Illustration by Ben Sowards
November 4, 2011, changed my life. I was a senior in high school and was playing my last regular season football game. During a punt-return play late in the fourth quarter, I went to tackle a player on the other team and was knocked unconscious when his shoulder pad hit my face.
I woke up briefly minutes later only to slip back into unconsciousness almost immediately. It was clear, however, that my body was paralyzed. As paramedics prepared to take me to the hospital, my mom wanted to make sure my dad gave me a priesthood blessing. So he found the dad of another Latter-day Saint player and they gave me a blessing in the back of the ambulance.
Later that evening, I regained consciousness and slowly began to gain feeling in my body. When that happened, the hospital staff sent me home and told me nothing was wrong. However, my parents and I felt that there was still a problem, so I went to see a specialist.
After looking at my injuries, the specialist said, “I don’t know how you walked into my office today. You shouldn’t be able to move or even breathe on your own because of the severe problems in your spinal cord. Someone has been watching over you.” He told me how surprised he was that I was even alive and that I wasn’t paralyzed. I knew it was because of the priesthood blessing, and I was grateful my dad and my teammate’s father were both worthy and prepared to administer the blessing.
My recovery was still painful. I continued to see the specialist and began physical therapy. I struggled with severe pain and fatigue and was unable to attend school—I couldn’t even sit up by myself for three months.
The only thing that kept me going was the Spirit. As someone who’d been very social, it was hard to be home by myself all day while Mom and Dad were at work. I found comfort through the Spirit and through prayer and scripture study. The gospel kept me going. And I knew the priesthood blessing and the prayers of my friends (both Church members and friends of other faiths) helped.
After a few months, I felt strongly that I needed to return to seminary. And even though my medication made it extremely hard to get out of bed, I was determined to go. At first, seminary took all my energy for the day. But once I started going, my recovery time seemed to decrease, and I began to heal more quickly and to feel better. This was a miracle to my family and me.
Two years later, I can now run, jump, and move around with little pain.
I know that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and angels were watching over me the night of the accident. I’ve felt the power of the priesthood so strongly because I received a blessing from worthy priesthood holders. That, combined with the pattern of personal prayer, scripture study, and seminary attendance I’d established before the accident and have continued after, helped me through the healing process.
Priesthood Blessings and Healing
If you’re ill or injured, is receiving a priesthood blessing the only thing you need to do to be healed? Usually not. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught that there are multiple aspects of “healing the sick—by medical science, by prayers of faith, and by priesthood blessings” (“Healing the Sick,” Ensign, May 2010, 47). He has also taught, “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” (“Healing the Sick,” 47).
For example, when seeking healing for a health condition, in addition to receiving a blessing you can work with medical professionals and follow their advice to aid recovery, pray, fast (if your condition allows), and express your faith in Jesus Christ through the power of prayer and the priesthood. Studying the scriptures can also help, because as Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “Pondering … scriptures can … accelerate physical healing” (“The Power of Scripture,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 6).