News Release

Priesthood Blessing Leads to Temple Miracle

© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sister Atsuko Soma, from the Nakano Ward (Tokyo Stake) was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1971, at the age of seventeen. She enjoyed actively participating for ten years, but her busy schedule in the entertainment business took her away from church attendance for forty years. She continued to have faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and attributes her loving and happy relationship with her husband to her knowledge of gospel principles.

In 2021, two devastating experiences caused Sister Soma to rely more heavily upon the Lord. First, her mother passed away. Second, her husband Koji, was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma (brain tumor). Koji had worked as a newspaper journalist, and the tumor affected his language skills. Sister Soma was heartbroken to hear him say, “I want to die before I cease to be me.”

© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Turning to daily scripture reading and prayer, Sister Soma pleaded with the Lord to give her husband more time. She felt impressed to reach out to long-time friends, Yutaka and Chikako Aikawa to ask for a priesthood blessing for herself, as well as Koji, who was not a member of the Church. In her blessing, she was told to “save the spirits of her husband’s ancestors.”With the salvation of her husband and his ancestors depending on her, Sister Soma felt a renewed desire to return to church activity and to do the work necessary for their family. As she repented and made those changes, she could feel God’s loving forgiveness.

After major surgery, and a long hospital stay, Koji returned home to recover. Sister Soma taught him about God’s plan of happiness, “The Plan of Salvation.” She began to read the scriptures to him daily. One day, as she was reading, he surprised her and said, “I’m going to be baptized; I want to be married forever!” The Somas were able to meet with the missionaries remotely to receive the lessons and to prepare Koji for baptism, even though he could barely walk.

After his baptism, Brother Soma was able to attend church in a wheelchair, and to partake of the Sacrament. He was also blessed to participate in the open house and rededication ceremony of the Tokyo Temple in the summer of 2022. Soon after, however, he experienced an early morning seizure, and ended up back in the hospital for another month before returning home again to recover.

© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sister Soma began praying that the two of them would be able to receive their temple endowments and be sealed together while he was still alive. She realized that it would be very difficult, but the Aikawas, who were the Soma's ministering brother and sister encouraged her. They shared a Bible story of the man who was sick of a palsy. His friends carried him to the home where Jesus was teaching, so He could heal him. When they were unable to get him through the crowd, they broke through the roof and lowered his bed down to Jesus.

Brother Soma was sleeping much of the time. When he was awake, Sister Soma would ask him if she could read the scriptures to him. Because he was unable to reply, she worried that she was selfishly pushing him. When she received a priesthood blessing, she was told, “He is seeking faith much deeper than you think.” Consulting with her bishop, Sister Soma asked about the possibility for them to attend the temple together. She knew that her husband’s temple work could be performed vicariously after his passing, but she prayed that he could enter the temple while he was still alive, if it was God’s will.

Bishop Seiji Nukui and Stake President Junpei Domon came to their home and interviewed Brother Soma. Afterwards, Brother Soma was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood, and plans were made to get him to the temple. Sister Soma was worried; she knew that he did not have much time left. The temple presidency was also very concerned, but they moved forward. In the temple, Brother Soma was alert – he was more himself. It was a miracle! After he and Sister Soma were sealed, the happy expression on Brother Soma’s face was something she had not seen for quite a while.


Just days later, Brother Soma had another seizure and passed to the other side of the veil. Sister Soma said, “It was as if he was waiting for his wish to be married forever to come true.” In speaking with her husband’s doctor, it was confirmed that if he had stayed in the hospital to recover, where he might have received better care, Brother Soma never would have been able to leave to be baptized, attend church, or enter the temple. With his final time on Earth, he gave Sister Soma the greatest gift of his life.

Sister Soma is thankful for all the miracles that she experienced during that difficult time, and for all those who ministered to her and to Brother Soma. She shared, “I am especially grateful to the Lord, who always reached out and helped me every time I faced challenges.”

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