Death is a part of every life. Find scriptures, stories, and discussion ideas for talking with your family about death, life, and how to live courageously.
For more information on this topic read “The Race of Life,” by President Thomas
S. Monson, Ensign, May 2012, 90.
Death comes to all mankind. It comes to the aged as they walk on faltering feet. Its summons is heard by those who have scarcely reached midway in life’s journey. At times it hushes the laughter of little children. . . . My brothers and sisters, we know that death is not the end. This truth has been taught by living prophets throughout the ages. It is also found in our holy scriptures.
(Thomas S. Monson, “The Race of Life,” Ensign, May 2012, 90.)
“The Lord is My Shepherd,” Hymns, no. 108.
Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, 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.
And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of cpeace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
Ask your family to consider this question: “If you were to die today, would you have any regrets?” Read together Alma 46:39–41 and look for the way many of the Nephites handled death. Ask:
• What qualities did the people possess who “went out of the world rejoicing”?
• Why do you think living a faithful life, could cause rejoicing when we die?
• Why would it be important to you to have this same experience when you die? Share your testimony that living the commandments brings joy in life and death.
Invite your family to live in such a way that they will have no regrets when they leave this earth.
(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 223.)
“Death in a Foxhole” by Paul H. Dunn
My mind immediately was called back to a day about twenty years ago when, as a young soldier participating in the activity of this country during World War II, I found
myself on the island of Okinawa, somewhere in my nineteenth year. In that serious mortal conflict, while trying to do what we could to preserve these very freedoms that have been discussed today, by chance I fell into the good graces of another young man who had fine ideals and high standards. Almost automatically we got together and shared the experiences of the war together. Frequently we shared the same foxhole. One night during the month of May, our forces had sustained such heavy casualties that it became necessary for my friend and me to be separated. We were in different holes about fifty yards apart. It had commenced to rain about seven that evening, and it was a cold night. Along about eleven the enemy let go with a barrage that was almost unbelievable, and for almost two hours they harassed our lines with heavy artillery and mortar fire. Shortly after midnight one of these shells landed in the hole of my good friend. I could tell from the sound of the blast that it was serious. I called to him but couldn’t get an answer, and the type of fighting we did in the Pacific prevented me from crawling over to offer aid. About an hour later I got a faint response indicating life still existed. All that night long, under heavy fire, I tried to call words of comfort to him, and finally as it commenced to get light I crawled to the hole of my friend and found that he had almost become submerged in the water from the heavy rain of the night before.
As I lifted him out on that cold, muddy bank and laid his head in my lap, I tried to offer what physical comfort I could under those conditions, wiping his brow and face with a handkerchief. He was almost limp with death now. I said, “Harold, you hold on, and I’ll get you to the aid station just as soon as I can. It’s only a few hundred yards away. “No,” he said, “I know this is the end, and I’ve held on as long as possible because I want you to do two things for me, Paul, if you would.” I said, “You just name it, Harold.” He said, “If you are permitted to live through this terrible ordeal, will you somehow get word to my parents and tell them how grateful I am for their teaching and influence which has enabled me to meet death with security and calmness, and this in turn will sustain them.” And I’m happy to report to you I was able to fulfill that commitment.
“Second, Paul,” he said, “if you ever have the opportunity to talk to the youth of the world, will you tell them for me that it is a sacred privilege to lay down my life for the principles that we have been defending here today.” And with that testimony on his lips he like so many others before, gave his life for the principles of freedom and righteousness.
Well, as we buried Harold along with his comrades, close friends, and associates, we placed over a cemetery on Okinawa this inscription, and I think it still stands for all to observe who would: “We gave our todays in order that you might have your tomorrows.”
(Leon R. Hartshorn, Outstanding Stories by General Authorities, vol. 1, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1970].)
Play Wastebasket Toss.
Use a wastebasket as the goal. Mark the tossing line with a piece of string or tape. You may wish to make the tossing line closer for young children. Use a ball or beanbag for tossing. If the ball or beanbag touches the basket it counts 1 point; if it goes inside and it stays there it counts 5 points. If the ball goes in but bounces out it counts 2 points.
Remind the family to make their life count and not toss it away.
(Alma Heaton, The LDS Game Book, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968] p. 171.)
Almost Oreo Cookies
Makes 11⁄2 dozen cookies
1 (18-ounce) package devil’s food cake mix 2 eggs
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup shortening
1 pound plus 1 cup powdered sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄4 cup water
￼￼￼￼1⁄2 cup cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.
Combine cake mix, eggs, water, oil, and cocoa powder until well mixed. Form into balls and place on cookie sheets. Flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass and bake 6 to 8 minutes. Remove cookies from cookie sheet and place on paper towels. Let cool for 20 to 25 minutes.
For filling: Beat shortening until fluffy. Add 1 cup powdered sugar, vanilla, and water and beat until fluffy. Add half the remaining powdered sugar and beat well. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat well.
Place desired filling amount on one cookie. Place second cookie on top of filling. Gently squeeze together. Repeat until all cookies have been made into sandwiches. These store well in an airtight container.
© LDS Living, 2012.