Guest Post: Another priesthood blessing (Part 2 of 3)

March 6, 2005    By: Kristen J @ 9:04 pm   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

I told you of my less-than-splendid experience with a priesthood blessing in part one. Fast forward to 2005; life was good. And then along came February!

My father had been diagnosed with type II diabetes in August. No big deal, he was a healthy man, if just a little over weight. He would really watch his diet, exercise, lose the weight and the problem would be fixed. Try as they might though, my parents found his blood sugar levels extremely difficult to control. It seemed that no matter what he ate his blood sugar levels would sore to very dangerous levels. It was a very frustrating time for both my father and my mother.

In November my father started to lose weight at an alarming rate and by the time Christmas came around he had lost about 50 pounds. It had little effect on his diabetes and when the New Year rolled around it brought with it a whopping case of jaundice! After harassing their doctor enough it was decided that my father should undergo a cat scan to figure out what was going on in his body. The results were not good. It looked as if my father had pancreatic cancer. Not only that but it looked like he had cancer on his liver as well. His prognosis was very bad. Before leaving the office the doctor told my father that he had anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year to live. Oh what a start to February 2005!

Now I had to face the mortality of a beloved parent. I shed many tears and tried to come to grips with my father’s looming death and having to say goodbye to him for a time. It was an odd experience, it felt like preparing to say goodbye to an actual part of myself.

At this same time, my nephew was being baptized so all of my siblings had a chance to be together with my parents for this special occasion. After the baptism my family gathered privately to witness a priesthood blessing of healing that my brother administered to my father. In the blessing my brother said that my father would gain his health back for a time and that he would be able to resume his duties as bishop.

Now I had done the research on pancreatic cancer and I knew that my dad had ALL of the symptoms of late-stage pancreatic cancer. From this research I learned that the average life-expectancy of someone in late stage pancreatic cancer was 4.1 months. This type of cancer is very aggressive and almost always terminal.

After the completion of the blessing I felt a little angry at my brother, I didn’t want him getting everyone’s hopes up when there wasn’t any. It wasn’t appropriate for me to say anything at this time and I decided to keep a “wait and see” attitude.

A few weeks later my dad was scheduled for surgery to see exactly what was going on in his body. From the looks of things the doctor said he thought he would open my dad up, say “Yikes!” and close him right back up. We were all quite surprised and pleased when the doctor found that my dad’s liver was completely free of cancer and that the removal of his pancreas was an option for extending his life. It was a brutal operation and his recovery has been slow and painful but he is home and healing and even heading for a bishopric meeting tonight. We may not have my dad around for as long as we’d like, but now we are looking at years and not months. My faith in priesthood blessings began to grow.

Have you noticed that not all priesthood blessings are not created equal or is it just me?

9 Comments

  1. Have experienced a somewhat similar situation. hd been sick for a few years, with nothing the doctors did seeming to work. Got many a Priesthood Blessing that didnot seem to work either. Until, in mid-’97, after another Blessing, I found myself in the hands of another physician at the ER, who actually listned to the myriad of symptoms I had, and then, decided to run other tests, instead of assuming that I was a wacko, depressed, ADHD patient!!! And, they found the root cause of the problems I had been having – 2 tumors in my brain!!!! One cancerous, the other benign, yet very dangerous, due to teh size it had grown to, on account of the mis-diagnoses by the other doctors. But, since then, with the Blessings given by Priesthood holders, I have been making my way towards full recovery. The journey is not yet over, but, I am filled with hope, and all the depression and anxiety that I had, on account o f having to deal with all this on my own, with no family, has gone away – my friends from my Ward have become my family. 

    Posted by sid

    Comment by Anonymous — March 6, 2005 @ 10:51 pm

  2. That’s really awesome, Kristen. My brother died of cancer 15 years ago, when he was 34. My family are not members so he never had any priesthood blessing. It’s really hard to see a loved one in such prolonged pain–the gospel can be such a comfort. 

    Posted by Susan Malmrose

    Comment by Anonymous — March 6, 2005 @ 11:08 pm

  3. I am so glad that your ward family has been there to support you Sid. Geoff and I have moved away from family and due to a recent crisis (Geoff wrote about it earlier) we too have learned just how valuable a loving ward can be!

    Susan, watching my dad suffer through all of this has truly been the worst thing out of this experience. It was also really hard to see my mom trying to get through this. I almost felt worse for her because she has been married to my dad since she was 19 years old. I just didn’t know how she would get a long with out him if he died. But like you said, the gospel was a great comfort because we knew he wouldn’t be in pain any more and we knew we would see him again even if things didn’t go well with the cancer or the surgery. 

    Posted by Kristen Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — March 7, 2005 @ 8:56 am

  4. Since Kristen has shared this story I will note that the dream I posted about  a few weeks ago was about this very subject. Without going into great detail still, I will say the basic interpretation of the dream was very similar to the message of the healing blessing described here (although I had the dream before the blessing was given). That, to me, was a very good sign that God was indeed intervening in this case. 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — March 7, 2005 @ 9:12 am

  5. I’ve been married to my husband since I was 19 years old (I’m 34 now) and I can’t imagine having to live without him. Fortunately, I’m going to die first. Ha.

    My sister died unexpectedly 8 months after my brother did, and though it was agony to see my brother in so much pain for so long, it made his passing easier on us, because it was at least a relief to not have him suffering anymore. What made it even worse with my sister is that it was a possible suicide (she was mentally ill and had attempted suicide more than once) so they had to do an autopsy to rule it out. And it was ruled out, but they didn’t determine cause of death–just declared it natural causes. So we still don’t know why she died (she just “woke up dead”–died in the night).

    Anyway, I’ll keep your family in my prayers.  

    Posted by Susan Malmrose

    Comment by Anonymous — March 7, 2005 @ 11:11 am

  6. I?ve been pondering both of your posts and maybe I should post on this as well, but maybe I?ll venture some thoughts:

    The core issue (aside from the actual providence of God) seems to be the efficacy of blessings. Can/Should we take blessings at their face value. Short answer: Yes, but then how do we reconcile all the disparities?

    I think it boils down to faith, really. I believe that there is a small minority of Saints who have the Gift of Healing and I think that there is another small minority who have the Gift to Be Healed. Then there is the rest of us.

    I do sometimes think that priesthood holders feel ?pressured? to make things right, regardless of what revelation dictates. And if there is no revelation?then it is easy to substitute what we are conditioned to expect.

    Blessings are also interactive. There is the blesser, the blesse and God. It takes a tremendous amount of faith to change nature (try walking on water) and I think that if the blesse is devoid of faith, the blesser is required to an abundance for efficacy. Vice versa.

    Sadly, most of us (I think) really lack the faith to change anything. Ideally the blesser would be completely tuned in to God and both would have faith for miracles. How often is this really the case?

    Comment by J. Stapley — March 7, 2005 @ 4:38 pm

  7. But after you see so many disparities, isn’t it easier to just conclude that priesthood blessings are as hit and miss as regular prayers are? How far do you take it before faith becomes self-delusion? It’s a serious question. I’ve had promises made to me in priesthood blessings that do not appear likely to be fulfilled. What’s the advantage to clinging to false hope instead of facing reality and learning to live without the benefit of the promised blessing? 

    Posted by Janey

    Comment by Anonymous — March 7, 2005 @ 4:45 pm

  8. Janey: In those instances I think we face the dichotomy that Peter faced: Do you try to walk on water or simply swim.

    Like you say, it is easy to swim. And I do so the majority of cases.

    Ideally we would have the Faith to walk and administer efficacious blessings. Sadly, or in reality, we often don’t. The question then is: should we try?  

    Posted by J. Stapley

    Comment by Anonymous — March 7, 2005 @ 5:20 pm

  9. Excellent points from both J. and Janey. I mentioned in the comments for part one that properly giving a blessing is an extremely difficult task. It requires a great deal of spiritual exertion on the part of the giver to receive direct revelation on the fly in front of people.  But it can be done. I know because I’ve done it. But it can’t be done without proper preparation and exertion of energy.

    So if giving the blessing requires extremely strenuous mental/spiritual effort on the part of the giver why should the receiver expect to get a free ride? It seems to me the person receiving the blessing ought to be willing to shoulder as much of the burden of faith as the giver (assuming that person is able to do so).

    I’m certain there are cases when the faith of the giver is strong enough to work a miracle despite the lack of faith of the receiver. I am likewise certain of cases when the faith of the receiver is strong enough to secure the miracle despite the lack of faith (or preparation) of the priesthood bearing giver.

    Of course sometimes the Lord say yes, and sometimes he says no to our desires of healing. But if one is prepared during the process he or she will probably know the Lord’s answer via revelation even as the process of the blessing is taking place.

    This all reminds me of the lesson the Lord taught  in D&C 50. If the spirit is there revealing and confirming the truth while the gospel is being taught then both teacher and learner are edified and rejoice together. But both must do their part to get that edification. I suspect the same principle generally applies to priesthood blessings.  

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — March 7, 2005 @ 5:27 pm