~by Heather L.
A few years ago as we were finishing up driving kids to school, my four year old piped up from the back seat:
“Mom, if I die, I’ll be with Jesus, and Elvis, and Donny Osmond’s dad, and Donny Osmond’s dad’s wife.”
It wasn’t a question — he had just explained with conviction what he had come to know (or always knew, or hadn’t forgotten yet) was true.
The Book of Mormon prophet Alma taught that same truth to his son Corianton in Alma 40:11.
Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
I know how it feels to wonder what happens after this life. My first experience with death came when I was 10 years old. We had lived with my grandparents for five years when my grandmother developed cancer and passed away. I wanted to know if she was okay, if she was really in heaven as I had been taught, and so I prayed.
As I walked through our apartment later, I smelled my grandmother’s perfume. I asked my mother if she had brought home any of Grandma’s clothes or anything. She said she hadn’t. I knew then that Heavenly Father had heard my prayer, and that He had sent that little miracle to let me know that Grandma was okay.
A few decades later my other grandmother started talking about her family and childhood each time we would talk on the phone. I could feel her great love for them, and her longing to be with them again – they had all died before her.
Not too much later, she suffered a massive stroke, and we were told it wouldn’t be very long before she passed away. My aunt called me from the hospice, and asked if I would like to talk to Grandma – she said she would put the phone to Grandma’s ear.
As I talked to her, reminding her of her family, it was as if I could see the great family reunion she would experience on the other side of the veil that separates this life from the next. I knew that her parents, brothers and sisters, and the ancestors she had told me about were excitedly awaiting her arrival.
I know that joyful family reunion happened when she passed on!
After experiencing the death of his wife, Robert Blatchford learned this truth, too. He explained, “Death is not what some people imagine. It is only like going into another room. In that other room we shall find the dear women and men and the sweet children we have loved and lost.”(More Things in Heaven and Earth: Adventures in Quest of a Soul (1925), 11, quote by President Thomas S. Monson in “I Know That My Redeemer Lives!“)
In late August, 2005, our neighborhood was deeply touched by the accidental death of a small boy. I know it was no coincidence that in the unusually early September issue of the Ensign magazine President Thomas S. Monson reassured us of God’s mindfulness of those who remain:
God in His infinite mercy has not left grieving loved ones to wonder. He has provided truth. He will inspire an upward reach, and His outstretched arms will embrace you. Jesus promises to one and all who grieve, ‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.’ (John 14:18)
There is only one source of true peace. I am certain that the Lord, who notes the fall of a sparrow, looks with compassion upon those who have been called upon to part—even temporarily—from their precious children. The gifts of healing and of peace are desperately needed, and Jesus, through His Atonement, has provided them for one and all.
The Savior Jesus Christ gave us this beautiful promise as recorded in John 14:1-3:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: …. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
At that beautiful family reunion!
Wow, Heather! This was lovely. The gospel truly is a gospel of peace and comfort. Thank you for penning such appropriate thoughts this memorial day.
What a comfort to know that I will one day return to the presence of my Heavenly Father, and there will be a great reunion with my family members who has passed on. Where there once was a fear of the unknown, I have the assurance thru Jesus Atonement.
Thank you Heather!