President Thomas S. Monson, the sixteenth called prophet in these modern times, teaches the children of God through stories. With an unfailing gentle voice, sweet and tender spirit, a godlike love for each of our Father in Heaven‘s children, he teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ through story.

Jesus Christ MormonIn teaching of the hope that Jesus Christ represents to mankind, he shared this story:

First, may I tell you about Arthur. He had blond, curly hair and a smile as big as all outdoors. He stood taller than any boy in the class. I suppose this is how, in 1940, as the great conflict which became World War II was overtaking much of Europe, Arthur was able to fool the recruiting officers and enlist in the navy at the tender age of 15. To Arthur and most of the boys, the war was a great adventure. I remember how striking he appeared in his navy uniform. How we wished we were older or at least taller so we too could enlist.

Youth is a very special time of life. As Longfellow wrote:

How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams
With its illusions, aspirations, dreams!
Book of Beginnings, Story without End,
Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!2

Arthur’s mother was so proud of the blue star which graced her living room window. It represented to every passerby that her son wore the uniform of his country and was actively serving. When I would pass the house, she often opened the door and invited me in to read the latest letter from Arthur. Her eyes would fill with tears; I would then be asked to read aloud. Arthur meant everything to his widowed mother.

I can still picture Mrs. Patton’s coarse hands as she would carefully replace the letter in its envelope. These were hardworking hands; Mrs. Patton was a cleaning woman for a downtown office building. Each day of her life except Sundays she could be seen walking along the sidewalk, pail and brush in hand, her gray hair pulled back into a tight bob, her shoulders weary from work and stooped with age.

In March 1944, with the war now raging, Arthur was transferred from the USS Dorsey, a destroyer, to the USS White Plains, an aircraft carrier. While at Saipan in the South Pacific, the ship was attacked. Arthur was one of those on board who was lost at sea.

The blue star was taken from its hallowed spot in the front window of the Patton home. It was replaced by one of gold, indicating that he whom the blue star represented had been killed in battle. A light went out in the life of Mrs. Patton. She groped in utter darkness and deep despair.

With a prayer in my heart, I approached the familiar walkway to the Patton home, wondering what words of comfort could come from the lips of a mere boy.

The door opened, and Mrs. Patton embraced me as she would her own son. Home became a chapel as a grief-stricken mother and a less-than-adequate boy knelt in prayer.

Arising from our knees, Mrs. Patton gazed into my eyes and spoke: “Tommy, I belong to no church, but you do. Tell me, will Arthur live again?” To the best of my ability, I testified to her that Arthur would indeed live again.

In general conference those long years ago, as I related this account, I mentioned that I had lost track of Mrs. Patton but that I wanted to once more answer her question “Will Arthur live again?”

I referred to the Savior of the world, who walked the dusty paths of villages we now reverently call the Holy Land; who caused the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, and the dead to live; to Him who tenderly and lovingly assured us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”3

I explained that the plan of life and an explanation of its eternal course come to us from the Master of heaven and earth, even Jesus Christ the Lord. To understand the meaning of death, we must appreciate the purpose of life.

explained that the plan of life and an explanation of its eternal course come to us from the Master of heaven and earth, even Jesus Christ the Lord. To understand the meaning of death, we must appreciate the purpose of life.

I indicated that in this dispensation, the Lord declared: “And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn.”4 “Man was also in the beginning with God.”(Thomas S. Monson, “Mrs. Patton—the Story Continues,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 21–24)

President Monson went on to talk about the continuity of life and the eternities. He taught of premortality and what we did there. He spoke of this life and what awaits those who pass through the veil separating this world from the heavens.

When Jesus Christ entered the Garden of Gethsemane that fateful night 1,975 years ago, He did so with the intention of paying the ransom for the souls of mankind, every single one of His children.

He accomplished that very thing upon completing His mission. Hope was restored and the eternities were open to man once again because of His incredibly loving act of sacrifice. Death was forever crushed in the grave and the resurrection of man began when the Savior rolled forth the stone of His tomb and stepped into the sunshine.

Life does not end with death. It is merely, as my father liked to put it, our graduation. When he died, one year ago, he was so anxious to get on with finishing his mission of spreading the Gospel on the other side of the veil. He hated to leave my mother, the cancer left him no choice. I miss my father, but there is no question that he lives and will do so throughout the eternities.

So, as President Monson said, “Yes, Mrs. Patton. Arthur lives.” To each of you I repeat the same to those who have lost loved ones due to illness, senseless crime, accident, old age, whatever the case may be . . . your loved one lives.

I encourage all of you to click on the link to President Monson’s talk and read it in its entirety. He answers so many questions which plague the minds and hearts of those who have had to say goodbye: Yes Mrs. Patton – The Story Continues.

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