I remember when I was serving as a missionary for the Church that when we told people that we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they would look at us blankly and say “Who?” When we explained to them that we were also known as the “Mormons” they would look at us, their faces lighting up as they nodded sagely at us and asked why we hadn’t said so in the first place.
We didn’t say so in the first place because that’s really not who we are. “Mormons” was given to the members of the Church as a derogatory nickname, because of our belief in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon received its name from the prophet who compiled and abridged the sets of metal plates; his name was Mormon. My name is Mary, not Mormon, and I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I accept – hopefully with some semblance of grace – the nickname, as do most of the members, but we really prefer being called by our own names or by the appellation of LDS.
That being said, one of the things that distinguish us from many, if not most churches is that we believe in the continuing existence of miracles. We believe that they didn’t cease with the death of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, but that they continue to be performed even today. I sincerely believe in miracles, because I have seen them over and over again.
The first miracle took place about 39 years ago, when I had my first knee surgery. I suffered from bilateral chondromalacia patella, which is a softening and deterioration of the kneecap; it scrapes against the soft tissues in the knee and causes inflammation and great pain: in my case, it had also stretched the ligaments that held the kneecap in place; you can just imagine how much fun I was having. It should be remembered that this was before arthroscopic surgery came into existence, let alone replacements; so when the doctor told me that if I had both knees done at the same time – with open knee surgery – I would have less than 25% possibility of walking anymore. I had no choice at the time; I had a healing blessing1 and a week after surgery, I was walking, albeit highly resembling Frankenstein with my full-length casts; six months later, I was running. The Doctor said I might go from 1-15 years before I would need more surgery—I went twenty. A miracle? I think so.
My daughter is a a second miracle. The doctor told us nine months before my daughter was born that we would never be able to have children, under any circumstances. We were given a blessing and the rest is history; that was almost 32 years ago. We had no more children, but we’re thankful for the one beautiful daughter we have. And yes, I believe in miracles.
1See James 5:14-15
© Mary Purpari, April 16, 2015. All Rights Reserved.