Sunday, October 31, 2010

Young Spirits

Locations: Maine; Arizona

The first time I saw her was in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. She was wearing a knee length dress, and had long hair. She looked directly at me, and then turned back and passed through the upstairs hallway in front of me—not up or down the hallway, but through the walls on either side.

The second time I saw this young spirit was in Phoenix, AZ, on 29th Ave and Union Hills. It was the same thing—only the hallway was downstairs, and I stepped into the hallway, and saw her pass through the walls again.

The third time was rather interesting. Four of our closest friends, the Loves, and the Gentrys, and Bill and I, performed forty temple sealings in the Mesa Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It happened to fall on Valentine’s Day—which was kind of sweet. We were in a small sealing room that had a narrow stairwell leading up to it. It was hot that day. I can’t recall if there had been a problem with the air conditioning or not, but the room was stuffy. They told us they were going to leave the door open a bit to let the air circulate, as they had had a patron faint earlier.

We took turns in the various sealings, and when it wasn’t my turn, I sat and occasional found my gaze wandering to the partially opened door. I saw a group of women walk past the door, and only saw the hems of their long white dresses, and then I saw a young girl, of about 10 or so, pass by. The curious thing is that she later passed by going back the way she came, and then passed by the door again. There was a young boy—a little taller than she was, with her one of those times. I also saw temple workers talking to each other at the foot of the stairs, and noted that I could only see the top half of them, because I was sitting down.

After the sealings, I lingered for a while, pondering the eternal nature of a temple sealing, and when I went to leave the room, I was absolutely surprised to find that there was no hallway on the top of the stairwell where I had seen the hems of the group of women pass by, and the young girl and boy. I totally expected to see a hallway cross the outside of the door where I had seen them pass, but there wasn't any, only the enclosed stairwell going down to the lower floor.

I immediately went to see the person in charge of sealings and inquired if there had been any children sealed to their parents that afternoon (live sealings.) He said no, but earlier that morning they had a Hispanic couple with children sealed. Because I could compare the women's hems, and the full length view of the two children passing by the room with the temple workers at the bottom of the stairs that I could only view from the waist or so up, I concluded that these indeed had been spirits who had witnessed their own sealings, and were most definitely, family members of mine.

Still, we sealed no children to their parents that day.

Who were those two children, and what message were they trying to send to me?

I haven't seen her since, perhaps someone else has heeded her call, but I suspect that one day, she's going to ask me why I didn't jump on it right away and search for her, so I guess, I'd better do it, just in case she's still waiting.

For those of you who are not familiar with temples and their divine purpose, visit

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Death Dreams

Death Dreams-Part II
Location Gilbert, Arizona
Date: June or July 2000

It was shortly after we moved back to Arizona, that I had my second death dream. The dream lasted the entire night. I dreamt that a small group of spirits were trying to reach me. They were American Indians. I purposely evaded them from dream to dream. They came to each dream I had that evening, all night long. I wasn’t afraid of them, even though I knew that they were spirits. It was as if I knew what they wanted—but didn’t want to comply. Towards the morning, I could evade them no longer, and finally allowed them to speak to me. They wanted me to return with them to the spirit world. They wanted me to sing with them in some kind of a concert. I chose not to go.

Interesting, huh? And yet, the very next night, I had an even more fascinating death dream. ...

Death Dreams-Part III
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
Date: June or July 2000

In the middle of the night I awoke and found my deceased father standing across from me, at the foot of my bed. Bill was sleeping in between us. My dad called me by my nickname, Terri. It was wonderful to hear his voice! The voices of the deceased ones that I love are the hardest part for me to recall, but I recognize them immediately. Daddy didn’t say anything else, but I knew what he wanted. He wanted me to return with him.

I said, “I will be obedient,” but then began to cry as my eyes rested on Bill. I said, “I love you,” to Bill three times, and then lay back down. I heard a soft rumbling sound, and felt a gentle swirling sensation growing in intensity surrounding my body. I knew that if I did nothing, my spirit would leave my body, so, I stopped it.

Instantly, Daddy was gone, and I was not asleep. I had nothing to wake up from, no pulling out of any sort of dream state, or dreamy awakening … I was not sleeping, so did not need to awake. I was simply there, alone with Bill sleeping by my side.

What does one do, when in an instant a pretty incredible experience ends, and you are left to ponder its meaning? Does one simply go back to sleep? Oh, no, no, no, no.

I immediately got out of bed and got on my knees. I told God that I would be obedient, if indeed he wanted me to come home that evening, then I would go, but, if I could choose, then I wanted to stay with Bill.

Then I sat down and wrote the whole experience out, and a message to each one of my children (just in case … ) It is hand-written on a piece of yellow cardstock, and filed in a white cabinet under my desk in my bedroom.

I am not afraid of death. It holds little mystery, but all wonder to me. I imagine when I do leave this existence, it will be quite like the dreams I’ve had, but only better.

However, if Bill should ever leave mortality before me, and then come for me—there is nothing on this earth that would keep me from leaping into his arms. Until then, I’d like to stay just a little longer, and try a little harder to be a little better, and I’ll keep on asking, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the Lord’s will for me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Death Dreams Part I

Location: Batavia Ohio
Date: 1999

Have you ever had a dream that you died? I had three of them within six months, two of them back-to-back, two nights in a row. My first death dream happened the last year that we lived in Ohio.

I dreamt that I had died. I could not remember how, but knew that it had just happened. In my dream, my deceased family came to see me. There was a large group of them. My brother Donnie was not there, but I was told that he was busily engaged and would come to see me as soon as he was finished with what he was doing.

In the next part of my dream, I was in a dormitory-like room with a woman named Linda, who was also recently dead. She was tall and had short blond hair, but was not anyone familiar to me. We gathered our stuff together and began to walk towards a large building along with other spirits.
I remember seeing the building off in the distance. I remember green grass to the right of the sidewalk that we walked on. We got about half way there when we remembered we had left something in the dormitory. It was an iron of sorts. I can’t explain it, because I don’t understand it. It was very unusual in a futuristic sort of way. How difficult it is for any time-trapped mortal to explain an object of eternity.

We paused for a moment as we discussed going back to get the iron. I did not want to go, but Linda did. I watched her walk back towards the dormitory, and even turned from her and took a few steps towards the building. I began to feel a little guilty for not going with her, so I turned around and started to follow her. After a few steps, I stopped, and this thought came to me, “Wait! I’m dead! Why am I walking?” So, I simply thought about where I wanted to go, and instantly was there.

It must have been a dream, because here I am today, but what a fascinating dream it was! To dream—so clearly of the moments following death, greeting my family, anticipating seeing my brother Donnie as soon as he was able, having a recently dead roommate, preparing to go to some important meeting, and transporting myself back to the dormitory rather than using any snail-pace mortal means, what great fun!

What a grand adventure this mortal life has been. For a short moment in time, I am limited in my eternal, god-like abilities in order to glean as much as possible from this human-like experience. We are all gods in embryo, not unlike our creator, but created in His literal image. Young gods yet in infancy…

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Facing Mortality

A couple years ago, while I lay in a hospital bed, near death from a string of blood clots that passed through my heart and into my lungs, this is the song that came to me when I thought to write about what I was feeling. It's one of my favorites ...

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a dream that you dream of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dream of
Do, really do come true

Somewhere Over the Rainbow by E.Y. Harburg

After I typed those words on my laptop, my all-time favorite song came to me ...

I believe in Christ;
He stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain
His voice is heard: “ye shall obtain.”

I believe in Christ
So come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on the earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.

I Believe in Christ by Elder Bruce R. McConkie

I believe in Christ! He is not some mystic being that exists to rule over me … but a loving brother, who personally knows me, and loves me.

My mortality
What a journey it is

A kaleidoscope of beauty and love
Mingled with a myriad of trials
All carefully orchestrated for my incredulous growth

My heart is filled with gratitude for my life experiences,
More particularly the ones that have caused me
To reflect on the purpose of life
And the tender mercies of the Lord

As I passed through that new trial, I reflected on some of those experiences …

Near Death, A Choice of Life
Age: 19
Location: BYU Provo, Utah
Date: 1977

I was in the winter semester at BYU, after transferring from USC following the fall semester there, and had for many reasons concluded that life was everlastingly too hard. I was deeply saddened by the events in the world around me, and by the choices of friends, and loved ones. As a freshman 3,000 miles from home, who hadn’t been home for 5 months, I was terribly homesick, too.

Along with that, I was also depressed due to feeling so alone at BYU. I had joined the church at USC, transferred to BYU, and knew very few people. Because I worked the night-shift full-time, I didn’t get to socialize at all. The two students Martha, and Mary, who transferred from USC to BYU with me, had become great friends with each other, and I felt more like a bother to them, not a friend. Martha had a car, and a bank account her father kept up for her, and Martha really liked Mary, and took her everywhere. They never asked me to go with them. I didn’t have a car, and from January to April walked two to three miles each winter night to work, and then walked home in the morning. I barely made enough money to pay for my rent at the Riviera Apartments, and for my own food. I had classes at 10:00 in the morning and sometimes concerts in the early evening (I played in the BYU Symphony Orchestra). I remember a couple of times not going to bed at all, but going from work to school to concert to work …

I guess I had had enough, and one evening deep in thought, I unwittingly willed myself to go home. It wasn’t anything I was attempting to do, it just happened. I lay on my bed at the apartment, and simply asked to come home, back to my Father in heaven, exercising the faith that I had. The faith and the will I had was in conjunction with the spirit. I felt very close to the Lord. I felt a swirling sensation that started from my feet and moved up through my body. I felt like my spirit was leaving my body, and it frightened me, so I stopped it.

I write about it, because it is such a fascinating experience. The faith, the answer, the reprieve … the story of my mortal life continues as such, always being saved from myself.

Unexpected Visitors
Batavia Ohio - Sneed’s Residence
Late 1978 or early 1979
Age: 21

I was about three months pregnant with our oldest son, Jason, when I pulled a string of muscles in my back lifting a small TV. The doctor told me to stay in bed for two weeks while it healed. We left our small apartment in Batavia, and stayed at Bill’s parent’s home on the other side of town. I tenderly remember the loving way Bill’s mother, Shirley, took care of me. One day she peeled a pink grapefruit, broke it into wedges, and sprinkled it with sugar. She brought it in to me. I had never had pink grapefruit prepared like that before, but more especially had not been pampered since I was a child, years ago, by my own mother.

We stayed in Bill’s brother’s room. It was a small bedroom, but we managed to put a TV in the corner, and our three year old daughter Mandee’s sleeping bag on the floor beside us. There was a window across from the bed, and a dresser against the same wall the headboard was against. The bed was alongside the wall opposite the window. I slept on the outside of the bed for easier access both in and out of bed.

I awoke one night to find two men dressed in white standing by my bed. They were not frightening in the least, in fact, it seemed quite natural and not out of the ordinary at all to see them. The one on the left reached his hand out to me, and said, “It’s time to go.” I began to sit up and reach my hand to his, but looked back at Bill, and said, “No. I want to stay with Bill.” I do not remember anything past that. I must have simply cuddled next to Bill, and gone back to sleep.

Was it a dream? If anything had been out of place in that room, I may have wondered so, but there wasn’t. The room was exactly the way it was when I went to sleep that night. I noted that the TV was in the corner, the dresser to my right, Bill on the other side of me, and Mandee sleeping soundly on the floor. There just happened to be two men, dressed in white, standing there, too.

Was it my time to go? Apparently not, but maybe so. Did I have a choice? Perhaps. Was it the same choice that I had at BYU? I think so. And yet, a greater message is woven into the fibers of this experience … I turned to Bill, and chose him.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dreams and Other Significant Things

3. The Bear Truth

I grew up on a dairy farm in the woodlands of Maine, where daisy-pocked meadows were my playground, and dense forests—my sanctuary. Every day was an adventure for me, from climbing oaks and maples high above the roof of our farmhouse—to searching for green, slithery snakes under rocks. I lived outdoors—and fondly remember my mother lining her freshly cleaned floors with paths of newspapers to keep our grubby feet from soiling her hard work. Cold weather didn’t keep us indoors—old socks replaced soaked, woolen mittens. The sweet, musty smell of wet wool drying on an open oven door is forever locked in the memory of my youth. Late summer nights and daunting porch lights shadowing tall stalks of goldenrod created an alluring world for twilight hide and seek, which was interrupted only by the incessant buzz of pesky mosquitoes, or the distraction of mystifying fireflies.

Our farm bordered several acres of meadows to the north and south, with a long stretch of corn to the east. A well-worn path made first by grazing cows, and then by the patter of our tiny feet, weaved through the tall meadows. Old forests—untouched for hundreds of years, surrounded the whole, like a green blanket wrapped tight about its child. It was not unusual for me to look to the meadows and see a fox scurrying along, or to the large patch of red and black raspberries that grew near a grove of trees close to our house and see other wild animals like skunks, porcupines, raccoons, and even moose. If I awoke early enough, I could see herds of deer from my bedroom window. Later in the day, we’d find deep impressions in the soft grass made from their night of peaceful sleep.

A single row of trees growing sporadically alongside a rock wall split the meadows south of the farm. As children, we named each tree and rock according to their particular size, shape or function. Slide Rock, Bed Rock, Picnic Rock, and Gum Tree all embraced childhood play and wonder. Picnic Rock is where this story took place.

“Aunt Anna’s here! Aunt Anna’s here!” We jumped up and down with excitement when her car pulled into our long driveway. Aunt Anna always brought candy. But this particular time, she brought a new doll, too. I saw the doll first, and grabbed for it, but so did my older sister and a fight ensued. Aunt Anna put a quick stop to it, informing me that it was indeed for JoAnn. For the first time in my young life, a rather colorful word popped out of my mouth.

Who knows why one flees during times like that?—Embarrassment? Fear of having my skinny legs stung with a thin, homemade switch?—or my mouth washed out with a nasty bar of soap? Alas, I ran down through the meadow all the way to Picnic Rock, climbed up on it, and pouted.

My mind was a jumble of emotions—embarrassment, shame, self-pity—I did feel a bit justified, too, after all, I had seen it first. When all of the sudden, I caught a glimpse of something brown lumbering over a small knoll, and then meandering its way down the path through the tall goldenrod towards me—separating me from my house.

A big, brown bear weaved through the tall grass towards me. Fear gripped my tiny heart. What could I do? How could I get safely back to my house? I wanted to pray for help, but how does one ask God for help directly after doing something wrong? I had learned about repentance in the Baptist church my family attended, but how does one sincerely ask for forgiveness while in the wake of danger? I didn’t know how to do it any other way, so I just asked, took a deep breath, and climbed down off the rock. I walked slowly up the path, the only way I knew to get to safety, having faith that I would be protected, even though I could see the bear coming straight towards me.

The bear got about ten feet away from me and then stopped. It rose up on its hind legs and let out a bellowing grunt of disgust, as Mom’s old, brown, fur coat fell off my brother, Donnie’s shoulders. I was temporarily in shock, but then broke out in giggles, trying to hide my enormous relief. Donnie was quite disappointed, and grumbled, “Why weren’t you scared?”

You would think that perhaps I would have told him of my deep faith in God, and that I had been indeed, terribly frightened. What a tale of truth that would have been, but instead my young, clever mouth blurted out, “Oh Donnie! I knew it was you all the time!” And I, alas, began a life of constant repentance…

Dreams and Other Significant Things

2. Angelic Choruses
Age: 10 or 11 (approximate)
Location: Dairy Farm, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine

I don’t remember much about this, but I do remember it happening. I share this experience with my older sister, JoAnn. I don’t remember the day or year, or whether it was spring or summer, morning or evening, but I do remember the music we heard in our upstairs bedroom. Music that came from nowhere—for we searched everywhere for its source—beautiful, peaceful, angelic choruses floating gently through our room…