5 Things About the Human Body

5 things

The human body is a marvel of design, one of God’s greatest gifts to his children, and a gift that keeps on giving.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

Our Creator has given us instructions about how to take care of and use our bodies. Over the years, in ancient and modern revelations, he has warned us of dangers and pointed us towards better practices. Although our mortal bodies are designed to wear out and die, ending our lives on earth, our bodies will be a part of our eternal existence after the resurrection. This post will provide a quick overview of God’s teachings on five subjects related to the human body. Continue reading

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Questions in the Book of Mormon

Awareness of the use of questions in the Book of Mormon aids the understanding of several passages, and provides a model for effective use of questions in gospel teaching.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

Questions in the Book of MormonA few months ago I was leading a discussion in a Teacher Council Meeting about how to use questions effectively while teaching. I asked each person in the room to find a scripture where someone used a question while teaching the gospel, figuring that this would be a fairly straightforward exercise. Many people in the scriptures, and especially Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher, used questions extensively in their teaching, and I could think of several example passages. However, this was a difficult exercise for many of the people in the group, who struggled to find a passage containing a question. After a few days of pondering on this experience, I decided that I would study the Book of Mormon, looking specifically at the questions and marking them all with a colored pencil.

This study was inspired by President Thomas S. Monson’s final General Conference address, where he urged the members of the Church to study the Book of Mormon with new intensity. He said:

“My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.” (from “The Power of the Book of Mormon,” April 2017)

President Russell M. Nelson responded to this challenge by making “lists of what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies, and what it reveals. Looking at the Book of Mormon through these lenses has been an insightful and inspiring exercise! I recommend it to each of you.” (from “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?,” October 2017)

My response to President Monson’s challenge to was to make a list of all of the questions asked in the Book of Mormon. I expected that reading the book this way would give me a new perspective on several passages, and it turns out that it did! In this article I will summarize what I learned. Continue reading

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Questions in the Book of Mormon: Supplementary Materials

This page contains supplementary materials for “Questions in the Book of Mormon.” Please see the other post for more information. Continue reading

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Is There Something Wrong?

A story of love, service, and mental illness

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

Something WrongMy family moved a lot when I was a kid, but the hardest move for me was the one before my senior year of high school. I left behind a small town with its small high school, many friends, and my beloved garage band with the accompanying minor celebrity status it gave me. All of this was replaced with a big city, a high school three times the size of my old one, social obscurity and isolation, and a ride on a school bus every day of my senior year of high school.

Yeah, I was bitter. And I didn’t respond very well to the situation. Mourning the loss of my former social capital, I made a conscious decision at my new school to avoid making friends. This was a pre-emptive rejection of everyone around me, intended as an expression of anger and retaliation directed towards people who weren’t really to blame for anything except for the crime of not being my friends. It was also, I think, a sort of coping strategy for my unrecognized social phobia (an ineffective coping strategy, I might point out). I don’t recommend this course of action to other people who may be in a similar situation, any more than I recommend cutting off your nose to spite your face. As you can likely foresee, things didn’t work out so well for me that year. Continue reading

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Rebranding Latter-day Doctor

This website is not about me or for me; it is for and about the Lord.

rebrandingby Alan B. Sanderson, MD

For the past four years this blog has been known as “MormonDoctor.com,” but it is time to move on to a new name. I have decided to rebrand the site with the new name of “Latter-day Doctor.”

Why am I doing this? It is an act of obedience. Last week President Russell M. Nelson issued the following statement (ironically posted on https://mormonnewsroom.org):

“The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months.”

Continue reading

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Evidence-Based Medicine, Evidence-Based Religion

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an evidence-based religion

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

evidence-based religionGeorge Washington died in 1799 of an upper respiratory infection, which he most probably would have survived if not for three doctors sending him into hypovolemic shock by draining out half of his blood volume. “Therapeutic” bloodletting was a staple procedure in western medicine at the time, and the practice can be traced back to at least the 5th century BC. Classical Greek medical practitioners, including Hippocrates and his colleagues, reasoned that removing excess blood from the body was a way of balancing the four humors. They even pointed to the female menstrual cycle as a natural example of how the body tries to maintain this balance. This reasoning was more philosophical than scientific, but at the time it seemed reasonable and even plausible. Washington himself was a firm believer in the practice (until it killed him).

Modern people tend to be shocked at the manifest ignorance of bloodletting because we know more about the physiology of the human body than they did back then. At the time this practice became entrenched in western medicine people didn’t understand that blood circulated through the body, and were unaware that arteries connected to veins via capillaries. They thought that blood was produced in various organs and then consumed in others. As medicine gradually began to understand and use the tools of experimental science through the 19th and 20th centuries, and as evidence mounted that bloodletting actually harms patients, the practice was gradually extinguished in western medicine. (Although there are a few rare diseases like hemochromatosis where therapeutic phlebotomy is still employed, and bloodletting is still used in some alternative medicine systems.) Continue reading

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The Whole Personal Protective Equipment of God

Judgment, humility, righteousness, virtue, praise — I will think about all of these things when I put on my PPE. The next time you are in a hospital or clinic, maybe you will too.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD


All dressed up and ready to see a patient on contact isolation. The patient we were about to see had head lice, if I remember right.

The hospital where I trained had a few specialized rooms designed for patients who have tuberculosis, with special ventilation systems to produce negative airflow into the room so that the patient’s germs wouldn’t spread down the hall and through the hospital, infecting other patients. I spent a total of three months on the infectious diseases specialty services during medical school and internship, and during those months I spent a lot of time seeing patients in those negative airflow rooms. Outside the room we had to dress up in a mask, gown, and gloves, and during one of those ritual dressings the attending physician on our team turned to the rest of us and asked, “Has your PPD turned positive yet?” The rest of us on the team stared at him in muted alarm, pondering the implications of what he had just said. The PPD (purified protein derivative) test is used as a screening instrument for tuberculosis, which is an infection I hope I never get. “I remember when mine went positive,” he continued. “It was during my fellowship. I had to take isoniazid for 9 months.” I placed my face mask on very carefully that day, and have ever since. Coming to understand the real purpose for something forever changes your attitude about it, as mine did that day. Continue reading

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