A Beautiful Dream
by Mary Bannister Russell
(Editor's Note: This 3 page, signed,typescript was found among Mary's files after she passed away. It appears to be an extract from her Life Story, but may have been typed prior to the writing of her story. - Clyde B. Russell)
It was in the early morning of May first, 1934, that I was the beneficiary of a most beautiful dream. I was in a building that was not familiar to me, yet I knew it to be a chapel, and groups of saints were standing around greeting each other as we always do. Whether it was before a meeting or after a meeting I do not know, and it is immaterial. As I stood talking to Sister _____, we were both impelled to turn our eyes to the speakersí stand on the platform, near which stood a group of men talking together. One of these men was more prominent than the others, and Sister _____ turned to me saying, "Is it really he?" And simultaneously, we repeated, "Yes, it is the prophet, Joseph Smith."
My recognition seemed to create a telepathy that caused the prophet to raise his head and look in my direction. Instantly I recognized him as a dear friend whom I had known for ages and ages, though our paths had not crossed in earth life; and with arms outstretched to embrace, we left our associates and started towards each other, he coming down in the platform and steps as in our Dimond chapel, and myself walking down the aisle.
And then a strange thing happened to me. In the few seconds that it took us to draw near each other, while my heart seemed almost to burst with the joy and delight of reunion with a dear friend, it seemed as if a veil was torn from my eyes and brain, and I relived all the high spots in my life, and I saw and knew clearly what I had believed all my life - that the Gospel as restored through this prophet had been the whole purpose and guiding power of every step of my life.
I saw again the two missionaries who had brought the Gospel to my mother and myself, a tiny girl of four or five years. I saw myself at thirteen going into the ocean for baptism. I saw myself at nineteen standing on the first class deck of a large steamer looking down on a tiny black spot on the quay which I knew to be my mother. I felt as though it had happened but a moment ago - the terrific ache in my heart at leaving her, knowing that after many hours in the train, she would arrive home to an empty nest, save for my youngest sister of twelve years. For these were war days, and father was on the perilous ocean somewhere, and one brother was in the trenches, another was in America, and now I too would be gone. Mingling with the heaviness of my heart was the clarion call of the song that stirs the spirit of gathering in the hearts of Saints, "O Ye Mountains High", and I felt again that most impelling urge that was above all other feeling - Ephraim being pushed from the four corners of the earth to a gathering place. The scene changed, and I was in Zion, lonely and homesick but carrying on. Then I was in the Temple being married and working for my kindred.
All these scenes passed before my mind in the few seconds that it took me to reach the prophet. I know no language to express the clarity with which I knew the significance of each act of my life, whereas before, I had only belief. When we were within a step or two of meeting each other in an embrace, the prophet reluctantly dropped his arms in a gesture indicating futility, as he said, "Oh, I must tell you. I am still in the spirit. This body which you see is the body of my spirit, but I expect shortly to take up my body again." And across my mind ran his own recorded words "A righteous spirit will not attempt to shake hands, for they will not deceive."
The dream faded away, and I awoke and repeated it to my husband. I attach no significance to the dream, except that it was to me a conviction of my belief in the purpose of life and a foretaste of the heavenly joy we will experience when we meet again our loved friends who have gone before.
I say again what I said to my husband after I had related my dream. "Oh Clyde, if that is the indescribable joy we will know when we meet our loved ones again, let us so live that no act of ours will cause our outstretched arms to droop, or our eyes to lower with a single tinge of remorse as we embrace never to part again."
May this be our happy lot.