Cover image: Halo Repair, Brian T. Kershisnik, 2005. Used with permission.
Sometimes on our life’s journey we feel alone, forgotten, or unsupported. Even though it may feel that way, it is not true. The truth is that whether we’re aware of it or not, when the need arises, God often sends His angels to be “round about” us to bear us up[i]…
No More Fear
All her life Lois Cottle had a fear of dying. She told me about a poignant angelic experience that ended that fear. She writes,
“I was in our garden one evening, in a hurry to get some kale leaves for a salad for dinner. Somehow, I slipped and fell forward on a piece of rebar. The rebar entered in the front of my leg just above the ankle and went up 10 ½ inches to the back of the calf. It stopped just before it broke the skin a few inches below the back of my knee.
“I tried to lift my leg off the rebar, but it was in too far and I couldn’t move. I called for help, knowing that our neighbor was in the front yard and prayed she would hear my cries. She finally did hear me then ran to get my husband.
“While I was struggling to lift my leg off the rebar, I had the sweetest peaceful feeling come over me. I knew there was someone from the other side with me and all fear left! That sweet feeling stayed with me until my husband came to my aid and took me to the hospital. Miraculously, it did not hit a bone or any nerves.
I have always had a fear of dying. While that peaceful feeling was there, I was reassured that someone would be with me when that time comes also. I am no longer afraid.” [ii]
Peace will always overcome fear when God dispatches His angels to help us in our extremities…
Hillside Filled with Angels
Janet Johnson shared a marvelous experience where she was surrounded by many angels helping her in a time of urgent need. She was at the Oregon Coast with her family and for fun they decided to dig huge side-by-side pits, and then dig a hole between them to touch hands. She writes,
“My husband did most of the digging, of the two five-foot deep pits. He was in one pit and our 7-year-old daughter, Kristie was in the other one. They had just touched fingers and had drawn back and were laughing when my husband heard an odd sound. Whump! When he stood up in the second pit, there was no longer ANY sign of the first pit. The sand hole had collapsed on our daughter. My husband dug furiously, and we sent for help.
“I gathered my three other children and said a prayer. I knew that no one can breathe under sand for 20 minutes and prayed that we could all accept the outcome.
“As I tried to figure out how to word my prayer, help came and they found Kristie’s fingers and followed her arm to her shoulder, and her head. The paramedics arrived on the scene soon after. They told us she was close to dying. Her limbs were already gray. They released her from the grip of the sand which had been crushing her chest. The amazing news is that she lived and has no lingering effects.
“Later as I was reading about the angel appearing to Alma, and thinking of how he came because of the prayers of Alma’s father, I had a very strange vision of all of our family and the two brothers, digging for my daughter Kristie. In my mind, I was high above us, looking down. I saw me kneeling in prayer with my kids, and I saw the hole and the men digging for her, but I also saw the hillside of the sand dune, filled with angels, all surrounding us. There were probably 40-50 angels, all ministering to us.
“I don’t believe I could have survived that time without the help of angels. I didn’t see them at the time, but I feel strongly that I was given that insight to remind me that I am indeed surrounded by help when I need it.”[iii]
Armies of Heaven in Our Defense
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland echoes Janet’s experience when he reminds us of the angelic help we can depend on in times of trouble. He said,
“In the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that… if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed.”[iv]
What a privilege it is to be the object of protection and assistance from angels.
Familiar Gesture from Deceased Mother
Kristen Openshaw gives an account of her “angel” mother helping her. She writes,
“My mother got sick and died of breast cancer when I was a teenager, but I remember how she always patted and comforted us.
“During my 11-year-old daughter’s cancer surgery, I was overcome with fear. While waiting for a doctor to come to the waiting room to tell us the results, I felt a soft hand on my cheek, gently cupping and patting my face. I knew that my mother was there in the room, waiting with me.”[v]
No more fear indeed! Angels can take away our fear as well as succor us in tremendously painful circumstances…
“Borne Up” from Anguish by an Angel
A woman named Kathy shared this transcendent experience she had at a time of great emotional upheaval.
“In the summer of 2011, my husband confirmed to me that he had had an affair. After a temple sealing, 3 children and 21 years of happiness, you just don’t expect anything like this to happen. I was devastated and he was confused. My first instinct was to bolt, so I jumped into the family van and drove a block and a half away up a hill to a nearby park.
“As I parked on an outcropping overlooking the town, I contemplated what my next move should be. I had one of those deep-down cries that causes your whole body to shudder upon simply trying to take a breath.
“Pouring my heart out in prayer to my Heavenly Father, I began begging for him to help me to know what to do next, and to please bless my children. As I was fervently pleading, asking through my tears, “What do I do?” I felt so very alone! “Gradually, I began to feel a warmth that began in my chest and grew outward. I then felt tangible arms envelope me and give me the biggest, most comforting hug I had ever experienced. I felt pure love. I was sitting alone in the driver’s seat of my van, and I knew a steering wheel was in front of me, but I knew if I just opened my eyes, I would see who was there, holding me.
“I thrust my tightly squeezed eyes open. My physical eyes could see no one, but my body and my heart knew otherwise. I don’t know who Heavenly Father permitted to come and comfort me, but I felt a love so strongly that I knew a family member was before me, and I knew in that moment that I was not alone and that Heavenly Father was mindful of me. I distinctly heard, ‘Keep your family together,’ and I knew I could go on, come what may. I then began thanking my Heavenly Father… I was strengthened with a resolve no one or no thing could break.
“I will be forever grateful to my Heavenly Father for sending me a personal comforter who helped me through the most difficult time of my life. We are never alone!” [vi]
Angels Assigned to Care for Us
“Many other intelligent beings, superior to us, no doubt take part in helping man to do his work on earth. There are angels and spirits who, no doubt, have assigned to them the care of the men and women who walk upon earth. Man is not alone; he walks in the midst of such heavenly company, from whom he may expect help if he seeks it properly and strongly.”[vii]
Asking for Angels
Sister Wendy Nelson agrees that we can “properly and strongly” seek and expect angelic help. She declares,
“Pray.. to our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ for those on the other side to be ‘dispatched’ to assist us. Perhaps a departed loved one could be sent to help you with whatever you need.
“Can you imagine the effort it took those angels who pushed from the rear of handcarts as they helped the pioneers over the steep, snowy, windy, freezing, jagged terrain of Rocky Ridge? If angels can manage that, they can certainly help you and me over our present-day Rocky Ridges!”[viii]
I doubt there has been a time in the earth’s history where there is more need for angelic intercession. We need to ask…
President Russell M. Nelson recently gave us a marvelous speech where he said this,
“When Joseph [Smith] was repeatedly betrayed by close associates or falsely accused or unjustly imprisoned, he was never alone. He trusted in the Lord and relied on familiar ‘divers angels’ he had come to know over many years. “You, too, can and will be guided by heaven in your work as you seek direction, guidance and inspiration from on high…In the same manner… you will never be left alone…The Prophet Joseph’s experience can also be your experience, as you seek for — and prepare yourself — to receive heaven’s help. I promise you that this is true.”[ix]
The more we seek heaven, the closer it will feel, and the less fear we will have. We are NOT alone! As we’ve seen in this article, we are frequently defended and buoyed up by beings who are marvelous extensions of God’s great love for us. Are we seeking and preparing for heaven’s help? It is there for the asking.
You are Welcome to CONTACT me and share your own angel experiences at [email protected].
[i] Doctrine and Covenants 84:88. “…my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
[ii] Lois Cottle, personal correspondence. Used with permission.
[iii] Janet Johnson, personal correspondence. Used with permission.
[iv]Jeffery R. Holland, BYU Devotional Address – March 1980.
[v] Kristen Openshaw, personal correspondence. Used with permission.
[vi] Kathy S. J. personal correspondence. Used with permission.
[vii] John A. Widtsoe, Rational Theology, p. 68. Italics added.
[viii] Wendy Watson Nelson, Covenant Keepers, p. 28-29
[ix] Russel M. Nelson ,2020 Mission Leadership Seminar, held Friday and Saturday, June 26 and 27, via technology. Italics added.