Mormon History Podcast: 009: Priesthood, Power or Placebo

When it comes to healing the sick, is it done through the Priesthood (Authority), Power (Faith) or Placebo (in our mind)? In the 21st Century, we use Consecrated Oil (Pure Olive Oil) and Anoint the Head of the Sick. What did they do historically in the LDS Church and in the end, does it matter how it is done?



-1834- Annointing Oil, Healed the Sick http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minutes-8-september-1834/1

-Women – http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/discourse-28-april-1842-as-reported-by-eliza-r-snow/2

-Baptism for the sick – http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minutes-and-discourses-6-8-april-1842/3

-Wooden Font – http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/NCMP1820-1846/id/9684

-Emma Baptized for Sick – http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-december-1841-december-1842/83

Wilford Baptism for Sick- https://ia800801.us.archive.org/BookReader/BookReaderImages.php?zip=/10/items/WoodruffWilfordJournalSelections/Woodruff_Wilford_Journal_Selections_jp2.zip&file=Woodruff_Wilford_Journal_Selections_jp2/Woodruff_Wilford_Journal_Selections_0016.jp2&scale=4&rotate=0

Wilford 1897 Temple Baptize for Health – https://ia800801.us.archive.org/BookReader/BookReaderImages.php?zip=/10/items/WoodruffWilfordJournalSelections/Woodruff_Wilford_Journal_Selections_jp2.zip&file=Woodruff_Wilford_Journal_Selections_jp2/Woodruff_Wilford_Journal_Selections_0105.jp2&scale=4&rotate=0

Olive Oil- Poem 1875 – https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=12964602&q

Read about the canes here: http://www.josephsmithjr.org/index.php/history/joseph-smith-jr/201-the-coffin-canes

-Jedediah Grant Chastising for not using Oil – Journal of Discourses 2:277, Jedediah M. Grant, March 11, 1855



10 thoughts on “Mormon History Podcast: 009: Priesthood, Power or Placebo

  1. Natural Olive Oil seems to have many healing properties reported. Take Olive Oil and add ozone to it and suddenly you have super healing properties. Kind of makes me what to consecrate the stuff and use it priesthood blessings maybe now I will.


    You can buy this stuff on the internet, but you have to make sure you are getting the right stuff. Ozone saturate the oil with oxygen and I don’t really understand the chemistry behind what is happening. Ozone is a natural disinfectant, but by the time it’s in the oil all it is left when be some sort oxidizing agent properties with no ozone left.

    Sorry I got carried away. I do love the historical context of things how we change things and don’t seem to remember that at one point things were different and start making claims that this is the way things have always been.

    I wish we could open our eyes to more possibilities and your podcast does this.

  2. *want to consecrate – again some people report ozonated oil being a dud. So there may be some placebo effect going on with that too, but if the placebo effect pulls or triggers the miracle why not?

    • Its kind of like when my Son last night said his ribs were hurting and what he could take. I said drink a cup of milk and the calcium will make it feel better.

      He asked “How long will it take for the calcium to get down there”?

      I told him “32 Minutes”.

      Roughly 30 mins later, he said “You are smart. It feels better.”

      Sometimes, we just rely on the confidence of what others tell us and then contribute the outcome to what they said 🙂

  3. Placebo is proven to be really effective for pain and emotional or mental health related issues. However when it comes to infections or injuries beyond the ability of the body to self repair or heal itself then there needs to be medical intervention.

    The difference is to rely on knowing when to apply placebo type healing and when not to, but perhaps initially we should apply placebo healing at first, because if they don’t get better then then seek out major healing afterwards.

    So there is power in the mythical version Mormonism. But can one return to having power in mythical Mormonism when you’ve already seen behind the curtain?

    • Well and like I say in the Podcast, do we believe in the healings of the Bible and of the early saints. Do we believe the stories?

  4. Once again a very interesting podcast!!! A quick question for you. what kind of oil is used in temple annointings?

    • I don’t know if there is anything official announced. On the BYU website it says “Olive oil is used by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in blessing the sick and in performing initiatory ordinances in the temple.”


      • Yes. You are correct. “Only” olive oil is used in the temple. But should it be used to performed the annointing during the initiatory? The answer is categorically no. Jehovah forbids it. According to Exodus 30:

        22 ¶ Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

        23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,

        24 And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:

        25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.

        26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,

        27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,

        28 And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.

        29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.

        30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

        31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.

        32 Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.

        33 Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.

        34 ¶ And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:

        35 And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:

        36 And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.

        37 And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord.

        38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.

        It is quite clear that the priests were anointed with this oil mixture. Then Jehovah stressed that no one else was allowed to make this oil mixture and it was forbidden its use among the rest of the population. This was a perpetual commandment as, for example, the sabbath day observance.

        Apologists may say that the mixture is too expensive so it can be replaced (like wine was replace with water in the sacrament) with just olive oil. Well it is not too much expensive. If we claim that the endowment is of divine origin then why the deviation when explicit guidance was received? … Just a few thoughts.

  5. I stumbled upon your podcast today and have been listening to them in order – from one up to nine. During this episode, you mention a lack of discussion about healing the sick during modern day. Well, let me put two out there. One, on my mission we were asked to bless the baby of the ward mission leader. We did not know the reason, but later found out he had been diagnosed with a disease, which after the blessing, all traces were gone. Second occurrance is more personal. When I was 22, I was repelling. An accident occurred where I fell more than 30 feet, striking my head on a rock. I was taken to a hospital, and an xray determined I had a bone spur protruding into my head. A blessing was pronounced, and I was flown to a second hospital for specialty care. After arriving at the secondary hospital, an additional xray was taken, and all signs of the bone spur were gone. I still have the scar, and a dent in my skull where the injury occurred. Whatever the reason, I will forever be grateful for that blessing upon me, and the faith of the one who pronounced it.

    • Sorry I didn’t see this until now.
      Thanks for sharing. It is interesting to see these same types of situations occurring outside of the LDS Faith too. It would be interesting to see what similarities out there would be.

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