Latter-day Saint Life

Elder Renlund Shares 6 Unforgettable Truths Learned from His Heart-Transplant Patients


From a powerful conversion story to a touching story of a grandfather receiving the heart of his grandson, Elder Renlund shared powerful experiences that teach beautiful eternal truths.

As a third-year medical student, Elder Dale G. Renlund encountered a distinguished physician at the University of Utah who posed the question to another student: “We learned from the patients, and then we wrote the textbooks: What did you learn from your patient?”

Elder Renlund, a former practicing cardiologist, General Authority Seventy, and now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, used that theme in his Sept. 29 address to the members of Collegium Aesculapium, an organization for LDS physicians and health professionals. The occasion was an evening dinner at the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City preceding their annual conference.

“That question has stuck with me for 38 years: What did I learn from my patients?” he said. “And that’s really what I’d like to share tonight: six vignettes of things that I learned from my patients that have real-life lessons.”

Heartache can be turned to joy through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elder Renlund told of a heart transplant patient who met with the family of his heart donor and expressed gratitude to them.

“When [he] met with them he told them he felt impressed to share with them the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of eternal families,” Elder Renlund said. “He told them he couldn’t bring their son back but he could do something to help them understand where their son was.

“[He] bore his testimony, involved missionaries, and discussions were arranged. The family was taught and joined the Church. [He] was thrilled to be present as they were baptized and then as temple blessings were received.”

Later, members of the donor family were present as Elder Renlund officiated in the wedding of the transplant recipient at the Provo Utah Temple.

“Needless to say, emotions ran high. The mother of the donor experienced something very sacred in the temple that day. Her grief had become joy, her sorrow had turned to hope, and her hope was centered in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.”

Lead image from the Deseret News.
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