I knew long before George became part of my life that the Priesthood of God had been restored to the earth. I speak of the same Priesthood Power that was given by Jesus of Nazareth, The Christ, The Redeemer of Mankind, to his Apostles spoken of in the New Testament. One thing that positions The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, apart from other religions is that we are Restorationists if you want to give us a generic name. This means that we agree with the basis of Protestantism and the Reformationists that there are errors in the Roman Catholic Church. However, we recognize the fundamental requirements of those concerns at that time required more than just dissent and the breaking of religious connection. We believe that when truths are lost and priesthood power is forfeited there must be a literal restoration from those that would hold that knowledge and power.
I believe that the Melchizedek Priesthood restoration occurred in late Spring of 1829 and with it came restoration of the power to lay on hands like described in the Holy Writ. (See Hands, Laying on of)
What I have learned from George and the experiences he represents related to the Priesthood power have reinforced and strengthened my already firm belief that it has been restored and can work miracles in the lives of people today. I knew from being a priesthood holder that the Priesthood had the power to provide comfort and that it had the power to do miracles like those described in the Bible. I had given those blessings and I knew from where that power comes from for I had been the ‘voice’ in others’ lives when they had desired to have a “laying on of hands”. While those experiences are special in my life and I certainly felt honored to have been asked to perform this sacred service I had not often needed to have those same experiences in my own life. George changed all of that.
While I may have some uncertainty about the surgery that I did in February of 2004, I also knew from the moment that I saw the MRI film with the ominous white blob on the left side of my head that I needed to get it out. I didn’t wonder if I should have surgery or if I should have radiation therapy, I knew I needed to have it surgically removed. I was certain that I didn’t want it in my head any longer than it had to be. When I got the surgery scheduled I ask my father to come to Arkansas from Wyoming to give me a Priesthood blessing. I wanted him to lay his hand on my head and use his Priesthood to both comfort and bless me.
During the course of that blessing he blessed my family and he blessed my surgeons so that they would be successful in their work. I felt comforted by the words that were said but more importantly I felt the comfort that comes from the presence of the Holy Ghost as He spoke to my spirit and provided me with an assurance that all would be well. I learned, again, that I am known of my Heavenly Father. I learned that He loves me and my family and He would be there for me to lean upon during the trying times that might come.
From this experience I learned that I have a brain – I saw it on the video of the surgery that was given to me after the surgery. Yes, I have seen my brain. I also saw the removal of the tumor. I saw the skill of the surgeon as he stripped the tumor from the nerves that were being impacted by the tumors growth. I saw through the surgeon’s eye, he was doing microscopic surgery so it was a digital record given to me at one of my follow up visits, what this spot in my head looks like. I saw him take his surgical “dremel” and make my ear tunnel more a canal, I could see the cerebral fluid pulse with the beating of my heart. I could see the tools that were being used to remove the tumor. I admit that they looked enormous; one looked like it was a giant pencil connected to a sausage. I realized later that it was actually about the same size as the 0.5mm lead of a mechanical pencil and the sausage was the end of the surgeon’s finger to which it was attached. As I watch the skill used to remove the tumor I could see the fulfillment of that Priesthood blessing. I was told that my surgery was not really done like all of the others this surgeon had done (he was a teaching surgeon in this field). Normally both nerves are removed but he stated that when they started peeling the tumor away the nerve that didn’t have the malfunctioning Schwann cells the nerve was freed and was not impacted and was left in place. A great story for my long-term recovery; truly a miracle since he normally just snips them at the beginning, another fulfillment of Priesthood blessings associated with the laying on of hands.
I learned from this experience that another important part of surgery is the recovery period and the challenges that go with it. I learned that I did a very good job of understanding the surgery and what I would expect in that process only to have completely missed the discussions of what the recovery would be like. While that little nerve that was NOT removed is a great advantage to my long-term prospects, it was the bane of my existence during the days following surgery. You see, that nerve had been pinned slowly over the years against bones inside my head and those nerve signals had not been making it to the “processing center” and my brain had gotten quite accustomed to doing things without that input.
Now my brain had this extra piece of data that needed to be processed in addition to the general surgery effects, anesthesia recover (which is always bad for me I have learned from other medical procedures since then), and some drug reactions or impacts. My little processing center was quite unhappy with this added input, it went into violent revolt.
I have never been drunk, but have been around enough to know that the spinning I was feeling was the kind of feeling a drunk has when he lays down and tries to hold the earth still to keep it from spinning. Needless to say, my life was a spinning hell, so much so that I honestly thought that if this was to be what my life would be like that I would rather die. I felt I would rather die and I was very serious about that desire if this was how things were going to be. Things were bad, terrible. I was so miserable I had forgotten the blessings that I have been given. This represents the beginning of George.
George became a gorilla at this point, even a troop of gorillas. I believe that he still has that ability to morph from the tiny little monkey he normally is to something as terrible as what he was during those days. He still has the power to cause fear related to this experience if I want to really worry about what life will or may be like in the future.
I didn’t need to tell anyone about how I felt; it was obvious. My medication still wasn’t really working, I was miserable and not able to sleep and I reached out again, or my wife reached out, to get another blessing. I needed the laying on of hands if I was to have any hope of life being normal.
One of the unique things about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that we have assignments given to members where they are responsible for a few families in the congregation, we call them Home Teachers. Our home teachers came to provide me with a blessing. When they arrived to provide this laying on of hands I was at the bottom of hell, the despair was intense, my hopelessness seemed eternal. I knew that this moment would determine whether life would ever return to normal. I knew that these men had the power to act in God’s name and I needed that kind of help.
The process to give this blessing requires the use of anointed olive oil and is done in two parts. The first it called the anointing and the second is called the sealing. The anointing normally takes about 15 seconds. The sealing can take as long as the Spirit wishes to communicate through the Priesthood holder. I have been on that side of the blessing numerous times and have loved to have the Spirit speak through me to the person receiving the blessing. I have often been in awe at the blessing provided to these individuals. I wasn’t looking for anything awe inspiring from these brethren, I was looking for healing.
With the anointing complete, the moment that they placed their hands on my head to begin the sealing, the very instance that they touched me to begin this part of the blessing, I felt the healing power of God flow into my body. Without a word being said by them, the world ceased to spin. I knew in that instance that all of the world would be as it was; I departed from the depths of that spinning hell. I knew in that moment that I could control George and he would not rule my life. I don’t remember what they said. I do remember and will testify that they did use the Priesthood of God to heal me. I do know that from that very instance that I began to heal and all thoughts of fear and anguish and sorrow left me.
I will never forget that experience. I will always remember that it was not what they said, though my wife assures me that they were great words of comfort.
While there are many who will claim that miracles have ceased and they are no more since the times of the Apostles of old, I will tell you that the miracles of the ancients can and do happen today. That even now in the 21st century men can perform the laying on of hands and achieve the same healing miracles of old because they do those miracles by that same authority that was used anciently. The men that hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and worthily use it today can and do perform miracles as great as those performed in the New Testament.
I know it and just as importantly George knows it.
Next up: Patient – Verb or a Noun.