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I went to the hospital and assisted my son in giving his wife and unborn baby a blessing.
I want to say something about that experience. My son and I have shot baskets and gone fishing and played games and spent time in the mountains; we have done a lot of great things together. But nothing comes close to this: to stand with a son and perform a priesthood ordinance and feel the power of the Spirit and sense his worthiness and sensitivity to the promptings that come. I believe that things will be fine. We are so grateful for a school nurse inspired to ask the right questions and alert the family that the fever their children had was one of only a few diseases that can affect a baby before birth
If that were the only tender mercy of the year, it would be sufficient, but there is more. Another daughter is morning sick! Everybody is amazed. We had our monthly birthday party at our home on January 29th. About 9:00 p.m. or so I was sitting in the living room talking to my daughter and her husband while he changed a diaper. My daughter asked a question:
“Do you know what Alma 46:40 says?” I did not. So she read it to me. “And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land, but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject climate . . .”
“Do you believe in miracles?”
“No,” I responded at once. I could see that she was puzzled by my answer so I explained. “I am and have been an eyewitness. I am past belief in this. I do not believe. I know.”
Whereupon she announced that she is pregnant. She had been assured that this was impossible. She only had one functioning fallopian tube. Several years ago her doctor had tried to open the other one but found it impossible. It was totally blocked. As he explained his efforts after the surgery he used the word cement to describe what he encountered there. In addition he reported that the tube was [this is my daughter’s word, perhaps the Doctor’s also] “mangled.”
With the tubal pregnancy ending the possibility of pregnancy through her one functioning tube, Jerald and Tami tried in vitro, but without success and at a cost of about $8,000. Then they began to make plans to try and adopt a baby from Guatemala, and were preparing to take out a $30,000 loan to pay for it.
As they began to discuss this option, I expressed feelings of reservation. I had no clear picture of what the Lord had in store for them. I simply had some quiet feelings of uneasiness about the expense, feelings that I expressed to them. I reminded them more than once that miracles are a part of who God is and what he does and that nothing is too hard for him; not even cement.
It was Albert Einstein who observed that, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” That feels true to me. God, our loving father with his perfect power always wants to assist in our challenges, but is restricted by the possibility of our learning incorrect principles. Thus, coincidences.
But they were desperate to have more children. When the doctor told them that conception was impossible, they prayed and went ahead with the preparation to adopt.
But Tami still hoped.
After the first draft of this article, I sent a copy to my pregnant daughter to ask if my facts were correct and if she minded my telling this story. In an email she sent back to me, she expressed these feelings:
“It was reading that scripture [Alma 46:40] that is solely responsible for my decision to take the raspberry root again. It struck me as I read it and thought about how it had worked before when I had used it after years of infertility treatments that did not work. I knew very well it would not, could not work, but as I read the words ‘the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases,’ I thought: I have to try. Jerald says I can always say that even the most obscure scripture really did change my life and inspired me to do something I otherwise would never have thought to do. ‘The words of Christ will show you ALL things that you should do’ (2 Nephi 32:3).
“I am amazed at it all. This is a miracle in my life that is no less real or incredible than the parting of the Red Sea, except that I had a parting of a fallopian tube.”
As we talked she explained that the previous times she had taken raspberry root extract, she had conceived. She now has two children who are both miracles for a mother with endometriosis and an incompetent cervix. She thought: “I have some left. I’ll try it once more.” She took it in December without any result, and had enough left for one more attempt in January. However, her husband was leaving for two weeks in Russia. But she took it and ovulated a week early (a thing she says has never happened before). Then, in anticipation of signing the loan papers for the planned adoption, she performed a home pregnancy test. It was positive!
Doctors and morning sickness have now confirmed what that test revealed. Medical professionals would like to know how this impossible thing happened. But we know how it happened.
She asked for a blessing on that Sunday night after her announcement. She and her husband were concerned that the pregnancy might be tubal again and have therefore delayed making a public announcement until things were stabilized. We went to the bedroom and her husband and I joined in one of those marvelous priesthood experiences, and I blessed her. We felt the Spirit and I promised her peace. I told her not to worry because she is safe in the hands of Almighty God, and that he would bring this pregnancy to the proper and desired conclusion. [That is what happened. 2 years ago my wife and I traveled to the Dominican Republic to witness the baptism of this miracle child on her 8th birthday.]
They wondered why, when so many are desperate to conceive, they should have been so blessed. We do not know, but I offered a couple of answers. One is that God knows what He is doing and we must trust Him. He never makes mistakes. Another answer: they will have a great responsibility to stand as witnesses of the love and power of God in their lives. He will certainly put them in places and callings when such a witness will be crucial.
And now, back to the question my daughter asked me: “Do you believe in miracles?” My journals are filled with testimonies. How could I not believe? In the 160 volumes I now have, there are hundreds of accounts of the miraculous intervention of God in our family experiences. And I am not so naive as to suspect that I have managed to record or even notice all of them.
Moroni, as he concludes his father’s record, spends a great deal of time on the subject of miracles. I suppose that his view of our day (Mormon 8:34,35) gave him incentive enough to send this warning across the ages to us. We live in a day when most do not believe in miracles, and when even those who believe in a God often believe He is not directly, and certainly not intimately, involved in the affairs of his children.
We know better, and we know it better now that we ever have before.
“And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles. But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are” (Mormon 9:10 – 11).
That God of miracles is the one Moroni shows us in chapter 9; a God who performs miracles “marvelous in our eyes” (Morm. 9:16), and whose Son wrought “many mighty miracles” as did His apostles (Morm. 9:18).
“And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles” (Mormon 9:19).
My testimony of this—of the reality of the miracles of God—has been like fire in my bones for the past couple of weeks. And my awareness of them has caused me to focus on some of the words in the verses above. God does many marvelous works. He performs mighty miracles. But he also performs simple miracles. I know I have to be careful how I say this, because I do not mean to imply that the seas (and tubes) don’t part and the mountains don’t move and the thousands don’t eat and the earth doesn’t cease rotating, and daughters do not conceive in impossible ways. But I feel tonight like most of the miracles of the Father and the Son are not the kinds that shake the foundations of the planet or alter the course of nature. They are the quiet, gentle acts of a loving, gracious Father, and are often unnoticed, at least until they are finished. They are those coincidences of which Einstein spoke.
My heart is filled with love for the Savior. He is so good. Mormon uses a wonderful phrase to speak of this: “we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him” (Helaman 12:1).