As actor Val Kilmer recovers from throat cancer amid widespread speculation about his health, he revealed in a recent interview that his faith in the power of prayer continues to sustain him.
He has faced criticism that he wasn’t being honest in prior remarks about his rumored illness, but explained his answers to Mike Fleming Jr. of Deadline Hollywood.
“The first time I was asked if I had cancer, I answered truthfully that I had no cancer. As I hadn’t,” Kilmer said. “If they had asked, ‘Have you had cancer?’ I would have said, ‘Yes, but it’s all healed now.’”
He went on to say that the response was not dishonesty, but rather a statement of faith.
“Somehow I was accused of not being forthright,” he said. “Well, if years ago I had broken a leg and I was asked today if I have any broken bones, I would answer just as I did the cancer question: ‘No, I don’t have any.’”
Kilmer, who is a Christian Scientist, went on to say that his faith has opened him up to criticism that he relies too much on the prayers he believes have led to his recovery.
“Because I believe that the power of prayer is as potent today as it was in Jesus’ time, there tends to speculation I haven’t done all I can do to be as healthy as I have a right to be.”
He lamented the “extraordinary assumptions” he said were made regarding his beliefs, especially since the complexities of the human body are “a complete mystery” to most people.
“People are often afraid of what they don’t understand,” he said. “I was.”
Looking back now on his illness as he still recovers from the side effects of his treatments, Kilmer said the experience has only further cemented his faith in the power of prayer.
“I’m so grateful I’ve experienced firsthand what consistent prayer and love can offer,” he said.
His comments during the wide-ranging interview echoed some of his responses during a question-and-answer session on Reddit earlier this year.
“People that know I am a Christian Scientist make the assumption that I have somehow endangered myself,” he wrote in response to one question.
Defending his approach, Kilmer argued that “many, many people have been healed by prayer throughout recorded history” while “many, many people have died by whatever was modern medicine.”
He denied his views make him an extremist, as some critics allege, but acknowledged that he follows Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy’s leadership regarding the healing power of prayer and love.
“That’s what I tell all the interns. LOVE. Love heals,” he wrote. “More than any other skills, I urge them to LOVE the life they are entrusted to save. Well that’s what is at the heart of Mrs. Eddy’s understanding of the teachings of Jesus.”
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