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parley pratt

I’m reading a great book about one of the first converts and apostles to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Parley P Pratt.

For those interested in a pretty good glimpse into the early church and the challenges and miracles that took place, this is a very good read.

One of the miracles that he describes is when the Latter-day Saints had been driven out of their homes in Missouri and into Illinois.  They were destitute and left in the cold along the Mississippi River on a swampy land with no shelter.  People were getting very sick.

Here is an excerpt of one of the miracles that took place during that time:

Here many were lying sick and at the point of death.  Among these was my old friend and fellow servant, Elijah Fordham.  He was now in the last stage of a deadly fever.  He lay prostrate and nearly speechless, wit his feet poultice; his eyes were sunk in their sockets; his flesh was gone; the paleness of death was upon him; and he was hardly to be distinguished from a corpse. His wife was preparing his clothes for his burial.

Brother Joseph (the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith) took him by the hand, and in a voice and energy which would have raised the dead, he cried: “BROTHER FORDHAM, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, ARISE AND WALK”!  It was a voice which could be heard from house to house…like the roaring of a lion or heavy thunderbolt.  Brother Fordham leaped from his dying bed in an instant, shook the poultices and bandages from his feet, put on his clothes so quick that none got a chance to assist him and…he walked with us from house to house visiting other sick beds…Several more were called up in a similar manner and were healed.” (pg. 355)

This story is a fairly popular story that is told and repeated about Joseph Smith.  The part that I was not familiar with that Parley Pratt writes about is this:

Brother Jospeh, while in the Spirit, rebuked the elders who would continue to lay hands on the sick from day to day without the pwer to heal them.  Said he: “It is time that such things ended. Let the Elders either obtain the power of God to heal the sick or let them cease to minister the forms without the power”

Joseph Smith’s quote caused me to reflect on the power of healing within the Church of Jesus Christ today.

For those of you not familiar with how Elders are instructed to heal within the Church, I’ll share some information on the procedure, purpose and process.

In the Bible, there is a scripture that discusses how people who are sick should call on the elders and they will lay hands and anoint the people so they can be healed.

Today, we are instructed to do the same thing.  We have olive oil that has been consecrated for healing the sick.  We then put a little oil on the head of the person being blessed and then as the Holy Spirit shares thoughts and impressions in our minds, we pray and bless the people who are sick.

I have witnessed miracles on occasion through blessings such as these.  For example, my little sister had a bad accident when she was 3 and my father gave her a blessing of healing and she started breathing again and was healed.

However, I hear quite frequently about how today we’ve been blessed with modern medicine and technology and that we don’t need to rely on God as much for healings.  Some people say that God caused the medicine and technology to take place so we shouldn’t bother God with a miracle unless we have to.

This makes me wonder if we are like the elders Joseph Smith talks about and rebukes and if we lack faith and rely too heavily on man instead of God.  As the Book of Mormon states, when faith is lacking, God can not do miracles.  Perhaps we don’t see as many miracles such as the one described because we lack faith.

What are your thoughts?

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