My brother died in a car accident in May 2006. His family was badly injured as well. His death was an emotionally painful experience for me. As part of my coping, my mother gave me a copy of a book titled, The Message, by Lance Richardson. It gave me some comfort, though certainly didn’t relieve very much of my pain.
Lance is a mormon. In his youth, he was recruited to play college football, but some serious medical issues drastically changed his life. He was in and out of hospitals for the rest of his life, and died in 2004 at age 42. During one of his hospital stays, he was put in a medically induced coma, and had a near-death experience. He saw many of his relatives who had passed on before, and was able to visit his family who was grieving for his poor health.
I want to relate 2 passages from the book, and ask for comments. Lance has a cousin named Randy, who had died a few years before from leukemia.
“I remembered when I left to come here,” Randy continued. “I had suffered so long that it was a welcomed rest to leave my bodily pain, but, oh how I missed my family at first. I wonder if it was right for me to have died. Then I was shown what is about to happen in your world. And it was explained to me that certain members of each family chose, long ago, before this life, to die and come to this realm that they might better help their families endure what is about to happen.”
Randy’s expression changed to one of reverence. “There are many powerful, wonderful spirits who are being called home right now, that they can better help their families prepare for that which is about to take place in your world. One of the major reasons man of us are here is to serve and help those in mortality….
“Lance, do you understand what I am saying to you? I have helped you many times in your life. I have been given assignments on several occasions to assist and inspire you.”
Randy then shared several stories of times when he had helped me. Each was a time I could remember, and I became deeply thankful to God, to know He had sent someone whom I loved so much to help in those times when I had needed help so desperately. And again I gained a greater appreciation for family and its eternal function….
I was deeply moved. I had never understood nor thought of how God delivers assistance to us. With billions of children, what more perfect plan could he use than through righteous family members? It made me think about how often I may have been given inspiration from God through ministering “family” servants of God. I could believe it was truth. And once again I felt that burning warmth inside, testifying to me that it was.”
Then there is another experience, that I find eerily similar to my brother.
we came upon two friends of mine who had died almost exactly one year before. They had been notified I was there had had come to say hello. It was wonderful to see each of them. Both looked so good. One had died of cancer, while the other had been caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling. It had been difficult for their families and friends to lose them. So, it was particularly good to see them again….
I asked my friend, whom we will call Rick, how he was doing.
“I absolutely love it here!” Rick began. “But my wife’s pain is hurting me.” I knew she had been having a very difficult time coping with his loss. They are the parents of five children, which made it all the more difficult for her to handle all of this alone. “Lance, you need to go talk to her and let her know that it was right that I died. I know that now.” He then shared how it had been difficult for him to accept when he first found that he was dead.
“But after they escorted me into this world and showed me the plan for me and my family, I knew that it was right.”
We talked of his family, especially of his children, and how he is able to help them in ways he could not have from our world. The work with his family was a very important reason for why he had died when he did.
So, my first question is this. Has it ever occured to you that the Holy Ghost might be a member of your family? Are there any theological problems with this implication?
Second, Rick implies that he could help his family more from the spirit world than he could do in life, yet his family was obviously struggling. How do we reconcile this with the statement from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” which says ‘Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother…. I will add that it says “Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation”. But to me it seems rather clear that children are entitled to be reared by a a father and mother, and it seems to me that God’s first choice is to have fathers rear their children. Why does God make exceptions such as my brother, Rick, and Lance?
This is a interesting question which I have some strong feelings about but have resisted publishing them online due to their personal nature. I think your question has prompted me to share:
While on my mission I was speaking (speculating) with some friends about the mechanics of the Holy Ghost. When God wants something done here he sends his representatives: missionaries, home teachers, friends, etc… Why should it be any different on the other side of the veil? The Holy Ghost’s influence can be felt anywhere in the world. Is He there himself? Or did he send servants bearing the keys to minister directly to our spirits?
As I was sharing these ideas my mind and heart where opened to discern the presence of my former bishop who had died a couple of years before. I had a great love for him and recognized his presence as surely as if I had beheld him with my eyes.
I often wondered why he would be there with me on my mission on the west coast when his family was back home in Florida. Surely he should have been taking care of them. About five years later I was thinking back on my mission and remembered this experience. It made a lot more sense after I married his daughter.
That’s a truly interesting experience. I must tell you that I am quite jealous of people with really cool spiritual experiences. I wish they happened to me.
So do you think that “we” are the 3rd member of the Godhead, or do you think there is 1 specific, identifiable person (like the Father, and Jesus are specific and identifiable)?
“I absolutely love it here!” Rick began. “But my wife’s pain is hurting me.”
It is interesting that Enoch asks God how it is that in the midst of holiness God can sorrow.
So it is.
“So, my first question is this. Has it ever occurred to you that the Holy Ghost might be a member of your family? Are there any theological problems with this implication?”
I think I do but I’ll get to that some other time. (-working-)
Second question – “But to me it seems rather clear that children are entitled to be reared by a father and a mother, and it seems to me that God’s first choice is to have fathers rear their children.”
I couldn’t agree more. But remember, the entitlement does not ensure the reception of the blessing. Consider this verse in the Pearl of Great Price:
“Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the acreations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great bwickedness as among thy brethren.” (Moses 7:36)
The degree of wickedness on this planet was unequaled to anything that God, Himself, had ever known. Yes every child is entitled to a father and a mother and to be raised by the same two persons who brought them into the world. And I would add that every father and every mother are entitled bring up the children they bring into the world. Why won’t that entitlement always cause that blessing to be received? That won’t always happen because God has given agency to the righteous as well as to the wicked and the wicked use of agency has robbed man of a lot of blessings that might have been.
I don’t know why the Proclamation hasn’t been put in the Doctrine & Covenants but, as far as I am concerned, it could be. Maybe some day. When they say, “Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation” that is why they are prompted to say it.
If Adam and Eve had not taken the fruit when they did and under the circumstances they did, there would have been no fall to a telestial existence. This entire probationary experience would have been in a millennial world. Our probation here would have been the same as it will be for those spirits who come during the Millennium and equally as valid as the probationary period we ended up taking. During the Millennium children will also be entitled to come to and be reared by a father and a mother. The big difference is that in the millennium they will get those parents and keep those parents. Neither the Adversary nor their followers will be there to upset that. I’m not saying that God will never deviate from that plan and cause a child not to be raised by his/her parents, but I don’t have any idea why he would.
The first question is the more interesting one to me. I’m not sure I understand your response, and I look forward to your thoughtful answer to it.
As for your second answer, I don’t believe diseases and accidents are related to wickedness, so I don’t believe your quote from the P of GP is applicable to the situations I described above. Surely, Pres Hinckley was not wicked, yet experienced cancer in his last days. I don’t think Rick’s snowmobiling accident indicated wickedness. Nor do I believe that one pilot was more righteous to land in the Hudson River and save all passengers, while the other one was wicked because the ice formed and caused him to crash into a house in Buffalo. Wickedness had nothing to do with these incidents.
The tougher question to answer is why God chooses to get involved in one incident, and not another. Also, why does God say that children should be raised by a father and mother, and then allows certain fathers or mothers (or both) to be taken from certain families?
The question of how the Holy Ghost works is truly intriguing.
Very interesting post. I guess I do not believe that “we” are the Holy Ghost. But I do not have any problem with the idea that people, living and dead, are given assignments to help others. For those who have died, their opportunities and methods for helping others are probably quite different from ours. Maybe “we” are more like ministering or guardian angels. Maybe “we” even work under the Holy Ghost. Who knows? But it reminds me of the scripture that says that the dead cannot be made perfect without us, and we cannot be made perfect without them.
The second question is a lot more difficult for me. I think the statements in the Family Proclamation are general in nature, and do not address every particular situation. And like you, I have had my own experiences with personal loss. I have heard others say that a parent who dies is going on to do something more important and wondered, “What is more important than raising their children?” I wish I knew the answer to how this all works, but I don’t. I do think that Elder Wirthlin’s recent discussion of the Principle Compensation may be relevant here. It is the idea that God makes up for the things we lose. I have seen that, at least partially, in my own life.
Your points on the 2nd question are well taken. Keep in mind, though, that the consequences of going through life in a telestial world are very far reaching. The incidents you mentioned: cancer – I don’t believe that’s a millennial condition. How about snowmobiling in the mountains – nothing wrong with that. But you are taking chances aren’t you? Something could go terribly wrong. If you are the one on the snowmobile don’t count on God for help. You knew the chance before you went. Was He telling you not to go before you went and you didn’t hear Him. In any situation there may be and probably are very many variables we know nothing about. How about building a temple in the true church to the true God. How many people got hurt – even killed doing that? The incident that put us in a telestial probationary period, I believe, was unfortunate. But we are here and we will be judged by how we handle it. May God be with us.
First question – “Has it ever occurred to you that the Holy Ghost might be a member of your family?”
No. And I don’t suppose it would have for, at least, another thousand years. That one is ‘reeeally’ different but the ‘theological problems’ didn’t come flooding in like I thought they would. And they still haven’t. I might have an idea or two for you to consider.
God has defined the Godhead in terms of three personages. I don’t know of any scriptural references that even hints of one of them being a shift work of multiple personages. At least the way you worded the question, there could be many Holy Ghosts coming out of many families. For me gospel study isn’t any fun if there aren’t any scriptures to, at least, back it up a little. Multiple Holy Ghosts just seems to be miles away out in space. Give me some hints how to attach that one to the ground.
“Yea, behold, I will atell you in your mind and in your bheart, by the cHoly Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.” (D&C 8:2).
“â€¦the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of cSpirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not ddwell in us.” (D&C 130:22).
Another possible problem is the mission of the Holy Ghost. He shall dwell in your heart. That’s why he doesn’t have a body of flesh and bones. Yes, I suppose if he were your brother in this life, he could just leave his body for a while, testify to you of something and then go back into his body. But in this life we have a word for that. It’s called dieing. If, every time he has to perform his mission, he kills himself, then I just have to have some scriptures that talk about this a little. If the scripture would go like this – ‘The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghosts have not bodies of flesh and bones, but are personages of Spirit.’ If this were the case why wouldn’t He have revealed it that way? At this point the whole subject is just spiraling out of control. I’m bailing out.
PS – In the old days when computers were much slower and they had a lengthy task to perform, some computers would blank out the whole screen, except for a little ‘–working–‘ sign right in the center. My internal computer was working on your first question.
Here you go blaming the snowmobiler for dying. You remind me of the situation in the scriptures, John 9.
” 1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Perhaps the works of God are being made manifest in the snowmobiler? Also, you didn’t bother to address the 2 plane crashes. I will also add that a construction worker died building a church I attended in South Ogden, and a park was named in his honor, so death happens even in honorable projects.
I like Teacher’s explanation regarding the Holy Ghost, and I’m certainly not ruling it out. Scriptures specifically addressing details of the Holy Ghost are lacking. I don’t think there is anything scriptural which specifically bans the Holy Ghost from working the way described in the book. We are told that “if ye are not one, ye are not mine” in the scriptures. We need to constantly be working toward one-ness with God.
Gal. 3: 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
D&C 35: 2 I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even done in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one.
Certainly Lance and Rick were personages without body, so they aren’t excluded from your D&C 130:22 scripture. (Has the First Resurrection happened yet? I don’t think so. I’m promised in my patriarchal blessing to come forth in the “morning of the First Resurrection”, so I don’t believe morning has arrived for my brother yet.) Certainly, they spoke to the heart as in D&C 8:2.
I want to relate one other passage from the book that I considered in adding to the original post. It shows a singular message from the grandfather (not “Ghosts”). Lance recalls meeting his dead grandfather in the spirit world.
A wonderful thing happened as we followed my father. I watched my Grandfather walk up to my Dad and lean to his ear and say, “Mel, you need to give Lance a blessing today, and you have to catch an airplane in twenty minutes.”
I watched my father suddenly react with a start, and looked at his watch.
“Oh boy!” he exclaimed. “I forgot! I am supposed to be catching an airplane in twenty minutes!”….
What I had witnessed was the most amazing thing. My father had clearly heard my Grandfather’s promptings and instantly reacted. He had not known his father was speaking to him, nor even that the inspiration came from God. But it had. Now I wondered how many times I had been inspired by unseen ministering servants of God, sent to assist me? How many times had I thought I suddenly had a most important idea and assumed I was the one with such great intellect? I was sobered by the thought.
The book also tells of a grandmother who tries to comfort her grand-daughter. The grand-daughter was struggling with the aftermath of a divorce. So, I am not even convinced the Holy Ghost couldn’t be female. I might even do a more controversial post on this topic.
I am very curious why there is so little information in the scriptures about the Holy Ghost. Could it be that the Holy Ghost is as different as all of us?
So do you think that “we” are the 3rd member of the Godhead, or do you think there is 1 specific, identifiable person (like the Father, and Jesus are specific and identifiable)?
No. The scriptures are clear (to me) that the Holy Ghost is a specific personage who is a member of the Godhead.
That being said, when we perform ordinances as preisthood holders here on earth, we are literally standing in Christ’s place and using His authority which He has delegated to us for the serving of those around us. We do these things in His name and they become His works as we serve Him. I believe the Holy Ghost can work the same way.
This is a personal belief. I do not have scriptural references to back it up, but neither have I found scripture to contradict it.
I echo David’s idea of vicarious representation. I have no problem with the idea of other spirits acting as ministering agents for the Holy Ghost. I have no idea if it works that way or not, but I have no problem with the idea.
Yes, you’re probably right, but there are some interesting scriptures which could be applied to some of these situations.
Lance later says that after he returned to his body, his father said that the blessing he gave Lance was more clear than he had ever felt before. Lance says he pictured his grandfather, whispering the words of the blessing to his father.
This sure sounds like D&C 8: 2, Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
In the story about the grandmother giving comfort to the grand-daughter, isn’t the Holy Ghost’s job to provide comfort?
So, I think this ability to act under direction of the Holy Ghost is a great training ground to be a part of the Godhead. Perhaps it helps us to be joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17), and while not making us specifically members of the Godhead, practically it makes us part of it.
Vicarious representation – Thanks, Ray. That’s a great description of the idea. I’ll stick that in my big word bucket.
I don’t disagree with your distinction between specifically and practically, I really don’t think it’s any different than the priesthood service we participate in here in mortality. As we do Christ’s works we become more like Him.
Additionally, I believe that much of what we are discussing here falls under the category of the ministering of angels. I don’t have the reference for this handy, but my understanding is that all angels ministering to us on earth have had or will have their mortality here. Why shouldn’t the member of the Godhead who doesn’t currently have a body be the one heading up this effort among the angels who are currently disembodied?
Of course the same disclaimer applies: These are my personal beliefs. Any similarities to actual doctrine are intentional. Any mistakes are my own and I trust that God will forgive me for them as he has forgiven me for so much else.
Hmm… Maybe I should add that disclaimer to my blog.
All this makes me wonder if the Holy Ghost is more of a figurehead who delegates everything to personages. Perhaps he does have a body? (I know this is heretical with D&C 130:22, but I know that Joseph Smith doesn’t know everything. I’m just wondering if D&C 130 was a reasonable explanation, and not full light on the subject.)
I’m confident that the Holy Ghost does not currently have a body. His role is very specific. There are occasions when Christ ministers personally instead of sending a representative in His stead. I think there are similar times with the Holy Ghost. Like Christ, the Holy Ghost leads by word and deed.
I really liked this post. I am not what you would call an intellectual, but it made sense to me that perhaps we can somewhat be the holy ghost. I couldn’t think of a sweeter way to serve your family and friends after you have left this world.
“Here you go blaming the snowmobiler for dying.”
No, I’m not blaming the snowmobiler for dying. For all of us that live here, this world can be a dangerous place. I have no idea, even from your experience, what his situation should have been. He could have lost a whole boat load of blessings he will never receive or he could have died just the way he was suppose to have and is simply continuing on with his mission. “Perhaps the works of God are being made manifest in the snowmobiler?” MH, that’s beautiful. It’s like you new the answer before you asked the question.
“â€¦you didn’t bother to address the 2 plane crashes. I will also add that a construction worker died building a church I attended in South Ogden”
Yes I did mention them when I talked about the “How about building a temple in the true church to the true God. How many people got hurt – even killed doing that?”. I was actually talking about all cases like that – including the 2 plane crashes and the construction worker in South Ogden and every other kind of incident like that.
“Rick implies that he could help his family more from the spirit world than he could do in life, yet his family was obviously struggling.” Yes I suppose they are struggling. So? Rick was not supposed to help his family with the struggles they would have without him. Maybe they’re struggling but they can take care of it. Rick is helping them in other ways we don’t know about and doing a better job of it by being where he is. He is rearing his children even though they may not know it. Maybe they do know it! When the first presidency added the statement “Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation”, take it on faith. Rick’s family just needs to ‘adapt’ and they probably have. Everything is going as planned, including the children being reared by a mother and a father. Now, MH, when you consider this situation, YOU adapt.
“So, I am not even convinced the Holy Ghost couldn’t be female. I might even do a more controversial post on this topic. I am very curious why there is so little information in the scriptures about the Holy Ghost. Could it be that the Holy Ghost is as different as all of us?”
Do your post. I’ll read it. I just have a hard time understanding your curiosity. Use the scriptures as much as you can.
Do bloggers like controversy or is that something that just happens? I’ve had very little experience in this arena. I’d be more involved by I’m on the two job system.
I just thought of the scripture you might be referring to. It’s D&C 13, where John the Baptist ordains Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic Priesthood.
Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
Perhaps Alvin was one of Joseph’s ministering angels? After reading this book, I have no doubt my brother (and a sister who died of cancer) are my ministering angles. But I still would rather have them physically in my life, than just spiritually. I know I can’t see God’s plan, but they were a spiritual source of strength for me here, and it still seems like a loss in my life without their physical presence.
Rich, it’s not that I seek controversy for controversy’s sake. I am hoping to add a little different perspective, enlighten others, and be enlightened by others. Besides, if everyone agrees with me, why would they stay interested in what I have to say?
Anom, thanks for stopping by. I hope people enjoy my thoughts, and it doesn’t matter to me if they are so-called “intellectual” or not. I just hope people think more deeply about spiritual and religious matters. This blog is my outlet to talk to people in a more open environment than I find at church.
Great minds think alike! Check out this post at Mormon Matters.
One of the commenters (Curtis) on the previous link has a great insight into D&C 130:22, and I want to share what he wrote.
One interesting point made by Andrew Ehat is that our scriptures are proven to be fallible on the point of D&C 132:22-23. In his book, “Words of Joseph Smith,” he quotes the Willard Richards version of that speech as written in the Joseph Smith Diary as follows:
“Father has a body of flesh & bones as tangible as mans the Son also, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.— and a person cannot have the personage of the H G in his heart he may receive the gift of the holy Ghost. it may descend upon him but not to tarry with him”
In a footnote regarding this discrepancy with our current scriptures, Ehat writes:
“Neither the William Clayton Diary, the Joseph Smith Diary here quoted, nor the draft Manuscript History of the Church entry for this date, implies the phrasing of D&C 130:22: “Were it not so [that the Holy Ghost is a spirit], the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” Originally the wording in the Manuscript History of the Church entry for this date was the same as in the original draft, but in the 1850s the Church historians reworded it to read the way it appears in the Doctrine and Covenants. Other than this alteration, the Joseph Smith Diary is the source for D&C 130:22-23.”
So, there’s a bit of false doctrine in our scriptures with regards to the Holy Ghost. I like the original words personally as it makes the most sense to me.
“Maybe they’re struggling but they can take care of it. Rick is helping them in other ways we don’t know about and doing a better job of it by being where he is.”
Rich, I’ve known too many families who were devastated by the death of a family member (especially one of the parents) to approve of anything that sounds as glib as your comment. When I say “devastated”, I mean just that – torn apart and destroyed. I’ve seen good kids crushed and destroyed by grief – losing their faith in God, turning to drugs and sex, never recovering, etc. Your comment makes it sound like you know no such families, although I have no idea if that is accurate or not.
I believe firmly that God loves his children, and I believe just as deeply in grace and mercy, but I don’t pretend to understand why horrific tragedies happen and the consequences they often bring. They are unfathomable to me on an intellectual level, so I left only with my hope and faith. That leaves me able to understand and sympathize with those who don’t have such a foundation on which to rely – and especially those, like MH, who stand on their own firm foundation and simply try to understand better.
Essentially, that’s a good description of me – someone standing on a firm spiritual foundation and trying to the best of my ability to consider all possibilities that will help me see through my glass just a little bit more clearly. Please don’t mock that effort; it’s a sincere effort, based on faith, that God really will enlighten my mind and, eventually, allow my intellectual understanding to match my heartfelt faith.
Thanks for your comments. I found Rich’s comments quite inelegant and abrasive, but didn’t know how to address them tactfully, so that’s why I ignored them.
I have a very real fear that my nieces and nephew will fall into drug abuse or other problems, as they haven’t demonstrated much spiritual resilience to this point. People like Rich refuse to acknowledge these very real concerns in my life and others’ lives.
What an interesting post. I know that it is extremely difficult for those of us here to understand how the Lord could allow loved ones to be taken when they are so desperately needed here. I truly believe that when we experience loss which is significant that the Lord doesn’t judge us the same as those who have the support that they need. Of course that is my own personal belief, but children who lose a parent, or those who lose a spouse, instantly have a support system taken from them that gave them capacity to function at a certain level. Capacity is lessened, and at times significantly, when loved ones die. That is why we are commanded to care for the widows and the fatherless. Our capacity must be used to help sustain them as theirs has been lessened. It may be the right time for family members to be on the other side and that is why they die at a certain time, but that doesn’t really matter to those who have lost them. All they know is their pain and they want to lessen it and make it go away. I am convinced that those who are given more, are expected to use that capacity within them to bear up those who have suffered loss. I am also convinced that the Lord takes everything into account and is more liberal with those who have suffered deep loss, than those who have not. It is part of our responsibility to take under our wings those who have suffered deep loss and to be grateful everyday that we have the support and capacity to do so.
Interestingly,I have had blessings at utter crises of my life when i have been told my ancestors are watching over me-a little unsettling as i have never met one who I liked and have never had a relationship in life with them.In African culture we live alongside our ancestors in a different dimension,in Australian we live alongside them in a constant Dreaming.So,I think I buy the idea of them performing service under the direction of the Holy Ghost,but no,I don’t think this makes the loss of a beloved one OK-i think that’s callow.It may be however that we have a responsibility to allow that work to be done or to listen to that prompting,and it may take time for us to grow through our losses sufficiently to allow that to happen.I’m still waiting for my beloved sister to speak to me after losing her 19 years ago.Oh how I’d love some simple answers,but these after death books can be beguiling fictions.I’ve heard many convoluted justifications for the loss of loved ones over the years,and come to the conclusion that we are sad apologists for God.We here are left dealing with the reality of grief ,loss and the responsibility to enfold.
Have you read many books on near-death experiences? I have also read Return from Tomorrow and 90 Minutes in Heaven? Neither of the authors are mormon, but I love their stories. It sounds to me like you’ve read some that were weird. I will say I started to read a book called “23 minutes in Hell” or something like that, and I hated the book.
This was a very interesting post, MH.
Although I’ve never experienced anything like this personally and neither do I seem to have any ability to sense impressions or the presence of spirits, I do believe that some people do. My mother seems to have some pretty amazing dreams and impressions sometimes and I think it’s a gift.
While it appears that our deceased ancestors are actively seeking us out and “making contact” with us (even if we don’t always realize it), do you think that if we take the initiative it’s possible for us to contact them?
What would you say to them?
It seems to me quite likely that those on the other side are quite aware of our lives, and would know how we feel about them. I don’t view it as two-way communication, however. Even the one-way communication doesn’t always seem to work very well. When I look back at my life, there are a few times that it seems to me that my brother and sister may have been helping me, but it is not clear to me that this is the case. Sometimes, I feel like it is wishful thinking on my part, just hoping that they might be helping me. I never have had an experience like David, for example. My experiences are much more subtle.
I think that we are constantly surrounded by those who love us and they are trying to help us in all we do, but at certain times, and for reasons unknown, we become more aware of them or can become more aware of them and “feel” of their presence. Not everyone seems to have these experiences though and I agree that it is probably a gift that not all are given.
I specifically remember a time in my life when I woke up and for the better part of the day I was allowed to sense or feel of those spirits on the other side of the veil. It was as though the veil was very thin and it was so easy to understand their presence. Of course it didn’t last, and my life became increasingly difficult after that, so it has made me wonder if we are given experiences like that to help us maintain hope in great times of difficulty.
I think this discussion is interesting in light of the difference between Malachi (4:6) and the D&C (JSH 1:39 and D&C 2:2). The first mentions turning the hearts of the fathers to the children AND the hearts of the children to the fathers; the second only mentions the hearts of the children being turned to their fathers – I believe, because the hearts of the fathers already had turned to their children.
it has made me wonder if we are given experiences like that to help us maintain hope in great times of difficulty.
For those people with a good spiritual perspective like you, I think you’re right. But I wonder about those who either have no spiritual foundation, or are not firmly rooted in the gospel of Christ. These untimely deaths provide the opposite of hope: despair. It’s hard for me to reconcile why God chooses to take a parent.
In looking at my brother and sister’s families, it seems to me that my sister’s family had a stronger foundation in the gospel. Also, since she had a brain tumor, the family had about 21 months to get used to the idea, which I think helped them (and all of us) cope better.
My brother’s death was instantaneous, much more traumatic, and the kids were also in the car accident. I think these contributing factors make it more difficult for the children to handle. I don’t think they feel the comfort you felt. They do not seem to be reacting as well as my sister’s children. Maybe they will gain this comfort in the future, but I don’t know. I hope they do, but know that some people never gain this hope.
Ray, that’s an interesting perspective.
I’m not quite sure how I feel personally about contacting the dead. This is partly because I’ve never had any of my immediate, close family members pass away on me. But if I had suddenly lost someone very close to me, it would be comforting to know that I could solicit their attention somehow. And yet maybe part of me would be terrified that they’d answer. 🙂
I had a friend in my ward back home who lost her father after a lengthy illness. She took it really hard when she lost him and more than anything she wanted him to visit her (not sure that I would have wanted it if it had been me, but I can understand how she was feeling). Shortly after his death she said she was having a really bad night and was crying for him and then he “appeared” to her, looking how he did when he was younger (he was an old man when he died). The skeptic in me says that she was just seeing things because she was hysterical, but I’m also a believer. It would be fascinating to know just how much “access” the departed have to us. Like if we call for them, are they “allowed” to respond? Do they decide themselves? Does God set ground rules for communication between the living and the dead? Impossible questions to answer, I know. But interesting to think about.
Your family has sure been through a lot. I think if I was a younger child, like I am assuming your brother’s children were at the time of the accident, I don’t think I would be feeling very comforted either. I can’t imagine going through something that traumatic as an adult, let alone as a child. My father’s death was quick and unexpected but there was not the trauma involved with a car accident and that alone creates many feelings above and beyond the death itself.
I have to tell you that I struggled with my faith for many years growing up and I was not spiritually grounded. I know that many don’t gain hope for a long time after experiencing a loss (or maybe never), but seeing my life and how long it took for me to get where I am, I still have hope that your brother’s kids will someday be able to heal. It may take a very long time, and we may want it to be much sooner, but one thing I have learned is to accept that it is ok if other’s struggle and get angry and lose faith. It is not ok to treat them like a failure or as if they aren’t righteous enough, etc. I believe that as we accept those who struggle and love them for who they are, they are able to work through the many difficult feelings they have inside. If we try to hard to pressure them, it only pushes them further away.
It is easy for me to say many things when I have not been through what your family has but I would feel much different I am sure if I was in your position. I know, having been on the other side of faith, that it can be a long process to gain hope and to be healed. I know it is possible though and I wish your family all the best.
I believe strongly as others have stated that the Holy Ghost has to be an individual in the Godhead, but I have no problem with the concept of the Holy Ghost sort of delgating the work to spirits who have gone before us.
It’s interesting that you should bring up the the idea that the Holy Ghost could be female. My mother-in-law told me a few years ago of a strong impression she received that Heavenly Mother has a part in the role of the Holy Ghost. She felt strongly that Heavenly Mother is not the Holy Ghost but that she is somehow involved in that role. She had been pondering on the Holy Ghost and noticed that all the characteristics of the Holy Ghost are very female in nature, and wondered if Heavenly Mother was the Holy Ghost, so she prayed about it and received a strong impression that she was partially correct with regard to Heavenly Mother’s involvement. My question is, could Heavenly Mother be the figurehead (not that that is all she is or would be in that role) of the Holy Ghost, and the spirits of the deceased are the ones carrying out the work? I’m just trying to see how this idea can work and not conflict with reveled knowledge of the Holy Ghost, considering primarily the fact that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. I don’t think Heavenly Mother could fit that description, but maybe the description is referring to those spirits who carry out the work. Is there any other important information which would eliminate Heavenly Mother from this position directly?
With regard to the question of your post, I think that Rich has made some good points, though perhaps he is lacking compassion in them. My opinion is that, while being raised by a mother and a father is ideal, there are many situations in this life that prohibit the ideal from being achieved, in many different life circumstances. I think that’s part of the trials of life that we must experience here. They’re not pleasant, but we all face different challenges and Heavenly Father knows which ones we need to face. I think that the disclaimer in the Proclamation makes it clear that in less than ideal family situations, we have to adapt. One way to adapt is for the remaining parent to remarry, giving the children not a replacement for their parent who died, but new family member who is able to fill that void in some way. Also, extended family can take on more of an active part in helping to fill that void when remarriage isn’t forthcoming.
You know, it also isn’t fair that not all children are born to parents who love them. The Proclamation makes clear that children are entitled to this, yet so many children are born to abusive families. The fact is that most of the time, we are not going to deserve the trials that we receive, but we just have to trust that we will face all kinds of different trials and sufferings, and whatever they are, there is something for us to learn from each of them.
I have no doubt that those on the other side can hear us. I have found myself talking to my brother and my sister when I visit their graves (and I often shed a tear), and I’m sure they know how I feel. I’m positive they know I’m there, even though I don’t sense their presence.
There used to be a podcast on iTunes called Catholic Mormon podcast. It is inactive now. The husband was Catholic, the wife had been raised mormon but converted to Catholic when they got married. They talked about differences and similarites between the faiths.
I remember the husband addressing the issue of praying to the virgin Mary, or other saints. He said that it’s not so much that they pray to Mary, but view Mary as more of a friend. They said it’s like us asking friends to pray for us, or asking a friend to help us out. The only difference is that these saints are on the other side of the veil.
I thought it was an interesting explanation, and it made sense to me. To me, it was more along the lines of ministering angels.
Even at my siblings graves, I’ve found that I ask them to keep an eye on me, and help me. I’ve never really viewed this as praying to them, and I think this is more how Catholics view the issue of praying to saints. I will also say that I enjoyed learning about Catholocism. He did a short series of “Obscure Catholic Saint of the day.” Some of those saints had really inspiring, uplifting stories.
I enjoyed your questions, and will give you my answers.
Like if we call for them, are they “allowed” to respond? I think this is decided on a case-by-case basis. I don’t think there is a hard a fast rule here.
Do they decide themselves? I doubt it. I’m sure they consult the Holy Ghost here. However, after they’ve been there some time, I’ll bet they understand when to respond better. I view it as probably a training ground. When they become one with God, they probably won’t need to consult them because they will act as God will.
Does God set ground rules for communication between the living and the dead? Yes, but I don’t know what they are. They seem pretty arbitrary to me.
My brother died at the age of 35. My sister was diagnosed at 34, and died at age 36. Both had 4 children. My sisters children’s ages ranged from about 3-9. My brother’s children’s ages ranged from about 3-7. I remember being on a business trip in Colorado during my sister’s illness, and I tuned to a christian station, talking about death being a part of life. They said, “In 100 or even 150 years, every person living today will be dead. It’s a part of life.” They said they tried to visit cemeteries with their children to help them understand it is a peaceful place.
I hated going to cemeteries before. My sister was buried just about 1.5 miles from my house. I used to jog through the cemetery and stop by her grave, and it is a peaceful place. I’ve since moved about an hour away, so I don’t get to stop by any more, but I try to leave a flower when I can.
When my brother died, I didn’t think flowers were what he would like, so I printed out stories about the Jazz, Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots to decorate his grave. I also bought a Red Sox hat, and put it at the grave. I was surprised that it was still there a year later, greatly faded. I talked to my sister’s husband, and he said I should put a Red Sox hat on my sister’s grave as well (we are a real sports family.)
I can honestly say that there is not a single day that I do not think about my brother. Part of me feels guilty that I don’t think about my sister as much, but I think that is due in large part to him being gone a shorter amount of time. My sister’s kids are now on missions, in high school, and seem to be well adapted. I hope my brother’s kids can follow their lead.
Writing this post has really made me think about both of them more than normal, and I’m both happy and sad when I think about them. When I hear about tragedies in other people’s lives, it is really hard to deal with. I think about the woman who died in that recent plane crash in Buffalo, and her husband was killed in the World Trade Center. Yes, our family has been through a lot, but some people have it worse than I do.
Welcome back! I was hoping you were following this discussion, because I always enjoy your point of view. I must say that I was surprised to hear your unorthodox response about the Holy Ghost–you are usually so orthodox in your responses. Glad to see you can be heretical too! 🙂
I have heard some refer to the Godhead or the Trinity as the Holy Family, with Father, Son, and Mother. I need to study this issue more, because I want to do a post on it. I will say that I was reading the D&C yesterday, and it did refer to the Holy Ghost as “he.” However, I am certainly open to the idea that the Holy Ghost could be a Heavenly Mother.
You’ve heard me quote from William Dever, U of A, before. He has mentioned this “Holy Family” before. Daniel Peterson, from BYU has an article addressing this issue as well, and as I understand it, seems to be supporting the idea as well. When I get the issues down better, I will post on this Holy family topic. I believe there was a recent article in Dialogue as well. It is interesting to me because some of this information relates back to the time of Joshua, which we debated a while ago, and there are some truly strange issues regarding this.
You mentioned one way to adapt is to remarry. I know that Dr Laura is one who thinks parents should not remarry until after the children are raised, because she thinks it is harmful for children to get attached to boyfriends/girlfriends, and then the mother/father breaks up. I understand her concern, but am not sure I fully support her ban on remarriage.
Both my siblings spouses have remarried. I encouraged my brother-in-law to date, and feel he found a wonderful woman (I’ll call her Susan) to marry. I talk to her more than my brother in law–she’s a wonderful woman. Susan had 4 children of her own, so they have 8 together. They are dealing with blended family issues, and there are definitely some complexities that a traditional nuclear family does not have to deal with. But they are doing well.
Unfortunately, my sister-in-law and I never had a very good relationship before my brother died. It got better for a time, but when I expressed my concern that she was rushing into marriage, she pretty much shut me off. (She dated my brother for 4 years, yet her new husband for 4 months.) Her new husband seems like a really good guy, but they are also dealing with blended family issues. Oddly, he has been more cordial to me than my sister in law has been. He wasn’t active in the church before he met my sister in law, but seems to be more active now. He’s good to the children (and has one of his own.) Nevertheless, it is a tough situation. I hope they make it. My sister in law is talking to me again, but I wouldn’t call our relationship warm. It is nowhere close to the relationship I have with Susan, which bothers me, but I hope it will get there someday.
And Tara, you bring up an excellent point. There are so many children born to abusers–they are not deserving of such mistreatment. I don’t know how the Proclamation applies to them. Does anyone have an answer?
What we deserve and what we get are two very different things – on both the good and bad side. I am reminded of this statement:
“A man said I should treat him as a totally just God would treat him . . . so I set him on fire and sent him to Hell.”
I just lost all my comments I just wrote…..annoying!
Thanks MH for sharing your personal story. It is true that there are always going to be others out there who are dealing with more difficulty than we are and it doesn’t lessen our suffering, it justs helps us realize we aren’t alone.
As far as children born to abusers, I was a child who grew up with an abusive parent. It took me years after that parent was gone (dead) to deal with the anger and pain from the abuse. A very clear answer came to me not to many years ago that I had chosen to come to that family to help them, knowing what some of the consequences would be. My first problem with that answer was that I didn’t feel like I ever did anything to help them, so it was a waste of my life, and my second problem was I had forgone some things I really wanted in my life because I was busy dealing with my family. When I brought this to the Lord, another answer clearly came to me that I knew the possibilities and risks of what might happen in my life and I was promised that He would make up the difference in my life. Is that difference just giving me more capacity to deal with life (therefore making up for the lack of parenting when I was young?) or healing me so that I wouldn’t have to carry the pain any longer? All I know is that I have been healed and feel no pain any longer from that time.
I feel the Proclamation applies to me in that I was entitled to those things, just like every child is, but I chose something different. I am by no means saying that children choose to go to abusive homes, I am just stating the answers I received from my own personal experience with abuse. I have felt the Lord make up the difference of having lousy parenting by healing me in a miraculous and loving way.
One more thing, I realized that the help that I wanted to give my family is happening now and it is making a difference.
I admire you for being able to change in the midst of a tough upbringing. You sound like a spiritually gifted person, to make sense of all the nonsense.
I know life’s not fair, as Ray alludes to. I know these tests are for our good, but I feel really bad for people who seem to flunk them. Life is full of really hard tests!
Well I guess we all have a little heretic somewhere in us. It just takes the right topic to bring it out.
I haven’t had a lot of time lately to follow the discussions, but I try to check in when I get a chance. This topic happened to catch my interest.
Regarding the counsel by Dr. Laura, I would have to disagree. I like most of what Dr. Laura recommends, but I think in this instance it may be possible to prevent the attachment children may develop with their parent’s boyfriends/girlfriends by limiting contact and keeping things on the chill side, rather than warm and fuzzy, at least until marriage becomes a factor. I realize that may take a great deal of planning and discipline, but I think it can be done.
I realize that blended families bring a lot of complex issues and that it certainly isn’t the ideal in most instances, but I think it is always better, when possible, for children to have two parents, even if one parent is a step parent. Raising children is so difficult with two parents, let alone just one. I personally don’t know what I would do if I were raising my children on my own.
I’ll be interested to read when you post on the Holy Family. If you could link me to the articles you mentioned, I would appreciate it.
Dr Laura deals with people who often live together (“shack-up”, as she likes to say) before marriage. I think the chance for harm to children is much greater in these cases, when the parent breaks up with the “fiance” who has become so involved in daily life. There is value in what she says.
But I agree with you Tara. Susan and my brother in law married in the temple (I was actually a witness, and signed the official marriage document.) There were no shenanigans going on before marriage, and I think it has been good for the children. Still there was a pretty serious situation involving step-siblings that I guarantee would never have happened had my sister still been alive. While I can say I love Susan, I’d still prefer that my sister would have been able to raise her children.
Stay tuned for my Holy Family post. I still haven’t researched it enough yet. Also, I still promise that Abraham post that we talked about months ago too.
Jen and Tara,
I have noticed that Firefox is more forgiving when writing post comments. Sometimes when you hit the backspace key in Explorer, you lose your post. When this happens in Firefox, you can return to your comment, and don’t lose what you’ve written. So you may want to change browsers for blogging…
I think this subject is a very important one. It is absolutely essential that we have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion if we are to survive what is coming, so we need to be at peace with him.
We only know what the Lord has seen fit to reveal to us. I think if we want to know more about the Holy Ghost we need to increase in spirituality so that we will be ready for it.
The Lord will tell us more about the Holy Ghost only when we are ready.
Just something to think about.
Also, as for the difficulties of life, I believe that every heartache, every painful experience, every loss, every temptation, every negative and difficult thing that we go through is an opportunity. When we find ourselves in personal tribulation we have two choices, to turn to God for comfort and further light, or to turn away from Him.
I also think that sometimes one person or family’s tragedy can also be a test for those around them. The tragedy can be an opportunity for a community to encircle a family in love and understanding, to bear one another’s burdens…as the scripture goes.
I have also been the victim of an abusive childhood. I have spent much of my life going back and forth between forgiveness and spiritual strength to agony and extreme sense of loss. My mother may be alive, but she is not capable of being a mother to me, in the sense of fulfilling the actual role of mother, as she is mentally ill. I have spent the past four years struggling with this subject as a result of a year of one tragedy after another that just knocked me to my knees, which then brought back the pain of being without a family to rely on…You get the picture.
I came to a clear understanding that everyone on this planet suffers. Everyone will face sadness, everyone will have moments where they will wonder if God has forsaken them. It is part of the test that we are taking here. Everyone has a different set of challenges, everyone will respond to similar challenges differently, but we all have them.
The loss of a loved one is a perfect example of the idea that challenges are an opportunity to choose to turn to God or away from Him. When we find ourselves suddenly empty, without a familiar source of strength, we have the chance to fill that void with God, with more trust in him, more scripture study, more service to get our minds off our pain, or with addictions, bad habits, or by simply losing faith. The choice is ours.
I have come to the realization that I do not have a family to rely on because God wants me to rely on Him. I am a very stubborn person, and I have had to be reminded of my need for Him many, many times. I have often chosen to turn inward, to reject other people as untrustworthy, to become so concerned with my own needs that there is no room for service. Those are my weaknesses, and I know that God wants me to overcome them. So, lovingly, He has given me plenty of room to turn to Him. I am slowly learning to do so, to realize that He has always been there waiting for me, anxious to bless me and comfort me.
God loves all of His children. He knows what we need to become like Him. Sometimes that means losing a loved one. Sometimes it means success and all of the temptations that go along with that.
This life is such a personal struggle. There is no one answer to the reasons things happen. I just want to communicate that there is always a reason for things that happen, even if it is simply to have a witness against the wickedness of a person. There is always a reason. We have to trust Heavenly Father, and His love for us.
I am so sorry for your losses MH. I hope you know that God will do all in His power to bring your brother’s children back to him if they do stray. He is providing everything they need to return to Him someday. I am sure you pray for them often, and with your concern you are most probably involved with them to help them in any way you can.
After you have done these things, trust in God is all that is left.
Thanks for sharing your insights. It is through these struggles that we learn spiritual strength. For people who have never experienced pain like you and I, it seems they can be a little threatened when we openly question things like the Proclamation. However, I think it is through this questioning that greater spiritual knowledge can be obtained–and that is a good thing.
[…] after death experience the message […]
I agree with you as well loquaciousmomma. To try to figure out how things work is one of the best things we can do. However, in questioning, in asking all the questions that could be considered ‘deep doctrine’ and in doing some serious theological or ‘intellectual’ thinking, we must remember that it is by the Spirit we learn, and in order to learn that way, the most important thing we have to remember is to obey the gospel principles we’ve learned and continue to learn and progress. So, basically what I’m saying is, don’t lose sight of the big picture, and don’t forget the basics. If getting really deep is getting to the point to where it distracts from those two things, we need to go back to primary and relearn the basics
In my life, I’ve never really lost anyone to death like a lot of people involved in this sight have. I have however been through a divorce recently, actually, just last week I finalized things, and when I saw it’d been 3 months since we’d spoken. When I saw her, she was no longer the person I had been sealed to in the SLC temple. She carried with her a very bad vibe, very dark, malevolent, angry, bitter, and it was more than just ‘You broke my heart and I hate you for it.’ But, I understand much of the gospel, and there have been times like ones mentioned above when I have felt the presence of those who have passed on. My grandmother for example, who died when I was two, is someone who’s spirit I easily recognize, and she has been there periodically throughout my life to help me through tough times. So, since we’re talking about the subject above, I can say, yes, it is very difficult to not be able to physically see those who we love who have passed on, but consider this: With them being in a place where there is no worry or strife, no cares of this world, how much easier is it for them to get completely lost in the work, and be doing the work for their family and friends who are still on the earth now? My friend died at age 23, and yes, it was tragic, but in my mind, it’s not difficult to deal with after reading ‘The Message’ because now, well, now I’m jealous that he gets to be so much closer to our heavenly home with our Heavenly Parents! Anyway, I just felt like adding my two cents on how great the gospel is! Love ya’ll!
I’m really glad that Korinth reactivated this thread and I’m sorry I didn’t dig back into the archives far enough to find it previously. I’ll make the same disclaimer as in #12 — except applied to the doctrine of CofChrist. Personal interpretation; mistakes are mine; trying to follow my best understanding of our scriptures and my best understanding as a scientist, etc.
Personal, up-close experience of loss and injustice is one of the greatest types of test we can face to see how we respond to it. I don’t know whether it is more testing to our souls than the test of seeing what we do when we are never personally exposed to pain and injustice, but that is a subject for another time.
I have family members who were sexually abused decades ago by priesthood, and were further beaten down by having the church validate the abuser by calling him to a significant office in the world church structure WHILE the abuse was continuing. When the man broke entirely under the moral contradictions and personal demons, the church realized some of what had gone on and tried to protect the church from further harm, but did not seek out all the damage that had been done.
Some of those members have healed; some, after all of these decades, have still not been able to do the hard work of patching the wound, and so their children and grandchildren now bear a different set of wounds. But having a supportive partner (as opposed to another recreation of the abusive relationship) can certainly make a lot of difference. So the loss of a parent or supportive sibling can certainly be devastating in the best of family situations. May it go well with all of your families whp have commented in this thread.
I have spoken in my own blog from time to time (e.g., “http://thefirestillburning.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/youve-read-this-post-before/” about how cosmology is suggesting at least the possibility of a different relationship between our spirits and our bodies than we imagine. I suspect that we each have one spirit, but that it is a collective property of a vast multitude of physical copies and variations of us scattered around spacetime (I think this is what JS was seeing and writing about in the Book of Moses, lest one think I’m being totally unhinged from Restoration scripture.)
The analogy I use is that spirit is to person as mind is to neuron. Just as it takes a complex network of neurons to house a mind that can contemplate God, it takes a complex network of persons experiencing all of the possibilities — good or bad — of existence to house a spirit capable of communing with God. I think many of the distinctive Mormon teachings about the afterlife (though not ALL of them, by any means)
In this framework, I believe we are often sensing our OWN spirits signaling our physical selves that there are things we need to do or leave undone. I have also on occasion of great need experienced the identifiable presence of another family member from beyond. For example, because of my own health limitations, I could not travel to visit my mother in Independence as she was dying. I did have the opportunity/trial of reading aloud to her over the telephone before she slipped into her final coma the eulogy I’d prepared for her. That was hard. But throughout that reading, I felt the distinct presence of my grandfather here in the room with me — the first one to be converted to the Restoration and the first priesthood member in our family — performing a final ministry to his earthly daughter by helping me speak to her.
At the same trime, I found out from my wife later, that she had felt the very strong presence of my grandmother at the bedside in Independence. And the next day, less than two minutes before I got the phone call from Independence saying that my mother had just passed away, I saw my daughter sit there in our home stunned and tell me that my mother had just come to tell her goodbye.
So I certainly have personal beliefs that God does use our beloved family members to minister to us at times of need, and “vicarious representation” is a good term.
Since neither I nor my denomination believe that God has a physical body, I’ll not comment on the question about the Holy Ghost.
In my framework, if I believed that, “we are often sensing our OWN spirits signaling our physical selves that there are things we need to do or leave undone”…,then this concept, as well as the corresponding theory it comes from, would be clearly stated as a revealed truth in one of the 3 great world religions that worship the “One” God.
I have often heard that the grieving process for divorced people and those who have lost a loved one are very identical. I have a close friend who went through a divorce, and she told me that it is very difficult. I wish you well in your journey, as I know it is a very difficult trial.
Thanks for sharing. I think this is probably my most personal post on my blog. Sometimes it is hard to share things so personal, because some people seem to be “less than delicate” in discussing these sensitive topics. I have no doubt that your grandmother is a ministering angel. There have been times I have felt my brother and my sister nearby, but as I said before, I’d rather have them physically here.
I am sorry to hear about the abuse in your family, and pray that the spirit of forgiveness can come to them.
Thank you. One of the nice implications of parallel universes is that the abuse does not happen in each of them. We all experienced abuse and we all lost loved ones. We all had many children and brothers and sisters we do not know here. We all lived long lives with siblings we cared about. We all struggled with disability and all died in our youth. We all lived in great nations and were a conquered people. We all married many people and we all lived many lives as singles. We all have evil twins and we all have copies who lived up to the mark.
We may ASSUME that the events we see here are are the most probable, but a sample of one doesn’t tell us much about the real probabilities, which are not made known to us. Most copies of the abuser may be a great High Priest who brings many to the truth. Most copies of a prophet may be a con man or a fool.
That’s another reason we should judge no one’s eternal fate. There BY the grace of God, maybe we DO go. Preexistence, mortality, and the afterlife are all happening “now” if this cosmological model is correct. And God may redeem those instants from each copy that are redeemable and valuable to the spirit as a collective whole. The glories may be a course-grained description of the reality.