Explaining Death to a Child

Posted by Roberta Grimes • September 07, 2019 • 32 Comments
Afterlife Research, Death

When I first understood that death is a minor transition in someone’s eternal life, I stopped thinking much about the prevailing view of death as something negative. My foremost failing has become the fact that my first thought now on hearing about a death is actually happiness for the decedent. What else can you expect of someone who once wrote a book called The Fun of Dying?

After a few embarrassments, I have learned to keep my joy for new decedents to myself. Now I focus on empathizing with the survivors. I will say, “I’m so sorry.” If the one with whom I am commiserating is someone I think could be receptive to more, I might remark that the loved one who has transitioned is now healthy and happy and waiting for us in our beautiful homeland where love never ends. At this point, I am hearing from grieving people nearly every day, and the fact that they are so distraught has become a sore point for me. When the truth about death is so wonderful, the fact that both mainstream science and mainstream religions still make such an effort to keep it from becoming more widely known is inexcusable!

I should add that many of the grieving people who contact me have lost a companion animal. In February of 2015, I wrote a blog post called “Pets in the Afterlife,” and just over a year later Google picked it up. At one point it was a first-page suggestion for people who asked about an afterlife for pets, so by now it has hundreds of comments and I still hear often from people for whom the loss of their pet is a fresh, raw wound. It’s a lucky thing indeed that the post-death news about our furry companions is actually even better than is the news about our human loved ones!

What brings up the topic of death right now is the fact that I have lately had a Seek Reality guest who talked about aspects of the period soon after death that I have never wanted to think about, but that you deserve to be forewarned about. I’ll have more to say about this in coming weeks. And then Michael Tymn, a friend who is one of the world’s leading experts on the afterlife, wrote a blog post in which he talked about how we might explain the death of a parent to a young child. His post was great, and it reminded me rather forcefully that my original calling was to study and teach about the afterlife. By now, you and I have ranged far afield! So, might it be time to get back to our knitting? Many children below the age of reason, which is generally seen as six to eight years old, are going to experience the death of someone close, most likely a grandparent or a pet. And since a parent’s first instinct is to comfort and protect, helping young children deal with death and loss can be hard for parents who may be grieving, too.

Michael Tymn says in his post, “I can still remember the anxieties and fears I experienced 76 years ago when my step-grandfather died. My parents didn’t know what to tell me, and I, just six at the time, didn’t know what questions to ask.  It was all hush-hush. The trepidation multiplied 100-fold when we visited the crematorium and I struggled with grasping that what was left of my grandfather was now contained in a little metal box, one surrounded by hundreds of other little metal boxes with ‘people’ in them.” It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that Michael’s years of afterlife studies which have so greatly benefited humankind might have had their origins in the mind of that confused and frightened six-year-old boy.

If you have a young child in your life, it is important that you prepare to help that child to better understand what death is and how to process a loved one’s death, or even the approach of that child’s own death. Remember that you will be fighting the ghastly misinformation about death that is pervasive in our culture!

  • Western religions teach falsehoods that can frighten children. In Christianity, for example, God is a scary judge who punishes people and even sends them to hell. The Christian heaven is generally a throne room where we will sing and play a harp forevermore, which notion is unlikely to appeal to children any better than it appeals to us. In Christianity, too, animals don’t go to heaven, so if the dead loved one is the family pet there generally is not much comfort to be offered in a strictly Christian home.
  • And mainstream science teaches that death is extinction. For scientists, our personalities are artifacts of the meat between our ears, so when our brains stop functioning, each of us will simply blink out like a light. There is no possibility that any aspect of us might live on.

Each of these notions is altogether wrong! There is no element of truth in either the strictly Christian view of death, or the mainstream scientific view of it, but since children learn these lies in school and in church, you and I must be prepared to confront them directly. Here is what I suggest that you do:

  • Learn the truth for yourself. It will be difficult to help a child you love become comfortable with death if you are still uncertain and fearful yourself. At this point, there is plentiful information available, and it is entirely consistent! In only a year or two of effort, you can become as certain about death and the afterlife as I was after I had spent four decades of research and putting the truth together on my own.
  • Prepare your child in casual ways to feel comfortable with the afterlife basics. My grandchildren knew by the time they could read that Grandma had written The Fun of Dying, and they were encouraged to ask questions whenever questions might occur to them. As a result, the deaths of pets along the way have been occasions for less sadness than you might think, and more of a sense that we will see them again. Perhaps I should add, too, that my second children’s book, due out this fall, will deal with the survival of a beloved pet.
  • Especially encourage questions about whatever the child finds troubling. Each child is a unique individual in terms of sensitivities, and they all have different experiences. It is impossible to tell what might trouble a child, so it is essential that you keep the door wide open and never express impatience or disgust, no matter what the child might say.
  • Don’t give children too much information at once. Remember that we are talking here about ages eight and under! If I were doing it, I might say something like, “I’m very sad that Grandpa (or Fido, or Fluffy) had to leave us for a little while, but there is no such thing as death so they are healthy and happy now, living where we all will go when our time on earth is done. We will for sure be with them again!” For some children, that will be plenty. For others, they might think about it for a while and then come back with a question or two. It’s fine to let children see your sadness! If you maintain a strong conviction about the fact that our loved ones do live on, the children you love will learn that sadness over the separation is normal, but that ultimately death is not a tragedy. It is just a brief and natural separation.

When a young child is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, the same general suggestions apply, but with some caveats. Many counselors suggest that you not bring up the subject of death to young children, since that discussion might frighten them; but when a child is hospitalized and his health is failing, the child may be even more frightened if there is a conspiracy of silence around him. If I had a very young loved one who was dying, I would offer to answer questions. If no questions were forthcoming, I would wait a while and then make the offer again. Some children don’t want to be told straight out what their ultimate fate might be, but over time you may be able to impart information in ways that feel less personal to the child. For example, when you and the child’s uncle are visiting the child together, you might briefly mention in an aside to Uncle Dave what a wonderful pet his cat was, and how happy you are that she is now healthy and happy again in a wonderful place. Or you might mention to Uncle Dave that Grandpa is clearly happy where he is now, since he sent you a butterfly just this morning. But that’s it! Sub-adults are especially well attended when they actually transition, so it is less important that they know what to expect than it is in the case of adults.

Another point to consider is the fact that very young children might retain some memories of where they came from, and they also may be receiving visits from dead loved ones. My oldest granddaughter had frequent visits from one of her great-grandmothers for several years; and when I was small, I briefly retained some pre-birth memories. If your beloved child seems to have any awareness of what came before, or awareness that the dead survive, it can be easy to add a little more information to that core understanding.

Death is meant to be an easy and joyous process, but there are things that can go wrong. And it is finally time for us to talk about that! But first, next week let’s summarize how things can go superbly right….


Flowers photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik <a href=”″>Flowers For Uncle Jack</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Cross with Red Tree photo credit: Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 44 Million views) <a href=”″>The Cross and the Tree</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>


Roberta Grimes
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32 thoughts on “Explaining Death to a Child

    1. Dear Eileen, I so much empathize with you! After having majored in Christianity in college and been an ardent Christian until I was in my fifties… having also received hundreds of emails by now from Christians who were desperately afraid… and having talked with hospice workers who tell me consistently that the most terrified people at death are the most ardent Christians, it appears that not all Christian denominations are as love-based as yours apparently is. Dear Eileen, if even a few people are being made afraid by any Christian leaders, then you and I have work to do, don’t you think?

  1. It’s never a good idea to be negative about death in front of a child, as no matter how silly a negative explanation of death may seem to us, a child is deeply impressionable, and the negative ideas stay with them for years. I am a prime example of this, having attended a Catholic school during the elementary years. The nuns taught us about heaven (where you could go if you followed all the rules), hell (where you could go if you didn’t) and purgatory (where you could go if you made a minor mistake or two). That was it, as God, for some reason, had no other plan in mind. What a difference it would have made if we were taught love and forgiveness instead. However, that wasn’t part of the picture. This made death very scary, as God was presented as a very ornery individual who was very easily pissed off. Who wouldn’t be afraid of death if you were a little kid who heard this type of thing every day? To top it all off, you had parents who paid to send you to that school, thinking you would become a better person – it’s almost laughable.

    1. Oh my dear Lola, I have heard from so many others who tell similar stories. I am so sorry! Those who had it worst as children seem to have been reared either as strict Catholics (as you were), or as fundamentalist Protestants. They all have such similar tales to tell! Some say they love Jesus, and they want so desperately to follow Him, but they are afraid that if they don’t stay in their present denomination, then God might condemn them to hell. They want me to give them some magical reasons why their going to hell forevermore is not a risk! All I can do is to quote the Lord’s words on love and forgiveness, and sometimes when they quote to me some of the scariest things that the Council of Nicaea added to the Gospels I’ve got to explain how we know that Jesus said none of that.

      But it is so hard, dear Lola! As I said to our friend Eileen above, while many Christians either grew up in very liberal churches or simply were able as children to let the scary stuff roll off their backs without harm, there are so many for whom that childhood indoctrination has become a kind of time-bomb that goes off when they are in their fifties or older and makes them freshly afraid on the most primal level. As we know, of course, fear is the opposite of love! So I am coming to realize that helping these people get past their early-childhood indoctrination and learn to love God and fearlessly accept God’s love before they die is a very urgent matter!

  2. I can completely understand and sympathize with Michael Tymn, who wrote “I can still remember the anxieties and fears I experienced 76 years ago when my step-grandfather died. My parents didn’t know what to tell me, and I, just six at the time, didn’t know what questions to ask”.

    Only my experience occurred when I was seven, and it was my Grandfather. The words I heard from my father were approximately “Your Grandfather died”. My response was to run up to my bed, plop down, and scream while pounding my fists into the bed.

    Now I realize that my father was having a hard time dealing with his father’s death himself, which accounts for his terseness, I think. One sort of proof of that was that I was 15 before I was invited to accompany my parents to a funeral, which was a celebration of my great-grandfather’s life. At least there were no histrionics this time.

    Thank you for this blog, which should be helpful to young parents who, on short notice, would have to come up with plausible answers to young children who were just told about a death in the family.



    1. Oh my dear Cookie, I’m so sorry! It pains me very much to realize that many small children have an experience similar to yours and Michael’s, one that their parents don’t realize at the time is so extremely traumatic. I do hope that between what I have said here and what Michael gives us in his wonderful post, at least a few young parents who are dealing with a family loss will be better at helping their children than your father was at helping you!

  3. Roberta,
    Since when I was a little girl, fortunately my parents met a Guru and he told them exactly what you say about the dead!! So I understood you !! And I learned from him and now from you!!!
    Thank you 😊 and I hope more and more people open their minds and heart to understand this process….

    1. Dear Liliana, how delightful! Thank you for sharing this happy news. Indeed, there is just one truth. It’s a big truth, and a complex truth, but it is so plainly the solid truth just the same. It’s wonderful that your parents were able to find someone who knew that truth, so you have lived without fear ever since! It has been made very clear to me now that my specific mission is to help people who have been traumatized by man-made Christian dogmas to find the genuine teachings of Jesus, and to help Him begin His Way, so I am trying to do that! In the process, though, I am so glad to be giving validation to you and to others who have not been traumatized, and who already know the truth. For you to be affirming these facts here for people who are only now meeting them is really lovely of you!

  4. Young children are often still somewhat connected to spirit, and it can be amazing what they might very matter of factly say about their past lives, being in “heaven,” seeing dead relatives, etc, if we give them the space to talk about it, rather than shutting them down right away, which is too often the case. My most recent experience along those lines was my little niece very unselfconsciously talking about flying around the ceiling of her bedroon at night. At such points, ask them what they think, and you might be amazed. They might even teach you something, but it also becomes a great chance to gently plant some seeds, rather than wait until someone has died or is about to. I wish someone had done that with me before my beloved grandfather died suddenly when I was 7. Going to that wake and seeng my grandmother break down and fall on top of the casket as it was closed was one of the most shocking and frightening experiences of my childhood. I could barely breathe. Very little was explained to me or discussed – all hush hush. Some advance grounding in spiritual ideas, even simple ones, would have been a great help.

    1. Oh my dear Scott, I am so sorry! Your experience at seven is one of the reasons why I am so emphatically against open-casket wakes and funerals. Objectively, they are horrifying! We dress up a corpse, slather it in makeup, and then invite as many people as possible to see it. I understand why some think it is necessary – closure, last respects, and so on – but the corpse never in my experience looks like the living person, and the whole thing is completely depressing and macabre.

      Whenever I am asked, I suggest that whatever few adults were personally close to the decedent be invited to a private viewing if they want one, a picture be taken if anyone thinks one may be needed, and then the casket be permanently closed. We did this in the case of my mother, and in the end the casket was closed before any of us saw her in it and there was no picture taken. The casket doesn’t need to be at the celebration of the loved one’s life that you can then hold in place of a funeral, and there is nothing about any of it to render widows distraught or damage children for life!

      But I do love the story of the little child who flies around her bedroom at night! I have an extremely dim memory of having done that too. We all leave our bodies nearly every night, and I suspect that many people are more aware in early childhood of their out-of-body jaunts before they are old enough to know that such things are “impossible.”

      1. I think I read or hear this at some point: The tradition of a wake came out of the need to wait a few days to be sure a person really had in fact passed on. The body was laid out, usually at home, and people waited for them to “wake.” If they didn’t after a certain time, there was reasonable certainty. That perhaps necessary medical interim has grown into a huge industry.

        Anyway, it is beginning to look as if the need now is not so much explaining death to children as to the adults in those children’s lives. It’s a little (a little) like thinking it’s a good idea for young drivers to learn from their parents — it assumes the parents know what to do and will pass on accurate and usable skills and information.

        I assume that will be covered it the next couple of parts in the series?

        1. Dear Mike, I do agree that the parents of young children have a literal duty to come to better understand the truth about death! And yes, apparently we’ll be talking about that over the next two weeks. The single greatest and most positive change in humanity will come as a direct result of most people actually learning and being certain that human life is eternal. It has to happen, so it will happen. It just is up to those of us who already know the truth to help to accelerate that glorious new dawn!

          1. Convincing cultures that have — since time immemorial — witnessed death in tandem with accident, illness and tragedy that the process itself is actually a transition to our actual, wondrous true natures is a true challenge. The fact that we all have the experience of being bereft as a loved one endures and suffers through an experience that at least on this side appears violent and, even in the case of people who have lived long, happy lives, undignified will be a challenging conversation indeed.

  5. Hi Roberta,
    As you have pointed out many times, an entire array of Christianity beliefs exists in the world today. I was raised Christian with the need for salvation or burn in hell. But luckily our religion was not just centered around free admission into heaven, following Jesus was just a good thing for this life, as he is a great ally.
    I was first confronted with death when my Dad’s older brother was killed in a car wreck at 23. My father was very young, I was probably 5-1/2. This was a Southern funeral with a wake held in the front parlor of my Grandmother’s house. I remember Dad carrying me up to the open casket and his picture was nearby, but I did not feel sadness. Three of his sisters were sitting on a sofa across the room crying, and the sorrow they felt moved me. The only emotion I remember feeling about him dying was relief, as every time I saw him, he threw me up in air and it terrified me. Of course, he always caught me, but still that was all I felt. I later felt guilty about feeling this at all, as I would have loved to have known him.
    Fast-forward to my life now, and the experience of several deaths, including my grandparents and my mother, my notions about death have evolved from the old-fashioned display of flowers and fancy caskets and thoughtful services and pageantry, to simplicity and much less attention to the physical body itself.
    But what every death brings about separation, as you indicate, that is the only sad thing there is. Yes, they may have had “their whole life ahead of them” here on earth, but their life isn’t over, their life goes on and better than ever.
    Recently, I was driving to a cousin reunion, on my Mother’s side, and I was kind of sad that Mother couldn’t be along, and she was one of the founders of this event. As the sadness was weighing heavy, I felt my mother say, “stop listening to this sad music and worrying about me, go and enjoy the family, this is a happy time.” And, that’s just what I did.

    1. Lovely story about your mother, dear Timothy! And yes, our loved ones are trying especially hard in the days and weeks after their deaths to get through to us, and to help us know that they have easily survived their deaths. Mikey Morgan details the aggressive efforts he made to get through to his family in his book, Flying High in Spirit, which I recommend to everyone! Your talking here about how your attitude toward death has changed over the years is encouraging, and in fact I think that a journey like yours is fairly common: I hear from people daily who tell similar stories. Our task now is to do what we can to spread these truths to all the world!

  6. Mike is correct, as back in the day, it was not always easy to tell if a person was actually dead, unconscious, or in a coma. This explains the waiting period. This indeed did lead to eventually having funeral homes, funeral directors, etc., and some funerals could cost as much as a new car, depending on how lavish a person wished to be. Clearly, attention was directed to only the physical body and not much, if anything. was said about the soul.

    1. Agreed, dear Lola! In the days before embalming, there was a real fear of waking up in a coffin that had been buried too quickly, to the point where I have long thought that the whole notion of replacing blood with a toxic fluid may well have come about to make certain that couldn’t happen. In other cultures, too, the body was burned on a pyre, or exposed to the elements, or in other ways rendered incapable of supporting life… just in case.

  7. Dearest Roberta,
    Your blog on death and kids has prompted me to share a perspective on how kids face death, when it is inevitable, unavoidable and forthcoming:

    Over twenty years ago I had a series of life changes and decided to get to know gay people, really for the first time. Having no prior experience with this community, I soon began to assist in the pressing cause at the time, which was HIV support networking.

    In short I became part of a secular, HIV food support charity made up of men and women, both straight and gay. There I knew a loving lady who had adopted a HIV positive boy, whose own mother had contracted this infection and passed it onto her son while pregnant with him. The boy’s birth mum had since passed away. (She was a good person who had used intravenous drugs when young and although she gave them up, she had tragically contracted HIV while using.)

    Over the years I had watched the boy, Sean, grow. He was on antiretroviral medication, but his body found this hard to process. In the end Sean had to stop treatment as the burden was too much on his pre pubescent system. His physical growth was very slow, and he looked about seven years old when he was ten years in actuality. His internal organs began failing at this age.

    Before long, we all realized that Sean would lose his struggle with this pernicious virus as he had then developed AIDS. His (adoption) mother was a progressive Catholic and together Sean and this loving lady prepared for his death. Sean believed in God and he knew Jesus would welcome him home. So he and his mum kept his coffin in the house, lined it in silk, placed pillows, sheets and blankets within, and Sean painted the outside in beautiful pictures and designs.

    Although his demise was the most heartbreaking event I have witnessed, there was wonder amidst the pain:

    Sean was at peace with his impending demise and he was so very, very tired. His little body was worn out. But about three weeks before he died, he saw his birth mother (who had passed some years before) in his home. Sean knew that his mother had come to take him to Heaven and that he would be going with her very soon.

    An indescribable sense of peace pervaded his home. His mum, dad and (step) brothers and sisters felt this deep peace too before he died. On Sean’s last day his deceased birth mother stayed by him until he breathed his last.

    Although this situation was horrendous for so many people who knew and loved Sean in community and at home, it taught me two things:

    Firstly, the incalculable value of a positive belief about death, the transmigration of the soul and of a Loving God. It was the collective faith of the whole family that surrounded young Sean that made the difference. Sean himself held a deep faith. He saw life, the soul and Jesus in archetypal, absolute terms, as is the way of children. This meant that he ‘knew’ that he would be okay. Then of course, it was his deceased mother who turned up to take him Home and showed him that he was indeed right. (Only Sean could see her, and he saw her increasingly often before he died.)

    Secondly, the power of Love in the upbringing and life of the child. Once a child knows that he/she is loved by his mother, by his father and all those around, he/she can deeply conceive that the deceased person, be it a close relative or self, is held in love in the afterlife. It’s the sense of love that assures that a departed person is valued and exists in another place. Since love saves and values, it does not discard or reject. Therefore all will be well in the end.

    Well, the poet Wordsworth always did say that the child is the teacher of man. Roberta, many people learned so much from Sean and the faith and love that infused and surrounded him. Those that were there will never forget it. ❣️🙏🏼🌅

    1. Dear Efrem, what a beautiful story! We are told repeatedly by more advanced beings that every death of a sub-adult is the planned and deliberate death of someone who had grown spiritually past the need to keep incarnating, and who had come back out of love to die an early death for the child’s parents and grandparents because that experience would aid the spiritual growth of the child’s loved ones and others. They say this is true of EVERY death of a child. I don’t know, but it was certainly true of Mikey Morgan! And true of your young friend Sean as well. Each time you tell this story, and each time someone hears or reads it, you help to spread Sean’s gift to us all.

      1. Yes dear Roberta, I can well believe it. Sean was a kid markedly different from others of his age. He was always kind, articulate, loving and wise. He was like a little old man in his maturity.
        Of course that only made his passing and it’s reason all the more more poignant and tragic in the deepest sense.
        Yes, I can see how your description of an advanced soul is true of Sean. And we are taking hundreds of people including Princess Diana of Wales. She came to Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital and spent time with the kids living with HIV in the mid 90s. The highlight of Sean’s life was how he met and spent time with the Princess! ❣️🙏🏼🌅

  8. Efrem: Thank you for posting Sean’s story here. It is certainly one of the most positive ones I ever read. I feel that the way his impending death was handled i.e. with love and positivity actually enabled him to see his deceased birth mother. I don’t believe this might have happened if he was filled with confusion and fear projected by those around him, as these negative emotions would have likely precluded his ability to see her near him through this process. His adoptive mother was certainly unique, and he was blessed to have her and all the others who supported him during that time.

    1. Dear Lola, I agree with what you say here, and even with the thought that had he been very fearful or confused, he might not have seen his birth-mother until he was much closer to death. As we enter the last day or two of our lives in dying a natural death, and we begin to separate from our bodies, we tend to lift out of the fear and uncertainty, and that is typically when we will first see our death bed visitors. We tend then to be more positive and less fearful, much more at peace, and those who have had even severe dementia will often become lucid. I’m confident that he would have seen her then! But the fact that he was so at peace gave him that wonderful additional time with her. All so beautiful!

    2. Dear Lola, that’s really perceptive of you to see the ‘faithlove’ of Sean’s family as establishing the vibe for his mum to come visit so often.
      Tolstoy used to say that prior to death a person is partly in the Other World already. That’s why their words have a special resonance with the living gathered around them. The dying have a special power. So Tolstoy said.

      And I realized how hollow are the voices of movie reviewers who call the latest flick ‘poignant’ or ‘moving.’ As life teaches us, when you have really experienced the poignant, it is visceral, heart wrenching and it bites deep. It changes you. 🙏🏼❣️

  9. Good point, Roberta. That’s why he could see her before the last stage of his transition. He was accepting and open. I read Mike Morgan’s book and he insisted that he was only meant to stay here for a short time and was fine with that. Truly amazing!

    1. Dear Lola, before we are born most of us establish three possible exit points that our higher consciousness can choose to take once it feels that we have done what we can with this lifetime. One is generally in youth, one in middle age, and one in old age, and nearly all deaths happen that way! Mikey tells us that he had two possible exit points. I believe he said that one was at twelve. He had thought in the planning that he was going to leave there, but it turned out that he enjoyed being here so much that he was “taken out” at the second, at the age of twenty!

  10. I agree with you, Efrem (and Tolstoy) – the dying often “straddle” two worlds towards the end. Several years ago, I worked at a hospital that had a Hospice section, and a friend of mine, who was a nurse at that facility, sat down in a chair at the end of a certain dying patient’s bed. She was told by the patient that she couldn’t sit there long, as the patient’s sister who had been dead for 4 years, had left the room for a few minutes but would be coming right back, and would be sitting in that seat. The nurse politely got up off the chair, and the patient died within an hour

  11. I am looking forward to the next in this series, Roberta! I suspect that talking to adults about all that can go right as we ascend to our next levels will help those of us who encounter children dealing the transition, no matter how painful, to understand the purpose. I have been shown that the move to the next level in our post-incarnation experience can be equally disconcerting and also requires guidance, even if only for a moment, so that we are set to take on our new, more spiritually evolved and spiritually mature roles in doing the work that actually belongs to God.

    The transition at an earthbound level instills a lot of fear. On the next level, it’s more like “graduation ceremonies” but still requires a sponsor. As an earthbound educator, I can relate to this analogy and am looking forward to discussing this “next grade” transition.

    1. Dear Mike, it really is essential for all of us to know what happens at and after death! This next series is turning out to be three posts – what can go right, what can go wrong, and a tourist’s trip through the afterlife. Really basic stuff! I feel remiss that I didn’t share it with you all long ago.

      1. Roberta, it is not possible to share this until people are ready, because they will receive something other than what you are sharing if they aren’t ready. Perhaps now more are in fact reading to set aside cultural artifacts and receive the genuine “good news”!

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