General Conference
Miracles, Angels, and Priesthood Power
April 2024 general conference

Miracles, Angels, and Priesthood Power

If you desire the blessings of the priesthood, including miracles and the ministry of angels, walk the path of covenants God has made available.

Many today say that miracles no longer exist, that angels are fictional, and that the heavens are closed. I testify that miracles have not ceased, angels are among us, and the heavens are truly open.

When our Savior, Jesus Christ, was on the earth, He gave priesthood keys to His chief Apostle, Peter. Through these keys, Peter and the other Apostles led the Savior’s Church. But when those Apostles died, the keys of the priesthood were taken from the earth.

I testify that the ancient keys of the priesthood have been restored. Peter, James, and John and other ancient prophets appeared as resurrected beings, bestowing upon the Prophet Joseph Smith what the Lord described as “the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel.”

Those same keys have been passed from prophet to prophet until today. The 15 men we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators use them to lead the Savior’s Church. As in ancient times, there is one senior Apostle who holds and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys. He is President Russell M. Nelson, prophet and President of the restored Church of Christ in our day: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Through the Savior’s Church, we receive the blessings of the priesthood—including the power of God to help us in our lives. Under authorized priesthood keys, we make sacred promises to God and receive sacred ordinances that prepare us to live in His presence. Beginning with baptism and confirmation and then in the temple, we move forward on a path of covenants that leads us back to Him.

With hands laid on our heads, we also receive priesthood blessings, including direction, comfort, counsel, healing, and the power to follow Jesus Christ. Throughout my life I have been blessed by this great power. As it has been revealed in scripture, we refer to it as the power of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood.

In my youth I gained a great respect for this power, especially as it was manifest in priesthood blessings. While serving as a young missionary in Chile, my companion and I were arrested and separated. We were never told why. It was a time of great political upheaval. Thousands of people were taken into custody by the military police and never heard from again.

After being interrogated, I sat alone in a jail cell, not knowing if I would ever see my loved ones again. I turned to my Heavenly Father, fervently pleading: “Father, I have always been taught that Thou watcheth over Thy missionaries. Please, Father, I am nothing special, but I have been obedient and I need Thy help tonight.”

The seeds of this help had been planted many years earlier. After my baptism, I was confirmed a member of the Church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. As I prayed, alone, behind bars, the Holy Ghost immediately came to me and comforted me. He brought to my mind a very special passage from my patriarchal blessing, which is another blessing of the priesthood. In it, God promised me that through my faithfulness I would be able to be sealed in the temple for time and eternity to a woman full of beauty and virtue and love, that we would become the parents of precious sons and daughters, and that I would be blessed and magnified as a father in Israel.

Those inspired words about my future filled my soul with peace. I knew that they had come from my loving Heavenly Father, who always keeps His promises. In that moment, I had the assurance that I would be released and live to see those promises fulfilled.

About a year later, Heavenly Father did bless me with a wife who is full of beauty and virtue and love. Lynette and I were sealed in the temple. We were blessed with three precious sons and four precious daughters. I became a father, all according to God’s promises in the patriarchal blessing I received as a 17-year-old boy.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren [and sisters], have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven? …

“… Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.”

I testify that miracles and ministrations are continually occurring in our lives, often as a direct result of priesthood power. Some priesthood blessings are fulfilled immediately, in ways we can see and understand. Others are unfolding gradually and will not be fully realized in this life. But God keeps all of His promises, always, as illustrated in this account from our family history:

My paternal grandfather, Grant Reese Bowen, was a man of great faith. I vividly remember hearing him recount how he received his own patriarchal blessing. In his journal, he recorded: “The patriarch promised me the gift of healing. He said, ‘The sick shall be healed. Yea, the dead shall be raised under your hands.’”

Years later, Grandfather was piling hay when he felt prompted to return to the house. He was met by his father coming toward him. “Grant, your mother has just passed away,” his father said.

I quote again from Grandfather’s journal: “I didn’t stop but went hurrying into the house and out on the front porch where she lay on a cot. I looked at her and could see there was no sign of life left in her. I remembered my patriarchal blessing and the promise that if I were faithful, through my faith the sick would be healed; and the dead would be raised. I placed my hands on her head, and I told the Lord that if the promise that He had made to me by the patriarch was true, to make it manifest at this time and raise my mother back to life. I promised Him if He would do this, I should never hesitate to do all in my power for the building up of His kingdom. As I prayed, she opened her eyes and said, ‘Grant, raise me up. I have been in the spirit world, but you have called me back. Let this always be a testimony to you and to the rest of my family.’”

President Russell M. Nelson has taught us to seek and expect miracles. I testify that because the priesthood has been restored, the power and authority of God are upon the earth. Through callings and councils, men and women, young and old, can participate in priesthood work. It is a work of miracles, attended by angels. It is the work of heaven, and it blesses all God’s children.

In 1989, our family of seven was returning from a ward outing. It was late. Lynette was expecting our sixth child. She felt a strong prompting to fasten her seat belt, which she had forgotten to do. Shortly thereafter we came around a bend in the road; a car crossed the line into our lane. Going about 70 miles (112 km) an hour, I swerved to avoid hitting the oncoming car. Our van rolled, skidded down the highway, and slid off the road, finally coming to a stop, landing with the passenger side in the dirt.

The next thing I remember hearing was Lynette’s voice: “Shayne, we need to get out through your door.” I was hanging in the air by my seat belt. It took a few seconds to get oriented. We started lifting each of the children out of the van through my window, which was now the ceiling of the van. They were crying, wondering what had happened.

We soon realized that our 10-year-old daughter, Emily, was missing. We yelled her name, but there was no response. Ward members, who were also traveling home, were at the scene frantically looking for her. It was so dark. I looked in the van again with a flashlight and, to my horror, saw Emily’s tiny body trapped under the van. I called out desperately, “We have to lift the van off of Emily.” I grabbed the roof and pulled back. There were only a few others lifting, but the van miraculously flipped onto its wheels, exposing Emily’s lifeless body.

Emily was not breathing. Her face was the color of a purple plum. I said, “We need to give her a blessing.” A dear friend and ward member knelt with me, and by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, in the name of Jesus Christ, we commanded her to live. In that moment, Emily took a long raspy breath.

After what seemed like hours, the ambulance finally arrived. Emily was rushed to the hospital. She had a collapsed lung and a severed tendon in her knee. Brain damage was a concern because of the time she was without oxygen. Emily was in a coma for a day and a half. We continued to pray and fast for her. She was blessed with a full recovery. Today, Emily and her husband, Kevin, are the parents of six daughters.

Miraculously, everyone else was able to walk away. The baby Lynette was carrying was Tyson. He too was spared any harm and was born the next February. Eight months later, after receiving his earthly body, Tyson returned home to Heavenly Father. He is our guardian angel son. We feel his influence in our family and look forward to being with him again.

Those who lifted the van off of Emily observed that the van seemed to weigh nothing. I knew that heavenly angels had joined with earthly angels to lift the vehicle off of Emily’s body. I also know that Emily was brought back to life by the power of the holy priesthood.

The Lord revealed this truth to His servants: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”

I testify that “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God”—the Melchizedek Priesthood—with its keys, authority, and power has been restored to the earth in these latter days. I know that while not all circumstances turn out like we may hope and pray for, God’s miracles will always come according to His will, His timing, and His plan for us.

If you desire the blessings of the priesthood, including miracles and the ministry of angels, I invite you to walk the path of covenants God has made available to each of us. Members and leaders of the Church who love you will help you take the next step.

I testify that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lives and leads His Church through living prophets who hold and exercise priesthood keys. The Holy Ghost is real. The Savior gave His life to heal us, reclaim us, and bring us home.

I witness that miracles have not ceased, angels are among us, and the heavens are open. And oh, how open they are! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.