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Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Journey to the Veil"

As most of you know, for months, John Pontius' wife, Terri, has been working very hard on getting John's newest book to press, Journey to the Veil.  She titled it that way because John wrote his UnBlog while he was fighting cancer and making his mortal journey to the veil, and she wanted a way to capture his thoughts and life experiences while there was still opportunity to do so. 

Journey to the Veil is now completed and has gone to press.  It will be on bookshelves and available through Amazon and other booksellers on November 12, 2013.  You can pre-order the book at right now by clicking here.

The book is a fun read, as it includes lots of John's intriguing stories that will make you laugh and then cry.

Below is the introduction which Terri wrote for Journey to the Veil, so that you will understand where she was coming from as she approached this wonderful task. 

Feel free to spread the word about this upcoming book. 



Five months ago, my Johnnie left me.

He didn't mean to.  He didn't want to.  It was just his time.  We both freely acknowledged, and discussed endlessly, the exciting and glorious mission awaiting John on the other side.  I called him my Captain Moroni . . . he would prepare both sides of the veil for the latter-day Zion!  Oh, but he was sick, so very sick.  And because he was my best friend, and we always did everything together, I unwittingly made his sickness my sickness, too.  In the everyday busyness of serving this extraordinary dying man, I couldn't quite make myself believe that our earth life together was really coming to an end.  I have no excuse for such indulgence; six years to prepare should have been long enough.

But I was brave.  I told him, "Don't you worry about me!  I am going to be just fine.  I have my priorities straight:  I know in Whom I trust.  Go on, get out of here, and have all that spiritual fun on the other side of the veil, while I suffer and grovel down here!"  I loved to tease him, because his tired, brown eyes lit up when I teased.  Then I would kiss the top of his bald head a dozen times while my eyes filled with tears.  I always tried to hide the tears, but he knew.

We spoke endlessly about--everything.  When your husband has cancer, you have many bitter-sweet hours to talk about life, and what lies beyond.  These conversations, much to John's chagrin, were almost always late at night.  I'm a night owl; he isn't.  Right after I would give him his final morphine shot and fix his pillows and blankets just right, the "talkies" would kick in for me, just as his sleeping pill was kicking in for him. 

"You have to come back and see me!" I'd tell him.

"I don't know if I will be permitted."

"Well then, gosh John, beg!  Come on, you've been so good . . . surely Father will let you!"

He eyes were gleaming now, but his voice was too hoarse to reply.  I persisted, of course.

"At least--you gotta come back and give me a sign!"

He smiled as best he could, and brushed my cheek with his warm, now trembling hand.  "I will ask."

Then we would call our two daughters at home to come for Family Prayers.  As we three girls knelt by his bedside, their Daddy John would pray.  During the last weeks of his life he always wanted to be the one to pray.  His faint voice would suddenly grow stronger as he boldly called down the angels, cast out our fears, and consecrated his all to God.  The power in the priesthood that flowed mightily from John's pain-racked body and cracked lips was miraculous.  Our weeping hearts were healed for yet another day.

Weeks passed, and the end was growing nearer.   One night I had an inspiration.

"Do you know what I'm going to do after you're gone?  I'm going to compile the UnBlogs into a book.  They are just too wonderful not to publish!"

("UnBlog My Soul" is a blog that John had begun in 2010 when he was told he had only six months to live.  In this forum, John recorded his powerful witness of Christ and of the gospel he loved, initially intended only for his family and closest friends.  But the blog became growingly popular, because its humble writer had such a unique gift for gospel clarity and expression.  The UnBlog Family was born, and soon thousands of UnBloggers enjoyed the posts that John wrote almost daily, despite his ongoing chemo treatments and failing body).  

But John resisted the idea of publishing the posts.  "That's too big of a job.  There are over five hundred of them! You'll kill yourself doing that."

"No I won't.  I have edited all your other books; how hard could it be?  Everything's already been written.  Come on, Honey, those are amazing posts!  You never know how it could touch a life."  I knew that would get to him; he had only one burning desire--to touch lives for his Savior Jesus Christ. 

Finally John gave his permission rather reluctantly, with the caveat that I never tout either him or the UnBlog, but that I give whatever praise or good that came of it to the Lord.  That was John; always his focus was on giving all thanks and any credit to God. 

Then just before Christmas 2012, my Johnnie was gone.  I mourned wretchedly for months, wondering how I could have been so naive as to ever think I could live without him.  Finally a few months afterward, I found new energy and joy in compiling this book.  I also know without a doubt that John has personally and intimately assisted in this work.  It's been a delight to sit here at John's desk using his well-loved computer, with him unmistakably by my side, and those thundering horses (my favorite painting of his) charging overhead to urge me onward.

I have arranged the blogs according to subject rather than chronologically, so I decided to omit the posting dates. There were so many excellent blogs to choose from that it was a daunting task to decide between them.  If you'd like to read additional blogs, you are welcome to go online to "UnBlog My Soul" where you will find any that are not included in this book.  Also, please note that most of the names of persons referenced have been changed.

I will dance between the chapters with the personal story of John's final mortal journey home.  As you read these blogs penned by a man who was nearing his journey's end, it is my prayer that you may find truth and clarity for your own journey. 

--Terri J. Pontius


  1. This is a book I look forward to reading. I found the Unblog late in the game, and it was at a particularly chaotic time in my life, so I didn't get to interact much with Brother John. But I'm looking forward to that, too, on the other side of the veil. :)

  2. I have read "Journey to the Veil". I loved it and it made me love John too. The stories and experiences were wonderful and inspiring. If you have not read it you should, My wife and several of my children have read it too. It have inspired each one of us. Thanks.