Elizabeth Degen was born on September 12, 1802, in Holstein, Basel Switzerland. Elizabeth Degen’s family escaped the then current political upheaval by emigrating to Pennsylvania in 1816. She married Martin Bushman in 1827. Elder Elisha H. Davis baptized 38 year-old Elizabeth and Martin into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the Mormon Church, and in 1842, the Bushmans joined other Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. The Pennsylvania Dutch were notable farmers, and Brigham Young asked them to stay and maintain farms after the main body of the Saints left Nauvoo. Martin and Elizabeth’s family stayed behind in Nauvoo and then later in Kanesville, Iowa, to produce crops for the Saints. They arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1851. Martin died in 1870.
Elizabeth served as a midwife and contracted pneumonia while traveling in the rain to deliver a baby. The following thoughts of God the Eternal Father and the Savior Jesus Christ were recorded on her deathbed. She passed through “the valley and shadow of death” May 21, 1878.
Thou Art the Living God
My Father and my God that dwelleth in the Heavens. The Father of my spirit and the spirits of all men, look upon me in mercy because I am Thy daughter and I feel that I am about to pass the valley and shadow of death, but I fear no evil for Thou wilt be my prop and my stay. My mind is as calm as a summer’s morning and I have a peace that passeth understanding. Permit me, Oh God, to depart in peace, for my body not to be racked with pain and anguish. Lay underneath me Thy arms of love to be my stay and my support.
Oh my Father, a joy unspeakable fills my breast because I shall soon behold Thy face. Fools have said in their hearts, there is no God, but I know that Thou art the Living God; I have trusted in Thee, and have never been confounded. Oh Lord, I have been many years from Thy presence, I have endured many trials, pain and anguish of body, but I thank Thee for my body thou has given me, for my mission and my work to do upon earth.
I have done my work and through Thy grace I have kept my body pure and undefiled for which I thank Thee, Oh God. Oh my Father, comfort the hearts of my family and friends which are dear to me. I shall only be separated from you for a little season. In the morning of the resurrection I shall arise without this frail body, having an immortal one.
Oh my Father, a joy unspeakable fills my soul and rapture fills my heart for the veil will soon be rent and I shall behold my companion and children that have gone before me. I shall meet them with joy and not with grief and more I shall behold Thy face and enjoy Thy presence and bask in Thy favor forever more.
Oh my children and friends, be true to God and His work and He will take you through the gates of death and there will be a light in the valley for you. My Savior will let me lean on His arm so I will not be afraid nor fear any evil. My heart rejoices in God, my Savior. Although my body has pain and anguish, have faith and pray for me that I may depart in peace and when you lay me in the grave, mourn not for me but rejoice that I am delivered from this body of anguish and if you shed tears, let them not be of bitterness. Be faithful to the truth and all shall be well with you. We shall only be separated for a little season. God bless you all.
Oh Lord, grant that my name may not pass into oblivion, but that it may be from generation to generation, because I have tried to keep Thy commandments. Amen.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.