Comments about ‘Unknown 'angel' priest prays with 19-year-old at accident scene’

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Published: Monday, Aug. 12 2013 10:10 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

Such a neat story! Maybe more details will come out that will explain better what happened. Nevertheless, I believe there are miracles large and small that happen everyday, this could very well be one of them.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

No surprise from me that God sent a Catholic Priest. His messengers here on earth.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Stories like this really cut both ways and it’s difficult to see them in only a positive light. After first thinking, “good for her that she survived this horrible accident” I can’t help but think that we have such a long way to go before we outgrow our child-like affinity for supernatural explanations.

I also find stories like this troubling because of how it must make other not so lucky victims (and their families) feel. Think of the literally thousands of believers who pray every day for relief from their own horrible suffering, only to have their prayers go unanswered. I wonder how many of them become bitter or remain faithful while feeling some degree of unworthiness or guilt because they were “not good enough” for God to answer their prayers.

On balance I find it difficult to know whether belief comforts more that it causes unnecessary suffering.

Joe Moe
Logan, UT

Tyler D, interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing them in an eloquent way. As a believer, I can say that in some cases I have had sincere prayers answered in the way I wanted, and other times answered differently. As any child experiences, "no" is an answer, and sometimes the best one in the lng run. But they've all been answered. And I know that part of the purpose of life is learning through suffering, so I (and most believers) understand that not every prayer for relief from suffering will come when and how we want. But when it does, such as in this case, we have an added level of gratitude. In the end, a believer accepts the will of God and moves on to the best of his ability.

sandy, ut

Joe Moe

If the will of god was for her to survive then a prayer for her by the priest made no difference. I don't think god would suddenly change his mind about her ultimate fate just by somebody praying. Like Tyler D. stated... what about those who prayed for a loved one and they didn't make it? Must have been the will of god, correct? Why, then do we pray? If his will is going to be the final result no matter what, then what is the purpose?

Woods Cross, UT

Chris B, I suggest a thorough understanding of Mark 9:38-40. Allow me to make it easy for you.

38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.

39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

Joe Moe
Logan, UT

Brahmabull, you raise a good point that should be clarified. I believe simply that answers to prayers (and other miracles) hinge on two points: God's will and our faith/work. Both generally must be present for the miracle to occur; absence of either can preclude the blessing. It is not hard for me to picture a loving God that wishes to share blessings, but is guided by several principles: respect for man's agency, a far-reaching and far-looking desire to help man learn to be his best eternal self, and a desire to grant man peace and happiness insofar as it does not hinder the two prior principles.

I absolutely believe that there are times God will act a certain way regardless of our faith, and there are times he will NOT act regardless of our faith, and many many other times when he acts precisely based on our faith. Thus we learn faith (in the aggregate rather than based on one incident) in God. Whether this incident is one where the girl would have lived regardless of faith, we perhaps cannot tell (sometimes a spiritual person can discern this, but never a casual observer).

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

@Joe Moe,

"Both generally must be present for the miracle to occur"

So just to be clear, you then must believe that God generally does NOT give blessings to those people in the world who do not believe in him is that right?

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Tyler D,

Having been in such a circumstance, I can tell you it was one of the greatest tests of my faith.

Many look to how God will keep his promises found in D&C 82:10. But I like the two prior verses:

“And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you; Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.”

That is what I find in the Gospel. The means to salvation. Keeping the commandments does not indebt God to me so that I can use him as a wish granting machine. Rather I follow his commandments and gain the blessing of learning to act for my salvation and that of others.

The scriptures and church history are full of stories of those who were not protected. We (naturally) concentrate on the stories where they were.

For me the point is that I follow God where he leads. Not necessarily through the good and the pleasant. In the meantime, I live in a telestial world with the attendant griefs.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Joe Moe

For me all of this can be explained by simple chance, especially given our propensity for confirmation bias? Most of the petition-type prayers people make are of the “yes/no” variety so statistically some things are going to go your way and some are not.

Given the apparent randomness of the outcomes (although an “answered prayer” to an individual no doubt does not seem random – see confirmation bias) and the millions who’s prayers go unanswered (e.g., holocaust victims, victims of crimes against children, etc…), I just don’t see any evidence of an intelligent being behind it all?

And if all prayers are answered regardless of whether the answer was yes or no, does it make any sense that we should be grateful for one outcome and not another (since, as you say, it’s all for the benefit of our eternal self)?

But I agree that for a believer, you’re forced to just accept it all as the will of God (i.e., from our perspective, a mystery).

Thanks for the cordial dialogue…

Omaha, NE

@ Chris B

I think that Joe Moe would disagree with your assessment of his statements. He clarifies " at times God will act a certain way regardless of our faith" Thank goodness God does. I'm sure I've benefitted many times when my own faith in him was lacking.

And thank goodness for the Catholic priest who was there and able to provide support during that time of need.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT


He clarifies " at times God will act a certain way regardless of our faith"


Then back to the original issue raised by Brahmabull:

If God's will is going to be fulfilled regardless of the prayer, then why pray?

It seems the responses keep flip flopping.

If anyone is confused as to what is being asked, please read Brahambull questions.

Provo, UT

To answer Brahmabull's question about why a prayer was necessary if it was "God's will" – it's because prayer strengthens the faith of those who want to believe. The girl requested a prayer because she knew it would give her comfort. It reminded everyone there (again, everyone who wanted to believe in God) that it was God who was in control, and not just chance. In short, it gave people comfort and made them feel good despite a challenging situation. That's what a belief in God offers.

Genola, UT

More than likely the priest was a real person who happened to be in the right place at the right time to provide comfort to the young victim. He did not appear out of nowhere nor did he disappear into nowhere. The words he spoke when he prayed with the victim are not reported so we do not know if he asked God to spare her life. Perhaps the comfort she received upon hearing the words of the prayer helped her to survive the ordeal.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Twin Lights – “That is what I find in the Gospel. The means to salvation.”

Always enjoy your perspective and if I were a religious person would no doubt share many conceptions of “how it all works” you have articulated in this and many past comments.

But as you know my take is a bit different… for example your comment above. What exactly do we need saving from? Why would a God create us just so he (or his fallen proxy) can do bad things to us if we don’t follow a certain religion (yet generally try to live good lives)?

Nice “wish granting machine” line!

@samuelbradshaw – “In short, it gave people comfort and made them feel good despite a challenging situation. That's what a belief in God offers.”

There are many agnostics/atheists who would say precisely the same thing…

G L W8

Tyler D. to Joe Moe: "Thanks for the cordial dialogue"... Hopefully, we're all learning through these comments; I know I have. I appreciate the understanding I'm gaining from those with different viewpoints.

As to answers to prayer: one who doesn't try with diligence will never find out if prayer works or not.

As to one person's prayer answered and another's not: If God answers every one of our prayers immediately upon request, we would never learn nor grow.

As to the question on the necessity of prayer and God's will: God is omniscient. The argument has been made over time: "If he knows all about how our lives will turn out, why send us here in the first place?" The answer to both questions is the same: His work is to bring about our salvation. He can't do that without subjecting us to the experiences of mortality, including the learning we gain when we draw our own wills congruent to His through prayer and other experiences.

G L W8

Chris B: I'm curious if the girl was Catholic. If she was, and the priest truly was an angel, wouldn't he come in clothing that would enhance her faith? (This is speculative, of course. I'm basically leaving the door open to any possibility beyond our own human understanding.)

A curious detail--he apparently used oil as part of his blessing. LDS people do in our anointing of those needing a healing blessing. Do Catholics or any other modern religions? The use of oil for an anointing of one type or another is mentioned many places in the Bible.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Tyler D,

In the LDS view we are as children. We need to learn to be adults in order to enter a celestial world where jealousies and ill temper cannot be tolerated.

You can argue that “with great power comes great responsibility” (Ben Parker). But the LDS view is “that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.”

True adulthood requires us to learn certain principles and bring them into our soul. Unless we do so, we cannot enter that celestial state. In LDS theology there are other states depending on what we are willing to receive. There is nothing bad here.

D&C 76: “That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him; Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him. Wherefore, he saves all except them”

A son of perdition repeats Satan’s sin and knowingly rebels against God. It is thought that those who so “qualify” will be relatively few.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Twin Lights wrote:

"In the LDS view we are as children. We need to learn to be adults in order to enter a celestial world where jealousies and ill temper cannot be tolerated."

That metaphor has interesting implications.

The child who constantly runs to its parent for "answers" and help never learns to become an adult. The adult is fundamentally self-sufficient without the parent.

As such, it seems atheists are the only ones of "god's children" who have grown up and live their lives self-sufficiently, without a "heavenly parent" looking over their shoulder.

I can go along with that.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Moreover, if you take ANY and ALL of the explanations the faithful have given for why, when, how their god supposedly does or does not "answer prayers", and you replace the so-called "god" in those explanations with the randomness of Nature, then they work just as well.

A universe with the kind of "god" you all have described, placed side by side with a universe with NO god, but instead the randomness of Nature - I challenge any of you to show the difference.

Nature sometimes "answers our prayers" and sometimes doesn't. Nature spares some and kills others. Nature makes it rain fall on the just and on the unjust. Nature demands that we "grow up" and act like adults rather than whimpering in our superstitious moods demanding that Nature treat us special.

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