by Craig Jenkins
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Anne Hinton Pratt , Author, Composer
“I finished reading your wonderful book. So many synchronistic spiritual experiences that were just delicious!
…it’s a beautiful work. It can help people who have lost loved ones or who are searching more about pre-mortality or the afterlife.”
This book is online. It was written to be read and shared, not sold. If while reading it, you think of someone or someone’s, send them the link.
That’s the process.
And—like the blog—I’m sure the book is Heaven directed.
Chapter 1, August 24, 2014
Katie's Journal August 24, 2014 @ 5:26am
I’m sitting in a bathroom stall at the Atlanta airport during a layover, my final destination being Salt Lake City. At 7:20 a.m. it is time to board my connecting flight to Salt Lake, and I am terribly afraid.
Last night I was sitting in a hotel room in Paducah, Kentucky, watching a movie with my husband Clint, filled with anxiety. My mom, suffering with stage 4 lung cancer, had been admitted to the American Fork hospital that morning. My brother Scott called Clint and asked to speak with me. He said that my brothers and sister were coming to the hospital and that Mom wasn’t expected to live much longer. I should come to Utah as soon as possible. I immediately started to cry. It just seemed so unreal. This whole journey seemed so unreal, and honestly, at this point I don’t know what is real anymore. All along this journey I felt peace and had experiences–which I believe to be the Spirit–letting me know that my mom was going to receive a miracle. And that God, only God, would be the one to make her whole.
Living in Kentucky allowed me to be removed from the situation a little bit. In a couple of hours I would no longer be in that comfortable space and would be sitting next to my mom, my best friend, and hold a one-way conversation with her. This would be the hardest thing I ever had to do in my 30 years of living. I am not looking forward to it, but I know I will regret not doing so.
I hope and pray that God will be with me and give me the strength I need to face the hardest trial of my life. I also will not let go of the last little bit of hope (that I still believe) that God will grant my mom a miracle and make her body whole.
As I was boarding the plane in Atlanta, I received a text message from my brother Kurt. He said the nurse had just come in and didn’t think I was going to make it to Salt Lake City, before she passed away.
He asked me if I had any last words that I wanted to share with Mom and he would put his phone on speaker. I glanced around the airport, which was swarming with people, and I knew that there was nowhere for me to go, not even the bathroom stall.
These are the words that I texted him at 7:49 a.m. “Tell her I love her, thanks for being a great mom, I miss her and will miss her until we meet again. And I look forward to that day. Sorry to see her go this way. Please visit me often and allow me to feel her presence.” I then boarded the plane and sat in my front row first-class seat that Clint bought me and immediately broke down.
Chapter 2, Diagnosis
During the fall of 2013 Lorna developed a persistent cough that continued to worsen through the winter and into spring. She assumed she had bronchitis and paid little attention to it.
In April 2014 we rented a two-story condo in St. George, Utah for spring break. While there, Lorna had a difficult time going up the stairs and was not sleeping well. Just two days in to the vacation our children convinced Lorna it was time to go home and see a doctor. Upon arriving home, she made an appointment with our family physician for a blood test.
The blood test came back normal. Lorna then asked the doctor to x-ray her chest. Afterwards, while looking at the x-ray it appeared that she had an enlarged heart. The doctor scheduled an echocardiogram for Monday April seventh.
The echocardiogram revealed that her heart was not enlarged. She had a pericardial effusion—an excessive amount of fluid around her heart. We went to Utah Valley Medical Center to have the procedure that would drain the fluid from around her heart.
Prior to the procedure the cardiologist told us that the heart is surrounded by pericardial fluid, normally two to three tablespoons. The fluid lubricates the heart allowing it to pump and turn with minimal friction. Normal pericardial fluid is straw-colored. He said straw colored is good; any blood in the fluid could indicate a problem.
When the cardiologist finished, he had drained—in his words—“Almost three Coke cans of fluid.” He showed me the bag. The bag was about the size of a gallon zip lock bag. It was bulging, and it was all blood.
He sent the blood to the lab and sent Lorna to have an MRI.
A quick review of the MRI didn’t reveal anything unusual. Lorna was released from the hospital, and we went home.
The next day, the cardiologist called. The lab results indicated cancer, and further review of the MRI showed a small tumor, near the bottom of her left lung. The tumor had penetrated the pericardium, causing the fluid build up around her heart. He had proactively scheduled an appointment for her with an oncologist. When she hung up with the cardiologist, she immediately called the oncologist and cancelled the appointment.
A week and a half later she had a follow-up echocardiogram. As the doctor reviewed the test results, he could see no evidence of additional fluid build up. He then said, “Okay, let’s talk about the cancer.” Lorna replied, “What cancer? I don’t have cancer. Do I look like someone who has cancer?” With a bit of a puzzled expression on his face, he said he thought that the lab results indicated cancer, and the MRI revealed a small tumor. Lorna told him the blood work at her doctor’s office had come back normal, it did not indicate anything unusual. He told Lorna that bloodwork seldom indicates cancer. He left the room for a moment to confirm the reports.
When he returned he told her the lab tests indicated cancer, and the MRI indicated a small tumor, about the size of a dinner olive, in her left lung. He strongly urged her to see the oncologist. An appointment was set for May 1, 2014.
At the appointment, the oncologist asked Lorna what she thought the problem was. She replied that she thought it was bronchitis, and she was fine now. (After she had the pericardial fluid drained, she felt energized).
He asked her if she had been coughing up blood. She answered no. He asked her if her bones hurt, and again she answered no. (The answer to both those questions should have been “yes”). He then felt the lymph nodes in her neck and chest area.
Upon completing the exam and with the information from the MRI and the test on the blood drained from her pericardium, he carefully presented his diagnosis: stage four lung cancer.
With therapy ten to twelve months to live. Without therapy six months. Lorna just stared at him in disbelief. She didn’t say another word.
I was trying to process what he said. I’m thinking, “The tumor is the size of a small dinner olive. How hard can that be to remove?” I asked him, when you say therapy, you mean radiation and chemo? He said “Yes.” So ten to twelve months if she does radiation and chemo? “Yes.” And six months without therapy? “Yes”
He told us that if we wanted to get a second opinion we should go to Salt Lake City. He had reviewed her case with the other Utah County Oncologists, and all were of the same opinion.
Without saying a word, Lorna stood up, walked out of the exam room through the waiting room out of the building to the car. When I caught up with her, she said “I never want to hear from them again. No appointments, no phone calls, no texts, no email, nothing.”
Traditional medicine gave her no choice. Her options were now faith and alternative therapies, some of which had served her and our family well in the past. She expected them to serve her well again.
She asked our children and me to not tell anyone about her diagnosis. She didn’t want people asking the what, why, how questions that would take her focus away from what she believed would heal her.
Lorna had an indomitable spirit and was project driven. To make herself well was now her project, as she said a little later in the day, “I have a whole bag of tricks to solve this problem.”
Chapter 3, Alternative Efforts
Through May and into June, her alternative therapies seemed to be serving her well. She was feeling good and was pretty much back to her normal routines.
Toward the end of June, her therapies seemed to be losing their effectiveness. Throughout all this she had continued working, (she was a sales representative for a printing company), and as an effort to conserve energy she made arrangements to do most of her work from home.
July didn’t bring any improvement. Toward the end of the month she told me, that “Maybe I was sicker than I thought.” She had never completely accepted the cancer diagnosis and the realization that she probably did have cancer—and that her remedy efforts weren’t bringing the results she expected were troubling to her.
Chapter 4, Chastening
Early in August, I’m in the office in our home. I can hear Lorna in the bedroom down the hall, whimpering, moaning, groaning, even an occasional wailing. I go check on her. She is crouched on the bed. I ask if she’s ok. She looks up at me and very sternly tells me to leave and, “and do not to come back.”
Ten or fifteen minutes later she came out of the bedroom, went into the back yard, and lay down on the grass. I got up and followed her.
She then told me that in the bedroom she was seeing people, one at a time, from throughout her life. People she had never forgiven. Those that had offended or slighted her in some way. Those she held grudges against for offenses real or imagined. People she had been judgmental or critical of. People she had offended or hurt by her actions. She was seeing them all.
When she had finished sharing her experience, she continued to lie on the grass while looking into the sky.
After a few moments of silence looking in to the sky, Lorna spoke up. She told me what she had just seen while lying there: a small school auditorium with chairs that had been set up for an assembly that had just ended. Her impression was that the chairs had been occupied by the people she was seeing during her reconciliation experience in the bedroom.
A man was putting the chairs away and sweeping the floor. He had his shirt unbuttoned down to his waist, his garments were showing. She remembered from her youth that her dad would do the same thing during the summer when he was working in the yard or garden.
The man turned and gave her a loving look of approval. It was her dad, Danny Brashear, who had passed away in 1985.
When she told me this, my thought was that she was being prepared to go home.
She told me later that it was “an anguish of soul experience.” Anguish means “extreme mental distress. Syn: torment, torture.”
Chapter 5, The Blessing
The first week in August because of some discomfort breathing Lorna requested an x-ray done on her lungs. Her left lung had filled with fluid. Doctors drained about a liter of fluid in that procedure.
On Sunday morning August 17th Lorna sent our daughter Calli a text:
“I asked my dad and brothers [three of her brothers had passed away, two she never met; one died at birth, one at four years of age, and one in an auto accident as an adult] to give me a blessing from the other side of the veil, and told them exactly what I wanted. The problem with most blessings on this side is they are full of fluff and generalities, because the giver is generally too afraid to command and make it so.”
Later that evening, our oldest son Scott had come over to check on his mother. I was in the bedroom when I heard him come in.
Lorna had just asked me to give her a blessing and heal her. I started to mumble and stammer a little. She told me “listen, it’s your priesthood, and my faith–do it.”
I found Scott in the kitchen, told him his mother wanted a blessing and asked him to anoint. He looked at me, then immediately got up and went outside.
A few minutes later he came into the bedroom. Before closing the anointing, he invited Lorna’s dad and brothers to join us in the sealing and blessing. He didn’t know, nor did I, about the text Lorna had sent Calli that morning. When I saw him in the kitchen and asked him to anoint, he immediately felt the presence of his grandfather and uncles and had to go outside to compose himself.
Lorna’s dad and brothers did join with Scott and me in giving Lorna that blessing. I felt a power I had never felt before. I was merely the voice for the Father’s blessing Lorna’s dad gave her. She was promised she would be healed completely.
After the blessing, Lorna sent Calli this text:
“I asked your dad to set aside his own fears and give me a blessing to rebuke this illness and be healed from this moment on. He was hesitant at first but stepped up to the plate. Scott anointed and actually asked my dad and brothers to join in. Interesting.
“I honestly believe for the first time that I have done everything I am supposed to do in regard to this illness. It is finished.”
Chapter 6, Therapy Continued
The next morning, Monday the 18th, the discomfort had returned, and Lorna had her left lung drained again. The previous two times, after the procedure, she felt immediate relief. Not this time.
On Wednesday the 20th I took her to Salt Lake City for one of her therapies. When we arrived home afterwards she said there was no way she could walk into the house. We went to the emergency room at the Utah Valley Medical Center.
Her left leg was swollen, so doctors did an MRI on her leg. The MRI revealed a blood clot. She was checked into the hospital. She was then given a complete MRI.
The results indicated a need for surgery to insert a greenfield filter, a basket-type device designed to catch blood clots from entering the heart and lungs. At 1a.m. Thursday morning, the 21st, the surgery was performed.
She was at the hospital until Friday evening the 22nd. Before we left, I asked the doctor to tell me what the science was telling him. He replied, “the tumor is growing. Extensive blood clots in both lungs. She won’t see 2015.”
On Saturday morning the 23rd, Lorna woke up in a panic. She was having a difficult time breathing. We hurried to the American Fork Hospital emergency room.
The doctor put her on oxygen and a morphine drip. It calmed her down immediately. Up until the last few days, four Ibuprofen twice a day had taken care of any discomfort.
She continued to deteriorate throughout the day. Late that evening she was transferred from the ER and checked into the hospital. Four of our children who lived close came to the hospital to spend time with their mother. We called Katie (our daughter in Kentucky) and told her that she should get on the next flight to Utah to come say her goodbyes.
Chapter 7, Katie’s Journal, Continued
Katie's Journal August 24, 2014 (cont'd)
The man who would sit next to me on the flight asked me if everything was ok. I shook my head no, holding back the tears, I typed on my phone, “My mom is in the hospital dying and I might not make it” and handed him my phone. He read what I wrote, looked me in the eyes, and confidently said, “She knows you are coming” The water faucet turned on full blast, and I sobbed. I will be forever grateful to that man. He brought me some Kleenex and was my voice for the flight attendants.
I continued to text Kurt for as long as I could. He told me all the family was at the hospital and the nurses didn’t expect mom to live much longer.
The flight was three and a half hours, and those were the longest three and a half hours of my life.
The plane was equipped with in-flight wifi. I sent Kurt a text at 8:10 a.m. Utah time. He responded eleven minutes later and told me she was still holding on and her breathing was very sporadic. At 9:03 he sent a text, “still holding on” and Calli would pick me up.
The plane landed at 10:15. I composed myself enough to get off the plane. To say that I stepped off that plane alone would be a lie. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was escorted off the plane and through the airport. I held back the tears right up until I opened Calli’s van door. The seat was reclined, I sat down, lay back, held my eyes, and tears flowed. Calli didn’t say a word to me. She started a song:
Worn Tenth Avenue North
I’m tired, I’m worn My heart is heavy
From the work it takes to keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
‘Cause I’m worn
I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I’m too weak, Life just won’t let up
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Yes all that’s dead inside will be reborn
Though I’m worn, Yeah I’m worn
The song that came through those speakers warmed and comforted my soul. Just as we were exiting the airport, I read a text from Scott sent at 10:17. Hospice person here. She says that in Mom’s condition and from her experience…she is waiting for you. With that thought in mind, and the song playing in the background, my sister and I drove down the freeway to the hospital.
The thought that my mother wasn’t going to stay on this earth anymore entered my mind. I battled it for a few minutes, but in my heart I knew she was going home. I knew that she had chosen to go home. Kurt had mentioned a few hours earlier that she was breathing easier and believed her to be sleeping. I know now, during that time of rest she had the opportunity to see the other side. She saw and understood what she would be capable of doing, particularly for her family, from the other side of the veil.
The song “Worn” ended in the background and another one began:
Coming Home Skylar Grey
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the world that I’m coming home
I’m back where I belong
Yeah, I never felt so strong
I feel like there’s nothing that I can’t try
And if you with me put your hands high
If you ever lost a light before
This one’s for you
And you, the dreams are for you
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming home
It was another glorious, comforting song, absolutely perfect for the situation. When the song was finished, Calli let me know that on the drive to the airport Mom had told her to play those two songs for me, in that order. And I know that Mom did tell her to play them for me.
I continued to recline in the seat, either looking up at the ceiling or gently closing my eyes. I remember four distinct times when it was almost like someone turned my head a little bit so I would glance out the van window. The first time, I saw a billboard with a picture of a person with both arms in the air looking up toward heaven, and it read “Believe.” The next glance was at the Sandy Aquarium, the place Mom had mustered up the energy to take me and the boys when I visited in June. The next glance, a billboard read “help is waiting” and the last glance, once again at a billboard, “I’m ready and waiting…come home”
We arrived at the American Fork Hospital at 11:15. My sister-in-law Alicia met us at the door, and the three of us walked hand in hand to Mom’s room. As we walked in, Kurt led me to the chair that was by the side of the bed. I immediately held Moms hand. It was not scary at all. The room was warm and full of life.
My dad, my siblings, and their spouses were in the room and heard the last words I spoke to my mother. I don’t remember what I said. When I finished, I knew it was time and she was ready. That kind man (angel) that sat next to me on the flight from Atlanta was right. My mother did wait for me.
Chapter 8, Going Home
The hospice nurse had mentioned to us, that in her experience, some people prefer to die alone. She had observed families that had a 24-hour vigil with someone always in the room with the one who was dying. Eventually, the person on vigil would leave for just a few minutes. When they would return, their loved one had passed away.
Calli felt as though Mom would be one that would like to die alone. We agreed, and decided to leave her room for ten minutes.
I peeked in about six minutes later. The nurses were in the room, verifying that she had passed away.
It was 11:31 a.m. on Sunday August 24, 2014.
I waited for the nurses to leave, then walked over to the bed. A room that ten minutes before, had been warm and full of life, was now cold and sterile.
Lorna had passed. She was now surrounded by generations of love. A welcome-home celebration had begun.
Brigham Young , Prophet Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, pp. 282-83
We have more friends behind the veil than on this side, and they will hail us more joyfully than you were ever welcomed by your parents and friends in this world; and you will rejoice more when you meet them than you ever rejoiced to see a friend in this life.
Chapter 9, Way Station
A way station is defined as “1 a stopping place on a journey, syn: stopover. 2. A small railway station between the principal stations or station where the train stops only on a signal. Syn: whistle stop, flag stop.”
I believe that a way station exists between our world and the next.
In a blessing to Katie from our stake president the day after Lorna passed away, she was told that it was her mother’s time to go. She could have chosen to stay, but it was her time.
I believe her decision was being made in that “way station” late Saturday night and into Sunday. I know it wasn’t an easy decision.
Lorna was in that way station when she told Calli to play the songs that were played for Katie on the way from the airport to hospital.
She was in the way station when Calli heard her mother say with a sense of urgency before Calli left the hospital that Sunday morning, “Don’t forget me. I can do things from here.”
She was in the “way station” when my neighbor Dale Palsson had the following experience.
Dale Palsson , Neighbor
When going through tough times, my father was known to say, “Whenever you think you have problems, think about what others are going through.” It was on such a Sunday morning when I was feeling burdened by life that I took a moment to reflect while sitting on my back deck.
I had just finished a book and was pondering what I had read when something in my neighbor’s backyard caught my eye. I saw what appeared to be two people walking into the yard. I say “appeared,” because what I saw was more like two individuals walking behind an opaque glass that distorts details and causes you to see only movement.
I didn’t mention it to my wife, because I really couldn’t explain it to myself, but I knew that I had seen something.
About an hour and a half later, I was seated in the chapel waiting for sacrament meeting to start. The bishop stood to conduct the meeting, and when it came time for the announcements, I was shocked at what he had to say.
Although I wasn’t paying close attention, I thought he said that my neighbor had passed away that morning. I was struck. What did he just say? Could that be true? How did this happen? The questions came flooding into my mind. I leaned over to my wife to ask her if she had heard the same thing. The shock I saw in her face confirmed that what I thought I had heard was true.
It was later in the day when I started putting events together. Lorna had passed late in the morning, and it was around that time when I was on the deck finishing my book. The answer to what I saw was coming into focus, but I waited for the right moment to discuss it with my neighbor Craig.
Craig has always been the best neighbor one could ask for. Over the years he has shared more gospel truths and insights with me while standing in our adjoining yards than I have learned from attending a lifetime of church meetings.
After a few weeks passed, while having an impromptu conversation in the yard, I felt that I should share my experience with him. Aware that not much time had passed and that emotions were still fresh, I was surprised when he lit up and explained my experience to me in terms that once again lifted me spiritually. He testified that what I saw was his dear wife bringing her heavenly escort to their backyard.
With the help of Craig, Lorna designed and built her very own mountain retreat in their backyard. She was proud of what she described as her favorite place, her little slice of heaven on earth.
Craig felt that she wanted one more chance to see their backyard and to show her escort what she had built. I felt the Spirit confirm in my heart and my mind that what he was sharing with me was true. The timing of my sighting corresponded almost to the minute, as far as I can recollect, with the passing of this dear neighbor of mine.
I have gained a greater perspective from this experience and know that it was a tender mercy from the Lord. Although I felt that I was carrying the weight of the world upon my shoulders, right next door, this family that I love had been carrying much more.
I have been inspired by the grace with which the Jenkins family has managed Lorna’s passing. It does not seem to have affected them like it would most others, both in and out of the faith. They have been such an inspiration and testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and its plan of salvation for us all.
When Dale shared this experience with me, he told me he had just finished the book he was reading, closed it and looked at his watch. It was around 11:30 a.m. the same time the nurses were confirming that Lorna had passed.
Chapter 10, The Confirmation
A week earlier on August 17, Scott and I gave Lorna the blessing that she would be healed. It was a powerful unique experience for Scott and me. I knew I was the voice for Lorna’s dad, Dan Brashear.
Lorna’s Dad is on the other side of the veil, I knew he had insights into Lorna’s mortal journey. He knew things I didn’t know. We were told Lorna would be healed.
She wasn’t healed, she passed away one week later. I was a little perplexed.
On Monday August 25 the day after Lorna passed away, our stake president Buzz Butler and his wife Lynn stopped by the house. Our daughter Katie answered the door. After visiting for a few minutes, President Butler asked if Katie would like a blessing. They stepped into the office at the house, and he gave her a blessing. Among other things, Katie was told that it was her mother’s time to go. She could have chosen to stay, but it was her time to go.
I believe, and it has been confirmed to me, that had Lorna chosen to stay, she would have been completely healed as she was promised in the blessing from her dad through me one week before. And, most importantly, she would have known who healed her.
Cancer was the medium that sent her home. No therapy chosen, traditional or alternative (for those curious, with what alternative remedies were used, she left no stone unturned) would have healed her. As mentioned in the blessing to Katie, it was her time to go.
I believe that the choice to go or stay is not uncommon. I have three friends, one who suffered a heart attack, another, a bike/car accident. The third, had a serious health issue. All were given the choice. All chose to stay.
A few months after Lorna passed away, I wondered if the choice to go was a difficult one for her.
Shortly after, I woke up with lyrics and a tune in my mind: “We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.” I was hearing it over and over.
I recognized the lyrics and the tune but didn’t know much about the song, who sang it, or what it was about. I looked it up on the Internet.
Seasons in the Sun Terry Jacks
Goodbye to you my trusted friend
we’ve known each other since we were nine or ten
Together we’ve climbed hills and trees
Learned of love and ABC’s
Skinned our hearts and skinned our knees
Goodbye, my friend, it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that spring is in the air
Pretty girls are everywhere
Think of me and I’ll be there
We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun.
Chapter 11, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom
Elder Donald L Hallstrom of the Seventy, during the October 2017 General Conference, gave a talk titled, “Has the Day of Miracles Ceased.” He relates the experiences of a man who had a serious climbing accident. He spoke of all the coincidences that related to the rescue and treatment, and the miracle that the man didn’t die from his injuries.
He then shares:
In pondering the experiences of the family, I have thought much about the circumstances of so many others. What about the innumerable faith-filled, priesthood-blessing-receiving, unendingly-prayed-for, covenant-keeping, full-of-hope Latter-day Saints whose miracle never comes? At least in the way they understand a miracle. At least in the way that others appear to receive miracles.
He continues: “My limited knowledge cannot explain why sometimes there is divine intervention and other times there is not. But perhaps we lack an understanding of what constitutes a miracle.
We often describe a miracle as being healed without a full explanation by medical science or as avoiding catastrophic danger by heeding a clear prompting. However, defining a miracle as “a beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand” gives an expanded perspective into matters more eternal in nature. This definition also allows us to contemplate the vital role of faith in receipt of a miracle.
Fast Sunday, June of 2015, ten months after Lorna passed away, Cindi Lindeman, a sister in our ward, was bearing her testimony. She had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She said the family were praying for a miracle.
As she said “we’re praying for a miracle,” I heard in my mind; The miracle for our family was that I died.
Chapter 12, Parenting Through the Veil
President Russell M. Nelson’s daughter Wendy Nelson Maxfield passed away on January 11, 2019 at the age of 67.
At her funeral service, to her children and grandchildren, President Nelson said:
She can minister to you in what I call “parenting through the veil.”She can see us more clearly through the veil than we see her. We cannot forget her. We do not cease to love her. We are sealed to her by eternal ties. She loves us now more than ever. Her desire for our well-being will be greater than that which we feel ourselves. So dear family, stay tuned.
Because Lorna had asked us not to tell people about her illness, comparatively few people knew. Her brother and sisters didn’t know until the night before she passed away.
When it was announced in our ward sacrament meeting that Lorna Jenkins had passed away that morning, I was told there was an audible gasp from the congregation. Then the tears started flowing. Consequently, starting after Church and for the rest of the week, a steady flow of friends and neighbors stopped by the house offering their condolences and asking the “what, how and when” questions.
Monday evening the day after Lorna passed away, I was visiting with some neighbors when our doorbell rang. Katie answered the door. It was our stake president, Blaine Butler, with his wife Lynn.
They visited for a few minutes, then President Butler asked Katie if she would like a blessing.
Katie wrote in her journal:
The blessing began to close when President Butler said, “Katie, your mom is here. She is in the room with us. She is standing right in front of you.” Then he said a couple of more things, which I don’t have any remembrance of, and closed the blessing. He turned off the light, grabbed his wife, and told me to sit there a minute and not to come out until I was ready. He excused himself to go talk with my dad.
So there I sat in the office chair in the dark with my mother in the room. I had the initial thought that this could be a special experience. I questioned if I had the faith to have a special experience, and I now realize that I thought I needed faith to see her with my physical eyes.
I began looking at an empty chair in the room, anxiously waiting for this special experience. I sat for about a minute, then I realized something. I had no idea what to expect. It was at this moment that I had my first conversation with my mother since she passed away. This is how it went, and I will be forever grateful for the lesson she taught me.
“Mom, I’ve never done this before, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
(Then I glanced at the empty chair and asked,)
“Am I going to see you?”
(Then the words came to my mind:)
No, “darlin’, there is the veil.”
(So I glanced up towards the ceiling and asked,)
“Do you float?”
“I’m not floating”
“Okay, ok, that was a silly question, wasn’t it? Will I feel your hugs?”
“I don’t have a body”
“Okay Mom, will you show me how I will feel you?”
And. At that moment, simultaneously I heard words in my mind, and I felt warm! Like really warm in my chest, and the warmness was full of life and energy. I heard my mother’s loving voice say,
“I am a spirit, and I will enter your spirit, and will speak words to your mind.”
I sat in that office alone– yet not alone It was an incredible experience that I hope to never forget.
In September, a few weeks after Lorna passed away, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling very warm. I threw the covers off, yet still really felt warm.
I recalled Katie’s experience the night President Butler gave her the blessing. I tentatively asked her, “are you here?” The warmth intensified. Lorna was there.
A similar experience for Scott two years later in October, 2016.
My sister Calli texted me at work one day. That day I was the only person in the office. She asked me how my connection with mom had been lately.
I told her I didn’t feel like it had been that good. Calli said to me that she felt it was important for all of us to try and maintain that connection.
A few moments later I felt that someone had entered my office.
Almost immediately I felt a spirit wrap their arms around me in what I would call a “spiritual hug” It was not physical. It was spirit to spirit.
I was very warm and “tingly” for what I would say about 15 seconds. I have never felt anything remotely close to that in my entire life. Then that spirit was gone.
After those brief moments I broke down and cried like a baby for about five minutes.
I have no doubt it was mother who came to me and gave me that hug
In May 2018 my son Joel had his own parenting experience that was once again prompted by his sister Calli.
Every now and again Calli will call or text to tell me that Mom is trying to get my attention, and I’m not answering. On the morning of the 8th of May, Calli and I had a long conversation about needing direction and feeling like I can’t ask for any more help from Mom because she’s already done so much. She more or less told me that I was being stupid. Mom was waiting for me to ask for more.
That night as I was pondering upon our conversation, I remembered a dream I had had the night before that Mom was in, and that she had hugged me in the dream. But I felt it significantly more than anything I’ve ever felt in a dream before. I was struggling to remember the context or conversation around that hug. As I was pondering this, I heard her voice in my mind tell me, “I gave you that hug in your dream last night. Don’t worry about the words spoken, just remember the feeling you felt. That was real, Joel, that wasn’t you dreaming.” More words came to mind, my mom giving me a little more direction in my life and to not worry about things that I cannot see.
Phillip Gray , Family Friend
We all have some very tender moments after we lose a loved one. My mother was special to me, with so much love. It was very emotional to watch her take her last breath and pass away. The minute she passed, the Holy Ghost, the great comforter, came immediately for relief. Several days later as I was lying on my bed contemplating the ordeal, a warm embrace comforted me, and I knew it was my mother letting me know that everything is ok. We all have these tender moments happen which help us through life’s struggles.
I have another rather amusing example which very few people know about. Everyday after my shower, I stand on the same rug in front of my sink. This rug is not easy to move, because it is lying on top of carpet. Many days the rug is on a slight angle which is not the normal position. I know it is my mother reminding me she is still there for me. I reposition the rug and thank her for the loving reminder. I know these are small examples of how close our loved ones are around us.
Immediately following my mom’s death, I remember feeling an urgency from her, and urgency for me and my siblings to not forget her, not to begin the journey of forgetting her and learning how to live life without her. We had a family group text, and I felt like she was using that as an example. Keep me in the loop, as if I was still a part of and responding to the family group text. “I can do things from here.”
In a blessing from President Butler, our son Kurt was told: “Your mother’s ability to bless her family is now uninhibited.”
Scott, in a dream, about a year after she passed. Is giving his mom a big hug and holding tight so she can’t leave. She pulls her head back, looks him in the eyes, and says, “Scott, it’s my job to take care of the family.”
A few days after mom passed away. I was talking to one of my friends who does a lot of meditating. She mentioned that my mom had shown up during her meditation the night before her passing away. My mom wanted to make sure that in case I wouldn’t be able to hear her, she would have a way to communicate with me.
A similar experience from Tom Heal, a good friend.
Lorna came to see me a few days before her funeral, and she was in a”subdued state of excitement.” In his mind he heard “that for her, it was like being in more than one place at a time. It seemed to him as though she was going from one friend or loved one to another, to see who could hear her. Some time after Tom related his experience with me, she returned to Tom. His sense was that she was pleased that he had shared his experience with me.
I’ve assumed that he would have been ” my ears,” if I hadn’t learned to hear her.
Calli on the one year anniversary of her mother’s passing:
August 24, 2014 could have been a day that broke me beyond repair. Growing up and thinking about my mom dying young was a thought I really couldn’t even think about, it created so much fear and pain in me. On this day a year ago my “normal” was forced to change. I was no longer going to see her pull up in my driveway to come and say hi, or to take me to lunch. I was no longer going to be able to call and talk to her everyday on the phone, or hug her. I was never going to see her in her beautiful body again.
This new normal hurts sometimes and has taken a lot of courage and faith to be okay with. This day a year ago was not, however, the last time I have felt my mom’s love for me. It was not the last time she gave me advice on how to love her grandchildren. It was not the last time she shared beautiful insights with me. It was not the last time she comforted me and made me feel like only a mom can, that everything is not only going to be okay, but it’s going to be great. On this day a year ago my mom left her beautiful body behind, but she did not leave me. I was just forced to figure out a new normal with her. A new way of communicating with her and a new way of feeling her.
This past year has been one of the most sacred, love–filled, learning and growing years of my life. My life is much more full, due to this experience. Full of love and heartbreak, fear and peace, miracles, growth and a gratitude and awe for God’s love of each of us. I’ve realized He can’t force his love on us, we have to choose to allow him to love us in all our imperfectness. His love is unending and truly unchanging.
Calli, two years later, August 24, 2016
. . .My mom is still here with me. She will always be here with me, helping me learn and grow and experience more joy and more love everyday. It’s like having a cheat sheet for a test. I am constantly asking her questions. The answers come in various ways: through music, through thoughts in my head as soon as I wake up, through dreams, through pictures in my mind, through words in my mind. It is a language we all speak, we just have to remember how to recognize it. We can only put our energy in so many places. What we water grows. My thoughts are the water. I have spent a lot of time watering my relationship with heaven. Consequently, my relationship with mom has grown. It is strong, and it is thriving.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland , Quorum of the Twelve
From the beginning, down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children.
President Joseph F. Smith
When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but are from the ranks of our kindred, friends and fellow-beings, . . . our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth . . . may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, of reproof and instructions to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.
In a First Presidency message, he added
I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings . . . It is reasonable and consistent to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond, can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them . . . We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever.
Elder Charles A. Callis , Quorum of the Twelve, 1933-1947
We believe that there is consciousness of the spirit in the life hereafter, between death and the resurrection . . . Death does not congeal the lips of those who go before us; they are not far from us and they help us more than we know.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong , Quorum of the Twelve
As we honor our covenants, we may sometimes feel we are in the company of angels. And we will be–those we love and who bless us on this side of the veil and those who love and bless us from the other side of the veil
Lorna passed away, August 24, 2014, but she didn’t leave.
She didn’t leave me. She didn’t leave her children. She didn’t leave her grandchildren. She didn’t leave her friends. She didn’t leave.
Evidence and experience have taught us that Lorna can do things from there. She is “solicitous for our welfare,” she “loves us now more than ever.” Her ability to bless her family is uninhibited. It is her job “to take care of her family.” “Her desire for our well being is greater than that which we feel ourselves”. She has blessed her family in many ways and many instances. It has been remarkable.
We chose to “stay tuned”, as President Nelson counseled his family at his daughters funeral.
The miracle for our family, the unexpected miracle. She wasn’t healed.
Chapter 13, Go to the Cemetery Office–now!
Monday, August 25, we started making arrangements for the funeral, which was to be held on Saturday August 30, 2014.
While I was at the mortuary, the family was at the cemetery. Scott had gone to the Alpine City Cemetery sexton’s office to get a map of available gravesites. The only sites on the map he was given were in a newer section of the cemetery. When I arrived, the family was pretty discouraged with what was available. Scott mentioned that the previous sexton had retired two months ago and that it was the new sexton’s first day on the job. The person who had been handling cemetery matters since the sexton had retired was not in the office that morning. We decided to check on Tuesday to see if other plots were available.
Katie's Journal August 28, 2014
Today was the day that Clint and the boys flew in to town. Calli and I headed to the airport to pick them up. It was good to see them. On the drive home from the airport I had the thought that I needed to go to city hall. Calli had the same thought. Hours later I was downstairs with Clint playing with the boys when I heard clearly in my mind, “Go to the cemetery office now!”
When I walked into the sexton’s office, there were two ladies in the room. One of them was sitting at a computer with a glazed look on her face. The other was leaning over her, appearing to be instructing her.
I said, “My brother Scott came in here yesterday and got a plot map. I’m wondering if there is anything else available. We need a raised headstone plot.”
The “other person” in the room started looking on the computer and printed me a different map than we had been given the day before. She circled a few areas on the map and said, “We have one here, and a few here” and handed me the map. The new sexton replied, “I didn’t know anything about those.”
I could tell by looking at the Google Maps image of the cemetery that those plots were going to be perfect! I got the needed information, jumped into the car, called Kurt, and said, “Meet me at the cemetery!” Kurt and Joel came up together, and we found the perfect place to lay my mother to rest. It is in the older part of the cemetery, next to scrub oak (which my mother loved) and right next to where the paved road turns to dirt. It was where my mom would always walk her dogs
Lorna would park at the military monuments, then head north past a secluded peaceful section of the cemetery. She is buried there, in that peaceful, secluded section located in the very northeast corner of the Alpine City Cemetery.
Who was the other person in the sextons office that day? Analisa Beck, the sexton of twenty years who had retired two months earlier. She was on her way to Lake Powell for Labor Day weekend and just happened to stop in to see if the new sexton had any questions. The map she gave Katie—which the new sexton knew nothing about—was of cemetery plot buybacks, plots sold back to the city by patrons who owned them but they were never going to use them.
Katie's Journal Continued
Today was the day we went to the mortuary to do Moms hair and makeup. Well, I lack those skills and Calli does better than me, but neither one of us felt confident enough so we invited Calli’s sister-in law Chelsea Lewis Jackson and mother in-law Debbie Lewis to join us. My brother’s wife, Eliza, was also with us. Chelsea does hair and make-up and has done Moms’hair on several occasions.
This would be the first time to see my mother since the hospital. To say I wasn’t nervous would be a lie. As we walked into the room, I began to cry. The tears didn’t last long, and it ended up being a sweet experience. I was grateful that Chelsea, Debbie and Eliza were there with us. Chelsea was able to get her hair looking awesome and change the blue, old-lady eyeshadow to brown.
Chelsea Lewis Jackson , Family Friend
When Calli asked me to do Lorna’s hair, my first reaction was “of course, Lorna has shown me so much love over the years and I know how the woman likes her hair!”
Right after I got off the phone, all of the fears started to set in; how am I going to do this. I wasn’t even able to touch my brother who passed away a year ago? So, as I was in my car on my way to the mortuary I said, “Look, Lorna, you know I love you, and you have been there for me like a mother, but if you think I’m going to be able to do this on my own you’re wrong. I need help. I need you and you have to be with me every second of the way. If you leave for even a second, I’m out.
As I walked into the mortuary, I knew Lorna was with me. She was guiding me and calming my worries. She was guiding me on how she wanted her hair and makeup to look. Even touching up her lashes! I kept hearing her “no, a little more in my face. Perfect. Now, could we do something about the color they put on my eyelids.”
I kept saying these things out loud to Calli, Katie, Eliza and my mom, Debbie. And we were actually laughing. A real laugh, full of love for the beautiful life Lorna had lived and the one she now lives,– realizing that she wasn’t gone, just changed! I’m so thankful for the sweet lesson she gave me that day. She wasn’t in her body but she wasn’t gone. She was “her,” and she would help me anytime I called on her! “I love you Lorna. Thank you!”
From a very good friend who has asked that his name not be used because his experience is so personally sacred.
Following my mother’s passing, I joined my two sisters and brother at the mortuary to help prepare Mom’s body for her funeral. During this sacred time, my brother and I were mostly observers. I watched as my sisters tenderly worked to clothe her, fix her hair and add makeup in a way that would be pleasing to our mom. As I watched, I found myself pondering upon what Mom and Dad were doing on the other side of the veil in preparation for the funeral. I stepped out of the room into the hallway, where my brother was seated, reading a magazine. We were in the downstairs area of the mortuary, where the overall feeling around us was more clinical than spiritual. As I seated myself on the couch where my brother was seated, I sincerely sought, in silent prayer, an understanding to my question. I had absolute confidence that Heavenly Father would provide an answer.
As I did this, I felt a significant shift in the feeling around me. The basement foyer was instantly transformed into a very sacred place, where a peaceful warmth and God’s love filled my entire being. My spiritual eyes were opened, and I could see my father with his arm around my mother. They walked past my brother and me, acknowledging our presence. I stood and followed them into the room where my sisters had just finished preparing Mom’s body for her funeral. I sat down and observed how pleased and grateful my mother was with what her daughters had done. I also felt the tenderness and timeliness with which our Dad was guiding Mom through her funeral experience. After a few minutes, they turned towards me and smiled, then walked out of the room. The feelings surrounding that experience gradually followed them.
I’ve often wondered why I was blessed to witness this event which occurred without any awareness of my siblings. I suspect it was because I was sincerely seeking to understand with the expectation that Heavenly Father would answer my request.
My mother, Marlene Wilkenson Neilson, passed away January 18, 2022.
My dad, brothers, sisters and I looked through many photos to find one that we could use for her obituary and the funeral program. My dad really liked one photo. We chose it for the obituary and the program.
We sent it to the photographer, to be cropped so we could use it.
One of my sisters knows the photographer. She received the following text from him: “So, here’s what happened. As I went to touch up the photo you sent me of your mother, I heard her distinct voice whisper in my ear. “I know you have a better one of me, Scott, so let’s find one.” I opened up your family portrait folders, searched through them, and found your mom and dad’s 50th Wedding Anniversary photo that I had taken. Then the recollection came back to me that your mom was very peculiar about the touch-ups I made to her and her hair. That being said, I proceeded to photoshop your dad out of the picture and cropped it to the one I’m sending back for you to view. Now, if you don’t believe that your mom had anything to do with this, she told me to tell you; ‘If they don’t use this picture for my obituary, I’m going to haunt them” Sorry, I’m just the delivery boy.’
When my sister read us the text, we were not quite convinced. We thought that maybe the photographer was overstepping his bounds. One of my brothers especially didn’t believe the photographer when he said he had “gotten that message from Mom”
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, he’s asking; “Who sent this picture of mom to me?” He said it was literally eerie how the photo Mom wanted used popped up on his computer screen.
A short time later, as we were still making funeral plans, I remembered a children’s book mom had bought at Deseret Book about death, that she wanted read to her grandchildren . I went to get it and gave it to my brother. When he opened it, there was that picture again! She was letting her will be known. We all just looked at each other; there was no denying it.
We all went together to the mortuary to do Mom’s hair and makeup. One of my brothers even applied some eyeshadow, and she looked beautiful. We could feel that she was pleased.
Side note: [Traci] My mom had been with her dad, and then her mom, when they passed away. She told me stories of how in their final days and hours they would see family members and loved ones who had passed away. Because of her sharing those things with me, I was not surprised when she started to have the same experiences.
My mom looked at the closet and said; “Hi, you cutie!” She told me “My daddy held my fingers,” and most fun of all, “come here, Daisy!” You can’t tell me that dogs don’t go to heaven.
Chapter 14, The Funeral
Lorna’s funeral was held in the Alpine West Stake Center on Saturday, August 30, 2014.
Michael Gillespie (bishop of the Alpine Third Ward) and I can tell you that Lorna was involved in the planning of her funeral service. The music, the order of the speakers, the scripture printed on her program, her fingerprints–all were on it.
I have fought a good fight,2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown
Of righteousness, which the Lord,
The righteous judge, shall
Give me at that day:
And not to me only, but unto all them
Also that love his appearing.
Lorna was particular as to the hymns and other songs that were to be sung.
- Opening Hymn
- Our Savior’s Love
- Musical Number, Grandchildren
- I Feel My Savior’s Love
- Musical Number, Friends
- Oh Lord, My Redeemer
- Closing Hymn
- I know that My Redeemer Lives
As the closing song began, Ken Cordner of the Alpine West Stake presidency leaned over to me and said, “Perfect.”
On June 9, 2013 The Alpine West Stake was convened for a stake conference–a special stake conference. President Conrad Gottfredson was going to be released, and a new stake president was going to be sustained. At 10:30 that Sunday morning, shortly after Blaine Butler was sustained as our new stake president, Lorna wrote the following in the Notes app on her phone.
Lorna's Journal June 9, 2013 @ 10:30am
God is our Father in heaven. I know God lives. I know that somehow He knows who I am. He knows my weaknesses, my strengths, my successes, my failures, and he doesn’t keep score. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. He is my advocate with the Father. I have experienced both the redeeming and enabling power of the Atonement. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today. I have a testimony of the temple and the power it has to change and mold our character when we attend regularly.
Katie found this Note on her phone the day after the funeral. She wasn’t preparing a lesson or getting ready for a talk. It is what she felt and knew that Sunday morning in June, fourteen months before she passed away.
She used the lyrics of the hymns sung at her funeral to bear her witness of the Savior, and what she had already experienced, in a clear and unmistakable way.
The other musical number was Homeward Bound, sung by Jason Baumgartner. Lorna had accompanied Jason in several musical numbers throughout the years. The lyrics are as follows:
In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing
And the sky is clear and red,
When the summers ceased its gleaming,
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure’s lost its meaning
I’ll be homeward bound in time.
Bind me not to the pasture,
Chain me not to the plow,
Set me free to find my calling
And I’ll return to you somehow.
If you find it’s me you’re missing
If your hoping I’ll return,
To you thoughts, I’ll soon be listening,
In the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing
As my journey nears its end,
And the path I’ll be retracing,
When I’m homeward bound again.
Bind me not to the pasture.
Chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling,
And I’ll return to you somehow
In the quiet misty morning
When the moon has gone to bed.
When the sparrows stop their singing,
I’ll be homeward bound again.
The message from the lyrics of “Homeward Bound” were clear: “Don’t bind me to the pasture, don’t chain me to the plow, set me free to find my calling. I’ll return to you somehow.”
Debbie Goodman , Family Friend
I arrived early at the chapel where Lorna’s viewing and funeral were to be held. The thought of viewing her body was making me apprehensive and sad. As we entered the room, my husband and I saw many friends that we hadn’t seen in several years. After visiting with them and some of Lorna’s children, I walked up to the casket. Lorna looked peaceful and beautiful, but my sweet friend was not there. I felt empty inside so moved quickly away to sit in a chair. Shortly thereafter, we moved into the chapel, where the funeral was to take place. It was a surprise to me to see how full the room already was, and eventually we seated ourselves on the first row of the back section.
Tearfully, I listened to the organ music and contemplated the unexpected loss of my best friend. This just seemed too much to bear. Lorna was a light to her family and friends, and her dying at such a relatively young age was devastating to me.
The audience began to stand as the casket, followed by the family, slowly entered the room. As tears flowed like a river down my face, I looked at her casket and her sweet family left behind. Suddenly I felt a distinct warmth enter the left side of my chest and slowly spread across. It was a powerful feeling, and at that moment I absolutely knew that Lorna was standing right beside me and telling me she loved me. I had never felt anything like that before. It was the sweetest experience, and the realization of what it was made me sob that much harder! The funeral was beautiful, the speakers eloquent, and the Spirit strong. I look forward to seeing my beautiful friend again.
After the funeral, Holly Toolson, who sang in the quartet, sent me a note. Lorna and Holly had sung duets together in Church services.
I know that Lorna was helping me when we sang for her funeral. After shaking, and feeling (and being) very emotional through the whole funeral, I was a mess before we got up to sing. I knew that there was no way I would get through the song, and I knew Lorna knew me well enough to know that.
I prayed through the whole funeral for emotional control. There were many times when Lorna and I sang together when I would choke up, and she would have to sing on without me until I gained composure–she was always so sweet. I don’t think she wanted it to happen that day. As you were speaking, I said in my mind, ”Okay Lorna, if you don’t want me to cry through this, you need to help me out.”
The moment I stood up with the others to sing, I felt calm and serene. I made it through the whole song. I was able to sing without choking up. I remember looking at the music and thinking, “ wow, we are almost done! I’m going to make it,” Lorna helped me. I can see her sweet smile and hear her encouraging words.
Chapter 15, Mothers Hear their Babies Cry
And so do Fathers.
In September of 2014, a few weeks after Lorna passed away, I was attending a regional conference being broadcast to our stake center. Elder Russell M. Nelson was presiding. As his wife Wendy Nelson was speaking, I heard a baby cry. My thought was “if there were one hundred babies in a room and their mothers were in a different room doing something that required their attentiveness, the mother whose baby cried would hear that cry. The other ninety nine probably would not.”
President Joseph F. Smith
Sometimes the Lord expands our vision from this point of view and this side of the veil . . . And we would understand that those who have passed beyond, can see more clearly through the veil back here to us than it is possible for us to see them from our sphere of action.
I believe we move and have our being in the presence heavily messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. We begin to realize more and more fully, as we become acquainted with the principles of the Gospel, as they have been revealed anew in this dispensation, that we are closely related to those who have preceded us into the spirit world. We cannot forget them; we not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus are associated and united to them by ties that we cannot break, that we cannot dissolve or free ourselves from.
And therefore, I claim that we live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; they can comprehend better than ever before, the weaknesses that are liable to mislead us into dark and forbidden paths. They see the temptations and evils that beset us in life and the proneness of mortal beings to yield to temptation and wrong doing; hence their solicitude for us and their love for us and they desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.
I believe that love is unconditional and without judgment. They understand the game we are playing, that our opponents are a fallen nature, and a fallen angel.
Elder Charles A. Callis , Quorum of the Twelve, 1933-1947
Death does not congeal the lips of those who go before us; they are not far from us, and they help us more than we know.
In “The Family. A Proclamation to the World”: Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.
The passing of a mother or father does not abdicate their responsibility “to love and care… .” The most important people in their lives are their families. “They are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever.” The word solicitous means” full of anxiety and concern, showing hovering attentiveness.”
About six months after my mom passed away, I was in my kitchen, listening to the radio. I was fighting feeling sad that I couldn’t call my mom. Then a song that I had never heard before started playing.
“Never Alone,” by Jesse Bonano
When your hope has been broken
And the fear is unspoken but true,
You’re never alone
Like a dream in a child,
Or a childish dream in you,
I’ll do anything that I can do
To show you my love and comfort you.
When you can’t seem too find your way home,
And when life gets too hard, to face on your own,
I will stand as a light through your darkest unknown.
I will walk with you
So you’re never alone, You’re never alone.
Like a tear in the ocean
Or a star on a clear winter night,
You’re never alone
When the courage you needed
Has been all but defeated in you,
I’ll do anything I can do
To show you my love and comfort you.
When you can’t seem to find your way home
And when life gets too hard
To face on your own,
I will stand as a light through your darkest unknown
I will walk with you,
So you’re never alone.
Never Alone, Never Alone, Never Alone
When you can’t seem to find your way home
And when life gets too hard, to face on your own,
I will stand as a light through your darkest unknown.
I will walk with you, I will walk with you
I will walk with you,
So your never alone
As soon as I heard the first phrase, tears started pouring down my cheeks. As I sat and listened to the words of this song, I realized that I had been uttering a silent, pleading prayer that I was unaware of. When the lyric’s stated “When the courage you needed has been all but defeated in you,” I realized that my fighting will to hold on to her was fading, and I was scared. Scared that what I believed was wrong. That what I had heard over and over again– “you can feel them for a minute but eventually the veil closes and they go away–was true. I was holding on so tight, and it had taken so much courage, almost like I hadn’t fully exhaled since she had passed, for fear it would all slip away. This song’s lyrics answered all of my unspoken fears.
The next morning as I woke up, I heard her voice in my mind say over and over again “I am not dead, I am not gone.”
Hey, sweet Katie, thank you so much for being my friend. You have blessed my life tremendously. Everyday for months I was pleading to the Lord for a friend. Someone that I connected with and that could help me through my time as a mother and wife. I was beginning to think that having a best friend was something only Hollywood and other media portrayed, and that it wasn’t actually realistic. God has provided and proven otherwise. Being around you makes me so happy. Thank you for sharing this time of your life with me.
I am so sorry that you are currently separated from your mother. You hide your hurt and emotions so well, I would not have even guessed that you had just experienced this tragic loss. I will not even begin to pretend to know what that feels like.
I believe that the Lord let me quickly converse with your mother in the temple to edify us, both you and me. I felt God’s love for me through your mother’s words. I was reminded that he is aware of our struggles, our heartaches. I believe that experiences like these are a result of our faith.
As recorded in my Journal:
On June 27, 2015, shortly before noon, I was sitting in the endowment room of the Louisville Temple attending an endowment session for a relative of my husband. I felt her presence and her joy because of the work being done on her behalf.
During a pause, I prayed to know what Heavenly Father needed me to do in order to help Katie Ellingson, a dear friend in Lexington, Kentucky.
Not soon after I asked the question, over to my left, in the empty seat, I felt the presence of Katie’s angel mother.
I could visualize her clearly next to me. Her kind eyes, dark hair, and sweet smile. She was loving toward me and I could feel her gratitude for me in just the way she carried herself and stood next to me.
I introduced myself, which is silly; she already knew who I was. She acted as if we have always been friends. “Hi, I’m so glad you are here. I am so glad you are in my Katie’s life. She needs your love and friendship. Her heart is so heavy. I don’t want it to be. Please help lift her up. Please help her smile and laugh like she deserves to. God has a great work for her and she needs to pick herself up to be able to accomplish it.” In answer to my question of how to help, her mother repeated that I needed to continue being her friend. It was pressed upon my mind that I had strengths that could help her, and vice versa; she had strengths that could help me.
I expressed to her my sorrow that she was separated from her daughter, and I shared with her my resolve to love Katie and to help her as if she were my own family.
“Don’t worry about me. I am in such a beautiful place, I love it here. But I do miss having conversations with my children. I miss being able to be with them on earth. I replied that I couldn’t imagine how she felt. She replied with a steady “A time will come when you are separated by the veil from the ones you love and will experience it. But until then, nurture the relationship with your children. Love them, be kind to them, and your link will be strong and they will be able to feel your influence that much more.”
Thank you. “I know you will, you are such a good mom. Thank you for being so willing to love Katie. She can learn a lot of things from you. “She smiled with her eyes and said, Give Katie a big hug for me.” I felt her desire to hug me, and I knew our time together had passed as she left.
Fourteen months after Lorna passed away, three new grandchildren joined the family within a month of each other. Joel and his wife Alicia, a little girl named Elle. Calli and Tyson: a little boy Malcolm (who goes by Mozzie). Katie and Clint: a little girl named Mazzie.
Anticipating the birth of my third child brought me much anxiety. Having two previous fast natural births will do that to someone! Most of my anxiety stemmed from not being able to make it to the hospital in time to even have an option for an epidural. This time around I felt the need for one. I began asking my Heavenly Father through prayer to help me know when I would need to head to the hospital. I wanted to get there in time for the epidural. To say I was anxious is actually an understatement. I was a complete mess. I had thought I needed to go to the hospital hourly and had no idea if it was the Spirit talking. Fast forward through a “bunch of crazy” to when I was admitted to labor and delivery, and miraculously, with an epidural flowing freely, I was finally able to take a deep breath and relax.
At this moment I was overtaken with a feeling of gratitude toward my Heavenly Father. My prayer had been answered, and I was at peace. At this same moment I felt the presence of my mother and the immense love she had for me, and her accompanying words in my mind: “Katie, do you not realize that I have been studying every aspect of this hospital for you, and I have been with you every step of the way.” Silent tears began streaming down my face as it all came together in my mind.
Don Coplin , Family Friend
I share some experiences that, while unique to me, perhaps shouldn’t be to any of us willing to allow such experiences.
The last few years have been challenging in many ways. I have dealt with financial, health, and family issues, with no let up nor any light at the end of the tunnel. They each wax and wane occasionally in severity but continue on. Ever the optimist, I have mostly put on my “game” face and slogged on through repeated assaults on my patience, trusting in the Lord and striving to find new ways of overcoming my particular difficulties.
During one of my darkest moments of hopelessness, I was driving to meet with a doctor who was going to administer a trial procedure to address one of my health issues. Feeling rather down, I was silently praying for some direction in which I could have confidence. I began to feel very warm inside my chest and overcome with a sense of emotion I had never experienced before. I began sobbing and realized that there was a “presence” in my truck with me. I knew that it was my father, who had passed away 19 years ago. I continued to sob and finally got the courage to speak. I said, “Where have you been. I have missed you so much”! I heard my Father say to me, “Don, I am always with you. everything is going to be okay.” I continued to cry to him and began to ask about my health, financial and family difficulties. Before I could form sentences, he spoke again saying, with emphasis, “everything, will be okay!”
An incredible calm came over me at that point. We continued on in silence, and then his presence began to fade. The love I felt, the caring I felt, were indescribable. Never have I felt such a feeling
I have also come to recognize the many times in the past when he guided me without me realizing his influence.
I have a very good friend who was called to serve as a bishop, shortly after he moved into his new ward. Three years before he moved in, the husband and father of a family in the ward (that I will call the “Smiths”) had passed away. He was 49 years old. There were 9 children in the family, five boys, four girls, from age 23 down to 5 or 6. As their bishop. (and close neighbor), my friend was called upon to give blessings and assist in ordinations for the Smith family.
The first time he was called upon, as he put his hands on the head of the child receiving the blessing, he felt hands placed on top of his hands. He knew it was Brother Smith.
He had that experience each time he gave a blessing to a member of the Smith family, except once. He waited but never felt hands on top of his, so he proceeded with giving the blessing.
A few days later, he received word from a mission president in South America where one of the Smith sons was serving as a missionary. Elder Smith was having difficulties adjusting to missionary service. My friend then knew why he hadn’t felt Brother Smith’s hands on his. Brother Smith was needed in South America.
When a Smith family member was participating in sacrament meeting, giving a talk, taking part in a Primary program, whatever the occasion, My friend would look over the congregation and know exactly where Brother Smith was sitting.
Chapter 16, Anniversaries
Calli's Journal August 24, 2016
Today marks two years….I have thought a lot about how to describe the last two years. First off, I decided to make a pros and cons list.
Cons: I don’t get to interact with her physically.
Pros: My mom isn’t in the proverbial pit with me. It’s not the blind leading the blind. She can see much more than I can.
If I could wave a magic wand and have my mom return back to life, I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it because I believe this was the plan for my family from the beginning. I want what I think everyone wants. I want to feel happy, I want to love and be loved. I know that having my mom on the other side of this crazy earth experience increases my ability to experience both joy and love ten-fold.
When it comes to my relationship with my mom, I do not focus on how long it is going to be before I see her again. I keep her alive. Keeping her alive in my world is an act of presence, faith and courage. There were moments soon after my mom’s passing when I thought it might be easier if I would just start focusing on forgetting her rather than keeping her alive. Meaning, believing that I will see her when I die, but until then I need to get on with my life as if she were gone. I could honestly just be a certifiable crazy person who has an imaginary friend in the form of my mom. They say death can do crazy things to people.
I don’t believe I am crazy. Perhaps the crazy idea is that we are supposed to shut ourselves off from the people who have preceded us in death.
My journey of figuring out what God’s role is in my life is exactly that, a journey. Growing up, I believed that if I followed a certain list of instructions, God would then grant me my desires. I don’t believe that anymore. I believe that I sat down with Heavenly parents before I came to this earth and mapped out my life. I chose what I wanted to experience here. It is how I explain the idea “why do bad things happen to good people?” “If there was really a God who loved us He wouldn’t let such horrible things happen.” Because God loves us, he lets “horrible” things happen. He didn’t send us down here alone. He sent us down here together. I believe we are all going back, regardless of what we did or didn’t do. We came here for experience, not to prove ourselves worthy of something we already are and have. God’s love for me cannot increase or decrease, so why would I spend all of my time trying to become worthy of a love that cannot change? I believe that God allows me the opportunity to experience the things I desired to experience. That looks like not saving my mom from cancer, not preventing me from being hurt and feeling alone or afraid or any of the other things we pray for deliverance from. We set our lives in motion by coming here. God is not withholding anything from us. He provides us with his grace. His unending, unearned, unchanging love. Which in turn allows us the opportunity to experience things without being totally crippled by them. I love the children’s book The Little Soul and the Sun, by Neale Donald Walsch. Again, we are all in this together,including those of us on this side of the veil and those on the other. . . .We can only put our energy in so many places. What we water grows. My thoughts are the water. I have spent a lot of time watering my relationship with Heaven. Consequently, my relationship with my mom has grown. It is strong and it is thriving.
Calli's Journal August 24, 2017
It has been three years since my mom passed away. This year has been full of all the feels when it comes to her death.
Following my mom’s passing, if I felt like the reality of her being gone was too much, I would often chant over and over again to myself, “I am okay, I am okay, I am okay.” Following one of these chants I heard her in my mind say, “I am not okay with just okay, I want you to be happy, and I will help you,”
My mom was a problem solver: I am very much like her in this regard. About a month ago I was thinking about my mom, and I realized that when she died something very deep inside of me broke in a way I had never experienced before. It was almost like for the past three years a part of me had been on a constant adrenaline rush, trying to find a solution for what had happened to my heart. If I kept going and kept looking, then the adrenaline rush would continue, and I wouldn’t feel the complete impact of her loss.
As I said earlier, this year has been full of All the feels. When I and my family have expressed to people on many occasions that her passing has been one of the most beautiful gifts, it is true. It genuinely has been a time of so much learning, loving, continued grace and beautiful experiences.
For me there has never been an experience like death that has shown me that I am not just human. My soul knows there is no separation. My mom has told me three different times that she is not going anywhere. She is never leaving me. It doesn’t matter how many years go by, or if my life is going so beautifully that it would seem like I didn’t need her, she’s never leaving. This knowing and me trusting is what have made the last three years beautiful.
I do believe in a God that is loving. I also believe that love is all things. It is not just nice, kind, comfortable, it is all the feels. I have heard many times that our lives are like on big tapestry, each color representing different experiences. In my opinion losing someone so close to us adds a lot of colors really fast. It changes you permanently, almost like an accident that would cause someone to walk with a limp for the rest of their life.
I think that most of us, from the time we are young, are often told to not get dirty, to try not to break things, and often if something does get dirty or broken, it can be fixed or replaced. Losing my mom can’t be fixed or replaced for my human self. So I have been forced to feel all the feels, to experience things I never had to before. It has created a permanent change in me. It has made me more compassionate, tender, and mature. It has given me a depth that I didn’t have before.
One night I was surrounded by some women that I love dearly. I was expressing at that moment how much I missed my mom. As I was talking with them, I realized that in some ways I wanted to keep myself separate from all the other people who had lost their moms. I had seen what happened to other people who had lost their moms, and they did not appear to be okay. I did not think that I could do it like they appeared to be doing it. I was not going to belong to the” lost-mom club.” As I was expressing this to them, one of them said: Well, I am in the lost mom-club. Do you not want to be connected to me? It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be, I was scared to be. I think one of the most difficult things to do in this life is to just be with each other in pain. Not having a solution for it, not being able to fix it, just sitting and being with each other in moments of intense heartache. I fortunately or unfortunately have learned how to just be with intense heartache. For me simultaneously there is also soooooo much love.
I am part of the “dead-mothers club.” This was the scariest club that ever existed to me. I did not believe that I would survive. I have survived and way more often than not I am so much better than okay. I love my mom, I feel her everyday. I have created a new relationship with her that is precious to me. All of this kind of happened by default. I didn’t have a choice but to figure out how to reconnect with her. Today as I reflect on her being gone for three years I am grateful for all the feels that happen on this beautiful earth.
Love you, Mom
Calli's Journal September 16, 2019 (Lorna's Birthday)
Happy birthday, Mom. Life seemed so predictable before you died. It turns out predictability really is for the birds. Most days when I let myself really think about you being gone, it feels like a really long dream that I can’t seem to wake up from. It is not necessarily a sad dream, it is just so far from what I ever imagined.
When you first died, I felt like I was thrown onto the front lines of a war I never ever wanted to fight. Every year that goes by, it does get easier. I get more and more used to life without you in the way you used to be. I no longer feel that I am fighting in any war. I know that you are and will always be with me. I miss the ways in which we used to interact, but I love and am grateful for all of the ways that we now interact. I love you forever and consider myself the luckiest girl in the world to get to be your daughter.
Calli's Journal August 24, 2020
6 years…. I’m so thankful that I can still see her in my mind. I’m thankful that the image I see is of her laughing. My dad, siblings, and I believe that her ability to love, watch over, help and protect us is much greater now than it ever could have been if she were still here. One of the most amazing gifts is watching my dad continue to parent us kids with her. It is a beautiful thing to behold. I am thankful everyday for my mom, for the ways she is still a part of my life, my kid’s lives, my friend’s and families lives. It is truly remarkable.
Chapter 17, The Second Estate
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences [spirit children of Heavenly Parents] that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those that were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
And those who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.Abraham 3:22-28
Daniel Ludlow BYU Education Week Presentation “The Postmortal Spiritual Existence” 1998
The scriptures and the prophets of this dispensation have referred to our present condition–a combination of spirit body and physical mortal body–as being part of our second estate. This estate began when our spirit body and physical mortal body came together initially, and it ends at the resurrection when our spirit body and our immortal physical body come together, never to be separated again. Our second estate does not end with our physical temporal death; it ends with our resurrection. Therefore, our next major phase of existence—the postmortal spiritual existence–is part of our second estate.
Elder Boyd K. Packer , Quorum of the Twelve Mine Errand from the Lord Deseret Book 2008 page 3.
The great plan of happiness is like a three act play. Act 1 is entitled pre mortal life, the scriptures describe it as our First Estate. Act 2, from birth to the time of resurrection, the Second Estate. Act 3, Life after death or Immortality and Eternal Life.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell , Quorum of the Twelve Apostles The Promise of Discipleship
Sometimes in the Church we speak imprecisely at funerals and otherwise as if individuals who die go immediately to the Celestial Kingdom and are at once in the full presence of God. We tend to overlook the reality that the spirit world and paradise are part, really, of the second estate. The work of the Lord, so far as the second estate is concerned, is completed before the judgement and resurrection. (p. 119)
Again, our existence in the Spirit World is part of the mortal sector of our Father’s plan which culminates with the Judgment and the Resurrection. (p. 120)
Thus, if not on this side of the veil, then in the spirit world to come, the gospel will be preached to all, including all transgressors, rebels, and rejectors of prophets, along with all those billions who died without a knowledge of the gospel. (p. 122)
He gave the gift to us of mortality, or the second estate, where all might be “added upon”. He provides in the spirit world a continuum of mortality’s probation, the great opportunity for all. (p. 122)
Eldred G. Smith , Church Patriarch, 1947-1979 Understanding Patriarchal Blessing, Brough and Grassley, Horizon Publishers, 1984, page 67,68
In a talk at the Institute at the University of Utah about Patriarchal Blessings:
When I talk about blessings being eternal and what can be accomplished I think of the time element involved…not just between birth and until they are thirty or forty or fifty…or not from birth until death. Think of mortality and the time we have of accomplishing the purposes and developments that mortality gives us; the time between birth and resurrection. Now, some people say, “so and so was given such and such in his blessing and he died before it was ever fulfilled.” Well, so what? That isn’t the end of his life or the end of what can be accomplished as the result of mortality. The purpose of mortality, or what we can accomplish here is between birth and the resurrection.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks , Quorum of the Twelve May 2000 Ensign, Resurrection
In our eternal journey, the resurrection is the mighty milepost that signifies the end of mortality and the beginning of immortality.
30. But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.
31. And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
32. Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
58. The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,
59. And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.D&C 138: 30-32, 58, 59
And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life [SecondEstate] became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.Alma 12:24
Dale Mauritson The Spirit World our next Home, Ensign January 1977
The Spirit World, our next home, is a continuation of our second estate, which began at birth and will end at the resurrection. It is chiefly a place of learning and waiting, not suffering.
I became acquainted with George Durrant a number of years ago. He has extensive Church education experience: President of the MTC, mission president a couple of times, institute director at UVSC, professor at BYU, and author of a number of books. He is doctrinally sound.
When greeting him “How are you doing today?” he would often say “It’s my best day.” After his wife passed away, he would say, “It’s my best day,…because of what I know.”
Sometimes on greeting him he would ask, “What do you know,” or what have you learned, new? On one occasion, Don Coplin, a good friend and I, saw Brother George. He asked us, “What do you know.” Don answered, “The second estate is birth to resurrection, not birth to death.” George replied emphatically. “Thats exactly right!!! And it’s too bad the Latter-Day Saints don’t understand that!”
On this side of the veil we reconcile ourselves to God through having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting of our sins, then striving to keep the commandments. On the other side of the veil we reconcile ourselves to God through having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting of our sins, then striving to keep the commandments.
That reconciliation opportunity does not terminate at death, it terminates at the resurrection.
Chapter 18, A Phone Call
In December of 2016, I received a phone call from Sheila Calder. She and her husband, Cameron are friends in the ward. She told me she had been to lunch that day with some ladies from the ward. During lunch, Lorna’s name came up in the conversation.
Connie Larson, who had moved from the ward, was at the luncheon. She asked those at the table if they knew if I was dating? No one at the lunch knew whether I was or wasn’t. She told them that there was a widow in her new ward, she felt I should meet. Then she explained why she felt that way. Then said she was hesitant to call me. Sheila said, “I’ll call him. What’s her name and number?”
Sheila called and asked if I was dating. I answered no. She told me about the lunch she attended that day. She told me about Connie’s feeling that I should meet a widow in her ward. I told Sheila I appreciated the call and the inquiry, but I was not interested in dating yet. She insisted I call and sent me Connie’s number.
I had no intention of calling.
However, for the next few days, I’m “troubled.” I’m feeling I should call, but I don’t want to. The feeling won’t go away. I decide to at least make the call.
I call Connie and ask her about the widow she feels I should meet.
During the previous summer (it’s now December), Connie was jogging in a local park. She jogged by a bench that Brenda, the widow from her ward, was sitting on. Connie hears someone say: “Introduce Brenda to Craig Jenkins.”
That afternoon, Connie and her husband Mike ran into me at Costco (I remembered that meeting at Costco) She hears again, “Introduce Brenda to Craig.” Connie told me that every–time she sees Brenda, she hears the same thing, Introduce Brenda to Craig.
When Connie was telling her experience to those at the lunch, Brenda walked into the restaurant.
I’m not a big believer in coincidences anymore.
Elder Gerald N. Lund , Quorum of the Seventy Divine Signatures, 20–21
As a popular saying goes, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” But in my experience it is just the opposite. What we call coincidence is God’s way of letting Himself be known….
Sometimes, the Lord sends His blessings in such a highly unusual, dramatic, or precisely timed manner that it might be likened to a “divine Signature.” It is as though the Lord “signs” the blessing personally so that we know with certainty that it comes from Him. In doing so, God not only gives us blessings, but at the same time He also strengthens our faith and deepens our testimony of Him.
I called Brenda. She had been a widow for a few years. She told me that when her husband died, good riddance. She never wanted to see him again, and certainly didn’t want to be sealed to him. She said he had done some things. I didn’t ask what those things were.
She then told me that she had come to believe from her personal impressions that you can repent on the other side of the veil. But, she had been unable to find any statements from the brethren to corroborate what she was believing. She had even attended a fireside on Life after Life, where the presenter was unable to give her a definitive answer.
I told her yes, of course you can repent on the other side of the veil. The second estate, the time to prepare to meet God, is birth to resurrection, not birth to death. I have statements by Elder Packer, Elder Maxwell, Elder Oaks, Eldred G. Smith, (Church Patriarch from 1947-1979), Alma, Section 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and others. I’ll email them to you.
A short time later I received this email back from her.
I want to thank you again for sharing your collection of articles with me. I have read and reread them and have found great comfort in their words. I have also shared them with some of my children. The most rewarding part of the experience has been that they served as a second witness of the things that had been revealed to me through personal revelation. I am very thankful for a merciful Heavenly Father, for a loving husband, for Connie’s willingness to follow a prompting and for your courage in calling me and being willing to share sacred things with me.
Brenda and I never met. Just a phone call and an email. However, I do feel a connection to Brenda, and her husband, who loves her.
Brenda’s husband had repented. He was then authorized to speak the words to Brenda’s mind that you can repent on the other side of the veil, and that he had repented.
Brenda had believed what most Latter-day Saints believe. If you are a Church member and you die in your sins, you had your one chance. No Celestial Kingdom for you.
That belief for Brenda, was being challenged by her personal revelation, that her husband, who had been active, endowed, sealed in the Temple, but had done some things, who hadn’t repented before he died, wasn’t lost. He could repent of those things’ in the spirit world.
She wanted to believe the impressions she was feeling, but needed a second witness to confirm what was being revealed to her.
Council meetings are held on the other side of the veil, Church and family. In a council meeting her husband addresses her need for an additional witness to confirm to her what she was now believing. A statement from a credible source.
Don’t ask me how, but in some way he finds out that I have quotes that will confirm the impressions that Brenda has been receiving.
How to get them to Brenda? Again, in some way, he becomes aware that Connie is a link; she knows both of us. It was not a coincidence that Brenda was sitting on a bench in Lambert Park when Connie jogged by, or she ran into me at Costco later in the day, or that every time she saw Brenda she would hear the same thing: introduce Brenda to Craig.
Because of Connie’s reticence (completely understandable) to call me, after a few months Brenda’s husband makes arrangements for ladies from the ward and Connie to meet for lunch (because, ‘”they can do things from there”).
Lorna’s name comes up at lunch, my name comes up, Connie shares her story. Sheila calls me: I’m not going to call, but I’m troubled by Brenda’s husband, (always authorized) to make the call. I call, and Brenda gets the quotes she needs to confirm what had been revealed to her. She knows her husband has repented and loves her.
Larry James, a fellow ordinance worker at the Timpanogos Temple shared his experience with me.
I have been an active church member all of my life, and have held a temple recommend since 1961, when my wife and I were married. I have been a priesthood leader for decades, serving as a bishop and stake president.
I am writing about a single event that happened in the Mount Timpanogos Temple. My wife and I were asked to help one of the families in our ward with sealings for their family. I was sitting in one of the witness chairs when the sound in the room became very still. I heard a female voice speak to my mind. She said, “Don’t forget me”. It was the voice of my younger sister. She was born in 1946, whereas I was born in 1939. This had never happened to me, and I began to weep. Needless to say, I interrupted the session and the sealer sensed I was in some kind of trouble.
I explained to him what had happened, and he didn’t seem surprised. My sister had been dead for over four years. She was baptized at the age of eight as we all were, but she was never active in the Church. She had been married five times and had six children by different men. I had written her off as having made her decision as to the gospel of Christ. Well, within one week, my wife and I had her temple endowment completed in the temple. After the session that day the sealer said to me that the end of mortality will not be until the resurrection takes place.
Chapter 19, Steve
My brother Steve, 5 years younger than me, died in 2008 at the age of 55. He was an alcoholic. He quit going to church in his teens. In the years that followed he saw no purpose or value in having anything to do with the Church. He was no longer a believer.
The last 40 years of his life he was in a Church building twice, for grandparents funerals. I’m pretty sure he never killed anybody, but probably was guilty of most of the rest of the “thou shalt nots”.
I was asked to speak at his funeral. I shared the statements that the second estate is from birth to resurrection. I said Steve had probably already met with his new Bishop. Bishops are judges in Israel. They help people repent. They outline the course one needs to follow to repent and become worthy of Temple Ordinances. Steve’s course of action was laid out for him. He would not only have Priesthood leaders to help him, but family and others interested in his eternal welfare. I would do his Temple work when he had been dead a year.
When you pass through the veil and you are surrounded by generations of love, even the hardest heart will be softened.
Shortly after his funeral I was visiting with my parents. My remarks at his funeral come up in the conversation. My dad wanted to know why I was the only person in the whole church that knew someone like Steve had a chance to repent in the spirit world. He refused to believe it. Steve had his chance and failed.
A few months later, again, while visiting my parents. My Dad told me he had had a dream. In his dream he was helping Steve while I did his Temple work. I asked him what he thought that meant. He said; “I think it means I will be dead.” I asked him if that bothered him, he said no. I asked him if he usually remembered his dreams, he answered no.
Because of his dream, dad now believed that Steve could repent in the spirit world.
I had December 8th circled on the calendar. The one year anniversary of Steve’s passing. As that day approached I didn’t feel any urgency to take the necessary steps to get his work done. It was as though someone had called “time out”.
On Christmas Eve we held our traditional Jenkins Family Christmas Dinner. The next day, Christmas Day, my dad had to be taken to the hospital. He died about 6 weeks later.
While preparing for Dad’s funeral, I had the strongest impression that Steve had a hand in Dad’s attendance at the family Christmas Eve celebration. Steve wasn’t the most pleasant person when he was drinking. His wife had left him. He had alienated both his sisters, a brother, and had a poor relationship with mom and dad.
I felt as though Dad being with us at Christmas was a gift to the family from Steve. It may even have been part of his repentance process.
The Christmas following my Dad’s passing, as we gathered as usual on Christmas Eve, the first without Dad. There was someone missing, It was a bittersweet evening.
It confirmed the feeling I had eleven months earlier while preparing to speak at my Dad’s funeral.
The day after Dad’s funeral, I felt an URGENCY to get Steve’s Temple Ordinance paperwork completed so I could get his work done. The next morning I was being “prompted” even before the Temple was open for patrons, to get it done. I was at the Mount Timpanogos Temple at five thirty am when the doors opened. His Temple Endowment was completed that morning.
I believe that once a person believes, repents and qualifies for Temple Ordinances to be performed vicariously for them on this side of the veil, when that work is done, and they have accepted the work done for them, consummating ordinances are then performed on the other side of the veil effectualizing those saving ordinances of the gospel vicariously performed here.
I believe my Dad officiated in those consummating ordinances for Steve, just as he had seen in his dream ten months before.
In May of 2020 Kurt was receiving a blessing from his Stake President, who told him during the blessing that “your uncle, who has repented, will be assisting you at this time”. He immediately thought of his Uncle Steve. His comment after the blessing was, “I guess golfers stick together.” Steve loved to play golf, as does Kurt.”
Chapter 20, Councils
Rudger Clawson a member of the Quorum of the Twelve (October 1898 to June 1943) and served as President of the Quorum from March 17, 1921 to June 21st 1943, commented:
There is a church on this side of the veil, and a church on the other side of the veil. They are virtually the same. An apostle here is an apostle there, a high priest here, a high priest there, an elder here, an elder there…
When baptisms for the dead are performed, those persons for whom the baptism was performed, are then confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Before initiatory ordinances are performed for men, The Melchizedek Priesthood is conferred upon them and they are ordained to the office of Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The mission of the Church is to proclaim the gospel, perfect the Saints and redeem the dead. Council meetings are held on this side of the veil to facilitate the work of the church here. Callings are given and assignments made.
President Wilford Woodruff on (Church) council meetings held on the other side of the veil:
The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp 290-291
Perhaps I may be permitted to relate a circumstance with which I am acquainted in relation to Bishop Roskelley, of Smithfield, Cache Valley;
On one occasion he was suddenly taken very sick—near to death’s door. While he lay in this condition, President Peter Maughan, who was dead, came to him and said: “Brother Roskelley, we held a council on the other side of the veil. I have a great deal to do, and I have the privilege of coming here to appoint one man to come and help. I have had three names given to me in council, and you are one of them. I want to inquire into your circumstances.
The Bishop told him what he had to do, and they conversed together as one man would converse with another. President Maughan then said to him: “I think I will not call you. I think you are wanted here more than perhaps one of the others.
Bishop Roskelley got well from that hour. Very soon after, the second man was taken sick, but not being able to exercise sufficient faith, Brother Roskelley did not go to him. By and by this man recovered, and on meeting Brother Roskelley, he said: “Brother Maughan came to me the other night and told me he was sent to call one man from the ward,” and he named two men as had been done to Brother Roskelley. A few days afterwards the third man was taken sick and died.
Now, I name this to show a principle. They have work on the other side of the veil, and they want men (and women) and they call them
Chapter 21, Family Councils
Family council meetings are also held on the other side of the veil to facilitate the work of families on both sides of the veil.
I believe family organizations are presided over by a presidency similar to that of a Temple. A Temple is presided over by a husband and wife as President and Matron. There are also two counselors and matrons that assist. They serve for a time, are released, and others are called.
The family presidency presides over the work of the family. Needs are discussed, callings are given, assignments are made. Unitedly they oversee the work of the family on both sides of the veil. They serve for a time, are released, and others are called.
It was in one of those family council meeting that Kurts uncle Steve was assigned to assist him during a trying time in Kurts life (golfers stick together).
The Church on the other side of the veil, and family organizations on the other side of the veil work hand in hand, for the blessing and benefit of all mankind on both sides of the veil.
Tom Heal was in the Scout Troop from Provo Utah that was involved in a tragic accident on the way to Hole in the Rock in 1963. Thirteen people died in the accident.
Thirty years later, Tom and another survivor of the accident, Lee Colvin, raised money to build a monument to those that had died in the accident. They built the monument on the hairpin turn where the accident happened.
Tom and Sandy Heal, with family and friends, were camping about 40 miles from Escalante, Utah on the road to Hole in the Rock, as they worked on the monument.
Tom Heal Return to Hole in the Rock, pages 69-73 Lee Colvin, Tom Heal
Not long after we finished breakfast, my 15 year old daughter, Rebecca, said her back really hurt and she felt sick. I felt her forehead and noticed she had a fever. I took her into the big tent and had her lay down on a cot to rest. When I returned moments later she was shaking, her fever was worse, and we couldn’t make her stay awake longer than a few moments at a time.
Together my friend Lee and I gave her a priesthood blessing. As we finished I had a very strong feeling that we should get her to a hospital as soon as possible.
The nearest town was Escalante which was just over 40 miles away. The nearest hospital was in Panguitch, another 65 miles beyond that. We put Rebecca in the back of our Suburban, and my wife Sandy held her and put an ice pack on her forehead to reduce the fever. We left the rest of our family with Lee and his boys and began the dusty drive to the hospital. A few minutes after we started, Sandy said, “Tom, I think we are losing Rebecca! She has stopped breathing and turning white. She is unresponsive and limp.” I told Sandy to keep talking to her and try to keep her awake.
I called 911 on my cell phone to report our emergency, but was only able to get an intermittent signal. I was driving as fast as I thought was safe, and occasionally when we would get to the top of a hill, I could get a call through to the 911 operator. During the course of nine or ten separate calls, I was able to explain where we were and that our daughter was gravely ill and in danger of dying. I asked the Sheriff’s dispatcher if they could send an emergency helicopter to meet us on the road.
She said they didn’t have a helicopter, but they would send an ambulance from Escalante to meet us.
Between phone calls I could hear Sandy talking constantly to Rebecca. She pleaded with her to wake up and please stay with us. A short while later, Rebecca started breathing, awoke, and asked her mother, “Mom where are Jared and Tammy?” Sandy answered, “Your brother and sister are back at camp. We’re on our way to the hospital to get you some help”. Rebecca said, “Mom, we need to go back,” and Sandy asked her why. “Because I need to say goodbye to them,” she replied. As we heard her response, we were more concerned than ever that we were going to lose our precious daughter because we wouldn’t be able to get help for her in time.
Rebecca then went limp and stopped breathing. Sandy desperately tried to get her to wake up, and after several minutes she opened her eyes and said, “Grandpa is here and wants me to go with him.” Her grandfather, Ward Heal, died 13 years earlier when she wasn’t yet two years old. She said there were two other people with her grandpa whom she didn’t know, and they were all dressed in white robes. It was more beautiful and peaceful where they were than she ever imagined a place could be. Sandy told her, “Tell your grandpa you want to stay with us! Tell him you don’t want to go. Becca…please! We want you to stay with us!” Sandy was in tears as she pleaded for her to stay. I was beside myself with emotion, trying to drive, talk on the phone, and listen to the conversation that was going on behind me.
Rebecca came and went beyond the veil several times during our drive, each time describing to her mother what she was seeing and doing. After about 45 minutes I got a call from the Sheriff’s dispatcher. She said the plane had taken off from St George but had to turn back due to mechanical problems. A few moments later Rebecca came back again, and this time she had a smile on her face. She said that her Grandpa told her that a council had been held, and they determined that she could stay. He then asked her to please tell Stephanie and Christie that he loved them. They are his twin daughters, my sisters. From that point on she remained awake and stable.
“A few days after we got home, I asked Rebecca if she remembered anything about her near death experience. She said she remembered everything. I asked her how she knew the man who wanted her to come with him was her grandfather. She said she just knew him. I asked her what he looked like, and she said, ”well he looked young but I could tell he was old.” She said the place was impossible for her to describe. She saw marvelous buildings and colors she had never seen before. Being there made her feel “perfect”, and she didn’t want to come back. When I asked her why she did come back, she said “Because Mom kept telling me to
There are many books written about the spirit world, and I have read my share. By far, the best I have ever read is “The Message” by Lance Richardson.
My personal experiences since Lorna passed away, has confirmed to me that “The Message” is spot on as he explains how loved ones who have passed away are given assignments and minister to us.
Lance was injured in an accident and spent some time on the other side of the veil. His cousin Randy who had died twenty years previous tells him:
The Message, page 66, 87
I’ve been asked to be your escort. I’ve been assigned to take you to certain places and show you certain things. There is much we need to teach you…I have helped you many times in your life. I have been given assignments on several occasions to assist you and inspire you.
Lance on meeting his Grandpa Mark Richardson:
…I’ve enjoyed helping you and your family so much over the past years.” I appreciated his assessment. But his final sentence caught my interest. What do you mean by that, Grandpa? How have you helped us?
Oh Lance, you’d be surprised how involved many of us are in your lives…
When Lance was on the other side of the veil he saw sections of buildings lined up on streets.
The Message, page 88.
… these buildings were places where the work of the Spirit World was done, and where meetings took place between those who had particular assignments.
Chapter 22, BYU
Lorna went to BYU during the 1970-1971 school year.
She met and dated a young man toward the end of her freshman year. They became serious, he was going on a mission, he didn’t want her at BYU while he was gone. Respecting his wishes, she didn’t register for the fall semester of 1971. Instead, she stayed home in Pasco, Washington. As it turned out, he served just a few months before returning home. Lorna never heard from him again.
She returned to BYU and enrolled in classes for Winter 1972. She attended for a short period of time, the school experience wasn’t the same. She withdrew and returned to Pasco. She found a job and started working.
In the Spring of 1972 she met a young man named Tom. Magic happened.
Tom was not a member of the Church. He agreed to have the missionary discussions. Lorna pleaded with the missionaries not to bring up his being baptized during the first discussion, knowing if they did, Tom wouldn’t continue investigating the Church.
In those years, it was policy to discuss an investigator’s baptism during the first discussion, then set a date for that person’s baptism.
Tom met with the missionaries. During the discussion they suggested a baptismal date for him. As Lorna feared, Tom was through meeting with the missionaries and investigating the Church. Lorna was heart-broken.
Tom was moving at the end of summer to Arizona to go to school. He wanted Lorna to come with him, they could live together.
She was brought face to face with one of her life’s defining moments. Moving and living with Tom in Arizona, or staying true to what she had been taught and believed her whole life. She broke up with him. Years later I found out she cried everyday for three months after breaking up with him.
Lorna had a sister Penny, and her husband Russ living in Seattle. She left Pasco and moved to Seattle in September of 1972. She started working for an accounting firm and attended the singles ward at the University of Washington.
Meeting in Seattle
In September of 1972 I decided to withdraw from my classes at the University of Utah and spend a few months in Seattle, Washington.
I served a mission in the Pacific Northwest from August 1967 to August 1969. I spent about eighteen months in the greater Seattle area. I made arrangements to live with a family in Seattle I had become close to as a missionary.
The only singles ward in Seattle at the time met at the Church Institute Building at the University of Washington. It was one of the areas I served towards the end of my mission.
I arrived a few minutes late for church. I stood in the back looking over the congregation to see if I recognized anyone from my time there as a missionary. As I was looking, I noticed a young woman sitting on the second row, second seat in. In my mind I heard, “She’s the reason you came to Seattle.” The young woman was Lorna.
There were a few students in the ward that I knew when I was a missionary. One was Carl Bell, now in Medical School. He wanted to double date. I told him that I didn’t know anyone well enough to ask. He asked if there was someone I would like to get to know, if so, he would set it up. I had seen him talking to Lorna, so I pointed her out and said I would like to meet her. He set Lorna and me up.
Our first date was October 27, 1972. For Lorna, it was a blind date. For me, I knew who I would be picking up.
She told me later, that when we met for the first time, there was something “familiar” about me.
We were married in the Salt Lake Temple February 2nd, 1973. A little over 3 months later.
Chapter 23, The Little Soul and the Sun
The Little Soul and the Sun, a Children’s book by Neale Donald Walsch.
Hampton Roads, 1998
The story is about two little souls. One of the little souls wants the experience of learning to forgive. The problem is that all the little souls in the kingdom are perfect. So, in order for this little soul to learn to forgive, another little soul has to be willing to become something they are not, in order to do something terrible to the little soul that wants to learn to forgive.
One of the perfect little souls steps forward and offers to become someone he is not, in order to do something terrible to the little soul who wants to learn to forgive.
The little soul asks the other little soul why he was willing to do that for him. His reply; because I love you.
An agreement is made between the two. The perfect little soul will become someone he is not, in order to do something terrible to the other little soul. The other little soul will experience something terrible so he can learn how to forgive.
The only request from the Little Soul who is going to do something terrible, is that the Little Soul who wants to learn how to forgive, will not forget who the other Little Soul really is.
As the Little Soul wanting to learn to forgive is leaving heaven, God reminds him; “Remember, I only send Angels”.
The pattern for this principle was set in that Grand Council in Heaven. “And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? . . . And another answered and said: Here and I, send me”.
The principle of the story. In that time before time, when we sat with heavenly parents and others, to choose experiences that would help us become more like our heavenly parents, we wouldn’t be alone.
For some of those experiences we would need a little soul or two, as it were, willing to play a role in our lives. That little soul could be a spouse, a child, a sibling, a relative or a person with no known connection. An illness, a disability, an accident. Any one of a number of things or ways in order to give us the experience we desired. Angels come in many forms. There are no villains, only hero’s.
Apostles and Prophets from our dispensation have verified the principle discussed in the book.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell , Quorum of the Twelve The Great Plan of the Eternal God, April Conference 1984
The plan places a striking emphasis on present human freedom to choose. Yet some of our present circumstances may reflect previous agreements, now forgotten, but once freely made.
Elder Orson Hyde—one of the original members of the Quorum of Twelve in this dispensation, and served as President of the Quorum for twenty seven years—said of life in the pre-mortal world:
We understood things better there than we do in this lower world…Is it not impossible that we signed the articles thereof with our own hands—which articles may be retained in the archives above, to be presented to us when we rise from the dead, and be judged out of our own mouths, according to that which is written in the books.…Just because we have forgotten, our forgetfulness cannot alter the facts.
Brigham Young Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:314-15
Brothers and sisters, the degree of detail involved in the covenants and promises we participated in at that time may be a much more highly customized thing than many of us surmise. Yet, on occasion even with our forgetting, there may be inklings.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell In a talk at BYU
There are clearly special cases of individuals in mortality who have special limitations in life, which conditions we mortals cannot now fully fathom. For all we now know, the seeming limitations may have been an agreed-upon spur to achievement–a “thorn in the flesh.” Like him who was blind from birth, some come to bring glory to God (John 9: 1-3). We must be exceedingly careful about imputing either wrong causes or wrong rewards to all in such circumstances. They are in the Lord’s hands, and he loves them perfectly. Indeed, some of those who have required much waiting upon in this life may be waited upon again by the rest of us the next world–but for the highest of reasons.
President Brigham Young Teachings of Presidents of the Church, Brigham Young, page 220
Judge not, that ye be not judged. Let no man judge his fellow being, unless he knows he has the mind of Christ within him. We ought to reflect seriously upon this point; how often it is said—“Such a person has done wrong, and he cannot be a Saint or he would not do so.” How do you know?…Do not judge such persons for you do not know the design of the Lord concerning them; therefore do not say they are not Saints.
Boyd K. Packer The Play and the Plan CES Fireside 7 May 1995
Do not suppose that God willfully causes that for which, his own purposes, he permits. When you know the plan and purpose of it all, even these things will manifest a Loving Father in Heaven.
Chapter 24, Not a Coincidence
It was not a coincidence Lorna and I ended up in Seattle in the fall of 1972. It was not a coincidence we met and married quickly.
When Lorna and I returned to Seattle from Salt Lake after getting married. Lorna’s sister Penny told her that Tom had called while we were in Salt Lake. Lorna told me twenty five years later about the phone call and that her initial reaction was, “I’ve made a mistake.”
If we hadn’t met and married in that three month window of time, we probably never would have married. Had she received that call before we were married, I’m sure Tom would have told her he was willing to take the discussions and join the church. She would have broken it off with me and married Tom.
Tom called about 4 years later. We had two little boys at the time. I answered the phone, it was a man’s voice, he asked to talk with Lorna. I knew it was Tom.
After hanging up, Lorna told me it was Tom. I didn’t have to ask. He wanted to know how she was doing, how things were going. He was letting her know he was there if…
Lorna had told me about Tom. How they met, the magic she felt, his experience with the missionaries, his desire to have her move with him to Arizona. Her decision to break up with him.
You can’t make magic happen, it just happens. It never goes away, it fades with time, but the memory of that magic, that person, is always there.
Fortunately, I understood a little bit about magic. My magic was Kayleen, also from the summer of 1972.
Looking back forty years, I believe that Tom and Kayleen were some of the angels that would play their part in our lives.
Chapter 25, Sealing
While we lived in Dallas, Texas, I had the opportunity to serve as a Bishop. Shortly after a new family had moved into the ward, I received a letter from the Head of the Temple Department for the Church.
The Father of the new family had written to the Brethren requesting a cancellation of sealing from his previous wife.
My instructions in the letter were to inform him that a cancellation for him wasn’t necessary. Further, that “Temple Sealings are merely promises of blessings to come, and no one will ever be forced to spend eternity with someone they don’t want to be with anyway.”
I passed that information on to him.
Chapter 26, Mending
I believe that soon after someone passes away, if there was a relationship that needs to be mended that process begins.
When my brother Steve passed away, he had a few relationships that needed mending. The most pressing was how he had treated his wife Debbie the last few years of his life. It became so intolerable for her she moved to Arizona to be near her mother.
When moving everything out of their house a few days after Steve died, and before the funeral (the house had been sold and the move was already in process). Debbie and my sister Vickie were boxing up the last closet.
Debbie went out to start her rental car. It was the middle of December, early in the evening cold and dark with a light snow falling.
Her car wouldn’t start. Out of the darkness she sees someone approaching the car, the person stops and taps on the window and asks if everything is ok. Debbie says her car won’t start. He asked her if she had pumped the gas pedal before turning the key. She said she had, he told her to wait a minute, then try starting it again, but not to pump the pedal. She waited, did as instructed, the car started.
When she went in the house she told Vickie what had happened, and said; “I think it was Steve”. The person had on a hooded sweatshirt (similar to what Steve would wear) was carrying in his hand a can of Budweiser (his beer of choice) and spoke in the same manner as Steve did. He appeared out of nowhere and was gone as quickly as he came.
I believe it was Steve. He was starting that mending process with his wife Debbie.
From a friend Julio Gonzalez.
My Mother’s impact after her passing
In January of 2015 I traveled to Miami to spend time with my mother. Her health was failing and she was about to pass away.
My brother and I had some disagreements about some issues concerning her hospice care and funeral arrangements. We developed some negative feelings toward one another. After the funeral I traveled home prepared to never see or speak to by brother again.
Several months later my friend Craig suggested I read a book written by Lance Richardson called The Message. I read it in May of 2015, five months after my mother had passed away.
In the book, the author shares his personal near death experiences As I was reading about how he experienced a reunion with loved ones in the Spirit World, I realized that at some point after my time on earth, I would eventually reunite with my brother. This realization caused me to determine that it would be better for me to get over my bitter feelings toward my brother sooner, and I would be better served to forgive and forget here on earth.
What I gained from the book was two things. First was the realization or knowledge that I would eventually face my brother and second, that I should probably begin the process of forgiving now instead of letting years go by with bitter feelings.
I also realized that our existence in this life is more than just our life on this earth, and that the nature of the family extends past this earthly existence.
I found it interesting that the day after I had these realizations, my brother, who I hadn’t spoken to since the funeral, called me.
It seems that both of us were thinking the same thing at the same time. It surprised me that my brother called and it softened my heart. In hindsight, I believe that my mother was involved in softening our hearts and helping us to engage with one another.
About a week later my brother called again. We spoke about our families, things that had been happening since our mothers funeral and vacation plans for the year. He and his wife with friends had made plans for a two week cruise on the Baltic Sea. You can imagine my shock as I listened to him describe the exact itinerary that my wife and I with friends had booked. Not only the same itinerary, the same dates. My brother had booked with a different cruise line, but both had the same ports of call on the same day over the two week period.
I then realized that even though I had decided to never see my brother again it wouldn’t be possible to avoid him. Somehow it seemed someone was orchestrating our reunion and creating an opportunity for us to reconcile.
My brother and I decided to meet in Copenhagen prior to our cruises beginning. My brother and I with our wives met in our hotel lobby.
It was in that meeting that we discussed the probability that our mother had orchestrated our coming together.
Lorna passed away on Sunday, August 24th. On Tuesday the 26th I woke up thinking I needed to find her wedding ring.
Katie came into the bedroom as I was looking and asked what I was looking for. I told her I was looking for her mother’s ring. For some reason I woke up with the feeling that I needed to find it.
Katie told me the reason I thought about the ring was because Mom wanted to be married to me now, more than she ever had before.
In preparation for her funeral service which was to be held on Saturday August 30th, I went to the Timpanogos Temple on Thursday morning, the 28th. As the events of the creation were being reviewed, when Eve is introduced to Adam, Adam is asked what he is going to call her. He replies “Eve, for she is the mother of all living”. Eve then gives Adam a subtle look of adoration, because she knew, he knew, who she was.
When that introduction took place, I felt something. I knew Lorna knew who I was, and more importantly, who we were, during that time before time when we dwelt with heavenly parents. It was a sweet experience.
When we moved into our home on Matterhorn Drive, Lorna found out from a friend, Kit Lund, that you could go to the Unitah Mountains above Kamas, and get landscape rocks for your yard.
For the next five or six years I made regular summer trips to the Unitah’s getting landscape rocks for our yard.
Consequently, for Lorna’s headstone, it would be a rock from the Unitah’s.
With three friends, we went to the Unitah’s. We found the perfect headstone.
When I dropped the rock off at the Monument place where the stone would be engraved, they asked me what I wanted on the stone.
Just the usual, names and dates. I gave them our birth dates, the date Lorna passed away. Then for our marriage date, I said “Sealed February 2, 1973”.
The person helping told me that typically, you don’t put ‘sealed’ on a headstone if you weren’t civilly married first. When a couple is civilly married, then sealed later, you put a married date and date the couple was sealed in the Temple on the headstone. If married in the Temple first, Married is put on the headstone, not sealed.
Well then, just put Married February 2, 1973.
For a few days afterwards, just having the word “married”on the headstone troubled me. Married. Married where; on a cruise ship, by a justice of the peace, or in a little chapel in Las Vegas.
As I was waking up a few mornings later, I knew what Lorna wanted engraved on our headstone.
Joined Forever in the Holy Order of Matrimony
2 February 1973
Despite the desire to find her wedding ring, the feeling in the Temple when Eve was introduced to Adam, and “Joined Forever…” on the headstone. Even with those evidences, because of the feelings Lorna had for Tom before we met, I found myself wondering if Lorna would choose me. It was a troubling persistent thought.
Six or seven weeks after Lorna passed away, two or three mornings in a row, I woke up with lyrics from a song going over and over in my mind, “have I told you lately that I love you, have I told you that I care.”
I googled the song and found the lyrics were different than I was singing in my mind. I was saying, “have I told you lately that I love you, have I told you that I care”. The correct lyrics are;
Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you
There’s no one above you
…there’s a love that’s divine
And it’s yours and it’s mine…
In early November, I was in the Timpanogos Temple doing sealings. At one point between assignments at the altar, I hear Lorna say over and over; “I choose you, I choose you.”
Lorna’s headstone was placed at the Alpine Cemetery in early November, 2014. Calli went to the cemetery to see it. Her mother had always counseled her to marry her best friend. While at the gravesite, Calli asked her mother “is dad your best friend”? She heard her mother say, “you have no idea.”
During our married life, if we had an argument it usually ended when she would say; “Get over it!”
I hate to admit this, but, in early December I’m raking leaves in the backyard. Despite the evidence I had received, I’m fretting again.
I hear Lorna say; GET OVER IT!
I don’t fret over Tom anymore.
In late November 2014, Calli took part in a meditation retreat in Oregon. She felt her mother often during the retreat.
When she returned from Oregon, she called and told me we needed to talk. She had something to tell me and was quite urgent about it.
She came to the house and told me that I had played my role perfectly in mom’s life and I needed to read the book, “The Little Soul and the Sun”. I have come to know that Lorna played her role in my life perfectly as well. No villains, just hero’s.
Cory Jensen , Family Friend
Several years ago while riding up the Alpine Loop on my bicycle on a summer morning, a silver SUV passed me with a GIDDYUP license plate on the back. Sure enough when I rounded the corner by Timpooneke, there were Lorna and Katie taking some wedding photos by the brook and the tall pines in the early morning light. I hollered a hello as I rode past.
October 7, 2015 found me riding up the canyon again, this time on a sunny warm fall afternoon. As I approached the same spot, my thoughts drifted to Lorna. At that moment, suddenly, I felt a connection to her. Not that she was present but more that she was aware of my thoughts right then (almost like picking up the phone and calling someone). In my mind, I thanked her for her influence in my life and for the many things she had done for me over the years. In response came, “Keep an eye on Craig. Tell him that I love him”. With that she was gone.
Tom Heal served in a Branch Presidency at the Jamestown Assisted Living Center in Provo, Utah. From his journal, he shares the following experience.
We learned much by caring for people who were winding up their lives . . . I learned things from the many Priesthood Blessings we gave. I learned from the things people think and talk about as they come close to that transition we call death.
One lady in her 90’s had been married in the Temple and gone through a very contentious and venomous divorce. She still “hated his guts”, even though he had died many years earlier. She called her family to her side and made them promise that when she died, they would do everything they could to have her Temple Sealing to her husband cancelled. They agreed, but that was not enough. She made each on individually promise that they would do as she asked. She said she wanted nothing to do with that blankity, blank blank.
They again agreed, and she soon passed away. Then, between the time she died and time of her funeral, she appeared to her daughter in the spirit and said; “Never mind!”
This was a lesson to me . . . another small piece of the spirit world puzzle. When we pass through the veil and then see and are seen as the majestic spirits we have become, not only from our mortal experience, but what we had grown to be in the pre-earthly life. Suddenly, in a moment, all the things that bother us about each other are gone. For that good sister, all the venom she carried for her divorced husband disappeared, almost in an instant. “Never mind” she said.
Chapter 27, Love Notes
I’ve learned to pay attention to my thoughts just as I’m waking up in the morning. Most of the time they are the normal what, where’s and why’s of the coming day.
Occasionally, they are different. I’ve learned to hear and recognize the difference and who they are coming from. It’s been a blessing to me and our family.
Lorna is a master using lyrics from songs to speak for her. You have read about some of them earlier in this book. The message conveyed is always clear and unmistakable.
Some of my sweetest love notes came from the lyrics of songs. Usually a phrase or two would have special meaning to me.
I didn’t pay attention to the music and songs of my generation. I never bought a record, so consequently didn’t need a record player. I only listened to a radio when I was driving. My station of choice was Klub 570 am on the radio dial. Just music, no lyrics. The station would play three songs in a row, they called them “Klubs Magnificent Medley’s. I.E. elevator music.
So, consequently, as I would wake up with a tune and a few lyrics rolling around in my mind, I seldom knew the name of the song or who sung it. I would google the phrase I was hearing and find the song and lyrics online.
“Have I told you lately” and “Seasons in the Sun,” were the first two songs that I woke up with in my mind.
The following songs were received over a period of nine months or so.
“I Will Always Love You”, Whitney Houston
“Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”, Madonna
I woke up to the Madonna song twice. The first time I couldn’t make a connection for Lorna and me. The second time, a few months later it clicked.
It was a song about Lorna’s life.
It won’t be easy, you’ll think it’s strange
When I try to explain how I feel
That I still need your love after all that I’ve done.
You won’t believe me, all you will see,
Is a girl you once knew
Although she’s dressed up to the nines,
At sixes and sevens for you
I had to let it happen, I had to change
Couldn’t stay all my life down at heel
Looking out of the window
Staying out of the sun.
So, I chose freedom
Running around trying everything new
But nothing impressed me at all
I never expected to.
And as for fortune, and as for fame,
I never invited them in,
Though it seemed to the world they were all I desired
They are illusions,
They’re not the solutions they promise to be
The answer was here all the time
I love you and hope you love me
Don’t cry for me Argentina
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild days
My mad existence
I kept my promise
Don’t keep you distance
Have I said too much,
There is nothing more I could think of to say to you
But all you have to do is look at me to know
That every word is true
Unchained Melody The Righteous Brothers
Oh, my love, my darling, I’ve hungered for you touch
A long, lonely time
Time goes slowly, and time can do so much
Are you still mine?
I need your love, I need you love
God speed your love to me…
Let it be Me The Everly Brothers
I bless the day I found you, I want to stay around you
And so I beg you, Let it be me
Don’t take this Heaven from one,
If you must cling to someone
Now and forever, let it be me
In August of 2015, as I was walking through the house to the garage I said; “Hey hon, I love you, I hope that puts a smile on your face”.
A few mornings later, August 18, 2015 I woke up with “I love how you love me” by Bobby Vinton in my mind.
Other songs over the next three years: Again using lyrics to speak for her.
“Hello Again”, Neil Diamond
“Could I have this Dance”, Anne Murray
“I Couldn’t live without your Love”, Petula Clark
“Never My Love”, The Association
These last two songs were serendipitous. Walking through a store I heard a song that intrigued me. I didn’t recall ever hearing it before, I did pick up a few of the lyrics so googled the song.
A Thousand Years Christina Perri
The day we met,
Frozen I held my breath,
Right from the start I knew That I’d found a home for my heart.
Colors and promises,
How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone?
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.
One step closer
I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more…
All along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more.
Valentines Day, 2018, another song I had no recollection of ever hearing.
Forever and For Always Shania Twain
In your arms I can still feel the way you want me when you hold me
I can still hear the words you whispered when you told me
I can stay right here forever in your arms.
In your heart-I can still hear a beat for every time you kiss me
And when we’re apart, I know how much you miss me
I can feel your love for me in your heart.
In your eyes, I can still see the look of the one who really loves me
The one who wouldn’t put anything else in the world above me
I can still see love for me in your eyes
And there ain’t no way-I’m letting you go now
And there ain’t no way-and there ain’t no how
I’ll never see the day,
Cause I’m keeping you forever and for always, we will be together
All our days, wanna wake up every morning to you sweet face always
Cause I’m keeping you forever and for always.
I made a list on my phone of the songs I woke up to. I listened to them often. Occasionally, the feeling I had when I heard them for the first time, I would feel again. Listening to the songs kept her alive and present for me.
Chapter 28, When We Meet Again
Spring of 2018 I picked up the book by Lance Richardson, “The Message”, and started to thumb through it. I stopped at Chapter 8.
“I watched numerous people pass through the veil while I was there. It was most enjoyable…I witnessed an elderly woman whose family anticipated her arrival, there were about twenty individuals, jumping up and down excitedly, as if waiting for a loved one to come off of an airplane. A slender man, who was most obviously the husband of the women, paced back and forth nervously.” Another man, who acted as a leader to the group, then stepped partly through the veil so that I could not see him. He then stepped back, announced happily, “It is time” and turned back to the veil. He reached his arm forward and drew it back holding the hand of the elderly woman. She seemed startled and a bit blinded at first. Then upon seeing the group, her expression turned to one of absolute splendor. They parted for her to see the gentleman standing at the back; the one who appeared to be her husband. They rushed into one another’s arms.”
As I read the experience of that couple, I was given a brief glimpse of a reunion still to take place. It will be very sweet.
Chapter 29, Fingerprints
Fingerprints are evidence of a loved one’s assistance in times of trouble…..or not.
Before leaving the hospital the morning her mother passed away, Calli heard her mother tell her to not start the journey of forgetting her, “I can do things from here”.
In the blessing to Kurt; “your mother’s ability to bless her family is now uninhibited”.
In November 2016 Calli and Ty and family planned a trip to DisneyLand. They bought their tickets three months in advance and had them mailed to the house. Tyson wanted that to be part of the experience for the family.
The day before they are leaving, Calli can’t find the tickets. Fifteen hundred dollars worth of tickets. The last time she remembered seeing them, they were on the kitchen table. Her fear was that she had accidentally thrown them away.
She called DisneyLand customer service and explained her plight. The response was; I’m sorry Mrs Lewis, we don’t reissue tickets under any circumstances, or for any reason.
She called three times, got the same response each time. Even though she had her confirmation number verifying they had purchased the tickets.
Calli’s daughter Sydney is hearing what’s going on. She is starting to panic, thinking they won’t be able to go. Calli tells her to go say a prayer and then ask grandma for some help.
When Tyson got home from work, Calli explains what happened and the response from customer service.
Tyson calls customer service; I’m sorry Mr. Lewis, we don’t reissue tickets for any reason, under any circumstances…but if you can be here by 11:45 Sunday night, I will reissue yours.
Just as Lorna studied every aspect of the hospital when Katie was having her baby, I believe Lorna was at the customer service area of Disneyland. She is figuring out who can hear her, once identified, that’s the person that will answer the phone when Tyson calls. Tyson was there by 11:45 Sunday night, the young lady that answered the phone did reissue their tickets.
Summer of 2018, The company Scott works for was invited to participate in a four man scramble golf memorial tournament.
Our foursome consisted of Scott, Kurt, me and a friend of Kurts, Jon Brown.
One of the par 3 holes was being sponsored by Opticare of Utah. They were giving away a free Lasik surgery for the golfer that was closest to the hole off the tee. A complete surgery, pre exam, surgery both eyes, post exam. A forty five hundred dollar gift. If you were closest to the hole, and didn’t need the Lasik, you could transfer it to someone else, you could sell it, whatever the winner wanted to do. No strings attached.
Scott was talking with the Opticare employees and mentioned that he wasn’t seeing as well as he used to, so it would be kind of neat to win it.
Kurt was heading to the tee box, and overheard Scott talking to Opticare representatives. On the tee box, he said to himself, hey mom how about a little help with this swing.
There were one hundred twenty golfers in the tournament. Kurt was closest to the pin, he won the Lasik surgery. He had a .08 percent chance of winning.
Kurt had lasik a number of years ago, had no need for another one, so he gave the Lasik to Scott. Scott had the pre exam, he wasn’t a candidate. Scott’s wife Eliza had the pre exam, she wasn’t a candidate.
They find out their oldest daughter Sicily, our granddaughter who is living and working in Southern California, had been saving money for Lasik surgery.
She was a perfect candidate for the surgery. Which ended up costing her nothing.
In December 2019 Katie, Clint and family went on a Caribbean Cruise. Their oldest Miles, age 11, likes to collect foreign coins. He got a Haitian coin on the cruise.
At the Miami Airport when going through security, they all had carry-on bags. Clint went first through the scanner, then each of the three kids with Katie bringing up the rear. She placed her bag on the conveyor belt to go through the X-Ray machine, then stepped up to the scanner. She could see Clint and Miles looking for something on the floor. As she came through the scanner she asked what they were looking for. Clint said he had dropped Miles Haitian coin on the floor, he saw it hit, but they hadn’t been able to find it. Katie took her bag off the belt after it came through the X-Ray machine, stood it up, pulled the handle up and moved off to the side with the other bags.
Clint and Miles continue to look for the coin, Miles is starting to pout. Katie hears; “wouldn’t it be fun if it’s found in an unusual place”. Titan, the eight year old, notices something under the luggage tag on the top of Katie’s carry on. He lifts it up. It’s the coin.
Katie’s husband Clint graduated from University of Kentucky in July of 2018 when he finished his medical fellowship. They had accepted a job in Evansville, Indiana 200 miles west of Lexington, beginning in August of 2018.
Their original plan was to buy a house, so they made contact with a realtor in Evansville during the fall of 2017. They gave her the information on their price range, the location they preferred and other pertinent information.
She set them up on an automatic email that would notify them anytime new homes were listed in the area.
In February of 2018 they decided they would rent the first year instead of buying. However they still received the automatic notification of new homes listed.
In April, on a Thursday morning, Katie received the email with a new listing in Newburgh, the suburb of Evansville they were interested in living. It intrigued her, she forwarded it to Clint. He said it would be a house he would consider buying.
Katie called the realtor in Evansville, told her about the listing, asked her to check on it and told her she was on her way to see the house and would be in Newburgh by 11 am.
When the realtor called back, she gave Katie some info on the house. There were two other people scheduled to see it, but Katie had the first appointment.
Katie was listening to the radio on the drive to Newburgh. As she exits the freeway to Newburgh, she realized she was singing along with a song on the radio.
Home Phillip Phillips
Hold on to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m going to make this place your home…
Katie gets to Newburgh, walks through the house, it feels right.
They made an offer on Friday morning and by Friday night they had bought a home.
The home was supposed to be listed on Tuesday, a glitch prevented that from happening. Supposed to be listed on Wednesday, a glitch again prevented it from being listed. (they can do that from there) First listing came out on Thursday morning.
Katie’s day was such that she could immediately leave for Newburgh to check out the house. She wouldn’t have been able to go on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Joel’s wife Alicia was aware of the evidence of Lorna’s influence in the lives of her family. She was feeling a little neglected because she hadn’t been aware of any personal experiences with her mother in law.
As she was discussing that with a friend, her friend suggested she ask specifically for an evidence of Lorna’s fingerprints in her life. Something that was important to her, that her mother in law to assist with.
Joel and Alicia had been looking for a house to buy. Finding the right house, right price, right neighborhood was one of the anxieties she was struggling with. It seemed to her as though they had been looking forever with no luck.
Her friend suggested she write down everything she was looking for that she felt she needed in her home. This is what she wrote.
- 4 bedrooms
- 2 bathrooms
- Big kitchen
- Formal living room
- Large gathering area
- Quiet street
- 3 bedrooms on the same floor
Her friend told her that Lorna would help find those things in a house.
“Later that same day I was looking for houses and one came up with the exact specs I had written down during my visit with my friend. The next day we went and looked at the house I had seen the day before. It was perfect, and is the house we were able to buy. I truly believe Lorna helped us find and buy it.”
Chapter 30, Not Good for Man to be Alone
Soon after Lorna passed away, my first conscious thought as I woke up one morning was; “It’s not good for man to be alone”. My reaction was, where did that come from? (Subsequently, I have talked with three other widowers who heard the same thing).
A few days later I mentioned what I had heard to Calli. Her reply: Oh, before I left the hospital after mom died she told me that you would remarry, because, she wanted you to be as happy as she is. My reply, if that’s true, I’m not looking.
In October, 2014 I had been in Midway, Utah playing golf with a mission friend, Steve Eddington. On the way down Provo Canyon I was thinking of what I had heard and what Calli had told me. I had the strongest impression that whoever this person was, I had known her forever, and loved her forever.
My conclusion was that in that time before time, when choices were being made as to our life’s experiences, I knew Lorna was going home before I was. And, whoever this person was that I had known forever and loved forever, knew her husband was going home before she was. We were going to meet, marry, and spend the last ten or twenty years together completing our life’s mission. We still had things to do individually and things to do as a couple. All four of us knew the plan.
In March of 2016 Calli calls and tells me; “Mom wants you to have President Butler give you a blessing”.
March 8, 2016 President Butler gives me a blessing pertaining to this next phase in my life.
Calli was there and recorded the blessing.
After a short introduction, President Butler described a very specific person, right down to health and personality.
Among other things he said; “For she is one who loves the Lord as much as you love the Lord. Who loves the Temple as you love the Temple, who loves her family as you love yours. Who understands and comprehends and appreciates the beauty of the Atonement, it’s redemptive and enabling power. She will be quite a help meet to you as you will be to her, and together, will become a very happy companionship for time…when death finally arrives to both, both returning to your covenantal companions, your time with her will be eternal memories of goodness and kindness and rejoicing in friendship that shall be joined by her companion and yours, for there is no jealousy there.
Towards the end of the blessing he said; “I do feel impressed that Heavenly Father would have you be a little more proactive in seeking her. For it is not her nature, because of her demure and virtuous soul, to chase a man.”
The Dating Game
Because I was told that “she was not one to chase a man”, I assumed I wouldn’t meet her online or at singles activities.
A few months after Lorna passed away, I started receiving calls from friends asking if I was interested in meeting someone. My usual reply was “not yet”. So, to be more proactive, as I was a counseled, I decided that when someone called I would at least call and or meet the person they wanted to introduce me to.
Over the next six months or so, I met some fine ladies. The easiest way for me was to meet them somewhere for lunch or dinner. A couple of them I would have liked to get to know better, however each time I felt that way, I would hear, “she’s’ not the one”.
After hearing for the third time “she’s not the one”, I had a heart to heart with Lorna. It went something like this; Ok, you obviously know who the person is. Dating isn’t all that much fun anyway. So when the time is right, let me know. That was in August of 2016. The phone stopped ringing.
Chapter 31, Another Phone Call
This one I made.
After Lorna passed away, it was obvious to our family that people were praying for us. We could feel it. I decided to be more dutiful in praying for others.
In July of 2018 while pausing in my evening prayer, to think of anyone that I should pray for, Deborah Romney comes to mind. Her husband Bob had passed away a year earlier in July of 2017.
When we moved to Alpine in 1988, Lorna and I met Bob and Deborah Romney. We were in the same ward. We became friends. Lorna and Deborah became good friends. Deborah taught our girls dance, our girl’s would baby sit the Romneys little boy, Michael.
After having her name come into my mind and mentioning her in my prayers for about three weeks, I decided I should call to find out how she was doing.
I called, she told me that for various reasons, she was struggling. It had been just a little over a year since Bob had passed away.
We visited on the phone for about forty five minutes. During the call I told her about the book “The Message”, and suggested she get it and read it. I also told her about a blog that I was prompted to write in January of 2016 that shared some of our families experiences since Lorna passed away.
When I hung up the phone, she was as she was before I called, a friend of many years, Deborah Romney, Bob’s wife.
The next morning I received this text from her.
Please let this be a letter, not a text. I have to tell you I have never been so touched as I have read your sentiments in your blog. Every word is absolutely beautiful. Also, Katies experience. I have always loved her and all of your children. I don’t know why I am feeling tears right now. I feel so blessed to have shared the tender moments you expressed. What is unbelievable is my experience in the hospital on Bob’s last day was almost identical to yours. Sometime I would like to share that with you. I like you, had to struggle with these words; “bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow”. We chose not to bind him to the pasture or chain him to the plow. We chose to set him free to find his calling so he could return to us somehow.
I am so glad you were moved to call me and “share” your feelings. I have not stopped thinking about it. I am going out of town for a few days and plan to read “The Message” during that time. I’d like to share those impressions too. Love Deb
I texted back that I would love to hear about Bob’s last day and her impressions from the book. I asked her to text me when she got home.
About a week later she sent me a text letting me know she was back in town. We arranged to meet for lunch at the Blue Lemon Cafe in Highland, Utah.
Chapter 32, The Hallmark Story
Lunch was pleasant, just a couple of long time friends visiting.
After Lunch Deborah asked if we could drive up American Fork Canyon. She wanted to find a picnic spot she had been to with Bob a short time before he passed away. We found the spot, then sat at the picnic table next to the river and visited for a bit.
When we got back to the cafe, as Deborah was getting out of the car, she sat back down in the seat. She said, I told you I was going out of town. I had Marriott points I had to use or lose. I went to Las Vegas to a Donny and Marie concert. In addition, I wanted Marie to have the program from Bob’s memorial service. Bob had delivered one of Marie’s baby’s, and they had been friends ever since.
Deborah told me she received a message from Lorna while she was out of town. At least she thought it was Lorna. I told her if that was her impression, it probably was Lorna. She quickly got out of the car and left.
A few hours later, I was thinking about what Deborah said about her getting a message from Lorna. I wondered why Lorna would be giving Deborah a message. It must have some meaning for Deborah. Maybe it has something to do with me. Maybe, it has something to do with Deborah and me. In order to satisfy my increasing curiosity, I needed to find out what message Lorna had given to Deborah.
We had talked about headstones at lunch. I told her about the rock we used for Lorna’s headstone. Deborah said she had a rock in her yard that might make a good headstone for Bob. I used the rock in her yard as an excuse to go see her the next day.
After looking at the rock, we decided it wouldn’t work for a headstone.
I then ask her what message she had received from Lorna. She didn’t want to tell me. She told me she hadn’t wanted to say anything the day before. She said she was “pushed” back into the car and had regretted having said anything at all ever since. I said OK, that’s fine.
We then went over to the Alpine Cemetery to Lorna’s gravesite. While there, I asked her again; “so what was the message from Lorna. (I was on a mission)
With a bit of reluctance, she shared her experience with me.
A day or two before leaving for Las Vegas she was at a friend’s house, the Lindsay’s, playing Mexican Train, a domino game. The Romney’s, Lindsey’s and another couple the Hoffman’s would get together for games and socializing. Joan Lindsey always has background music playing softly in her home. During the game, Deborah heard a song. She said asked the group what the name of the song was, she said; “I love that song”. About fifteen minutes later, Dean Lindsay told her that it was a Frank Sinatra song; “Someone to Watch over Me”.
Deborah had invited a friend to go to Las Vegas with her. They were going to drive down. At the last minute her friend cancelled. Instead of driving by herself to Las Vegas, Deborah took the bus from Provo.
Between St George and Las Vegas, as Deborah was looking out the window of the bus, the song “Someone to Watch over Me” starts playing in her mind. She is in a row by herself, no one sitting to her right. As she is singing the song to herself, She hears Lorna say from the empty seat next to her; “Deborah, you need someone to watch over you…and so does Craig”.
Immediately, Deborah turns and asks out loud; Lorna, are you talking to me? She said the people on the bus probably thought she was a crazy lady talking to an empty seat.
She was in Las Vegas for three days. She thought about what Lorna had said. She read the book The Message.
During our first phone call, I asked her is she had dated or met anyone. She said no. She had no intention of dating or getting married again. She didn’t want to take the time necessary to get to really know someone well enough to make that kind of commitment. Besides, in the year Bob had been gone she had things pretty much in order, she was learning to doing things on her own. She had even traveled to China by herself. Generally speaking she was doing well.
However, during those few days in Vegas, she realized she wouldn’t need to get to know me, she already knew me and our family. We had been friends for thirty years. I wasn’t an unknown. She starts to warm to the idea of maybe getting married again.
On the bus ride home, the bus stopped for a lunch break at a truck stop in Parowan, Utah. While Deborah is eating lunch she hears Bob say; “It breaks my heart to see you alone, I don’t want you to be alone”.
When Deborah got home, as she is walked into the kitchen, she looked at a picture of Bob on the counter and heard him say; “He’s a good guy”. (She knew exactly who he was talking about). She replied, I know he’s a good guy, what are you trying to tell me? She said that when Bob wanted to emphasize something, he would repeat the same words again, but slowly. Bob repeated the words again slowly; “He’s a good guy “. She asked him; “are you trying to pawn me off?” She took the picture off the counter and put it away.
When she finished telling me about the song and hearing from Lorna and Bob, she said I’m not sure what it means. Maybe we should be friends and look out for each other. I told her I didn’t need any more friends, besides we are already friends. I said, I believe it means more than just being friends. We should spend time doing things together and see where it goes.
We started doing things together. It was like two old friends becoming reacquainted after a long absence.
We found out we were both at Ricks College in the fall of 1966. I found my old yearbook. There are twelve pictures of Deborah in the yearbook. As we are looking through the book, I’m pointing out all of her pictures. She was getting more embarrassed with each one. She wanted to see my picture’s. Picture’s? There is only one picture of me, on page 247, with 55 other freshmen. (She had a full page all by herself for one of her photo’s).
As she looked at my picture, she later told me that as first it was as though she was looking through a cloud. she was drawn to the photo, there was something familiar about the person in the photo. I believe she looked back through the veil to that time before time and recognized me.
It was soon obvious to both of us that, in fact, we had” known each other forever, and loved each other forever”. For us to be together for the last five or ten or twenty years of our lives, was our plan from the beginning.
In the blessing from President Butler in March of 2016, I was told that the decision to get married would be; “mutually felt and understood with no words”. That’s how it happened, “mutually felt and understood with no words”. We both just knew.
We were married January 11, 2019, in the family room of the home on Matterhorn Dr. in Alpine, Utah. We wanted a small informal ceremony.
President Butler performed the wedding ceremony. In attendance besides Deborah and me. President Butler and his wife Lynn. Cory and Tracy Jensen, as witnesses. (The same Cory who was told while riding his bike over the loop between AF canyon and Provo canyon in Oct 2015 by Lorna to “keep and eye on Craig”, a duty Cory and Tracy performed very well).
And of course, from the other side of the veil, Lorna and Bob.
Chapter 33, Learning to Hear
Elijah Smith Recently returned missionary from Louisville, Kentucky Mission
When I first arrived in the mission field I was eager to prove that I was capable and ready to do the things that seasoned missionaries were able to do. I remember tracting with my trainer in Lawrenceville Illinois, and wanting so badly to be able to contribute. On multiple different occasions throughout the day I felt very strong and clear impressions to stop my trainer and tell him that we needed to knock on certain doors. My trainer, being the great missionary that he was, allowed me to do so. Each time I knocked on one of those doors I realized how little I actually knew. And, to add insult to injury, the people behind those doors turned out to be some of the most rude people I would encounter my entire mission. I went home that night discouraged in myself and my ability to listen to the spirit. In my prayers that night I asked God why I felt so strongly to knock those doors when I was clearly not ready to take the lead, and when the people were clearly not ready to hear our message. I felt even more discouraged when I didn’t receive an answer to that prayer immediately.
It wasn’t until later in my mission that I got my answer. I realized that at that point in my mission, God didn’t need me to find our next baptism, but rather he needed to groom a young missionary to be willing to listen to his Spirit through feast or famine. He needed to know that he could trust me with the elect spirits he was preparing to hear his message.
I can testify that I felt the exact same spiritual promptings I felt that day in Lawrenceville many times during my mission, and though they didn’t always lead to baptisms, they sometimes did. Those souls who were baptized were only able to be reached by me and my companions willingness to listen and act on the promptings we felt.
I bear witness that God wants us to hear his voice and even though we may struggle at times to understand his promptings when. If we are willing to humble ourselves and act when he speaks to us, we will experience miracles.
Dawn Gonzalez An excerpt from a personal experience
I woke very early on the morning of October 1, 2020 aware that my Dad who passed away in February of 2016 was in the room with me.
We had a lengthy conversation but not with words, just thoughts. It was a new experience for me and quite comforting.
During my dialog with my Dad I asked him if he had communicated with any of my siblings. I specifically asked him if he had communicated with my younger sister Chris. He responded “Yes”. Later I confirmed this with Chris who said she had seen him in her dreams on multiple occasions. In addition, she has received other communications from him in reference to requests in her prayers.
I asked if he had spoken to my older sister Wendy. His response was; “She talks too much, she doesn’t listen”. He also said he talks to my brother Tim a little, but he is too busy.
My dad said that I would be able to hear him if I was quiet and still. He said, “Be still and quiet, you’ll hear me.
On a number of occasions after Lorna passed away, I would feel a prompting to go somewhere, or do something. I would go and do, only to wonder afterwards, why did I go there, or do that. Like Elder Smith, I came to understand that I was being taught how to hear, so that when I had to hear, I could.
As mentioned earlier in the book by Tom Heal, a good friend of many years. “It seems as though she [Lorna] was going from one friend or loved one to another to see who could hear her”.
As Calli has written;
My mom is still here with me, she will always be here with me. I hear her in a variety of ways; through music, through thoughts or words in my head as I am waking up, through dreams, through pictures in my mind.
A person who I love, shared this experience she had with her mother who passed away many years ago. She see’s her mother in a dream and receives some council from her.
After hearing what her mother had to say, she said “it has been so long since we talked”. Her mothers reply; “I’ve been here”.
It is a language we all speak, we just have to remember how to speak it, how to hear it.
A phrase from a ceremonial drama I participated in, has become my mantra as I’m waking up in the morning: “Let your minds be calm, you will be visited soon”. Consequently, just waking up has become a special part of my day, even if I don’t hear anything.
President Russell M. Nelson’s admonition to his family as he spoke at his daughter Wendy’s funeral in January of 2019. “So dear family, stay tuned.
How insightful Dawns dad’s counsel to her; “Be still and quiet, you’ll hear me”.
Experience has taught me, that whenI find myself thinking of Lorna, and I feel some emotion, it’s because she is thinking of me. That’s a time to “be still and quiet”.
My prayer for me and our family from day one has been that we have, ears to hear, hearts to feel and minds to know.
My hope for all who may read this book is that you have ears to hear, hearts to feel and minds to know, that you may be as blessed and connected to your departed loved one’s as we have been.
— Craig Jenkins, Alpine Utah, 2021
Chapter 34, Another Evidence
Sunday March 19, 2017
John Anderson, a good friend, (he sang in the quartet at Lorna’s funeral) runs into me at Church. After the normal pleasantries he starts to tell me about a woman, Allyson, who works for him. He tells me she is 44 years old, never been married and is like wonder women. She takes good care of herself and is true and faithful in the Church. I’m not sure why he is telling me about a women who is 44 (I was almost 69). Then he said “and I know she has dated men in their 50’s”. I then realized he was telling me about Allyson to see if I would be interested in meeting her.
I said, John, how old do you think I am? He said, I don’t know, 56? I said no. He said, 54? I said no. He said, am I going the wrong way? I said yes. He said, well you couldn’t be over 60. I should have said, John, you’re my new best friend. Instead, I said, John, I’m almost, not quite, but almost 25 years older than her. Not an option for me.
However, as John was telling me about Allyson, I’m thinking of Scott Lindeman, a friend, whose wife Cindi had passed away the day before, March 17th. Allyson sounded like a perfect match for Scott (he was 52 and fit, not 69 and kinda fit). My thought was that if and when Scott was ready to start meeting or dating I would tell him about John’s friend.
Cindi’s funeral was held on March 25th, 2017.
Friday afternoon March 31st, I call Scott to see if he would like to go get something to eat.
During dinner Scott mentioned that our Stake President, Buzz Butler had stopped to see him and his family. Scott was the only one home. Before leaving, President Butler offered to give him a blessing. Because Scott was there alone with no one to be a scribe to keep notes of the blessing, President Butler offered to let him record the blessing (something he virtually never allows). He told me he had listened to it 3 or 4 times and had already transcribed it.
I asked him what he had been told. Among other things, he shared with me this statement from the blessing: “She (Cindi) will be a guiding force in bringing you a women who will be her sister, who she (Cindi) knows very well (Cindi and Allyson had never met on this side of the veil). You’ll need not seek it necessarily, but allow your heart and mind to be open to it. She will be pleasing to your children and they will accept her readily. She will have a familiarity of spirit, not only to you, but to your children and grandchildren.
I start hearing “tell him (Scott) about John’s friend”. I’m thinking, it’s been 13 days since Cindi passed away, it’s to soon. “Tell him about John’s friend!”
With a bit of reticence, I bring up John’s friend Allyson. I tell Scott what little I knew about her, fit, faithful, never been married, 44 years old.
For obvious reasons, Scott showed very little interest in meeting her. I told Scott I would find out a little bit more.
After dropping me off, I called John to find out a bit more. I shared that info with Scott, he wanted to visit with John and did.
After visiting with Scott, John called Allyson and told her a bit about Scott. She said she would be willing to meet him for lunch if he was interested. John called me back, gave me her phone number which I passed on to Scott. He wasn’t sure he would ever make the call.
That weekend was General Conference. Sunday morning he woke up with no intention of calling Allyson. That decision changed during the day Sunday.
When they met for lunch a few weeks later, they talked for three and a half hours.
They were married in December, eight months later.
Cindi started that ball rolling the day after she died, when John stops in the stake offices and tells me about Alyson.
At the wedding luncheon, Scott and Allyson asked John and I to share our part of their story. I mentioned that the story involved 5 people. Scoot, Allyson, John, me and Cindi. I knew John and Scott, John knew me and Allyson, Cindi knew us all.
John said that when Allyson applied for the job to work with him, she wasn’t a good match for the person he was looking for. However, he felt it was important that she be hired. He knew now why.
Allyson was asked to speak in the Alpine West Stake Conference, the Sunday Session, January 13, 2019.
Allyson Being Faithful in Christ, Alpine West Stake Conference, March 24, 2017, 9pm
I got in my car and drove to a Wal-Mart parking lot. I pulled under a lamp post and turned off the car. It was my 44th birthday. I sat for a few moments and then bowed my head and began to pray and plead with the Lord for guidance. I had prayed many times before, but this time it was different. The deepest desire of my heart was to be a wife and mother. I cried and poured my heart out to the Lord. I asked, “Lord. What? What more do I need to do? I have searched and waited for 26 years. I have gone to all the dances, FHE’s, and singles’s conferences, never finding someone I would like to spend eternity with… I don’t know what else to do. Time is passing me by. As I sat there in the dark, I knew that another birthday represented one more year that had slipped away.
After quite some time, feeling spent, and that the Lord needed me to learn greater patience, I prepared to go home. At that moment, I received a text from my sister, which read, “I wish we could see the bigger picture right now, because I know Heavenly Father has your best interest and your happiness in mind, even though nothing has gone how any of us thought it would. It will all work out in the end! Good things are coming.” Humbled and grateful, I thanked her for unknowingly being a comforting answer to my prayer that night.
I’ve been asked to talk about Being Faithful in Christ, and to share some of my experiences about being single for 44 years, and about a very special family who changed the course of my life. I share these thoughts, realizing that there are far greater trials than this out there, undoubtedly even in this congregation today.
Each of us goes through heartbreaks and challenges over the course of our lives. There are so many ways in which we are tried. My experience and observation is that those challenges are fitted specifically for us, and they may try us to a degree that is much greater than we desire. Will we remain faithful, or will we falter? Will we draw closer to God, or turn from Him? Often the clarity, the mercy, and the blessings of those trials are not evident until after we pass through them, and the hardest times are in the midst of challenges for which no end seems in sight, and which we do not know how to solve or escape.
I think this quote is really insightful; Neil L. Anderson, “These fiery trials are designed to make you stronger, but they have the potential to diminish your trust in the Son of God and to weaken your resolve to keep your promises to Him. These trials are often camouflaged, making them difficult to identify. They take root in our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities, our sensitivities, or in those things that matter most to us”.
In the process of sharing my experiences I hope you will feel the emotion, the pain, the sweetness and ultimate mercy of the Lord. In the process, I hope your testimony of Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation, of the sealing power and of Angels, will be strengthened, because I have witnessed them firsthand. And I hope you will see that my trial, and your trials are the very experiences that strengthen your faith and make us great.
After my mission, the dating years began to pile up. I dated lots of good guys, but it never felt right. More blind dates, more firesides, and hundreds of singles dances until it got to the point where I had to will myself to go to the next dance. I would get all dressed up, drive to the dance, and then talk myself into getting out of the car and going in. Maybe tonight would be the night that I meet him.
The events were fun, but I often drove home feeling empty. Although I found joy in serving in the church and spending time with family, with each passing year, and particularly as I reached my 40th birthday, I felt the anticipated joy of having a husband and children slip away. I resigned myself to living single for the rest of my life.
Let me tell you about a beautiful woman whom I have never met, but who I love and who I know loves me. Cindi Lindeman grew up in New York State, 15 minutes from her future husband, Scott. They had 6 children, 5 grandchildren, and were married 28 years when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was beautiful and strong. Her great desire was to be with her family and over her grand-babies.
Even as the cancer progressed, Cindi was never interested in talking about what she wanted Scott to do in the event she was not healed. She was totally focused on getting well and loving her family. However, less than a month before she passed away, she and Scott were still awake one night at 2 am as they dealt with the pain and hardships of her illness. It had been a very sacred day, her college kids had come home to love her and be with her. The Spirit was very strong. Late that night she turned to scott and said, “I told the kids today you would marry a woman in her 40’s who had never been married”. Then she looked him in the eye and calmly and lovingly said, “Don’t worry…I will help you…and I won’t make you wait long.”
She battled her cancer and the accompanying chemotherapy, bone pain, nausea, exhaustion, and so many other miseries and indignities…with a grace and power that was breathtaking for her family to witness firsthand. At one particularly hard sime, Scott asked Cindi in the middle of the night, “Do you think we signed up for this in the pre-existence? She smiled and said “Heck no, I can do hard things, but this is ridiculous!”
After a 2 year battle she passed away quietly in her home with her family and angels all around.
The day after Cindi passed away, the wheels were set in motion. It was the same week I was pouring my heart out to Heavenly Father. A member of our stake thought to line me up with a friend of his. However this friend thought of his own friend Scott Lindeman instead, as the age was more appropriate.
There were powerful witnesses, events and assurances that made it obvious that Angels were clearing the was. At one point, after some very unique and ver sacred experiences, Scott looked to the sky with a big smile on his face and gratitude in his heart and said to Cindi, “Ok, now you’re just showing off”.
One such experience happened the morning after I first learned about Scott. I was at the gym. Within minutes, a lady began working out next to me. She reached over, touched me on the shoulder and said, “Hi”. She began to talk. Soon, I knew all about her life. Then she asked me if I had ever been married. I told her no. She stated very matter of factly, “You need to marry a man whose wife has passed away”. I stared at her and asked. “What did you say? She continued, “A man in that situation isn’t separated from his wife because they got divorced. They were good to each other, meaning he’s a good man with all the right qualities that you need. If he loved her, he will love you as well.” She left, leaving me to ponder a statement someone had said to me once. “A coincidence is a miracle in which the Lord chooses to remain anonymous”.
Gradually I got to know Scott and learned about Cindi and their family, and what they were going through. The more I got to know him the more I felt the peaceful reassurance that I knew I would when it was right. It was a feeling of, “Oh…there you are. It’s you. I’ve been waiting for you.” As he would drop me off at the end of our dates, I would watch his tail lights in the window and pray that Heavenly Father would grant me this blessing. It was such an easy “Yes”. Through the flood of assurances, and special witnesses, I began to see that Heavenly Father had a plan for my life all along, I just hadn’t been able to see it.
For me that plan required time. That time is one of the things that made the trial so difficult for me. But now I see the bigger picture. That time was so sacred and precious to Scott and Cindi.
I look forward to the day when I meet Cindi. I will embrace her and express my deep gratitude for creating such a beautiful family, and for inviting me to be a part of it. And (in the spiritual sense) for walking arm in arm with me, as I now join this family for the last leg of the trip we call life. I pray that she is always near.
My trial was to wait, to continue stepping into the darkness, not knowing what the outcome would be. Through those years I did my best to be where I was supposed to be and to remain faithful. This process was to make me strong and humble until my prayers could be answered. Instead of walking in the dark, I eventually learned to trust Him and walk with him day by day.
President Eyring teaches, “To wait upon the Lord is not a passive act, The help of heaven requires working past the point of fatigue so far that only the meek and lowly will keep going long enough. The Lord doesn’t put us through this trial just to give us a grade; he does it because the process will change us and make us the children of God we need to become.”
Christ has suffered more than any of us, and He knows the intensity of our afflictions. There is no suffering we have that He did not undergo in Gethsemane and on Calvary. That is why He understands and can help us.
Carlos H. Amado explains; “We limit our vision to the events that happen in this life with the greatest emphasis being placed on the present. Only when we fix our gaze on the heavenly things do we begin to understand the eternities.. Only with the help of Christ can we fully overcome trials.”
I think most of us have lived long enough to realize we will always have challenges. We need to learn and find meaning, joy and happiness in our lives, even in the midst of those challenges.
Each of our stories is different, but the principles are the same. Keep moving forward, strive to be faithful and be what He needs us to be. We will look back and realize there was a plan. We will see tremendous growth, we will know why it was the right path for us. We will see that our greatest trials laid the foundation for our greatest blessings.
I am eternally grateful for Scott. He is a merciful blessing to me. He is my sweetheart and my friend. I look at all he and Cindi were able to accomplish in raising 6 beautiful children to embrace the gospel and be such good kids. I feel that Cindi has asked me to take the baton and continue what she started, including, 3 awesome in-laws, and soon to be 8 adorable grandchildren.
Marriage is trying to make each day so much sweeter than the last. Enjoy the little things. Don’t make such a big deal out of things, let them go. Don’t criticize, appreciate each other. Most things don’t matter. And even though I am pretty inexperienced in this new role, I pray my new family will have patience with me and that we will all have patience and love for other as we go on to eternity.
I testify that our Heavenly Father is aware of us, and loves us beyond our capacity to understand. Remember the Lord’s comforting promise to you and me in our trials of faith: “Hold on…fear not… for God shall be with you forever and ever.” Of this I bear my witness in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen