Spirits of our Loved Ones Are Near

I know that those who die are not gone, but are still near and very much aware of us. Joseph Smith (founder and first president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) said that the spirits of the righteous “are not far from us.” Brigham Young, second president of the Church said, “Where is the spirit world? It is right here.” On another occasion he said, “Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes,... as plainly as you now see bodies with your natural eyes.” 1

The prophet Joseph F. Smith said, "Our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, of reproof and instruction to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.” 2

He also taught that family members who die “do not cease to love us...We live in their presence. They see us and are solicitous of our welfare. They love us now more than ever...” 3

Another witness of this spiritual influence was provided by Pres. Gordon B. Hinkley. "How marvelous a gift, that if we live worthy we shall have the right to the company of angels. Here is protection, here is guidance, here is direction- all of these from powers beyond our own natural gifts."

Joseph Smith was asked about the awareness of those who have died concerning us here. He said, “They know and understand our thoughts, feeling, and emotions, and are often pained therewith.” 4

One day I was drawing a picture of a young man and his sister, who both died suddenly in an auto accident, I recalled a conversation I’d had with another woman whose teenage daughter had died a few years earlier. She said it was especially difficult to deal with reminders of her daughter that came up unexpectedly, and often resulted in unanticipated heartache and tears.

I pondered over that conversation as I drew, and it was as though the spirit of the young man I was drawing read my thoughts. What entered my mind next seemed to be a message from him for his mother. "Please tell my mom not to cry when those unexpected reminders come, because it means I'm there. When that happens, tell them to just talk to me, because I'm there!"

The message was clear and pleading. It opened a completely new perspective to me. I realized that those who pass on have a desire to be a part of our lives and to continue the loving relationships they enjoyed with us on Earth. Perhaps as we open our minds to the possibility, we may experience quiet and sometimes profound assurances of their presence. I've since tried to share this with everyone I know who has lost a loved one.

1 Discourses of Brigham Young ( 1954), 376-377.
2 Journal of Discourses, 22:351 and Gospel Doctrine Manual, 435-36
3 Quoted by Elder Richard G. Scott at Inis Hunter’s funeral and reported in the Deseret News 10/23/07
4 History of the Church, Vol. 6, 378