Tag Archives: Eternal life

A Whispering in the Leaves

Sometimes it is in mundane, everyday moments that we receive insights about life on this earth and its relationship to eternity.

I was hanging some rugs out to dry on the old-fashioned clothesline in our yard when I heard the rustling of the gold and red leaves on the nearby trees. It was almost as though they were chattering to each other, having a rushed, last conversation before they fell to earth to die. And I thought: “But there will be new leaves again, next spring. Life will be renewed, according to our Creator’s design.”

And I remembered that according to His design, we, too, will be renewed. We will be resurrected. Jesus died not only for our sins, but so that we, as He did, may come forth again (Isaiah 25:8, 26:19).

I am old now. The number of my future autumns seems far more limited than when I enjoyed the gold and red of fall leaves as a boy. But in the chattering of those leaves I hear whisperings of hope. 

There will be a spring, and new life, and that life will be eternal. Jesus said so (John 11:25, or Moroni 7:41 in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ).

In the Empty Tomb

The Garden Tomb, in Jerusalem.


This tomb is empty–

No trace of Him who lay here,

Once a sacrifice for us.

No evidence meets the eye,

And the mind alone

Cannot comprehend.

We were not here.

We did not see.

How do we know

That He lay in death,

Then rose again?

In the empty tomb,

The heart is full.

It sees what Spirit tells,

It knows what Spirit shares.

It understands

What it knew before:

He came for this–

To leave the tomb,

To counter death,

To give us life.

In the empty tomb,

We find full life.


Give the Child a Chance

Many years ago, a young woman expecting her first baby went into labor while her husband was far away at war. The birth was a difficult one and the doctor chose to anesthetize her. She awoke later in the hospital to find her mother and older sister sitting beside her bed. The looks on their faces told her the news might not be good.

My mother and me, ca. 1945

This was in the days before a woman could know the sex or the physical status of her unborn child. They told her that her son had been born with a very visible birth defect which could turn out to be an impairment in life.

But my young mother was blessed with the wisdom and ingenuity to teach me how to deal with that defect so that through almost eight decades of life, it has never been a handicap to me.

At 8 years old.

I suppose today there are women who if they knew their child might have a defect such as mine would abort that baby, so I take the issue of abortion a bit personally.

We hear much of a woman’s right to control her own body. I don’t dispute that right, but I may disagree with others as to when the right should be exercised. When two people willingly engage in the act that creates an unborn child, I believe it is morally wrong—a sin—for them to destroy that life. It is an offense against all humanity.

Where the child was conceived in a consensual relationship, I would hope mother and father will counsel together on any choices about the life of the unborn. (Parenthetically, I believe that men who father babies and then abandon mother and child will face the wrath of the Father of us all.)

Many would disagree with my moral arguments about abortion, and they would feel justified in making decisions I see as wrong. It is not my place to tell them how to manage their lives. But I believe it is tyranny to force me to help pay for actions that violate my conscience and are an assault on my faith.

I believe that every one of us existed as a being of spirit—with intelligence and gender—before we came to live on this earth. We are immortal beings having a mortal experience. We brought with us certain strengths and behavioral characteristics. When we leave this life, we will take with us, as eternal spirit beings, all the knowledge and strength and growth we acquired here. This mortal experience is a step forward on an eternal path. Destroying a viable child is putting a roadblock or detour on the eternal path of another being.

There undoubtedly are circumstances when abortion needs to be an option: if the mother’s life is in danger, if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest and carries with it that horror and trauma.

 Politically, this is a very highly charged issue. Some say it is her life and her body, so the choice is hers alone. That is only partly true. The mother may make the choice alone, but there are two lives and two bodies involved.

Some would say the mother should have the right to abort the child if she knows it is carrying a serious defect. I would plead for the life of the child. Give that baby a chance—please. You can’t know who or what that individual may become. I have lived a full and productive life—married  to a wonderful woman who loved me despite my physical and moral flaws—with  fine children, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild, all free of my birth defect. Yet some people would have erased my life—and theirs.

If you don’t want the baby, there are couples like my daughter and son-in-law willing to help that child grow into an intelligent, productive, unique individual.

Please, if you can find it in your heart, give that child a chance.

The Persistence of Life

The tree is slowly dying. Many dry branches can be broken off easily, and the three largest ones, growing up from the splitting trunk, are bound together by a loop of steel cable.

And yet, again this spring the tree bore new blossoms on young branches. It will not give

Even old trees send forth new life.

Even old trees send forth new life.

up and die, and it is a reminder that life is very, very persistent.

Life is a gift of the Great Creator that is meant to be eternal.

We follow as our granddaughter scuffs through the litter of tiny “helicopters” on the sidewalk, seeds that spiraled down from the tree above. They are scattered over the nearby grass. Most of them will become debris to be washed down the gutters into the storm drains. But some will become new trees.

We delight in watching Kate learn of this world and grow through new experiences. Chances are that in 20 years or so when she is bringing new life to this earth, we may not be around. Yet through her and others, life we have brought to this earth will go on.

But that is not what I mean when I say that life is eternal.

I was well past the middle of middle age before I witnessed death firsthand. I often wondered what makes that instantaneous difference. Apart from accidents or violence, what makes a person alive one moment and dead the next?

I know the answer. Death occurs when the immortal spirit leaves the mortal body. Each of us is a spirit—the spirit offspring of God—inhabiting a body of flesh and blood He has given us through normal biological processes He established. Death, too, is a normal process that He established, but it does not touch the Spirit. What we are—the personality, the knowledge, the intellectual and spiritual achievement that is within each living soul—does not disappear when the mortal body ceases to function. Those things go on with the eternal spirit. We do not cease to exist, but we cease to function in this mortal sphere that we see with our natural eyes, the tissue in our body created to house our sense of vision.

There will be a resurrection, when this spirit lives again in a body of flesh and bone. That, too, will be a natural process—one that He has established, one that will occur on His timetable. When it happens, we will again be able to use a body, this time immortal, to function according to the knowledge, experience, and wisdom we gained during our mortal years. Those men and women who gained more knowledge and wisdom here, more ability to love and serve others, will be better prepared to function effectively in the eternal hereafter.

That is part of what I believe the mortal Jesus Christ meant when He preached in the Sermon on the Mount: “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). When He comes again, those who laid up treasures of faith, wisdom, and the power to love while they lived in mortal life will be better prepared to serve Him in His kingdom throughout eternity.

Every living thing persists in clinging to life, from the dry tree that still sends out blossoms every spring to the unborn baby in the womb that resists when it is attacked. That, I believe, is the will of God.

But for a flawed creature like me, clinging to life is not simply an effort to put off inevitable death. Knowing my weaknesses and the many times in this life that I have lived below my potential—oh, how I need His saving grace!—I welcome every opportunity to learn a little more about loving, a little more about serving others, a little more about what Jesus meant when He said, “Follow me” (see John 12:26).