“I am sure it will be so”

“I am sure it will be so” January 27, 2024

 

Cambridgeshire flag
The historic flag of the County of Cambridgeshire
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

A reader of this blog by the name of Laralee Nelson shared a couple of links in a blog comment that, with her kind permission (and since they’re in the public domain over at FamilySearch), I’m now sharing here more generally.

The first link is to the last will and testament of one Samuel Webb, “a butcher by trade, of Dry Drayton, county of Cambridge.”  I quote one particular passage from the document:

I am mindful of the tradition spoken of by my forebears that the time will soon come when our Saviour, Jesus Christ, will establish his Kingdom on earth. Believing that time is nigh, I desire that my beloved wife, Sarah, and my son, William, and daughter, Lydia, will accept and enter that Kingdom. I do not fear death. It is not the end. I know we will meet again after we have layed these bodies to rest for our soules will meet our Creator to be judged for our deeds. In witness whereof, I Sml Webb have to this last will and testament set my hand and seal this twenty-sixth day of September in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty.

An expression of the family tradition to which Samuel Webb refers can be found in the last will and testament of his great grandfather, William Webb (“of Harlton in the county of Cambridge”), which is dated 14 May 1745:

There is a legacy left me by my Father who was left it by his father to be passed on to my heirs.  There is spiritual unrest in the land.  Beliefs are springing up and being heard.  We believe with others that man should be free to worship his Maker in a manner pleasing to himself.  We believe that Death is not the end but that the Soul lives on and is Judged by its Maker for the good or evil it has done, with punishment or reward according to Meritt [sic].  My father John a righteous just forgiving man was told in a dream that the time was nearing when Jesus Christ would return to set up his Kingdom.  It will not happen during my lifetime nor that of my children and perhaps not my grandchildren.  But the time will come soon when believers may become members in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Having grieved over not being here when that time comes because I will have layed this body to rest I prayed enquiring after the believers and followers of Jesus Christ who have gone to their Eternal rest.  As I prayed a calm peace surrounded me and I felt his Presence.  I was assured that there will be a way for the dead to enter the Kingdom.  Because of the Spirit that thrilled me while in the Presence I am sure it will be so.  Therefore I am not afraid to die and my heirs should not feel fear.  We will be together in that Kingdom because of God’s great Son.  I admonish my heirs and descendants to live according to the law and to follow diligently the teachings of Jesus and you will be blessed.  When Judgement Day comes I want that we shall all stand together to receive the happy reward of being together throughout Eternity.  This is my desire and from what I know it can be so.

I love you all and will continue to love you and yours even after I have layed this mortal body down for I shall live to meet with you again.

In the Idaho Falls Temple
The Celestial Room of the Idaho Falls Temple.
Please note the heavenly reunions depicted in the mural on the wall.

Between yesterday and today, I’ve managed to miss three funerals.  Two were for members of my ward, while the third was for a longstanding member of our monthly reading group:

I missed them because I’ve been sick, and because I suspect that I’m still quite contagious.  I’m grateful however, for the miracle of modern technology that makes it possible to participate in funeral services at a distance.  The farewell of a good and righteous person is a sacred occasion and is inspiring to me.

In my judgment, the most important and valuable feature of the universe is personalty.  Not great oceans.  Not splendid mountains.  Neither stars nor galaxies nor vast nebulae.  And the greatest loss would be for a personality to vanish forever.  Happily, though, my conviction is that the things that matter most are never, and never have been, at the mercy of the things that matter most.  God be praised.

Entrance into Mauthausen
The liberation of KZ-Mauthausen, Austria, on 6 May 1945
I’m guessing, from what he told me, that my father, a sergeant in the Eleventh Armored Division of General Patton’s Third Army, passed through this very same gate within a few minutes (at most) of this public domain photograph. What he saw there powerfully affected him for the rest of his life, and he told me about it on many occasions, imploring me never to forget what he said. I never have. I regard remembering it as a sacred duty both to my father and to the victims at Mauthausen.

I have admired Dennis Prager since I used to catch his Sunday night religious talk show Religion on the Line on KABC-AM Radio in Los Angeles.  Early on in my tenure on the faculty of Brigham Young University, I even had the opportunity to host him for a couple of days when he came to lecture on campus.  I say this in order to introduce my admiration for the work of Prager University and, specifically, to mention some items that have been posted on the Prager University website.  They share a particular theme, because today (Saturday) is International Holocaust Remembrance Day — it’s the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau — and I think that we ought, yes, to remember the Holocaust.  I worry deeply that that great horror is being downplayed and even forgotten.  In any case, here are three relevant videos from the Prager University website that I commend to your notice:

Additionally, Dennis Prager himself has a monologue about “The Evil of Holocaust Denial” that runs from about 2:30 to 19:00 of an overall video that is very nearly thirty-two minutes in length.

 

 

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