Updated on September 18, 2023
Doug Tales 136: Sacrifice, Part Three
Doug Mendenhall sought learning from a wide variety of people and sources. He shares thoughts on the topic of sacrifice from two individuals in I See…Awake! (2015), on pages 61-62 and 290, 294-296. The first thoughts are three scriptures from Kitten, and the second thoughts are Doug’s summary of an experience of Iohani Wolfgramm involving sacrifice. (In his book, I See…Awake! pp. 290-294, Doug reprints the full experience from Iohani Wolfgramm’s biography in addition to the concepts shared here.)
“For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” (Hebrews 13:11-12)
“The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.” (Psalm 50:1-6)
“Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.” (Doctrine & Covenants 97:8)
And her final word: “Anyone whining and sniveling about sacrificing as commanded of God (not man), has lots of friends in an exceptionally dark place.”
I had heard of Iohani Wolfgramm for many years and had wanted to meet him but never had the opportunity before he passed away. While Denise and I were up in Oregon conducting a book review, the family we were staying with had Iohani’s biography. I spent two solid days reading it. Later I met a man that had taken over 300 people to Iohani for a blessing. I asked him what it was like. He made the most curious statement, “Iohani would spend anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours ‘telling story’ to the person and then give the blessing.” When I inquired the reason for this, he said it was to get the person’s faith up to the point that Iohani could give the blessing. In other words, Iohani was raising the frequency in the room, or bringing the Spirit.
Iohani would do thousands of blessings, from raising the dead to healing a paralyzed man over the phone. Below is one of my favorite Iohani experiences from the biography. It happened to Iohani Wolfgramm while serving a mission for the LDS church in Tonga with his family in 1943 and involves his daughter, Tisina, at age three:
[In his book, at this point Doug includes a lengthy quote of from pages 89-91 of Iohani Wolfgramm: Man of Faith and Vision, 1911-1997 (1999), which biography was compiled by Iohani’s daughter Tisina Wolfgramm Gerber. A scanned copy of the complete 260 page biography is available online in PDF format via the LDS Family Search Library at: https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/164234-redirection (requires a free subscription).]
Iohani opened the window and the sun had just come up, it was tomorrow.
Let’s examine the stages that Iohani went through.
First, he was busy when the Spirit talked to him and so he didn’t obey. Finally the third time he responded well after the accident.
Second, when he got his wits about himself he realized that Tisina needed a blessing, so he kept her home.
Third, even after his companion anointed Tisina he couldn’t receive any revelation from the Lord, his mouth was locked and his mind was blank. He needed to remove those who were “of little faith” and the unbelievers. Just like Christ, their unbelief not only inhibited heaven from intervening but actually prevented it.
Fourth, he prayed for four hours. He was obeying the law of sacrifice, he was spending spiritual currency—time and attention (faith). After four hours the Lord told him that Tisina would be with Him that night and with Iohani tomorrow. “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29)
Fifth, when the Spirit told him to—only then—Iohani blessed his dead daughter. What faith! To have waited now around 12 hours since the accident before being allowed to do the blessing.
Sixth, he voiced in the blessing what God told him to say and did so with the power of God that had been given to him because of his preparation and faith.
Seventh, a miracle occurred. Tisina came back completely recovered.
Obviously, Iohani didn’t become a man of such faith overnight. His biography says that he had prepared many years for this. His patriarchal blessing declared that he would bless many lives, and he did. The miracles the Lord brought forth from him are simply amazing. Yet not really, he did what his God told him to do; he lived the same way as Fools Crow, preparing for the next person the Lord would send to him. Before he passed away in 1997 he and his wife would spend almost every day in the Temple serving others. What great preparation.