Many of the prophets and apostles have experienced faith-promoting miracles they've shared with us to help illustrate the power that comes through living righteously and following what the Lord has commanded. Some of the miracles general authorities have experienced and shared with us give us hope and encouragement that we may also recognize tender mercies from our Heavenly Father. The following are stories of miracles from the lives of our prophets and apostles.
A Missing Photograph Miracle
President Thomas S. Monson
Photo from Facebook
This a story of when President Thomas S. Monson sought to find the German family photographed by a missionary from many years earlier. It is told by President Monson.
Brother Edwin Q. Cannon Jr., we call him Ted, was a missionary to Germany in 1938. He loved the people and served faithfully. At the conclusion of his mission, he returned home to Salt Lake City. He married and commenced his own business.
Forty years passed by. One day Brother Cannon came to my office and said he had been pruning his missionary photographs. (That’s a good word. You go through all of them, throw two away, and keep all rest.) Among those photographs he had kept since his mission were several which he could not specifically identify. Every time he had planned to discard them, he had been impressed to keep them, although he was at a loss as to why. They were photographs taken by Brother Cannon during his mission when he served in Stettin, Germany, and were of a family—a mother, a father, a small girl, and a small boy. He knew their surname was Berndt but could remember nothing more about them. He indicated that he understood there was a Berndt who was a Church leader in Germany, and he thought, although the possibility was remote, that this Berndt might have some connection with the Berndts who had lived in Stettin and who were depicted in the photographs. Before disposing of the photos, he thought he would check with me.
I told Brother Cannon I was leaving shortly for Berlin, where I anticipated that I would see Dieter Berndt, the Church leader, and that I would show the photographs to him to see if there was any relationship and if he wanted them. There was a possibility I would also see Brother Berndt’s sister, who was married to Dietmar Matern, a stake president in Hamburg.
The Lord didn’t even let me get to Berlin before His purposes were accomplished. I was in Zurich, Switzerland, boarding the flight to Berlin, when who should also board the plane but Dieter Berndt. He sat next to me, and I told him I had some old photos of people named Berndt from Stettin. I handed them to him and asked if he could identify those shown in the photographs. As he looked at them carefully, he began to weep. He said, “Our family lived in Stettin during the war. My father was killed when an Allied bomb struck the plant where he worked. Not long afterward, the Russians invaded Poland and the area of Stettin. My mother took my sister and me and fled from the approaching enemy. Everything had to be left behind, including any photographs we had. Brother Monson, I am the little boy pictured in these photographs, and my sister is the little girl. The man and woman are our dear parents. Until today, I had no photographs of our childhood in Stettin or of my father.”
Wiping away my own tears, I told Brother Berndt the photographs were his. He placed them carefully and lovingly in his briefcase.
At the next general conference, when Dieter Berndt visited Salt Lake City, he paid a visit to Brother and Sister Edwin Cannon Jr. so that he might express in person his gratitude for the inspiration that came to Brother Cannon to retain these precious photographs and for the fact that he followed that inspiration in keeping them for 40 years.
Find the full talk at speeches.byu.edu
► Find this story and other miracles from President Monson's at 6 Stories from President Monson (That He's Never Told At General Conference)
Protected by Angels
President Russell M. Nelson
Photo from Facebook
President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy, were protected by angels when armed men randomly attacked them. President Nelson shared this story in his book Accomplishing the Impossible: What God Does, What We Can Do.
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.”
My wife Wendy and I are the beneficiaries of that promise. On one occasion, 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 my wife was suddenly released from their hideous grasp. Then they disappeared as quickly as they had 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.
Other angels are also at work. Often our members are “angels” to neighbors in need. Home teachers and visiting teachers, as ordinary people, frequently render service that seems angelic to grateful recipients. Young people who quietly leave homemade goodies on a doorstep or two experience the joy of anonymous service to others. And I am among the many who have often referred to the loving acts of an “angel mother” or an “angel wife,” or the priceless love of “angel children.”
Do we believe in angels? Yes! We believe in angels—heavenly messengers—seen and unseen; and earthly angels who know whom to help and how to help. Gospel messengers, or angels, can include ordinary people like you and me.
► Find the full story at When Angels Saved President Russell M. Nelson's Life (+What We Know About Heavenly Messengers
Miracles from Heaven
Elder M. Russell Ballard
Photo Courtesy of Elder M. Russell Ballard
In 1985, a special fast for the famine victims of Ethiopia sparked a flood of donations that far exceeded the Church’s expectations. This act of generosity by Latter-day Saints marked the beginning of what would become LDS Charities—the Church’s humanitarian organization—which has been spreading hope and healing throughout the world ever since.
Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Glenn L. Pace traveled to Ethiopia to determine how the sacred funds should be allocated for the relief of the people there. During their visit, the two of them along with one bishop from the area held a little sacrament meeting in which they bore their testimonies and partook of the sacrament. To conclude the meeting, Elder Ballard offered a prayer that brought a powerful blessing to the land that had been stricken with drought.
“In his prayer, Elder Ballard stated that we were the only Melchizedek Priesthood holders residing in the country and that we were there on assignment from the First Presidency of the Church,” Elder Pace shares.
“He expressed gratitude to the members of the Church who had contributed their means during the special fast and who had offered up individual and family prayers on behalf of the people of Ethiopia. Then, with as much power and boldness as I had ever witnessed, calling upon the power and authority of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood, he commanded the elements to gather together, which would cause rain to come upon the land and begin to relieve those who had been suffering for so many years.”
After the sacrament meeting concluded, Elder Ballard and Elder Pace left for a luncheon with representatives of Catholic Relief Services and Africare. They enjoyed their meal outside, and Elder Pace took note of the pleasant, sunny weather.
“We returned to the hotel in the afternoon to rest up for the coming week, and I was sitting at a little desk writing in my journal when I heard a clap of thunder,” he recalls.
“I went to the patio just in time to see a torrential downpour. People came running out of their little huts and public buildings looking up in the sky and reaching their arms toward the heavens. They were shouting and crying. Children and adults alike began to frolic and splash on each other. They grabbed buckets and barrels to collect rain from the roofs.”
He continues, “I began to weep. I knew there were only two other people in the whole country who understood what had happened.”
Elder Pace left his hotel room and knocked on Elder Ballard’s door. The two men then knelt together and offered a prayer of gratitude.
“The land was burning up—it hadn’t rained for a year, and no crops had grown in three years,” Elder Ballard explains. “I knew that if we called upon the Lord to bless the land, the elements would be tempered.”
For the rest of their time in Ethiopia, it rained wherever the two men traveled.
► Find the full story at Elder Ballard's Miraculous Trip to Ethiopia & the Beginning of LDS Charities
Guided by the Spirit
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Photo from Facebook
Many years ago after Elder Dallin H. Oaks and his wife dropped off a friend in Chicago, Elder Oaks was returning to his car when robbers stopped him and threatened to kill him if he didn't give them money and the keys to his car. As the robber continued to prod, Elder Oaks contemplated how he would escape.
"While [a bus passed] behind the young robber, out of his view, he became nervous and distracted. His gun wavered from my stomach until its barrel pointed slightly to my left. My arm was already partly raised, and with a quick motion I could seize the gun and struggle with him without the likelihood of being shot. I was taller and heavier than this young man, and at that time of my life was somewhat athletic. I had no doubt that I could prevail in a quick wrestling match if I could get his gun out of the contest.
"Just as I was about to make my move, I had a unique experience. I did not see anything or hear anything, but I knew something. I knew what would happen if I grabbed that gun. We would struggle, and I would turn the gun into that young man’s chest. It would fire, and he would die. I also understood that I must not have the blood of that young man on my conscience for the rest of my life.
"I relaxed, and as the bus pulled away I followed an impulse to put my right hand on his shoulder and give him a lecture. June and I had some teenage children at that time, and giving lectures came naturally.
“'Look here,' I said. 'This isn’t right. What you’re doing just isn’t right. The next car might be a policeman, and you could get killed or sent to jail for this.'
"With the gun back in my stomach, the young robber replied to my lecture by going through his demands for the third time. But this time his voice was subdued. When he offered the final threat to kill me, he didn’t sound persuasive. When I refused again, he hesitated for a moment and then stuck the gun in his pocket and ran away. June unlocked the door, and we drove off, uttering a prayer of thanks. We had experienced the kind of miraculous protection illustrated in the Bible stories I had read as a boy.
"I have often pondered the significance of that event in relation to the responsibilities that came later in my life. Less than a year after that August night, I was chosen as president of Brigham Young University. Almost fourteen years after that experience, I received my present calling.
"I am grateful that the Lord gave me the vision and strength to refrain from trusting in the arm of flesh and to put my trust in the protecting care of our Heavenly Father. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon promise to us of the last days that “the righteous need not fear,” for the Lord “will preserve the righteous by his power” (1 Ne. 22:17). I am grateful for the protection promised to those who have kept their covenants and qualified for the blessings promised in sacred places.
Find the full talk at lds.org.
Personal Experience with Prayer
Elder Russell M. Nelson
Photo from Facebook of Elder Nelson (3rd from left in second row) with the 1947 surgical intern staff of the University of Minnesota Hospitals.
In the pioneering days of heart surgery, Elder Russell M. Nelson was asked by a stake patriarch from southern Utah for an ill-advised heart operation to fix two failing valves. Elder Nelson sought much help through prayer after which he received guidance that would ultimately help him extend the life of the patriarch.
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. This faithful man lived for many more years and has since gone to his eternal glory.
► Find the full story at lds.org.
The Power of Hope
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Photo from Facebook
President Uchtdorf relates an experience he remembers demonstrating the hope of his mother during a time she was separated from her children at a train station as they were trying to escape Germany.
[D]uring the cold winter of 1944, my mother decided to flee to Germany, where her parents were living. She bundled us up and somehow managed to get us on one of the last refugee trains heading west. Traveling during that time was dangerous. Everywhere we went, the sound of explosions, the stressed faces, and ever-present hunger reminded us that we were in a war zone.
Along the way the train stopped occasionally to get supplies. One night during one of these stops, my mother hurried out of the train to search for some food for her four children. When she returned, to her great horror, the train and her children were gone!
She was weighed down with worry; desperate prayers filled her heart. She frantically searched the large and dark train station, urgently crisscrossing the numerous tracks while hoping against hope that the train had not already departed.
Perhaps I will never know all that went through my mother’s heart and mind on that black night as she searched through a grim railroad station for her lost children. That she was terrified, I have no doubt. I am certain it crossed her mind that if she did not find this train, she might never see her children again. I know with certainty: her faith overcame her fear, and her hope overcame her despair. She was not a woman who would sit and bemoan tragedy. She moved. She put her faith and hope into action.
And so she ran from track to track and from train to train until she finally found our train. It had been moved to a remote area of the station. There, at last, she found her children again.
I have often thought about that night and what my mother must have endured. If I could go back in time and sit by her side, I would ask her how she managed to go on in the face of her fears. I would ask about faith and hope and how she overcame despair.
While that is impossible, perhaps today I could sit by your side and by the side of any who might feel discouraged, worried, or lonely. Today I would like to speak with you about the infinite power of hope.
► Find the full story at lds.org.