Debbie Reynolds passed away just a day after the death of her only daughter, Carrie Fisher. Reynolds’ last words have caused numerous people to think about life after death and immortality. As Reynolds and her only son, Todd Fisher, were planning a funeral for Carrie Fisher, Reynolds said to her son, “I miss her so much, I want to be with Carrie.” Todd Fisher said that those were his mother’s last words before she became ill and died a few hours later.
Several days after posting the above information, the Huffington Post published an article written by Mary Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sharing some of the Church’s beliefs about life after death. Bell’s article drew attention from several directions. What is it about a mother’s desire to be with her dead daughter that has caused so much interest in the next world?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that there is life after death and that we will see our loved ones again in the next world. The Church also teaches that marriage and family relationships can continue beyond the grave under certain conditions. This is the reason why the Church builds temples and encourages members to go to the temple.
Latter-day Saint leaders teach that everything members do in this life leads to the temple and that the temple is the pinnacle of the faith. President Gordon B. Hinckley states, “Every temple that this Church has built has in effect stood as a monument to our belief in the immortality of the human soul, that this phase of mortal life through which we pass is part of a continuous upward climb, so to speak, and that as certain as there is life here, there will be life there. That is our firm belief. It comes about through the Atonement of the Savior, and the temple becomes, as I have indicated, the bridge from this life to the net. The temple is concerned with things of immortality. We wouldn’t have to build a temple for marriages if we didn’t believe in the eternity of the family. We build it so the family may be eternal. All of the ordinances which take place in the house of the Lord become expressions of our belief in that fundamental and basic doctrine. The temple therefore becomes the ultimate in our system of worship and therefore is of great and significant importance to us” (interview with Vern Anderson of the Associated Press, 20 April 1999).
I believe that it is very possible that Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher are together in the next world. I believe that they are happy to be together and hope to be together forever. I also believe they will have the opportunity to have the gospel of Jesus Christ taught to them in its simplicity. If they accept the gospel, they will have to wait for some mortals to go to a temple to complete their ordinances for them. How long will they have to wait? That is a big question that I cannot answer. I simply know that they will have opportunities presented to them to continue to progress. I hope they accept those opportunities!