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When Angels Gave President Lee a Blessing of Healing

President Harold B. Lee’s experience on an airplane illustrates the truth that angels may participate in healing a mortal who has an illness. President Lee recalled: “I was suffering from an ulcer condition that was becoming worse and worse. We had been touring a mission; my wife, Joan, and I were impressed the next morning that we should get home as quickly as possible, although we had planned to stay for some other meetings.

“On the way across the country, we were sitting in the forward section of the airplane. Some of our Church members were in the next section. As we approached a certain point en route, someone laid his hand upon my head. I looked up; I could see no one. That happened again before we arrived home, again with the same experience. Who it was, by what means or what medium, I may never know, except I knew that I was receiving a blessing that I came a few hours later to know I needed most desperately.

“ . . . shortly [after we reached home], there came massive hemorrhages which, had they occurred while we were in flight, I wouldn’t be here today talking about it.

“I know that there are powers divine that reach out when all other help is not available. . . . Yes, I know that there are such powers.”1

President Brigham Young testified: “Supposing we were traveling in the mountains, and all we had or could get, in the shape of nourishment, was a little venison, and one or two were taken sick, without anything in the world in the shape of healing medicine within our reach, what should we do? According to my faith, ask the Lord Almighty to send an angel to heal the sick. This is our privilege, when so situated that we cannot get anything to help ourselves.”2

Other individuals have related that angels were instrumental in healing their respective sicknesses, including John R. Young, a young man serving a mission in Hawaii; Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, a woman who lived during the Nauvoo period of the Church; Orin Alonzo Perry, who in the fall of 1893 was near the point of death; and a young English girl who had a severe fever.3

President James E. Faust summarized the ministering of angels: “In ancient and modern times angels have appeared and given instruction, warnings, and direction, which benefited the people they visited. We do not consciously realize the extent to which ministering angels affect our lives. President Joseph F. Smith said, ‘In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.’ Many of us feel that we have had this experience. Their ministry has been and is an important part of the gospel.”4

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Although angels are a vital part of Latter-day Saint history and doctrine, their roles and purposes are often misunderstood. In this inspiring volume, author Donald W. Parry discusses in a clear and understandable way what we can learn from the scriptures and from modern prophets and apostles about angels and their missions.

Here you will find answers to such questions as the following:

What are angels?
What powers and abilities are angels given?
How do angels communicate with mortals?
What are the assigned missions and roles of angels?
How do angels reveal truth and teach the doctrines of the gospel?
How do angels minister to and comfort mortals?
What is the role of guardian angels in the modern world?

When just the thought of someone watching out for us can give us hope in challenging times, to realize that angels minister light, love, and power to us, whether we are aware of them or not, gives us unparalleled understanding, comfort, and peace.


^1. “Stand Ye in Holy Places,” Ensign, July 1973, 123; see also Best-Loved Stories, 1:325–26.

^2. Journal of Discourses, 4:25. Elder Parley P. Pratt set forth a variety of occasions in which one would wish for a ministering angel, including this one: “Why, if a person is sick they would like to be visited, comforted, or healed by an angel or spirit!” Journal of Discourses, 1:13.

^3. Young, Memoirs of John R. Young, 76–77; Adam, “Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, 1818–1913,” 16–18; “Orin Alonzo Perry,” in Whitney, History of Utah, 4:440; “Nellie Colebrook,” Young Woman’s Journal 2 (Apr. 1891): 292–93.

^4. “A Royal Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2006, 51.

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