"The Great World of the Spirits of the Dead": Death, the Great War, and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic as Context for Doctrine and Covenants 138
Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918), sixth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, endured the sorrow of the deaths of many loved ones, including his parents and several children. Smith also felt the horror of World War I, and his sons served in American forces. In October 1918, Smith received a comforting vision of God’s love and of Christ and saints ministering and preaching the gospel among the spirits of the dead. The vision teaches that the dead who repent will be redeemed and become heirs of salvation. This vision is now canonized as Doctrine and Covenants 138.