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My increased interest in the spirit world began in 1987. It was a rare beautiful February day in Utah as my wife, Kay, drove along in our old pickup, windows down, a hint of spring in the air. This was long before child seats were required, and our seventh child, 2 1/2-year-old Russell, stood next to her, his little arm around her shoulders. As she drove, Kay experienced an unanticipated communication from the Spirit. It came in the form of a simple, clear question: “You have had life pretty smooth for a while; are you ready for a trial?” Her mind recoiled with a strident “No!” but her spirit recognized the moment as a time of necessary compliance, and she softly whispered, “Yes.”
We were “living the dream.” We loved the location, and I loved my U. S. Air Force assignment, flying an interesting and fulfilling mission. President Reagan had given the military a substantial pay increase: we moved into a house large enough for our growing family, and Primary Children’s Hospital was a wonderful resource for our mentally handicapped middle (fourth) child, Debbie. Life was very good. How quickly mortality can take a different turn.
That “turn” came within days of Kay’s spiritual communication that she had kept to herself. Our crew was in the office, preparing for a flight, when a crew member announced, “Wes, there’s a call for you from your next-door neighbor.” That seemed highly unusual. I knew that it had to be something important, whether good or bad. I took the call, and the neighbor blurted, “Russell has been hit by a car!” When I asked if Russell was seriously injured, she hung up.
The drive home was the longest twenty minutes of my life. Did Russell have a broken arm—perhaps a serious head injury? Could it be that he…I couldn’t bear to let the thought even enter my mind.
I arrived home to the scene of so many ambulances, police cars, and emergency vehicles that I had to park more than a block away. As I sprinted for home, a paramedic almost tackled me. He said, “Your little boy did not survive the impact. Do you want to spend a moment with him?”
He pointed me to an ambulance. Little Russell’s body was still warm, though disfigured. As I embraced my son for the last time, our stake president approached me and said, “Wes, you are needed in the house: Kay is blaming herself.”
Recognizing that severe trials are a part of almost every life, I won’t “grieve thee,” or “weigh thee down” (Moroni 9:25) with the details of the next weeks, and even years, as we walked “in the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4), a valley that is probably familiar territory to you.
Kay and I had each lost one of our parents, but this was different. Our parents had taken care of us, and we were sure that they could take care of themselves in the next life. But Russell was a little child. He had completely depended on us for all of his needs. Was he being cared for now? Did he miss us? Was his spirit an adult or a child? Why was he taken before serving a mission or participating in any of the ordinances of the gospel? What about an eternal helpmeet?
Researching these and similar questions was my first purpose in writing this book.
Years later, I (with my wife) was called to preside over a mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We hadn’t even considered that with over 160 missionaries, some of their family members, including parents and siblings, would pass away during their mission. In fact, there were six deaths in families of our missionaries in our first six weeks of service! We tried our best to succor and comfort, but how we wished we had more knowledge to share concerning the next life! This desire has stayed with us, and it was my second purpose.
Years passed and as the pace of life slowed, I felt prompted to write a topical study of the next life. Complying with that prompting was my third purpose.
The best synopsis for Where Do We Go from Here is the table of contents.
Foreword (by Duane Crowther)
2) Rachel’s Experience
3) Through a Glass, Darkly
4) Where is the Spirit World
5) How Much of Mortality is Foreordained?
6) Are Our Days Numbered?
7) Temples in the Spirit World
8) Are Guardian Angels Real?
9) Divisions in the Spirit World
10) Time, Space, and Environment
11) Music and Color
12) How an NDE Affects the Rest of Mortal Life
13) Learning in the Spirit World
14) Sociality in the Spirit World
15) Missionary Work
16) Spirits of Children
17) How the Spirit Differs from the Body
18) Free from Frustration
19) Transition to the Spirit World
20) Light and Love
List of works cited in the book
I hope that this book serves you in at least three ways.
First, if you are desperately missing a deceased loved one, may this book be a “postcard” that helps you understand the enjoyment and opportunity he or she is experiencing.
Second, if someone you love has passed on whose mortal choices were painful for you, may this book remind you that the spirit world (like mortality) includes the gift of free agency, the continuation of The Plan of Salvation, and the availability of the Savior’s remarkable Atonement (with fewer distractions, in a much better learning environment). In the words of Elder Carlos Asay “death is merely a comma, not a period” (“If a Man Die, Shall He Live Again?”)
Third, as you increase your understanding of the next life, may it inspire you to better prepare yourself today for that day when your time comes to meet God.
By Wesley White
Dec 21, 2020
Read the book over one weekend! Couldn’t put it down. It really helped me to understand some things about the purpose of life and our mission here on earth! Great research!
Jun 15, 2020
Dear Wesley White, I just finished reading your book. It was wonderful. It left me feeling “otherwordly”. It took me a couple days to come back to earth. I love NDE books so this is a great addition to my library. Rhonda Ragan Shuck
Jun 15, 2020
Your thoughts are very touching! I would definitely like to read that book.