on you...
I just need to know you want to receive my offer to be with all of you and help you everyday to make Trig's life a great one.
This new person in your life can help everyone put things in perspective and bind us together and get everyone focused on what really matters.
The baby will expand your world and let you see and feel things you haven't experienced yet. He'll show you what "true, brave victory" really means as those who love him will think less about self and focus less on what the world tells you is "normal" or "perfect". You will grow and be blessed with greater understanding that will be born along with Trig.
Trig will be his dad's little buddy and he'll wear Carhartts while he learns to tinker in the garage. He'll love to be read to, he'll want to play goalie, and he'll steal his mom's heart just like Track, Bristol, Willow and Piper did. And Trig will be the cuddly, innocent, mischievous, dependent little brother that his siblings have been waiting for...in fact Trig will – in some diagnostic ways – always be a mischievous, dependent little brother, because I created him a bit different than a lot of babies born into this world today.
Every child is created special, with awesome purpose and amazing potential. Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed up world you live in down there on earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome. Doctors call it "Down's Syndrome", and Downs kids have challenges, but can bring you much delight and more love than you can ever imagine! Just wait and see, let me prove this, because I only want the best for you!
Some of the rest of the world may not want him, but take comfort in that because the world will not compete for him. Take care of him and he will always be yours!
Trig's mom and dad don't want people to focus on the baby's extra chromosome. They're human, so they haven't known how to explain this to people who are so caring and are interested in this new little Alaskan. Sarah and Todd want people to share in the joy of this gift I'm giving to the Palin family, and the greater Alaska family. Many people won't understand... and I understand that. Some will think Trig should not be allowed to be born because they fear a Downs child won't be considered "perfect" in your world. (But tell me, what do you earthlings consider "perfect" or even "normal" anyway? Have you peeked down any grocery store isle, or school hallway, or into your office lunchroom lately? Or considered the odd celebrities you celebrate as "perfect" on t.v.? Have you noticed I make 'em all shapes and sizes? Believe me, there is no "perfect"!)
Many people will express sympathy, but you don't want or need that, because Trig will be a joy. You will have to trust me on this.
I know it will take time to grasp this and come to accept that I only want the best for you, and I only give my best. Remember though: "My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts... for as the heavens are higher than the earth, my ways are higher than yours!"
I wrote that all down for you in the Good Book! Look it up! You claim that you believe me – now it's time to live out that belief!
Please look to me as this new challenge and chapter of life unfolds in front of you. I promise to equip you. I won't give you anything you can't handle. I am answering your prayers. Trig can't wait to meet you. I'm giving you ONLY THE BEST!
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.