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Elder Weatherford T. Clayton, a General Authority Seventy

Having observed birth and death during his years of practicing medicine, Elder Weatherford T. Clayton, a General Authority Seventy, reflected on the principles of the plan of salvation and how everyone on earth is part of the same heavenly family.

“The world sees birth and death as the beginning and the end,” Elder Clayton said. “But because of God’s holy plan, we know that birth and death are actually just milestones on our journey to eternal life with our Heavenly Father. They are … sacred moments where mortality and heaven intersect.”

Heavenly Father gave His children moral agency, “the ability and privilege” to choose between right and wrong and to act for one’s self, Elder Clayton explained. Knowing His children would not always choose well, or sin, the Father provided a Savior that through His suffering, paid the price for both physical death and sin.

At times as a physician, Elder Clayton would need to stand at the bedside of people as they passed away — moments he described as “another of the great blessings of my life.”

There’s a certain “closeness of heaven during those moments,” Elder Clayton said.

During one such instance, Elder Clayton visited the bedside of a faithful Latter-day Saint widow suffering from cancer. Shortly after he arrived, and as her two daughters sat beside her, Elder Clayton came to find that the widow’s suffering had ended because she had just passed away.

“In that moment of death, the room was filled with peace,” Elder Clayton said.

“Even in our moments of deepest grief, in the moments when time stands still and life seems unfair, we can find comfort in our Savior because He suffered as well,” Elder Clayton added. “It was a privilege for me to be in that room.”

He invited those who have experienced these truths and have wandered away from the Church to come back.

“I testify that Christ has the power to answer your questions, heal your pains and sorrows and forgive your sins,” Elder Clayton said. “I know this is true.”

cadams@deseretnews.com

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