I’ve noticed a trend lately. I don’t know how long it’s been going on, but it seems that a popular plot device in many TV shows and movies involves visions or visitations of dead friends, relatives or strangers. For example, in Rescue Me, Dennis Leary’s character sees all his dead family members and the fire victims that he has failed to rescue; in House, Hugh Laurie’s character has halucinations about dead people telling him things he needs to know to solve his cases, etc. There have been several recent movies built around the premise of the dead coming back to harass the living, either as a horror device or a comedic one. Also, in real life, one family member has related to me that she has had dreams or visions of my mother that have occurred after her recent death. All of this has started me thinking about the Mormon belief in the spirit world.
I don’t know much about what other religions, even Christian religions, teach about the recently departed. In Mormon thought, my understanding has always been that we believe that the newly dead spend some time in the spirit world, in either “paradise” or “spirit prison” depending on some factors relating to their behavior in this life. But the location of the spirit world is what I really want to talk about. Supposedly, Brigham Young and other prophets have taught that the spirit world is right here, and that the spirits of the dead walk among us, though we can’t see them. Is that what you believe? If so, how difficult is it to believe that these spirits are sometimes able to communicate with us? Or that it is sometimes given to mortals to have the gift of speaking with the dead? What do you think, are these things possible in your view? Or is it all a bunch of Hollywood hooey?