• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
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The Spiritual Component of Healing

It’s rare that the Church magazines publish an article by an emeritus General Authority, and it’s even rarer that they would publish a second or third article by the same emeritus General Authority. For this reason, it’s remarkable to see in this month’s Ensign the article “The Spiritual Component of Healing” by Elder Alexander B. Morrison. (His last article, “Myths about Mental Illness,” was published in October 2005.)

Reading Elder Morrison’s words on topics such as this is always a treat. In this article, he challenges some of our conceptions of what healing entails and what the role of suffering is in our lives. Here are some of his assertions:

  • Priesthood holders who give healing blessings are subject to the will of God.
  • The gift of healing is manifested in different ways. It could be permanent relief from suffering, or it could be “added strength, understanding, patience, and compassion.”
  • Medicine and faith do not conflict. Faith to be healed often includes faith to seek professional help, and “faith” is not a substitute for prescribed medication.
  • Faith is a prerequisite of the spiritual component of healing and brings peace, which persists “even if the medical, psychological, or social dimensions of illness—be they physical or mental in origin—remain as a ‘thorn in the flesh.’”
  • “There is no intrinsic value in suffering in and of itself. … To suffering we must add compassion, empathy, patience, humility, and a willingness to submit our will to that of God.”

The entire article is well worth reading. It made me reflect on my own experiences with healing. I remember giving blessings on my mission in which I was prompted to tell people to heed medical advice, as well as ones in which I was prompted to tell people that they would have strength to endure their afflictions, including some they had not yet  begun to suffer.

In any event, I find Elder Morrison’s words to ring true. What do you think?


4 Responses

  1. I understand that Elder Morrison’s daughter suffers from mental illness, and his first-hand experience dealing with it shows through in this article’s compassionate tone. Rosalynn Carter has the same awareness-raising campaign about mental illness in Baptist and conservative Protestant circles. I agree with the points you highlighted above.

    Thanks for posting.

  2. Thanks for the comment, jrnilsson. I have also heard about Elder Morrison’s daughter, and I’m sure you’re right about the effect of his experience with his daughter on his capacity for empathy and compassion. I didn’t know about Rosalynn Carter, but it stands to reason that such voices would be raised in a number of religious communities nowadays.

  3. We have found that traditional psychiatric approaches brought immediate relief for some, and terrible consequences for others, and the ones that the treatment initially helped, developed more problems the longer the treatment went on. We had traded one set of problems for an entirely new set, neither being acceptable. After years, decades, of terrible struggles we discovered nontraditional doctors who did not have quick fixes but they LOOKED at all the body systems, corrected them, and amazingly not only did the mental illness problems become minimized or overcome but many many other problems were also ‘cured.’

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience, walker. This is a very difficult issue for many people, and, as you say, there often aren’t quick fixes.

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