My brother Donnie and I were “Irish Twins”, which means that we shared the same birth age for a few days every year. When I was born, he hadn’t had his first birthday yet, and when he turned one, I was only thirty-eight days old. When I turned one, he still had thirty-eight days left until he turned two. It was fun being the same age with him for a few days each year.
I sure do miss him. He died in 1988 as a result of driving under the influence.
About a year after he died, I had an incredible experience. We were living in Maine. I had fallen asleep and in my “dream”, I opened a door and entered a pristine waiting room. Donnie entered a door from the other side of the room. He was radiant. The colors of his face; his blue eyes, and white teeth were unlike any colors that I had ever seen before—far greater augmented, and more brilliant than any earthly hues. He called me by my name, and we embraced. I can’t remember anything else, and don’t believe that I was meant to, but when I awoke I had a smile on my face that was so intense that it hurt.
Was it a dream? I don’t think so. The colors were nothing like anything I had ever experienced here in mortality, and the exquisite joy I had upon awakening needs no confirmation, nor explanation.
About a year later, we moved to Ohio. Bill’s parent’s ward was sending several of their youth ahead of the adults to the Chicago Temple to do baptisms for the dead. Jason and Mandee went with them. After they left, and had already arrived at the temple, I realized that Jason could do Donnie’s baptism, so I called the temple and requested that he be allowed to do my brother’s work. Proper protocol was to send a family group sheet along, and I hadn’t. Someone in the Chicago Temple decided to call Salt Lake—which surprised and delighted me as Jason got special permission from Salt Lake to perform Donnie’s baptism.
One of the sisters in my ward that witnessed it told me that Jason had already performed his fifteen baptisms and had redressed, but they had him change back into baptismal clothing again to participate in Donnie’s baptism. She said it was very spiritual. Jason had known Donnie all of his young life.
The next day, we arrived to do the rest of the temple ordinances, and in a special part of the temple, my brother spoke to me, just like in my dream, calling me by name. I recognized his voice instantly, and turned to see him, but could not, as I’m sure I would not have maintained the quiet reverence one ought to in a holy temple.
We are meant to live by faith, and I do, but in some things in my life, I have knowledge. I know, without a doubt for I witnessed it, that my brother Donnie was there in the temple that day, and continues to work hard on the other side of the veil in behalf of his loved ones—every one of them.
How can I question the reality of things not seen? The Lord has blessed me above measure with many peculiar experiences that testify to me of life beyond this life.
For those of you unfamiliar with the purpose for baptisms for the dead see http://lds.org/ Ensign Article, A Temple-Motivated People
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