Here in the Mission Field
On this Pioneer day down here in California we went and saw Ephraim’s Rescue. I think it played one time last week in Simi Valley and tonight’s showing in Ventura was a one-time event. We don’t get many Mormon movies down here in the “mission field.” I was tired after a long day of technical training but I’m glad Carol and I went. I came away greatly impressed.
Thank You T.C. Christensen
I don’t know the filmmaker T.C. Christensen but after seeing the movie I had to look him up on the Internet. He’s just a few years older than me and has made a lot of movies that I recognized. You might also know a few of them like Forever Strong, 17 Miracles, Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration, The Testaments and a whole bunch of other movies, many for the church.
Prophet of the Restoration
I have read of people who decided to be baptized after viewing his Joseph Smith movie. I am convinced that T.C. Christensen has done a lot of good with his filmmaking and has been helped by the Lord in doing so. Although my wife said she doesn’t like sad movies, I wanted to write about this one because I was able to identify so well with the main character: Ephraim Hanks.
The Gift of Healing
Played extremely well by Darin Southam in the majority of the movie, I was most touched by the development of the gift of healing as it was depicted in the movie. Each time we witnessed one of these – and there were several – a feeling of reverence came over me that increased. We both cried at the pitiful scenes of the suffering Pioneers, but I’ll always remember those priesthood blessings.
I’ve given hundreds of priesthood blessings in my life, most of them sacred and heart-felt. As a new Elder, I recall one in particular in which I felt impressed to tell an individual her sins had been forgiven her. If I remember correctly, she died a few days later. I had not been prompted to say she would be healed. We knew she was dying. It was meant to be a blessing to prepare her for death.
The Lord Inspires Us
At the time, I struggled to say the words that her sins had been forgiven, but I could not deny the Lord wanted me to express them, so I did. At the conclusion of the prayer, tears streamed down her face. “How did you know?” she asked me. “I didn’t,” I said, “but the Lord knew what you needed to hear.” Many tears were shed by each of us – the dying sister, me and my companion.
Thy Sins Are Forgiven Thee
Later, my companion asked me why I would say such a thing. He said he had never heard of anyone promising someone their sins had been forgiven them in a priesthood blessing. I reminded him of the story in the Miracle of Forgiveness where President Kimball blessed a dear sister who had struggled with feelings of worthiness even after a lifetime of faithful service in the church.
Forgiveness and Healing
As I recall the story, she and her husband had been intimate before they were married and it always caused her to feel unworthy. How would you like to be blessed by a prophet of God and told that your sins were forgiven? Better still, how would you like to hear those words from the Lord directly? I know I would. Someday I hope to hear them when I meet the Lord, hopefully in this life.
None of us Are Perfectly Clean
I was impressed by the last scene of one of the many priesthood blessings depicted in the movie. It’s where the character that played Thomas Dobson was blessed that he would not lose his feet that had been frozen. Ephraim was asked, “Why do you wash your hands? You are a holy man.” He replied, “None of us are perfectly clean,” or something very similar (I may be putting two of the blessing scenes together on this).
Symbolic Washing of the Hands
It was the washing of the hands that I found so impressive. It was so very symbolic. I know I usually remember to wash my hands before giving a blessing, but never in the manner depicted in the movie with such reverence. That added so much to the scenes. It got more impressive each time. Darin Southam did a great job but I think it was more because T.C. Christensen wrote and directed it that way.
Promise From a Patriarch
In my patriarchal blessing is the phrase, “You will have the gift of faith and the gift of healing upon you that you might bring comfort and blessings to those who are in need of the Lord’s blessings.” After seeing this movie, I’m not sure I have developed or used this promised gift to the degree the Lord had in mind when he inspired the patriarch to share it. I feel the need to repent and be more faithful in this area.
Raising From The Dead
Apparently Ephraim Hanks developed his gift to a degree that he was able to raise from the dead, as did his brother. It reminds me of similar stories of Matthew Cowley having this gift as he served his mission in the South Pacific. I have heard or read many such stories of healing over the years but few who raised individuals back to life. I wonder what kind of faith that would take.
Blessings of Comfort
Of course, I also recall President Kimball teaching that not all are healed when priesthood blessings are given because it would thwart the Lord’s plan for that individual. Perhaps they need to continue in their suffering for a season to learn the lessons of life for which we all came to this earth. It has been my experience that priesthood blessings of comfort are more common than are healings.
Reverence for the Ordinance
In any event, I simply wanted to share a few thoughts about how touched and impressed I was with the depiction of priesthood blessings as seen in the movie. To me, that was the best part of an otherwise sad and emotional story. It’s just too bad Ephraim couldn’t have gotten there just a few days earlier to keep the pretty girl interested in Thomas Dobson from dying. That was the saddest moment.