The following story comes to us from Ezra Taft Benson, in his book entitled, “Come Unto Christ”. My wife shared this story with me today and I thought it was inspiring on so many levels! Whether you are talking about faith, listening to the Spirit, death, or angels, this story has great meaning. In President Benson’s own words:
My wife’s mother, Barbara Smith Amussen, was an officiator in the Logan Temple for twenty years, a widow for forty years, and a woman without guile. I loved her so much that I spent a lot of time with her, because she was a widow and there was no priesthood in the home. In fact, I spent so much time with her that some of my own friends accused me of courting the mother rather than her daughter. She would often make notes of questions as she read the scriptures, and then we would discuss those questions together.
This choice woman knew the exact time she was to depart mortal life. Her husband, a Danish convert and Utah’s first pioneer jeweler and watchmaker, Carl Christian Amussen, appeared to her in either a dream or a vision. She admitted, “I’m not sure which, but it was so real it seemed that he was right in the room. He said he had come to tell me that my time in mortal life was ending and that on the following Thursday [it was then Friday], I would be expected to leave mortal life.”
Her mother replied, “Everything’s fine. I feel wonderful. There’s nothing to worry about. I just know I’ll be leaving next Thursday.” Then she added, “Mabel, when the time comes, I’d like to pass away in your home in the upper room where I used to sit and tell the boys Book of Mormon and Church history stories when they were little fellows.”
As the time drew near, she attended fast meeting in her ward. The bishop told us she stood and talked as though she were going on a long journey. “She was bidding us all goodbye,” said the bishop, “expressing her love for us and the joy that had been hers working in the temple, which was just a few yards away from the chapel.” And then she bore a fervent testimony.
As the days passed, she went to the bank, drew out her small savings, paid all her bills, and went to Bishop Hall’s mortuary and picked out her casket. Then she had the water and the power turned off in her home and went down to Mabel’s. The day before she passed away, her son came to visit her. They sat by the bed and held hands as they talked.
On the day of her passing, Mabel came into the room where her mother was reclining on the bed. Her mother said, “Mabel, I feel a little bit drowsy. I feel I will go to sleep. Do not disturb me if I sleep until the eventide.”
Spirituality—being in tune with the Spirit of the Lord—is the greatest need of Latter-day Saints. We should strive for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost all the days of our lives. When we have the Spirit, we will love to serve, we will love the Lord, and we will love those whom we serve.
Spiritual-mindedness does not come without effort. We live in a very wicked world. We are surrounded with propaganda that evil is good and good is evil. False teachings abound that affect us. Almost everything that is wholesome, good, pure, uplifting, and strengthening is being challenged as never before.
- Ezra Taft Benson, Come unto Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 20–22.