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.”