As Latter-day Saints, we are taught that we can have eternal life even after passing through death. Though there are a few things we know about life after death, there are still many things we don’t know.
In 2017, President Russell M. Nelson answered a few questions at RootsTech conference surrounding what life after death is like, conveying a story from his own family history.
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The “precious gift” President Nelson shared was one his grandfather Andrew Clarence Nelson, or A. C. Nelson, recorded in his journal.
Through this entry, President Nelson and his family were able to learn of a visitor from the spirit world whom his grandfather received 27 years before President Joseph F. Smith’s 1918 vision of the redemption of the dead, giving them important answers to what life after death is really like:
When my Grandfather A. C. Nelson was a young husband and father, just 27 years old, his father died. Then, about three months later, his father, now deceased, came to visit him. The date of that visit was the night of April 6, 1891. Grandfather Nelson was so impressed by his father’s visit that he wrote the experience in his own journal for his family and his friends. And thanks to your encouragement, I took his journal entry and created this document and made copies of this document for every member of the family.
Listen to my grandfather’s words about that sacred experience:
“I was in bed when Father entered the room. He came and sat on the side of the bed. He said, ‘Well, my son, as I had a few spare minutes I received permission to come and see you for a few minutes. I am feeling well, my son, and have had very much to do since I died.’
“‘What have you been doing since you died, Father?’
“‘I’ve been traveling together with Apostle Erastus Snow ever since I died. That is, since three days after I died. I received my commission to preach the gospel. You cannot imagine, my son, how many spirits there are in the spirit world that have not yet received the gospel. But many are receiving it, and a great work is being accomplished. Many are anxiously looking forth to their friends who are still living to administer for them in the temples. I’ve been very busy preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.’
“‘Father, can you see us at all times, and do you know what we’re doing?’
“‘Oh, no, my son. I have something else to do. I cannot go when and where I please. There is just as much and much more order here in the spirit world than in the other world. I have been assigned work to do, and it must be performed.’
“‘We intend to go to the temple and get sealed to you, Father, as soon as we can.’
“‘That, my son, is partly what I came to see you about. We will yet make a family and live throughout eternity.’
“‘Father, is it natural to die?’
“‘It is just as natural to die as it is to be born, or for you to pass out of that door.’ And here he pointed at the door. ‘When I told the folks that I could not last long, it turned dark and I could not see anything for a few minutes. Then the first thing I could see was a number of spirits in the spirit world. The paper you gave me, my son, is dated wrong. But it makes no particular difference. Correct records are kept here.’“
“‘Father, is the gospel as taught by this Church true?”
“‘My son, do you see that picture?’ Pointing to a picture of the First Presidency of the Church hanging on the wall.
“‘Yes, I see it.’
“‘Just as sure as you see that picture, just as sure is the gospel true. The gospel of Jesus Christ has within it the power of saving every man and woman that will obey it, and in no other way can they ever obtain salvation in the kingdom of God. My son, always cling to the gospel. Be humble, be prayerful, be submissive to the priesthood, be true, be faithful to the covenants you have made with God. Never do anything that would displease God. Oh, what a blessing is the gospel. My son, be a good boy.’”
Watch President Nelson recount the story about his grandfather in the video below:
The Gateway We Call Death
In The Gateway We Call Death, President Nelson, a surgeon by profession and now a special witness of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, approaches the subject of death from both a medical and a theological point of view to discuss such topics as these:
• The purpose of life and of death
• The purpose of mourning
• When death comes without warning
• Factors of choice, such as suicide, euthanasia, and use of mechanical means to extend life
• Life after death