Archive for May 2012
A line in my patriarchal blessing reads, “if you will listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, that comes to you, you will be directed into the path that you should go, that your advancement will not be detained, that you will use every possible moment in your development for the work that you have been called to do.”
I have long pondered that line and wondered what it meant. Now that I am getting old, I decided to look back at my life’s journey for evidence of the fulfillment of this promise. I was amazed at what I discovered with just a few moments of pondering. I share this as a journal entry, evidence of the Lord’s love for me.
A Blessing at the Age of Five
I attended the Presbyterian Church with my family the first five years of my life. I remember the singing and the constant getting up and down in the pews. I wondered what that was all about. Dad had to work most Sundays but mother took the rest of us to church each week. She was a schoolteacher and a good one.
In 1962 my mother had several people come into her life who were members of the church. She was intrigued. She asked questions. The missionaries came to our home. Most of my family was baptized. Of course, I was too young to receive that ordinance but in order to create a membership record I went up to the stand the next Sunday to be blessed by the Bishop.
I felt special. I felt like I belonged. I felt like I was in the right place. Even at the age of five, I knew when something was right. This felt right. I felt like I was part of something important. I loved growing up in the old Covina ward and Covina stake of the 1960s and 1970’s. I attended Primary, Sunday school, and later priesthood, Sacrament meeting, mutual and seminary.
Reading Book of Mormon at Age Eight
I have a small keepsake given to me by my Primary teacher when I was baptized. The memento is a well-known painting of the Savior laminated onto a round slice of a small tree. On the back are the words, “Congratulations on your baptism. Be sure to let him guide and direct all of your thoughts and actions. Remember to pray always. Love, Muriel Bay.”
I knew my Primary teacher loved me. She also gave me my own copy of the Book of Mormon. It had a plain brown cover. It was the first one I read. I read it with my mother out loud. It was also the first time she had read the Book of Mormon. She would mark out all the instances of “and it came to pass” because she thought they were distracting. We finished it together that year.
For the longest time I thought that everyone read the Book of Mormon aloud with their mother when they were eight. I now understand how special that was. Because of sacred feelings I felt as we read together, I have never doubted the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I knew then and still know that it is the word of God and was given to us to guide and bless our lives.
God Can Show us Our Future
Shortly after I was baptized, we went as a family to Disneyland as we often did. There was an attraction called the Carousel of Progress in the park from 1967 to 1973. On the way out of the ride, you walked past an exhibit called “Progress City.” It was while looking at that exhibit one day that I felt the Holy Ghost whispering to me in a setting outside church or my home.
I don’t know why I found the exhibit so fascinating. I couldn’t wait to see it each time we went to the park. Perhaps it was the symbolism of the display. It seemed to speak to me of things that would come to pass in my life. On this particular occasion the feelings were intense. I seemed to hear the Lord saying, “I love you. You will participate in wonderful technology.”
The feeling was so real that I looked around to see who was talking to me. Yet I immediately realized that I had heard no audible voice. Nevertheless, the voice came into my mind and caused my heart to burn within me. I chalked it up to the magic of Walt Disney but the impression has stayed with me to this day as evidence of the whisperings of the Holy Spirit to me.
Recognizing a Lack of Authority
I didn’t do too well in school as a youth. Not because of any lack of ability but because of a lack of discipline. One year my mother felt it best to enroll me in a private religious school. I remember they required us to go to some sort of worship service at the end of each week. Something felt out of place. There was something missing but I couldn’t place my finger on it then.
I later realized what it was. It was the spirit whispering to me that the pastor who led the worship service was doing this as a part of his job. He got paid to preach the gospel to us. It felt different when my Primary teachers and Sunday school teachers taught me. It felt right. When this pastor taught, it was more for show, so the parents who paid his wages would be pleased.
From that day on I never doubted there was something special and unique about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even as a ten-year old boy in California who barely paid attention in Primary or Sunday school, I recognized the spirit of the Lord when it moved on teachers who were set apart by those in authority. That authority is only found in the LDS church.
Putting Words in my Mouth
I was asked to be the seminary class president in 1970. One day, Sister Starr became upset by the rude behavior of the kids. She started to cry and stepped out. As the president of the class, I took over, and found myself talking to my classmates about the importance of being respectful. I think that was the first time I experienced the Lord putting words in my mouth. It amazed me.
A Comforter in the Face of Adversity
In August of 1971 I concluded my young Boy Scout experience by going on a 50 mile week long trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. For some reason, the other scouts teased me. I felt out of place. Perhaps it was because of my asthma. I didn’t think I could make it up and down those mountains.
One day I felt especially sad about something the other boys did to mess up some of my equipment. I was too old to cry, and was not a fighter so I bottled it up inside. It hurt. The next day on the trail I stopped to look out over the beauty of the countryside and felt my heart burn with peace and a sense of wonder. I felt the comfort of the Holy Ghost and the Lord whisper peace to me.
Faith and a Patriarchal Blessing
I was fifteen when I received my patriarchal blessing in June of 1972. The bishop said I should fast so I did. He said wonderful things would happen if I exercised faith. My mother and sister went with me. Pati also received her blessing that day. I felt the love of the Lord in the most powerful way that I don’t think I had ever felt before. It was a spiritual feast that day and still is.
Vision in my Mind’s Eye
In 1973 I was in High School watching a video about how disk drives are made at an IBM plant. I experienced what I consider my first revelatory experience. I was shown what my life’s work would be. I knew then and have always known that I would work with computers. I was amazed at the clarity of the vision. It was simple and direct, private from God to me in my mind.
As I watched the video, I could see myself working with that technology in just a few short years. I saw myself specifically on a job where I managed the very same technology I was seeing in the video. That vision was fulfilled several times over the next few years as I obtained jobs before and after my mission where I used those specific removable disk drives of an IBM System 3.
Line Upon Line Revealed
In the summer of 1974 I was preparing to attend my first year of college. I prayed deeply to understand how the Lord felt about me and how my life would unfold. Intense feelings came upon me as scene after possible future scenes of my life were revealed to me. I saw myself teaching the gospel. I saw and heard myself speaking from the pulpit as real as if in front of a congregation.
Years later, I recognized as each of these scenes came to pass. As I taught in a priesthood meeting or stood at the pulpit as a High Councilor, those same feelings came flooding back. It was the Lord’s way of saying to me, “See, I told you how it would be. Aren’t you glad you prepared yourself for this experience?”
The Lord is Willing to Forgive
That fall at Rick’s College I heard Elder LeGrand Richards speak about the power of a testimony and how it had blessed his life as a missionary. Never had I felt the spirit impress me that I needed to have a testimony like his. I spent hours praying each night that week until on Friday I knew I could pray undisturbed late into the night while my roommate was at a dance.
I had an amazing experience of receiving a powerful knowledge of forgiveness and a witness of the power of my Savior’s love for me. I felt a closeness to Him that I had never realized could be possible. I understood better how much I needed him and to have his power with me in my life so I could be successful. I had not fully realized until then that I was nothing without his help.
Powerful Witness of the Spirit
I was blessed to have many free months in 1976 to do nothing but prepare for my mission. I spent all my time studying the gospel and trying to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. President Kimball taught that we could and should have our own independent witness of the truthfulness of Joseph’s mission. At this point, I already knew the Book of Mormon was true.
I decided to fast and pray until I got an undeniable answer for myself that Joseph was a prophet. For three days I studied during the day and prayed fervently at night. One the third night the Lord whispered peace to my soul. He told me it was enough. I knew the Lord was pleased with my faith. I had a confirming witness that what I had been studying about Joseph was true.
That witness helped me resolve concerns that had come to me as I read some of the early history of our church not found in our official curriculum. It also served as an anchor to my soul when I later read how much these same events troubled others. They did not trouble me because of this powerful witness to my soul that Joseph was the Lord’s prophet in spite of his mortal failings.
Trailing Clouds of Glory
One Sunday evening I attended a regional young adult fireside just before I left for my mission in July or August of 1976. As the speaker addressed us, I seemed to drift off into a vision. I saw the gathered youth there in a similar setting as if in the pre-earth life. I knew promises were made. I was part of something special. I knew I was on a path that was pleasing to the Lord.
Power to Bless Others
My mission experience was difficult. It was meant to be. I was a long way from home in a very humble part of the world. We worked hard but we weren’t as effective as we should have been. A new mission president shook things up at our first zone conference. He challenged us to get on our knees at end of each discussion and invite the people we were teaching to join us. I shared the amazing results in a previous essay on this blog.
Powerful Revelation in Marriage Choice
I returned from my mission, finished my schooling and went to work. I struggled a bit as many returned missionaries do because I missed that intensity of the daily immersion in the spirit. At one time I was working three jobs trying to get ahead in the fast moving world of computers. Finally, I stepped back, took a look at my life and remembered that I was supposed to get married.
I started dating seriously but the girl I thought I wanted didn’t find a computer geek like me all that desirable. Her best friend came into my life when she returned from her mission. We hit it off right away but I still pursued the other girl. I confessed my feelings for her, but at the wrong time and to the wrong girl. To my chagrin Carol left the Dodger game with a broken heart.
The next day, I couldn’t get her off my mind. I went to see her. I asked what her plans were and how she felt about family and the things of eternity. An amazing feeling of revelation then came upon me. Again, it was a revelation from God, personal and direct to me. I saw us in my mind’s eye thirty years down the road. That day I saw is now. I proposed on the spot. She accepted.
The Power of Bearing Testimony
I wrote previously about how Elder Holland taught me how to properly bear my testimony so it would have a powerful effect on others. I thought I knew all about bearing testimony from years of experience in the mission field. After being instructed by an apostle, I came to realize what a powerful tool it really can be if delivered properly, in the right setting and the right spirit.
I don’t believe I have ever been as immersed in the spirit as I was that day while bearing my testimony. The Lord was bearing witness to me at the same time that I was bearing my witness to others. It was a fulfillment of another line from my patriarchal blessing, “You will be blessed with the gift of prophecy and revelation that you might speak the words of the Lord pertaining to the salvation of his children.”
Much has been written by our detractors about the practice of bearing testimony. It has been ridiculed as brainwashing and a way of avoiding thoughtful discourse. Sadly, many within our own church have repeated their lies about this practice until they believe it. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a real power in the sharing of our testimonies that strengthens.
Conclusion: My Testimony
Although I hope that every essay on this blog testifies of my love of the Lord and a witness for the truth, I want to be sure that my testimony is recorded as it stands today. Who knows, this could be my last day on earth. I want to leave a record that I knew and loved the Lord and that I know he loves me. I hope I have presented some evidence of that with the vignettes above.
As simple as it sounds, I know that God lives. I know that he loves me. He has demonstrated that to my soul sufficiently over the years that I cannot doubt it. I know he desires my happiness and is pleased when I exercise faith in Him and in Jesus Christ. I look forward to the day when I am reunited with Him. I hope and pray that it will be a joyous reunion but know it will be up to me how I live the remainder of my life, true to my faith.
I know that Jesus Christ was and is a real person, literally the Son of God. He has a glorified resurrected body of flesh and bone. He continues to minister to mankind today. I am a witness of his love, his willingness to forgive, to teach us and to guide us through this life. Like our Father in Heaven, he desires our happiness and has done for us what nobody else could do. He fulfilled His mission so that we can fulfill ours in confidence.
The Spirit Bears Witness
The Holy Ghost is real. His whisperings are real. I have been helped by the Holy Ghost countless times. In fact, I feel his help every day of my life, especially if I ask and listen. He inspires me. He teaches me. He leads me to Christ. I am so grateful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It is a real power in my life, one that I cherish and of which I strive to be worthy. The Holy Ghost burns the witness of the truth into my soul as I study and pray.
Joseph Smith was a prophet of God in every sense of the word. He was an instrument in the Lord’s hands to restore the truth to the earth through the Book of Mormon. I have studied his life and have learned of his failings. I feel to give thanks to God that he was so open and honest about what he experienced. The Lord re-established His church through Joseph. He restored authority and keys to perform ordinances that are binding in eternity.
I am so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has blessed my life. I sustain and support the leaders of this church. I appreciate their efforts to guide and help me on my life’s journey. It is in the LDS Church that I have been able to receive the ordinances I need to come onto Christ. I look forward to many more years of service in this Church. It is through giving service that I find joy and fulfillment in life.
This is not a politically correct post. There are so many things that can be found objectionable I will list them right up front. In the end, I hope something I provide here will be helpful to those who struggle with addictions. I recognize this is a difficult subject in today’s enlightened world.
First is the idea of a spirit. If you don’t believe we have one, then you may find all this amusing. That’s OK. My life experience has led me to believe otherwise. No, I can’t prove we have a spirit and I don’t think anybody can prove it to your satisfaction if you choose not to believe it.
I accept the idea that I have a spirit, or more correctly that I am an eternal spirit temporarily housed in a physical body. This belief is a part of my faith, a fundamental part of my religion. I am certain I am not alone in this belief. Millions, if not billions of people feel the same way.
The Spirit World
Second is the idea that spirits can hang around after death. Those who do believe we have a spirit may be inclined to think all spirits go somewhere else when they leave the body. To some, it’s either heaven or hell, to others it’s paradise or spirit prison. That’s just not always true. Again, I base that on some of my personal life experiences so far and those shared with me by others.
I happen to be one who believes that not all spirits go to a place of happiness or rest. Does that mean I believe in ghosts? No, I don’t believe the spirit can normally be seen with our physical eyes. But yes, I do believe there are spirits hanging around who were not happy to discover they continued to exist after death and are now missing, even craving pleasures of their mortal body.
In my faith we are taught and I believe the spirit world is right here on earth among us. Most Mormons believe that the spirits of the departed can and do look upon us from time to time. If this is true for our loved ones, then the same is true for those who may not have lived such a good life. Rapists, murderers, adulterers, child molesters, and just plain dirty, nasty people go somewhere and that somewhere is right here or wherever they liked to hang out when alive.
Third is the idea that addictions can be caused by something other than standard explanations. Addictions to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, pornography, sex, gambling and even food have been extensively studied and explained as natural physical responses. Biology and brain chemistry play a large part in addiction but interestingly, so does genetic makeup and family history.
What if there is another explanation, one that has been around for thousands of years that could help us understand and overcome addictions? I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Most people have. It’s commonly dismissed as harmful in light of today’s scientific proof of how things work. We should rightly be concerned when someone attributes their addiction to any outside source.
When someone leaves this world with a habit or addiction to a physical pleasure, that addiction doesn’t just leave them. Addictions are more than physical. They are spiritual. Unless they have mastered them, a person who is now in the spirit world still craves the pleasures of the body. They continue to seek them out. I believe under certain, specific conditions, these disembodied spirits can temporarily co-habit or possess those who are still mortal but their bounds are limited.
OK, now I’ve gone all “spooky” on you. Talk about possession scares people. I understand that. It’s unfortunate that our perception of spirit possession is so skewed to the weird side of things. Movies like the Exorcist or The Shining have totally messed up our understanding of something that is referred to in the scriptures so matter-of-factly. I wrote an essay about this previously. The wide variety of comments on that essay demonstrates the interest people have in the subject.
In that essay I referred to a documented account of a conversation between a priesthood holder and an individual possessed of an evil spirit. I share that privately with those who request it. I’d like to take the dialog from that essay another step down the road of understanding. Throw out the false ideas of spirit possession from overly dramatic media characterizations. Instead, think about people you know who suffer from addictions. You may have some in your own family.
If you have studied the subject of addiction or talked with someone who suffers from addiction you know there are times they feel “out of control,” like they can do nothing other than the very course of action they are trying to resist. This is beyond a mere habit. I’m referring to a feeling that someone or something is taking over. Resistance makes it more noticeable. Unless you suffer from an unwanted addiction yourself, you may not be able to comprehend this feeling.
Shield of Protection
Let’s take the case of someone who drinks until they either pass out or blackout. We say they lose control of themselves. In the case of the blackout drunk, someone is obviously in charge of the body, even if the original owner is unable to remember it later. If you want to know more about what happens to drunks who pass out, read what George Ritchie had to say about it in his book “Return from Tomorrow.” I quote extensively from that book on one of my other blogs.
It is from Dr. Ritchie that I first learned about the shield of protection found in the human body. Some people call this our energy field. Western medicine has all but decimated any belief in the body’s energy fields. You’ll have to go to those who study or practice Eastern medicine to come to an understanding of how they work. I accept the reality of human energy fields as a part of my religion. No, it’s not taught in the LDS Church, but I accept truth from whatever source it comes.
The shield of protection can be weakened or breached when we participate in activities that are below our value standards. It can also be breached when we take offense at what someone has said or done. This shield of protection is composed of light, but a light purer than our eyes can comprehend. One of the objectives of this life is to gather light and to strengthen our shield. The weakening or loss of that shield of light can allow disembodied spirits to co-habit a mortal being.
Now let’s consider another type of addiction. I’ve also written about this extensively before. To this day I still receive private email requests for help in response to my essay on “Healing from Pornography Addiction.” I didn’t spell it out clearly in that essay but I’m sure I have elsewhere on this blog. There is no difference between what George Ritchie saw happen to the drunks and what happens to individuals who participate in pornography and masturbation. It’s that simple.
When viewing pornography, the individual is allowing those disembodied spirits to use their body, even if just for a few moments, so they can vicariously experience sexual pleasure again. I know many of my readers will find this offensive, but I’ve had enough experience in dealing with men in church disciplinary councils who can attest to this fact. A practice the world teaches is natural and normal is in fact, a conduit for unclean spirits to experience the thrill of lust again.
Of course we believe in repentance or change, even after this life. An addicted spirit can resist the addiction, which is now spiritual, but will feel the torment and pull of that addiction even in the spirit. Brigham Young taught that it is a hundred times easier to change while we have our mortal body. That’s why it’s so important we make every effort to master ourselves while we are still alive. It is almost impossible to prove mastery over the flesh when you no longer have it.
The counsel I’m about to share is spiritual and not intended to replace competent medical advice. I’m addressing the spiritual side of addiction, which can be just as powerful as the physical. When we allow a disembodied spirit to use us for a moment, even if it is unintentional, there is something left behind that allows that spirit or another like it to get back in when they want to. Think of it as a chink in the armor, a crack in the light, a trigger or button to be pushed at will.
Now don’t go thinking after reading what I’ve written so far that you’re possessed. A certified stress management consultant can easily ascertain if an individual has any spirit attachments. It’s possible but not as common as some people think. Then of course, there are those who think all this is hogwash anyway, but as I said at the beginning of this essay, I’m not writing for them. I’m reaching out to those who want help overcoming addiction or want to help a loved one do so.
The secret to overcoming a spiritual addiction is very simple. In fact, it’s such a modest proposal that you may be disappointed to learn how unassuming it really is. Note I didn’t say it was easy, just simple. All you have to do is forgive. The trick of course is discovering exactly who and for what. Once the original event that caused the crack in the light is discovered, it can be repaired in just a few moments. The darkness left behind by the disembodied spirit can be eliminated.
Forgiveness is the Key
Remember, this is advice for healing the spiritual and emotional aspects of addiction. Those who suffer from addiction should also seek and receive help to overcome the physical aspects of that addiction, be it alcohol, drugs, tobacco or even food. There are even programs for helping those with sexual addictions, but none of them of which I’m aware address the spiritual aspect. I know of several individuals who are skilled in finding and eliminating hidden spiritual addictions.
Over the years, I have spent considerable time and effort to study and understand the process whereby hidden stress can be identified so it can be resolved. It is not an easy process to learn but it is so much more effective than years of therapy that may or may not work. It involves questioning the intelligence or the innate part of our subconscious that remembers everything. Those who have experienced this process will agree that it produces amazing results.
With just a few moments of questioning the subconscious and receiving measureable yes or no responses, a skilled practitioner of this technique can find the root cause of an addiction. It is almost always traced to an individual from earlier in the person’s life. In either a traumatic event or an offensive situation, something negative passed between these two individuals. The only way to heal the effect is to forgive the other individual involved and almost always oneself.
I could go on and on about this subject. The purpose of this essay is not to titillate you with stories or ideas about evil and unclean spirits. They are not important. Yes, they exist but we should be more concerned with our own battles to master the flesh, not their desire to co-habit ours for a moment. There is a difference between those who were cast out, never to be born, and those who experienced mortality and have refused to go to the light once their life was over.
The idea here is to come to an understanding that sometime in the past, a person who struggles with addiction today may have opened their shield of protection in a moment of weakness, stress, or trauma that allowed an unclean spirit to use them for a time or a season. When the individual regained control of themselves, the spirit departed but left behind some darkness that acts as a trigger or future entry point for that spirit and others to work on until they gain entry again.
Dismiss all this if you will, it matters not to me. You’re welcome to leave comments telling me how deluded and mistaken this is. That’s OK. I’ve heard it all before. I used to think the same way. But if this essay has helped somebody, anybody to find some hope that perhaps their own or a loved one’s “out of control” behavior can be explained, then I will have succeeded in my purpose. Shoot me a private message with your questions or comments. I’m happy to share more.
Here are some individuals who practice the discovery and elimination technique:
Dr. Brad May, Emotional Complex Clearing, Serenity Systems
Dr. Mel Fish, Healing the Inner Self, Cedar City, Utah
Jan Graf, Graf Stress Management, St George, Utah
Tamara Laing, Hope for a Better World, Roy Utah
Russ Stewart, Stress Solutions, Grants Pass, Oregon
Elizabeth Richardson, Mind-Body Stress Management, Rockville, MD
If you know of others or have been helped by this technique, please let me know.
This entry was posted on Sunday, May 20th, 2012 at 8:26 am and is filed under Doctrine, Mormon culture, Personal Revelation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
7 Responses to “Addictions and Disembodied Spirits”
- Roy Says: May 20th, 2012 at 5:59 pm Tim,Thanks for this blog. It lends validity to some of my own experiences and studies. Thanks for your time and efforts on this and other blogs. I find it uplifting and inspiring. I also find it helpful in my personal journey to become more Christ like and hopefully someday to enter into the presence of the Lord along with those I love. Sincerely.
- Janet Owens Says: May 20th, 2012 at 8:05 pm I would be interested in more information on evil spirits that surround us and how to block them. Do they have the power to discern our thoughts?
- admin Says: May 20th, 2012 at 9:27 pm “…there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.” D&C 6:16 Of course, we are aware that just as the Lord and his angels can place ideas in our mind, so can the adversary and those who follow him. Those in the spirit world watch and know our actions and can share those with “familiar spirits” such as mediums and psychics. That’s why we are counseled to stay away from fortune tellers or “spiritual advisors.” The way to block the influence of evil spirits is to simply live the gospel: to love the Lord will all our hearts and to serve him in righteousness. Constant prayer and regular gospel study helps us walk through life with the Holy Ghost as out constant companion. We do not need to fear being deceived by the whisperings of the adversary into our minds. We can tell the difference through the light of Christ.
- h_nu Says: May 21st, 2012 at 7:28 pm Do you have any evidence of “energy fields” that protect people? Science has decimated my ability to believe in things for which there isn’t evidence… I have faith about spiritual matters that have scriptural precedent and record … but where is the evidence of a “energy field?” How on earth does this weird speculation get listed as a “faithful blog” This sounds new to me: “When viewing pornography, the individual is allowing those disembodied spirits to use their body, even if just for a few moments, so they can vicariously experience sexual pleasure again”. Do you have any scriptural backups for this type of weirdness. I agree with the church’s standards wrt the law of chastity and the word of wisdom … But this goes much further than any church leader has stated in general conference … I don’t believe in “private teachings”, and there were several apostates who did. I think Hiram page felt like he was getting some private revelations … I hope that anyone who reads this blog completely ignores it. There is a way to forgineveness, but believing false and (crazy) things won’t help you to it…
- admin Says: May 24th, 2012 at 9:07 pm Response to h_nu:I’m not quite sure what you were looking for or what you expected when you came to my blog. Let’s be clear up front. What I write here has to do with my own religious or spiritual beliefs. If you want official LDS Church doctrine, go to their web sites. I’m sharing things on my blog that have helped me on my journey through life. If you find it helpful, then I’m glad. If not, then take your own advice and ignore what I’ve written. It’s obviously not intended for you.
I’m not sure where or who has listed me as a faithful blog. I’ll give you my definition of faithful: One who is true to their covenants made as a member of the church. I think that’s about all you need to include. We accept people into our church who believe all kinds of stuff. I know of a recent convert who is very happy to share with you her Wiccan beliefs. She is a fun and happy person, a real nature lover, enjoying her newfound faith and keeping her baptismal covenants.
If you are serious about your assertion about science then I assume you do not believe that man has a spirit because according to science, we are nothing more than molecules and synapses. You can’t use that argument that you only believe in things for which you have evidence and also claim to have faith. You can’t prove God exists or that love exists. It’s not something you can see. You can’t take it out and show it to me. I can’t show you energy fields but I know they exist.
What I have is the witness of many individuals who have shared with me their experiences in working with energy. If you have never studied chakras or auras then of course it’s going to seem weird to you. I know of individuals who claim to be able to see the auras of others. There are times when I am certain I am seeing something unusual behind a person who is speaking or singing with passion, especially in a worshipful manner. It’s a spiritual gift some people have.
I linked in my essay to two sources that contain sufficient evidence for me that we have energy fields. One is found on my other blog on Holistic Research. I include the background there on how I was first introduced to energy fields, how I was dumbfounded the first time I saw muscle testing in action and my response to the amazing things I read in George Ritchie’s book, Return From Tomorrow. I spent years researching something that my mind said couldn’t be true.
The other is a transcript of an interview I conducted in my research for the book I was planning to write on the subject many years ago. As I wrote in the essay immediately preceding this one, I am most grateful to have been able to meet and interview Jan Graf, who I consider a pioneer in this field. The idea more commonly taught by the early Brethren that disembodied spirits can afflict and torment man came alive for me as I learned of the things Jan encountered in his work.
If you are serious about wanting to know more about the body’s energy fields I will be happy to share with you a transcript of a seminar in which the energy fields are discussed along with a demonstration of how they are balanced. This stuff has been around for years. It’s only recently come into more common knowledge of our civilization steeped in the Western way of thinking – you know, the kind that says I won’t believe in anything not taught in medical school.
You asked for scriptures related to what happens when you view pornography. You also noted that what church leaders have said on the subject in General Conference is a defining source for you on how you view the matter. I don’t know how long you have been in the church but I can assure that this is not a new idea. I have sat at the feet of General Authorities, Stake Presidents and Bishops for years who have taught that lustful behavior brings unclean spirits into your life.
3 Ne 12:28-29 – “…whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart.” What are “these things” to which Jesus is referring if they are not the feelings of lust placed there by unclean spirits? Lust opens the heart to allow evil spirits in.
D&C 42:22 – “… he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit.” D&C 63:16 adds the additional phrase, “and shall fear.” Think about it. What would cause that fear? Is it fear of punishment, fear of being caught, or perhaps some other kind of fear, the kind that the unclean spirits experience as they await their day of judgment? The guilt and fear that comes from viewing pornography or going to a strip club or wherever else lust is enflamed is placed there by unclean spirits enticing the man.
No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. The unclean spirits know this. They are fearful and cower in shame at his presence, therefore they hide. And where do they hide? They hide in those who invite them in through unclean behavior. Why do you think the Lord taught that those who believe could and should cast out unclean spirits in the name of Jesus Christ?
I think you misunderstand my emphasis on forgiveness in this essay. I’m not talking about receiving forgiveness from the Lord. I’m referring to releasing negative energy stored in the body, left there by unclean spirits. The way to get rid of it is to find the original event that caused it, and to forgive the individuals involved in putting it there. That almost always means forgiving oneself for participating in lustful behavior like viewing pornography and masturbating.
These are not private teachings. Disembodied unclean spirits are real. They hang out wherever pornography or public sex is being created, sold or viewed. They also hang out in many LDS homes when good priesthood brethren struggle to deal with them not knowing that they have the power to cast them out if they would only learn to exercise their priesthood in righteousness. In fact, priesthood is not required to cast them out. Women can do so in the name of Jesus Christ.
This is not a pleasant subject to discuss but it gets right to the heart of salvation. Being clean is what it’s all about – the fight in this life. We don’t have to be perfect when we leave this life but we do need to be clean. I don’t want to take along any extra baggage from unclean spirits. I want a bright spirit filled with pure light that comes from keeping covenants and faithful obedience to commandments such as not letting “any of these things” enter into my heart through lust.
By the way, thanks for visiting my blog and having the courage to leave an intelligent comment. I greatly appreciate the questions and reservations you expressed. They help me focus on what is really important in what I was trying to get across and give me a chance to clarify. It’s obvious you read my essay and thought about it. I get that it may be new to you and that it’s not orthodox or mainstream Mormonism, but trust me, this stuff used to be commonly believed in our church.
- Stephen Says: May 25th, 2012 at 5:56 am This morning, Mr Snuffer’s blog referenced Mosiah 3:6 “And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children or men.”Amazing how one could read the Book of Mormon almost daily and have stuff just skip right over you. I suppose that is why we are commanded to never stop reading the scriptures.
- admin Says: May 25th, 2012 at 7:21 am Hi Stephen,I also noticed Denver’s comments on the verse. What a coincidence. I wonder why it is that we don’t hear more of this subject taught from the pulpit today. Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to be perceived as “weird.” The early brethren – Brigham and Heber – were not reticent at all in talking about “whipping the devils” in our daily walk through life.
Is there such a thing as orthodoxy in Mormonism? And who has the right to proclaim what is orthodox in our religion that should or should not be believed? I understand and accept that the men I sustain as leaders in the LDS Church have the right to determine and enforce what should be taught in the classrooms and declared from the pulpits of that worldwide institution.
But many things I attribute to Mormonism the religion, are not taught today in the LDS Church. Does that mean the Mormon religion and the LDS Church are two different things? Consider the recent General Conference address from Elder Donald Hallstrom, “Converted to His Gospel through His Church.” He is obviously declaring the Gospel is not the same as the church.
The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, the doctrines that teach how we can be saved and live forever in a state of happiness, redeemed from death and hell. On the other hand, the church is the institution organized and established by the Lord through Joseph Smith in 1830 that has undergone a tremendous number of changes over the years.
Religion and Church
Although it embraces both, in my mind, our religion is something altogether different from the gospel and from the church. I suppose that’s dangerous ground. If you think about it, I’m saying what I believe to be truth is not limited to what the LDS Church declares to be truth today. That is indeed dangerous ground. It invites speculation that the Church limits us in some way.
At one time we taught that we embrace all truth. Yet some things we taught as truth in the early days of the church are no longer found in our official curriculum. I’m not talking about plural marriage, blood atonement or restricting the priesthood. I’m talking about things like the reality of evil spirits, catastrophes of the last days and the literalness of D&C 93:1.
I feel a debt of gratitude to three men whose views have changed my life. Although they do not want or care for the attention, I would like to acknowledge them, their ideas and their work. Each has worked tirelessly to bring their beliefs to light and I for one have benefited from their work. They illustrate the idea that something from the early days of our religion has been lost.
Jan Graf – Reality of evil spirits
I first met Jan at a time in my life when I was troubled by many things that would not go away. There is no other way to explain it concisely. Because of his ideas and explanations of things, I was able to make them go away. It’s that simple. What he teaches about how to remove distress is nothing new or different. It is simply the application of the principle of forgiveness.
But what is unique, unorthodox and controversial about Jan’s skill in helping people find peace are his beliefs about what causes stress in our lives. It is the idea that evil spirits are real, can be found in the world around us and are very active in afflicting and tormenting us. That is a very common belief in the early days of Mormonism but hardly ever taught in the church today.
I was so excited about the amazing results in my life from what he taught that Carol and I went to St. George to interview him and talk about writing a book. Because what he does is so easily misunderstood, he asked that I not pursue my project. Out of respect I dropped the idea but continue to refer people to him I know could benefit from his stress-reduction technique.
Anthony Larson – Latter-day catastrophes
A long time ago I ran across a book that got me genuinely excited about how the last days are going to unfold. It was not told from a social, political or even religious perspective but from a cosmological view that could only be described as unorthodox. Anthony Larson explained for me how the signs and prophecies of the scriptures are descriptions of natural events.
What he explained in his trilogy of prophecy books was not thought to be so unusual in the early days of Mormonism. We were at one time considered an Adventist church, preparing intently for the forthcoming return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though his books are based on scripture and statements of early Mormon leaders, today they are considered unorthodox.
I have written many essays about his beliefs and interpretations of scripture. I have attended his seminars, read each of his books multiple times and had many dialogs and conversations about how he interprets myths of the past. I’m in the process of writing a fictional account based on the now unorthodox but one-time common beliefs of this visionary, prophetic man.
Denver Snuffer – The Second Comforter
I was recently introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer, a man who claims to have received the Second Comforter and was asked by the Lord to write about it. That’s an amazing claim and obviously very unorthodox in our modern LDS church. He has generated a lot of controversy. Some have called him apostate or dangerous and said he should be excommunicated.
I have almost finished reading Denver’s eight published books. I have written previously that I would withhold judgment until I finished them all but I think I have made up my mind. Denver’s advice that we read his books in order has merit. I read them in reverse order. That may have been a mistake, but I survived because I read most of the “alternative views” previously.
I have decided I like Denver, or that I can at least accept and trust what he has written. Just as I have with Jan Graf’s and Anthony Larson’s writings, I have pondered and prayed about what I have learned. I am not dismayed or taken aback by his latest book as some others have been although I confess an initial misunderstanding of how he defines the sealing power.
I suppose I need to change my bio on Twitter, Google Plus and here on my blog. Because of my acceptance of the beliefs of the three men I have described, I guess I can no longer claim to be an orthodox Mormon. What’s more, I am discovering I am unusual in my church because I have long believed and taught that we can seek and should strive to have “spiritual experiences.”
After years of sharing some of my sacred experiences online, engaging in dialog about the reality of personal revelation, I have come to the conclusion there are many within our church that do not experience communication from the spirit world like I thought everybody did. That sounds weird, doesn’t it? “Spooky,” an embarrassing unorthodox belief, some would say.
Perhaps that is why there are two conflicting cultures within the LDS church today. On the one hand we are encouraged to share our testimonies, which are supposed to be based on personal sacred events. On the other hand, the subtle message is being communicated that we must keep our spiritual experiences to ourselves, because they are “too sacred” to share.
Orthodoxy seems to be all about what is appropriate and acceptable as the norm. As I wrote at the beginning of this essay, I accept and sustain the right of the leaders of this church to direct what is preached from the pulpit and what is taught in the classroom. The church is a place of order. It is a magnificent, effective organization that does tremendous good.
The meetinghouses, the temples, the missionary force, the humanitarian effort, the welfare system, the lay ministry, the willingness of the members to sacrifice and serve each other all attest to the goodness of this organization. But there is something more to our religion than just the church and our activity within it. There is something intense and personal.
That something today is unorthodoxy. It is our individual efforts to commune with God. It is our testimonies, our spiritual experiences, our determination to study, understand and internalize what we believe. It is developing our ability to hear and respond to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It is our participation in the ordinances and adherence to the covenants we make.
In short, it is being different from the world and even from many within the church who are not willing to pay the price of obedience and sacrifice that inevitably bring the promised blessings. The church is not the same as the gospel and the church is not everything there is to our religion. There is so much more to Mormonism but you have to be willing to be unorthodox to see it.