The Spirit World, Our Next Home(The OTHER World Series: Mormon beliefs beyond this world)
Liahona Magazine (official publication of Mormon church) ^ | December 1977 | Dale C. Mouritsen
Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2011 2:55:15 PM by Colofornian
As I’ve listened to and participated in conversations on “after death, what?” with students and family in various areas in the Church, I’ve nearly always found people expressed two feelings: a great desire to know about the post-earthly spirit world (hereafter referred to as the spirit world), and an apologetic feeling for having questions, feeling as though the spirit world were a subject that we should not discuss.
My feeling is that caution in discussing a sacred subject is always proper, especially when much popular “information” in contemporary society about the spirit world involves sensational ghost stories, devil worship, and other problem areas. However, the desire to know is, in itself, a good one. Our beloved relatives who have passed on inhabit that world, and we will soon join them there. It is a healthy, holy subject and should be discussed in that attitude.
Furthermore, the Prophet Joseph Smith declared that the Saints should study the purpose of life and death, in fact should study it “more than any other” subject—“study it day and night.” He observed that “if we have any claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 324; italics added.)
We have a right, then, to understand the true nature of our existence. We also have a responsibility to search it out, for the more aware we become that the spirit world is a real extension of our mortal existence, the less likely we are to fasten our hearts on the treasures of this world.
One of the most beautiful stories in our heritage, an experience of President Heber J. Grant’s, bears witness that a testimony about the right relationship between life, death, and the spirit world can comfort us in times of sorrow, help us understand God’s purposes, and teach us the true nature of our existence. President Grant writes:
“I have been blessed with only two sons. One of them died at five years of age and the other at seven. My last son died of a hip disease. I had built great hopes that he would live to spread the Gospel at home and abroad and be an honor to me. About an hour before he died I had a dream that his mother, who was dead, came for him, and that she brought with her a messenger, and she told his messenger to take the boy while I was asleep; and in the dream I thought I awoke and I seized my son and fought for him and finally succeeded in getting him away from the messenger who had come to take him, and in so doing I dreamed that I stumbled and fell upon him.
“I dreamed that I fell upon his sore hip, and the terrible cries and anguish of the child drove me nearly wild. I could not stand it and I jumped up and ran out of the house so as not to hear his distress. I dreamed that after running out of the house I met Brother Joseph E. Taylor and told him of these things.
“He said: ‘Heber, do you know what I would do if my wife came for one of her children—I would not struggle to keep that child; I would not oppose her taking that child away. If a mother who had been faithful had passed beyond the veil, she would know of the suffering and the anguish her child may have to suffer; she would know whether that child might go through life as a cripple and whether it would be better or wiser for that child to be relieved from the torture of life; and when you stop to think, Brother Grant, that the mother of that boy went down into the shadow of death to give him life, she is the one who ought to have the right to take him or keep him.’
“I said, ‘I believe you are right, Brother Taylor, and if she comes again, she shall have the boy without any protest on my part.’