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?
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