Temple Healer

Youth temple trip. I am the driver of four young people. Nearing the end of the hour long journey, I hear a groan from the back seat. In the rear view mirror, I see rolling eyes and a face with a greenish tinge. Being an experienced mother of five, I ask my son to get the bucket out of the back. It’s not there. The only option is a lunch box sized cooler. I can see the angel Moroni and hit the accelerator. Half a block from the temple, the sounds of retching and the splash of vomit fill the van.

I help the boy into the temple. He is only 12 years old, small for his age. The teenagers in the waiting room part like the Red Sea. Nobody wants to be near someone who has just expelled the acrid contents of their stomach. He collapses onto a couch and I grab a small garbage can and a paper cup of water. I bend over him and the strong smell of vomit assaults my nose. The care of the sick has always been a messy, visceral business.

In the battle, brother Philo Dibble, of Ohio, was shot in the body through his waistband; the ball remained in him. He bled much inwardly, and, in a day or two his bowels were so filled with blood and so inflamed that he was about to die, or, rather, he had been slowly dying from the time he was wounded. The smell of himself had become intolerable to him and those about him. At length Elder Newel Knight administered to him, by the laying on of hands, in the name of Jesus; his hands had scarcely touched his head when he felt an operation penetrating his whole system as if it had been a purifying fire. He immediately discharged several quarts of blood and corruption, among which was the ball with which he had been wounded.

 Born from the habits of caring for my own children, I stroke his forehead and rub his back.

“There are lots of people here who could help you. Would you like a blessing?” I whisper.

He groans. “I don’t know … maybe I’m just carsick ….”

In the afternoon I went to the Temple block & assisted in Baptizing Bro Wm Sant for his health & washing & anointing him & laying hands on him for the restoration of his health according to the instructions of Pres. F. D. Richards & G. Q. Cannon.

We move him into a little room set aside for those who become ill when visiting the temple. I help him lie down on a little bed and cover him up with blankets. I wash my hands and then sit down on a chair in the corner of the room. There is just one little light on in the corner. His eyes become heavy with sleep. I lean back on something hard … I am sharing the chair with an oxygen tank. There is nobody else around. Silence envelops us. You can’t even hear the quiet pattering of white slippered feet.

 How many times the sick and suffering have come upon beds to that temple and at once Sister Young would be called to take the afflicted one under her immediate charge as all knew the mighty power she had gained through long years of fastings and prayers in the exercise of her special gift. When her hands are upon the head of another in blessing, the words of inspiration and personal prophecy that flow from her lips are like a stream of living fire … No one was too high, no one to low, no one too poor, no one too sick for her faith to reach.

 He sleeps for about 45 minutes and then wants to go to the baptistry. Maybe he will just watch, perhaps do some confirmations. I’m glad to see  that he is feeling better. His recovery comes quickly. Soon he is suited up and is standing in the font with his deacon’s quorum advisor. He takes the young boy by the arm. I watch, hearing the words floating up over the warm water, “…being commissioned by Jesus Christ…”

After suffering three months in this way, the spirit of prophesy rested on me the first time in my life. I prophesied that if my brother would take me to the temple I would be healed of that affliction. The Temple was 20 miles from where we lived at Logan. The next morning we started for Logan on the train I was baptized in the fount and received the desired blessing, for which I give the Lord all the praise for ever and ever.

As always, thoughts of the dead and the living merge during my time in the temple. Aging bodies with drooping shoulders administer the promises of God’s eternal family and perfected limbs. Prayer rolls and prayer circles, healing fonts and temple healers occupy my mind as a dripping young boy gives me a thumbs up before he enters the change room.


  1. Your post was wonderful to read.

    The dissonance of reading the account of the healing gift of “Sister Young” next to your own experience of just sitting there in silence was slightly unsettling.

    However, compared with the Logan Temple healing episode, your experience really made it seem less like a temple healing, and more just a youngster resting up after getting carsick.

    (BTW, I would love to see the citations for the block quotes.)

  2. I love this.

  3. OK, I did a little looking online. The description of “Sister Young” is about Lucy Bigelow Young, plural wife of Brigham Young, Young Woman’s Journal, October 1892. But I can’t find accurate sources for any of the other quotes. Help?

  4. 1st quote – Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings, edited by his son, Parley P. Pratt (New York: Russell Brothers, 1874), 106-107.

    2nd – Donald G. Godfrey and Kenneth W. Godfrey, eds., The Diaries of Charles Ora Card: The Utah Years, 1871-1886 (Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2006), 135.

    4th – Hannah Adeline Savage, Record of Hannah Adeline Savage, Woodruff Arizona, and Journal (Pinedale, AZ: Petersen Publishing, 1976), 17-18.

  5. I love this post, too.

  6. Kris, this was so deeply meaningful. I loved the interweaving of sickness/health/healing/past/present/-you as angelic healer hovering over the boy’s care. This is keeper I’m going to be passing around. Thank you.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    Great post, Kris.

  8. Thank you.
    My now-wife joined the Church recently and we were married last February. We’re going on her first visit to Utah next week for a nephew’s wedding and we’ll attend the Oquirrh Temple’s open house on Saturday, 6/27.
    This post will make a nice prelude for her experience within temple walls.

  9. Great post, except the puking in the back of your car. Sorry about that.

  10. Great post.

    Hunter, I read this just the opposite. It doesn’t appear to me that Kris was “just sitting there in silence.” Rather, I think she may have things in common with Sister Young.

  11. There has always been some terrific writing going on at BCC. I enjoyed this a lot.

  12. Thanks for the sources, Kris. I just went back and re-read the post. It’s simply superb. Thanks.

  13. Great post as always. As an epidemiologist, I cringe when I hear about how frequently people with communicable diseases participate in rather intimate worship settings. As a believer I sort of understand it. My concern reminds me of the much-discussed transitions from single cup to mini-cups, as if God could not prevent dissemination of infection in the eucharistic chalice.

  14. You’re so nice, Pam. I’d kiss you if I didn’t have puke breath.

  15. Oh Kris… lovely!

  16. It’s okay, Sam. They chlorinate the fonts now.

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