Thursday, March 31, 2011

Death: The Way to Life

Last Saturday I received a phone call informing me that my uncle had passed away. It was quite a blow to receive such shocking news. I have thought about the loss of my 29 year old uncle, and have felt the sorrow that the loss of a loved one leaves behind.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the quorum of the twelve apostles in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints taught, "Death separates 'the spirit and the body [which] are the soul of man.' (D&C 88:15.) That separation evokes pangs of sorrow and shock among those left behind. The hurt is real. Only its intensity varies. Some [sorrows] are heavier than others. The sense of tragedy may be related to age. Generally the younger the victim, the greater the grief. Yet even when the elderly or infirm have been afforded merciful relief, their loved ones are rarely ready to let go..." (Doors of Death, April 1992)

I have seen evidence of the Elder Nelson's words both with the tragic loss of my uncle, and in my daily labor as a missionary. An older woman that we visit has been through quite a lot throughout her life. She has dealt with death on more than one occasion, however the loss of her only daughter has left stains of sorrow and grief impressed on her heart. The hurt she feels is indeed real and intense, and it is safe to say that she was not ready to let go of her daughter when the time came for her daughter to leave this mortal existence.  Death is often a hard thing to cope with, but the restored gospel of Jesus Christ offers peace and comfort, along with the hope that we will in fact see our loved ones again.

"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.

"Yea, this bringeth about the restoration of those things of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets.

"The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame." (Alma 40: 11, 22-23)

From these few verses in the Book of Mormon we learn that when we die we are taken home to that God who gave us life. We can find comfort in knowing that our loved ones are in the care of a loving Heavenly Father as soon as they depart from this mortal body. Furthermore, we can find peace in knowing that as all die, all shall be made alive (see 1 Corinthians 15:22). We can find hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Our Heavenly Father loves us and knows all to well the pain we feel.  Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Prophet in these days, helps us realize this when he said, "I [express] personal testimony as a special witness...God our Father [is] mindful of [us]...He too had a Son who died, even Jesus Christ the Lord; that He is our advocate with the Father, the Prince of Peace, our Savior and divine Redeemer, and one day we [will] see Him face-to-face." (Mrs. Patton-the Story Continues, October 2007)

The Atonement of Christ can bring hope to all of us. Three days after Christ suffered and died for us on the cross, he arose from the dead as a resurrected being. Because Christ overcame physical death by being resurrected so will each of us. We will all live again. "...there is a resurrection therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up by Christ." (Mosiah 16:8)

Christ is life and the light of the world and through him we can gain eternal life, our ultimate goal.  "We were born to die, and we die to live." (Doors of Death; see also 2 Corinthians 6:9) Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, and Christ is central to that plan. They share the same work and they are one in purpose. Their work and their glory is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39) Comfort is established when we turn our lives over to our Father in Heaven and realize that we and our loved ones are in His loving hands, and through His Son we can, with our loved ones, return to live with him again.  Times of sorrow are the times that we need Christ the most. He asked us to come unto him saying, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) Through Him we can find rest from our burdens.

I know with all my heart that Heavenly Father has a plan for His children. I know that He lives and that Christ is His literal living Son. I know of the comfort that comes from the knowledge that we are all the children of our Heavenly Father. "The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." (Romans 8:16) I know that this is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the words of Christ and through that book we can find rest from our afflictions, and find rest from our pain.

IN MEMORY OF STEVEN BEARDALL 4/11/1981-3/26/2011

1 comment:

  1. The atonement is real! It brings such comfort in times like these. I know we'll see uncle Steve again.