Sacred Memory Series: Visions of Light
Seth Bryant of Kirtland, OH, USA
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. -Romans 12:4-5
One fall day, I was on the third floor of the Kirtland Temple where Joseph Smith Jr. had his office. With me was a guest from Germany, as well as Karl Anderson, a local LDS historian and patriarch.
Karl was telling a story. It was about a vision of Joseph Smith where he saw his brother Alvin in heaven with God. This vision was radical because Alvin had died before being baptized. We were in an upper room during that golden hour before sunset. Warm rays of light filtered through the orange and yellow leaves of the trees outside the temple, creating a beautiful vision as light streamed through the windows.
As Karl shared about the vision, my mind wandered. I peered to the far end of the attic, which contains no hallway but has room after room with doors in between. The long rays of golden light streamed through the doorways in a straight line from the west to the east. As I gazed on this beautiful scene, Karl read, “I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold. I saw…my brother Alvin, that has long since slept, and marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life…and had not been baptized for the remission of sins” (The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Volume 2, 1836-1844, Independence, MO: Herald House, p. 16).
I thought of our Basic Beliefs statement: “We experience salvation through Jesus Christ, but affirm that God’s grace has no bounds, and God’s love is greater than we can know” (Sharing in Community of Christ, 3rd Edition, p. 15).
Now I’m not saying that you should read that twenty-first century statement through the lens of the nineteenth-century vision or vice versa. All I’m saying is that the light streaming into that room was beautiful.
“Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you…” (Deuteronomy 8:2).
Spend time journaling or reflecting on significant memories that have shaped your life. Allow the following questions to guide you: What memories from your life impact how you encounter and respond to the world around you today? When has sacred memory in you become a path into the future?
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