A New Dawn From A Dreadful Night!


Upon arriving at the hospital and inquiring at the information desk, I was asked “Are you the preacher?” A bit startled, as I had never been addressed as such, I weakly replied that I was. I was hurriedly led down a hallway to a room. As I entered the room I saw my friend and he rushed to me and said, “I wouldn’t let them take the girls by helicopter till you came and gave them a blessing!” I was taken back. His teenage twins had apparently been in a “very” serious auto accident. In fact, they were in danger of losing their lives. The room was full of doctors and nurses. There was a clear feeling of panic and concern on their faces. One of the doctors said to me, “You need to make this quick. We need to fly them to shock trauma!” I was overwhelmed! I was young, inexperienced and admittedly, a bit scared. Under extreme duress I gave priesthood blessings to both of the girls. Afterwards they were immediately whisked away by air to a hospital about an hour away. My friend and I drove his car to shock trauma and spent the entire night waiting to see if his daughters would survive their injuries. I pondered all night the blessings I had voiced and if they would be fulfilled.

So, it was with great interest that, several years ago,  I listened to Dallin Oaks talk on healing the sick. I listened to and read it several times. It is very instructive and insightful. In pondering his words, I think I have a better understanding of priesthood blessings. He lists five parts to healing the sick through the priesthood. They are: the anointing, sealing the anointing, faith, the words of the blessing and most important, the will of the Lord. Somehow I have always placed such importance on the “words of the blessing.” I think most members do. But here is what Elder Oaks had to say regarding that point.

“Another part of a priesthood blessing is the words of blessing spoken by the elder after he seals the anointing. These words can be very important, but their content is not essential and they are not recorded on the records of the Church. In some priesthood blessings—like a patriarchal blessing—the words spoken are the essence of the blessing. But in a healing blessing it is the other parts of the blessing—the anointing, the sealing, faith, and the will of the Lord—that are the essential elements.”

This is quite a remarkable statement by Elder Oaks. This talk is one of those that needs to be prayerfully studied in order to gain a full understanding of this words. Later Elder Oaks said this:

“Fortunately, the words spoken in a healing blessing are not essential to its healing effect. If faith is sufficient and if the Lord wills it, the afflicted person will be healed or blessed whether the officiator speaks those words or not. Conversely, if the officiator yields to personal desire or inexperience and gives commands or words of blessing in excess of what the Lord chooses to bestow according to the faith of the individual, those words will not be fulfilled. Consequently, brethren, no elder should ever hesitate to participate in a healing blessing because of fear that he will not know what to say. The words spoken in a healing blessing can edify and energize the faith of those who hear them, but the effect of the blessing is dependent upon faith and the Lord’s will, not upon the words spoken by the elder who officiated.”

I learned that the words spoken in the blessings I gave that dreadful night so long ago, were not as important as I had thought.  I sat with my friend, that night, and was there by his side at dawn when he was told that one of his daughters had passed to the other side.   The other survived her injuries.  Words I had pronounced and promises made in haste by a young overwhelmed young man had not totaly come to pass.

Dallin Oaks words has given me additional insight and a new dawn, from a dreadful night, that has troubled me, for more than twenty-five years!

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