As a life-long Mormon, I have frequently been asked about all different aspects of my life and my beliefs. I think most people expect Mormons to have strange or odd beliefs about everything, but as with health care and many other aspects of my life, Mormons don’t really differ much from the general population.
However, we Mormons do hold strongly to our beliefs and they can provide a foundation that help us to make choices about medical and health care which may be somewhat unique.
Do Mormons Accept Modern Medicine, or Do They Rely on “Faith Healing” Alone?
Mormons most definitely accept modern medicine. My dad was a doctor, I know many other Mormon doctors, one of the 12 apostles in the Mormon church was a world-renown heart surgeon, etc. We have surgeries, get vaccinated, take medicine, etc.
When a Mormon is faced with a serious illness, we believe that we need to do everything in our power to extend and protect our lives–which certainly involves expert medical care. Also, we go to Heavenly Father to pray for healing. Prayer is not a means of changing God’s mind, but a way to show God our earnestness in receiving blessings which He is willing to give already, but which He holds contingent on our working for them. One way to work for those blessings is to accept and follow doctor’s orders.
Because we believe in miracles, Mormons often ask to receive a priesthood blessing. This means that two or more priesthood holders from the church say a special prayer to ask Heavenly Father to bless the person. This is by no means a substitute for professional medical care, but instead a way to show God our earnestness in receiving the blessings we desire–which also require us to do everything we can to heal ourselves–such as accepting medical care from professionals.
Really, this is not so different from most other Christians, who seek out medical care and pray as well.
Here are a few areas of Mormon health care beliefs that may be of interest.
- Diet and Drink – Mormons do not drink coffee, tea, or alcohol. We also do not smoke or chew tobacco.
- Abortion – Mormons believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, and believe that elective abortion is morally wrong. Mormons are taught that birth control can be used in an acceptable way.
- Priesthood Blessings – Mormons believe that God can do miracles even today–including the restoring of health to one who is sick through prayer, fasting or priesthood blessings. If a priesthood blessing is given, non-mormons are welcome to be present but should simply bow their heads and be reverent as with any prayer. I have been present when many priesthood blessings were given as non-mormons were present. I found another website saying that non-mormons can’t be present–that’s totally wrong.
- Pre-Marital Sex – Mormons are taught not to engage in premarital sex, and to be fiercely loyal to one’s spouse. This means obedient Mormons do not have to worry about a large amount of medical issues that are sexually transmitted.
- End of Life – Mormons believe that we should protect life and accept medical care; however, the choice to die naturally through a “do not resuscitate” order at the end of life is acceptable as long as the individual carefully considers the choice through prayer.
- Fasting – Mormons believe in fasting–as is taught in the Bible. We skip two meals one time per month to ask for a special blessing from God. Those who are very ill or whose health does not permit the practice are not forced to fast by any means.
- Same-Sex Marriage – Mormons do not believe that those attracted to others of the same gender should pursue relationships. We recognize that same-sex attraction most certainly exists, but that God only intends for sexual relations and families to be formed among traditional heterosexual couples who are legally and lawfully married.
- Sacred Undergarments – Devout Mormons who have been to a Mormon temple wear sacred undergarments each day for the rest of their lives. These garments are not visible under normal clothing, but provide reminders to the Mormons about the promises they have made to obey and serve God and be good people. If you are a health care professional caring for a Mormon, this is not a concern. Mormons can remove the garment when necessary for a procedure, for a checkup, to shower, etc.
- Death – Mormons believe in an afterlife because of Jesus Christ who took upon him death and overcame death through the cross and resurrection. While Mormons are of course sad at the passing of a loved one, we have faith in the afterlife.
Thank you for being so respectful of my beliefs to spend a moment learning about what Mormons believe in with regards to health care. If you’d like to learn more about my religion, consider checking out Mormon.org.