I've been creating Young Women lesson helps for Latter-Day Village for almost 3 years now. February lessons on the Plan of Salvation have always been some of my favorite lessons of the year. The simplicity of the Plan of Salvation has always brought me so much peace knowing that I can live with my family forever. I love studying and learning more about our pre-existence and afterlife. Understanding "the meaning of life" has truly helped me through the trials that I have had.
There are 7 lessons to choose from in February's young women lessons. Each year, I've added on to lessons. We have never had anyone request lesson helps for the lesson "How can I find comfort when someone I love dies?" It is a deep lesson and one that is probably pretty hard to teach, so I assume a lot of teachers are skipping this lesson each year. I decided this year that I needed to provide a lesson packet for this lesson.
The day started out like any other day. I got on my computer, checked my emails, checked our website, and then went to LDS.org to start studying the lesson. I started reading through the scriptures and the talks given in the lesson. By the time I was done studying and reading everything, it was hours later and I was exhausted from all the crying. This lesson was an answer to my prayers.
I want to share with you about a member of my family that recently passed. Greg is my husband's older brother. They are two years apart in age and have always been very close. Greg's wife and I quickly became good friends when I came into the family. We planned having babies at the same time which made our families very close. We took trips together and spent a lot of time together, even though we live in different states.
This past year, Greg lost his battle with depression and passed away, leaving his 3 teenage children. Receiving the phone call from my husband's father was one of the hardest things we will ever experience. Hearing about how the police had found Greg's body and exactly what happened was something I hope no one will have to go through. My immediate thought was of his children. How can they go on after something like this? Will they ever be able to forgive their dad? Will they ever see their dad again? Will my husband be able to be with his brother some day? Will his parents get to hold their beloved child in their arms ever again?
The funeral was a blur. The talks given at his funeral that were meant to comfort, only seemed to make things harder for his children. Why is it fair that he is "at peace" now when his family is left in such turmoil? It was very hard to understand. My husband and I spent the time with his family mostly just trying to be there for Greg's children. We didn't have the answers and could only bring so much comfort to their broken hearts. We tried talking to them about the atonement and making sure that they understand how much comfort prayer and priesthood blessings could bring them during this difficult time. But there is only so much someone can do to help another person.
My family and I came back home to Utah and have spent many hours going to suicide support groups and educating ourselves on how someone could do this. Both my husband and I have come to understand Greg in a different light and know that he will be judged according to his own trials on this earth. It is not our place to judge another person. We are imperfect, and only our Savior has a perfect understanding of each of our lives.
As I was studying this Young Women lesson, a section in the Doctrine and Covenants was an answer to a prayer I didn't even realize I had asked. D&C 138:57-59:
57 I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead.
58 The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,
59 And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.
I reread this scripture many times to really understand it. This means that our life on Earth is not the only time we have to repent and be redeemed! We can continue to exercise our agency in Spirit Paradise and Spirit Prison. We can repent and be forgiven in the afterlife. The peace that this scripture brought to me is indescribable. We will be able to see Greg again. He does still have a chance to be washed clean and be redeemed. We will miss Greg for the rest of our Earthly lives, but I now know that we will see him again. He can be with his family and hold his children in his arms once again. I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge that I am still gaining each time I study it.
This is a picture taken at Greg's funeral of my husband (3rd from the right), his 3 other brothers, and Greg's two sons.