As a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my first experience of priesthood blessings was at the birth of my son. He was born with spina bifida, and the Branch President immediately came to the hospital and blessed him saying that “the doctors would have knowledge beyond their learning”. His first two surgeries went well and we eventually left the hospital and took him home.
At three months, the doctors expressed concern about his kidneys and we were sent to the Red Cross Children’s hospital in Cape Town. A friend arranged for us to stay with members, Brother Rex Lowe and his wife Pat. At Red Cross, he was taken away for various tests and as the hours dragged on all we were told was that it was “necessary to remove the child to prevent parental interference as the tests are painful and cause distress”. I was frantic! The result was that he needed immediate surgery to bypass his bladder so as to save his kidneys which were severely damaged. This meant a stoma (opening) and a bag for the rest of his life. The “good news” was that their top urologist had moved to East London the previous week so we could go home for the surgery. They made the appointment and gave us an envelope with the results, reports and scans showing the kidney damage.
We returned to the Lowe’s home where this wonderful couple - strangers - took care of us. After listening to the diagnosis, Brother Lowe asked if Sean had had a blessing. We said, “Only when he was born”. He then held Sean in his hands and asked Heavenly Father to bless him that his kidneys might be healed so he would not need the surgery. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and joy, a warmth that filled me. Brother Lowe said he was impressed to tell me that Sean did not need the surgery - his kidneys were perfect.
Back in East London, we went to the surgeon, gave him the envelope, and I asked him to please cancel the surgery. His surprise progressed to shock when I mentioned “faith and blessing”, and rapidly to anger. He thrust the kidney scans at me asking why I was determined to kill my child. Clinging to the memory of the feeling I had when Sean was blessed, I refused to budge.
Finally, the surgeon asked if I would see reason if he repeated the tests. I agreed provided I could be with Sean when he was tested. The surgeon said “Oh yes you most certainly can… and feel his pain at these unnecessary tests you are subjecting him to!”
Back in his consulting room after the tests, without a word to me, the surgeon picked up the phone and dialled. He asked for the correct department and then proceeded to angrily question the person on the other end. He asked how they could mix up patient’s test results, sending incorrect reports – almost causing him to operate on a 3 month old baby unnecessarily! He was furious. He then listened, apologised and hung up the phone.
Red Cross had told him that those particular tests had not been performed on anyone else in the last month - there could be no mix up.
The surgeon then said to me, “Thank you for preventing an irreversible procedure. I cannot pretend to understand what happened here”.
The reflux was severe and Sean was on antibiotics until he was 10, but through it all, every specialist has exclaimed at how perfectly healthy his kidneys are, how the shape and function do not correlate with his condition.
Faith + the power of the priesthood = miracles. I am so grateful for my testimony of this great blessing and for righteous priesthood holders.