“Walking through the Plan of Salvation,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 72
When I answered the phone and heard Uncle Doug’s voice, I knew what he was going to say: my aunt, 88 years old and ill, had passed away. In my sadness, the Comforter enveloped me with peace and joy as I contemplated the great plan of salvation and Aunt Melva’s reunion with loved ones on the other side.
I wondered how to tell my five children, ages 3 to 12, about losing Aunt Melva, their favorite aunt. She had made each of our children feel special with the hugs and kisses she showered on them. This was their first experience with the death of a loved one.
My husband was out of town on business, so I had to break the news to my children alone. As I pondered how to do this, I realized a wonderful teaching moment had presented itself. If I could teach them the basic truths of the gospel perhaps they too would feel comfort and peace in knowing where Aunt Melva was.
I began by kneeling in prayer, thanking God for the truths of the restored gospel and asking for guidance in how to teach them to my children. My mind was directed to two sections in the Doctrine and Covenants: the vision of the Savior’s visit to the spirits of the dead as recorded in section 138, and the vision of the degrees of glory found in section 76. I soon found ideas stirring in my mind.
The next morning before church I gathered my children. “As you know, Aunt Melva has been very ill in the hospital this week,” I told them. “The doctors did everything they could do for her, but her body could not recover from the infection, and she died last night.”
Their questions came immediately: “Where is she?” “Is she in heaven with Heavenly Father?” “Will we ever see her again?” and “What happens when you die?”
I assured them she was happily reunited with loved ones in the spirit world. “Let’s invite Grandma and Grandpa and have a special family home evening this afternoon to answer your questions,” I told them.
After church I selected a number of rooms in our home and labeled them premortality, mortality, spirit world, and the degrees of glory: telestial, terrestrial, celestial. Then I taught my children about the great plan of happiness. As we moved from room to room, we read scriptures that taught about each phase of our existence. When we finally arrived at the room representing the celestial kingdom, I explained, “This heavenly home is where we can live together forever with Heavenly Father and Jesus.” I concluded the lesson by bearing testimony of the truths of salvation revealed in the scriptures.
With tears in his eyes, my father also shared his witness to his grandchildren that they had been taught glorious doctrines that are relatively unknown to the world at large. Knowing where Aunt Melva had gone, my children felt peace and understood more about Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness.—Christine Wright, Eden, Utah