Why I Paint Angels – Unborn Children (Day 147 – Joshua and Stephen)

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I’ve always been extra sensitive. I don’t know why, other than God must have had a reason for me to be extra tender. A lot of things are very close to my heart, especially the need to have peace around me always and to ensure those around me are comforted. I’ve also always had an affinity to artwork and creating images that were not technically ‘there’ to begin with. When I was very young (~6yrs old) and first heard of my Mom & Dad’s first pregnancy, boy fraternal twins who passed away shortly after they were born at 20 weeks along, I knew immediately without a shadow of a doubt that I’d seen them, I knew them, and they are very much real and waiting to meet us again. My Mom and Dad were not so sure, because there wasn’t any official doctrine on miscarriages but there is an official statement on where our Church stands on abortion. That had me wondering why if the Church feels so strongly about abortion – there had to be more to it than protecting the growing fetus. More to it like protecting a real-live spirit – no matter the stage of development. As the years went on, any time the topic of the twins came up my mom would always tear up. As I got older I came to learn more about Joseph Smith and Emma and learned they too had miscarriages and Joseph Smith promised Emma she would have all of her children:

“Sister Elizabeth Revel, Emma’s nurse, explained that a few days earlier Emma had told her that Joseph came to her in a vision and said, “Emma, come with me, it is time for you to come with me.” “As Emma related it, she said, ‘I put on my bonnet and my shawl and went with him; I did not think that it was anything unusual. I went with him into a mansion, and he showed me through the different apartments of that beautiful mansion.’ And one room was the nursery. In that nursery was a babe in the cradle. She said, ‘I knew my babe, my Don Carlos that was taken from me.’ She sprang forward, caught the child up in her arms, and wept with joy over the child. When Emma recovered herself sufficient she turned to Joseph and said, ‘Joseph, where are the rest of my children.’ He said to her, ‘Emma, be patient and you shall have all of your children.’ Then she saw standing by his side a personage of light, even the Lord Jesus Christ.”” [‘My Great-Great Grandmother Emma Hale Smith‘]

When I shared this new found knowledge with my parents, and expressed to them that if Joseph promised this to Emma, certainly the same promise would apply to everyone else! This brought new light and comfort to my parents, and through their comfort this eased my heart too. ♥ In further study I found many other prophets held the same if not similar belief:

 “Elder Joseph Fielding Smith wrote that “there is no information given by revelation in regard to the status of stillborn children. However, I will express my personal opinion that we should have hope that these little ones will receive a resurrection and then belong to us.” (Doctrines of Salvation,2:280.)…

One issue involved is whether an unborn child in the mother’s womb is a living soul. The answer to that question may depend in part on the answer to another question—When does the spirit enter the body? On this second question some Church leaders have made comments. President Brigham Young said he believed that “when the mother feels life come to her infant it is the spirit entering the body.” (Journal of Discourses,17:143.)…

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, referring to “The Origin of Man,” expressed his opinion that the message “appears to bear out the concept that the eternal spirit enters the body prior to a normal birth, and therefore that stillborn children will be resurrected.” (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 768.)…

Though our knowledge of the plan of salvation does not explain why miscarriages and stillbirths take place, nor what the eternal result will be, we can know with confidence that God, who is the father of all spirits, is merciful and just. We can know also that there is hope. Worthy parents can trust in him and know that they and all his spirit children will—one way or another—receive a just reward for their efforts and sacrifice, perhaps in ways that we do not presently comprehend.” [‘I Have A Question – Questions of general gospel interest answered for guidance, not as official statements of Church policy‘]

What I’ve learned is on this matter, people find comfort in different ways. Some find comfort by not thinking about it /or not being reminded about it, leaving it to God and carrying on. That is OK. But others like myself find comfort by visual means. I paint what I need to see to find closure and comfort. Turning a heart-breaking event into a positive visual image (i.e. see ‘Little Angel – Baby Sarah‘) I believe this is why I have been given this gift and talent. So for those who seek this visual comfort, I want to help. I can help. I share the belief and hope that our prophets have expressed in the quotes above. I personally believe there is no harm in hope, there is no harm in believing. The Lord has promised us eternal joy and as stated above, God our Father is merciful and just and will make all things right in the hereafter. 🙂

Sincerely,

Rebecca Emily Cooper ♥

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