“Miracles of Healing through Temple Ordinances,” Liahona, September 2020
All children of God who are accountable for their decisions—regardless of the place, time, or circumstances in which they live or have lived—need to receive the opportunity to exercise faith in Jesus Christ, to repent, and to accept His gospel, on either side of the veil. Each of God’s children is in need of spiritual healing and as His disciples, we have been called to help make that possible.
Because of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, saving temple ordinances allow us and our ancestors to be born again, to be changed to a state of righteousness, to be redeemed of God, and to become new creatures (see Mosiah 27:25–26).
President Russell M. Nelson taught: “The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson, every progressive step in the Church. All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. Ordinances of the temple are absolutely crucial. We cannot return to God’s glory without them.”1
When the scribes and Pharisees murmured against His disciples, Jesus Christ answered them: “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31–32).
President James E. Faust (1920–2007), Second Counselor in the First Presidency, declared: “The Lord has provided many avenues by which we may receive [His] healing influence. … [He] has restored temple work to the earth. It is an important part of the work of salvation for both the living and the dead. Our temples provide a sanctuary where we may go to lay aside many of the anxieties of the world. Our temples are places of peace and tranquility. In these hallowed sanctuaries God ‘healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds’ (Ps. 147:3).”2
As we travel, we hear stories of miracles of healing that occur in holy temples everywhere. We hear of faithful members who come to the temple in buses and who spend all day and evening performing saving ordinances for their ancestors. We hear of dedicated youth attending the temple early in the morning before school to perform baptisms and confirmations for the dead and helping with different aspects of those sacred ordinances. We hear of groups of young women and young men taking public transportation after school one day each week to offer their ancestors the opportunity to be spiritually born again. We hear of families navigating in boats for hours to attend the temple in order to receive saving temple ordinances for themselves, so that through Jesus Christ’s Atonement, they can be changed to a state of righteousness. We hear of individual members and families finding names of dear ancestors on the Sabbath and then taking those names to the temple to give those family members the opportunity to be redeemed by God. We hear of 11-year-old boys and girls who are eager to come to the temple and who have to stand on the last step of the baptismal font because the water is too deep for them—all to give their ancestors the chance to become new creatures.
If we think about it, we all come to the temple to be spiritually healed and to give those on the other side of the veil the opportunity to be healed as well. When it comes to healing, we all need the Savior desperately. I will illustrate this with the story of two of my ancestors.
My grandmother Isabel Blanco was born in Potosí, Nicaragua. In my memories, she is a loving, hardworking, and faithful woman. As I was growing up, she planted in my young heart the seed of faith as I saw her pray to God with fervor and as she took me to mass every Sunday to worship Jesus. However, she did not have an easy life. Among many other things that she did, when she was young, she worked as a maid for an affluent family. As was sadly common, her employer got her pregnant and when she could no longer hide her pregnancy, she was dismissed.
My father, Noel, was born from that pregnancy, and although Potosí was a small town and everyone, including Noel, knew who his father was, Noel never had any direct contact or relationship with him.
Isabel never married, and she had two other children out of wedlock. After some time, she and her three children moved to the country’s capital, Managua, looking for better employment and educational opportunities.
During his late teen years, Noel developed an addiction to alcohol. He eventually met and married my mother, Delbi, and they had four children. Through the years, his alcoholism took a toll on their marriage and after moving to San Francisco, California, USA, in their 50s, they separated. Unfortunately, he died by suicide a few years later.
My mother and I became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a few years before my father passed away. Some years after his death, all the vicarious temple ordinances were performed in his behalf, except for one: the sealing ordinance. At the time, I did not dare ask my mother if she wanted to be sealed to him, because I knew how strained their relationship had been.
Then a miracle happened. My mother had a dream in which she saw her husband, Noel, outside the kitchen door in their home in Managua, extending his hand to her and inviting her to come with him. She woke up with a sweet feeling in her heart. Not too long after that, she called me one day and calmly said, “I am going to be sealed to your father this Saturday. You can come if you want.”
I replied excitedly, “Of course, I want to be there!” After our phone conversation ended, I joyfully realized that I could also be sealed to them.
On a glorious Saturday morning, my mother, my husband, and I knelt at a sacred temple altar and performed the living and vicarious sealing ordinances that gave my parents and me the opportunity to be together forever. My son was also there as proxy for my brother, who had passed away years before. At that holy moment, all the pains and sorrows were forgotten. We all felt the soothing and healing balm that our Savior, Jesus Christ, offers us through His Atonement, on both sides of the veil.
Years later, I had a dream in which I saw my father at what seemed to be a pulpit in one of our meetinghouses. He was wearing a white shirt and a tie, and he was giving an inspiring message. In my dream, I could perceive that he was a seasoned leader of the Church. I do not know exactly what that dream means, but it gives me the hope that maybe he has accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit world.
At some point, we also performed the temple work for my grandmother, Isabel, except for the sealing to spouse ordinance because she was not married in her life. Just think about this, a woman like Isabel, who was not treated with respect by men and who dealt with many struggles in her life, can be given the opportunity on the other side of the veil to exercise her agency and make a sacred covenant with God through a vicarious ordinance in the temple. She, like all of us, is in need of increased faith, in need of repentance, in need of love, in need of sanctification—in short, in need of healing.
Looking back now, I can see that even though Noel had a difficult childhood and a damaging addiction, his love for his children was stronger than his weaknesses. When he was with us, his best qualities would come out. He was always kind to us, and I cannot remember even one occasion in which he lost his temper with his children. Because God is merciful, Noel is also given the chance to exercise faith, to repent, and to accept Jesus Christ as his Redeemer through saving temple ordinances performed in the holy temple. Noel, like all of us, is also in need of healing.
These are just two examples of the eternal blessings of healing that are offered to individuals and families in all of the Lord’s temples around the world. As taught by President Nelson, “We invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life.”3
When I think about all that needed to happen for Isabel and Noel to receive that eternal gift, I realize that it is a miracle made possible by a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who love us with perfect love and who have called each of us to help in God’s work and glory.
Speaking of the gathering of Israel, President Nelson has said: “Every one of our Heavenly Father’s children, on both sides of the veil, deserves to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They decide for themselves if they want to know more.” And then he explained: “Anytime you do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—take a step toward making covenants with God and receiving their essential baptismal and temple ordinances, you are helping to gather Israel. It is as simple as that.”4
I do not know if my granny Isabel, my daddy, Noel, and the rest of my ancestors for whom temple work has been performed have accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit world. However, I can have hope, I can exercise faith, I can make and keep covenants with God, and I can live my life in a way that will allow me to be with my ancestors “in a state of happiness which hath no end” (Mormon 7:7).
And when I get to the other side of the veil, if they have not yet accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ, I will make sure to teach it to them! I can’t wait to give them a hug, to tell them how much I love them, to have heart-to-heart conversations that I never had with them when they were alive, and to testify to them “that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.”5
Sometimes, the natural man or woman in us makes us think that we have been called to “fix” other people. We have not been called to be “fixers” of others, and we have not been called to lecture or to scorn. We have been called to inspire, to lift, to invite others, to be fishers of people, fishers of souls so they receive the opportunity to be spiritually healed by Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
“And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations” (Isaiah 61:1–4).
Elder Dale G. Renlund taught: “Family history and temple work [provide] the power to heal that which [needs] healing. … God, in His infinite capacity, seals and heals individuals and families despite tragedy, loss, and hardship.”6
President Nelson has taught that “the real power to heal … is a gift from God”7 and also explained that the “resurrection is the Lord’s consummate act of healing. Thanks to Him, each body will be restored to its proper and perfect frame. Thanks to Him, no condition is hopeless. Thanks to Him, brighter days are ahead, both here and hereafter. Real joy awaits each of us—on the other side of sorrow.”8
I testify that our Heavenly Father loves each of us so much that He has provided “a way”9 so that each of us can be physically and spiritually healed as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, make and keep our covenants with God, and follow His commandments. I testify that Christ came to the earth “to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives” (Luke 4:18) so each of us can “become holy, without spot” (Moroni 10:33).