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Monday, June 1, 2009

Faith & Abilities

"Faith intensifies and magnifies our gifts and abilities. There is no greater source of knowledge than the inspiration that comes from the Godhead, who have all understanding and knowledge of that which has been, is now, and will be in the future.

At Haun’s Mill, a heroic pioneer woman, Amanda Smith, learned by faith how to do something beyond her abilities and the scientific knowledge of her time. On that terrible day in 1838, as the firing ceased and the mobsters left, she returned to the mill and saw her eldest son, Willard, carrying his seven-year-old brother, Alma. She cried, “Oh! my Alma is dead!”

“No, mother,” he said, “I think Alma is not dead. But father and brother Sardius are [dead]!” But there was no time for tears now. Alma’s entire hipbone was shot away. Amanda later recalled:

“Flesh, hip bone, joint and all had been ploughed out. … We laid little Alma on a bed in our tent and I examined the wound. It was a ghastly sight. I knew not what to do. … Yet was I there, all that long, dreadful night, with my dead and my wounded, and none but God as our physician and help. ‘Oh my Heavenly Father,’ I cried, ‘what shall I do? Thou seest my poor wounded boy and knowest my inexperience. Oh, Heavenly Father, direct me what to do!’ And then I was directed as by a voice speaking to me.

“… Our fire was still smouldering. … I was directed to take … ashes and make a lye and put a cloth saturated with it right into the wound. … Again and again I saturated the cloth and put it into the hole … , and each time mashed flesh and splinters of bone came away with the cloth; and the wound became as white as chicken’s flesh.

“Having done as directed I again prayed to the Lord and was again instructed as distinctly as though a physician had been standing by speaking to me. Near by was a slippery-elm tree. From this I was told to make a … poultice and fill the wound with it. … The poultice was made, and the wound, which took fully a quarter of a yard of linen to cover, … was properly dressed. …

“I removed the wounded boy to a house … and dressed his hip; the Lord directing me as before. I was reminded that in my husband’s trunk there was a bottle of balsam. This I poured into the wound, greatly soothing Alma’s pain.

“ ‘Alma my child,’ I said, ‘you believe that the Lord made your hip?’

“ ‘Yes, mother.’

“ ‘Well, the Lord can make something there in the place of your hip, don’t you believe he can, Alma?’

“ ‘Do you think that the Lord can, mother?’ inquired the child, in his simplicity.

“ ‘Yes, my son,’ I replied, ‘he has showed it all to me in a vision.’

“Then I laid him comfortably on his face, and said: ‘Now you lay like that, and don’t move, and the Lord will make you another hip.’

“So Alma laid on his face for five weeks, until he was entirely recovered—a flexible gristle having grown in place of the missing joint and socket, which remains to this day a marvel to physicians. …

“It is now nearly forty years ago, but Alma has never been the least crippled during his life, and he has traveled quite a long period of the time as a missionary of the gospel and [is] a living miracle of the power of God.”

The treatment was unusual for that day and time, and unheard of now, but when we reach an extremity, like Sister Smith, we have to exercise our simple faith and listen to the Spirit as she did. Exercising our faith will make it stronger."

(Ensign, May 2000, The Shield of Faith, President James E. Faust)
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