I’m sure we all know that addiction of all forms, pornography or alcohol, change and damage the addict’s brain. If an addict were to seek a blessing, could they get a blessing of healing? Addiction is considered a sickness by many, and it’s a no brainer they are “afflicted.” Or for addiction can they only get a blessing of comfort?
Scripture teaches us that healing is dependent on certain things (in no particular order):
1) The faith of the person being healed. Examples of this include the woman with an issue of blood (Matthew 9:22), to whom Christ said:
…Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.
…the two blind men from the same chapter (Matthew 9:29), to whom Jesus said:
…According to your faith be it unto you.
…and the Nephites to whom the Lord appeared after his resurrection (3 Nephi 17:8), to whom he said:
…I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.
2) The will of Christ. When Christ walked the earth and healed people, he knew his own will and could therefore heal whomever he chose. Because he no longer walks the earth, those who would heal can only do so if it’s the Lord’s will. Some have the faith necessary for this, and are worthy to learn the will of the Lord, but this is not easy for everyone. (Note that this means the person who will give the healing blessing must also have sufficient faith.)
3) Some scriptures also teach that obedience (including repentance), is needed for healing. Some examples of this include the children of Israel who were required to look upon the brass serpent (Numbers 21:6-9); and Naaman the Syrian who was required to follow specific instructions (2 Kings 5:1-14) – this happened occasionally in the New Testament as well. The story of the man “sick of the palsy” demonstrates a connection between healing and forgiveness. (See this previous response for more on this connection.)
However, despite having great faith and obedience, healing is sometimes not the will of the Lord. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” is such an example:
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Just as Paul was required to rely on the grace of Christ, so too might we be required to do. The Lord often allows us to suffer the consequences of our choices (and those of others) to prove us, to strengthen us, and to help us continue to seek after him. While we might believe a particular pain or struggle isn’t necessary, we must trust that Christ knows best, and continue faithful whether or not the desired blessing comes.
Elder Bednar relates a story wherein he asked an acquaintance, “John, do you have the faith not to be healed?” And in October 2017 General Conference, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy reminds us of how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego responded to King Nebuchadnezzar’s threat to throw them into a “burning fiery furnace”:
These three devout disciples said: “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace. … But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods.”
Sometimes, the “if not” experience is the one we need. I would recommend both of these articles to anyone struggling with this or similar questions.
If you are wondering about the administration of the blessing, I don’t know of any official Church teaching on whether the person should be anointed or not, and think it would be fine to anoint if it will increase the faith of the individual receiving the blessing. Those giving the blessing should follow the instructions in the handbook.
Of course, I cannot guess which path the Lord has in mind for any person. I encourage all who are struggling and seeking the blessings of the Lord to remain faithful, repentant, and obedient, seeking always the will of the Lord, trusting that his grace is sufficient.