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Cover image: “Interrupting Angels” by Annie Henrie Nader.
Has an angel ever helped you? The answer is a resounding yes, although you may not have known it at the moment. It’s our privilege to receive help from these devoted beings. It’s all part of a grand scheme to build upon relationships by assisting and sustaining each other through various estates of life. We’re currently in our “Second Estate” but have a lot of family that previously lived on this earth and now are in their “Third Estate.” They are often given power to help us.
We Live In their Presence
One of my daughters was always close with my mother and has cherished that relationship. After my parents died several years ago, this daughter has had special experiences where she has felt them near. Last week this daughter was in Morocco. As she came across one especially stunning sight, she exclaimed, “Oh, mom and dad would love to see this. I wish they were here!” Suddenly, she heard her grandma’s voice say, “Well, I’M here!” and she heard her grandpa say, “And I’M here!” It made her chuckle with delight to feel them near. It made me laugh to hear about it, because it was just like my mother to say that.
Joseph F. Smith had a lot to say about those we have known in this life who have died. He said:
“I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them… we are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors, to our friends and associates and co-laborers who have preceded us into the spirit world… They have advanced; we are advancing; we are growing as they have grown; we are reaching the goal that they have attained unto; and therefore, I claim that we live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever.
Family Angels Can Help Us
Because these angels know us and love us, they WANT to help us. They are aware of our needs and are sometimes allowed to bless us in a variety of ways.
They Can HEAL and SUSTAIN
I have a good friend, (Jill), that shared this poignant experience where she received strength from departed parents. She said:
“I’ve been partially debilitated by a strange and little understood illness for several years. As is common with chronic illness, I’ve been isolated and even ridiculed by a few people.”
“My mother and father were recently deceased. No parents were more interested in what I did, in my stories, and everyday experiences, and I was blessed to have them as part of my life until their mid-nineties.”
“One evening when I had become discouraged and had felt particularly weak, I found myself in our living room in the presence of a number of people but not engaged with them. That night I barely knew what was going on around me and suddenly felt that maybe I was dying at that moment. I felt completely alone, but almost grateful to have my illness at an end. Just as I felt I was slipping off the couch and into oblivion, I looked across the room. There stood my deceased mother and father! They were plain as day! Their posture, clothing, and facial expressions were just as I remembered them. My mom wore her usual navy-blue polyester pants and red sweater. She had one hand on her hip like she commonly did. Mom was conversing with dad and had a very concerned expression on her face. I knew they were there because of me.”
“Perhaps they have been here all along during my illness, and I have not been in tune enough to understand the ways Heavenly Father has watched over me through them, but I now know with certainty that they’re not gone. They’re still my loving mom and dad. I was recently sealed to them, so we will always have each other.”
Although Jill wasn’t healed from her affliction at that time, she was able to receive the courage and strength to go on in this realm, carrying out her earthly mission. It was a gift of love and sustaining, and a tender mercy that she was able to see them.
Talking about dear departed family members, Joseph Smith taught:
“Enveloped in flaming fire, they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith.” (TPJS, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith p. 326)
Annie’s Healing Angels
Another dear friend (Mary) related this amazing angel story with me just the other day:
“When our daughter Annie was 8 months old, she had to have open heart surgery to correct a congenital heart defect. The surgery was absolutely necessary for her life. Thankfully, the surgery was successful and after 12 days in the hospital, we were able to take our sweet baby home. We were truly sustained by the Lord during this time.
“Fast forward about 3 years. Annie would often go around the house saying, ‘My mother is dead.’ We couldn’t figure out what she was trying to say because I was well and alive and right by her side. One day while I was away running errands, Annie repeated to her daddy,
“My mother is dead.”
He reminded her that I was just away, not dead. She then said:
“Not THAT mother. My OTHER mother!”
My husband then asked her about her ‘other’ mother.
“Does she have a name?”
“Do we have a picture of her in the house?”
Our daughter then took her dad and showed him a picture of my paternal grandmother Sarah, who was known as Sally to some. She had been dead for about 16 years.
“How do you know Sally?”
“She was with me when it was heavy on my belly.”
(As we thought about her words, we realized that it was ‘heavy on [Annie’s] belly’ when she had her surgery. There were many tubes and drains laying on her belly during, and as she recovered, from surgery. Her dad probed a little bit further).
“Was there anyone else there with Sally?”
“Did they have a name?”
“E-mer… O-mer.” (She had a harder time saying this name.) My paternal
Grandfather’s name was Elmer.
“When I returned from running errands, my husband told me of this incredible exchange. Annie would have had no memories of a living Grandma Sarah. And certainly, she would not have known about the nickname Sally.”
“I am convinced that my paternal grandparents were with our sweet baby when she underwent this serious surgery. I am so grateful that even though I could not go through the hospital doors and into the operating room to be with and comfort my baby, my sweet grandparents could be there for her.”
“As a side note, this same experience also convinces me of the strength and validity of temple covenants. My grandparents had divorced a couple of years before I was born. After their deaths, my father and his siblings had their parents sealed together and then they were sealed to them. That my grandparents were together helping our Annie, has been a sweet testimony to all of us of the power of temple covenants and the scope of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
President Harold B. Lee taught a very Interesting and Reassuring Doctrine:
“And if our eyes could be opened, we could see those who have departed from us – a father, mother, brother, a sister, a child. We could see them, and sometimes when our physical senses are asleep, sometimes our spiritual self – and we have ears, spiritual ears, and spiritual eyes – sometimes they will be very keen and awake, and a departed one may come while we are lying asleep and come into our consciousness. We’ll feel an impression. We’ll wake up. Where does it come from? It comes from the spirits of those whom we are sealed to.” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 58)
Family Angels can Expand our Minds
Many years ago, there was a missionary who was struggling with German while on his mission. He just couldn’t get the hang of it. It was a source of great frustration and seriously interfered with his ability to serve the people in Germany. He went to a little grove of trees that was near where he was and prayed with all his heart, pleading with the Lord to help him. While there, an unusual thing happened. His mother, who was dead, was allowed to appear to him and have a long conversation with him. He related that beautiful experience:
“Thus, two or more hours were spent together, by far the most memorable of my whole life. Mother said she knew I was having a hard time with the German language and asked me to meet her at the grove again the next day at the same hour as she also wanted to be helpful to me in this. She explained that I would not see her again just as I saw her that day, as this personal appearance and visitation was by a special and divine appointment. Then my mother disappeared exactly as she had come – almost unperceived.”
“The next appointment was sacredly kept, and after my humble prayer of gratitude, my mother began to communicate with me again. This time I could not behold her person nor hear her voice just as I had done on the preceding day, but there seemed to be just as divine a presence and an unquestionably clear conversation under a much higher law than we could possibly enjoy in our communications with each other here. We understood and exchanged thoughts more rapidly, clearly and satisfactorily than is possible with human voices, for there was no worry about what to say and just how to say it to be properly and clearly understood.”
“Exactly all that took place on this occasion, I do not remember, but I do know that something did transpire whereby I was able from that time to easily understand, to read and even write this new language (German) and in a most surprising manner to myself and those with whom I came in contact.” (Joseph Heinerman, Spirit World Manifestations: Accounts of Divine Aid in Genealogical and Temple Work, 1986. pages 185-189)
We Have the Right and Privilege to ASK for Angels to Help Us
Angels, and especially Family angels, have a vested interest in us. They know us through and through discerning our faults and imperfections, but love us anyway! They have an arsenal of additional help that we can ask for. I love Sister Wendy Watson Nelson’s feelings about asking for angelic help. She said:
“Now, I’m not talking about praying to fantasy angels with wings to magically fairy-dust our problems away. I’m not talking about praying to angels. I’m talking about praying to our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, for those on the other side to be “dispatched” (Elder Holland’s word) to assist us. Perhaps a departed loved one could be sent to help you with whatever you need.”
“So, could you use a little more help in your life? If so, keep your covenants with more exactness than you ever have before! And then ask for angels (a.k.a. your ancestors and other loved ones) to help you… Or ask for them to be dispatched to help those you love! (Wendy Nelson, “How Angels Can Help Us More in Our Lives”)
Has an Angel Helped You in some way in Your Life? You Can Be Sure Of It!
And chances are that you will help those after you depart this sphere. It’s all part of a grand scheme to build upon relationships by assisting and sustaining loved ones through various estates of life. It’s our privilege to ASK and receive help from these devoted beings, because they never stop loving us and many are given power to help us.
After this life we’ll be reunited with all these family members who have watched over us, and they’ll be delighted to recount all the times they saved, healed or loved us while we were struggling on this earth. What a reunion that will be!
You Can CONTACT Anne Pratt at firstname.lastname@example.org.