Saturday, November 25, 2017

President Russell M. Nelson on death in God's eternal plan

President Russell M. Nelson (born Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He was set apart as president of the Quorum of Twelve on July 15, 2015.
"Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Prior to our birth, we dwelled as spirit children with our Father in Heaven. There we eagerly anticipated the possibility of coming to earth and obtaining a physical body. Knowingly we wanted the risks of mortality, which would allow the exercise of agency and accountability. 'This life [was to become] a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.' (Alma 12:24.) But we regarded the returning home as the best part of that long-awaited trip, just as we do now. Before embarking on any journey, we like to have some assurance of a round-trip ticket. Returning from earth to life in our heavenly home requires passage through—and not around—the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. (See 2 Cor. 6:9.) As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Doors of Death," General Conference, April 1992
Click here to read or listen to the full article

Everything changes in our interpretation of events and circumstances when we maintain a greater perspective, one that includes both the pre-mortal and post-mortal phases. Neglecting to maintain that view of the entire scope can make many of the challenging events of life overwhelming. In this discussion of death as a part of the eternal plan of our Heavenly Father, President Nelson helps us remember that greater perspective.

In the distant past, when we were still anticipating our mortal experience, President Nelson notes that we would have maintained that complete, eternal view of the experience, and would have known that "returning home [was] the best part of that long-awaited trip." When we view death in that way, it changes everything!

Adding this perspective of the continuing progress (the "blossoming") to come in the next life helps us treat death with gratitude and anticipation.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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