I was my mother’s caregiver for many years and my family was privileged to be with her as she crossed through the veil. It was an experience that affirmed my testimony of everything the Gospel teaches in regards to the hereafter. With this in mind, I am a bit confused about something and am hopeful you can enlighten me as I am not having much luck on my own. I have been in the Church for 35 years and, until my mother’s illness and subsequent death two years ago, I had never heard that the spirit remains with the body for three days after death. I have been told this by two different people in the Church. I have been able to find no reference to back this up. Is this true? If so, could you help me understand this. I can tell you that three days after she passed away, I heard her voice as clearly as if she had been standing in the room say my name and then she was gone. I am perplexed about the three days though. Can you resolve my confusion? Thank in advance.
Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your mother. As our leaders have told us, most recently in this past General Conference, death is a part of life, one that comes to us all. We need not fear death, either our loved ones’ or our own. We need only be spiritually prepared for the event.
There is no LDS Church doctrine teaching that the spirit remains with the body for three days, or any other period of time. In fact, in the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma taught his son that “the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.” (Alma 40:11)
We have not been told exactly what the spirits of the departed do, but I think that the Saints who leave this life have plenty of joyful work and happy reunions to attend to. Many have testified that they felt the presence of their deceased loved ones in the hours or days after death; I do not have a problem believing that the dead might on occasion be permitted to tarry, when needed. But that is speculation. The Church has no official standing on the matter, and does not teach that the spirits of the departed stay around their bodies for any set period of time before moving on to the spirit world.
Jewish mysticism teaches that a deceased person’s spirit remains around the body for up to three days after death before departing. That may be where some thoughts are coming from.