The Healing Gifts


Before the Millennium begins, every corruptible [mortal] thing will be consumed and all things will become new [as in new creatures].  The descriptions of bodies in the Millennium seem to match that of John the apostle or the three Nephites, who were transfigured [or had became translated],

Note:  This also describes the type of body that Jesus was born with:

Their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.

Men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye.

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

compare that to:

Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.

And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.

It was this gift that allowed the three Nephite disciples to continue to further the work of the Lord long beyond the time their mortal lives would have lasted — Moroni and his father having been ministered to by these three disciples:

My father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto us.

We should be seeking the fulness of the gift of faith to be healed:

Thus, as we prepare,

for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.

And every corruptible [mortal] thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of the heavens, or of the fish of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed;

we should be seeking translation [transfiguration] as the highest manifestation of the gift of faith to be healed — so that:

when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

meaning that we will have the same kind of bodies that he had during his mortal life.

Further, as a part of the restoration of all things [at the time of the initiation of the Millennium], all things must be transfigured and revert back to the translated state that existed prior to the Fall [to the original bodies formed for Adam and Eve].  Whereby we too can become last Adams/Eves, as was Christ, and the earth can be renewed to a paradisaical glory.

Enoch and his people are the pattern that Zion will follow.  Zion, which is to be established before the Millennium, will follow the pattern of Enoch by obtaining the gift of faith to be healed in its fulness and become translated — thereby becoming the people prepared to usher in the Millennium.   This new city of Zion will remain here on the earth when the Millennium starts — to greet Enoch’s city as it returns from its separated state and rejoins the earth.

Also, after this current period of mercy ends — diseases, food scarcities, and general violence will go forth as judgments among the tribes of the earth.  As we near the period of the Millennium,  preaching the gospel may require complete immunity from such diseases or plagues.  In other words, the full manifestation of the gift of faith to be healed [being transfigured into a translated body] will be more than just a perk — but will be a serious necessity in order for saints to not fall victim to the plagues, famines, and general violence that will be the normal condition on the earth.

God only has power where there is faith.  He will only work and show Himself according to the faith of the children of men.  This means that the timetable for the establishment of Zion and the initiation of the Millennium is dependent upon us — meaning it is variable.  We can establish Zion now according to the three covenants given to the Gentile Mormons to do so:

If we so choose [according to our agency] to be the group of people who fulfill the prophecies that are spoken of in the scriptures, then the Lord will work thru us according to the faith that we have [which faith is obtained by virtue of our agency].

However, the timetable for these events is also fixed according to the foreknowledge of the Lord.   Meaning regardless of what the LDS do — there will be a people who fulfill the prophecies according to the fixed, prophetic timetable.   So, we can continue to spin our wheels until the point where the cup of our iniquity runs over and we are swept out of the covenant [destroyed] to be replaced by another people who choose to fully fulfill the prophecies according to the fixed 7,000 year timetable — or we can begin to gain faith and seek to become the very people the scriptures speak of.

Thus, Zion will be built up by a people transfigured prior to the Millennium — because as Christ will be sanctified in the flesh when we see Him at His return, so also must we be in order to fulfill the scripture every whit when it says that “when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

The practical application for all of this is that we all should be seeking transfiguration — not as a blessing meant for the few, but for all those who seek Zion for this is necessary for the prophecies be fulfilled by us. 

This would be the counterpart to the doctrine of being spiritually born of God or receiving His image in one’s countenance or experiencing the mighty change of heart.  This would be a doctrine of being physically born of God.  Transfigured or translated flesh is strong and matches the willingness of the spirit — correcting the conflict [in which mortal humans’ spirit is willing but their flesh is weak] and allowing humans to have total and complete peace.

Spiritual gifts cessationism:

The cessation of the best gifts of the Spirit that has taken place among the LDS congregations in general are a hindrance to our role as the latter-day saints and those who will fulfill the prophecies of the Lord.

When speaking on the oath and covenant of the priesthood, most speakers interpret the scripture to mean that if members magnify their Church™ calling, then they will become sanctified by the Spirit.  We then go on to talk of ways to magnify callings so that we can become sanctified.

However, the Lord is explaining how to discern between a faithful priesthood holder who is magnifying his calling, and a faithless priesthood holder who is not magnifying his calling.  The key to that discernment is in the last phrase:  the faithful ones are “sanctified by the Spirit“.

Sanctification by the Spirit is always attended by the powers and gifts of the Spirit.  Sanctification by the Spirit with the attendant powers and gifts is the key to determine the faith of the saints or the faith of the priesthood holders.  This is why there are signs that follow those that believe on the Lord [given later in D&C 84], so that we may determine who has faith and who does not.

Without the gifts and powers of the Spirit and the signs following them that believe manifesting as the scriptures describe them — there is no fruit that can be used to determine who are sanctified believers in Christ [saints] and who are professed believers in Christ [Christians].  LDS judge their prophets in terms of warm feelings and good talks.  They judge their fellow members in terms of money donated, length of hair, number of earrings, color of dress shirts, substances abstained from, etc.

Without the spiritual gifts manifesting among members [including the gift of discernment among presiding elders] — appearances rule the day and must become the measure of faithfulness.

And even if we could grant that the presiding authorities are in possession of the gift to discern all the best gifts of the Spirit among members [lest there shall be any among us professing and yet be not of God] — no members [in my experience] are in possession of any of the best gifts for the leaders to be able to discern.  How else are the leaders supposed to discern justified believers in Christ [saints] from professed believers in Christ [Christians] — when the signs don’t follow them that profess to believe?  The outward metrics are all that are left in a spiritually dead congregation.

Thus we have a church where something ridiculous like clothing, facial hair, earrings, etc. are taught — and then those who find it ridiculous are told to “be humble”.  The burden being placed on them to prove their “humility” by submitting to the ridiculous — instead of being placed on the requirers, to prove the standard/condition they are teaching is from the Lord.

In light of all of this — below I have outlined two specific causes for our current lack of the healing gifts of the Spirit and what I believe their remedies are.

Calling for the elders of the church:

And whosoever among you are sick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food, and that not by the hand of an enemy.

And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me.

“Faith to be healed” is one of the best gifts of the Spirit given to the LDS Church.  So, this instruction is given if the case may come up that a person is sick, but is not in possession of that particular gift for whatever reason [in other words, they have not faith to be healed].

Were that person to be in possession of the gift of faith to be healed, then no instruction would be required because he/she would just be healed.  Likewise, this instruction assumes that there is not a member available with the gift of faith to heal — otherwise the counsel would be for the sick person to be ministered to by that member [instead of the elders].

If the sick member described above has [at least] the gift of belief [which is another best gift of the Spirit], then he/she should receive the treatment that includes our currently emphasized practice of calling the elders to administer.

Because the above method is not a manifestation of the gifts of faith to heal/be healed, the scripture does not go one to say that they will be healed, but it is offered as only some minor protection against dying — meaning it does not conclude that “they will be healed,” but only that “if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me.

In other words, these verses do not say:

Whosoever among you are sick — let them call for elders because that is the way the best gifts of the Spirit for healing are manifested.

rather, they say:

If there are sick people among you who do not possess the spiritual gift of faith to be healed — then they can call on the elders if they need to.

The promise is not that they will be healed, but that should they live or die — it’ll be unto the Lord.   That is not a promise of healing and therefore that is not a scripture referring to the priesthood offering a gift from God of healing.

Thus using elder anointings as the sole method for administering to sick members is an acknowledgment that [at a minimum] the gift of faith to be healed as ceased from among general LDS possession — for were that not the case, we would use that spiritual gift instead of what’s outlined in D&C 42: 43-44.

The general reliance on elder anointings is what leads many to be dissatisfied with lack-luster healings:

I have always struggled to give blessings of healing.  I fear making false promises to individuals who might desperately hold onto any idea of hope or healing and then see them fail.  Moreover, though I believe in God’s power to heal, I also am unsure about the role I play as a Priesthood holder.  Am I a vehicle, conduit, or petitioner?

With hands placed upon my daughters head, holding back tears, I could find no words.  The impressions I have experienced so readily with other blessings of comfort or ordination seemed to dry up; and I was left alone.   Brigham Young’s words haunted my attempts to connect with God’s spirit and love:  ‘In many instances our anxiety is so great that we do not pause to know the spirit of revelation and its operations upon the human mind. We have anxiety instead of faith.’

Anxiety crippled my faith.

I muttered some empty words with a heavy heart and closed in the name of Jesus Christ.  Our hospital visit showed no signs of damage and our daughter, to this day, has no problem with her hearing.

Driving home we discussed my blessing and whether it had an impact; I was skeptical because of my own lack of faith in giving the blessing.   I felt that we had simply mis-read the signs, but my wife believed that it was possible that the offering of my faith to the Lord was enough…

…This struggle returns to me now, because my step-father  is dying of Motor-Neurons Disease; and I want to heal him — for me and for my mother.

But I am not sure that I have the faith.  [From here]

or

It seems like there are never any blessings of actual healing any more. They don’t bless you, they bless your doctor, or they say some nice kind things about how your body will be strengthened. This has caused me to do some reflection about the gift of healing.  [From here]

Also, the issue was addressed during the April 2010 general conference by Dallin Oaks — in which he acknowledged the general uncomfortablity among most priesthood holders when it comes to administering anointings to the sick.

That the Church™ teaches that the approved practice for sick people is for them to call for two elders to come and lay hands on them is an admission that whosoever among the LDS are sick are assumed [by the general authorities] to not have the faith to be healed — and thus we have the standing orders to follow D&C 42: 43-44.

Widespread use of calling on two elders for administration to the sick is a witness of widespread cessation of [at least] the gift of faith to be healed.

Administering the emblems of Jesus’ body and blood:

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Among the issues directed to the church in Corinth, Paul discusses a corruption of the sacramental meal of the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus.

In summation, the wealthy members of the congregation were able to arrive to the meeting house much earlier than the laboring poor — who often had to work until sundown and therefore arrived much later.

At this time, the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus were still largely administered as full-on tribal meals [as Jesus has instituted it among the brethren at Jerusalem and among the Nephites] — something akin to “pot-lucks” we might hold in the church today.

Thus, when Paul writes:

For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

What?  have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?  or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?

He is condemning the practice of the wealthier members arriving early, filling themselves on the food and wine — knowing that fellow saints couldn’t arrive until later, leaving them to go away hungry.

There were temporal inequalities that were manifesting themselves as inequalities in worship as well.

Paul then re-outlines the pattern of the administration of the sacramental emblems that he had received from Jesus Christ:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, ‘Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.’

After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.’

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.

Thus, after pointing out the improper [unworthy] manner in which the Corinthian church was partaking of the Lord’s supper — and then re-telling the proper [worthy] manner by which to partake of the Lord’s supper [as was given by the Lord himself] — Paul writes:

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

This is often interpreted to refer to the state of personal worthiness of those partaking of the bread and cup of the Lord.  However, in the context of Paul’s instruction — this is referring to the state of collective worthiness of the manner in which the congregations partake of the bread and cup of the Lord.

Should a congregation administer the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus unworthily [meaning contrary to the pattern outlined by him], then that congregation would be guilty of his blood.  Further, should it be a whole-sale, church-wide abandonment of the worthy manner of administration — then the whole church would fall under condemnation, become spiritually dead, and have members unable to manifest the healing gifts of the Spirit.

The remedy would be to make sure that in your communal [group] worship, you are partaking of the sacrament in a worthy manner — so as not to fall under this condemnation.  Things to look for in discerning an unworthy congregation:

  • Deacons and teachers being allowed to administer the sacrament to the congregation
  • Priests administering the sacrament in the presence of elders
  • The entire congregation sitting during the sacramental prayers
  • The amount of emblems administered not being enough to fill the congregation
  • The absence of wine as the emblem of the blood [given that the congregation has sufficient means to have their own fermented]
  • Priesthood leadership in the congregation having the trappings of royalty, e.g. getting the chief seats or partaking of the sacrament first.

Should you find this to be the general practice in your congregation, then activating a group worship dynamic among your tribe would bring you out of the condemnation described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11.

Further, a proper [worthy] communal observance of the Lord’s supper [rather that be in the church or in the tribe] seems necessary in order for the healing gifts of the Spirit to be given and manifesting among a congregation.

Next Article by Justin: The Tree of This and That

Previous Article by Justin:  Methods of Scriptural Interpretation

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3 Comments

  1. Interesting post, particularly the parts about the need for translation and the cause of the lack of spiritual gifts.

    In reading the excerpts from Paul’s writings I got the sense that the problem was that they used the sacrament for supper instead of eating in their own homes. How did you get your view on this?

    Thanks, Justin. Steve

  2. Steve:

    How did you get your view on this?

    I don’t remember exactly where I first read about the interpretation that I now have of 1 Cor. 11 — but I think it was The First Paul, however I checked that book out at the library so I don’t have it to verify that it was the source.

    Further, after LDSA wrote the Tribal Worship Services post — that interpretation has been reaffirmed in my mind — i.e. that Paul is referring to an unworthy manner of the sacrament [one where some eat to their fill and get drunk, while others go away hungry] instead of being about a personal state of unworthiness.

    As far as,

    In reading the excerpts from Paul’s writings I got the sense that the problem was that they used the sacrament for supper instead of eating in their own homes.

    is concerned — I’m guessing that your understanding of this comes from the verse that says:

    What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?

    The members who are using the sacramental meal [which was just that, a full-on meal — so you can be filled] to get full and drunk where the wealthy — thus why Paul contrasts them with “them that have not.”

    Here he is pointing out that, as the wealthy members of the congregation, they have houses to eat at if they want to get full and drunk — there is no excuse for not leaving morsels of food and sips of wine left for the poorer members [who have little food at home as it is]. All should eat and be filled.

    Glad you liked the post.

  3. In re: to the current unworthy [improper] manner of administering the sacrament — I was reading D&C 27’s verses that pertain to the emblems to be used. Verses 4 and 5 caught my attention:

    Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.

    Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth

    When settling the Utah territory, Brigham Young sent men to what is now St. George with the mandate to plant grapes so that they could produce wine for the sacrament. However, the current LDS church no longer has a mechanism for making/providing wine for general congregational use during sacrament services.

    The “wherefore” in verse 5 is there to indicate that Christ is saying that the reason He wants wine/strong drink to be made new among the saints in the kingdom on this earth — is that He will be drinking wine with the saints on this earth when He returns.

    I’ve heard missionaries use the scripture, “He will suddenly come to His temple,” as a evidence that the LDS church will be the only Christian denomination fit to receive the Lord b/c only we build temples for Him to come to.

    However, the same is true for theses verses in D&C 27 — we can only have claim on being the people fit to receive the Lord when He comes if we are making wine new among ourselves for Him to partake of when He arrives.


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