Raised From the Dead, March 3, 1891

—extracted from LeRoi C. Snow, “Raised From the Dead,” Improvement Era, vol. 32 (1929), no. 12 (Sep–Oct), pp. 882ff.


Mary Ellen (Ella) Jensen, who was born on August 3, 1876, caught scarlet fever and passed into the spirit world on March 3, 1891. She returned to mortality upon being administered to by priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Leah Rees (now Mrs. Wilford Reeder), her girlfriend, had been attending to the sick girl and reported that about three or four o’clock in the morning

I was suddenly awakened by Ella calling me to get the comb, brush and scissors. She wanted to brush her hair and trim her finger nails and get all ready, “for,” she said, “they are coming to get me at ten o’clock in the morning.” I asked who was coming to get her. “Uncle Hans Jensen and the messengers” she replied. “I am going to die and they are coming at ten o’clock to get me and take me away.” I tried to quiet her, saying that she would feel better in the morning if she would try to sleep. “No,” she said, “I am not going to sleep any more, but I am going to spend all the time getting ready.”

She insisted that I get the comb, hairbrush and scissors, which I did, but she was so weak that she could not use them. As I was brushing her hair, she asked me to call her parents. I explained that they were tired and asleep and that it would be better not to disturb them. “Yes,” insisted Ella, “you must call them. I want to tell them now.”

The parents were called and as they entered the room the daughter told them that her Uncle Hans, who was dead, had suddenly appeared in the room, while she was awake, with her eyes open, and told her that messengers would be there at ten o’clock to conduct her into the spirit world. The father and mother feared that the girl was delirious and tried to get her to be quiet and go to sleep. She knew their thoughts and said, “I know what I am talking about. No, I am not going to sleep anymore. I know I am going to die, and that they are coming to get me.”

Death occurs as predicted.  

Ella, realizing the end was very near, summoned each one of her family to kiss and bid them goodbye. She called each one by name as they came to the bedside. But her brother Budd was out and had not returned. As it drew toward ten o'clock, she felt she could not go until she had seen him. She was gasping for breath and exerting all her strength to hold on until Budd got back. Grandma Jensen arrived, and just as Ella had embraced and kissed her, Budd came in with Mrs. Nelson. Ella threw her arms around her brother’s neck, kissed him, and then fell back on her pillow—dead. It was just ten o'clock.

Return to the body.  

Ella’s father left at once to report to President Snow and consult him regarding arrangements for the funeral. Sister Nelson washed and laid Ella out, dressed her in clean linen, and Budd took the doctor back home, who had been called in this emergency. Meanwhile, news of her death spread about.

It was more than a mile to town and so by the time Jacob Jensen, Ella’s father had hitched up the horse and driven there it was towards noon. He then returned with President [Lorenzo] Snow and Rudger Clawson, who were at a service in the tabernacle. All were greatly surprised when after standing at Ella’s bedside for a minute or two, President Snow asked for consecrated oil. He handed the bottle of oil to Brother Clawson who anoint Ella, after which he sealed the anointing. Particularly impressive were the words he used, especially when he said, “Dear Ella, I command you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to come back and live. Your mission is not ended.” And then he uttered the command, “Come back, Ella, come back! Your work upon the earth is not yet completed. Come back! You shall yet live to perform a great mission.”

After this Ella remained in her dead condition for more than an hour, i.e. more than three hours after she had died. Her mother and father were sitting by the bedside, watching, when all at once she opened her eyes and looked about the room. She saw them sitting there but was looking for someone else. The first thing she said was, “Where is he? Where is he?”

“Who, where is who?”

“Why, Brother [Lorenzo] Snow;” she replied, “he called me back.” They explained to her that Brother Snow and Brother Clawson were very busy and could not remain, and that they had gone. Ella then dropped her head back on her pillow, saying, “Why did he call me back? I was so happy and did not want to come back.” Then Ella Jensen began to relate her marvelous experiences; marvelous both as to the incidents themselves, and as to the great number of them that occurred in the short space of time between three and four hours.

Deceased relatives and friends.  

“[Before I died,] I could see people from the other world and hear the most delightful music and singing that I ever heard. This singing lasted for six hours, during which time I was preparing to leave this earth, and I could hear it all through the house. At ten o’clock my spirit left my body. It took me some time to make up my mind to go, as I could hear and see the folks crying and mourning over me. It was very hard for me to leave them, but as soon as I had a glimpse of the other world I was anxious to go and all the care and worry left me.”

“I entered a large hall. It was so long that I could not see the end of it. It was filled with people. As I was conducted through the throng, the first person I recognized was my grandpa, H. P. Jensen, who was sitting in one end of the room, writing. He looked up, seemed surprised to see me and said: ‘Why! There is my granddaughter, Ella.’ He was very much pleased, greeted me and, as he continued with his writing, I passed on through the room and met a great many of my relatives and friends. It was like going along the crowded street of a large city where you meet many people, only a very few of whom you recognize.

“The next one I knew was Uncle Hans Jensen with his wife, Mary Ellen. They had two small children with them. On inquiring who they were, he told me one was his own and the other was Uncle Will’s little girl.”

“Some seemed to be in family groups. As there were only a few whom I could recognize and who knew me, I kept moving on. Some inquired about their their friends and relatives on the earth. Among the number was my cousin. He asked me how the folks were getting along and said it grieved him to hear that some of the boys were using tobacco, liquor, and many things that were injurious to them. This proved to me that the people in the other world know to a great extent what happens here on the earth.”

“The people were all dressed in white or cream, excepting Uncle Hans Jensen, who (for this occasion) had on his dark clothes and long rubber boots — the things he wore when he was drowned in the Snake River in Idaho.

Order and education in spirit world?  

“Everybody appeared to be perfectly happy. I was having a very pleasant visit with each one that I knew. Finally I reached the end of that long room. I opened a door and went into another room filled with children. They were all arranged in perfect order, the smallest ones first, then larger ones, according to age and size, the largest ones in the back rows all around the room. They seemed to be convened in a sort of a Primary or a Sunday School presided over by Aunt Eliza R. Snow. There were hundreds of small children there.”

Ella hears the call to return.  

“It was,” continued Ella, “while I was standing listening to the children singing, ‘Gladly Meeting, Kindly Greeting,’ that I heard President Lorenzo Snow call me. He said, ‘Sister Ella, you must come back, as your mission is not yet finished here on earth.’ So I just spoke to Aunt Eliza R. Snow and told her that I must go back.”

“Returning through the large room, I told the people I was going back to the earth, but they seemed to want me to stay with them. I obeyed the call, although it was very much against my desire, as such perfect peace and happiness prevailed there — no suffering and no sorrow. I was so taken up with all I saw and heard that I did hate very much to leave that beautiful place.”

“[The memory of] this [place] has always been a source of comfort to me. I learned by this experience that we should not grieve too much for our departed loved ones, and especially at the time they leave us. I think we should be just as calm and quiet as possible, because, as I was leaving my mortal life, the only regret I had was that the folks were grieving so much for me. But I soon forgot all about this world in my delight with the other.”

Pain of returning to life.  

Ella frequently told of the terrible suffering that she experienced when the spirit again entered the body. There was practically no pain on leaving the body in death, but the intense pain was almost unbearable in coming back to life. Not only this, but for months, and even years afterward, she experienced new aches and pains and physical disorders that she had never known before.

Experience verified to others.  

Some of the people Ella described as having met in this spirit sojourn were her aunts and second cousins, long since dead and laid away before she was born. She told her Aunt Harriet, who had lost two daughters, not to mourn them, for she had seen them and had talked with them, and they were very happy in their new sphere of existence.

Many relatives and others visited Ella, and she told them the same story — of how she had met their relatives and friends over there, how happy they were, and that they had asked about their loved ones here.

When Leah Rees came to stay with Ella the night after her return, she told her about having seen her own Grandpa Jensen, Leah’s father and several others of her people who had passed away — all of whom appeared very happy.

Experience verified to Alphonzo Snow.  

My wife, Minnie, and I heard of Ella Jensen’s death and restoration to life and called at her home to see her. As we entered the room she said: “Oh! Come here, Alphonzo and Minnie, I have something to tell you. After my return to earth I told my parents of some of the remarkable experiences which I had while in the spirit world. But there was one experience that seemed very strange, and I could not understand it.

“You know, your little son Alphie has been in my Sunday School class in the First Ward. I have always loved him very much. While I was in Aunt Eliza R. Snow’s class of children in the spirit world, I recognized many children. But all of them had died excepting one, and this was little Alphie. I could not understand how he should be among them and still be living. When I told this to mother, she said: ‘Yes, Ella, little Alphie is dead, too. He died early this morning while you were so very sick. We knew you loved him and that it would be a shock to you, so we did not tell you about his death.’”

It was very consoling, indeed, to hear Ella tell of seeing our dear little boy and that he was very happy. She said it was not right for us to grieve and mourn so much for him and that he would be happier if we would not do so.

Experience verified to Ella’s mother.  

“While in this large building in the spirit world, I met a woman who greeted me and said she was Aunt Mary and told me that she died while I was a baby.”

The mother asked: “Can you describe her?”

The answer was: “Yes, she was a tall woman whith black hair and dark eyes and thin features.”

“Yes,” the mother answered, “surely you have described your Aunt mary.”

“I also met another woman there, who said she was my Aunt Sarah and had died just before I was born.”

“Will you describe her?” the mother asked.

“Yes, she was rather short and somewhat fleshy, with round features, light hair and blue eyes.”

“Why, yes, Ella, that is your Aunt Sarah. You have described her perfectly.”