(This is a template for a spiritual talk relating to the Plan of Salvation. I wrote this initially for a widow’s funeral. Much of this has been pulled from the Preach My Gospel Manual so if using this ensure to accredit Preach My Gospel.)
Mary Wilson Funeral
We are here to remember Mary’s life and to comfort those left behind. Indeed, all of us have the responsibility to …”mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort”. I have been asked to talk about the spiritual aspects of our lives and to put in context death to God’s overall plan. As I do that – let me take a couple of minutes to reflect on what is the purpose of life – and specifically what Mary did in her life – because of her beliefs – to prepare her for this step.
(Pre-Earth Life: God’s Purpose and Plan for Us)
Many people wonder, “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?” Mary believed in what is called the plan of salvation. The plan of salvation gives us the answers to these questions. God is the Father of our spirits. We are literally His children, and He loves us. We lived as spirit children of our Father in Heaven before we were born on this earth. We were not, however, like our Heavenly Father, nor could we ever become like Him and enjoy all the blessings that He enjoys without the experience of living in mortality with a physical body. God’s whole purpose—His work and His glory—is to enable each of us to enjoy all His blessings. He has provided a perfect plan to accomplish His purpose. All of us understood and accepted this plan before we came to the earth. Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan. Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ fulfilled His Father’s purpose and made it possible for each of us to enjoy immortality and eternal life. Agency, or the ability to choose, is one of God’s greatest gifts to His children. We choose whether to follow Jesus Christ or not. We are physically separated from God during life on earth, but He wants every one of His children to find peace in this life and a fulness of joy in His presence after this life. Mary, like all of us, made the choice to come to earth and she was born into this world to gain a body and to learn, develop and grow.
(The Creation and Our Life on Earth)
Under the direction of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ created this earth as a place for us to live and gain experience. In order to progress and become like God, each of us had to obtain a body and be tested during a time of probation on the earth. While on the earth we are out of God’s physical presence. We do not remember our pre-earth life. We must walk by faith rather than by sight. We have the moral agency or the ability to choose between good and evil. This made it possible for us to learn and progress. While on this earth God also provides us the opportunity to have children, as is evidenced by Mary’s children, grandchildren and a great growing legacy of great-grandchildren.
Life on earth is an opportunity and a blessing. Our purpose in this life is to have joy and prepare to return to God’s presence. In mortality we live in a condition where we are subject to both physical and spiritual death. Mary’s husband, Bill, preceded her in death many years before. If not for our Savior Jesus Christ, death would end all hope for a future existence with Heavenly Father and for Bill and Mary to be together again. While we are in mortality we have experiences that bring us happiness. We also have experiences that bring us pain and sorrow. These experiences provide us opportunities to learn and to grow, to distinguish good from evil, and to make choices. God influences us to do good. We also have influences on this earth to do evil. We need God’s help to choose the right and to repent of the mistakes that we all make. We cannot overcome the effects of physical death and the effects of sin by ourselves. We are helpless without the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ Mary, Bill and their posterity would not have the opportunity to be together again. Gratefully Jesus Christ has made it possible to return to our Heavenly Father and to be with our loved ones.
(The Atonement, The Spirit World and the Resurrection)
We will all suffer physical death, but Jesus Christ overcame the obstacle of physical death for us. By virtue of Him suffering in Gethsemane, dying on the cross, and then overcoming death through the power of the Resurrection Christ overcame all. He provided a path for us to take for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father. The reuniting of body and spirit is called resurrection and is a gift promised to each of us. To fulfill the plan of salvation, Christ paid the penalty for our sins if we choose to accept it. This is called the Atonement. As we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Only through the gift of the Atonement can we return to live with God.
Even though Christ conquered physical death, all people must die, for death is part of the process by which we are transformed from mortality to immortality. This is evidenced by Mary’s passing. At death our spirits go to the spirit world. That is where Mary is now. She no longer has her physical body. But she has her spirit body and continues to live. When she left this earth she went to the Spirit World where those who have passed before greeted her with open arms. I can only imagine the sweet and joyous welcome she received by her parents, grandparents, other family members and most especially by Bill her eternal companion. We remain in the spirit world until we are resurrected. Resurrection is the eternal joining of our physical and spiritual bodies. Just as Jesus Christ was resurrected – every person who has lived or will live on this earth will enjoy the blessings of being resurrected ourselves. This again comes to us because of Jesus Christ.
Through the resurrection all people will become immortal—they will live forever. Immortality is a free gift to all people, whether they are righteous or wicked. Eternal life is not, however, the same as immortality. Eternal life is a gift of God available to God’s children through the Atonement of Christ. It is exaltation, which means living with God forever in eternal families. During our mortal lives we make choices. We have the opportunity to live in God’s presence, become like Him, and receive a fulness of joy. Bill and Mary followed these steps by doing the things asked of them so that they can have the chance of living together for eternity. Bill and Mary were sealed for time and all eternity in the temple. This necessary step provides the path that they together can take. What more can a beloved couple want – than to be eternal companions and be together with their posterity forever.
As a result of the Atonement and Gospel of Jesus Christ – Bill and Mary are together now and will have the opportunity to be together forever with other family members – never to be separated again. What a great blessing we as children of our Heavenly Father have. To be together forever should we choose. I hope we all will choose the path that leads us back to our Heavenly Father.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.