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A Serious Question About "Priesthood Power"


Craig Paxton

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To comply with the truth in posting laws … let me start by stating that I am no longer a member of the church and therefore, as a male, would no longer be viewed as "holding" the priesthood.

So here’s my question.

Is there really power in priesthood?

Now before anyone flames me for even asking such a question let me interject that I acknowledge the comfort, the reassurance, the peace that can come through a priesthood blessing. I have personally witnessed people in deep personal pain (anguish not physical pain) given great comfort through a male laying their hands on the head of an individual and calling down the power of God and stating words of comfort that express God’s love for that individual along with promises specific to the needs of that individual.

So in examples like this I do see value and power…to sooth a troubled heart.

What I am asking is actual power to heal or command God’s power in some other physical manner.

01. Recently a dear friend’s child was diagnosed with cancer. The local priesthood brethren give this child multiple priesthood blessings each promising her that she would be healed. Only after it became apparent that her cancer was extremely advanced did they reverse course and offer priesthood blessings to prepare her for the inevitable. She died after a long and valiant battle. And although her parents I’m sure found comfort in those latter blessing…the earlier blessing went unfulfilled.

02. James E. Talmage, in a tragic farming accident, blinded his younger brother with a pitch fork. Years later as a member of the 12 Apostles, he and other members of the 12 gave a priesthood blessing promising a full restoration of his brothers sight (in this life). He died a blind man, the promised restoration unfulfilled.

I’m sure there are hundreds of examples where priesthood power has failed to produce the promised blessings. Yet IF the desired outcome occurs…in other words if medical science produces the desired result…priesthood power gets the credit. And if the priesthood promise is not fulfilled then the default answer is that that was God’s will.

In either case, Priesthood Power always seems to win. If a person is healed through medical care/science then it was priesthood that caused it. If the person failed to be healed, it was God’s desire not to invoke His power for that individual.

I can give lot's of examples where priesthood promises have not resulted in the promised results...but what I am asking…has there EVER been an example of a verifiable case where a priesthood blessing actually resulted in the promised healing, drought ended, famine reversed, dead person raised that an objective, independent observer could confirm as having been accomplished through a priesthood blessing promise? Or is it just a case of me being the only person seeing that the Emperor has no clothes.

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Craig Paxton:

The power of the Priesthood has always been dependent on the will of God. We all will at sometime die, get sick, or any number of what we think of as bad happens to us. But God knows what we really need. Sometimes the best use of that power is the peace of mind it brings.

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Because i have personally witnessed people healed by a priesthood blessing, my answer is that yes, there truly is power in the priesthood. Like TSS said though, no matter how much faith we have, it can never bring about a result that is contrary to the will of Him who we have faith in.

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Is there really power in priesthood?

Yes.

[H]as there EVER been an example of a verifiable case where a priesthood blessing actually resulted in the promised healing, drought ended, famine reversed, dead person raised that an objective, independent observer could confirm as having been accomplished through a priesthood blessing promise?

Probably not . . . not that it hasn't occured, but your objective, independent observer will unlikely ever be able to confirm it because of two things:

1. The experience is not going to be publicized because it is simply to sacred. I say this from personal experience.

2. Your objective, independent observer is always going to find some other cause to explain the event.

That being said, I empathize with your experience. Priesthood holders, in giving blessings, must always be mindful that the powers of the priesthood are inseparable connected to the powers of heaven, and anytime we attempt to excercise the power we have been granted to obtain a result that is inconsistent with the will of God, i.e. powers of heaven, we will be frustrated.

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has there EVER been an example of a verifiable case where a priesthood blessing actually resulted in the promised healing, drought ended, famine reversed, dead person raised that an objective, independent observer could confirm as having been accomplished through a priesthood blessing promise?

I refer you to the threads on the "Uselessness" of Personal revelation and Rational Thought.

I don't know if there has EVER been an example of a verifiable case that an objective, independent observer could confirm. Has there EVER been an objective, independent observer? And by what discipline's measure of verifying?

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Yes.

Probably not . . . not that it hasn't occured, but your objective, independent observer will unlikely ever be able to confirm it because of two things:

1. The experience is not going to be publicized because it is simply to sacred. I say this from personal experience.

Mark,

I know your post wasn't directed at me, but I am curious. I suppose, I don't quite understand the rationale regarding the sanctity/sacredness of a priesthood healing.

Assuming for the moment, that such healing is indeed factual occurrences, why would someone actually keep a lid on it. From my understanding, in the NT Christ and his apostles healed and did so publicly. In many ways such miraculous occurrences were likely vindicating to the claims these men were making before their audiences.

I don't really understand why there would be a shift in this to the direction you seem to suggest.

Why do you think it is different now in that respect?

Any other LDS responder feel free to field that question, also.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

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Mark,

I know your post wasn't directed at me, but I am curious. I suppose, I don't quite understand the rationale regarding the sanctity/sacredness of a priesthood healing.

Assuming for the moment, that such healing is indeed factual occurrences, why would someone actually keep a lid on it. From my understanding, in the NT Christ and his apostles healed and did so publicly. In many ways such miraculous occurrences were likely vindicating to the claims these men were making before their audiences.

I don't really understand why there would be a shift in this to the direction you seem to suggest.

Why do you think it is different now in that respect?

Any other LDS responder feel free to field that question, also.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

I suspect the world is a much different place than 1st Century Palestine. But even Christ often charged people whom he had healed not to tell anyone. However, I suppose if someone felt inclined to share an experience relating to Priesthood power, that would be fine. For example, I think Matthew Cowley's experiences were fairly well known. And it is my understanding that the healing incident portrayed in God's Army was an actual event. For myself, I don't feel so inclined to publicize my personal experiences.

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Too bad people equate priesthood power with healings.

When Jesus was asked by his disciples whether a man born blind was guilty of some sin or whether his parents was guilty of some sin, he remarked that neither was appropriate but that the power of God would be manifested that day. In other words, the guy was born blind so that some day Jesus could come along an provide a story to go into the New Testament. It was akin to the story of Jesus commanding the wind and the rain.

In reality, sin and disease are like the wind and the rain. They have their benefits and roles. Being blinded or blind has meaning in society. The priesthood is not a mechanism to smooth out DNA issues or eliminate tornadoes.

Sure, I wish my children or grandchildren could be cured of their problems. But, if it occurs, it occurs for reasons other than simply removing the affliction.

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Mark,

I know your post wasn't directed at me, but I am curious. I suppose, I don't quite understand the rationale regarding the sanctity/sacredness of a priesthood healing.

Assuming for the moment, that such healing is indeed factual occurrences, why would someone actually keep a lid on it. From my understanding, in the NT Christ and his apostles healed and did so publicly. In many ways such miraculous occurrences were likely vindicating to the claims these men were making before their audiences.

I don't really understand why there would be a shift in this to the direction you seem to suggest.

Why do you think it is different now in that respect?

Any other LDS responder feel free to field that question, also.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

I think it probably all comes from Jesus's commandment not to put our pearls before swine. That sounds horrible-it would be hard to use it without someone feeling like you were calling them a pig-but i think the meaning of the phrase is not to share sacred things with people who will not appreciate them and may even try to damage or destroy them.

I think a lot of LDS people are very willing to share their spiritual experiences with others, but they do so under very specific terms. They do so personally, with people they respect or trust usually. It has little to do with only sharing them with people of the same religion and a lot to do with only sharing them with people you know will treat them in a respectful way. The more sacred the experience is for someone, the less likely it is to be shared because the 'pearl' is of so much worth that the person naturally protects it.

I don't know if that makes sense to you, but maybe you could think back to some of the most sacred times or experiences in your life and ponder on who you would be willing to share them with and why you might hesitate to share them with others. Maybe that will help.

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Wasn't there a Wasatch Front Multi-Stake Fast held back in March asking God to moderate the amount of rain and snow we were expected to recieve this spring to curb potential flooding?

How'd that turn out...anyone know?

You'd probably have to ask someone from one of the stakes in question.

However, surely you're not attempting to suggest that prayers or fasts which aren't answered with a 'yes' prove that there is no power in prayer or fastings?

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rcrocket:

Yes and no. No compassionate person wants others to suffer. It is our job as compassionate people to help alleviate suffering where ever we can. but sometimes our will isn't what God has in mind. Sometimes it is in Gods plan to have us/our loved ones be refined in the crucible of trials.

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To comply with the truth in posting laws … let me start by stating that I am no longer a member of the church and therefore, as a male, would no longer be viewed as "holding" the priesthood.

So here’s my question.

Is there really power in priesthood?

Now before anyone flames me for even asking such a question let me interject that I acknowledge the comfort, the reassurance, the peace that can come through a priesthood blessing. I have personally witnessed people in deep personal pain (anguish not physical pain) given great comfort through a male laying their hands on the head of an individual and calling down the power of God and stating words of comfort that express God’s love for that individual along with promises specific to the needs of that individual.

So in examples like this I do see value and power…to sooth a troubled heart.

What I am asking is actual power to heal or command God’s power in some other physical manner.

01. Recently a dear friend’s child was diagnosed with cancer. The local priesthood brethren give this child multiple priesthood blessings each promising her that she would be healed. Only after it became apparent that her cancer was extremely advanced did they reverse course and offer priesthood blessings to prepare her for the inevitable. She died after a long and valiant battle. And although her parents I’m sure found comfort in those latter blessing…the earlier blessing went unfulfilled.

02. James E. Talmage, in a tragic farming accident, blinded his younger brother with a pitch fork. Years later as a member of the 12 Apostles, he and other members of the 12 gave a priesthood blessing promising a full restoration of his brothers sight (in this life). He died a blind man, the promised restoration unfulfilled.

I’m sure there are hundreds of examples where priesthood power has failed to produce the promised blessings. Yet IF the desired outcome occurs…in other words if medical science produces the desired result…priesthood power gets the credit. And if the priesthood promise is not fulfilled then the default answer is that that was God’s will.

In either case, Priesthood Power always seems to win. If a person is healed through medical care/science then it was priesthood that caused it. If the person failed to be healed, it was God’s desire not to invoke His power for that individual.

I can give lot's of examples where priesthood promises have not resulted in the promised results...but what I am asking…has there EVER been an example of a verifiable case where a priesthood blessing actually resulted in the promised healing, drought ended, famine reversed, dead person raised that an objective, independent observer could confirm as having been accomplished through a priesthood blessing promise? Or is it just a case of me being the only person seeing that the Emperor has no clothes.

The short answer is no, none that I have personally found and none that I have ever seen reported in medical literature. I looked for such evidence when I was reevaluating the supernatural claims of the Mormon church (and every other church) and I was never able to find such objective evidence, even after of months of searching for it. Indeed, when I started my search, I was a somewhat active Mormon and I absolutely believed that science would prove, objectively and convincingly, the supernatural claims of the Mormon church. It did not.

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To comply with the truth in posting laws … let me start by stating that I am no longer a member of the church and therefore, as a male, would no longer be viewed as "holding" the priesthood.

So here’s my question.

Is there really power in priesthood?

Now before anyone flames me for even asking such a question let me interject that I acknowledge the comfort, the reassurance, the peace that can come through a priesthood blessing. I have personally witnessed people in deep personal pain (anguish not physical pain) given great comfort through a male laying their hands on the head of an individual and calling down the power of God and stating words of comfort that express God’s love for that individual along with promises specific to the needs of that individual.

So in examples like this I do see value and power…to sooth a troubled heart.

What I am asking is actual power to heal or command God’s power in some other physical manner.

01. Recently a dear friend’s child was diagnosed with cancer. The local priesthood brethren give this child multiple priesthood blessings each promising her that she would be healed. Only after it became apparent that her cancer was extremely advanced did they reverse course and offer priesthood blessings to prepare her for the inevitable. She died after a long and valiant battle. And although her parents I’m sure found comfort in those latter blessing…the earlier blessing went unfulfilled.

02. James E. Talmage, in a tragic farming accident, blinded his younger brother with a pitch fork. Years later as a member of the 12 Apostles, he and other members of the 12 gave a priesthood blessing promising a full restoration of his brothers sight (in this life). He died a blind man, the promised restoration unfulfilled.

I’m sure there are hundreds of examples where priesthood power has failed to produce the promised blessings. Yet IF the desired outcome occurs…in other words if medical science produces the desired result…priesthood power gets the credit. And if the priesthood promise is not fulfilled then the default answer is that that was God’s will.

In either case, Priesthood Power always seems to win. If a person is healed through medical care/science then it was priesthood that caused it. If the person failed to be healed, it was God’s desire not to invoke His power for that individual.

I can give lot's of examples where priesthood promises have not resulted in the promised results...but what I am asking…has there EVER been an example of a verifiable case where a priesthood blessing actually resulted in the promised healing, drought ended, famine reversed, dead person raised that an objective, independent observer could confirm as having been accomplished through a priesthood blessing promise? Or is it just a case of me being the only person seeing that the Emperor has no clothes.

I hit enter too quickly.

To sum up, science not only does not prove the supernatural claims of the church but give significant evidence against the existence of God.

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Craig -

While I was not present with my father, I did read his account and remember how shaken he was after the event.

This occurred when I was much younger (and in fact in the Aaronic Priesthood). The recollection is not what it used to be, however, the event was very real and powerful. I am not sure if there were others who have similar stories.

One night, my father was called to go with the Elders Quorum President to a house where a family requested a blessing. According to my father, as they had pulled up to the house (it was at night) there was a very thick darkness covering the house. Light from the street lamps did not even provide illumination from it. As my father and the EQ president entered the home, they could feel a very strong presence that was evil. Almost sickening.

Two young boys had performed the Bloody Mary routine (they learned this from school). Because of this, the family had become scared. I am not sure why my father and the elders quorum were called in to this home (I can't remember if the family were members of the Church or not, I do know that the two boys were baptized a week later - I do believe that they were actually taking the missionary discussions at the time).

My father and the Elders Quorum President began to pray over the house, giving it a Priesthood blessing. Whatever was there (spiritual presence) would not leave and my father described this as a battle that was as real as being in Vietnam (he is a veteran). The bathroom mirror was covered with a thick white steam that would not wipe away.

It was not until after some time that the darkness began to lift, the white smoke substance would finally be able to come off the mirror. I do not recall how long they were at the home, I do know it was quite a long time. My father said that they had prayed priesthood blessings over the house, over the family, over the boys. Alternating between the two of them.

This is a first hand count (recorded in my fathers journal) as to the events happened. For me, this is a significant evidence of the power of the Priesthood. Whether you accept this or not is not up for me. You did ask for any accounts where there was power in the Priesthood Authority.

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The short answer is no, none that I have personally found and none that I have ever seen reported in medical literature. I looked for such evidence when I was reevaluating the supernatural claims of the Mormon church (and every other church) and I was never able to find such objective evidence, even after of months of searching for it. Indeed, when I started my search, I was a somewhat active Mormon and I absolutely believed that science would prove, objectively and convincingly, the supernatural claims of the Mormon church. It did not.

What supernatural claims does the Church make? And why on earth would you expect to find a scientific proof for a supernatural claim??? Wouldn't a scientific proof remove the claim from the subset of supernatural claims?

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Craig -

While I was not present with my father, I did read his account and remember how shaken he was after the event.

This occurred when I was much younger (and in fact in the Aaronic Priesthood). The recollection is not what it used to be, however, the event was very real and powerful. I am not sure if there were others who have similar stories.

One night, my father was called to go with the Elders Quorum President to a house where a family requested a blessing. According to my father, as they had pulled up to the house (it was at night) there was a very thick darkness covering the house. Light from the street lamps did not even provide illumination from it. As my father and the EQ president entered the home, they could feel a very strong presence that was evil. Almost sickening.

Two young boys had performed the Bloody Mary routine (they learned this from school). Because of this, the family had become scared. I am not sure why my father and the elders quorum were called in to this home (I can't remember if the family were members of the Church or not, I do know that the two boys were baptized a week later - I do believe that they were actually taking the missionary discussions at the time).

My father and the Elders Quorum President began to pray over the house, giving it a Priesthood blessing. Whatever was there (spiritual presence) would not leave and my father described this as a battle that was as real as being in Vietnam (he is a veteran). The bathroom mirror was covered with a thick white steam that would not wipe away.

It was not until after some time that the darkness began to lift, the white smoke substance would finally be able to come off the mirror. I do not recall how long they were at the home, I do know it was quite a long time. My father said that they had prayed priesthood blessings over the house, over the family, over the boys. Alternating between the two of them.

This is a first hand count (recorded in my fathers journal) as to the events happened. For me, this is a significant evidence of the power of the Priesthood. Whether you accept this or not is not up for me. You did ask for any accounts where there was power in the Priesthood Authority.

While I am not inclined to believe that this event played out exactly as described...I do apprecaite that you shared it. It appears to have been a very powerful expereicne in the life of your father and your family. I do see much value in that it provides a faith promoting experience for you.

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While I am not inclined to believe that this event played out exactly as described...I do apprecaite that you shared it. It appears to have been a very powerful expereicne in the life of your father and your family. I do see much value in that it provides a faith promoting experience for you.

Craig, as stated in my response to you, the recollection is a bit vague and what I do remember are the key components of the event that are relevant. As for the details or the time frame, that I do not recollect. I do know there is more to it than what I have described, however, I do not have my father's journal here with me or else I would scan the account in and attach it (if possible). This had occurred many years ago while living in Shelton, Washington. I was about 14 or 15 at the time (I am now 40 so this happened about 25-26 years ago).

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What supernatural claims does the Church make? And why on earth would you expect to find a scientific proof for a supernatural claim??? Wouldn't a scientific proof remove the claim from the subset of supernatural claims?

Look up priesthood blessings/administration to the sick/healings on lds.org

I would say there are claims made to the healing power of faith and blessings. This, in theory, is a testable claim.

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While I am not inclined to believe that this event played out exactly as described...

Nothing against Craig in the least (truly, i don't mean this to be a judgement against him but merely an observation), but this is why these kinds of experiences are not shared often. Those who ask for them, but are already convinced that they don't exist, will discount the experience simply because it goes against what they already believe. They are typically only willing to consider evidence as factual if it supports their already formed conclusions.

Sharing these experiences does not change the mind of those who are already convinced, so i think many people think, "what's the point, you aren't going to believe it anyway?".

I certainly feel that way and will not share my experiences with people who have already made up their minds.

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Craig, as stated in my response to you, the recollection is a bit vague and what I do remember are the key components of the event that are relevant. As for the details or the time frame, that I do not recollect. I do know there is more to it than what I have described, however, I do not have my father's journal here with me or else I would scan the account in and attach it (if possible). This had occurred many years ago while living in Shelton, Washington. I was about 14 or 15 at the time (I am now 40 so this happened about 25-26 years ago).

Again to comply with the truth in posting laws...I'm a "skeptic" and my bar of belief is very high. I am not at all questioning that this expereicne, what ever it was, was not important or powerful to your father. I do not doubt that it played out in your fathers experience exactly as he said it did. I just believe that an independant observer would have come to a different conclusion than the one that your father did. But I'd be happy to be wrong.

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I would like to add this.

While attending an AG Church for some time, A pastor who became the new pastor shared with me that he was pastoring another church. After a service that he had given a couple came up to him and stated that they would no longer be part of his Church because there was no significant miracles that occurred under his leadership and authority. He was taken back because there were a large group of people at the front who were receiving Jesus Christ as their savior, or making a recommittment to Christ. To him, Salvation is the greatest miracle one could ever witness.

Remember, the Pharisee's sought after signs from Jesus Christ. Yet, despite the many signs he gave, they attempted to reason them away with explanations as to how and why they happened. They could not bring themselves to realize that their own arrogance and self-righteousness was preventing to see the real truth.

If we base our lives on seeking after evidence for power and authority, we are becoming like the self-righteous Pharisees.

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Look up priesthood blessings/administration to the sick/healings on lds.org

I would say there are claims made to the healing power of faith and blessings. This, in theory, is a testable claim.

Oh, thought you had something specific and substantial in mind. I was mistaken. Perhaps you can provide a specific link to a page at lds.org where the alleged claims are made. Thanks.

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Nothing against Craig in the least (truly, i don't mean this to be a judgement against him but merely an observation), but this is why these kinds of experiences are not shared often. Those who ask for them, but are already convinced that they don't exist, will discount the experience simply because it goes against what they already believe. They are typically only willing to consider evidence as factual if it supports their already formed conclusions.

Sharing these experiences does not change the mind of those who are already convinced, so i think many people think, "what's the point, you aren't going to believe it anyway?".

I certainly feel that way and will not share my experiences with people who have already made up their minds.

I am capable of belief and exercising faith...but that faith must be built on a foundation of fact...so my standard is very very high. It has been my experience in the church that many members are quick to ascribe almost any positive experience or outcome that they can’t explain as a manifestation of God’s power. I just have a higher standard for something to qualify as having come from God. I don’t intend that to be offensive to anyone on this board.

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