Gloria reached into her suitcase and pulled out a brand new red dress and matching red shoes. She had purchased these in order to attend church services while on vacation. “I really want to start going to church,” she told to me. “I feel something very special about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If I ever join any church, it will be the Mormon Church.”
My younger sister was able to attend church with me three Sundays. Then, the day before she was to return home from her vacation, she was killed in a freak car accident. A few days earlier, the topic of the spirit world had come up during one of our conversations. We had talked about it many times, and she understood that there was a life after death. On that day, I felt impressed to say something that I had never said before:
“Gloria, if for some strange reason you don’t get baptized before you die, remember, in the spirit world there are missionaries who will teach you the gospel. Find them and ask them to teach you and show you the steps you must take.” As I finished my sentence, her face lit up in surprise. Her eyes were normally large, but now they looked huge, almost the size of golf balls. She then said these words that I will never forget: “Phyllis, if that happens, I will!”
My grief over her death was almost more than I could bear. She was gone so suddenly and it was such a shock. The only comfort I received was knowing that she would accept the gospel. Through the next year, I had several spiritual promptings that prepared me to complete her temple work. Exactly one year to the day after her death, August 8, 1989, I went to the temple for my sister.
I arrived at the St. George Temple just as the doors opened in order to complete her work. That morning I was baptized for Gloria and 15 other family members. I also completed all their initiatory work and then was able to perform my sister’s endowment. As the session progressed,
I saw movement up in the right-hand corner of the room. I opened my eyes wider, as if to see better, and saw a group of ladies dressed in white and in their bare feet.
They were dancing around in a circle, making a joyful noise. I couldn’t understand them, but I could hear soft music. I think they were singing. I heard it, but not with my earthly ears.
I immediately focused on a young woman with long blonde hair, and my eyes followed her around the circle. As her head turned, I recognized her.
It was Gloria. She was dancing, and looked radiantly happy. It was as if she wanted me to know that she had remembered our conversation before she died. We had both remembered. I could see one foot being lifted up and then the next being put down, in a skip-hop kind of movement.
She would dance a while and then twirl. All the ladies were dancing. I don’t know if the others twirled, but Gloria did. Then I heard her voice, not with my physical ears, but clearly in my mind: “Thank you, Phyllis, thank you. We are so happy!” This entire experience lasted for about 15 seconds and then ended abruptly. I was deeply touched, but told no one at that time.
About two months later, I was attending our stake conference in the Las Vegas West Stake. A visiting authority was speaking on service and how we can serve our loved ones through genealogy and temple work. He said, “If we could only see our loved ones who have passed on, we would see that they are literally down on their knees, begging us to do their work for them.” Then his next words sent a bolt of lightning through me: “Those of us whose loved ones have accepted the gospel, when they receive it, will actually sing and dance!” I sat straight up in my seat. I couldn’t believe he had said those words! Being a convert to the Church, I had never heard this idea before; but I knew this speaker was inspired, and that what he said was correct. Tears of joy came, and I felt another confirmation of the Spirit. Yes, Gloria had accepted the gospel, and my service had been joyfully received. Now, many years later, as I sit in the house of the Lord, again rendering service to more of my loved ones, I think of that glorious day when I was privileged to witness service being accepted–and I remember!
- Contributed by Phyllis Horlacher