My husband and I were asked to speak in church yesterday, Easter Sunday. Normally, I like speaking in church. (I know, I'm weird!) But I haven't given a talk in a long time. I was so nervous I felt sick. In fact, I was tempted to run out a few times!
I guess the reason I was so nervous is because I knew the deep significance of this message. I didn't want to get it wrong. I read a lot in preparation. I spent some time pondering. It wasn't that I didn't know the subject matter. I just wanted to be clear and accurate.
In preparing for this talk, and especially as I delivered it, I came to know an important truth about myself: I have an unshakable testimony of the truth of the Resurrection. This was quite a shock to me.
I have been exposed to death many times in my life. I have been to countless funerals for relatives and friends. My mom even took me to graveyards as a kid looking for family history information. Nothing about death scares me.
President David O. McKay described death as a kind of sleep.
Resurrection and Spring are happily associated, not that there is anything in nature exactly analogous to the resurrection, but there is so much which suggests an awakening thought. Like the stillness of death Old Winter has held all vegetable life in his grasp, but as Spring approaches the tender life-giving power of heat and light compels him to relinquish his grip, and what seems to have been dead comes forth in newness of life, refreshed, invigorated, strengthened after a peaceful sleep.Death is temporary. It is a pause in life's journey. Our spirit and body will be reunited someday. We will also live again. 1 Corinthians 15:22 teaches, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." ALL, everyone of us, everyone who had a mortal body will be resurrected. Jesus broke the bonds of death so that we all might live again. President Joseph F. Smith explained,
So it is with man. What we call death Jesus referred to as sleep. “Lazarus sleeps,” he said to his disciples [see John 11:11]. “The damsel sleepeth,” were his comforting words to the bereaved and sorrowing parents of a little girl [see Mark 5:39]. Indeed, to the Savior of the world there is no such thing as death—only life—eternal life. Truly he could say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live.” [John 11:25.]
Death came upon us without the exercise of our agency; we had no hand in bringing it originally upon ourselves; it came because of the transgression of our first parents. Therefore, man, who had no hand in bringing death upon himself, shall have no hand in bringing again life unto himself; for as he dies in consequence of the sin of Adam, so shall he live again, whether he will or not, by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and the power of his resurrection. Every man that dies shall live again.
As I have said, I have been exposed to death many times. While I don't look forward to that separation from those I love, In accept that it is inevitable. Whether they die first or I do, we will be separated by death for a time. But it is only temporary. We will not only see and know one another as spirits we will be restored to our bodies, a perfected, immortal form of this mortal body. Death will be but a memory. It can not touch us again.
What peace and assurance this brings! My mom has sometimes accused me of being abnormal. She has felt that I did not react appropriately when someone died. I have always disagreed. I thought it was just my practical reasoning. "They are no longer suffering" or "They are in God's hands now." "They have moved on to the next stage of the Plan and we will see them again one day."
It wasn't until yesterday that I realized these are not just pretty, soothing words. Not to me. I know these things are true with an assurance I can not describe. I know it like I know there is a sun. There is no doubt in my mind. NONE!
I am humbled to have this assurance. I realize that not everyone has this, even among the Latter-Day Saints. That"s why I am sharing this with you. I know that Jesus Christ died and was Resurrected. I know that each of us will be resurrected because of him. I am so grateful for this precious gift. When I think of it I want to shout it from the rooftops!
I bear solemn testimony of this, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.