The Light Dimmed

Having had many afflictions of the flesh and spirit, I learned to lean heavily upon the guidance of the Spirit. After the birth of Tim, I faced cancer. Because of warning signs of spotting, constant pain in my abdomen and down my left arm, mental and physical exhaustion, premature births and subsequent deaths of my babies, I could no longer ignore the fact that something was seriously wrong. I was getting so weak I could no longer write with a pencil without great exhaustion.

One afternoon as I was lying on the couch, the light in the room dimmed as if a cloud suddenly covered the sun.
“Gene, it’s getting dark in here. Did the sun just go behind a cloud?”
he answered.
Suddenly I felt an organ in my chest collapsing as if air were escaping from a balloon.
“Gene, you’d better send for the elders. I think something is wrong with my heart or lungs.” I didn’t know which. Immediately he phoned Oscar Case, an old time missionary in our church.
“Can you come for administration? ” The reply was positive and Gene hung up the phone. The instant he did so, I saw the light come back into the room.
“Gene, the light is returning. Did you see any change?”
Again, “No, it didn’t change,” he said.
Just as the deflating feeling had come, I felt the opposite like inflating something. “Someone is praying for me,” I said.

Oscar brought his brother, Hubert. They anointed with consecrated oil and laid hands on my head petitioning God for a blessing. After the prayer, Gene and Oscar went to the other end of the room to talk. Hubert knelt beside me and, holding my hand, said, “Sister, you have received a great blessing.” I knew I had, for I believe I was slipping from this world to the next. Wanting to understand about the light changing, I asked, “Brother Oscar, did you pray for me the second you hung up the phone?” Oscar’s reply came with the same kind of enthusiasm and pep that was characteristic of his nature, “I sure did!”  I was close to death’s door, but it wasn’t my time yet, as the next testimony reveals.

The Door

Death is sweet to those who love the Lord. I know. I tasted it. I crossed the portals from this earthly life into death, only to be told that I couldn’t remain. The sweet joy which came over my spirit was so desirable that I didn’t want to come back.

A few weeks after this experience with the Case Brothers, I lay down to rest from being just plain stressed out physically, mentally, and spiritually. As I began to fall into sleep I kept falling...there didn’t seem to be any stopping point, deeper and deeper. Then a wonderful rest began filling my being. This was great whatever it was. I’d never died before, and this was something super. Suddenly I stood before a door which I knew opened into the heavens. Oh, wow! I’m going home! Not so! For the door was ajar until I got there, and suddenly it closed with such finality that I knew I wasn’t to try and enter. I think I must be a coward by nature because I wanted so much to pass on through and be rid of all the mess down here on earth; but alas, I heard my Father say, “She can’t come yet. She must go back.”

Oh, the pain I felt in my heart at hearing those words. I wanted to go back to that heavenly place which I knew was just beyond that door, to a place I knew I’d been before, where I joyed in the company of angels as we served before the throne of the Father in a preexistent time.1 I stood before the door a second, wishing I could stay. Surely my Father wanted me to come home too, but there was greater wisdom in sending me away. Knowing I must obey my Heavenly Father’s will, I turned and oh, how it hurt!

I can imagine how God feels on the other side having to send us back, as I think of my own children standing at my door, and it having to stay closed when I so much wanted to put my arms around them in love to comfort them. But God is wisdom and knows a greater blessing awaits those who have walked their path to the end.2

My conscious mind was quickened to understand that my spirit would reunite with my body as soon as I stood up on my feet. Slowly I came into an awareness of my surroundings, and dragging to my feet, I was suddenly zapped totally into a reuniting of both body and spirit; I was a living mortal again. Oh whoopee!

I couldn’t go home because my work wasn’t finished. In fact, it hadn’t even begun—I was still in training. During an administration in 1967, the Spirit said: “ Janice, although you have not been ordained to the priesthood, you are a member of the family of Jesus Christ, and you have been set apart for a work.” I’d been told through Spirit that Jesus laid His hands on my head for this special work, but I didn’t have any idea of what it was. Therefore, I’m called to be a special witness of some kind for Him, and Jesus is my boss. My Patriarchal Blessing said trials and afflictions would come, but it was nothing compared to what Jesus suffered, so I felt I was being told very kindly to stop complaining and learn. After this experience, I never left my body again although I wanted to. The following is the story of a Baptist lady, Heronie Randall, who died and went to heaven, only to be told she couldn’t stay there yet either.

The City of God
Temporary Disembodiment by Alvin Knisley

I have myself known several most worthy and reliable men and women who solemnly testified that in times of prostration, when they were nigh unto death, yes, when there was no apparent life in the body, the Spirit was taken to view the City of the Great King,3 and that great and eternal truths were unfolded to them, and promises made that were afterwards fulfilled.

As one instance, I well remember one dear old sister (Sister Heroine Randall) in Plano, Illinois, whose funeral sermon I preached some fifteen years ago. Her testimony I wrote down from her own lips, which was, that while young, soon after her marriage while a member of the Baptist church, she was stricken with a consuming fever and to all appearances died, so that her friends began preparations for her funeral. She related to others as well as to me, that at that time her spirit departed from her body, and rose above it and that she looked down and saw her husband and friends weeping over it. Then a personage of beauty received her into his charge and conducted her beyond the confines of earth, even she realized to a great distance, until they came without the walls of a beautiful city, one that shone in splendor. The gates were open, and she looked within and saw its glory, and the throng of bright ones, a company of life, activity and intelligence.

As she gazed upon the glorious scene, she desired to enter, but her guide said she couldn’t go in, that she was not yet prepared to enter there. When she asked him why she was not, he answered: “You have not yet received and obeyed the gospel in its fullness, but if you return to the earth, to your mortal body, the time will come when you shall have opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ preached in its completeness, and if you accept it and live faithful to the commandments, you will have the right to enter into the city that you have seen.”

He then conducted her to earth again. She entered the room where her body was lying, and her spirit entered into it. Then her astonished friends saw her move, and her eyes open, and she spoke and said that they should not weep, for she would get well and remain with them. And very soon she received strength and speedily recovered from her sickness.

This occurred in the state of New York, about the year 1830, and a few years later the elders of the latter-day work came into that neighborhood, preaching Christ’s gospel restored with its full doctrines and blessings. For a time she would not attend the meetings but finally went; and when she heard the plan of salvation unfolded as preached in New Testament times, when she considered its evidences, the words of her heavenly guide came to her memory, and as she listened her heart was filled with the divine Spirit, and she realized that the truth was being preached. She obeyed it; and all who knew her can truthfully say that she lived faithfully and reverently and bore as clear a testimony, sustained by as able arguments as very many of the elders can state in giving reasons for the hope that is within them when called to answer. She continued ever in the hope of the promise made her by the bright attendant when her spirit was caught away to see the city of God and to be instructed.4

 She heard the plan of salvation unfolded
as preached in New Testament times.

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1. That knowledge was revealed to me years later, as I knelt in prayer, pleading for relief from persecution .
2. 2Cor. 4:15-18
3. Rev. 21.10
4. Infallible Proofs, p. 37 by Alvin Knisley, titled, Temporary Disembodiment. (It is a portion of a contribution by Henry A. Stebbins to Autumn Leaves for November, 1908)