A Story of Forgiveness
By Ken K. Gourdin
The Deseret News of January 11, 2014 has an interesting recounting of a dream Brian Larson, of Riverton, Utah, had about his father, Bruce, who was murdered by Eugene Woodland when Brian was nine years old. See here, last accessed January 11: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865619377/Captain-Nemo-dies-dream-helps-his-victims-son-fully-forgive-him-years-later.html. Brian tells the Deseret News‘ Pat Reavy of the process he went through in striving to forgive Woodland. Then, Reavy writes:
[R]ather than experiencing feelings of anger or of ill will, [Brian] Larson dreamt that his father was one of the first people to greet Woodland.
“I had a vision that my father was one of the first people to welcome him on the other side and see him come across, fully forgiving of what took place and understanding of the situation because I don’t think Eugene Woodland would have done what he did if he had been completely himself at the time,” Larson said.
“Seeing him [Bruce Larson] in this dream, [Larson] welcomes him [Woodland] with open arms and wanted to teach him.”
Those who doubt the existence of an afterlife might be eager to dismiss Brian Larson’s experience. If it had been a waking vision, perhaps skeptics would dismiss it as Brian’s senses playing tricks on him. However, it was not an experience involving a purported external reality, but rather a dream. Still determined to dismiss it, they might say that the dream is simply a manifestation of Brian’s inner desires; that attempted explanation, however, becomes less tenable when one factors in the fact that Brian struggled (or at least, he went through a protracted process) to forgive his father’s killer.
I’m reminded of the line from Shakespeare: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Such experiences might do nothing to overcome the skepticism of those who don’t believe in an afterlife, but, they are not so easily explained away in the minds of those who do.
A word of explanation to those who do not follow the Mormon tradition. Our belief in 1 Peter 4:6, that the gospel is preached to the dead who did not hear it in this life, is literal. Says that scripture: “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
Brian’s newfound willingness to forgive is laudable, and is made possible by the atoning sacrifice of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.