Life After Death

8 Sep

Yesterday, I was working at the Smith Farm. It was a pretty slow day, with school starting back up in the last couple of weeks, and I had plenty of chances to think.

I was thinking of Joseph’s oldest brother Alvin. Alvin died at age 26. He was engaged, and he was in the middle of building a house for himself, his wife, and his parents when he became suddenly ill. Historians today believe it was appendicitis; he died within a few days. The family was devastated. The death of his brother left a deep impression on the mind of the young prophet.

As I thought about this, I was reminded of a story told by President Monson:

Many years ago I stood by the bedside of a young man, the father of two children, as he hovered between life and the great beyond. He took my hand in his, looked into my eyes, and pleadingly asked, “Bishop, I know I am about to die. Tell me what happens to my spirit when I die.”

I prayed for heavenly guidance before attempting to respond. My attention was directed to the Book of Mormon, which rested on the table beside his bed. I held the book in my hand, and it providentially opened to the 40th chapter of Alma. I began to read aloud:

“Now my son, here is somewhat more I would say unto thee; for I perceive that thy mind is worried concerning the resurrection of the dead. …

“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, … are taken home to that God who gave them life.

My young friend closed his eyes, expressed a sincere thank-you, and silently slipped away to that paradise about which we had spoken.

With what joy Joseph must have read those verses as he translated the ancient record that was to be published as the Book of Mormon! To know that his brother was taken, not to an unknown place, but to a home that he knew before this life. Death is a difficult separation, but it is by no means eternal.

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