LDS Articles of Faith, Part XXXIII
Article VII, Spiritual Gifts, Part III
The seventh LDS Article of Faith says “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelations, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.” Previous blogs have discussed all of the “gifts of the Spirit” in Article 7, except healing. In his book the Articles of Faith, LDS Apostle James Talmage said on p. 225, “The gift of healing was exercised extensively in the times of the Savior and the Apostles; indeed healing constituted by far the greater part of recorded miracles wrought in that period. By authoritative ministrations the eyes of the blind were opened, the dumb were made to speak, the deaf to hear, the lame to leap for joy; afflicted mortals bowed with infirmity, were lifted erect and enjoyed the vigor of youth; the palsied were made well; lepers were cleansed; impotence was banished, and fevers were assuaged. In the present day, the dispensation of the fullness of times, this power is possessed in the (LDS) Church and its manifestation is of frequent occurrence among the Latter-day Saints...The usual method of administering to the afflicted is by imposition of hands of those who possess requisite authority of the Priesthood…This part of the ordinance is usually preceded by an anointing with oil previously consecrated.”Latter-day
LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie also mentioned the healings that Christ performed and then said, “Faithful men in all ages—deriving their power from that God who is ‘the same yesterday, today, and forever,’ in whom ‘there is no variableness neither shadow of changing,’ who is ‘a God of miracles’ Morm. 9:9-10—have wrought as Christ did healing the sick, raising the dead, and curing all manner of diseases, for the Lord works ‘by healings’ (3 Nephi 29:6)…Healings are among the signs that follow true believers (D. & C. 84:68; 124:98), and faithful elders have power to perform healings whenever it is required of them by those who have faith to be healed (D. & C. 24:13-14.) As with other signs and miracles, if there are no healings among church members, such people are not saints of God (Mormon Doctrine, p. 345). While we all like to see the sick healed, it is even better when their sins are forgiven so that they have eternal life with God! No church, including the LDS Church, has exclusive power to heal! How many dead LDS have been raised back to life by LDS Priesthood holders? Do you know any?
Neither Talmage nor McConkie explained WHY Jesus healed people when He knew they would all die later. Jesus healed a palsied man in Matt. 9:2-8 and some scribes thought Jesus was usurping God’s power by saying “Your sins are forgiven.” So Jesus asked which is easier, to say “your sins are forgiven or arise and walk?” Then Jesus said “That ye may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins (then He said to the sick of the palsy) arise, take up thy bed, and go to thy house.” So, Jesus’ miracles were primarily to demonstrate that He had power to forgive sin as well as heal the sick because He was the Messiah.
On Sunday, Sept. 5, 1841 Joseph Smith said, “I preached to a large congregation at the stand, on science and practice of medicine, desiring to persuade the Saints to trust in God when sick and not in an arm of flesh, and live by faith and not by medicine, or poison; and when they were sick, and had called for the Elders to pray for them, and they were not healed, to use herbs and mild food” (History of the Church, vol. IV, p. 414). So, Smith said that not everyone is healed when the LDS Elders anoint and pray over them. But he also gave LDS the “Word of Wisdom” in Doctrine & Covenants Sec. 89. LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie said, “The Lord has given the Word of Wisdom and many other laws of health by obedience to which diseases may be avoided, health secured, and strength of mind and body increased…In addition to obeying the laws of health, however, physical wellbeing comes as a result of obedience to all of the commandments…It is by disobedience to God’s laws that diseases and afflictions come…Those who keep the commandments, in addition to being thereby preserved in health and strength, will have power, by faith, when disease comes to be healed by the power of God” (Mormon Doctrine, p.346). Ironically, although McConkie said that in Mormon Doctrine he died of cancer in 1985 when he was 69. Several LDS Prophets also had illnesses that ended their lives. Brigham Young died suddenly at age 76 of an undisclosed cause. The 6th LDS Prophet, Joseph F. Smith died from the Spanish Flu in 1918 when he was 80. Several other LDS Prophets had dementia before they died. McConkie said disobedience to God’s commandments and lack of faith causes diseases, so were the above LDS leaders disobedient and lacking in faith? What McConkie said contradicts what Jesus told His disciples in John 9:3 when they asked Him, “Who sinned, the blind man or his parents?” Jesus replied that neither the blind man nor his parents sinned to cause the blindness, but God allowed it to reveal His power to heal.
Healing is listed as a Gospel Topic on the LDS website. It says “In the 19th and early 20th centuries, both (LDS) men and women performed healing blessings in the name of Jesus Christ, often laying hands on the affected part of the body but without specifically invoking priesthood authority…The use of consecrated oil was instituted after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple though the manner in which the oil was used changed over time. For example, persons who were sick or injured often applied the oil to the affected area much like a salve. Rituals commonly employed for other purposes were adapted for healing. For example, baptisms were sometimes performed for health reasons…These baptisms were performed in temples by men holding priesthood authority until the early 20th century.” Other healing ceremonies were performed in temples, including washing and anointing for health; both men and women were set apart to administer those blessings…In 1880 the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated that women performed healing blessings NOT by virtue of the authority of the priesthood, but by virtue of their faith in Christ. Likewise, Relief Society General President Eliza R. Snow taught, ‘Women can administer in the name of Jesus but not by virtue of the Priesthood.’”Does that mean LDS priesthood is more important than Jesus?
The way LDS sought healing evolved over time. Early LDS fasted and prayed without any administration. In 1914 the First Presidency emphasized the priority of priesthood blessings over women blessing someone by faith in Christ! That again suggests LDS leaders believed priesthood was more important than faith in Christ! In the 1920’s LDS began to have more trust in doctors and they stopped baptizing for healing. The 6th and 7th LDS Presidents standardized instructions for giving Melchizedek Priesthood blessings so that they are all done the same way now. The current LDS handbook says that “only Melchizedek Priesthood holders may administer to the sick or afflicted.” Does the Bible say that is how Jesus healed the sick?
Next time we will consider the 8th LDS Article of Faith concerning scripture.