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JAMES LESUEUR STORY

Brother James LeSueur was blessed by Patriarch Charles Evans with a remarkable patriarchal blessing in 1889. Patriarch Evans said in one part of the blessing, 'At the touch of thy guardian angel thy spiritual vision shall be quickened; thou shalt look beyond this world of flesh into a world of spirits and behold its beauty and order and commune with thy dead for their redemption."

Four years and four months after the blessing was given Brother LeSueur gives a remarkable fulfillment of that blessing.

"I had been in the missionary field about 26 months when I was handed a cablegram stating that my brother Frank had been killed by outlaws in Arizona while serving in a sheriff's posse, and that I was released to return home. I was horrified for Frank and I were like David and Jonathan in our affections. He had been called upon a mission but was told by the First Presidency to wait until I returned from mine. We had agreed when we last parted that we would gather genealogy, do temple work and any other work the Lord wanted us to do. Now I was deprived of his association. I asked the Elders to pray for me. Each one uttered a humble prayer in my behalf; then I prayed and asked the Lord why my brother was taken, and whether it was the Lord's will, and I also wanted to know why he was called home. I was answered by a voice speaking from above saying: "Your brother was called for the same purpose as was President Woodruff's son." I recalled having read of President Woodruff's testimony of his son being drowned in Idaho and of his going to the Lord in prayer and asking why he was taken, when an angel appeared and asked which of all his sons he would prefer to have in charge of missionary work among his relatives in the spirit world." My mourning for my brother was over, for I know he was well qualified for that all important service.

Although my sorrow had been assuaged by words of comfort form the Lord, still I had a longing to see my brother. I felt in my heart that I would be able to see him. After returning home and learning of the awful crime of the outlaws who took not only his life, but also five others, I went on an inspection trip with my father into the mountains where Frank had been in charge of several bands of sheep. As we rode on horseback from sheep camp to sheep camp, I felt that Frank was with us. Everywhere we went they spoke of what a wonderful young man he was.

When we retired at night to sleep under the canopy of heaven, I had a feeling that he was so near that I could easily see him. After my father had retired, I went out a short distance and engaged in prayer and asked the Lord for the permission of seeing him and of witnessing the service in which he was engaged. I had a firm belief that I would, and with that in mind, retired. As I thought about seeing him, all at once I felt a queer feeling and in a moment my spirit was outside my body. I saw my body lying beside my father and then the personage standing beside my spiritual body. The personage was dressed in white and I knew he was my guardian angel. He said, "Come, go with me." Up we went a short distance above the trees and then over hills, valleys, cities, seas, and passing over a great distance within a few moments, we presently came into a large city. As we entered the city, I knew the city was where the spirits lived who had not been resurrected. The city was very beautiful, the streets bordered with trees, flowers, and ornamental shrubbery. The buildings were not ornate with the fancy trimmings man adds for decoration, but with simple grandeur beyond description in beauty and order. In the midst of the city, we came to a large building covering an entire block, about like our ten acre blocks, and it was four stories high. A door was opened by a young lady, who beckoned us to enter. I wondered who the young lady was, as I looked to see if I had met her before. The attending angel said: "This young lady is a relative of yours, who, while living in mortality, was killed. She is now doing missionary service among your relatives who have died without a knowledge of the Gospel, and the people assembled here are your relatives waiting to hear the Gospel preached to them.

I looked over the congregation estimated that there were about as many as at conference time in the great Salt Lake Tabernacle (between ten and twelve thousand). They seemed eager to hear and were a highly intelligent group. The seating was arranged in the form of an amphitheater in circles, with one tier of seats above the other so that all could see and hear the speaker, who stood in the center of the room below. He also was dressed in white. In a clear, forceful address he explained the necessity of the atonement of the Lord and of faith in Him then led off to a discussion of repentance and baptism. I thought how like our missionaries in the field, for he used almost precisely the same arguments, except that after explaining the necessity of the second birth in water as a means of securing forgiveness of sins to the repentant believer, he pointed out that they could not be baptized in the spirit world, that baptism was an earthly covenant, and must be made while in mortality, but that it could be attended to vicariously for them by living relatives and friends acting as proxies and going into the baptismal fonts in the Temples and being baptized and then confirmed for them, where they would have the Holy Ghost conferred upon them and thus be baptized of the Spirit. He explained that there were faithful relatives now gathering their names for earthly records and going into these Holy Temples and doing the essential saving service for them.

As he finished his address to the attentive listeners, he turned around, for he had had his back toward me, and looked up at me and smiled the most joyous smile I had ever witnessed. I saw then it was my brother Frank! Truly he was filled with joy and I was completely filled with ecstasy, and I beheld the transcendent bliss that enveloped him. I thought, "Oh if I could attain such supernal joy I would be willing to go through any preparation that the Lord desires for me!

Standing by his side was a young lady of medium height, with round features, and large piercing eyes -- very beautiful. I wondered who she was and was told by the angel that she was to be Frank's wife. I looked at her carefully that I might know her when I met her again.

Then we passed into two other departments in the same building, also containing the spirits of my relatives who were in the spirit-prison. The first group was arranged in classes in groups of thirty to forty with a teacher over each group. They were being taught how to read, write, spell, etc., like our common grade schools, by efficient teachers, except that each class did not have a separate room. They did not seem to disturb each other and there was the utmost order and decorum exhibited and the spirit scholars seemed to be intent in learning. I though that here they are being prepared with sufficient education to be taught and fully appreciate the beautiful principles of the Gospel and that this, too, was a part of the missionary service given.

Then we passed into a third room also covering an entire block and containing many thousands of spirits. Here however, was confusion, quarreling, strife, and those attending these were trying to pacify them. Many seemed to refuse to be pacified and some seemed to require a force to keep them from attempted violence. I was told that these also were my relatives who lived on earth during the period of the dark ages, when so much sin, ignorance and war were rampant and when men were held as slaves to cruel masters and wicked potentates.

The guardian angel then said, 'We will go back to your body.' Out of the stately building, down through the city we passed, where the people seemed intent on service and all was order and beauty, and then over the country we sped with lightening speed, viewing the panorama with kaleidoscopic fleetness, and in a very short time we came again to the forest where the sheep camp was, and we were down beside the bed. I looked at my body and my sleeping father, and then out over the bedded sheep and the pines and up into the handsome features of the angel. He smiled and nodded a good-bye, and in an instant my spirit re-entered my body. I sat up, awoke my father and told him of my experience.

Afterward, as I told my mother of the young lady who had been killed and described her, she recognized her as my cousin, Nellie Oderkirk of Vernal, Utah, who while riding a horse was thrown off. Her foot caught in the stirrup, and she was dragged. When the horse was stopped she was dead. She was a very splendid young lady, and worthy of that service to which she was called.

A few days after this a Sister Kempe came from a neighboring town and sought interview with my parents saying that her daughter Jennie had died a few weeks previously and on her death-bed, had told her that my brother Frank LeSueur had appeared to her and asked that she become his wife. She had consented. Then he told her to inform her mother and tell her also that she was going to die and ask her mother to go and visit his folks and obtain their consent to the union. Some of the relatives could stand there as proxy for them to be sealed for eternity in the marriage covenant, in the Temple. My folks called me in to help decide the question. When shown the photo of the young lady, I recognized that she was the same young lady that I had seen standing beside him in the services conducted in the spirit house. The sealing was performed in the Salt Lake Temple.

Thus was the promise of the Patriarch fulfilled. James LeSueur lived a full life of service being a stake president and serving in the presidency of the Arizona Temple. He was instrumental in persuading the general authorities to build a temple in Arizona. (This narrative is found in personal family history writings in the LeSueur family and in Life Everlasting by Duane S. Crowther, pgs. 197-199)

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