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NOT getting zapped

As I studied this week's "Come Follow Me" chapters, I wondered why Zacharias got zapped (became mute) and Mary did not.

The Scriptures

From Luke 1:

11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.

22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. (Luke 1:11-22)

Again, from Luke 1:

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)


I think the lesson is in their responses. I bolded them for emphasis. In Zacharias' case, his response was very human – very logical. He asked how can this be because we are old. He did not ask how this could be so and let Gabriel explain how "With God, nothing is impossible."

On the other hand, Mary asked a similar question, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? She stated a fact but did not try to explain to Gabriel why it couldn't happen. After Gabriel explained, Mary's faithful response was simply, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

Do you see the difference? Zacharias quickly dismissed the promise as not possible because of their age. Mary questioned but listened and obeyed.


I think I am safe to assume that for most of us, an angel will not appear and tell us what we should do. However, we can follow the example of Mary. When we hear God's voice in our hearts, through the scriptures, or inspiring words of our leaders (From the Prophet down to our Elders Quorum President and Relief Society President), we should not say, "It is impossible." But rather say, "How will it be done, and what is my role."


I suggest that at your next relief Society craft event, everyone should make a sign that reads. "For with God, nothing shall be impossible." And hang it in every Latter-day Saints' home. We can make the sign as popular as resin grapes.

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"Men [and  women] are that they might have JOY..."

2 Nephi 2:25

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