Cover image: “Us with Them and Them with Us” by Caitlin Connolly. See more from Caitlin at @caitlin_connolly_.

The bond we share with family on both sides of the veil is eternal, and the love we feel is deep and poignant.  When loved ones die, they are still intimately concerned about our lives and are often allowed to return to help us through difficult times or to share in our joy.  I have asked you to share some of your stories, and I am always amazed at what “family angels” are allowed to do…

Angel at the Superdome

When Chris Hawkes was serving his mission in Argentina in 1997 he received the tragic news that his father had died.  He was devastated, but his comfort came by staying busy teaching others the truths of the gospel.  When he returned home, he finally was able to grieve, but it was a heart wrenching time for him and he missed his dad terribly.

Chris and his dad always had a connection with and passion for football.  They both loved the Utah Utes. Chris eventually signed up to be an equipment manager for the team.  In 2009, after the Utah Utes went undefeated; they were awarded a spot in the Sugar Bowl to play Alabama, underdogs all the way.  Chris was there on the sideline helping them and was ecstatic when his team won!

After the game, Chris had the unique opportunity of walking out onto the dark field in the superdome all by himself. He was beyond excited about what the Utes had just accomplished! He knew this was a moment that would have meant the world to his Father and wished so badly he had been there with him. As he thought about that, he began to scream, WE DID IT!!!  DAD, CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS!!! WE DID IT!!

There on that dark field, in an empty stadium, he suddenly felt his Father. He KNEW his dad was with him and could feel the excited emotion they both shared! Chris cried as he talked with and felt his Father in that moment. Time seemed to stand still!  That Father/Son moment was an experience that Chris will cherish forever. [1]

President Joseph F. Smith taught specifically about angels who are given permission to help us in this lifetime.  He wrote,

When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth,      they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred, friends, and fellow-beings… our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends       who have passed away from this earth…[They] may have a mission given    them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing     from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and     instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.” [2]

Loving us is what “family angels” do best. 

Deceased Father Helping Through Loss of Beloved Pet

Gaylen Cardwell shared a very tender experience he had with his deceased father concerning a dying dog. He writes:

“I had a remarkable experience with my dad after he died.  It was the     week my wife and I decided my son’s beloved dog Lucky, had to be put down. I had sought counsel from several people for whom I had much   respect and had prayed earnestly about the decision. It was one of the toughest weeks as a dad I have ever had.  That night I went to the temple for my weekly temple service.  I had a heavy heart because of all that had happened. 

At the temple, after changing from my white clothes back into my street clothes, I suddenly felt my dad next to me.  I didn’t see or hear him, but I felt him put his arm around my shoulders, and I felt his love. I knew that he was as concerned for my son as he was for me. I knew he understood our pain; and I felt his assurance that, in time, it would all work out for the best.”[3]

Gaylen’s father was aware of the emotional challenge he was experiencing and was given permission to comfort him.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong spoke about this bond we have with our eternal family:

“As we honor our covenants, we may sometimes feel we are in the     company of angels.  And we will be – those we love and who bless us on this side of the veil and those who love and bless us from the other side of the veil.” [4]

Our desires are important to God and His angels.  Through angels, he often sends His message of love and support to fulfill our desires.  This next story involves a missionary seeing her deceased grandfather while on her mission.

Angel Appearance in Chapel Foyer

Paivi Lappalainen served a mission to Finland, which was the homeland of her parents, and many of her kinfolk were still living there.  Her heart’s desire was that one of her Finnish relatives would join the church while she was there. This prayer was answered in the most unusual way.

Her parents had served in Tampere Finland in the 60’s and had built the Chapel there. Paivi had luckily been baptized in its fount.  

One night, near the close of her mission, she and her companion Sister Evans were playing the piano and singing hymns in that exact chapel baptistery.  When it was time to leave, they decided to walk to the back to check the door.  She wrote:

“We felt a bubble of heavenly beings around us as we walked. After checking the back door, we came to the front doors to leave.  As we were     about to walk out the front doors, I felt the presence of my grandfather,   (who had been dead for several years), and I turned to my companion      and stated, ‘I believe my grandfather is here.’  I then looked back, and      there he was all dressed in white.”

Sister Lappalainen later discovered with awe that when she saw her grandfather in the hallway of that church, it was just two days after her brother had done his work in the temple.  She continues:

“My experience on my mission was an answer to a prayer in my heart.  Angels do appear. I am grateful to have experienced this myself.” [5]

Missionaries are often blessed with spiritual gifts enabling them to see or feel angels.  The following experience also illustrates this point.

Extraordinary Zone Conference

David Frederick Babbel (then Mission President of the Brasilia Brazil Mission,) had an extraordinary thing happen while at a zone conference in 2003.  He writes,

“I was speaking to about three dozen missionaries at a zone conference in Tocantins.  My topic concerned the sacred nature of their callings.  To illustrate the point, I read a testimony that my great aunt, Rebecca Bean,   had recorded four decades earlier.[6]  As I stood at the podium recounting her powerful testimony, I felt something very strong.  I had the distinct feeling that she was there near me, standing a few feet away, bearing witness to the truth of her sacred vision and testimony.  The feeling completely surprised me.  When I spoke a few seconds later…I felt an   incredible spirit all around the pulpit, and only with difficulty could I deliver the rest of my message.”

This was a powerful experience for President Babbel as well as the missionaries in attendance. He continues,

“After the conference, I received a letter… ‘President Babbel, I would like   to speak about the conference…When you were speaking…I know that I saw angels surrounding you, and their light was seen. Your countenance shone and the light of angels radiated.  There were many of them with you.’

“… another missionary [also] gave me a verbal account of what he saw, confirming the presence of the spirit of a woman near my right side and      bearing testimony as I spoke, as well as the presence of other spirits.[7]

It seems to me that whenever we feel the spirit in a profound way, we might consider that angels could be there also. Certainly, something to ponder.

Finally, I want to share a story that has touched me deeply.  A grandson’s life was saved because of the orchestration of his deceased grandmother. 

Life Altering Angelic Action

I have a dear friend I’ll call Allie. She and her husband drove to Utah for a niece’s wedding in September of 2016.  Her father, a widower, was now in an assisted living facility, and the house where he and his departed wife had reared their children had been undisturbed for many months.  Allie and her husband spent the night there. 

Oddly enough, Allie saw an envelope prominently displayed on the hutch there with the name “Jerry” on it.  That was the name of her 20-something son. She quickly surmised that when her dad was still living in his house, he must have mailed it to Jerry, and it had been returned.  At any rate, she grabbed it and brought it back home to give to her son.

When she arrived back home Jerry was acting strangely and told her he was very depressed.  She gave him the birthday card, and he opened it.  He read the contents and tearfully asked, “Is this a joke?  Is this real?  They told him, “Well yes…” They were confused.  Then Jerry showed them that this card was actually from his GRANDMA, (she had been dead for 3 years)! The card was dated 2010.

Later Jerry admitted to his mom that the birthday card saved his life.  He was at the house ready to commit suicide, but when he read the loving message from his beloved grandma telling him how much he meant to her and that she was proud of him, it touched his heart in a profound way.  Because of that message from her, he did not go through with it. 

The big question was, how did the card, apparently written years ago get on the hutch in plain view after all these months with no one living at that house?  Allie didn’t know, but she knew that her angel mother had somehow orchestrated this miracle from beyond the grave to save her troubled grandson’s life. [8]

These “family angels” know us, and what goes on in our lives matter to them.  They love us intimately and if there is a way, and if they have permission, there is little they won’t do for us. It is our privilege to ASK[9]  and receive help from these devoted beings. They never stop loving us and many are given power to help us through hard times as well as share in our joy. Love is forever!

If you have had angel experiences that you would like to share, I’d LOVE to hear them.  You Can CONTACT me at [email protected]


[1] Chris Hawkes, personal correspondence, Story used by permission.

[2] Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1970, pp. 435–36 Italics added).

[3] Gaylen Cardwell, personal correspondence, Story used with permission

[4] Gerrit W. Gong, “Covenant Belonging” October Conference, 2019.

[5] Paivi Lappalainen, personal correspondence, Story used with permission.

[6] https://www.ldsscriptureteachings.org/2016/12/08/rebecca-beans-experience/

[7] David Frederick Babbel, Mine Angels Round About You, p. 120-121, and additional personal correspondence, Italics added, Story used with permission.

[8] Personal correspondence from a close friend.  Story used with permission.

[9] Jeffrey R. Holland, “Pray without ceasing. Ask for angels to help you.” From “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul,” April Conference 2010.