Updated on August 15, 2020
“Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trail of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were drawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” (Hebrews 11:35-37)
During my life I have often wondered what Paul was talking about when he wrote the above to the Hebrews. Instead of saying “that they might obtain a better resurrection“, Joseph Smith said in his New Testament translation: “that they might obtain the first resurrection.” Now that would be a better resurrection, indeed.
My question had to do with all of this “suffering” in regards to obtaining a better spot after a person’s transition. Scourging, cut in half, killed by the sword, destitute, afflicted, tormented, mocked, and in prison making for a better resurrection or maybe a better location after death?
Again, Joseph sheds light: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received the promises, God having provided some better things for them through their sufferings; for without sufferings they could not be made perfect.” (NC, Hebrews 50)
If we question God enough, you know, like a child, or pester Him enough, He will answer us. I like to pester, I mean ask. That is what is desired to be shared today. I’m not saying that this is the end-all answer. There are many levels to the scriptures, and so there are many answers or levels of answers. This is just one that I received. You can take it for what you paid for it.
In a past post I mentioned my brother that had recently transitioned. When we attended the viewing in Arizona I was presented with a question by his wife, now widow.
“Doug, why did Hugh have to suffer so much? The past many months were hell for him, he was in so much pain,” she cried.
“The last three weeks he couldn’t eat, the cancer was down his throat and in his mouth. It was throughout his entire body, he was in so much pain,” she told me.
She cried out, “The last three days he couldn’t talk! The cancer had shriveled his tongue. The inside of his mouth was all black. He would write me notes saying how sorry he was and how much he love me.”
“God having provided some better things for them through their sufferings; for without sufferings they could not be made perfect.”
Driving home from Arizona her question kept playing in my mind, “Why did he have to suffer so?”
I know there is more to this life than many of us understand or give credit. We fast as a sacrifice for clearings, blessings, and portalcisms or on behalf of others. That is a sacrifice. But what is it about suffering? There is much to consider if we look at things from our Savior’s point of view. Though while suffering in a mortal body through pain, stress or whatever, makes it hard to open those spiritual eyes and ask what it is all about.
After arriving home my sighted friend called and asked how it went. You knew I was going to present her with my sister-in-law’s question, didn’t you.
I told her of his intense suffering and asked why?
“He made some mistakes in his life that I can see, but will not tell you about, and he desired to pay for them in mortality rather than pay the price in hell after transitioning.”
Wow, I needed to hear that again and asked her to repeat what she had just said. She did.
“So,” I stated, “rather than be taken to hell and suffer for his misdeeds there, he asked to suffer while in mortality instead. That way when he transitioned he wouldn’t be taken to hell, he would be allowed into paradise.”
“Yes,” she answered.
A better resurrection indeed. Thank you Paul. No, thank you Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for allowing such a thing to be possible. Though possible, it is hard to get out of hell and can take a long while. It is hard to remember thngs in hell as our minds become clouded and we forget.
In the past we’ve written about my former ward priesthood leader that testified of following men and how tendrils came up from hell and attached to his legs as he testified of following men. When he would transition these tendrils would pull him down into hell. This man transitioned a few months ago. His last year was extremely painful and hard.
You know what I did, I asked the Savior if my friend had wanted the pain and suffering be endured in mortality so he wouldn’t have to pay the price in hell for his testimony of men. The answer was yes. I asked my sighted friend for a witness and the answer was again, yes.
Some things are not as they seem to our puny mortal minds, there is a much higher purpose, even in suffering, afflictions, torments and the various ways of transitioning. I have had more than a few people declare to me that our God does not want us to suffer. This may or may not be true, I have not asked. I do know He does allow natural law to take effect unless we repent and access His atonement. Sacrifice is required for sin. Concepts like these do require we get on our knees and ask our Father of His ways. As He stated:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah, 55:8-9)
It is strongly suggested that we ask Him about this concept of paying the price in mortality through our suffering rather than ending up in hell for our misdeeds and paying the price there.
Tough stuff what we go through when we don’t make use of His atoning sacrifice while in mortality. Natural law requires a price be paid. It is our choice if we pay it or take Him up on His offer of paying the price. Our Savior offers to pay it for us if we will but repent and follow Him. Though for many, that seems to be a sacrifice with too great a price. Go figure.
I am grateful of what my mortal brother suffered. Hell is not a kind and gentle place to end up in. I am grateful for what my Brother suffered, as exquisite as it was, allowing us to repent, suspending or superseding natural law and allowing us the opportunity to start our transitioned life in the world of spirits in Paradise rather than starting in Hell.
I look forward to the day I get to share this with my born-again Baptist sister-in-law.