Why A Man Who Lost His 2-Year old Son Decided To Learn About the Afterlife as a Latter-day Saint

My name is Wesley White, and I have written a book entitled Where Do We Go from Here? 

To help you to understand why I have such great interest in the next life, and why I have researched it extensively, I include, in italics, the first portion of my book’s introduction.

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, two-and-a-half-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 being in Utah, 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 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. My aircraft 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 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, one of our ecclesiastical leaders 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” you (Daniel 7:15)) 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? Will he ever have a “helpmeet” (Genesis 2:18)?



I cite more than 70 sources in the book. I providentially found several sources (all in harmony with the Gospel) that I believe will enlighten, inspire, and comfort you. I guarantee that most of the material in this short and unique book will be new to you, no matter how much you may have studied the spirit world. 

I have been delighted and humbled by the feedback the book has generated.  One good brother texted, “Dear Brother White, I recently lost my wife, and I have really struggled with the loss, even with the gospel knowledge I have gleaned from teaching in the Church Education System, at both the high school and university level, for 37 years. Rick [his neighbor, and my previous coworker] loaned me his copy of your book. Brother White, you wrote that book for me! May I get two copies as soon as possible, one for me and one for a friend who is dying of cancer?”

A neighbor has a friend in Wyoming who has studied the spirit world for years without receiving satisfactory answers. My neighbor sent him a copy of the book. This friend called my neighbor within a few days. He said the book was what he had been looking for, for years, and that he had ordered 50 copies to share with friends and family. 



A recently released stake president texted me, “Received my copy two days ago. I’m not quite finished but can already say that this book is so well researched, insightful and inspiring that it will become a significant resource for me. Thank you for all the spiritual and physical effort required to bring this to fruition.”

A lady texted me, “Oh my goodness! I’m only about halfway through it and I LOVE IT! Thank you for your time spent researching and writing it. It makes me want to do better!”

Finally, from a young man who was one of my assistants when I served as a mission president. “I finished reading your book just in time for my grandpa to pass away two weeks later. I’m not sure you remember, but it was you that also provided comfort and kindness when my grandma, my grandpa’s wife, passed away while I was on the mission. If ever I could have someone there to remind me of the beauty and happiness of the plan, it would be you, who has invested the time and study of this part of the plan so thoroughly.”

My well-read medical doctor expressed to me that this book is one of top three of the many he has read, excluding only the scriptures. That’s probably enough braggin’ but it is very satisfying when the book somehow blesses someone. 


In conclusion, my primary sources for this book were teachings from the Brethren, and from fastidiously evaluated near-death experiences, including the NDE of my coauthor.    


The book, Where Do We Go From Here is currently on sale at cedarfort.com