Latter-day Saint Life

4 Miraculous Stories from President Nelson's Life


The following article previously ran on LDS Living last year and is being shared as part of an article series that will highlight the life and teachings of President Russell M. Nelson. Beginning at his birthday week and leading up to general conference, LDS Living will focus on the insights and life lessons we can learn from the Lord's prophet on the earth today. 

Throughout his service in the Church, President Nelson has told many stories of when he witnessed the power of God in his life. Here are a few of those moments, excerpted from the new book Teachings of Russell M. Nelson.

"A Picture Came Vividly to My Mind"

Many of us have had experiences with the sweet power of prayer. One of mine was shared with a stake patriarch from southern Utah. I first met him in my medical office more than forty years ago, during the early pioneering days of surgery of the heart. This saintly soul suffered much because of a failing heart. He pleaded for help, thinking that his condition resulted from a damaged but repairable valve in his heart.

Extensive evaluation revealed that he had two faulty valves. While one could be helped surgically, the other could not. Thus, an operation was not advised. He received this news with deep disappointment.

Subsequent visits ended with the same advice. Finally, in desperation, he spoke to me with considerable emotion: “Dr. Nelson, I have prayed for help and have been directed to you. The Lord will not reveal to me how to repair that second valve, but He can reveal it to you. Your mind is so prepared. If you will operate upon me, the Lord will make it known to you what to do. Please perform the operation that I need, and pray for the help that you need.”

His great faith had a profound effect upon me. How could I turn him away again? Following a fervent prayer together, I agreed to try. In preparing for that fateful day, I prayed over and over again, but still did not know what to do for his leaking tricuspid valve. Even as the operation commenced, my assistant asked, “What are you going to do for that?”

I said, “I do not know.”

We began the operation. After relieving the obstruction of the first valve, we exposed the second valve. We found it to be intact but so badly dilated that it could no longer function as it should. While examining this valve, a message was distinctly impressed upon my mind: Reduce the circumference of the ring. I announced that message to my assistant. “The valve tissue will be sufficient if we can effectively reduce the ring toward its normal size.”

But how? We could not apply a belt as one would use to tighten the waist of oversized trousers. We could not squeeze with a strap as one would cinch a saddle on a horse. Then a picture came vividly to my mind, showing how stitches could be placed—to make a pleat here and a tuck there—to accomplish the desired objective. I still remember that mental image—complete with dotted lines where sutures should be placed. The repair was completed as diagrammed in my mind. We tested the valve and found the leak to be reduced remarkably. My assistant said, “It’s a miracle.”

I responded, “It’s an answer to prayer.”

The patient’s recovery was rapid and his relief gratifying. Not only was he helped in a marvelous way, but surgical help for other people with similar problems had become a possibility. I take no credit. Praise goes to this faithful patriarch and to God, who answered our prayers. (“Sweet Power of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2003)

"We Know We Were Protected by Angels"

The Lord made a promise to those faithfully engaged in His service. He said: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88).

Sister Nelson and I are the beneficiaries of that promise. On one occasion (May 29, 2009), we were attacked by armed men with malicious intent. They announced their purpose: to kidnap her and to kill me. After they maliciously molested us in those evil objectives, they became totally foiled. A gun to my head failed to fire. And Sister Nelson was suddenly released from their hideous grasp. Then they disappeared as quickly as they appeared. We were mercifully rescued from potential disaster. We know we were protected by angels round about us. Yes, the Lord’s precious promise had been invoked in our behalf. (“Heavenly Messengers,” Wasatch and Utah County Conference Broadcast to 153 Stakes, September 14, 2014)

"Miraculously, the Bleeding Had Stopped"

We learn . . . about the limitations of the arm of flesh from the Doctrine and Covenants. In its preface we read that “the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:19). Or to rephrase that warning, even though you may be learned in the ways of the world, don’t forget the power of God.

My medical school classmates and I learned that lesson in an unforgettable way more than thirty years ago. We will never forget it. Our experience took place in the little town of Manzanillo on Mexico’s western coast. The year was 1978. We were attending a meeting with our medical school graduating class and their wives.

One evening after the scientific sessions had been completed, one of the doctors suddenly became seriously ill. Without warning, he began to lose massive amounts of blood from his stomach. Totally stunned, we surrounded him, watching life’s precious blood flow out from him. There we were, medical specialists skilled in various disciplines, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, with wisdom gained from more than thirty years of experience. What could we do? The nearest hospital was in Guadalajara, more than 100 mountainous miles away. It was night. No planes could fly. Blood transfusions were out of the question because of lack of equipment. All of our combined knowledge could not be mobilized to stop his hemorrhage. We were totally without the facilities needed to save the life of our beloved friend.

Our stricken colleague, a faithful Latter-day Saint, was well aware of his plight. Ashen and pale, he whispered a request for the administration of a priesthood blessing. Several of us held the Melchizedek Priesthood. We responded to his request immediately. I was asked to seal that anointing. The Spirit dictated that he be blessed to the end that the bleeding would stop, that he would continue to live and return to his home. That blessing was administered in the name of the Lord.

The next morning, his condition had improved. Miraculously, the bleeding had stopped. His blood pressure had returned to normal. In a couple of days he was able to return to his home. Unitedly, we thanked the Lord for this most remarkable blessing.

The lesson we learned was simple: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). We experienced this firsthand. This doctrine, taught repeatedly in the scriptures, had now become our sure knowledge. (“‘Neither Trust in the Arm of Flesh,’” BYU Commencement, April 23, 2009)

"I Had Witnessed the Healing Power of the Lord"

I’ll never forget an experience that Sister Nelson and I had about three decades ago with President Spencer W. Kimball and his beloved Camilla. We were in Hamilton, New Zealand, for a large conference with the Saints. I was not a General Authority at that time. I had been invited to participate in this and similar meetings in other Pacific Islands while serving as General President of the Sunday School. And as a doctor of medicine, I had attended President and Sister Kimball for many years. I knew each of them very well—inside and out.

A Saturday evening cultural program had been prepared for this conference by local youth of the Church. Unfortunately, President and Sister Kimball both became very ill, each with a high fever. After receiving priesthood blessings, they rested at the nearby home of the president of the New Zealand Temple. President Kimball asked his counselor, President N. Eldon Tanner, to preside at the cultural event and to excuse President and Sister Kimball.

Sister Nelson went with President and Sister Tanner and other leaders to the event, while President Kimball’s secretary, Brother D. Arthur Haycock, and I watched over our feverish friends.

While President Kimball was sleeping, I was quietly reading in his room. Suddenly President Kimball was awakened. He asked, “Brother Nelson, what time was this evening’s program to begin?”

“At seven o’clock, President Kimball.”

“What time is it now?”

“It’s almost seven,” I replied.

President Kimball quickly said, “Tell Sister Kimball we are going!”

I checked President Kimball’s temperature. It was normal! I took Sister Kimball’s temperature. It was also normal!

They quickly dressed and got into an automobile. We were driven to the stadium of the Church College of New Zealand. As the car entered the arena, there was a very loud shout that erupted spontaneously. It was most unusual! After we took our seats, I asked Sister Nelson about that sudden sound. She said that when President Tanner began the meeting, he dutifully excused President and Sister Kimball because of illness. Then one of the young New Zealanders was called upon to pray.

With great faith, he gave what Sister Nelson described as a rather lengthy but powerful prayer. He so prayed: “We are 3,000 New Zealand youth. We are assembled here, having prepared for six months to sing and dance for Thy prophet. Wilt Thou heal him and deliver him here!” After the “amen” was pronounced, the car carrying President and Sister Kimball entered the stadium. They were identified immediately, and instantly everyone shouted for joy!

I had witnessed the healing power of the Lord! I had also witnessed revelation as received and responded to by His living prophet! (“Jesus Christ—the Master Healer,” Ensign, November 2005)

Lead image from Facebook

Read more profound insights from our prophet in Teachings of Russell M. Nelson.

Internationally renowned as a surgeon, teacher, and man of great faith, President Russell M. Nelson has dedicated his life to healing hearts and ministering throughout his medical career and his Church service. This definitive volume of his teachings presents excerpts from his speeches and writings spanning more than three decades as an Apostle of the Lord, including many from his recent world tour and other unpublished addresses. Alphabetically arranged by topic, these teachings on more than 100 subjects provide a perfect, easy-to-use resource for talks, lessons, and more.


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