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Lorenzo Dow Young

(1807-1895)
Lorenzo Dow Young

Lorenzo Dow Young's Vision of Heaven

[While Lorenzo was recuperating in Watertown from his accident as described yesterday, he met and married his wife, Persis Goodall. Soon after, a third remarkable spiritual manifestation occurred to Lorenzo. He recorded that he had a dream in which he thought he had died and left his body. He was met by a "heavenly messenger, or guide" who was dressed in white. He remembered seeing his wife and sister weeping over his death, and wanted to comfort them but could not. Lorenzo recorded:]

Space seemed annihilated. Apparently we went up, and almost instantly were in another world. It was of such magnitude that I formed no conception of its size. It was filled with innumerable hosts of beings, who seemed as naturally human as those among whom I had lived. With some I had been acquainted in the world I had just left. My guide informed me that those I saw had not yet arrived at their final abiding place. All kinds of people seemed mixed up promiscuously, as they are in this world. Their surroundings and manner indicated that they were in a state of expectation, and awaiting some event of considerable moment to them.

As we went on from this place, my guide said, "I will now show you the condition of the damned." Pointing with his hand, he said, "Look!"

I looked down a distance which appeared incomprehensible to me. I gazed on a vast region filled with multitudes of beings. I could see everything with the most minute distinctness. The multitude of people I saw were miserable in the extreme. "These," said my guide, "are they who have rejected the means of salvation, that were placed within their reach, and have brought upon themselves the condemnation you behold."

The expression of the countenances of these sufferers was clear and distinct. They indicated extreme remorse, sorrow and dejection. They appeared conscious that none but themselves were to blame for their forlorn condition.

This scene affected me much, and I could not refrain from weeping.

Again my guide said, "Now let us go."

In a moment we were at the gate of a beautiful city. A porter opened it and we passed in. The city was grand and beautiful beyond anything that I can describe. It was clothed in the purest light, brilliant but not glaring or unpleasant.

The people, men and women, in their employments and surroundings, seemed contented and happy. I knew those I met without being told who they were. Jesus and the ancient apostles were there. I saw and spoke with the apostle Paul.

My guide would not permit me to pause much by the way, but rather hurried me on through this place to another still higher but connected with it. It was still more beautiful and glorious than anything I had before seen. To me its extent and magnificence were incomprehensible.

My guide pointed to a mansion which excelled everything else in perfection and beauty. It was clothed with fire and intense light. It appeared a fountain of light, throwing brilliant scintillations of glory all around it, and I could conceive of no limit to which these emanations extended. Said my guide, "That is where God resides." He permitted me to enter this glorious city but a short distance. Without speaking, he motioned that we would retrace our steps.

We were soon in the adjoining city. There I met my mother, and a sister who died when six or seven years old. These I knew at sight without an introduction.

After mingling with the pure and happy beings of this place a short time, my guide said again, "Let us go."

We were soon through the gate by which we had entered the city. My guide then said, "Now we will return."

I could distinctly see the world from which we had first come. It appeared to be a vast distance below us. To me, it looked cloudy, dreary and dark. I was filled with sad disappointment, I might say horror, at the idea of returning there. I supposed I had come to stay in that heavenly place, which I had so long desired to see; up to this time, the thought had not occurred to me that I would be required to return.

I plead with my guide to let me remain. He replied that I was permitted to only visit these heavenly cities, for I had not filled my mission in yonder world; therefore I must return and take my body. If I was faithful to the grace of God which would be imparted to me, if I would bear a faithful testimony to the inhabitants of the earth of a sacrificed and risen Savior, and His atonement for man, in a little time I should be permitted to return and remain.

These words gave me comfort and inspired my bosom with the principle of faith. To me, these things were real. I felt that a great mission had been given me, and I accepted it in my heart. The responsibility of that mission has rested on me from that time until now.

We returned to my house. There I found my body, and it appeared to me dressed for burial. It was with great reluctance that I took possession of it to resume the ordinary avocations of life, and endeavor to fill the important mission I had received. I awoke and found myself in my bed. I lay and meditated the remainder of the night on what had been shown me.

Call it a dream, or vision, or what I may, what I saw was as real to every sense of my being as anything I have passed through. The memory of it is clear and distinct with me to-day, after the lapse of fifty years with its many changes.

>From that time, although belonging to no church, the Spirit was with me to testify to the sufferings and atonement of the Savior. As I had opportunity, I continually exhorted the people, in public and private, to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to repent of their sins and live a life of righteousness and good works.

(See "Lorenzo Dow Young's Narrative" in _Fragments of Experience, Sixth Book of the Faith-Promoting Series_, p. 22ff)

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