I may choose to ignore people who comment anonymously. I choose never to be anonymous online myself. I have little tolerance for this behavior.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Death, Pets and the Restoration of All Things

On July 19, 2010 we had to put down one of our pet weimaraner's. Baron was born on July 18, 2000. He and his sister Greta, his litter mate, joined our family seven weeks later. He turned 10 the day before he died. We didn't think he would make it to his birthday. He had been refusing nearly all food for about two weeks and had not eaten anything for several days. He only drank enough water to stay alive. He could not stand up so we finally ended his days on this earth. It was a difficult decision. It is only by believing that I will see him in the next life that I could part with him in this life.

As Mormons, we obviously believe in life after death. See the following:

When the physical body dies, the spirit continues to live. In the spirit world, the spirits of the righteous "are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow" (Alma 40:12). A place called spirit prison is reserved for "those who [have] died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets" (D&C 138:32). The spirits in prison are "taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and all other principles of the gospel that [are] necessary for them to know" (D&C 138:33–34). If they accept the principles of the gospel, repent of their sins, and accept ordinances performed in their behalf in temples, they will be welcomed into paradise.

Because of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, physical death is only temporary: "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). Everyone will be resurrected, meaning that every person's spirit will be reunited with his or her body—"restored to their proper and perfect frame" and no longer subject to death (Alma 40:23; see also Alma 11:44–45).
I know all this of course, but I'd never heard anything relating to pets and several months ago I was seeking comfort because I knew our doggies death was near.

In the book, Life Everlasting by Duane Crowther, he has researched what evidence we have for details of the next life. The book is not official or authoritative but it is well-researched and respected. Other accounts of the next life have also been compiled both amongst Mormons (Beyond the Veil books by Lee Nelson) and the public at large (Raymond Moody books and the ones by George Richie) . Crowther writes  [pages 357-358]:

"It is of interest to note that the inhabitants of celestial glory will be privileged to enjoy not only the companionship of man but also that of the resurrected animal kingdom. Benjamin F. Johnson, an early companion of Joseph Smith, wrote that the latter "taught that all the animal kingdoms would be resurrected, and made us understand that they would remain in the dominion of those who, with creative power, reach out for dominion, through the power of eternal lives." [Originally from,  "An Interesting Letter," unpublished letter of Benjamin F. Johnson to George S. Gibbs, 1903. Brigham Young University Library, p. 8.] Commenting on animal beings seen in heaven by John the Revelator, the prophet Joseph Smith said,
I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this, strange beasts of which we have no conception; all might be seen in heaven. The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven. John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men, and He will gratify Himself with them." [Originally from B. H. Roberts, "The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, op. cit. p. 213. His commented pertained to Rev. 5:13. See also Rev. 4:6-9 and D&C 77:2-4.]
We know that all living things will be restored but neither my husband nor I had heard any accounts of dead pets returning to comfort their owners. But Baron did just that. Greg was asleep in our bedroom, lying on his back. Baron came in the door and rested his  head on Greg's shoulder. He looked much as he did when he died except he had no infirmities. Greg reached up with his arm to envelop Baron's body. He said Baron's eyes radiated love and contentment as he looked at him. No words were spoken but his meaning was clear, "It's good here Dad." Then, Greg woke up. This visitation is of immense comfort to both of us.


Update: Angels in Fur: Baron & Greta

2 comments:

  1. There are so many pet owners in the world. The topic of pets in the next life needs to be addressed more openly. We have scriptures to comfort us about the passing of loved ones, but what of our loved ones that are pets? Please continue your blog. All pet owners need comfort sooner or later.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with the above statement. Having just lost my baby/dog this week. My heart is broken and my spirit contrite. I know there are people in the world who would never understand the kind of grief that my family has felt this past week because they have never had the kind of experience I have had of making these little ones called pets part of their family. Accepting them as one of their own and taking on the stewardship to nurture, love, and care for them. When such an occasion as this arises, you seek for answers of an eternal nature and then have to exhibit a tremendous faith in the Savior that this non-human loved ones will again be part of your eternal family.

    ReplyDelete