wondered how I could hear with my mind and not my
ears, and I learned that it wasn't necessary for me to
understand the process just then. My mind next
thought the questions: Why am I here? Why me? I'm a
good guy -- why did I die?
"The voice answered: You are here because you
have earned the right to be here based on what you did
on earth. The pain you have suffered qualifies you to
be here. You have suffered as much pain in 37 years
as a normal person might have suffered in 87 years.
"I asked: It's pain that gets me here? and
the answer was yes.
"This still puzzled me so I asked: But why was
it necessary for me to suffer so? I was a worthy
member of the Church; I kept all the commandments.
"Then I received a most startling answer. He
said to me: You chose your disease and the amount of
pain you would be willing to suffer before this life
-- when you were in a premortal state. It was your
"While I was hearing this voice, I became
aware that it was a familiar voice -- it was one that
I knew. It was a voice that I had not heard during my
mortal lifetime. When it was speaking to me, though,
there was no question but that I knew who it was.
There was enormous love for me in that voice."
"You said, Don, that you knew who the voice
was. Who was it?" I asked.
"It was my Father in Heaven."
"It was not Jesus Christ?"
"And you felt love in that voice?"
"We don't have a word that would describe what
I felt from Him toward me. The closest word we have
is love, but it doesn't begin to describe the feeling.
There is no appropriate description in mortal tongue
that can explain the feeling -- you have to feel it.
"When He told me it was my choice, in a
premortal environment, to suffer when I came to earth,
I was both astonished and incredulous. He must have
understood my incredulity, because I was immediately
transported to my premortal existence. There was a
room that I was viewing from above and to the side,
but at the same time I was sitting in it. In a sense
I was both an observer and a participant. About
thirty people were in the room, both men and women,
and we were all dressed in the white jumpsuit type of
"An instructor was in the front of the room,
and he was teaching about accountability and
responsibility -- and about pain. He was instructing
us about things we had to know in order to come to
earth and get our bodies. Then he said, and I'll
never forget this: 'You can learn lessons one of two
ways. You can move through life slowly, and have
certain experiences, or there are ways that you can
learn the lessons very quickly through pain and
disease.' He wrote on the board the words: 'Cystic
Fibrosis,' and he turned and asked for volunteers. I
was a volunteer: I saw me raise my hand and offer to
take the challenge.
"The instructor looked at me and agreed to
accept me. That was the end of the scene, and it
changed forever my perspective of the disease that I
previously felt was a plague on my life. No longer
did I consider myself a victim. Rather, I was
a privileged participant, by choice, in an eternal
plan. That plan, if I measured up to the potential of
my choice, would allow me to advance in mortal life in
the fastest way possible. True, I would not be able
to control the inevitable slow deterioration of my
mortal body, but I could control how I chose to handle
my illness emotionally and psychologically. The
specific choice of cystic fibrosis was to help me
learn dignity in suffering. My understanding in the
eternal sense was complete -- I knew that I was a
powerful, spiritual being that chose to have a short,
but marvelous, mortal existence.
"While I was marvelling at this new-found
knowledge, or rather, from the reawakened knowledge
that I had previously had, I was again transported to
another era. This time I found myself looking on a
different scene -- the scene was the Garden of
Gethsemane. Looking down from above, I saw Christ
undergoing his ordeal of pain with dignified
"When you were transported to these different
scenes in time, Don, did you ask to see them?"
"No, they were completely automatic. The
first one seemed to be in response to my astonishment
when the voice told me that I chose the disease,
cystic fibrosis, in a premortal life. I suspect that
the second scene, in Gethsemane, was to teach me more
about the value of a dignified endurance of pain."
"Did you feel anything when you saw Christ
"I felt bad that he had to go through it, and
I felt empathy for him. I also realized why he was
doing it; I understood that it was his choice, just as
cystic fibrosis had been my choice.
"When the scene in Gethsemane closed, I found
myself back in the tunnel. At this point I realized
that I had come *home*. Everything was familiar --
especially God's love. His voice was a familiar voice
of unlimited and unconditional love.
"The knowledge I was obtaining, too, was
knowledge that I had held before. The events in my
experience merely reawakened in me a dormant part of
my memory, and it was wonderful. I no longer felt
picked on because of my pain and illness. I
understood the choices I had made and the reasons for
them. And I understood the tremendous love that God
had for me to allow me to make those choices -- and to
"The realization that this was all by my
choice had an enormous rejuvenating effect on me. I
was no longer a victim of chance, or worse yet, of some
punishment for wrong doing. In the broadest sense I
now saw myself as master of my own destiny -- if I
lived up to the possibilities of my choices. Instead
of looking at cystic fibrosis as a severe disability,
I was now able to look on it as my truest mentor.
"It was astonishing, the speed with which I
was learning. Knowledge that had somehow slumbered
deep in my soul was released, and I was extremely
exhilarated by this reawakened knowledge. Light and
knowledge were flowing into me from every direction.
I could feel it. Every part of my body was
reverberating with the light gushing in. Even my
fingertips were receptors of light and knowledge. It
was as if I were drinking from a fully engaged fire
hydrant. I was excited with the thought of going
further into this wonderful world of knowledge and
love. So I turned, expecting to travel toward the
light at the end of the tunnel.
"The light was overwhelming. It was at the
end of the tunnel, and it lighted the inside of the
tunnel. It was pure white and it was the brightest
bright I have ever seen. I was drawn to it, and I
turned to move in that direction.
"As I turned, I heard my youngest son, who was
three at the time, ask: 'Daddy, what are you doing?'
"I asked: What? and he repeated: 'What are you
"I answered: I donít know. What am I doing?"
"The Voice then said: 'What do you want to
"Evidently I was going to have to make another
choice, and that choice would involve returning to my
family or staying where I was.