Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Shouts of Joy

My dear friend Bret Corbridge has passed into the next life, and our world is the poorer for the loss. 

I first met Bret when he and his wife Samantha organized an event called “The Remnant Reunion” as a way to reunite the many listeners who had attended some or all of the 10 talks in Denver Snuffer’s “40 Years in Mormonism” series. In my view, the reunion was a watershed event in the ongoing restoration. It unified and connected many people who had been listening to the talks into something more cohesive and united. In my estimation, this was the point when countless individuals ceased being a ragtag band of disconnected believers, and began to form into a movement.

At Bret’s invitation, I gave the final address at that gathering—concluding my remarks by leading attendees in shouts of praise while the Shofar was blown. I’ll never forget that gathering, or that moment, with its attendant realization of what began that day. I believe there were shouts of joy in heaven as there were on earth, while the beginnings of a future covenant people unified in praise. 

Since that day, Bret has done immense good. He has worked tirelessly to produce a number of books to promote and organize true teachings. He has built bridges of understanding between people who sometimes held radically different ideas. And he has been a true friend to many. 

The last time I spoke to Bret in person was in Nevada at the gathering in March. I was preparing to speak at that conference, and felt that heavy burden keenly. As I sat alone in contemplation, I must have looked pretty serious, because Bret and Samantha walked up and asked how I was. I gave the typical answer that I was just fine. But Bret pressed further, as he often would, and said I didn’t look like everything was OK. He wanted to know what was wrong and if there was anything he could do to help. I explained that I felt the weight of responsibility for my upcoming address and that it was a heavy burden. Bret and Samantha offered words of comfort and told me they would be praying for me. They were the only people who noticed my demeanor that day, or offered the words of encouragement I needed to hear.

Later that day, Bret checked with me again, just to make sure I was OK. And that’s how he always related to others—more concerned about the welfare of those around him than about his own. But above all, Bret was fiercely loyal to our Lord Jesus Christ and the ongoing work of restoration, caring more for serving the Lord than for his own needs.

As I’ve reflected on Bret’s passing, like so many I feel a deep sense of loss. He genuinely cared, and I already miss knowing I could call him if I ever felt the need for a listening ear, an understanding heart, a friendly smile, or a kind word. Our loss is heaven’s gain, and I believe those same shouts of joy that echoed six years ago at the close of the Remnant Reunion resounded again in the heavens as our faithful brother triumphantly returned home. 

Godspeed, my dear brother Bret. I look forward to seeing you again. 

*****

Please remember Bret’s wife Samantha and children Tiegan, Raven, Aliyah and Ronan in your prayers. Should you feel inclined to help financially, a GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses and his family’s immediate needs. You can donate at this link:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/bret-corbridge-memorial-fund-for-wonderful-family

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