Today’s App Message, special edition.
My uncle committed suicide when I was very young. That was the first funeral I’d ever been to. At six years old, you don’t really understand what any of that means. My mother died six months later. I didn’t cry at her funeral and instead of greeting the long line of mourners at the viewing, I went and played with my cousins. Life moved pretty fast after that, and by the time my aunt died of cancer about three years later, I had gained a step- mother and step-family. My aunt looked exactly like my mother laying in the casket. Reality had sunk in by then and even though I didn’t know my aunt very well, I couldn’t stop crying.
My mother died when she was 39. I was the last of my siblings to reach that age. Many of them say the same thing, they always just felt they’d die young and every day after reaching that age feels like a blessing. That’s how I feel. I remember telling my mother-in-law that if I died today that I’d be okay with that because I’ve lived a good life.
I’ve never feared death, and it’s not because of the resurrection as it probably should be. It’s because life had to go on for me after my mom died, and it did. It’s weird because my mother was a beautiful and kind person and we all miss her so much, but as I’ve said before, I can see the ways God blessed us in that trial. I would not be the same person I am today without it. I’m exactly the person I need to be. This was God’s plan for me from the beginning and if you knew me in and out, it’s unmistakable. God knows you and loves you, even in your trials and even if you don’t feel worthy.
Alma 27:28-30 (#212)
Elder Oaks distinguishes between fearing death and being sad about the separation caused by death, indicating that the promise of the resurrection can give us the courage to overcome a fear of death, and the strength to bear with the sorrow associated with it. As you reflect on the prospect of death, and any associated fear or sorrow that comes with it, how would you assess the strength of your faith in the resurrection?
28 And they did look upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence; and they never could be prevailed upon to take up arms against their brethren; and they never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection; therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it.
29 Therefore, they would suffer death in the most aggravating and distressing manner which could be inflicted by their brethren, before they would take the sword or cimeter to smite them.
30 And thus they were a zealous and beloved people, a highly favored people of the Lord.
Our sure knowledge of a resurrection to immortality [gives] us the courage to face our own death—even a death that we might call premature. Thus, the people of Ammon in the Book of Mormon “never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection; therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it.”
The assurance of immortality also helps us bear the mortal separations involved in the death of our loved ones. Every one of us has wept at a death, grieved through a funeral, or stood in pain at a graveside. I am surely one who has. We should all praise God for the assured resurrection that makes our mortal separations temporary and gives us the hope and strength to carry on.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks