Guest Post: Help Thou Mine Unbelief (Part 1 of 3)

March 5, 2005    By: Kristen J @ 6:32 pm   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

In 1994 upon completing our degrees at BYU my husband Geoff and I decided to move to his hometown, San Diego. There he would pursue an MBA at San Diego State and we would start our family, or so I thought. Once we settled in to paradise I thought that I would become pregnant with in a few months of trying. Well, months went by and nothing. The wait was agonizing each month only to be disappointed every time.

After about a year of trying to conceive I had some testing done and was able to get on some fertility drugs, and lo and behold I was pregnant the first month! It was incredibly exciting… our first baby! We immediately told all of our friends and relatives.

I was amazed at how great I felt, no morning sickness, no cravings, just little ol’ me feeling like myself. I couldn’t understand why some women found the first trimester of pregnancy so challenging. Then about 2 months into the pregnancy I started to have some spotting. “This can’t be right,” I thought to myself. I immediately called my doctor’s office and the nurse said that spotting was normal and that I shouldn’t worry about it, just keep an eye on it.

It didn’t get better in fact, it got a little worse. Eventually I asked my husband to give me a priesthood blessing of healing. In the blessing he said that my pregnancy would be fine and that our baby would be healthy. I felt a lot better after the blessing was over and I let myself make plans and dream about the little person in my stomach again.

The next day I miscarried. It was a crushing disappointment to me. “What about the blessing?” I thought. “Was that some kind of cruel joke?” I wondered if my faith was lacking, or maybe my husband misinterpreted what he was supposed to say in the blessing. I wasn’t sure what happened. But one thing I did know was that my faith in priesthood blessings had diminished.

Don’t worry — this is just the first of three related posts and life got much better for us. After another miscarriage we had some medical testing where the doctor’s figured out what the problem was and I was able to conceive and carry 4 beautiful children each to a full-term pregnancy. (Although I have found motherhood to be more challenging than I imagined, I feel it is the most important and rewarding thing I can be doing in my life.)

But my question to end Part One is: Was my experience with a failed/inaccurate priesthood blessing unique? Has your faith been similarly challenged when things did not turn out the way they were promised in a priesthood blessing?


  1. My first pregnancy was very difficult from the beginning, I was so sick. At about 7 weeks along, I experienced a little bit of spotting, not much and it soon stopped. I was assured as well that this was normal, so I tried not to worry. My husband and brother administered a Priesthood blessing at that time. I was told that I would give birth to a healthy baby. 4 weeks later, I miscarried and we found out that the baby had died when I first had the spotting. What did the blessing mean? I don?t have a good answer for that. I have wondered if blessings are alive out there and don?t always occur when and in the ways that we imagine. Of course, there is always the possibility that the one giving the blessing is not truly inspired, I don?t know. One year later, I was pregnant again and this time I did deliver a baby boy. I have had a few blessings promising a ?healthy? baby. We have struggled with his health from the moment he was born. He was hospitalized at 15 months and his survival has been a miracle, but the issues continue. So, why have all of the blessings specified that he would be healthy? Or is it that some of my future children will be born healthy? I have struggled with these issues as well. Maybe the trial of my faith is that I don?t understand these things and need to trust that God does.

    I have had a recent illness myself that has rendered me confined to my bed. I have had some blessings since that have promised amazing, miraculous things. My faith has increased since I?ve been sick and I believe and fully expect to have those blessings fulfilled. I am learning about patience and long-suffering. I believe that the Lord will bless me in his own due time. I have been holding onto those promises as I struggle day to day. Patience is being the hardest lesson for me to submit to.

    Posted by Maren

    Comment by Anonymous — March 6, 2005 @ 10:07 am

  2. Priesthood blessings are interesting things. I was just thinking today about the blessing I had when I went into labor with my third child. I was told I would have a minimum amount of pain. And it ended up hurting much worse than my previous deliveries! But that blessing really helped me get through it, because the whole time I kept telling myself, this is the *minimum* amount of pain…it could be much worse.

    I have noticed in the blessings I have received and others’ blessings they have shared with me, that we are often promised things that don’t come easily. For instance, my patriarchal blessing talks about my health–and I have a lot of health problems. My husband’s talks about him being able to earn a good living for his family–we’ve been married 16 years and that has yet to happen! I could go on and on with similar examples. We are often promised the things we will have the hardest time obtaining. But what good would a promise be for things that come easily? It’s interesting to think about. 

    Posted by Susan Malmrose

    Comment by Anonymous — March 6, 2005 @ 4:21 pm

  3. It seems that there are so many things that might contribute to priesthood blessings. A possibility that my husband and I have discussed is that maybe priesthood blessings are like a “turbo” prayer, kind of like fasting.
    I do think that in my case my husband Geoff put a little bit too much of his own will in his blessing. I actually felt a little bit of hurt for a while, but since then I have done a little bit of growing up and in part 2 and 3 of my post you’ll see how the Lord helped me to do this. 

    Posted by Kristen Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — March 6, 2005 @ 6:38 pm

  4. I think Kristen is right about this. I was in my mid-twenties then and probably spoke out of turn in that occasion. I believe that I have improved as a priesthood bearer in the past decade.

    Blessings are easy to mess up. They require live, on the spot revelation to get right. The fact is that the amount of spiritual preparation I can put in or not (pondering, praying, meditating, fasting) before giving a blessing makes a big difference in my ability to really interpret God’s mind on the subject and properly convey it. It is clear to me that God is not going to let us do parlor tricks with the priesthood. Blessing with power seem to require very real, strenuous, and often difficult mental and spiritual effort on my part. And if we can’t convince God to give us what we desire (which we must discern by revelation) we must be faithful and mature and strong enough to reflect His will and not ours in the wording of the blessing.

    BTW ? As I have experienced recently, proper preparation time can be condensed in emergency situations. I suppose we must already have sufficient “oil in our lamps” in those cases though.

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — March 7, 2005 @ 9:29 am

  5. I don’t think you ahd a failed or inaccurate blessing. When I lost my first baby I had the same sort of blessing. And it wasn’t from my husband. But we have a tendency to look only at the present, or the near future. You don’t know when that babby might come again, or if that baby will be yours in the next life.

    After I lost my first baby, when we were trying to concieve again (for a long time), I dreamt about him. I received confirmation that this was my baby I lost and I knew that one day I would have him, raise him. I am 99% positive that won’t be in this life. But I will know him. I don’t know why he couldn’t stay at this time, and I still miss him. But I don’t consider the blessing I had as wrong, just that I initially misunderstood it.


    Posted by Mary Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — March 7, 2005 @ 9:39 am

  6. Mary, Thanks for sharing that story with us. I’ve actually had 3 miscarriages and I often wonder who they were, will I meet them, etc. That’s why I find your experience an interesting one. 

    Posted by Kristen Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — March 7, 2005 @ 7:43 pm