My dear friend died and her funeral will be on Thursday. Her daughter wants me to say the closing prayer at her funeral. How does such a thing usually go? I haven't been to many funerals. Is it a normal prayer with an emphasis on our appreciation for having known the deceased?
The funeral is quite a distance away and I'm 90% sure I'm going, but I'd hate to have my name on the program and not make it. What do you think?
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03-17-2008, 06:58 AM #1katrackDecorating/Gardening/Mormon Boards Over 5,000 Posthas no status.
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Closing prayer at a funeral?
03-17-2008, 08:21 AM #2
I'd say you should plan on going (and as always, if something comes up, what can you do!?)
Perhaps you could read the closing prayer given at Pres. Hinckleys funeral for an outline (is that included in the special insert in this months ensign?)Me (32) + DH (34) + (IVF x 2) =
T (5 years, born at 26w) + M (2.5+ years, born at 38w)
Back for IVF#3 after a failed FET - in 2ww
[CENTER]My book review blog
03-17-2008, 09:49 AM #3
I just attended one on Friday. I think appreciation for the deceased and to also ask for blessings of comfort for the family and those that were close to the individual. I often hear people sort of express their testimony (short of course ) or gratitude for the knowlege of families being together forever sort of thing.
03-17-2008, 10:08 AM #4
Below is information off the Church website. The advice you have already gotten is great. I think remembering to ask for comfort and thanking Heavenly Father for his plan and the blessing of knowing Peggy. Making it a heart felt prayer is the most important part and I am sure yours will be. I hope you are doing better today.
We are all children of God. He loves us and knows our needs, and He wants us to communicate with Him through prayer. We should pray to Him and no one else. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded, "Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name" (3 Nephi 18:19). As we make a habit of approaching God in prayer, we will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Our desires will become more like His. We will be able to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that He is ready to give if we will but ask in faith.
Principles of Prayer
Our Heavenly Father is always ready to hear and answer our prayers. The power of our prayers depends on us. As we strive to make prayer a part of our lives, we should remember this counsel:
Make our prayers meaningful. The prophet Mormon warned that if anyone "shall pray and not with real intent of heart . . . it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such" (Moroni 7:9). To make our prayers meaningful, we must pray with sincerity and "with all the energy of heart" (Moroni 7:48). We must be careful to avoid "vain repetitions" when we pray (see Matthew 6:7).
Use language that shows love, respect, reverence, and closeness. The application of this principle will vary according to different languages. If we pray in English, for example, we should use the pronouns of the scriptures when we address God—Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine, rather than the more common pronouns you, your, and yours. Regardless of the language, the principle remains the same: When we pray, we should use words that appropriately convey a loving, worshipful relationship with God.
Always give thanks to Heavenly Father. We should "live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon [us]" (Alma 34:38). As we take time to remember our blessings, we will recognize how much our Heavenly Father has done for us. We should express our thanks to Him.
Seek Heavenly Father's guidance and strength in all we do. Alma counseled his son Helaman: "Cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day" (Alma 37:36–37; see also Alma 34:17–26).
Remember the needs of others as we pray. We should offer prayers "for [our] welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around [us]" (Alma 34:27). We should ask our Heavenly Father to bless and comfort those in need.
Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost so we will know what to include in our prayers. The Holy Ghost can teach us to pray and guide us in the things we say (see Romans 8:26; 2 Nephi 32:8; 3 Nephi 19:9, 24). He can help us pray "according to the will of God" (D&C 46:30).
When we make a request through prayer, we must do all we can to assist in its being granted. Heavenly Father expects us to do more than merely ask Him for blessings. When we have an important decision to make, He often will require that we "study it out in [our] mind" before He will give us an answer (see D&C 9:7–8). Our prayers for guidance will be only as effective as our efforts to be receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. Our prayers for our own welfare and for the welfare of others will be in vain if we "turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need" (Alma 34:28).
If we have a difficult task before us, Heavenly Father is pleased when we get on our knees and ask for help and then get on our feet and go to work. He will help us in all our righteous pursuits, but He seldom will do something for us that we can do ourselves.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ counseled: "Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:6). Personal, private prayer is an essential part of our spiritual development.
At least every morning and every night, we should find a place that is free from distractions and kneel in humility and commune with our Heavenly Father. Although sometimes we may need to pray silently, we should make an extra effort at times to pray vocally (see D&C 19:28; 20:51).
Prayer is two-way communication. As we close our prayers, we should take time to pause and listen. At times, Heavenly Father will counsel, guide, or comfort us while we are on our knees.
We should never give in to the idea that we are not worthy to pray. This idea comes from Satan, who wants to convince us that we must not pray (see 2 Nephi 32:8). If we do not feel like praying, we should pray until we do feel like praying.
The Savior has commanded, "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work" (D&C 10:5). Although we cannot be continuously on our knees, always offering a personal, private prayer, we can let our hearts be "full, drawn out in prayer unto [God] continually" (Alma 34:27; see also 3 Nephi 20:1). Throughout each day, we can maintain a constant feeling of love for our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son. We can silently express gratitude to our Father and ask Him to strengthen us in our responsibilities. In times of temptation or physical danger, we can silently ask for His help.
In addition to commanding us to pray in private, the Savior has exhorted us to pray with our families. He said, "Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed" (3 Nephi 18:21).
We should make family prayer a consistent part of our family's life. Every morning and every evening, we should kneel together in humility, giving each family member frequent opportunities to say the prayer and uniting in gratitude for the blessings Heavenly Father has given us. We should also unite in faith to plead for the blessings we need and to pray for others.
Through regular family prayer, our family members will draw nearer to God and to each other. Our children will learn to communicate with their Father in Heaven. We will all be better prepared to serve others and withstand temptations. Our homes will be places of spiritual strength, a refuge from the evil influences of the world.
At times we may be asked to offer a public prayer, perhaps in a Church meeting or class. When we receive this opportunity, we should remember that we are communicating with Heavenly Father, not giving a public sermon. We should not worry about what others may think of what we say. Instead, we should offer a simple, heartfelt prayer.
Receiving Answers to Prayer
The Savior taught, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matthew 7:7–8). To the Nephites He said, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you" (3 Nephi 18:20).
Heavenly Father hears our prayers. He may not always answer as we expect, but He does answer—in His own time and according to His will. Because He knows what is best for us, He may sometimes answer no, even when our petitions are sincere.
Answers to prayer come in many ways. They often come through the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost (see "Revelation"). They may come in the circumstances of our lives or through the kind acts of those around us. As we continue to draw near to our Heavenly Father through prayer, we will recognize more readily His merciful and wise answers to our pleadings. We will find that He is our "refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
See also Faith; Fasting and Fast Offerings; Worship
—See True to the Faith (2004), 118–23
I thought I would add this as I know music means a lot to you. More food for thought.
Secret Prayer Next > < Previous Print
“144: Secret Prayer,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 144
1. There is an hour of peace and rest,
Unmarred by earthly care;
’Tis when before the Lord I go
And kneel in secret prayer.
May my heart be turned to pray,
Pray in secret day by day,
That this boon to mortals giv’n
May unite my soul with heav’n.
2. The straight and narrow way to heav’n,
Where angels bright and fair
Are singing to God’s praise, is found
Thru constant secret prayer.
3. When sailing on life’s stormy sea,
’Mid billows of despair,
’Tis solace to my soul to know
God hears my secret prayer.
4. When thorns are strewn along my path,
And foes my feet ensnare,
My Savior to my aid will come,
If sought in secret prayer.
Text and music: Hans Henry Petersen, 1835–1909
Last edited by Suebee; 03-17-2008 at 10:15 AM.Suebee
Life is one surprise after another!
03-17-2008, 10:19 AM #5
You know me, I can't help but completely research a subject.
A Time for Reverence
Elder Boyd K. Packer
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
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Boyd K. Packer, “Funerals—A Time for Reverence,” Ensign, Nov 1988, 18
Elder Scott, we welcome you to the quorum. Elder Richard Scott is a man in whom the Spirit is, and he is sustained by his lovely wife, Jeanene, who is not one whit less a spiritual power.
And to these four brethren who have joined the First Quorum of the Seventy we say, your fellowship will be enjoyed and your help very much appreciated.
A neighbor once told me that as a missionary in earlier days he and his companion were walking along a ridge in the mountains of the South. They saw people gathering in a clearing near a cabin some distance down the hillside. They had come for a funeral. A little boy had drowned, and his parents had sent for the preacher to “say words.” The minister, who rode a circuit on horseback, would rarely visit these isolated families. But when there was trouble, they would send for him.
The little fellow was to be buried in a grave opened near the cabin. The elders stayed in the background as the minister stood before the grieving family and began his sermon.
If the parents had hoped for consolation from this man of the cloth, they were disappointed. He scolded them severely because the little boy had not been baptized. He told them bluntly that their little son was lost in endless torment, and it was their fault.
After the grave was covered and the neighbors had gone, the elders approached the grieving parents. “We are servants of the Lord,” they told the sobbing mother, “and we’ve come with a message for you.”
As the grief-stricken parents listened, the elders unfolded the plan of redemption. They quoted from the Book of Mormon, “Little children need no repentance, neither baptism” (Moro. 8:11) and then bore testimony of the restoration of the gospel.
I have sympathy for that itinerant preacher, for he was doing the best he could with the light and knowledge he had. But there is more than he had to give.
What comfort the truth brings at times of sorrow! Since death is ever present with us, a knowledge of how essential it is to the plan of salvation is of immense, practical value. Every one of us should know how and why it came to be in the beginning.
Mortal death came into the world at the Fall.
It is easier for me to understand that word fall in the scriptures if I think both in terms of location and of condition. The word fall means to descend to a lower place.
The fall of man was a move from the presence of God to mortal life on earth. That move down to a lower place came as a consequence of a broken law.
Fall may also describe a change in condition. For instance, one can fall in reputation or from prominence. The word fall well describes what transpired when Adam and Eve were driven from the garden. A transformation took place in their bodies. The bodies of flesh and bone became temporal bodies. Temporal means temporary. The scriptures say, “the life of all flesh is the blood thereof.” (Lev. 17:14; see also Deut. 12:23; Joseph Fielding Smith, comp., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, pp. 199–200, 367.)
President Kimball explained, “Blood, the life-giving element in our bodies, replaced the finer substance which coursed through their bodies before. They and we became mortal, subject to illness, pains, and even the physical dissolution called death.” (Ensign, Sept. 1978, p. 5).
After the transformation of the Fall, bodies of flesh and bone and blood (unlike our spirit bodies) could not endure. Somehow the ingredient of blood carried with it a limit to life. It was as though a clock were set and a time given. Thereafter, all living things moved inexorably toward mortal death.
Temporal, I repeat, means temporary. And so, death is the reality of life. When conditions develop because of age or illness or accident, the spirit is separated from the body.
Death can be tragic with the loss of one upon whom others depend for happiness, for many die too young. Sometimes it is slow in coming to one who yearns to join the loved ones who have gone before. Some sleep peacefully away, while others endure long-suffering. And we know that death can be terrible and violent. To threaten or to take life, even our own in suicide, is to offend God, for He “in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man.” (Ether 8:19.)
It is my conviction that in the spirit world prior to mortal birth, we waited anxiously for our time to enter mortality. I also believe that we were willing to accept whatever conditions would prevail in life. Perhaps we knew that nature might impose limits on the mind or on the body or on life itself. I believe that we nevertheless anxiously awaited our turn.
One of the most solemn and sacred meetings of the Church is the funeral for a departed member. It is a time of caring and support when families gather in a spirit of tender regard for one another. It is a time to soberly contemplate doctrines of the gospel and the purposes for the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Except where burial is prohibited by law, we are counseled to bury our dead. There are important symbolic references to burial in the ordinance of baptism and elsewhere in the doctrines of the Church.
Where required by law, alternate methods of disposing of the remains do not nullify the Resurrection. On occasion a body will be lost through accident or military action. A funeral is nevertheless very important. For we take comfort in the promises in the scriptures of a complete restoration of both the body and the spirit.
A comforting, spiritual funeral is of great importance. It helps console the bereaved and establishes a transition from mourning to the reality that we must move forward with life. Whether death is expected or a sudden shock, an inspirational funeral where the doctrines of resurrection, the mediation of Christ, and certainty of life after death are taught strengthens those who must now move on with life.
Many attend funerals who do not come to church regularly. They come subdued in spirit and are teachable. How sad when an opportunity for conversion is lost because a funeral is less than it might have been.
Reason to Be Concerned about Funerals
There is reason to fear that we are drifting from the sacred spirit of reverence which should characterize funerals. The Brethren have discussed this in council meetings and are concerned.
I have read what the revelations teach us concerning mortal death, and the instructions given by the Brethren concerning funerals.
May I review some of that counsel. I hope that bishops will pay attention because the responsibility for arranging and conducting funerals in the Church rests upon the bishopric.
Funerals Are Church Meetings
Funerals held under the direction of the priesthood are Church meetings. They have been likened to sacrament meetings. I quote from a priesthood bulletin:
“It is requested that henceforth all funerals conducted under the auspices of the officials of the Church follow the general format of the sacrament meeting with respect to music, speaking, and prayers. Music should be used at the beginning of the service prior to the opening prayer and possibly after the invocation also, as in our Sunday meetings. The closing portion of the funeral likewise should follow our customary pattern of having a final musical number immediately before the concluding prayer. Where feasible, a choir could very well be used on the musical program.
“With respect to speaking, it should be kept in mind that funeral services provide an excellent opportunity for teaching the basic doctrines … in a positive manner. …
“Following these suggestions will help to keep our services in line with our established pattern and will avoid practices now so commonly followed elsewhere.” (Priesthood Bulletin, Apr. 1972.)
Bishops always show tender regard for the family of the deceased, and insofar as their requests accord with established policy, they may willingly be met. On occasion a family member has suggested, sometimes even insisted, that some innovation be added to the funeral service as a special accommodation to the family. Within reason, of course, a bishop may honor such a request. However, there are limits to what may be done without disturbing the spirituality and causing it to be less than it might be. We should remember, too, that others attending the funeral may suppose that innovation is an accepted procedure and introduce it at other funerals. Then, unless we are careful, an innovation which was allowed as an accommodation to one family in one funeral may come to be regarded as expected in every funeral.
Occasionally a mortician, out of a desire to be of help and not understanding the doctrines and procedures of the Church, will alter a funeral service. Bishops should remember that when funerals are held under priesthood auspices the service should conform to the instructions given by the Church. We should regard the bishop rather than the family or the mortician as the presiding authority in these matters.
In recent years, there has been a tendency to stray from the accepted pattern for funerals. Sometimes the casket is kept open during the funeral, and members are expected to file by at the close of the funeral. And, instead of the simple family prayer, talks, and even musical numbers, have been added at the closing of the casket or at the cemetery before the grave is dedicated. I do not refer to graveside services which may on occasion take the place of a formal funeral. I refer to those alterations of the approved simple agenda for funerals.
When innovations are suggested by family members, morticians, or others, which are quite out of harmony with that agenda, the bishop should quietly persuade them to follow the established pattern. It is not a rigid pattern and allows sufficient flexibility to have each funeral personally appropriate for the deceased.
There now seems to be the expectation that members of the immediate family must speak at funerals. While that may not be out of order, it should not be regarded as required. Family members ordinarily give the family prayer and dedicate the grave.
If family members do speak, and I repeat, it is not a requirement, they are under the same obligation to speak with reverence and to teach the principles of the gospel.
Sometimes family members tell things that would be appropriate at a family reunion or at some other family gathering but not on an occasion that should be sacred and solemn. While quiet humor is not out of order in a funeral, it should be wisely introduced. It should be ever kept in mind that the funeral should be characterized by spirituality and reverence.
One statement from the instructions refers to events other than the funeral service itself. I quote:
“The bishop should urge members to maintain a spirit of reverence, dignity, and solemnity at gatherings connected with funerals.” (General Handbook of Instructions, Oct. 1985, pp. 2-6; italics added.)
That should be kept in mind if a viewing is to be held. Viewings are not mandatory.
Funerals generally bring relatives and friends from distant places. There is the tendency to greet one another joyfully and, unfortunately, at times noisily. Some visit at length, showing little regard for others who are waiting to pay their respects. Both the irreverence and the delay are discourtesies from which the spirituality of the occasion suffers.
Renewing of friendships should appropriately be made outside the room where the viewing is taking place. Local leaders need to caution us gently on this matter. Surely we do not want to be known as an irreverent people.
There is the need to reestablish the spirit of reverence at funerals whether in a chapel, a mortuary, or at other locations.
We should always have a tender regard for the feelings of the bereaved.
We are close, very close, to the spirit world at the time of death. There are tender feelings, spiritual communications really, which may easily be lost if there is not a spirit of reverence.
At times of sorrow and parting one may experience that “peace … which passeth all understanding” (Philip. 4:7) which the scriptures promise. That is a very private experience. Many have come to marvel in their hearts that such a feeling of peace, even exaltation, can come at the time of such grief and uncertainty.
Testimonies are strengthened by such inspiration, and we come to know, personally know, what is meant when the Lord said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:18.)
The Comforter works, as far as I have experience, in moments of reverence and quiet and solemnity. How sad if our own conduct is irreverent at a time when others are seeking so desperately for spiritual strength.
The revelations tell us that “thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.” (D&C 42:45.)
A funeral may be a happy-sad occasion when death comes as a welcome release. Nevertheless, it is a sacred occasion and should be characterized by solemnity and reverence.
Alma’s son thought that death was unfair. In his remarkable sermon on repentance, Alma taught his son about death, saying:
“Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.” (Alma 42:8.)
Alma did not say that setting mortal death aside would merely delay or disturb the plan of happiness; he said it would destroy it.
The words death and happiness are not close companions in mortality, but in the eternal sense they are essential to one another. Death is a mechanism of rescue. Our first parents left Eden lest they partake of the tree of life and live forever in their sins. The mortal death they brought upon themselves, and upon us, is our journey home.
Three elements combine in a funeral as in no other meeting: the doctrines of the gospel, the spirit of inspiration, and families gathered in tender regard for one another.
May we reintroduce the attitude of reverence each time we gather to memorialize one who has moved through the veil to that place where one day each of us will go.
No consolation in parting compares with that “peace … which passeth all understanding.” That is fostered by reverence. Reverence, please, brothers and sisters, reverence, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
^ Back to topSuebee
Life is one surprise after another!
03-17-2008, 10:27 AM #6
Okay one more and I will go take a shower and get on with my day.
What Is This Thing That Men Call Death?
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SALT LAKE CITY 12 February 2008 “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14). So inquired the anguished Job. On this one fundamental question hang much of the hopes and fears of mankind. And how one answers it will largely determine not only how one approaches death but also how one lives life.
The passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley has moved Latter-day Saints to reflect more deeply upon the meaning of death and its implications for how we live our lives. Death is not the final stop on life’s path but a mere gateway that leads to an eternal course that we continually shape by our choices. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles likened the long journey of human life to “a grand three-act play” in which the first act is a previous pre-mortal existence with God, the second act is the trial of this mortal life, and the third act is a glorious future of eternity. Such a broad vision of life endows each moment with eternal significance.
During President Hinckley’s recent funeral, the choir sang a hymn that he himself composed titled “What Is This Thing That Men Call Death?” There is no doubt how he answered Job’s question. Echoing his typical brightness and optimism, the hymn proclaims that death “’Tis not the end but genesis of better worlds and greater light.”
Accordingly, Mormon funerals are typically marked by an atmosphere of hopefulness and peace. They generally are not burdened by the inconsolable grief and despair so often seen in other funerals. Latter-day Saints who mourn the death of loved ones are lightened by the assurance and understanding that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers. In addition, some might be surprised by the lack of formal ritual in these funerals. The commemoration service is conducted by a lay minister and features heartfelt tributes and comforting music. Moreover, the basic format, tone and length of President Hinckley’s funeral are typical of what might be seen in the funerals of regular Church members.
Regarding the undaunted way in which Latter-day Saints confront death, well-known literary scholar Harold Bloom proclaimed the following: “What is the essence of religion? … Religion rises inevitably from our apprehension of our own death. To give meaning to meaninglessness is the endless quest of all religion. … Of all religions that I know, the one that most vehemently and persuasively defies and denies the reality of death is the original Mormonism of the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator Joseph Smith.”
Most important, this affirmation of life in the face of death arises from faith in God’s abundant mercy. Joseph Smith taught that God is “more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive.” It is on such a foundation that the fears of death can be reconciled with the hopes of life.Suebee
Life is one surprise after another!
03-17-2008, 10:32 AM #7
I just can't stop once I get started but this gives the direction that funeral services should be just like Sacrament service including the prayer.
Procedure in Funeral Services. “Pertaining to the conduct of funerals, we bring the following to your attention:
“A custom has developed which often eliminates music from both the beginning and the end of these services, placing it only near the middle of the program. It is requested that henceforth all funerals conducted under the auspices of officials of the Church follow the general format of the sacrament meeting with respect to music, speaking, and prayers. Music should be used at the beginning of the service prior to the opening prayer and possibly after the invocation also, as in our Sunday meetings. The closing portion of the funeral likewise should follow our customary pattern of having a final musical number immediately before the concluding prayer. Where feasible a choir could very well be used on the musical program.
“With respect to speaking, it should be kept in mind that funeral services provide an excellent opportunity for teaching the basic doctrines of the Church in a positive manner.
“It is not necessary for the bishop to lead the procession down the aisle of the chapel as the casket is brought into the building.
“Following these suggestions will help to keep our services in line with our established pattern and will avoid practices now so commonly followed elsewhere.”—PBSuebee
Life is one surprise after another!
03-17-2008, 10:03 PM #8katrackDecorating/Gardening/Mormon Boards Over 5,000 Posthas no status.
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Wonderful information. Thank you all very much. I did tell Peggy's daughter I will give the closing prayer.
03-22-2008, 09:58 PM #9katrackDecorating/Gardening/Mormon Boards Over 5,000 Posthas no status.
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Well, I went to the funeral and it all turned out fine. I had never done the whole set of rituals at a funeral. I attended the viewing and stayed with the family during it, went to the family prayer before the funeral, participated in the funeral (the prayer), went to the cemetary for the dedication of the grave, then came back to the church for the luncheon put on by the RS ladies. It was nice and really did help me say goodbye to my friend. There wasn't lots of crying and any carrying on, so that helped as well. I'm glad I went.
03-22-2008, 11:22 PM #10
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