I bought a framed print of this artwork by Brian Kershisnik this last week at the BYU Museum of Art. It spoke to me. Yesterday I taught a lesson in Relief Society on the Ministery of Angels. In March of 1842 when Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society, Eliza R. Snow recorded his comments. He said, “If you live up to these principles, how great and glorious will be your reward in the celestial kingdom! If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.”
Another prophet spoke of the love of heavenly messengers when he said, “I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. We begin to realize more and more fully, as we become acquainted with the principles of the Gospel, as they have been revealed anew in this dispensation, that we are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors, to our friends and associates and co-laborers who have preceded us into the spirit world . . . . . . And therefore, I claim that we live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; they can comprehend better than ever before, the weakness that are liable to mislead us into dark and forbidden paths. They see the temptations and the evils that beset us in life and the proneness of mortal beings to yield to temptation and to wrong doing; hence their solicitude for us and their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves. (Joseph Fielding Smith, as quoted in Life Everlasting, pp. 83-84, or CR, April 1916, 2–3.
President Joseph F. Smith said, “When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred, friends, and fellow-beings and fellow-servants. . . . In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh. ” Gospel Doctrine, pp. 435-436
My neighbor, Rick Kempton shared this experience with me from his personal journal: Elder Bruce R. McConkie and his siblings were in the habit of going to their parent’s home (Oscar and Vivian McConkie) each Christmas time. At Christmas time in 1965, Bruce brought his children with him for this visit. the families were preparing to leave [many had their coats already on] Oscar called for them to come back…saying, “I have something to tell you.” He informed them that he was about to die. Then said, “I don’t know yet what my assignment will be in the spirit world, but this I do know – I will not cease to love you, I will not cease to be concerned about you, I will not cease to pray for you, and I will not cease to labor in your behalf.” (Oscar W. McConkie passed away the following March.) …and he kept his promise. (The above story was told to Rick Kempton by Joseph Fielding McConkie, son of Bruce R. McConkie.)
I love feeling surrounded by loved ones on both sides of the veil. I believe the day will come when we will see how close we really are to those who have gone before us.
Here is a wonderful talk about The Ministry of Angels by Jeffrey R. Holland: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/the-ministry-of-angels?lang=eng