Highs, Lows & Chicken Smoothies

Death and Section 13

We had an elderly sister in our ward, Evelyn Bautista, pass away two weeks ago on a Sunday morning.  Today in our fast and testimony meeting I shared with the ward what I learned about D&C 13 as a result of her passing.

On the day of her passing I had a PPI scheduled with our High Priest Group Leader, Dave Whitworth, at 9:30 AM.  On my way to the church I got a text message from him informing me that he was going to be about 15 minutes late.  I was actually rather relieved as I was running late that morning myself.

When he finally arrived at the church he told me that while on his way he had the impression that he should stop by and see Sister Bautista who was at home under hospice care. Her daughter, Karen, answered the door and escorted him to her mother’s bedroom.  The hospice care worker told him that Sister Bautista hadn’t eaten anything for five days, hadn’t been responsive for about 48 hours and was likely to pass away soon.

Brother Whitworth told them that wanted to share something with Sister Bautista that he had heard at fireside with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles the evening before with his teenage children.  Elder Andersen, as part of his message, reminded the people there that this earth wasn’t their natural home, but that our true home was with our Heavenly Father. Sister Bautista was totally unresponsive, but the hospice care worker told him that it is generally believed that hearing is the last of the senses to fail when a person dies and it is likely that his short message was heard.

Brother Whitworth left the house and came to the church where he told me of his experience with Sister Bautista.  About thirty minutes later I received a text message informing me that Sister Bautista had passed away.

Yesterday we held a memorial service for Sister Bautista and a light buffet luncheon afterwards. While we were cleaning up, Karen (Sister Bautista’s daughter) came up to Brother Whitworth and thanked him for stopping by the morning of her mother’s death.  He asked her how long after he had left that Sister Bautista had passed away and we were told that is was just two or three minutes later.

Karen then told us that until her mother’s graveside service (which was held the Monday morning PRIOR to the memorial service) she wasn’t certain about what she had witnessed that morning.  She said that while Brother Whitworth was there talking to her mother that “you were glowing like an angel” and until I had told a portion of this story at the graveside service she wasn’t certain who he was or why he was really there.

When I heard this yesterday I immediately thought of D&C 13.  This section records the ordination of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood.  Part of the recorded ordination text reads, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of the Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron which holds the keys to the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins…”

As a bishop who holds and is authorized to exercise those same priesthood keys, I have always felt I had a good understanding of the keys of the ‘gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.’ The keys to the ministering of angels had been somewhat nebulous to me, however.  Now I have a new theory on this, and will accept it as doctrine until proven otherwise.  Whenever we act within the stewardship of an assignment or church calling where we have been set apart by someone who is authorized to exercise these priesthood keys, we are ‘ministering angels’ to those we are serving. There are probably other, more literal ways, in which we can call upon the ministering of angels, but for now, I will be grateful for faithful brothers and sisters who strive to minister to the needs of Heavenly Father’s children on earth as most of our needs are probably met in this manner.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);} else {d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);

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