Defending the Faith: If heavenly reunions are true, then what else matters?


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  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    March 31, 2012 12:50 a.m.

    Dear Bro. Peterson,

    Your column of March 1, “Life After Death is a Joyful Fact” was wonderful. I shared it via email with many friends and posted it on my Facebook page. And your column of Feb. 2, “Joy found in stabs of divine homesickness” was equally marvelous, and I shared it liberally, also.

    In your ponderings and writings about these topics, I do think that you have been being uniquely prepared for the untimely passing of your dear brother. And I believe that experiences with Kenneth in this life still lay ahead for you, though you may choose to not publicly write about them.

    Thank you for your words describing so well the grief of parting from our dear ones. Please continue to inspire us with your further thoughts and understanding. Condolences, love and prayers to you as you adjust to your dear brother waiting for you elsewhere.

  • Tlingit Orem, UT
    March 30, 2012 3:32 p.m.

    This was a touching article, Dr. Peterson. Thank you.

    I'm truly sorry for your loss. I lost my kid brother unexpectedly when he was 30 years old, and like you, I really look forward to our reunion in the life that follows.

    Of course looking forward to that reunion doesn't mean we didn't have a rich relationship here in this life -- to the contrary it is because we enjoyed each other so much here that I want it to continue.

    So I think I know where you are coming from.

    I have no IDEA, however, where some of these people making comments are coming from. How can people be so self-unaware?

    At any rate, I find myself looking out for your articles now. I hope you keep writing here, even if the comments might at times feel like a deterrent for doing so.

    @Levin (12:06 p.m. March 29, 2012): Thank you for your insightful comment. I regret that I have but one "Like" to give to it.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    March 30, 2012 3:16 p.m.

    @JRJ ... Exactly. If that is being 'suppressed, disadvantaged and controlled', then I believe more people should give it a go.

    Frankly, I've never understood the 'live for today' philosophy. What other day could I possibly live for, other than today?

    If the alleged 'shackles' and 'suppression' of religion were removed tomorrow, what would my new 'freedom' offer that I cannot do now? "There is no God, therefore you are free to get drunk, do some nice drugs, cheat on your wife, stop donating your money to the needy, etc..."? No, thank you. I'll pass.

    There is a philosophy based upon the idea that there is no God or hereafter. It is called Existentialism, the predominate philosophy of the 20th century ... the bloodiest century known to Man. If Art is the outward expression of the state of the Soul, compare 20th century art (including architecture) with, say, Michelangelo or Notre Dame. "The Pieta" compared to Serrano's "The P___ Christ".

    If the 20th century is what 'freedom from religion, from God, from concern with the hereafter" has to offer, count me out.

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    March 30, 2012 2:10 p.m.

    Not only do I truly believe that I will have the reunion in the hereafter, I also enjoy living my life in the here and now. There is nothing in my beliefs that prohibits me from enjoying a full life. Oh wait, there is that belief in abstinance that prevents HIV, infidelity, lying and disease. And there is that part of staying away from health destroying substances that destroy my body and mind. And oh yes, there is that part about sharing with others what the Lord has blessed me with through tithing, fast offerings, and humanitarian aid....perpetual education fund, you know, being unselfish with material blessings. WOW!! I just didn't realize how serious this type of life style is. Hehehehehehe (which is way better than lol for expressing oneself), I definately think I'm going to be okay. Please don't give another thought to me or those who like me, wish to forge onward living the Gospel we have accepted and look forward to that meeting with our loved ones beyond the veil.

  • falasha Mount Laurel, NJ
    March 30, 2012 11:07 a.m.

    BY in 1871 said, The brightness and glory of the next apartment is inexpressible. It is not encumbered with this clog of dirt we are carrying around here . . . But yonder, how different! They move with ease and like lightning. If we want to visit Jerusalem, or the other place—and I presume we will be permitted if we desire—there we are, looking at its streets. If we want to behold Jerusalem as it was in the days of the Savior; or if we want to see the Garden of Eden as it was when created, there we are, and we see it as it existed spiritually, for it was created first spiritually and then temporally, and spiritually it still remains. And when there we may behold the earth as at the dawn of creation, or we may visit any city we please that exists upon its surface. If we wish to understand how they are living here on these western islands, or in China, we are there; in fact, we are like the light of the morning, or, I will not say the electric fluid, but its operations on the wires.

  • falasha Mount Laurel, NJ
    March 30, 2012 11:06 a.m.

    The same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there coupled with eternal glory. Space-time fabric and its ensemble of probabilities when impressed, embossed, disturbed by intelligent agents, can be read, addressed, archived and reassembled into new inorganic sentient beings. Quantum computing was just the beginning, super-string computation the next. These memories, actions, hopes and dreams of those we cherish are not lost unto the Lord. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 30, 2012 6:18 a.m.

    Those who have chosen to reject God are always trying to drag others down. How sad.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 29, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    If heavenly reunions are true, then what else matters?
    Biblical authorities on heaven:
    (David) But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall Go To Him[in heaven], but he shall not return to me.(2 Sam 12:23)

    (Jesus) to the thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
    (Paul) alludes to his vision of the third heaven and also to paradise; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. In Revelation 2:7,which describes the righteous who partake of the tree of life in the midst of God's paradise.

    (Paul)And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.(Romans 8:28-29).
    I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;(Phil 1:23)

  • Igualmente Mesa, AZ
    March 29, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    It could all end tomorrow where would I be
    Does life go on or will it be the end of me
    Seems a bit unfair to think that all I've learned and done
    Belongs to no one

    Why should I cherish living if there's no so called plan
    Why, I would have no future if it were left to man
    I can't believe that we just happened and don't know what for
    There must be more

  • Soul Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2012 2:38 p.m.

    One way or another, we are going to personally find out whether there is life after physical death or not. That knowledge will come sooner than we think. As for me, I have nothing to lose in this life or the next, by living my current life to the fullest and at the same time preparing myself through religion for the unknown possibilities of the future.

    Certainly, by the end of our 80 year life span, we will know the exact answer, no hurry for me. But if you’re lucky, you might get an earlier answer tomorrow (too bad you won’t be able to share that knowledge with anyone else).

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 29, 2012 1:30 p.m.


    Whatever makes you think we're always sad? Yes, we mourn for our lost ones but so do the faithful.


    And here's my answer for you, not as an "atheist", but as one who doesn't "have all the answers". I'm going to live my life today as if it's the only one I'll ever have. That way, if there is an afterlife, I'll have no regrets for having lived a good life, if there isn't it won't matter and I'll have had no regrets in this life for having lived a good life. If there is an afterlife all the better, if not, nothing lost.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    March 29, 2012 1:10 p.m.

    Some of these comments are astounding, and downright cruel.

    There is nothing - not one thing - about the concept of an afterlife that diminishes the importance of this life. Indeed, quite the reverse: such a concept elevates the importance of the 'here and now', as we aren't going to enjoy such delightful reunions if we dismiss as irrelevant our present existence. Only poor thinking holds that the religious don't care about this life.

    "...it is the "pie in the sky" manipulated hope that has kept the masses suppressed, disadvantaged and controlled..." This is funny.

    Of course some people abuse religion. This should not be a surprise. But when Darwin's theories were misapplied into the concept of 'Social Darwinism' was he discredited? Certainly not. A person's abuse of the concept of the hereafter indicts the person, not the concept. If I explain Krebs Cycle in a false way, does this mean there is really no photosynthesis?

    Or does it mean I should become more familiar with the subject I am talking about?

  • Levin Hightstown, NJ
    March 29, 2012 12:06 p.m.

    If Mormonism taught that this life doesn't matter, that would be one thing. But note that Mr. Peterson doesn't talk about regrets of what could have been a great relationship with his brother but of how the knowledge that this life isn't the end lessens the sting of the loss of a relationship that was fully developed and strengthened during the time they had. We believe in a restoration of things to their proper state in the eternities, not to a state that they never were in mortality.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    March 29, 2012 11:00 a.m.

    There are way too many rational people who can testify of an afterlife.
    Skeptics can bark all they want .

  • windsor City, Ut
    March 29, 2012 10:56 a.m.

    To Full-on double rainbow--
    As religious articles are sometimes hard for you to take, I applaud your putting that aside, and thank you for your caring comment to the author.

    To RanchHand, A Scientist, skeptic, and Mavin--and others who feel the way you do--

    I will give you the answer I gave the atheist in my life: There is only ONE chance that I will get what my heart yearns for and wants more than anything else after all those I love and I are dead. I am putting all my eggs in one basket, and going with that. If I am wrong, no other option or plan will be able to give me what I want, so I am going with the one that promises to. If I am wrong, so be it. But I know I have NO hope and NO chance and NO remote possibility with atheism and science.

  • jstring Canada, 00
    March 29, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    "Heavenly reunions are true and it all matters"

    Mr Peterson, thank you for your beautiful article and I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Nothing about this beautiful article pointed towards not living ones life to the fullest today and cherishing every precious moment or any suggestion of lives lived in error. Please do not group Mr Peterson with those who would try to conquer and govern in the name of religion. I did not see anything here to suggest he or his brother tried to do that. He is a peaceable follower of Christ as are many of us here. This is what is true along with "Heavenly Reunions"

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    March 29, 2012 10:22 a.m.

    To Br. Peterson, My heartfelt condolences and thanks for sharing this. To skeptic: I have been religious all my life, and all my adult life by choice, and I have carefully weighed the pros and cons. I have not been "suppressed, disadvantaged, and controlled." Some religions may do these things; but do not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Some of us have received personal revelation that lets us know our beliefs are not just a pie in the sky. To A Scientist: I am also a scientist. I am also a Believer, and they are not inconsistent. And I know of very few Christians who have engaged in questionable, unethical, or horrific actions because of belief in the afterlife. Mulim suicide bombers, maybe. Most Christians behave better, because of what may await in the afterlife.

  • anchorageles Ventura, CA
    March 29, 2012 10:18 a.m.

    Now after reading above comments ...I am confused and totally beside myself....now it is said I will see love ones when I die....now I hear it just a ploy from leaders of the church to keep me under control and submissive to their needs.....the more I listen to man , the more I get lost...I must remain in constant communication with the Holy Spirit,it has never made me frighten....but listening to man and their "Educational" rational just leaves me in the dark and afraid....just what Satan has planned.......I must stay with the only truth that has given me comfort and contentment and most of all peace of mind.....God will not let me down, Satan all ways will..even now Satan delights in knowing this shakes me up and will without a doubt flood me with worldly doubts to shake my faith, so I ask this up front ....Satan get behind me...my Savior Jesus Christ I put my trust and my salvation in you and your love will protect me from the "Dark" one and give me the peace all Gods children deserve.....

  • Mavin Gilbert, AZ
    March 29, 2012 10:12 a.m.

    "If heavenly reunions are true, then what else matters?"
    What if they aren't true though? What then?
    For those that believe, this life is a joy, and they look forward to the life hereafter with joy. And if it is true they will continue in joy after death. For those that do not believe, life is full of sadness for the loss of love ones and if it is true they are very sad in death not being prepared for the life here after. If it is not true, no one will every know.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 29, 2012 9:17 a.m.

    "If heavenly reunions are true, then what else matters?"

    It is a lovely thought; but, the down side is that it is the "pie in the sky" manipulated hope that has kept the masses suppressed, disadvantaged and controlled by the powerful elite few who use religion and superstition to conquer and govern. There is no other product more mis-labeled than religion and the charlatans behind it.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    March 29, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    There is a moral danger to this kind of thinking, insofar as it often cheapens and dilutes the importance of now, leading many into being cavalier and casual about relationships in this life, based on the idea that "it will all be made up in the next life".

    The history of religion, including recent fundamentalisms, is littered with abuses and injuries inflicted based on the faith that "God will sort it out in the next life", or that some destruction and blood-letting now will bring a reward in the hereafter. Other abuses and indignities to the living, and to their sacred memories of their lost loved ones, are justified by religious doctrines that try to perform "saving ordinances" on behalf of deceased persons, strongly implying that those deceased persons perished in the name of a false faith, and therefore, their entire lives were lived in error.

    The over concern with the hereafter, at the expense of the here and now, is the common thread running through this problematic and dangerous mindset that leads people to engage in questionable, unethical, and often downright horrific actions toward their fellow sojourners in life.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 29, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    "If heavenly reunions are true, then what else matters?"


    What if they aren't true though? What then?

    I hope you get your reunion with your brother, I really do. I have loved ones lost that I'd give anything to see again, but what if all of these beliefs are just a way to help us cope with the loss we are all bound to experience? What about living our lives today, in the here-and-now, instead of putting off experience in favor of something that may or may not ever happen? If it doesn't exist, then everything, everything, matters now because it's all you may have.

  • Ross Madison, AL
    March 29, 2012 8:39 a.m.

    We don't appreciate what we have sometimes until we lose it, then we also gain an understanding of the purpose of eternity in God's love. My heart goes out to you, I too lost an older brother to death, who was a cheerleader of my accomplishments when he was 15 and I a year younger, back over 40 years. The gospel plan provides the hope that makes our orphaness bearable because our loving Savior suffered much more than we do to make our eventual reunion possible.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    March 29, 2012 7:21 a.m.

    Im sorry for your loss Mr. Peterson.