The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

There has always been in all of humanity a sprinkling of those who are described in the scriptures as the blind, the halt, the lame, the deaf, the withered, the dumb, the impotent folk. We refer to them as having learning or communication disorders, as the hearing or visually impaired, as those with motor or orthopedic limitations. We speak of intellectual or emotional impairment, of retardation, and mental illness. Some suffer from a combination of these, and all of them cannot function without some help.

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It is my intent to teach doctrine which, if understood, will reinforce your courage and endurance, even foster a measure of contentment with circumstances which you did not invite, do not deserve, but from which you cannot turn away.

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The very purpose for which the world was created, and man introduced to live upon it, requires that the laws of nature operate in cold disregard for human feelings. We must work out our salvation without expecting the laws of nature to be exempted for us. Natural law is, on rare occasions, suspended in a miracle. But mostly our handicapped, like the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, wait endlessly for the moving of the water.

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At a recent stake conference, I noticed on the front row a family including a girl of ten who has palsy and is deaf. Her father held her so that she would not slide off the bench. Their tenderness touched me deeply. When the meeting ended, I motioned for them to come up to me, for they were holding back. The father turned so that I could see Heidi’s face, which was buried into his shoulder, and he said with a smile, “She’s under there someplace.”

Indeed she is under there someplace. All of them are under there somewhere.

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President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that “all spirits while in the pre-existence were perfect in form, having all their faculties and mental powers unimpaired. … Deformities in body and mind are … physical.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., 5 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979, 3:19.) Physical means “temporal”; temporal means “temporary.” Spirits which are beautiful and innocent may be temporally restrained by physical impediments.

If healing does not come in mortal life, it will come thereafter. Just as the gorgeous monarch butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, so will spirits emerge.

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“Their sleeping dust [will] be restored unto its perfect frame, bone to bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they might receive a fulness of joy.” (D&C 138:17.)

And, “the soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.” (Alma 40:23; italics added.)

“O how great the plan of our God! … The spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.” (2 Ne. 9:13.)

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Truth: Mortal life is temporary and, measured against eternity, infinitesimally brief. If a microscopic droplet of water should represent the length of mortal life, by comparison all the oceans on earth put together would not even begin to represent everlasting life.

Truth: After mortal death we will rise in the resurrection to an existence to which there will not, neither could there be an end. The words everlasting, never ending, eternal, forever and forever in the revelations describe both the gospel and life.

That day of healing will come. Bodies which are deformed and minds that are warped will be made perfect. In the meantime, we must look after those who wait by the pool of Bethesda.

President Boyd K. Packer
The Moving of the Water,” General Conference, April, 1991, Ensign, May, 1991

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