You Can’t Come Up Here

“You Can’t Come Up Here,” Ensign, July 2013, 72

You Can’t Come Up Here

Bonnie Marshall, Utah, USA

My husband, John, was a big man. He stood six feet four inches (1.9 m) tall and weighed more than 200 pounds (90.9 kg). For him, air travel in economy class was uncomfortable at best, painful at worst.

In August 2006 we were called to serve a Church educational service mission at Brigham Young University–Hawaii. When it came time to return home, we were dreading what he would have to endure in the flight back to the mainland. During check-in we were delighted to find that there was one seat available in first class, so we upgraded his ticket. He would be able to sit in a comfortable seat with plenty of room for his long legs.

About midway through the flight, I decided to go see how he was doing. As I approached the first-class area, a flight attendant stood in the doorway to stop me.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

“Yes, I would like to see my husband for a moment,” I replied.

“I’m sorry,” she said pleasantly but firmly, “you can’t come up here.”

“But he’s my husband, and I just want to see him for a minute.”

Still barring the door, she again stated, “I’m sorry, but you are not allowed up here. I can give your husband a message, and if he would like to, he can come visit you. But the policy is that only first-class passengers can be in this area.”

I was taken aback for a moment, but seeing her persistence, I quietly returned to my seat in economy class.

I began to think about the three degrees of glory mentioned in the scriptures and by the prophets. We read that Christ will visit those in the terrestrial kingdom (see D&C 76:77), and administering angels will visit those in the telestial kingdom (see D&C 76:88), but those who are in the lesser kingdoms can never go up to the celestial kingdom (see D&C 76:112; see also D&C 88:22–24). Reflecting upon my experience, I felt that I just had a glimpse of what it might be like for those in the lower kingdoms. How would they feel upon hearing the words “I’m sorry, you can’t come up here”?

About five months later my husband passed away from cancer. My experience on the airplane gives me extra incentive to live so that I never have to hear those words again—at least not on the other side of the veil.