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9781667882789

Our Beloved

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781667882789

  • ISBN10:

    1667882783

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-08-15
  • Publisher: BookBaby
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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

Gilles, struggling to comprehend his brother's death, prays for solace in a church and overhears a plot to kidnap Latter-day Saint missionaries. His plea for help leads to mortal danger.

Elders Lewis and Collins, missionary companions in Paris, unaware of their perilous circumstance, are led by the Spirit to the door of one whom the Lord has prepared.

A journey into the Spirit World and a stunning resurrection promote faith that our own lives and our beloved relationships will continue beyond the grave.

Stories of deep family love will touch your heart and draw you closer to your own beloved ones.

Our Beloved encompasses many fascinating subjects, including pre-mortality, death and the Spirit World, reunions with loved ones after death, resurrection, deep parental love, heart-breaking loss, revelation, the fulfillment of prophecies, Latter-day Saint missionary life, a contrast of good and evil, and even some wonderful glimpses of Paris, France!

Author Biography

At the very core of my being there has always been an intense passion for life. Enthusiasm for the simple and the significant has been with me since childhood and has not diminished with age. Of course, I'm always eager for birthdays, holidays, vacations, and other special events; but I also delight in delicious food, beautiful music, dear friends, and even arising early for a meditative walk and the pleasure of a stunning sunrise.

My father was an optimist. While I was in my early teens, he creatively tricked me into listening to Earl Nightingale's series, Lead the Field. Nightingale's insights on the power of a great attitude and the importance of thinking creatively, rather than simply following the crowd, have had a huge impact on my life. My mother exuded a simple but profound faith in Christ. She was also exceptionally sensitive to the feelings of others and the goodness of their hearts. Her faith and compassion shaped my own heart and engendered a significant sensitivity to the Spirit and a genuine empathy for others.

Blessings, enormous blessings, have always been my good fortune. I was born into a stable, loving family with devoted, hard-working parents. Together we created a beautiful home; we traveled, camped, fished, water-skied, and had many meaningful family traditions. I have enjoyed the companionship of five caring siblings, wonderful friends, a supportive spiritual community, and the advantages of an excellent education. As an adult, I have been extremely blessed with a loving, inspiring wife. Barbara is a marvelous mother who has not only devoted her life to our family but also to her clinical social work. As a master of psychotherapy and mindfulness, she has spent decades helping hundreds of people deal with extremely difficult challenges. Each of our seven children is unique and fascinating, and they are all loving, sensitive, intelligent, and successful. We enjoy so many happy times as we support each other and continue our family traditions. Obviously, along with our many blessings, we have had our share of troubles, misunderstandings, and difficulties; but we always work through them, and become stronger as we do so.

In 1970, at the age of nineteen, I was called to serve as a missionary in France for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The culture and environment of Paris were unlike anything I had ever known! Some of my colleagues were uncomfortable with this, but I reveled in it! The pastries, the bread, the history and monuments, the parks, the Champs-Élysée, and especially the French language delighted me. Learning to communicate in French was a huge adventure and great satisfaction for me.

While young, I took my blessings for granted and figured that most people had the same advantages. My awareness of the world exploded with new insights and realizations as I endeavored to understand and serve the French people. I witnessed great opulence and heartbreaking poverty. I did my best to understand philosophies of life that were extremely foreign and often very disturbing to me; my mind and heart stretched and changed forever.

World War II had ended twenty-five years before I arrived in Paris, but the emotional trauma was still weighing heavily upon many of the people I met. Some were very bitter and inconsolable as a result of the horrors of war. The stories they told left a deep and lasting impression upon me. I couldn't understand why they wouldn't seek solace and healing by pursuing a faithful and prayerful investigation into the existence of God and the hope for life beyond mortality.

By December of 1970, I had been in Paris for four months and hadn't been very successful in connecting on a spiritual level with the French people. Christmas Eve of that year my colleagues and I went to midnight mass at Notre Dame Cathedral, expecting a cultural experience … but I had an unexpected and profound spiritual experience that night. The Spirit of God burned in my heart as I listened to the choirs of devout Catholic people singing of their faith in our Savior and their joy in His birth and ministry. The cathedral's candles and statues had seemed so strange to me; but that night, for the first time, I understood how these tangible artifacts helped strengthen the faith of these earnest people. I felt their faith, deeply; a comforting and palpable love for the French people blossomed in my heart. That love continues in my soul to this day.

After two years of service, I returned home as a changed person with a much broader understanding of the world. Subsequent travels to Europe and Asia have been intriguing and enlightening in the same way. At the University of Utah, I decided to follow my heart and study psychology, rather pursuing more lucrative academic paths. While finishing my bachelor's degree, I volunteered for a year-long service in the Peace Corps Vista program. I was assigned to work locally at Granite Alternative School, helping high school dropouts remediate their academic skills and earn high school diplomas. Teaching these young people who had come from challenging backgrounds was extremely stimulating and satisfying to me. During that year I met my sweetheart, Barbara Conover, a fellow volunteer, and we were married soon after.

I learned that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wanted to begin a religious education program (seminary) for young people at Granite Alternative School, and I was hired to create and build it. That opportunity launched a forty-year career teaching in the Seminary and Institute program of the LDS Church. I taught seminary at alternative schools, the Utah State Hospital Youth Center, youth homes, detention centers, young mothers programs, middle schools, and high schools. I also became involved with Adult and Community Education, helping people in the Granite and Provo School Districts earn GEDs and adult high school diplomas. While working for the Provo School District I had an interesting assignment teaching incarcerated adult sex offenders. For close to thirty years, I taught seminary by day and adult and community school by night. For seventeen of those years, I was a full-time Adult and Community Education Coordinator, developing and overseeing evening public educational programs at several high schools. During this time, I also earned a master's degree in International Relations from Brigham Young University. I wanted to pursue a doctoral program, but Barbara and I were raising seven children and I needed to put my energy into income-generating activities.

I actually began writing Our Beloved as one of my sons was facing a life-threatening illness. Steven, my dear younger brother, had died a year earlier at the age of forty-eight. My father was suffering the effects of a stroke, and my mother had just passed away unexpectedly. I was devastated and began exploring my feelings of loss. Reflecting on the Latter-day Saint belief that Lucifer, a son of our Heavenly Parents, had become lost to them, I understood more deeply what they must have gone through. Being a teacher of the Bible and Latter-day Saint scriptures, I became even more profoundly aware of the suffering of past prophets and holy people who had experienced tremendous loss. My attention then broadened to the suffering of all people, generating many questions and insights.

I wrote as often as my busy life would allow. In 2011 I was diagnosed with cancer, requiring radical surgery and many weeks of recovery. I was forced to contemplate my own mortality, and I had time to study scriptural teachings of life after death. I also read innumerable accounts of near-death experiences, and spent much time pondering the end of mortal life and the hope that life continues after death. During my recovery, I had more time to write, and Our Beloved developed and progressed. I've self-published several versions of this book, and as time has gone by, I've polished it up; I believe it is finally complete. It's more than just a complex story. It is my way of creatively sharing the experiences and lessons I've learned over a good, long life of trials and errors, successes and failures, inspirations and enlightenment.

Throughout my years of teaching the Bible and Latter-day Saint scriptures, I have gained a deep love of the holy words of God; hence, the many footnotes you'll find in my book. Studying and contemplating the scriptures and music referred to by those footnotes would be a worthy and enlightening endeavor. My faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ is strong. I feel great peace knowing that each of us has the astoundingly good fortune of being children of a Father in Heaven, and spiritual siblings of our great Atoning Redeemer, both of whom are full of grace, love, compassion, forgiveness, and the Light of Life. There is much hope and assurance that all the vicissitudes of life shall eventually be for our good, and the sorrows of our hearts will be healed.

I hope that your reading of Our Beloved will be entertaining and uplifting. Thanks for exploring my book!

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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