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Dear Gramps,

I had a very close family member die. It was very hard and is still very hard to handle. This person gave me advice and unconditional love. I know that this person was a very good person, but I just don’t understand why Heavenly Father has to take them. I feel that this person is needed more on earth than in Heaven. I cannot find peace with the situation no matter how hard I have tried. I feel much anger toward our Heavenly Father, even though I know I shouldn’t…what do I do?





Dear Anonymous,

To lose a loved one to death is, as you well know, a very traumatic and difficult experience to endure–especially if the person has what we would perceive as many productive years ahead of them. Death, of course, is the inevitable process by which we pass from this world to the next–and each person who is born must die–even you and me.

We see people taken from life at every age–from infants to the very aged; and we see them taken in every condition–from those who are so ill that they are not aware that they are alive to those who appear to be in the pink of health.

Now, those are all generalizations with which you are perfectly aware. But in your case you have had a loved one pass away, someone with whom you have had a very close personal relationship. That parting (different than those that we just read about) has had a serious effect on your personal life–undoubtedly on a cherished relationship, with perhaps some strong dependence of the person who was called home. Your circumstance, difficult though it is to bear, is by no means unique. The great majority of those that die produce heart wrenching effects on their loved ones that they leave behind.

But let’s try to look at the process of the separation of death from a somewhat broader perspective than just this one-to-one personal relationship. In the first place, what is death? Perhaps the best analogy is in comparing it to taking off a coat. The coat is our body. What do you do when you take off your coat? You just lay it aside and get on with your business.. The person who dies glances at his body, and says, “Hmmm.” Then turns around to experience the greatest exhilaration of his continued life. Brigham Young said of this process,

“I can say with regard to parting with our friends, and going ourselves, that I have been near enough to understand eternity so that I have had to exercise a great deal more faith to desire to live than I ever exercised in my whole life to live. The brightness and glory of the next apartment is inexpressible. It is not encumbered so that when we advance in years we have to be stubbing along and be careful lest we fall down. We see our youth, even, frequently stubbing their toes and falling down. But yonder, how different! They move with ease and like lightning. If we want to visit Jerusalem, or this, that, or the other place, and I presume we will be permitted if we desire, there we are, looking at its streets. If we want to behold Jerusalem as it was in the days of the Savior; or if we want to see the Garden of Eden as it was when created, there we are, and we see it as it existed spiritually, for it was created first spiritually and then temporally, and spiritually it still remains. And when there we may behold the earth as at the dawn of creation, or we may visit any city we please that exists upon its surface. If we wish to understand how they are living here on these western islands, or in China, we are there; in fact, we are like the light of the morning ” (Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church: Brigham Young, p.279).

Now, the Lord loves your very close family member more than you do. He also loves you, undoubtedly infinitely more than you realize. He knows exactly what you are going through–and by the way, the experience is not different than that which most of us go through who live long enough to see a loved one die. Death is the door of passage from mortality into immortality. On the other side of that door there is not just a void. The work of the kingdom is as vital, if not more so than it is here. And the Lord’s servants are needed there every bit as much as they are needed here. The Lord calls us then He needs us for a particular purpose. You feel that your loved one is needed more here on earth than in heaven. Where did you ever get that idea? How much do you know about the needs that your loved one can address in his/her new environment? Do you think that going from this life to the next is some sort of an accident, and that in the spirit world we just sit around and wait for the resurrection? Please know that those who depart this life in righteousness are needed there more than they are needed here, and that they are much busier and more involved in the work of the Lord than they ever were during mortality. Please know that if you could see across the veil and know what is going on there, you would be more excited than sorrowful for the passing of your loved one, and you would have it no other way. So I think that the bottom line is

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend (Mosiah 4:9).





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