More on Medical Science, Faith, and Prayer

More on Medical Science, Faith, and Prayer March 13, 2020


BY ca. 1850
Brigham Young, in roughly 1850    (Public domain image by unknown photographer)


Responding to my blog entry of Thursday entitled “Medicine Versus the Priesthood?” a reader of this blog who calls himself “The Last Danite” has provided a very useful quotation from Dallin H. Oaks, who is currently serving as first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  “The Last Danite” took the passage from a 2010 General Conference address by then-Elder Oaks that can be found here.


As usual President Oaks and Brigham Young provide some wisdom on the topic:

The use of medical science is not at odds with our prayers of faith and our reliance on priesthood blessings. When a person requested a priesthood blessing, Brigham Young would ask, “Have you used any remedies?” To those who said no because “we wish the Elders to lay hands upon us, and we have faith that we shall be healed,” President Young replied: “That is very inconsistent according to my faith. If we are sick, and ask the Lord to heal us, and to do all for us that is necessary to be done, according to my understanding of the Gospel of salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow, without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed. It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and [then] to ask my Father in Heaven … to sanctify that application to the healing of my body.”

Of course we don’t wait until all other methods are exhausted before we pray in faith or give priesthood blessings for healing. In emergencies, prayers and blessings come first. Most often we pursue all efforts simultaneously. This follows the scriptural teachings that we should “pray always” (D&C 90:24) and that all things should be done in wisdom and order.




To make it clear yet again, there is no false dichotomy in the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — and there never has been — between faith and prayer and the ordinances of the priesthood, on the one hand, and, on the other, modern medical practice and medical science.  Those suggesting otherwise are engaged in snarky caricature.


Plainly, the principle holds here as it does elsewhere:  If we are to be saved at all, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23).




I realize that, in some ways, it could scarcely have come out at a more difficult time.  Are people going to movies, still?


“Why “Heart of Africa” will Grab Your Heart”


I haven’t yet seen it, but I look forward to doing so.



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