(June 2007. I did this study the morning of Grandma Bessie Redd Bailey’s funeral.)
The topics in the Topical Guide about death provide a great outline for considering the topic of death. It contains these topics (the order is rearranged here):
- Death, Spiritual, First
- Death, Spiritual, Second
- Death of Jesus Christ
- Death, Power Over
What might be a definition of death? I think in a gospel context, death might best be defined as a separation. When we die, our bodies are separated from our spirits. Also, we are separated from our family and loved ones. We also sometimes speak of a divorce as a death of a marriage.
II The First Spiritual Death
The scriptures also speak of a spiritual death which happened when we were born. At this time, we were separated from God.
Parenthetically, I wonder if there was a sadness among those we left as we came to earth and were born, similar to the sadness we feel when someone we love very much departs this earth life and returns to the spirit world? I wonder if the same joy we feel at the birth of a baby is felt on the other side as one joins them again.
III The Second Spiritual Death
McConkie in “Mormon Doctrine” outlines that there are sons and daughters of God who are spiritual dead in four different ways.
- Lucifer and those who followed him are cut of from God
- Those in this earth life who have not yet been baptized and spiritually reborn or spiritually dead.
- Spiritually dead disembodied spirits
- Those who will be cast into outer darkness.
Out of these three I want to concentrate on the spiritually dead disembodied spirits. This verse is particularly interesting.
34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
Part of the second spiritual death might be considered the separation of our spirit from our bodies, and all the chains of hell we have strengthened in this life, including addictions. What a terrible separation it must be; the sorrow at not being able to partake of those things any longer must be tremendous.
IV Death of Jesus Christ
Christ died that we might live again
V Power over Death
Christ will ultimately provide us the power over death He will vanquish death.