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Gramps,

A friend of mine, a former Bishop, believes that ghosts are real, but he cannot explain why some ghosts are friendly vs the ghosts that are of the devil.  I cannot understand why a spirit would be allowed to stay on this earth and be seen and/or have evidence of their existence be allowed. I believe that all spirits that leave this mortal body go home to the spirit world until the final resurrection.  Thanks for all you do!

James

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Answer

 

James,

In a sense, you are both correct.  Many of our leaders have testified that the spirit world is very near.  For example:

“President Brigham Young taught that the postmortal spirit world is on the earth, around us (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 279).”

President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “Visitors, seen and unseen, from the world beyond, are often close to us.  This is part of eternity which we are living today–part of God’s plan.  There is no veil to the Lord.”   Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, page 35.

President Joseph F. Smith said, “I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings.  We are not separated from them . . . I claim we live in their presence, they see us.”  Conference Report, April 1916, pages 2-3.

Elder John A. Widtsoe: “Man is not alone; he walks in the midst of such heavenly company from whom he may expect help if he seek it properly and strongly.” Rational Theology, page 68

Rather than use the term “ghosts”, which brings to my mind Halloween,  Patrick Swayze, or Casper, depending on my mood, let’s call them what I believe are more appropriate terms either angels or spirits.  The Bible Dictionary explains that angels may be spirits who have yet to be born, or those who have died and are awaiting the Resurrection (those you might call ghosts) or those who have been Resurrected.  An LDS scholar, Donald W. Parry has spent 20 years studying angels and has written a marvelous book, Angels: Agents of Light, Love and Power (the quotes above are from his book, except the one from President Young).   I highly recommend this book to you.  You can listen to his BYU Speech

 

 

Here’s the written version of his talk.

We know that Satan and those who followed him are part of the unseen company around us.  However, do not concern yourself with this,  remember what Elisha taught his servant:  2 Kings 6:15-17

15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

 

16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

 

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

You see, they two were surrounded by a host of unseen company.

Finally, one of the gifts of the Spirit that we can seek is the Gift of Ministering of Angels.  Elder Holland gave a wonderful talk about this.

“I will leave you with his concluding words:  “May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as contained in one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, … my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.””

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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