In the Book of Mormon, there is a story about a lady named Abish.  For those of you not familiar with the story, I’ll summarize it for you, or you can read about it here.

Abish is a Lamanite.  At that time in the history of the Book of Mormon, Lamanites are not followers of Jesus Christ as a whole.  Therefore, Abish had hidden her testimony of Jesus Christ for many years.  When the Nephite missionaries come and preach of Jesus Christ and perform miracles, she runs throughout the land sharing her testimony and bringing people to the location where the missionaries are.

 

Recently, I attended a beautiful wedding followed by a baptism of a nice young lady and her boyfriend/husband.  I felt it an honor to be able to baptize her as she expressed an outward desire to enter into a covenant with the Lord to take His name upon her and keep His commandments.

When I asked her what brought her to the point of wanting to be baptized, she said it was her boyfriend.  Her boyfriend had been baptized a number of years ago, but hadn’t been attending church for quite a while (Mormons label this as being “inactive) when they met.  They had a child together and moved in with each other.  Over the course of four years, he would talk with her about his testimony of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Over time, she grew to have a desire to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ, but didn’t know what to do.

Around that time, the missionaries knocked on her door and she gladly let them in.  The missionaries told me about the nice young couple that they had met and also that her boyfriend was a member.  They had been living in our ward boundaries (every congregation is divided into what we call “ward”, or a territory so we can take care of each other better) for nearly a year and we hadn’t even known it!  We were glad to welcome them into our ward and she started taking the lessons.

The lessons went by very nicely because her boyfriend had done such a great job of preparing and teaching her, even though he didn’t attend church at all, or associate with members of the congregation.

I realized that although people may not be “active”, they still have testimonies and if given the chance, they, like Abish, will gladly share their testimonies.

 

I recently read an article entitled “Do Vegetarians Live Longer?”.  There were numerous studies cited that support eating a purely vegetarian diet vs. a meat-based, or Paleo diet.  However, a couple studies that stood above the rest was a study that showed eating mostly plant-based diet with some meat (mostly fish) is the best diet for longevity.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

pescetarians—those who have a mostly plant-based diet but eat some seafood—were the true winners, with a slightly lower mortality rate than vegans, ovo-lacto vegetarians, and indiscriminate meat eaters. This may have to do with the food, but it could also be because pescetarians tend to put quite a bit of thought into their intricate dietary direction. Because they are often pickier when it comes to the food choices they make, they might do the same when it comes to other aspects of their lives such as exercise, smoking, getting enough sleep, etc.

Given the basic principle of Paleo eating is that our bodies are designed to eat the way our ancestors ate, it looks like we’re supposed to be eating (say it with me now) a largely plant-based diet and some animal products.

This research falls in line with a revelation given to Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, called the The Word of Wisdom, which has been called many times “God’s Law of Health”.

Compare the statements above to some quotes from the Word of Wisdom:

inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father

tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man

all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man

flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly

All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground

And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.

Most people know that Mormons do not drink strong drinks or smoke or use drugs, but when you look more closely at the Word of Wisdom, there are a lot of “dos” as well such as eating mostly grains, fruits, and vegetables.

It looks like Science may have caught up with what God revealed a couple of hundred years ago and what our ancestors did thousands of years ago!

Every Wednesday I go visit members of our congregation and our community who we haven’t seen in awhile, who have fallen away, or who haven’t learned of Jesus Christ and His gospel yet.  My intention is to help them feel God’s love in their lives as many times they have chosen a different path in life.   I do this in a number of ways, but it always includes praying and reading scripture together along with challenging them to take action and move towards God.

When I prepare for these visits, I spend a few days contemplating and praying about who God would have me visit.  Once I have an idea of who to visit, I then spend a few days praying and reading scriptures with these people in mind so God can prepare me for what they need at that time in their lives.

A God of Miracles

There is a great scripture in the Book of Mormon that discusses how God is still a God of miracles today.  Here’s part of the chapter:

7 And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;

8 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.

9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?

10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.

11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.

I love these verses!  The other day I was able to witness a God of miracles.

Dreams from God

As I was reading scripture and preparing for one of my visits, I felt an impression in my mind from God that I needed to visit an active member of our congregation and tell them I had felt that God wanted them to invite someone close to them to their home and listen to a message from the missionaries about the gospel of Christ.  I didn’t know anything more than that.  Just that I needed to challenge them to do this.

For me, this was something that would normally be a bit awkward.  First, I don’t usually receive answers to prayer to challenge other people to do things.  Secondly, I wasn’t sure how they would take the news with me showing up on their doorstep telling them God wanted them to do something.

However, my experience has led me to believe that I should never turn down a prompting from God and that if I follow the promptings things will work out for the best.  Therefore, I visited this individual in our congregation and informed them of my experience I’d had.

To my surprise, the person told me they knew exactly who they needed to ask to come to their home.  They went on to tell me about a dream they had had a month or so earlier.

The Dream

The dream was pretty cut and dry.  In the dream, the member of our congregation had seen a certain family sitting around their (the members’)  living room.  There were missionaries there teaching them the gospel.

When the member woke up, they said they had felt a spiritual confirmation that they needed to invite this family over.  However, for various reasons they hadn’t done so yet.

When I showed up and told them of my experience, they knew right away that they needed to invite the family over and accepted the challenge without a problem.

He Cares

From this experience I learned a few things.  First, God cares for each one of us and wants the best from us.  He is watching over all of us and those of us who know Him are the ones He uses to bring his other children back to Him.  Next, I learned that miracles definitely still happen today and God is a God of miracles.  Finally, I learned once again that if I trust in God and act on promptings from His Spirit things will work out for the best.

Do you have any experiences that you consider to be miraculous?  If so , please share!

christian and mormon logoRecently I received some comments on an old article I wrote about Mormons being born again. I reached out to a friend of mine I met through this website who is a pastor at Addisville Reformed Church in Pennsylvania.  I want to thank Doug Dwyer for taking the time to answer my questions and hope that it helps both Mormons and Christians from other faiths see where we have common ground.

1. What is your definition of a Christian?
Romans 10:9 speak of holding to Christ’s Lordship and his victory over the grave. Digging a bit deeper here I would say that a Christian is someone who has submitted himself (herself) to the lordship of Jesus Christ over their lives and has placed their hope and confidence in his atoning death and victory over death through his resurrection.
2.  Do you consider Mormons to be Christians?
I consider you a Christian. I have met Mormons who I sensed the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives. I do not consider all Mormons Christians. Nor do I consider all Presbyterians or non-denominational or Catholics Christians. You have to live in the reality of Romans 10:9 and not all church going people, including Mormons, have sincerely done that.
3. Where do you see common ground between Christians and Mormons?
Wait-you just asked me if Mormons are Christians and then you ask me to speak of common ground between “Christians” and “Mormons” a bit confusing! Let’s change “Christian” to “Evangelical” as that is the group within Christianity that I identify myself with.
We share many things in common. Our culture, morals and worldview are similar. We both strive to know and love Jesus Christ. We both feel great concern for the direction our society is going. We both are the brunt of jokes by those in the world-with all the talk of tolerance Mormon and Evangelicals are not shown it by this society (I would say even more so Mormons). We both love our kids and want them to grow up to be God loving and people of integrity. We both look to the promised hope-Christ’s return. I imagine many Mormons and many Evangelical waking up in the morning and praying and hoping-perhaps today!
4.  Where do you see difference?
Joseph Smith and the restoration. Evangelicals may seem very judgmental to Mormons but we are officially apostates in the Mormon understanding of the church. We (Evangelicals) find it hard to get a handle on just what it is that you do believe. The whole exaltation concept just sounds strange. The fact that there are many gods seems to fly in the face of our Scripture. Your temples seem mysterious. Your understanding of Priesthood and your belief in the Book of Mormon and native people being somehow Jews-seems foreign to us. Aaron-when I have asked you about some of these things-like exaltation you say “to me it means becoming more like Christ-I really don’t think much about it beyond that.” I’m not sure what to make of it! Is it a goal to become a god or is that just some doctrine from the 19th century that is no longer spoken of.  That is just one example. There seems to be layers of Mormon teaching and thought-and because your beliefs are dynamic and evolving it is hard for us to wrap our brains around what you now think verses what was taught in the past. And what is still believed but not discussed very much-at least for now.
5. Where do you feel the greatest challenges are in building the gap between groups?
Because of our past history-we are suspicious of each other. Whenever Mormons and Evangelicals get to know each other-those old attitudes start to fade. When you begin to build relationships and get to know the person-it changes your opinion-I know it has mine.
Hatred grows when you dehumanize the other person.
6.  Where do you see a need for Christians and Mormons to unite in a common cause and why?
The push to redefine marriage and the homosexual movements success in turning their agenda into a civil rights issue and what all that means for our churches. In the recent issue with the BSA (my church holds charters to Cub and boy scout units-both my sons went through scouting-Dan is working on his eagle and David is an eagle scout) I looked to your church to help me work through this issue based on the recent vote. We both need to be united when it comes to Religious Freedom in this nation. Disaster relief-during the recent tornado in Oklahoma when I saw Mormons and Evangelicals working side by side doing cleanup and recovery-that was a beautiful picture for me. I hope some friendships were made!
7.  Is your perspective on Mormons the same as most Christians?
No-I have studied the Mormons and their story since I was in high school and have had a genuine love for them since then. Evangelicals are pretty ignorant about Mormons. They get the polygamous sects confused with your church all the time. Many think Mormons still have plural marriages-I set them straight about that. If many met and spoke to Mormons they would see them as being Christian. Among leadership I believe it is slowly changing and becoming more positive.
8.   What is the greatest thing Christians can learn from Mormons?
You do a better job in the discipleship of your children. Family Home evenings, seminary before school, service in the church and mission-we fall far short when it comes to raising our children in the knowledge of the Lord.
 Conclusion
I agree with everything Doug had to say and feel good that he sees some movement towards common ground between the faiths.  I feel that it is slowly moving to where Evangelicals and Mormons are “playing nicer in the sandbox” and as Doug states, even working side by side.
What are your thoughts on these questions?  Also, are there any other questions you would have asked?

I was out with the sister missionaries the other night visiting a family they are teaching.  The family is a great young couple just starting out in life in their early 20′s.  They are very new in their careers and have all the aspirations that young couples have such as: earning enough money to live comfortably, raising children, and making their dreams come true in life.

While I was there, I felt that I needed to ask them why they are meeting with the missionaries?  She said it is because she sees how happy people who have faith are and she wants that in her life and in the lives of her children.  Her husband, once was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (i.e. Mormon).  He said that he decided around the age of 18 that he wasn’t going to stay active as a member of the church.  However, after a few years he notices a void in his life and said that he also shares the same desire and knows he will “come back” someday.

They also shared experiences they have had learning about the Gospel from his parents, who are active church members.  We read scripture together and I shared some stories of my conversion.  He then shared a story of revelation that had come into his life at a young age and shared a witness of God answering prayers.  He also said he felt a desire to pray and read scripture with his wife, which they never have done.

jm_300_BOM3.p-P1.tiffAfter the meeting, I couldn’t help but think that this meeting must have been an answer to the prayers of his parents.  I also thought of my own conversion story as well as that of Alma the Younger’s in the scriptures, where the children, who are rebellious are saved through the faith and prayers of their parents.

Since you can read about Alma’s conversion story, I’ll briefly share my story and how it relates to my father.

My Conversion Story

After my parents’ divorce I became very rebellious at a young age.  Although I was very young, I was getting into some very bad addictive habits and I was angry at my father, God, and especially anything related to the Mormon Church.

One summer, my mother persuaded me to go and visit my Dad, which I did reluctantly.  The one thing I didn’t want to do was go to church, which I knew my Dad was actively involved in.  Upon my dismay, he told me that as long as I was staying with him, I had to go to church.  So I did and hated it.

However, after a few days I started to notice something and my heart started to change.  I noticed my Dad wasn’t what I thought he was and he actually cared for me.  I noticed a feeling of love and peace in his home that I hadn’t felt in a long, long time.  After staying with him for a couple of weeks, my heart had changed so much that I knew I wanted to live with him in an environment that was away from the bad friends and influences I had without a father figure in my life.  I also started reading scripture and praying and God softened my heart through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When I told my father all of this, he started to cry tears of joy and told me he had been praying for this to happen as he saw me slipping into a dark place.  As I look back on things, I realize that it was indeed a miracle because I had no intentions of ever coming back.  It was solely through my father’s faith that I was blessed with the grace of the Good Lord to experience what I did at that time and have experienced many times since then.

This message is to all of you parents out there who may have a child who has made some wrong turns.  My heart goes out to you as I am a father of young children.  At their tender ages, I can’t imagine them making bad choices as they are so innocent and full of love and life.  If you have older children who have strayed, I’m sure you see your older children and remember them when they were young and so close to God.  Don’t give up hope.  The lives of the young couple I met with this week with the missionaries, Alma the Younger in the scriptures, and my own life are testimonies that through the faith of parents’ sincere prayers, our children can return once again to light and truth from God.

saarbruckenThis is an article I wrote that was published in Meridian Magazine this month.  It was inspired from an article I wrote on my blog a couple of months ago:

You May Not Be Interested in God, But He is Interested in You

In the mid-90’s when I served my mission in Germany, we would often listen to cassette tapes where people would re-enact, or role play, various scenarios that we were likely to encounter.  The actors on the tape would share a “less effective” and then “more effective” examples of how to teach missionary lessons, approach people, find people to teach, etc.  We would always strive to use the more effective approach.

One day I was trying to use a “more effective” approach to finding new people to teach by going through our Area Book to find the names of people who prior missionaries had taught.  As I scanned the notes, nothing special was standing out to me until I came across a name and an address.  All it read was “Hr Neuhaus” and an address.  There were not the typical notes or comments left by missionaries on what they had taught, the person’s reaction to the lessons, how many lessons they had taught, etc.  It was simply “Hr Neuhaus.”  Although there wasn’t much to go on, I knew we needed to stop by that particular house, so we mapped out the address and full of faith and confidence got on our bikes and pedaled to the address.

When we knocked on the door, a gruff old man shouted angrily at us from inside, “Keine Intresse,” meaning “not interested.” Usually I would walk on down the street to the next house, but this time was different.  I felt moved upon to keep on trying.  I called back and said the first thing that entered my mind, “You might not be interested in God right now, but God is interested in you!”  That comment immediately sparked the gentleman’s curiosity and he came to the door and let us in.

The room we entered was filled with the haze of smoke from countless cigarettes Mr. Neuhaus would chain smoke.  I could almost feel the smoke wrap around my skin like a blanket.  I had never baptized anyone in Germany and I was confident that this gentleman would soon become another of our “one-teach-wonders,” where we taught one lesson and then never got invited back again.

Before we had a chance to get introduced, Mr. Neuhaus blunted stated, “I hate God.”  I had never started a conversation this way before, but I could sense that he was in great pain, so I asked him questions about why he felt that way.

Mr. Neuhaus went on to describe how he had lived a great life with his wife for many years but suddenly she had taken ill and had recently passed away.  The loss of his wife was too much for him to bear, so he had turned to alcohol and cigarettes to help numb the pain and loneliness.

Germans are bold so I boldly told him that if he listened to our message and did what we asked him to do, he would soon find God and his heart would be healed.  That resonated with him ever so slightly and so after praying and reading, he agreed to have us return for another visit.

Our next discussion was much better than the first one.  He had read several scriptures and had even started to pray.  Although he was still very lonely and sad, his demeanor was much lighter as we taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and Mr. Neuhaus made slight spiritual progress with every visit.

As missionaries, one of our responsibilities is to teach people about the “Word of Wisdom,” which is the law that distinguishes Mormons in that they cannot drink, smoke, use drugs, etc.  The day finally came where we were to teach Mr. Neuhaus about the Word of Wisdom.  I was sure he was going to quit having us over when we asked him to stop smoking.  However, to our pleasant surprise, he not only wanted to quit smoking and drinking, but he also wanted to get baptized as well.

In order to help Mr. Neuhaus stop smoking and drinking, we bought him some candy and also told him if he was ever tempted, he could contact us via telephone no matter what time it was.  I didn’t realize that Mr. Neuhaus would keep me so honest with my offer.  He called about every other night so he could talk with us when he was tempted to smoke cigarettes, or drink alcohol.  I would help strengthen his resolve by him by telling him scripture stories and praying for him over the phone.

This pattern went on for several weeks.  I noticed that gradually I grew to love the gruff man who initially had told us to leave him alone and never come back.  Like a young flower gradually opens its petals, this was a miracle slowly unfolding before our eyes as Mr. Neuhaus’ testimony started to blossom.  I also noticed that I had gradually grown to love Hr Neuhaus with a deep love that can only come from the grace of God.  I had learned to see him as God saw him: a son of God most valuable and precious in His eyes.

On May 11th, 1997, I felt humbled as Hans Peter Neuhaus and I stepped into the baptismal font together and I offered the baptismal prayer.  We went down into the water together and I lifted him back out.  Immediately there was a change in his countenance and I felt a deep love sweep over me as I knew that God had approved of Peter’s baptism.

This experience happened about 8 months into my two-year mission to Frankfurt, Germany. Although I met many people during my mission who appeared they would be good candidates for baptism, none of them took the necessary steps that Peter Neuhaus did.  At the time of Peter’s baptism, I did not know that it would be the only time in my entire mission that I would have the opportunity to baptize someone I had found and taught.

I learned that God looks on the heart and even though someone may not appear “ready” to hear the gospel, it is up to God and the individual to receive guidance and promptings from the spirit which leads eventually to baptism.  As a missionary, it was my privilege to be allowed to participate as the Spirit bore witness to a “gruff old man,” who embraced the gospel, which in turn changed his life and mine forever.

ldsmissionariesI have the great opportunity to work as a Ward Mission Leader in my Mormon Church congregation.  It is great going out with the missionaries and sharing the gospel with friends and neighbors who may not have a relationship with God.  I have seen some amazing things in the past few months as the Holy Spirit has worked miracles to ignite faith in people as they pray and study the scriptures.

One of the things I look forward to nearly ever day, are the stories that the missionaries tell me of their daily adventures as they meet with people from all walks of life.  My favorite ones are ones that involve members of our congregation as they help people in the community.  The missionaries shared an example of this the other day.

In our neck of the woods (the Seattle area) it tends to rain in waves this time of year.  For example, it will be sunny for 20 minutes then a cloud will roll in and pour rain and it goes on like that throughout the day.

One of the ladies that our missionaries have been teaching decided to walk to the store with her little child while it was sunny and on her way back a cloud rolled in and started pouring rain on her and the young child.  She was very concerned about her child’s health and wondered if she would be able to make it home.

Just then, a van pulled up to her and the door slid open.  A large Samoan man looked at her and said “Get in the Van”!  She said at first it was startling, but she had a good feeling so she got in the van.  There were a few kids in the van along with the gentleman’s wife.  They asked her where she lived and told her they didn’t feel right about having her left out in the rain.  She told them where to go and she arrived safely at home.

The next evening, the missionaries invited her to come to a woman’s activity at the church.  She went and had a great time meeting members of the congregation.  When she entered one of the rooms she looked up and noticed the same lady who had been in the van.  They both did a double take and then got excited and hugged each other and started talking.

I was so impressed with this Samoan family.  Their actions were an example of the pure love of Christ that we preach about when we are out in the community with people.  It is one thing to talk about helping others, but it is another thing to quietly go about doing good as Jesus did without recognition, which is exactly what our Samoan friends did.  This left a greater impression on our friend who is investigating the Mormon Church than any sermon could have done.

When I heard this story, the words of President Hinckley come to mind.  When asked why no Mormon Churches have crosses on their buildings, he stated:

…The lives of our people must become the most meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship. (Ensign, 2005)

I am very grateful for the opportunity I have to work with these great members in our congregation along with the great missionaries and people they teach.  I have witnessed the hand of God working through all of us who give of our time and try to live as Jesus would have us live.  When we do this, miracles happen and lives are changed.

This is the first Spiritual SOAP post in the series.

In our class, we started in 3 Nephi 11 of the Book of Mormon, mainly because this is where Jesus comes and teaches his most basic doctrines of salvation.

“Gather, don’t Scatter”

Scripture: A large group of people gathered around the temple astonished about the great changes that had taken place in their surroundings (earthquakes, fires, many people dying, etc.)

Observation: 

  1. They gathered and weren’t scattered when destruction came
  2. They didn’t just gather anywhere.  They gathered together at the temple
  3. As they gathered, they were open in their lack of knowledge but openly discussed their concerns as well.

Application:

  1. If we want to have strength, gather with fellow believers
  2. Gather at a place of worship.  Examples of places of worship include: churches, homes of the faithful, the temple, etc.
  3. When we are gathered it is good to be open with one another and openly discuss our lack of knowledge, issues, and concerns.  This is how we grow.

Prayer:

I pray that I will always remember to turn to God in times of need, but also that I will turn to God in the good times as well.  I pray that He will lift me up and I will be able to have great associations with believers.  I pray that my home will be a place where God’s Spirit can dwell and a refuge for my children and anyone else seeking the Lord.

 

What thoughts do you have when you apply Spiritual SOAP to this scripture?

 

general conferenceKeeping with the tradition started last year, here is a list of the April 2013 LDS general conference “best quotes” (according to me) for you to vote on.  Feel free to add any other quotes or thoughts you had about conference this year as well.

Also, just for fun, I included another poll with the top 5 quotes selected by readers of the blog from all of last year for you to vote on.

Mormon HealingRecently one of my online friends requested that I write about healing stories within the Mormon faith.

My first thought was to share the traditional stories those of us who have been around the Mormon Church for awhile have all heard.  I’m sure there are many bloggers out there who are well more versed on the history of Mormon faith healing and miracles,  but for those of you interested, there are quite a few Mormon faith healing stories of the first Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith.  Those of you who have stories to share on the history of healing or perhaps a relative who was miraculously healed, please share in the comment section because I know there are a lot of faith healing stories out there which would be beneficial for all of us to hear.

Also, as I researched, I found numerous inspirational stories of faith and healing from Mormons all over the world.  For example, the LDS Addictions Recovery website has some amazing testimonials of people who were on the street and totally addicted who turned their will to God and were healed.

Another miraculous healing I recently read in the very inspiring book Let it Go by Chris Williams.  This book is about Chris’s experience with a drunk driver hitting his family’s car.  Chris’s wife, unborn son, daughter, and one of his sons were instantly killed.  His other son was in very critical condition and had brain damage.  Doctors thought that he had a very slight chance of survival, and if he did survive, would have permanent brain damage.  Chris relates a story of how he felt God’s love encircle him and as he laid hands on his son to give him a blessing of healing, he felt God tell him to say his son would be completely healed.  Three weeks later, his son was o.k. and released from the hospital.

While all of these examples are awesome, and the Good Lord has shown His hand countless times, I thought that I would share a few personal stories that were very impressive for me at various stages of my life.  As I reflect on each of them, I am grateful for God’s merciful hand in my life.

I’ll start with the story of my sister being brought back to life, then share a personal story of healing within myself, and conclude with a recent story about my wife and our unborn daughter (due this June 20th).

The Day my Sister Died (and lived)

I was seven years old, but that didn’t stop my father from granting me my wish to help out on the farm.  On this particular day I was busy pulling down a 80 lb hay bales, and rolling them to the feeding trough, cutting the strings and distributing the hay for the yearling calves.  I wanted to make sure I was doing my job correctly, so I was very focused on making sure I did as my father had taught me and not clump the hay all in one spot.  Rather, spread it out evenly so all the calves could get a good meal.

My focus was suddenly snapped as I heard a shrill screaming shrieking noise that startled me.  I wondered what could be making that noise and when I looked a few hundred feet away from where I was it scared me even more.  The noise was coming from my father.  Tears were streaming down his face and he was running faster than I had ever seen him run in my life.  What was even more frightening was my little sister, who was 3 1/2 years old was laying limp and lifeless in his arms.  I dropped everything I was doing and ran towards my grandfathers house where I saw my father running.

By the time I entered the pantry my grandmother, grandfather, and father were surrounding my young sister.  She was laying in my father’s arms limp and they couldn’t find a pulse.  My grandmother had called for help and in the meantime, grandpa and dad proceeded to give her a blessing.

My father knows more precisely what was said in the blessing, but if I recall it correctly, he commanded her to be healed and promised that she would live a life of service to God.  Shortly thereafter, her pulse returned and her stay in the hospital was very short.

She was daddies little girl and always followed him around the farm wherever he went.  I’ve had conversations with him about how proud of her he was and how much he loved his little girl.  On that particular day, as he was pulling hay bales down, he didn’t realize that she had slipped out of grandpa and grandma’s home to follow him.  He pulled a line of hay from a stack that was 13 bales high, each bale weighing 80-100 lbs. which came crashing down right on top of her.  It was the first healing miracle I witnessed and it made an impression on me that the Lord can and still does work miracles through His faithful servants.

Today, my sister is one of the most dedicated and committed members of our family to the Lord, Jesus Christ as she and her husband serve as pastors and missionaries for a local Foursquare Church.  They are also beginning the process of planting a new church.  She is a sweet blessing to our family and I thank the Lord that her life was spared at that time.  Many times throughout my life she has touched me and moved me to be a better person who is more dedicated to the Lord.

My Blessing of Healing

Those of you who follow this blog know of my struggles I’ve had in the past with anxiety and depression.  Those of you who read my book know how big of a challenge it was for me to overcome anxiety and depression, especially in my personal relationships.

Shortly after I was married to my wife, I was still struggling with sever anxiety.  I was traumatized by my parents’ divorce at a young age and I still had panic that my wife may leave me or be taken away from me.

A couple weeks after we were married, I was visiting a friend of mine.  My wife was on a trip to Taiwan and I was scheduled to go visit her.  However, I was in a state of panic wondering if she would still want me knowing I was suffering so much from anxiety, etc.  I asked my friend to give me a blessing.

In the blessing, God talked to me through him.  I felt words of comfort and he also pronounced a blessing of healing, that I would be freed from anxiety.

Since that time, I have never suffered from a panic attack, which is a miracle given that I had suffered for years prior to that.  I feel the Lord’s hand in my life as I am a husband and father of two beautiful kids (soon to be three), which leads me to the final story of healing.

Healing for My Wife and Unborn Child

A few months ago my wife told me she was very weak from bleeding.  Given that she was about 15 or 16 weeks pregnant, I knew that wasn’t a good thing.  We had had a miscarriage before so I thought that perhaps this was the case.  My mind then went to the “what if” situations of if it was something more that could be wrong with her and she was bleeding internally.

As the blood kept coming, I knew we needed to do something.  I called her Dad to see if we could have him come over and watch our kids who were sleeping and then called the hospital and explained the situation.  I then had the impression to give her a blessing of healing.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Mormon concept of giving a blessing, I’ll try and summarize it.  Members of the church who hold the Melchezedek Priesthood have the authority and power to act as the “voice” of God so to speak and give a blessing.  Blessings can be given for comfort, or for healing.  In the case of healing, we annoint the person receiving the blessing with consecrated oil, place our hands on their head, and then speak the words the Lord gives us.  It is a very humbling experience because going into the blessing the person doesn’t know what words are going to be given.  (Read this article for a more detailed description on blessings).

Before I started speaking the words during the blessing, the Lord’s Spirit came over me and I sensed a complete feeling of peace and that everything was going to be fine.  I knew in my heart that whatever happened would be the Lord’s will and I was prepared to accept it.

When I began speaking, I was impressed to speak the words that she would be healed and the baby would be fine.  For a split second I had a bit of doubt seeing how much she had bled (which seemed like much more compared to the miscarriage we had had), but I put the doubt out of my mind and focused on the promptings I received.

Shortly afterwards, her bleeding slowed down and we didn’t even need to go into the doctor that evening.

She is now 26 weeks along and we found out we are going to be having a little girl.

Your Stories

These are just a few “Mormon Faith Healing Stories” that I have personally witnessed in my life.  I’m positive there are many of you out there who have stories to share.  Whether you are Mormon or not, I know that the Lord can and does heal according to His will and the faith of the people receiving and/or giving the healing.  I would love if you shared some healing stories you have seen in your life.  I think it will be a great blessing to those who read this.

Cleanse your Soul with Grace for Grace “Spiritual SOAP”

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