Elder Nelson’s experience on an airplane

President Russell M. Nelson

President Russell M. Nelson

Procrastination of repentance carries great risk. The number of tomorrows is limited. The conquest of physical addiction, for example, must be done while it is still possible to exert spiritual supremacy over temptations of the flesh. (See Romans 8:6; 2 Nephi 9:39.)

I remember vividly an experience I had as a passenger in a small two-propeller airplane. One of the engines suddenly burst open and caught on fire. The propeller of the flaming engine was starkly stilled. As we plummeted in a steep spiral dive toward the earth, I expected to die. Some of the passengers screamed in hysterical panic. Miraculously, the precipitous dive extinguished the flames. Then, by starting up the other engine, the pilot was able to stabilize the plane and bring us down safely.

Throughout that ordeal, though I felt that sudden death was coming, my paramount feeling was that I was not afraid to die. I remember a sense of returning home to meet ancestors for whom I had done temple work. I remember my deep sense of gratitude that my sweetheart and I had been sealed eternally to each other and to our children born and reared in the covenant. I realized that our marriage in the temple was our most important accomplishment. Honors bestowed upon me by men could not begin to approach the inner peace provided by sealings performed in the House of the Lord.

Temple ordinances made and covenants obeyed bequeath peace of mind regardless of when and where death might subsequently come to a person.

The disaster of sudden death or the ever-present possibility of catastrophe should impress upon our minds the importance of living each day to the very best of our ability. Should such tragedy strike, our soothing consolation can come from the Lord, whose atonement makes the resurrection a reality regardless of how or where one passes through the gateway to immortality and eternal life.


Russell M. Nelson, The Gateway we call death, chapter 4: When death comes without warning, p. 36-37.

About LDS Scripture Teachings

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