Gone to a Better Place

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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MockingJay
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Gone to a Better Place

Post by MockingJay » 03 Dec 2014, 07:17

I've be getting on here a few times a week for awhile, but I haven't been posting because my life has been turned upside down recently. I'm still trying to navigate it and coming here has helped me immensly. I feel ready now to post my exerience.

My father passed away about a month ago. He had a terminal illness, but he was doing well and his doctor had just told him he thought Dad would have a year or two more. Then he got sick and was gone in a matter of days. It's never a good time to lose a loved one, but this came at the worst possible time for our family. I won't go into to the details why, but his death has also thrust me into a situation I wasn't prepared for.

This is the first major crisis situation I've faced since my FC and I feel like I've been pulled from my moorings. In the old days, I would have turned to my belief in God and an afterlife to buoy me up. Now, still not knowing exactly what I believe, it's made a horrible situation worse. Peeple keep saying he's gone to a better place and he's with his parents, or that God called him home, but I'm not sure I believe that. People also say that Jesus will comfort me and bring me peace and strengthen my faith. I've actually started praying again like I hadn't in a long time, but I feel nothing except confusion, pain and loss. My sister is feeling the same way. She doesn't want to go to church again. I went with DH when he dressed Dad in his temple clothes. People told me it can be a spiritual experience. It was only traumatic for me. I wish I hadn't gone.

I know that someday, the pain of all this will lessen. Life forces us to move forward and heal. I'm looking into getting grief counseling. But my question is, what have some of your experiences been with death since your FC? I know a few of you have spoken of losing children and others. Did any of you feel like you got comfort from God? I thought I believed in some kind of life after death, but now I'm not sure.

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SunbeltRed
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Re: Gone to a Better Place

Post by SunbeltRed » 03 Dec 2014, 08:28

MockingJay,

I don't have any words of comfort, only that I thank you for sharing, and that I hope you can find some peace. I have not had to work through what you are currently dealing with, but if there is a way that I (or others here) can help in any way please reach out.

I will keep you in my thoughts -

-SBRed

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Gone to a Better Place

Post by Curt Sunshine » 03 Dec 2014, 08:41

My wife and I both lost our fathers last year. In fact, last week was the anniversary of her dad's death. She and some of her family hang onto their faith in the afterlife for great comfort. I am more analytical by nature and have learned simply to see death as a case of "sufficient unto tomorrow are the (questions) thereof" - meaning I simply honor the people who have died and try to live my life the best way I know how, both to honor them and to follow my conscience.

I have faith in an afterlife when I will interact with them again, meaning I hope for it, lacking any personal evidence for that hope - and focusing on that hope is enough for me. I don't need to "know", and I can't say that I know, but I do have hope. I want it to be that way, so, again, lacking solid evidence either way, I choose to accept that hope. It's enough to comfort me.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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LookingHard
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Re: Gone to a Better Place

Post by LookingHard » 03 Dec 2014, 09:06

The death of my father (probably my best life-long friend) was certainly one of the top 3 hardest things I have ever gone through. My heart goes out to you. It was 3 years before my faith crisis (#2 on the list of hardest things) and I can't quite tell how it played into it.

I hope you find some peace and time will help, but I know that does not mean as much when your heart is as broken as you can imagine TODAY.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Gone to a Better Place

Post by SilentDawning » 03 Dec 2014, 09:10

I agree with Ray on this one -- but I believe statements like "he's in a better place" are there to comfort the people left behind. I'm agnostic about what happens after this life is over. But one thing is for sure, I don't want to take away the comfort that the LDS theology brings to the people who believe in eternal family, etcetera.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Gone to a Better Place

Post by Curt Sunshine » 03 Dec 2014, 09:20

But one thing is for sure, I don't want to take away the comfort that the LDS theology brings to the people who believe in eternal family, etcetera.


Perfectly said, SD. Amen, and amen.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

nibbler
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Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Gone to a Better Place

Post by nibbler » 03 Dec 2014, 09:28

First and foremost I'm truly sorry for what you are going through. I've been there, I'll inevitably be there again. Thanks for having the courage to post, you're helping a lot of us by putting your questions out there, this touches or will touch all of us.

The hardest thing for me was being thrust into the position of having to comfort other family members. When they worry about seeing their loved one again (non LDS) what words of comfort do I give them? I took the approach of reminding them of the faith that their belief system espoused. In one case I came completely clean with what I believed because I got the sense that the person was in the exact same boat I was in. It's strange now that I reflect back. Were my differing responses really all that different from each other? Wasn't I just telling people what I felt they wanted/needed to hear in both cases?

I'm still dealing with the ripple effects and it's no small thing. Truth be told, despite my age I'm just a child trying to figure things out as best I can given the circumstances I'm in.

I do not believe in an afterlife. That's a terrible thing to say to someone in your situation but that's my current feeling on the matter. That's currently my cross to bear. That doesn't have to be your answer and I'm certainly not going to convince anyone to my way of thinking.

I might echo Ray in that I have hope for an afterlife, and in my book if you hope for something you work hard to make that dream come true. What can I do in the face of death? Nothing.

I did learn what I feel to be at least one positive message. The gospel isn't about differing happiness to the next life. The gospel is about finding peace and spreading love now, and if there is a next life the peace and love obtained during this life will simply carry over to the next. It's of little comfort when struggling to find happiness in the moment but it is a goal nonetheless.

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mom3
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Re: Gone to a Better Place

Post by mom3 » 03 Dec 2014, 10:39

MockingJay - thank you for sharing your grief with us. May you find solace as you move forward.

I have not lost my parents, my husband lost both of his just as he was beginning his crisis. I believe the two intense impacts are still wrestling with his soul, and we are 6 years past the events.

My grandparents have passed and my mothers parents were deeply important to me, I could barely get through their funerals, and I grieve them all the time. And when the grief hurts its deepest I am reminded of the words of Morrie Schwartz,
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
Namaste.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Minyan Man
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Re: Gone to a Better Place

Post by Minyan Man » 03 Dec 2014, 10:40

The afterlife is something we hope for on the basis of our own personal beliefs. The LDS church has the most complete teachings
regarding the afterlife of any organized religion. On the basis of those teachings, I have hope.

One of my favorite movies is titled: The Shawshank Redemption. It is the story of two men sentenced for crimes one didn't commit.
The movie is filled with quotes about Hope. My favorite quote is:
Andy Dufresne: [in letter to Red] Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.


For me, this topic revolves around "what do you hope for?"
I believe that life continues on a different level or plain. There is no pain or suffering. Where all is revealed. Where I can interact with everyone I knew in this life & others I didn't know in this life.

I was with my Father when he died. He is the only person I've seen die. My Mother was with me when the moment came. There was no sorrow or pain. He just slipped away. I personally hope that we will meet again. MockingJay, I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you find peace in your experience too.

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Heber13
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Re: Gone to a Better Place

Post by Heber13 » 03 Dec 2014, 12:07

I lost my dad to cancer about 7 years ago. He was so sick and in so much pain, I remember thinking that if there was no afterlife, he is still better off now than the state of pain he was in.

Then I went through really, really difficult trials in my life, and I really missed my dad. I was close to him and I miss having him talk to me and give me advice.

One Sunday I skipped church and spent the day in the mountains. I found myself talking to my dad and feeling his presence. It was very good for me. I do it often now.

I think I came to a point where I am not sure I can logically think through the afterlife, and where my dad is, and what he is doing, or if he is in a better place. There is no way to prove it.

But all I know is that I feel more comforted when I believe in it, and have faith enough I even do things, like talk to him...that's faith. And the experience I get isn't a visitation or a voice back, but simply an experience of feeling better when I do it. So I believe in that.

Despite my doubts, I believe my dad is in a better place. Sometimes good things happen to my life and I say with a smile, "Thanks dad, you're still looking out for me!" I have no idea if he does or not, but I like believing it. And one day, I'll learn what the next life is when I pass on. Until then, I follow my heart and my experience of what feels good to me. And it is more than just a thought or belief...it is a real comfort to me, it is enough for me to say I know what I believe, and I talk to my dad about it still.

I learned through my FC that I don't need to disbelieve everything, and only start believing in what I can prove. But I hold on to what feels right in my heart and what I choose to believe, until I see proof of things that make me disbelieve something with new information. So I shed some things when I see I should, and believe new things when I see I should, and when I don't know...I choose to believe what I always have or what feels right to me. And that has helped me through my trials.

Follow your heart, MJ. Find quiet, peaceful moments to close your eyes, think and feel, and listen to what your spirit is telling you, and go with what feels right to you.

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry it was at a bad time. I wish I could give you a hug and tell you it will be all right. Hang in there.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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