A Dialogue About the Devil


BothPlayedSatanInTempleFilmsI spent way too much time on this dialogue about the devil to not share it publically. I know. It’s a terrible subject to contemplate. Why are we discussing these ideas when there are so many other areas of light that would be more worthy of our time and attention? You can skip this if you want. We all have to be selective about where we spend our time and energy.

I open it up for public discussion, or more likely, for public correction. See if you can spot and correct any false doctrine here.

Hello Brother Malone,

I have no scriptural reference for my thoughts I share with you regarding Lucifer but wondered if in your studies and readings you have heard this scenario before. We are taught Lucifer was esteemed as per the Savior in the pre-existence before his apparent fall. Is it possible he did not fall and that like the Savior he chose to accept the calling of being Satan as Jesus accepted the calling of being Savior, that the great council was more about a communal and loving discussion re the finer points of the Plan of Salvation?

Is it possible the war in Heaven was a discussion about who would accept the callings especially with regard to the third who would accept their calling and leave the presence of the Father? That we all wept because the task associated with our brothers and sisters who were part of that third meant that they were to act in a manner contrary to the light and love given by Heavenly Father?

I do not glorify Lucifer/Satan or the third, his and their countenances are contrary to the light, I do not argue this point. However I am dubious of the conveniently packaged plan taught year in and out and it just begs the question in fact a few questions re the pre existence and what else was there? My thoughts are more feelings than scriptural but I want to intellectualize it this way (and then he itemized his thoughts below). I do not teach or verbalize any of these thoughts as I don’t have scriptural backing but if you have any thoughts on this matter I am interested to know. Thanks for your time.

And my response:

Hi Robert,

I’ve pondered this for the past week. I confess I had not thought about this previously. I don’t have much to add to the way you have described your own ponderings. I will simply respond to your individual items and see where that goes. First some general thoughts as I pondered your first few paragraphs.

Was Satan always Satan? For this world, he is the only one we have ever had. No, he was not always Satan. We know from scripture he “fell from heaven” and became Satan. I think we both know he was Lucifer before that, a light-bearer, also a Son of the Morning and one of the first born. Will he always be Satan? I don’t know. According to D&C Section 76, his ultimate fate is not revealed.

Did he choose to become Satan? Yes. Did the third part (note I did not say one third) of the hosts of heaven choose to come to earth without bodies? Yes. The scripture says they were “cast down to earth,” but I think they were happy to come. I know that sounds strange but they truly wanted to follow Satan and believed in him just as we chose the Lord’s plan, really the Father’s plan, and accepted the difficult task of coming to earth with mortal bodies and no recollection of our past.

And here’s the detailed Q&A we went through in our Dialog. Robert’s points are numbered 1Q, 2Q, etc. My answers are 1A, 2A, etc. I hope you enjoy the back and forth as much as I did. I really had to do some thinking. This is all off the top of my head.

A Dialogue About the Devil

1Q. Moses 1:39  paraphrased Heavenly Father’s glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I take this to mean all of His children, the third and Lucifer included. Has He therefore failed before it all began? Unlikely

1A. Interesting point. I had never considered this. It makes sense. I believe we will all one day be reunited with those who were cast out and came to earth without physical bodies. We will then sit down together and decide what we learned and if we could live together in peace, no matter if we came to this earth to experience mortality or as one of the spirits that followed Satan. I suspect there will be another “war in heaven” as some cry “Unfair, unfair. We came to earth and suffered all that mortality required and now these who did not are offered the same reward – to live together in peace eternally?”

Jesus and Satan are Brothers (duh)

2Q. Lucifer was considered to be an equal with Jesus. How does one son go AWOL and contrary to the will of the Father while the other continues to do the will of the Father?

2A. It was a matter of choice. Even leaders seek leaders or mentors, someone we want to emulate. God was not surprised. He knew one of his sons would become Satan. I’m sure there were many vying for the position. Some people like to distinguish themselves by opposing light and good out of stubbornness and spite. I’m sure it took eons for Christ to become who he was and for Lucifer to become who he was, just as it took eons for us to become who we are (still hidden).

Choosing to Become the Devil

3Q. How does one become so enraged in the presence of the Father that his desire to thwart His work and glory means he becomes Satan?

3A. Again, it was a matter of choice. He was proud and extremely knowledgeable, but not as “intelligent” as the Elohim and the Savior. Intelligence is light and truth. He had light in the beginning but apparently forsook what was truth. He had most of his power stripped from him when he was cast out, but still retained his knowledge. He wanted power. He craved power. He was selfish, self-centered, demanding and the most proud. He was enraged when his power was stripped from him and he was cast out. Did he agree to this role? He took it upon himself.

More Than One Satan

4Q. When Lucifer became Satan, who was Satan before him?

4A. I have no idea

Satan Has Not Always Been Satan

5Q. If “as man is, God once was”, then it is not possible that Lucifer has been Satan all of this time.

5A. I agree with your conclusion. Besides, it’s supported by scripture. Lucifer became Satan.

Some Choose to Follow Satan

6Q. How do a third of His children decide that they agree with Lucifer and will be on a winning team if they follow him?

6A. Ah, that’s a great question. We assume the war in heaven was strictly over agency. Perhaps it was also about who would fulfill what role or what families would get what gifts and privileges. We teach we are placed in this life, in both time and location, according to what and how we did in the pre-mortal realm. In other words, our opportunities here are a reward for performance there. The “third part” were convinced, and most of them still are, that they will prove the Father wrong. Of course, he’s already been proven right, since Christ fulfilled his mortal mission. He now continues his mission as he works with each of us to help us complete our mortal lives.

No Unclean Thing in God’s Presence

7Q. Is being in the Father’s presence indicative that not everyone is happy? Unlikely because no unclean thing can dwell in His presence.

7A. Hmmm…I had to think about your logic there. It’s true that no unclean thing can dwell in Father’s presence. If we are ALL to be brought back to be judged, are the spirits that followed Satan considered “unclean”? Or is unclean only something that applies to those who have passed through this mortal existence and remain in their sins, unrepentant when they return to God? So there’s no doubt not everyone would be happy to dwell in the presence of the Father or the Son.

One Eternal Round and MMP

8Q. Moroni 10:34 and Alma 11:43 both speak of the spirit and body being reunited AGAIN, what impact does that have on the Plan of Salvation as we know it? The spirit and body are reunited as per doctrine but “again”?

8A. Well, unless you want to start discussing multiple mortal probations, I assume AGAIN means just what it says – as we are now. Our soul is the combination of our spirits and bodies united. They are united now. They will be separated when we are dead and then united AGAIN when we are resurrected. But who says we can’t come back for a second, third or another opportunity in “one eternal round” until we have advanced and learned what we need to become resurrected and exalted?

A Few Links to MMP

For more information about Multiple Mortal Probations, you can peruse these four previous posts to see how I’ve come full circle. Please, if this idea bothers you, then just ignore it. MMP is not central to our salvation. As I’ve said many times, what we do here and now in this life is all we need to be concerned with. Oh, and to really understand some of this stuff, you must read Denver’s Tenth Parable: The Great Competition, which I wrote about in All Are Invited to the Feast.

The Unquiet Dead

You Have Been Here Before

Eternal Lives, Past Lives and Reincarnation

 The Doctrine of Eternal Lives

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus


Jesus_Heals_Young_ManRemember the Savior

One of my goals this year is to remember the Savior in a more tangible manner. To me, that means being able to relate the stories of Jesus from memory. The best way to know the Savior is to meet him. The next best way is by study and by faith. Since I haven’t met the Savior yet in this life, I’ve decided to do the next best thing – write in my own words what I know about Him.

A New Story Each Week

The beauty of this project is that I get to pick and choose what I feel inspired to tell in each post. I don’t promise to write every week, but I’m going to try. My apologies to Yoda – I’m not a Jedi Knight. You know the line, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Therefore his sage advice, a nice line from George Lucas, is not reality yet. I’m not quite at that level today. Some days I get too busy.

Jesus Christ is Real

It’s kind of funny I would think of Yoda in this first post of what I hope will be a regular series. Yoda is a small but powerful, inspiring and motivational character. However, he came from the imagination of George Lucas. On the other hand, Jesus Christ is a real person. The evidence of his existence is so great that only the most skeptical persons claim he is but a myth or legend.

Third of World is Christian

Jesus, while not small – I’ve been told He is about 6’2” or 6’3” by those who claim to have seen him – is also a powerful, inspiring and motivational individual. There are more people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ than any other person who ever lived on this earth. According to the 2011 Pew Report on Global Christianity, a third of the world population today is Christian.

Jesus Has Power Over the Spirits

One of the most remarkable attributes of the Savior, and the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Him, is His power over the adversary. Specifically, when I think of Jesus, I think of the many examples we have of Him healing those who are afflicted by evil or unclean spirits. I define evil spirits as those never mortal. Unclean spirits are the dead who hide from the light.

Definition of Evil Spirits

To be even more specific, evil spirits specifically chose to reject a mortal experience. They are not neutral. They follow Lucifer, or the devil, and do his bidding. They are controlled by him. There are those who believe these spirits can repent, believe in Christ and experience mortality. I’m not convinced this is possible, although I’ve studied arguments for each side. I remain open.

Difference of Unclean Spirit

I use the term unclean spirits because that’s a phrase found in the scriptures. It defines those who were once mortal, have died, yet have not found peace and rest in the light of paradise. They are for one reason or another, tied to something, someone or some idea in this life. They either do not believe in Jesus Christ or do not want to believe. They are lost, confused and miserable.

Yes, They are Like Ghosts

Because they have not gone to the light, they wander the earth, seeking whatever it is that keeps them bound, unable to experience it without a physical body. For this reason, they seek to find mortals who are willing to let them co-habit their mortal bodies, or just hang around with them. No, I can’t prove it and neither can you unless you can see into the spirit world all around us.

Example of Power Over Fear

You may ask why I think of such a negative concept as evil and unclean spirits when I think of Jesus. Why not think of His many examples of teaching, showing love, kindness, tenderness and mercy? Trust me, as the year rolls on, I will relate those stories and how they have affected me. Today, I start by proclaiming the power of Jesus over fear, one of the principal tools of the devil.

Prophets Saw Christ Healing Others

In the Book of Mormon (1 Ne 11:31), Nephi was shown a vision of the life of the Savior. I find it interesting he was careful to bear witness of seeing “multitudes of people who were sick, and were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits…And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.”

Afflictions Can Affect the Mind

I can relate to this verse. It speaks to me. I have been sick many times in my life. Afflicted is the right word to use when speaking of diseases. I define a disease as a sickness that lingers or will not go away. I note carefully that Nephi saw devils and unclean spirits in association with those who were sick and afflicted with disease. Such affliction can affect the mind as well as the body.

Jesus Went Around Healing People

To me, it is wonderful to know that healing the sick and afflicted is one of the main things Jesus did as he went about teaching the multitudes. What greater good can you do for someone than to heal them? I can think of only two greater gifts. One is the gift of the resurrection and the other is the gift of eternal life, which is the promise of sharing all that God has. He wants us to have that.

Faith in Christ Helps Healing

Later in the book of Mormon (3 Ne 17:5-10) Jesus asks the people to bring Him their sick and afflicted. Note carefully the words He used, “…I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.” When I am sick or afflicted as I have been for most of the past year (constant headaches), I do all the medical experts tell me. But ultimately, healing is a matter of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Afflictions Can Draw us to Christ

I have learned a lot in this past year of affliction. It’s easy to say, “Oh, it’s just part of life. It’s simply the result of too much close work with the computer for the last thirty-five years.” Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. I look upon it now as an opportunity for me to develop greater faith and specifically faith in Jesus Christ. I never thought I would say this affliction is for my own good.

God Chastens Those He Loves

Yet that’s how I feel now. We can read many places in the scriptures the Lord chastens those he loves (Heb 12:5-11, Prov 3:11-12, Rev 3:19, D&C 95:1, D&C 101:2-5, D&C 136:31). I confess it’s hard to feel loved when my head aches so much I can barely concentrate sufficiently to get my work done each day. I’ve always wanted to lose weight. I’ve lost thirty or forty pounds now.

Sometimes We Hinder our Healing

Maybe my subconscious mind is trying to help me. Maybe this pain is the only way the Lord could answer my prayer. I share with Him my goals. He knows I want to be healthy so I can serve Him and provide for my family. There’s a lot more I could do like be more consistent in exercise and diet. I wonder if I haven’t been fighting against the Lord’s efforts to bless me.

My Personal Witness

You may ask why I attribute this affliction to the adversary and not to some natural cause. Oh, I’m sure the day will come, once the headaches go away, it will be easy to look back and say, “You’re better now because you lost weight, or because we found the right combination of drugs or because you changed your diet,” or some other logical, Western, left-brained explanation.

Fasting May be Required

This affliction started with an event that convinced me the adversary was involved. You can read my story at this link if you haven’t already. I feel like Job in a small way. I am also convinced my healing will be the result of a newfound or enhanced faith in Jesus Christ that I did not have before. Faith is an amazing thing, but sometimes, it takes fasting to get rid of some afflictions.

Story of Jesus Casting Out a Spirit

That’s the first story I want to tell. It can be found in Matt 17:14-21 or Mark 9:14-29. It’s the story of Jesus casting a deaf and dumb spirit out of a young man, just one of several similar instances we have recorded in the scriptures. Casting out devils is evidence of the power, love and mercy the Lord has for us. It is one of the signs of his divinity, witnessed in vision by Nephi.

The Disciples Failed to Cast Out Spirit

One day, Jesus came down from the mountain with some of his apostles. They found a large group of people gathered around some of his disciples. Jesus asked what the commotion was all about. A man answered him and explained he had asked the disciples of Jesus to heal his son, but they were unable to do so. Jesus seemed a little exasperated. He commented about a lack of faith.

The Young Man had Seizures

Jesus then asked to have the afflicted young man brought to him. As soon as the young man saw Jesus he fell down and “wallowed foaming.” Some have interpreted that to be an epileptic fit. Jesus asked how long the young man had been like this. The young man’s father said the boy had suffered like that since he was a child. He described how the boy would fall into the fire or river.

Fear Can Hinder Faith to be Healed

This father was beside himself with grief and pled with Jesus to help his son. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to those that believe.” The man said, “Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief.” The father was frightened for his son. He wanted to believe Jesus could heal his son, but had already seen the disciples of Jesus fail in their attempt. Fear had killed his faith.

The Young Man is Healed

Jesus then rebuked the foul spirit by saying, “Thou deaf and dumb spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.” In modern language we might say something similar to this: “I command the evil spirit in this young man to leave his body and never come back.” The young man stopped thrashing about. Some of the people said the boy looked like he might be dead.

Jesus Admonishes Fasting

But Jesus took the young man by the hand and helped him stand up. The scriptures say the young man was never afflicted again. Later, the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast the spirit out of the young man. Jesus explained it was because of their unbelief. In other words, they didn’t have enough faith yet. “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

What We Can Learn From This

From this and many other similar stories, both recorded in the scriptures and in our early church history, we learn two important things. First, it takes a lot of faith in Jesus Christ to cast out evil spirits. Second, it may require subduing our own bodies through fasting both to make our own spirits more sensitive and to show the Lord we are serious about wanting the blessing of healing.

Done In The Name of Christ

I have both seen spirits cast out of people and have cast spirits out of myself and others. Some say it requires priesthood. I disagree. Women can cast out spirits. The scripture teaches it takes faith. It says nothing about requiring priesthood. All it requires is faith in Jesus Christ. Casting out spirits is not something we should fear. Hollywood movies make the process look horrible.

Some People Have Gift of Healing

More and more people are coming to an understanding of how this works. It is a real sign of faith in Jesus Christ. Some people have the gift to heal more powerfully developed than others. I have seen much evidence of natural healers who were successful because of their faith. They always used the name of Christ. He honored their faith. I am grateful for this powerful story of Jesus.

An Invitation to Open Dialog

As always, your comments are welcome. Healing is one of my favorite subjects to discuss.

Book Review: Spirits and Spiritual Interactions


SpiritsAndSpiritualInteractionsI just finished reading Spirits and Spiritual Interactions by Dr. Christopher E. Palmer this week. Thank you to one of my readers who recommended it. The book is self-published, 223 pages and took less than a week to read. I think I read an hour or two each night before retiring. As I read I would put a few comments in Goodreads After the first 40 or 50 pages I gave it three stars, After I got through about 150 pages I had raised it to four stars and upon completion I’ve decided it deserved five stars. I’ll explain why I raised my opinion as well as make a few observations.

Not Meant to be Sensational

There is nothing sensational about this book. It wasn’t meant to be. That doesn’t mean there are no examples of how to deal with dark spirits and dark energy. The author treats the subject with the utmost of respect. I had to keep reminding myself he is at least twenty years younger than me and wondered where he got all his experience and knowledge on the subject. Dr. Palmer is a chiropractor by profession. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found most chiropractors are more open to alternative forms of healing. I found the book to be well thought-out and well-written.

A Few Typos – No Big Deal

Sure, there were a few typos. The editor in me circled five, maybe seven, but it didn’t cause a problem. I did have a problem with a major flaw of the first section heading printed at the top of every page in that section not matching the actual chapter heading in the front of the book. I also had a problem with the length of the sections. There were only five. Although they were labeled sections they seemed to be chapters because the text kept running on an on without page breaks. I guess I was expecting well-defined page breaks with a blank page between each chapter.

More of an Introductory Book

So far I’ve focused on a few technical preferences that have little to nothing to do with the content of the book. Let’s get in to that. The book was obviously written for an LDS audience but made a good effort to include explanations of LDS terms and doctrines as it went along. That’s why I rated it so low at first. I thought it was way too basic until I realized the author was trying to be as thorough as he could be. I would recommend this book for someone as a starter book who has no exposure to working with spirits or the spirit world. Please let me explain.

Nothing Frightening in the Book

In the twenty plus years I’ve been working with those who claim to be sensitive to spirits, or in other words, can easily detect their presence, a book like this would be way too toned-down. But if you are one who has never heard of the gift of discernment of spirits or seen it in action or even believe that it exists, this is a great book. It is convincing with good examples, practical and very conservative or orthodox views of how things work with dark energy and dark spirits. It is written in such a way that there is no fear factor at all. There was nothing frightening in the book.

The five sections are:
 1. Basic Details about Spirits
 2. How to Recognize the Presence of Spirits and
     Discern Their Affiliation with Light or Darkness
 3. Other Things That Bring Light or Darkness and Similar Kinds of Spirits
 4. How to Remove Dark Spirits, Their Influence and Effects
 5. Ways to Fortify Against and Be Resilient to Evil and Unclean
    Spirits and Spiritual Darkness

How This Book Compares to Others

Now, I won’t list the table of contents here, but compare these basic five sections of Dr. Palmer’s book with, oh, let’s say, the contents of Doug Mendenhall’s Book: Conquering Spiritual Evil. If you are a novice in dealing with spirits, do NOT start with Doug’s book. It’s like a college text. On the other hand, if you are a novice, DO start with Dr. Palmer’s book. It’s excellent in getting you used to the wording, the phrases and the methods of recognizing and working with spirits. If you feel you have no ability or gift in this area, then you may be disappointed, but it has been my experience that most LDS folks have at least some sensitivity to the presence of other spirits.

This is a Step-by-Step Sort of Book

I may be wrong on this. My wife tells me she has none but she has related some stories from her mission that have convinced me otherwise. She is also a very orthodox and conservative LDS member. If I could get her to read it – she won’t because 1) she says she hates to read doctrine and 2) she is too busy writing and promoting her own books – I am certain she would be very confident with Dr. Palmer’s approach to the subject. It is reassuring, slow and easy step-by-step stuff that doesn’t make you feel like there is anything weird with talking about the influence or presence of dark spirits or dark energy by the time you get done with his book.

The Book is an Easy and Clear Read

I confess I am more of a Doug Mendenhall sort of reader: give it to me straight, raw format and let me sort it out for myself. He does that in his book. You’ve got to do a lot of pondering and praying with Doug’s book or you could be misled in what he is trying to say. Not so with Dr. Palmer’s book. It is written in such a way that it’s clear he did not want to be misunderstood. He did not want to frighten any of his readers. He wrote in such a way that caused you to feel good about the process of clearing your home, your space and even you favorite places to visit. I thought that was kind of, well, different, but I got what he was trying to get across.

It’s a Comfortable Book to Read

For those who have not read Doug’s book for comparison, let me say this: If I were an LDS mother, single or married, concerned with the dark influences I’m beginning to sense in my teenage son or daughter, I would be extremely comfortable recommending Dr. Palmer’s book as being helpful and easy to read. On the other hand, if I found myself dealing with evidence that some hard-core, satan worshippers had inhabited the home I just bought, I would get Doug’s book. Both talk about the importance of removing dark objects and especially portals – so very often overlooked – but Dr. Palmer just made me feel more comfortable reading about it.

Like Visiting With a Medical Specialist

In other words, and this is unfair to Doug, whom I consider a friend, Dr. Palmer’s book comes across more like a friend sitting across from you, advising you on something about which he has studied and does regularly, in the same sense that you got to visit him to get your back adjusted. Again, it starts assuming you know nothing about working with and removing spirits and takes you up to and through the basic steps of getting the job done. But he doesn’t get into difficult cases and makes sure that you come away feeling all is light and rosy when the job’s done.

The Book is Targeted at People New to This

Dr. Palmer, I’m sorry if I’ve received the wrong impression from reading your book. If you run across this review, you’re welcome to respond. The bottom line for me is I would feel greater confidence in working with Doug to help me deal with a problem in getting rid of the influence of evil and unclean spirits in my home, work or other space. To be fair, Dr. Palmer makes it clear that some spirits will come back again and again or send replacements – a favorite trick – but Doug’s book gets into things other than spirits that could be the source of the problem. Maybe you think this is all made-up, the product of someone’s imagination. I assure you it isn’t. I know of at least a half dozen people who do this sort of thing – cast out evil spirits. All are or were LDS. Please don’t forget it is part of our doctrine. Don’t think it’s spooky. It just is. Accept it.

You Don’t Need the Gift of Discernment

Two others I have written about are Mel Fish in Cedar City and Jan Graf in St Geoge. It seems there is much more of this kind of activity – being bothered by evil or unclean spirits in the Mormon corridor along the Wasatch Front. But I run across it all the time here in California too, especially wherever objects or activities of darkness abound – porn, drugs, stuff like that. Our objective in life is to fill our souls with light. We are beings of light. We came here to learn how to increase that light with faith, obedience and gifts of the spirits. If you don’t have a gift in this area – feeling the presence of spirits – alive or dead – don’t worry about it. Everyone has some sort of gift and can share light that will help and strengthen others. We all need each other.

Dr. Palmer Gives You the Basic How-To

I recognize this is not a very detailed review of Dr. Palmer’s book. Let me just say I give it five stars. I think he has done a thorough job, even if he does get off to a slow start. I know I called it a beginner’s book but that’s not really fair. It’s a good introductory book. It is not confusing. It is clear. It is precise. He provides the example (only one, while Doug and Mel Fish provide many), that works in removing dark spirits. I wish he wrote about dark spirits that can attach themselves to us or can hide within us. He wrote at the beginning he specifically would not address that subject. For that, see Mel Fish or Jan Graf. But using the methods Dr. Palmer writes about, I would feel comfortable in clearing my space, my room, my home, my work or anywhere else.

Would Like to Read A Deeper Edition

Dr. Palmer has a lot of knowledge on the subject. I learned some new things. I am always impressed when someone takes the time and effort to write a book, especially non-fiction about such an important subject. You know you won’t find this in Deseret Book. This sort of book is not a good fit there. I’m so happy we live in the day of Amazon and CreateSpace. Dr. Palmer addresses an important doctrine that our modern church chooses to ignore, helps us learn the basics to protect ourselves, our families and our homes, and makes it available to you. I say bless you Dr. Palmer. I hope you continue to prosper and perhaps write more on this in the future.

Personal Evidence of Casting Out Devils


JesusCastingOutDevilsI could have put some benign headline on this post, but who would read a story labeled, “Miracle in Agoura,” or “Man stops taking drugs cold turkey?” I want to make a point with the headline and I hope it catches your attention. This story needs to be told in this modern day and age. Evil spirits are real. I have personal knowledge that I allude to in this post. The healing described is real and is common, or at least it’s common for those who believe such things can and do still take place in this skeptical world we live in. Please take off the cynical glasses for a few minutes.

Going Cold Turkey Can Taste Oh So Good

It was 3:40pm California time when I start this, published at 7:30pm. I’ve been up since about 4:50am. Now these facts by themselves mean nothing, but consider this. Today is the first time in over eight months I haven’t taken any pain or anxiety medication since the morning dosage. By now, I would usually be climbing the walls, especially without the afternoon dosage of Clonazepam. Just ask Carol. I’ve been impossible to live with unless I’m on a regular morning, afternoon and evening schedule of drugs prescribed by a half-dozen doctors. [I was wrong. See added paragraph below.]

Clonazepam – To Stop Panic Attacks

For those who don’t know, Clonazepam is a strong benzodiazepine which is the preferred treatment for panic disorder, and anxiety. It sedates, relaxes, and has hypnotic properties. Oh, by the way, one of the main side effects is it makes you want to sleep a lot – for hours and hours. It’s basically hard to get anything done if you’re on this prescription drug, which I have been since last February. 2mg is a high dosage. Most people start at a half mg or one mg at the most. But the high dosage was needed to counteract the powerful anxiety I experienced constantly.

Tramadol – A Psychotropic Drug

Clonazepam is on the controlled substance list along with the other two medications I usually take about this time: 50mg of Tramadol, an opioid analgesic used to treat moderate to severe pain. If you know anything about pharmacology (and why should you know unless you are studying to be a doctor or are one) you’ll know that Tramadol ups the serotonin in the blood, popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. In other words, people take these drugs to help them feel better emotionally. It’s used as a psychotropic drug.

Vicodin – Another Pain Killer

I’m sure you’ll all recognize the third painkiller I usually take in my afternoon cocktail of drugs. It’s Hydrocodone, usually called Vicodin, another opioid-based pain killer. It’s also used to treat moderately severe pain. It contains a narcotic. In other words, it is addicting. It also has some other not so pleasant side effects, such as constipation, dizziness, and feeling nauseated. These are just the three main drugs I have listed among the dozen I take each day and have now since February. Before that, I rarely, if ever took prescription drugs of any kind for any reason.

Not Good Advice to Suddenly Stop Drugs

Now, why have I been taking these powerful narcotics and other such drugs for the past eight months? And why do I say that this morning was the last time I’ll need them or will take them? How can I be so confident? No matter what it is that has happened to make me so self-assured, shouldn’t I wait a few days before writing something like this? Every doctor I know will tell you to ease off the prescription drugs slowly, especially if you’ve been taking them for so long. [Update 11-8: The doctors are right. Go slow.] I’ve got a story to tell that could take a couple of posts, but I’ll try to summarize it in this short post. To keep a promise, I would need someone’s permission to write any more detail. By the time you finish, I hope you’ll understand why my confidence is so high that I have been healed.

The Short Answer

Here’s the short answer for regular readers of my blog: I paid a visit to a dear friend who was in Southern California for a few days. Fortunately, he just happened to be visiting twenty miles from my home here in Camarillo. Some of you may recognize him. His name is Jan Graf and he is from St George Utah. I have been waiting twenty years to tell his story since I first met him in 1993. The man is a healer and I mean that in every sense of the word. Or if you prefer, he is a man blessed with the gift of healing. He readily acknowledges the source to be Jesus Christ. Jan, or rather the Lord, healed me today. I don’t need those psychotropic and pain pills any more. Of that I am confident.

Pain to Keep Me From My Work

By the way, the pain pills were to treat the constant, and I mean absolute non-stop headaches. Some call them migraines, but migraines come and go. This was a constant pain. Along with the constant desire to sleep from the Clonazepam, I could not focus, concentrate or maintain my attention on things for more than a few seconds without experiencing severe pain. The CAT Scans and the MRI’s, along with all the blood work found nothing out of the normal. I kept asking the doctors if there wasn’t some test they missed of if I couldn’t get another opinion on the ones they had already taken. It did no good. They all agreed I was perfectly healthy.

For Those Wondering About the Backstory

Again, for regular readers of my blog, they know the story, but I’ve written it out and shared it so many times that I’ve placed it online. You can read it on my website on the above link. You know I asked at the beginning of the post to put your skeptical viewpoints aside for a while. I know many of you are experts in treating people with mental illness. I’ve been told it’s harmful for anyone to suggest mental afflictions like the ones I was experienced can be caused by evil or unclean spirits. I understand. I’ve visited with many of you looking for answers. All I can say is as of this morning I was in severe pain and anxiety and tonight I am at peace and feel no pain.

An Alternative Technique that Works

I met Jan in 1982 when my son was acting up in school. Our local bishop advised us to take him to see a new doctor he had just heard about. It turns out the man was no doctor at all. He was someone trained in a new technique named about the man who discovered it, or as he likes to say, had it revealed to him. I believe him. I felt so excited about what I discovered I wanted to shout it to the world. I could see how this could help so many people if they just knew about it. I wanted to write a book that explained how to learn and practice the technique. I found an early booklet of a seminar he conducted in Las Vegas when he was just getting started. I learned others do similar work and taught myself how to do self-diagnosis.

Planned to Write a Book on the Technique

Instead I took a few weeks and wrote a short blog (about 15-20 entries) where you can read about my introductory experiences with the Graf Technique at my other blog. Again, I was so excited about this technique – and still am – that I met with Jan and Gretchen and published the interview at this link. Jan’s web page can be found here: http://grafstressmanagement.com/ I hope he writes his story some day. I have read a really old draft he gave me and found it fascinating how he discovered things step by step. I still have it in my possession but cannot share it since he provided it in confidence.

Evil Spirits Can Be Cast Out

I want to keep this short so I’m not going to say much more than this: If I were to continue with the Western medicine way of dealing with this issue, I would NEVER be healed. I would be in pain and unable to function. I would soon go onto government disability and would be in my grave within a few years. You can argue that I have been healed by my faith and I won’t deny that my faith has a part of my healing. But I would never have known the source of the pain or malaise, discovered through the Graf Teachnique. I have three missions in life, revealed to me by the Lord. One of them is to bear witness that we can cast out evil spirits even in this day and age and have them cast out of us.

Western vs. Eastern Methods

Update 11-8-13: Not sure where to put this but I wanted to, oh, there’s no other way to say it…I was wrong about going cold turkey with the drugs. If you are working with a doctor who has prescribed psychotropic drugs (anti-anxiety in my case), don’t just drop them and expect to be fine. I know this admission extremely reduces the bold claims of the post. I felt like I was on top of the world for about 24-30 hours, then the anxiety began to return. For those that can accept it, I felt like I was being visited by an evil spirit and that this spirit was hammering away at me, getting me to doubt that I could go without the Clonazepam. I fought, I prayed, I cried. In the end, I had to go back to that one just to function. Dang!

Strength From God to Do His Work

You can ask me anything you want about this experience, how it came about, why I think its real and not all in my mind or anything else you want. All I know is I am free tonight whereas before I was in bondage and unable to perform the work the Lord sent me to this earth to do. I can now continue with what I started and intend to finish: 1) Publish my book based on Anthony Larson and his Prophecy Trilogy. I call it Red Sky for now. And 2) Finish my review of everything I have studied about Denver Snuffer. Last night I listened to the three-hour talk he gave in Orem last Saturday. All I can say is Wow! Trust me. You want to know what this man teaches.

Note: You can read a story about what happened to a man who does similar work here: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2013/02/18/excommunicated-for-priestcraft/

A Conversation You Don’t Want to Have


SamAndRalph“I can’t see you, but I can feel your presence,” I said.

“That’s the way it was meant to be, “he said. “Besides, it gives me the advantage. But you already know that.”

“What do you want? Why are you here?”

“My job is to keep you from doing anything good. That’s all you need to know. Whatever it takes, I have the power to do it. You know I’m not here alone. Others are nearby ready to help. I only have to call out and they’re here before you can imagine it. I have as many as I need – specialists of all kinds to do the job. You get an idea, and I call them over to suck it out of you. You must be an important one. Or maybe I am. I’ve never had this kind of power before. Must be that promotion he promised if I took care of my last assignment quick like that.”

“Why is it I can feel your presence and talk with you this way?” I said. I’m fairly certain I already knew the answers but I wanted to get the basics out of the way. I know I’m dealing with a liar but I’ve had enough experience I know he must answer me, no matter what the question.

“I’ve been kind of wondering that myself. All I can figure is you’ve been given some sort of gift,” he said “I don’t think it’s particularly fair, but it’s not going to make any difference, I can promise you that.”

“What’s you name.”

“You can call me whatever you want. I’ve been called lots of things over the years.”

“So you’ve obviously done this before.”

“You can say that.”

“I know you have to answer me, so tell me how many times you’ve done this before.”

“It all depends on what we’re talking about. Do you mean have a conversation or go all the way and put someone in the loony bin?” There was something sadistic in the way he said it, as if he was remembering something with particular delight.

“Let’s start with the basics, “I said. “How many times have you had a conversation where the other person could hear and record you?”

“You’re the first.”

“I’m not the first you talked to…” I said.

“No, but you’re the first who doesn’t seem to be afraid of me.”

“Oh, but I am afraid. I have great fear and respect for what you can do. I know who you are and what you can do. Don’t put yourself down. I know your power. You put me in the hospital twice, in case you don’t remember.”

“I sensed a smile and a rubbing of the hands together if he had any. “I had some help back then. It was my first time. You almost had us.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, come on, do I have to explain everything to you?”

“From what I understand, yes, you do have to answer every question I put to you. I’ve been told that’s a rule.” I said.

“Fine. Johnson kept your son and his friend busy. It wasn’t hard. A little weed will do wonders.”

“So it was you I saw when I was waking up.”

“If you say so. It was my job to watch you and keep you away if you moved.”

“I’m going to call you Sam.”

“Call me whatever you want.” He seemed a little annoyed.

“Want to know why?”

“No.”

“It must be part of the gift. I can always tell when you’re lying,” I said.

“Whatever.”

“You remind me of that cartoon character, Sam Sheepdog, from when I was a kid. It was his job to watch the sheep and keep the wolf away. Ralph E. Wolf was always plotting a way to get at the sheep. He came up with all kinds of plans. That’s what made it funny each time.”

“You’re beginning to annoy me,” Sam said.

“You should be flattered,” I said.

“Why is that?”

“Sam was actually the smart one. He had it all figured out. In spite of his eyes covered with red hair, he knew exactly where the wolf was. He always had a plan on how to keep him away from the sheep. Remember that. Sam was the smart one.”

I sensed Sam mulling this over.

“OK, whatever. Like I say, you can call me Sam if it makes you feel better. But it’s not going to help. Nobody’s ever been able to talk to me like this before without me scaring the crap out if them. Don’t I scare you?”

“Oh, you scared me alright. Remember, the hospital.”

He brightened up. Yeah, you were a mess. You’d think you didn’t know anything about devils. Twice in one week. The boss was especially proud.”

“But you were just doing your job, weren’t you Sam? You say you’ve done this many times before.”

“I didn’t say.”

“Well, give. I want to know.”

“I don’t keep exact records. Let’s just say a couple thousand.” He was gloating, that was obvious.

“You must be pretty good, then.”

“One of the best. I don’t need much help. I’ve done this so many times I’ve got it down to a science. I specialize in drugs.”

“But not the hard stuff,” I said.

“Weed works better. It keeps the guy going, sometimes for a lifetime, but he never really accomplishes anything. What more could you ask for? He wastes his whole life and doesn’t even know it.” I could almost see a big smile cross his face.

“And your victims never notice that they’re slowly losing their edge – their desire to accomplish anything in life, their ability to remember things, their creative talents…”

“They don’t care. All they know is they feel good. Hey, that’s what drugs are all about. I told you I was an expert.”

“So why was I able to see you back then but can only sense your presence now?

“Hypnopompic Hallucination.”

“Hypno-what?”

“Just look it up.”

“You wanted to be in there, didn’t you? You wanted to be getting high too. I could tell by the way you looked over there.”

“Whatever. What do you want?”

“I just want to tell you thank you.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah, I mean it. I’m still in pain. The migraines and the anxiety are there but over time, they’ll go away. You know they will.”

“Yeah, so what.”

“You’ve been sent to me.”

“Say what?”

“Since you can’t lie, if you’re going to insist on hanging around, I’m going to use you. You been assigned to me, which means you can’t leave until either you defeat me or I defeat you. It’s a fight to the finish. I’m going to use you. You’re going to tell me things you don’t want to.” Now I felt like rubbing my hands together. “You know my gift helps me know when you’re lying. I think someone made a major mistake. They sent me one of the smartest and best. How does it make you feel knowing you’re going to be used?”

“Well, good luck. I can lie all I want,” Sam said. “That’s still mine. I can lead you on wild goose chases that completely waste your time. If you want to chance it, then more power to you. I don’t know what you think you can get out of this, but I can tell you I’m deadly serious. I will not give up until you’re dead, crazy or have been totally incapacitated. Even then, I’ll keep you out of commission. You’ll be no good to anybody.”

“Fine – it’s good to have it out in the open. We know where each other stands. You want to drive me crazy and I want to use you to get tactical information that’s going to help in this last great battle. You’re going to be sorry you decided to accept this assignment. Oh, sorry. I forgot. You have no power to choose, do you? You go where you’re told and do or die, isn’t that true?”

“You’re a jerk.”

“And you’re damned to hell. Don’t ever forget it.”

Update (Thur 11-7-13): I sent Sam to the light where he was met by a loving family member ready to teach him the gospel. Sam will no longer be visiting with us. He says the light is too bright here.

Meeting with a Mental Health Professional


CostOfMentalHealthBroken Things to Mend – Part two (another journal entry)

I met with the first of the five psychiatrists yesterday. If you’ve never met with a mental health professional, you might want to consider it. The experience was enjoyable. He was a little older than me – OK, maybe by about ten years, but fit my idea of what a psychiatrist should be like. He sat in his favorite chair. I sat on one of several couches. He made me feel right at home, let me set the rules. Said if you want to just start talking and tell your story, go right ahead, or I can ask questions. I knew why I wanted to see him and what I wanted to say so I jumped right in.

An immediate rapport established

It took about twenty minutes, he then took about twenty minutes to respond, with a few questions thrown in to clarify, but he obviously got most of it as I related it up front. He gave me a few handouts he had prepared, one he had published in a professional journal and others simply guidelines on how to think about what I had been through. By the end of the forty minutes, I felt I had quite a bit to consider and plenty of reading material so we were done. He was obviously a professional because he knew what I was relating, where it fit, and how to respond. Although it was new to me, it was not to him. I liked that. It gave me a great sense of confidence.

In which I get an education

Here’s the word that put everything into place for me: Hypnagogia – falling asleep, or sometimes called Hypnopomic – waking up. For those who have read my story – and I’ve sent it to several dozen now – I apparently experienced something quite normal. Hypnagogia is used nowadays to cover both states – falling asleep or the state of awakening. In my case, I was awakening when I saw what I believed to be spirits, first one, and then two at my side. The doctor was obviously not shocked that I was able to describe my hallucinations or that I felt I knew them and their history. His response was not abnormal or shocking in any way. Perhaps this is more common – seeing spirits – than I had thought – or he was pretty good at covering up since that’s his job.

Difficulty in Getting to Sleep

We also talked about the state of terror I experienced. It was obviously a shock to my system to see spirits standing by my side upon awakening. We both agreed I still haven’t recovered even seven months after the event first happened – remember it happened twice that first week. It’s always nice to hear someone sympathize that it must have been a traumatic experience, based on the fact that it still bothers me even this long after the original event. Although he was not too familiar, not being a psychologist, we talked about the drugs I had been prescribed to deal with the pain and noted I had been given two sleeping aids. Yes, I have found it difficult to get to sleep for obvious reasons – being scared to death I’ll see these spirits once again. No wonder.

Religion Was Not An Issue

Somehow the subject of religion came up. He confessed he was a “hopeful agnostic,” meaning he had no evidence for any belief in things supernatural but had hope for those who expressed faith and hope in their lives. I was clearly upfront with him, explaining my believe that there are some who do not get to either heaven or hell upon death, but that stick around here, addicted to the sensations of the bodies they once inhabited and looking for others who are willing to share their bodies even if just for a few moments. Again, he was not surprised. I like that. Apparently, he has heard it all before. He recognized not all Mormons believe the same about the afterlife. I’m one of them. I don’t believe in only paradise or spirit prison. I am convinced that some stick around, not ready to go in either direction, perhaps feeling lost or looking for those who allow their bodies to be used mainly through the use of drugs or alcohol. I believe it to be common.

The State of the Physical Body

The doctor asked about the state of my body at the time of the event, if I was over tired, worried, sick, or feeling in any way hyperactive from the day’s activities. I related my active concern for my son, whom I knew to be participating in consumption of hallucinogenic drugs, marijuana and alcohol in his room, even though I had asked him dozens of times not to do so. For more detail on how this could possibly be, I would be happy to send you the document that describes Mike’s mental illness and manipulative behavior through threats of suicide: tmalonemcse @ gmail.com. The doctor nodded his head as I described my concern for my son and his ingestion of drugs in his room right next door, along with his friend. He pointed out I was obviously concerned about the well-being of my son at this time in his life since he was involved in drugs and alcohol.

Enduring pain a daily Event Now

By the way, I had thought deeply over the last seven months about the twenty minutes I took to tell my story up front. I wanted him to know some things about what I believed and about some of the things that were happening in my son’s life at that time. I told him how the experience affected me, all the doctors I have seen, all the tests I have taken, and all the pain I experience. He was surprised when I told him my pain level was a seven, but that’s been pretty normal since that day. He asked how the pain exhibited itself – migraine, headache and anxiety, obviously. I thought I had made that clear up front but apparently not. In any event, by his reaction, I could tell he felt that was a rather high level of pain to be suffering consistently day in and day out. My response: “Obviously something wants my attention. Perhaps it’s still trapped within me.” By his response or lack thereof, I could tell he didn’t get it. I was referring to the idea of trapped spirits.

Not Much Can be Done in 45 Minutes

He has pleased when I reported my son had moved on, obtained gainful employment, moved out and seemed to be happy with his life. He wondered out loud why my pain remained since the original occurrence seemed to be when Mike was engaged in the consumption of drugs and alcohol in our home, something to which I obviously objected. He asked a few questions about my relationship with my son at the time (annoyed) my relationship now (pleased) and if I had let go of those annoyed feelings from that night I experienced the hypnagogic hallucinations. I told him I had made every effort to do so. The bottom line however was, as I expected, “Well, I can’t think of anything I can do for your migraines right now -why don’t you come back after you’ve read the material and we’ll talk some more?” Isn’t that the way it always seems to go with these kinds of doctors? It’s going to take a lot of your time. We’re got to study this out, get all the history and then eventually we’ll make some progress on managing the pain you’re experiencing.

Mental Illness – My Personal Story

Maybe it’s time to share a little about my own mental illness or at least my perception of it, since as far as I know I have never been diagnosed with such. Elder Holland, or was it Elder Morrison, taught us that mental illness is not a sin. I can happen to anyone. It’s just a part of mortality. Just like I was born with the unwanted state of weak lungs which manifest themselves in asthma, three are those who are born with difficulties in their minds / brains. There are all kinds of malformations but some mental illness cannot be traced to anything physical at all. It seems to be more chemical in nature. I suspect I am one of those who has a chemical abnormality that subjects me to serious mood swings – always has. I would go so far as to say it is manic / depressive – just a mild case.

Success in School Related to Work

Being a smart child, or so I’m told, I was placed ahead a grade in school, since I already knew how to read and was wasting my time with all the other first graders. I’ve always felt this was a big mistake as far as social development, but that’s a different story. In any event, school was easy for me – in fact it was so easy I decided I didn’t have to do the hard work of studying. I did great until about fifth grade, or about age eight and then things fell apart. Maybe it was hormones kicking in or maybe it was just the influence of the local bad boys club – everyone has one – but from then on, I did poorly in school. In fact I got kicked out of high school a few years later because I thought it was a joke. The only thing I liked was that I was introduced to my future career in computers.

High School – a Terrible Experience for Some

I don’t know what it was but I just didn’t get the connection between work and grades, but that’s not unusual. In my case, I thought I deserved them without the work. I knew I could do it, but was never really willing to prove it. Well, the system just doesn’t work like that, does it? I was in and out of counseling offices, as well as the local police department throughout my school years because the concept of work and good grades just didn’t seem to come together for me. What’s worse is that about age 16, when I could start driving, I began to hang with some of the even tougher kids in high school – those who got kicked out into continuation school like I did. These are the kids known for smoking, drugs, rebellion, alcohol, partying and general bad stuff.

The wild years of Teenage Rebellion

Yep, you guessed it, I tried all that. Thank God it only lasted about six months. Never broke the law of chastity, but was tempted. January 1974 was one of the worst years of my life. My folks went on a cruise to the South Pacific and somehow, being the youngest, I was left alone. I told a friend, he told his friends, they told their friends and before I knew it, hundreds of people I had never met were having a wild party in my house. And where was I? I was out in the backyard, trying to leave this world through hallucinogenic drugs. Oh, I didn’t intend to go anywhere physically, just in my mind or spirit, about which I knew very little at the time. It was not a good experience. I’ve written about it previously. I characterize it as a religious experience and here’s why: when it was over, I knew there was a devil and a God.

My Conversation with the Devils

Before this encounter with evil spirits, I never gave it any thought. Seminary teachers tried to warn me. Sunday school teachers tried to warn me. Even prophets tried to warn me, but did I listen? No. What is it with kids who think they know better or will only learn by experience? These demons and devils came at me with malicious intent. I knew they wanted to destroy me. Why? I thought to myself. What had I done to them? The answer I got back was simply this: We hate you for what you represent. You have the priesthood. You have the Holy Ghost. You’re been to the temple (baptisms for the dead). You have all the things God says will protect you. We’re going to show God we can destroy even his most choice spirits and you’re one of them.

I Gained a Testimony of Reality of Evil

I was scared. I jumped up and high-tailed it out of there. I took off and drove for the desert. I was thinking the whole way: This can’t be real. This can’t be happening. I didn’t just see and hear evil spirits. They don’t exist. There’s just a figment of the imagination. All my friends told me so. They have no power because they’re only in our minds if we believe in them and I don’t. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself of the non-existence of these evil spirits – and there were dozens of them – I could not shake what had happened to me. I could not deny it. I knew. The scriptures promise we can know from the Holy Ghost. Well, I promise you can know things from evil spirits just as real. It happened to me and because it did I knew that God was also real. I got my testimony that night. It was a testimony that evil spirits exist and want to destroy us.

A Form of Mental Illness

Some in the world would call this a psychosis or neurosis. There is no evidence for spirits, good or evil. Therefore, anyone who believes in them is experiencing a form of mental illness. What I can’t understand is why so few recognize that evil spirits hang around places where alcohol, drugs, certain kinds of music and wild parties are going on. Maybe they do, but chose to ignore them. I mean, it’s more fun to let the evil spirits use your bodies for a few moments to a few hours, isn’t it? There are so very few who believe that such a thing happens, but I know from experience it does. But the American Psychiatric Association’s List of Mental Disorders lists a belief in evil spirits – or any kind of spirits- as a form of mental illness from days long past.

Jesus Came to Cast Out Evil Spirits

I’ll end this long journal entry with a simple statement. I believe one of the primary purposes of the Lord in coming to the earth was to cast out evil spirits. They are real. They can do more damage than we can imagine. They cause sickness, including mental illness. Many of these spirits specialize in mental ailments or disorders among us. If you want to know more about how to conquer spiritual illness among us, read Doug Mendenhall’s book. I have read and reviewed it, studied about it, written about it and came to the conclusion that Doug knew what he was writing about. Get the book. It contains the truth. Don’t be fooled into thinking spirits aren’t real.

Broken Things to Mend – Part One


Genealogy 002

These are my mother’s family history worksheets – her life’s work. Each book (and there are a couple dozen) contains hundreds of family history worksheets all filled out by hand or on her special typewriter with the wide carriage. What a labor of love.

This is not a review of Elder Holland’s excellent book, but I have borrowed the title. This is a journal entry that may or may not be of any interest to you. It’s about mental illness in an LDS family – mine. Some may feel it is too personal to share on a public blog. Tough. Don’t read it. I’m not asking for feedback. It’s just my formal preparation to meet with a few doctors over the next two weeks. It consists of two parts I’m trying to fix – 1) The influence of a mother with mental illness and 2) the influence of the 60’s and 70’s drug culture which was so prevalent in my life at one time.

Mental Illness in the LDS Church

A few years ago on this blog, I wrote an article about mental illness (Nov 3, 2007 – Psychiatric Disorders in Mormon Theology). It was based on an Ensign article from Elder Alexander Morrison, who, if I remember correctly has a daughter who suffers from mental illness. It was entitled, “Myths About Mental Illness.” He also published a 2003 book on the subject: Valley of Sorrow: A Layman’s Guide to Understanding Mental Illness for Latter-day Saints.

Like a Broken Vessel

I mentioned in a recent post here on this blog how pleased I was to see, hear and read a discourse in our last General Conference on the same subject from Elder Holland, entitled, “Like a Broken Vessel.” Many of you know Elder Holland has published a book entitled “Broken Things to Mend (Deseret Book, 2008). If we didn’t know it before, we know now the depth of Elder Holland’s feelings towards those who suffer from mental illness and especially from depression.

The Savior Wants to Heal Us

I cried as I watched and listened to his words. For the first time since Elder Morrison’s address ten years ago, a General Authority addressed what must surely be one of the Savior’s most heart-felt desires – to heal those who suffer from the effects of this mortality. If you have not yet read both talks, I highly recommend you do so. Elder Morrison teaches us some basics we all need to know and Elder Holland helps us understand how much this malady still concerns our Savior.

Personal Confessions in a Personal Blog

May I get personal for a moment? “Well, of course, Tim, it’s your blog, please, go right ahead.” I suffer from mental illness. I don’t think I’ve made a secret of it before but I have not been as direct as I am going to be in this post. Let me make it clear I am not looking for sympathy or pity, but do want it bring it to the attention of my readers in a personal way as never before. I am simply asking for your patience as I lay some groundwork that perhaps you may recognize. In sharing this, I am not confessing some great sin, but I’ll tell you what I’m doing about it today.

Part One – The Influence of a Loving Mother

Mother was a schoolteacher. Anybody who has read my background or has been with me for any length of time on my blog knows this. I adored my mother. She was smart. She was competent. She always seemed to know what to do and she could teach the gospel better than anybody I had ever heard, and I mean anybody. I loved to sit in her classes. I got kicked out of my own school district many times specifically because I knew I would get to spend a week in my mother’s fourth grade class on California history. I loved her stories of Romona and of the Rancheros. Mother made life exciting for this student who hates lecture and learns best through kinesthetic means. In other words, I have to do something with my hands before I can say I understand it.

Mother’s Advice Made a Lasting Impression

One Sunday, an incompetent high councilor was bumbling through his talk – basically reading it out of the Ensign. Mother quietly asked me to promise if I was ever called as a High Counselor I would practice to be a better sacrament speaker. She made me promise to prepare well, present well and make sure the congregation was fed by the spirit of the Lord. When I was called as a High Counselor, I tried to keep that promise. How I prayed each time for the gift of feeding the Lord’s sheep. Except for one thing, mother would have made a great priesthood leader if she hadn’t been a woman: Although she tried to keep it from us, mother also suffered from mental illness.

Mental Illness Seen as a Weakness

She didn’t share it with us – all the psychiatric visits, the uncontrollable crying spells alone in her room or the deep, dark depression hanging over her some weeks affecting our entire household. My older sisters did not see it as much as my youngest sister and I saw and felt it in our teenage years. How I felt for my mother, wishing there was something I could do for her, wanting to know what to say, anything, that would cheer her up and help her through this miserable time in her life. Later I discovered that just talking to her helped. She and I had many, many talks about the gospel and about life in general. How I loved and appreciated my mother and her wisdom. I learned so much from her about church history, the life of the Savior and the Bible in general.

A Short Bio and Learning to Read

You can read more about her in a post I wrote shortly after her death but it doesn’t do justice to the intellectual power of this woman who carried nine children, seven to full term. She devoted her life to teaching California school children the joys of learning literature and reading. That was her specialty and oh, she was good at it. I’ve related before how I learned to read the Book of Mormon at my mother’s knee at the age of five. This is one of my most sacred memories that made me the man I am today. I love that book because we read it together when I was so young.

Book Stores are Special Places

I love books because of my mother. She used to take us to all the exotic bookstores in Southern California and allow us to pick out anything we wanted. How I loved Vromans in Pasadena, because every time we went, I got to pick out another Peter Rabbit book and figurine. The Bodhi Tree Bookstore in Hollywood is closed now but holds precious memories of hours looking for books. We mostly went to the local libraries – a lot cheaper of course – but bookstores were a special occasion – someone’s birthday or holiday to be remembered with a special gift – a book.

An Early Love of Science Fiction

Most of the books I received as gifts were on the Caldecott and Newbery lists. I won’t bore you with the names of some of those classics from the 60’s when I was growing up but I will tell you that mother was so willing to help me keep my reading habit that when I turned to science fiction in high school, she continued to fund my purchases. How I wish I still had those classics today: Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Jules Verne, Michael Crichton, H.G. Wells, and especially J.R.R Tolkien. She knew I loved Tolkien and I knew she loved me.

20,000 Ordinances performed

When mother became an older convert at age 35, two things dominated the rest of her life as far as I was concerned. First was her love of genealogy or family history. I’ve included a picture of the dozens of old family history books she compiled over forty plus years. I inherited her library and much of her correspondence. My sister has an equal amount and is a professional librarian / researcher. Mother knew more about how the family history department worked in Salt Lake then some specialists did. When she moved there she would teach classes. Sadly, her legacy of more than 20,000 names researched with each of the ordinances performed is only appreciated today by me and my two active sisters. Well, I suppose those for whom the ordinances were performed also appreciate it, at least I hope they do.

A Love of History – Religious and Secular

The other thing that dominated my mother’s life was studying the history of the church and sharing it with her children, at least her two youngest children who would listen. Her library of church books was huge. She would get so excited about learning some new facet of our history she would call just to tell me about it. This was long after I was married and moved out. While I served my mission in 1976-1978, she took it upon herself to graduate from institute. She made me promise to never share her papers but the older I get the more I feel she would approve of publishing what she learned through the CES program about the Book or Mormon, the Life of Christ, details of the history of Joseph Smith I have never read elsewhere and so many other papers she composed. She would even go to the Huntington Library to research early Mormon California history. I’ve always said it and I’ll always be grateful to be the son of an intellectual giant. Mother blessed me so much.

A Sliver of Darkness Amidst the Light

Why is it that so many of those who are blessed with the ability to construct wonderful research papers, or great works of art or inventions that bless and serve mankind, are considered eccentric, lacking in people skills or suffer from depression, mental illness or some other mental malady? I won’t share details, but mother could ruin a family get together quicker than anyone I have ever known with a single word or phrase, followed by sulking in her room until someone would come get her and help her understand she had not been personally insulted or that nobody had tried to embarrass her on purpose. How can such an intellectual giant be so emotionally sensitive?

Living With a Perfectionist

Mother’s mental illness was somehow related to self-consciousness. She was a perfectionist, oh, how she was a perfectionist. She would express her frustration on anyone who happened to be around her, usually my dad, but sometimes me, and we would encourage her to start again on whatever project which she was currently working. It usually had something to do with her Gospel Doctrine lesson. The Bishop took a real chance in calling her to that position, but as long as I can remember she either taught Gospel Doctrine or Family History during the years she and dad were active. As I related in her life story, she didn’t last long in Utah, meaning she could not relate to farmers and ranchers who served in priesthood leadership positions. She didn’t get that. Please don’t take offense. Mother thought a priesthood leader should be trained in the ministry.

A Mother Who Loved Doctrine

OK, enough about mother. I hope you get the impression I have deep and grateful feelings for my mother. I was the youngest child who was both spoiled and ignored, if you know what I mean. I’m afraid I also inherited whatever ran in mother’s family. I too am a perfectionist, although I hope and believe I have learned to deal with it better by watching her example of how not to respond. Like my mother, I love to teach. I love to study church history. I would prefer to attend a seminar on the life of some historical character or the influence of some organization on the development of a city or community than just about anything else. I love history, especially as it relates to our church. My bookcase is filled with biographies and doctrine. If you can believe it, mother also loved doctrine. We went to Education Weeks and Know Your Religion.

Utah Culture Was a Shock to Mother

Something happened to mother when she moved to Utah. She and Dad went there to work full time on family history after they retired. It didn’t work out. They stayed less than ten years then came back to California to spend the rest of their days in a city mainly known for retirement. Once they got to Hemet, they stopped going to church. Well, actually, I think they stopped going to church before they left Utah. Let’s just say that Mother’s feelings about Utah culture were the cause of their leaving the church. There was nobody in particular that caused them to leave. They did not lose their testimonies really, especially of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. But I can tell you there was something about the way Utah folks taught church history that rankled my mother. I won’t get into it. It’s not important to the story I’m trying to tell here. She was still involved in family history research, but she no longer attended church or the temple. I had so many conversations with her trying to convince her at least go and partake of the sacrament.

Dealing with Evil Spirits – a Little More Background

OK, now it’s my turn. This is my blog, and this is another personal blog entry, not meant to be a doctrinal dissertation or religious thesis. But I’m hoping maybe it will do someone some good. I have suffered migraines for seven months now. I’m not sure if the migraines are a result of the anxiety and panic attacks that started then or the other way around. I suspect the latter. I’ll let the doctors decide. I think my body, my mind, my spirit, my intelligence or whatever you want to say directs the body, has caused my migraines and the associated pain treatment. The body is pretty smart. I think my subconscious is doing whatever it needs to do to keep me from going through the panic and anxiety attacks I went through back on that night last February that sent me to the hospital twice in the same week for being out of control mentally and emotionally. If you don’t know to what I’m referring, email me and I’ll send you the document (see below).

Getting Professional Help is OK

Believe it or not, I have five appointments with five different psychiatrists and psychologists over the next two weeks. I’ve got to get my story down so I can tell it without coming across with a psychotic or neurotic outlook on life. Actually, I don’t care. Psychotic means a loss of contact with reality while neurotic, although no longer really in use, means fearful or worried about something – tending to worry in a way that is not healthy or reasonable. Let me see if I can give an example that will help. A psychotic is someone who sees evil spirits. OK, you can put that label on me. I’ve related it in several posts. If you haven’t read the document I wrote up to describe the events that sent me to the hospital back in February, I’m happy to share it. Just email me at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com. I sincerely think I fit more into the neurotic category: I am worried or anxious I will have an encounter with an evil spirit if I do not keep myself sedated, which I have done for the last seven months with the doctor’s help – lots of kinds of prescription medicine. That’s not such a good idea. We really need to face our fears, not hide from them.

Choose a Doctor Who Can Help You

By the way, the five different appointments are to see which one I like best. That’s the beauty of the American way: we have a choice, at least for now. Of course, I could decide not to bring up the real story of why I think I’m having these migraines. One of the first things I was asked by one of the doctors was if I was looking to go on disability. I can’t believe how easy it is. Maybe it’s just California. I’m not sure how long it lasts. All I’m trying to do is figure out what’s wrong with me, get it fixed and get the joy back in my life that I once felt before this thing happened. Maybe I do need to go on disability while I figure this out with these psychiatric visits (or to the psychologist as the case may be). Do you know the difference? Psychiatrists can prescribe drugs. Anyway, one could be on disability for many months while they figure things out and get fixed.

A Few Last Words About Mother’s Mental Illness

Can we ever really be fixed from the influence of the adversary? To her dying day, members of our family would not bring up certain events around our mother for fear of “setting her off” into one of her episodes. Even through gentle probing she would deny them in later years, I am an eye-witness to her attempted suicides, which all seemed to occur just before my mission. I know it was a coincidence but 1976 was both the best year and the worst year for mother. This is the year we went to many Know Your Religion and BYU Education Week Seminars as well as the same year she tried to commit suicide by overdose and by sticking her head in an unlit oven. I’m sorry to be so graphic. I remember one passionate discussion about confession that set her off. We had just come from a KYR lecture on the subject of repentance. I could tell something was wrong. She exploded when we got home exclaiming we should never tell a priesthood leader about something we had done involving the law of chastity, obviously a sensitive subject for her. I tried to discuss with her what we had just learned in KYR but it was not a good experience. I think that’s the occasion she said “the priesthood is just the men’s club of the church.” She was obviously distressed at the time.

Long Discussions With a Struggling Mother

As the youngest, I had a great desire to please my mother and make her proud of me. I did my best to serve a good mission, especially since my parents paid my expense. Central America was probably the least expensive mission in the world. We lived on less than $200 a month, but I knew my dad came off disability and got a job again just so he could support me on my mission. I was grateful they allowed me to continue to live at home while at school after my mission but by this time my mother’s episodes became so dramatic I had to move out. I saw and heard things my brother and sisters never heard since they were all married or in my brother’s case, in the military. Mother had a love / hate affair with the church that seemed to set her off into these difficult and very deep gospel discussions way over my father’s head. I hope that doesn’t sound disrespectful, but things that bothered my mother were simply not an issue for my easy-going father. So it was usually she and I that hashed things out, sometimes until early morning hours.

Mother Was Inactive when she Died – So What?

Not having grown up with a father or brothers, mother was still trying to come to grips with the idea of priesthood hierarchy. She was an intelligent, competent school teacher with a Master’s degree who had a real problem with men telling her how to teach a Sunday school class. I have her childhood journal in which she discusses helping her own mother teach Sunday school all during her teenage years. Trust me, mother knew how to teach, how to control a class and how to keep the class interested. They would ask her to teach the in-service lessons we later called the teacher improvement classes. To her dying day, I think what kept mother away was anger or disappointment at the men of this church who tried to tell her how to do a job for which she was eminently qualified. Humility -if only mother had learned humility. She always said that was her downfall in this life.

Part Two deals with the influence of the drug culture of the 60’s and 70’s (This will be a link when it is posted)

The Last Post


HollandAtThePulpitWarning: This may not be Uplifting

I’m in another computer class this week. This makes week number sixteen this year. For those mathematically challenged, this will be 640 hours by the end of the week. I’ve got three more weeks to go – another 120 hours for a total of 760 hours. I got to thinking about when my migraines started. They started in February – about when I started all this computer training.

High Tech is for Young Folks

Maybe it’s because I’m a 56 year-old man and this stuff is fast-paced high-tech. I’m not saying I can’t keep up. I find it harder to focus so I can remember what is being taught. It was different when I was younger. There’s more stuff in there that needs to be shifted around and categorized to make room for new technology. I hope this is the last time I have to recertify my tech skills.

Keeping the Bad Guys Out

I think this is going to be one of the most enjoyable classes. It’s called “Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures.” In other words, I learn the same stuff in this class the hackers employ who want to break into my work systems. I’ve often asked myself why someone would care to break into our network. We manage several billion dollars’ worth of private jet aircraft, but so what?

Few Can Afford a Private 737

The aircraft mean nothing to me. They’re just things. I wouldn’t want one. They cost millions of dollars to house, staff and maintain each month. I would probably be worried about how I would pay for them but then I guess if you can afford a private Boeing 737, you can afford to pay for the monthly maintenance. Besides, a single charter flight can bring in half a million dollars.

A lifetime in the Business World

I hate business, always have. I thought I would be a college professor, a scientist or astronomer actually. But someone told me I could make more money to provide for my family if I learned computers so I did. I’m not sorry about my decision. I enjoy my work, especially weeks like this, but I have always wondered what it would have been like to teach or to be a research physicist.

Escape into Writing Science Fiction

That’s why you’ll find one of the main characters of my book teaches at CU. Funny thing is, he’s not happy with his job either. He wants to work for the government, because that’s where the big bucks are. He hates having to work so hard to get his programs funded and get new grant money each year. He feels stuck in his job, always looking for a newer telescope to manage somewhere.

Teaching Gospel Doctrine Class

I think I’ve written in the past I always ask the Lord what he would like me to write about in my blog posts. A couple of things come to mind. One is the wonderful experience I had substitute teaching our gospel doctrine class two weeks ago. I’ve been teaching church history since I was seventeen. This had to have been the most emotional retelling of the crossing of the plains ever.

Ephraim’s Rescue

I could barely finish the story of the rescue of the Willie and Martin handcart companies. I think it meant more to me because I had seen TC Christensen’s wonderful movie “Ephraim’s Rescue” just a few months ago. I related the story of how Ephraim Hanks ceremoniously washed his hands before each healing and how his gift grew upon him over the years. It was a sacred story.

Thinking of Denver Snuffer

But I had to think about Denver Snuffer as I taught. I know you’re going to ask why so I’ll tell you. I had the lesson divided into three – The rescue of the handcart pioneers, the crossing of the Sweetwater with the three young men who ultimately gave their lives to accomplish the task, and then part three was supposed to be spent in the scriptures, as we discuss being rescued by Christ.

We Tell Good Stories

I’ll offer the excuse of having been a high counselor for so many years in a previous stake. I love to tell stories. High Counselors, the good ones anyway, are able to take their assigned subject then shorten or lengthen the telling of their prepared material until it fits the time exactly so the Sacrament meeting ends at five minutes past the hour. I learned to do that with great expertise.

Scriptures Didn’t Get Read

Unfortunately, in the telling of the stories of the saving of the handcart companies and the story of the crossing of the Sweetwater by the three boys, I used up all my time. I never got to part three. While I received many complements of how deeply touched the members of the class were, what did I do wrong? I did not teach them from the scriptures. Not a scripture was read.

A Savior Who Rescues

It was not intentional I assure you. The spirit was felt. Even Carol said so and she does not hand out compliments easily. But the doctrine of a Savior who rescues us was not discussed. We did not as a class open the scriptures, read silently or out loud, separately or together, the scriptures that pointed out the whole purpose of why we meet in Sunday School: to learn of the Savior.

The Migraines Continue

I have thought a lot about the need to be rescued over the last seven months. I am a problem solver by nature and by training. By apparently my problem is not one that is going to be solved, or at least I haven’t discovered the solution yet. Migraines run in my family. I remember many days coming home from school finding mother lying in the dark with a damp cloth over her eyes.

Lots of Reading and Thinking

They always seemed to come to her after grading a lot of student papers. That involved reading and thinking, exactly what I am doing in my recertification classes. I’ve read that migraines can also be hereditary. Hmmm…Mother was marginal bi-polar. So am I. I am so grateful for Elder Holland’s General Conference address last Saturday. It was exactly what I needed to hear now.

Improve Skills With The Scriptures

So what does this have to do with Denver Snuffer? It made me think of something he said or wrote: that we have become a church of storytellers, and darn good ones too, but not nearly as good at opening, finding, studying and telling the story of salvation and revelation from the Lord’s scriptures. I speak this to my self and nobody else. I lack in scripture teaching skills.

Finding Answers in the Scriptures

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I know the scripture stories. I can tell them with the best teachers who have spent a lifetime in this church using such stories to illustrate points as found in approved curriculum, but what about just opening the scriptures and teaching when prompted by the Holy Ghost? Perhaps such opportunities don’t come very often in your life. Are you ready for them?

Remember, Doctrine Doesn’t Sell

It still bothers me that Denver Snuffer was excommunicated last month. It still bothers me that friends who I dearly love, who have written books devoted specifically to doctrine have seen the sales of their books drop from the high plateaus of the seventies and eighties to the low levels of almost nothing today. “Doctrine doesn’t sell,” they are told by Deseret Book sales executives.

This Blog is Six Years Old

It’s been six years this week since I started this blog. I’ve grown a lot and made a lot of friends, but I’ve discovered two things that bother me tremendously and have caused me to think deeply about both the need and the wisdom of continuing a blog like this. First, anyone who has read the blog from the beginning knows how much it has changed. I do not believe things as I did then.

I Thought All Mormons Were Conservative

Back when I was started I was naïve and immature. I believed everyone felt as I did. I thought most Mormons were conservative, believed the stories of the restoration literally and felt as deeply as I did about preparing for the second coming. I felt the return of the Lord was just around the corner. I thought God was preparing a people to meet him. I believed in a real Zion.

Close Encounter With Evil Spirits

I still do, just not in my lifetime. Some of you know back in February I had a close encounter with the devil or at least with a couple of his evil spirits. It has permanently changed my life. I am no longer the same person. I am much more emotional. I am much more sensitive. I am now hiding behind drugs. The prescriptions for anxiety and pain keep the devil away, but just barely.

Hiding Behind The Doctor’s Pills

The other day I tried an experiment to see if maybe I had convinced myself of something that wasn’t true. I stopped taking all the pain and anxiety drugs – just for one day mind you. I thought I could handle it. I was fine during the day. The head burned a little, the pain was there as it had always been, but it was manageable, at least until 1:00 o’clock in the morning. Then I knew.

The Evil Spirits Returned

I knew I would never be free from what whatever had happened last February. The evil spirits were back. They woke me up and let me know they were still there. Their presence I felt back in February may or may not have had anything to do with the drugs and alcohol my son was using. It scared the crap out of me. I took my pills, waiting for them to take effect, went back to sleep.

No Idea of the Cause

Carol kept asking me, when this pain started, asking if it had started when I began reading Denver Snuffer. No, it started in February, and as far as I can tell, is related to anything other than a more intense effort to or realization that the new material I was studying for work was a lot harder than it was the first time or the second time I went through this certification process.

Mental Illness Can Be Hereditary

I was warned in my patriarchal blessing the adversary wanted to destroy me and my work. I always wondered what that work was. I still do. But I’m not sure how much longer I’ll need to worry about it. The pain and anxiety have been getting steadily worse. I’m going to have to face the reality I have developed the same mental illness that afflicted my mother in her later years.

Time to see the Head Shrink

That’s the curse of borderline genius, they say: sometimes you can produce amazing things with wonderful God-given gifts. I feel this when I prepare and teach a gospel lesson that helps people feel the sprit. Other times, you see or hear evil spirits. What is a person to do? I guess I have done everything except what the last doctors suggested – see a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Owned by the Boss 24x7x365

I am tired of driving on the Los Angeles freeways two hours every day for a job that I both love and hate. I love it because it is so damn easy that I can do it in my sleep. I hate it because the boss owns me and made it clear in a recent conversation I am to be at his beck and call whenever he needs me 24x7x365. He also called me a grumpy old man. That hurt even if it was true.

This Blog May Suddenly Go Away

So I think I’ve said the two things I wanted to say: 1) This blog may suddenly disappear one day. What does it matter in the eternal scheme of things? Am I a better man because of this blog? Does it server any useful purpose? Have I ever or am I now helping anyone? The numbers say I get a few hundred readers a day but I think they’re just looking for news of Denver Snuffer.

Even the Very Elect Shall Be Deceived

That’s the other thing I wanted to say. 2) We are told in the last days that even the very elect shall be deceived by false Christs. Funny, I never considered Denver Snuffer to be a false Christ. What do I do with the witness, even the burning testimony I was given when I read his last book, Passing the Heavenly Gift, that it was true, especially now that he has been excommunicated?

Looking for a New Job

I’m going to look for a new job. I’ve made up my mind that it’s not worth the many hours I spend on the LA freeways to be told by a wealthy man I once respected that he owns me. Why should that matter? We’re all owned by our employer’s, especially in California where we are employed at will, meaning the owner does not have to give a reason to fire us. He simply can.

Money Can’t Buy You Happiness

I am willing to take something, anything that is closer to home, even if it’s thousands of dollars a month less. What is money anyway? Yes, that means I’ll have to move. I can’t afford to live in this beautiful city, but from everything the scriptures tell us, there will be no more beautiful cities left in a few years. I’ve been taught all my life the last days will be unbearable with suffering.

Not Your Typical Mormon Family

But the most important thing in the world to me, my relationship to Christ, has suddenly become front and center. I am not your typical Mormon. I am not a young Mormon man with a beautiful young Mormon wife and a large beautiful, happy Mormon family. Perhaps I grew up with that but that has not been the experience of my adult life. It’s just been me and Carol and Mike.

My Son Has Moved On

Mike is gone now. He is happy, or so we think, based on the things he writes on Facebook. He always was smarter than his dad and has a better job than his dad where he does things that are much more technically challenging that what I’ll ever do. I love Mike. I’m proud of him. I hope he finds a good woman to love and to make his life complete. He lives by the seaside up in Goleta.

Not Very Uplifting Writing

I don’t think I’ve ever written like this before. You can tell it took a somewhat ominous tone about halfway through. Sorry. I don’t mean to be a downer. I am simply disappointed and did not find what I was hoping for from General Conference, as wonderful as it was. There is something missing from my life, and that something is a sacred, close personal relationship with the Savior.

The Church Says I’m Deceived

And the one man who taught we could and should pursue such a relationship has been cast out by the church I love. I was never as excited as I was when I read PtHG. Then I had never been as disappointed and saddened as I was when I learned he had been excommunicated. Now I am the point in my life where I am tired of putting up with disappointment. It’s time to make changes.

ONLY Prophets Know the future

I won’t change my church. Where would I go? But I am disappointed in what they did to Denver. I have to ask if I’m crazy – one of the deceived ones we were warned about all though our youth to be wary of. “Don’t be like them. You’re special. You’re elite. You’re the chosen ones. Don’t let anyone lead you astray. Follow the prophets. They’re the ONLY ones who know the way.”

Farewell and God Bless you My Readers

God bless. I bid you adieu. Who said that in the Book of Mormon? Was it Nephi or Moroni? Oh, neither. It was Jacob. Ah, yes, wanderings in a strange land. That’s us. Cast out. How in the world can a man go without the sacrament or the temple? I guess your own home becomes your temple. You become your own bishop, therefore authorizing the sacrament yourself. Interesting.

Update: about 4pm on Wed 10-9-13: As noted at the beginning of the post, I have been intensely involved in a computer class that starts at 6am and runs until 2pm each day. When I say intense, I mean intense. This is a class on how to defend against evil people who want to steal, deny your rights as a paying customer or worse, to simply destroy or bankrupt you by wiping out your data.

Your wonderful comments

I have noted your 33 comments to this essay, and especially the now 441 comments to my previous essay.  I am deeply moved by your expressions of sympathy and compassion, especially from some who I don’t even know, in addition to the dozens of private emails inquiring after my health. I can tell you the second half of the essay above is not normal for me and ask you to excuse me.

The Influence of Drugs

It was written under the influence of hydrocodone, tramadol and clonazepam (now my spam filter is going to have to work overtime). I am so sorry if it a) made no sense, b) was not uplifting, which is always my goal and especially for c) stating that this blog may go away. As I just reread it in a more sound mind, it made me think I was going to go off myself or something. How horrible. I’m so sorry.

Can’t Run Away From Problems

I will include these last four paragraphs in comments below, then read and respond to your comments and state unequivocally I am not discontinuing this blog. There are two things I need to work out – 1) How I am going to deal with my ongoing health issue in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord and 2) How I am going to deal with my testimony issue regarding Denver Snuffer in a like manner.

Excommunicated for Priestcraft


MelvinGwenaFishIn the Mormon Church, excommunication is devastating. It is a real and constant threat for those who write publically about the church. In the five years I have been blogging about LDS themes, I confess I have written a few controversial essays. But I have never felt something I wrote could get me into trouble. This essay is different. You may find it to be critical of church leadership.

For the most part, serving in leadership positions in the LDS church is a volunteer assignment. The official phrase is “to receive a calling” but in effect, you are asked to accept a responsibility, often at considerable sacrifice of time and effort. In the local congregations, we have no paid ministry. Instead, the men are asked to lead the meetings and counsel local members as needed.

Being an old guy in the church, I have had my share of leadership assignments, but always in a support position. I would not want to be a Bishop or Stake President because of the difficulty of the task. My role has always been as a counselor or clerk to a Bishop or Stake President. Years ago I served on a Stake High Council, the group of men assigned to assist the Stake President.

Disciplinary Councils

One of the duties of priesthood leadership is to participate in disciplinary councils, something I never enjoyed. I am an imperfect man and am hesitant to pass judgment or even offer an opinion on the worthiness of another individual in the church. Gratefully, that responsibility falls on the shoulders of the Bishop or Stake President and never a bishopric counselor or High Counselor.

In the eighteen years I have served in leadership positions, I suppose I have probably participated in a few dozen disciplinary councils. That’s where a group of men get together to determine if another member should be allowed to remain in fellowship with the rest of the Latter-day Saints. When serving as a clerk, I have also written the follow-up reports that we send to Salt Lake.

In the years prior to the time I started serving in priesthood leadership, a disciplinary council was referred to as a church court. I never liked that phrase. To me, a court focuses on proving guilt, something I personally find distasteful. The purpose of a disciplinary council should be to help an individual struggling with personal moral failings find strength to turn their life around.

The Ideal Standard

I feel blessed to have served with men who loved the Lord and wanted to do his will. The Stake President with whom I served as a High Counselor is now a Mission President. He was and is a kind man, who always exhibited great care and concern for the welfare of the individuals who were called into judgment under his tenure. Let me share just one example of his kindness.

I recall an elderly gentleman who had been excommunicated for teaching false doctrine. It was evident the man had some mental and emotional problems. But he wanted to come back into the church. For those who don’t know, a disciplinary council must again be convened to reconsider the original evidence and to determine if change is evident and sufficient to be baptized again.

This stake president went out of his way to ensure this elderly man and his family members were comfortable with the procedure. He had his executive secretary sit with the family members the whole time the disciplinary council was being held. He sent his clerk out to the waiting area to keep the man and his family informed while we deliberated his case in the High Council room.

Justice and Mercy

Again, for those who may not be aware, in a Stake disciplinary council, half the High Counselors are assigned to look out for the interests of the person whose case is being heard. The interests of the church are the primary concern of the other six High Counselors. I have sat on both sides of that High Council room. In my experience it seems to be a fair and equitable system of justice.

In every disciplinary council in which I have participated, both as a bishopric member and as a High Councilor, without fail, mercy and love have been the prevailing concern. I said I dislike disciplinary councils. At the same time, I can tell you that it is in these councils that I have felt a strong closeness to the Lord as I have witnessed an outpouring of his love for these individuals.

Tears have almost always been shed by most of the grown men in the room as, in the end, we either brought the individual back into the church or pronounced that he or she would no longer be considered a member of our church. Tears of joy or tears of sorrow were accompanied by an overwhelming witness from the spirit to each of us that the will of the Lord had been done.

Zoob’s Law

I want to tell you about a friend who was excommunicated for priestcraft but before I do I need to tell you a little bit about what he does and why it is troubling for some people in the church. I also need to refer to Zoob’s law, which reads: “Generally people tend to oppose that which they don’t understand, the degree of their opposition being directly proportionate to their ignorance.”

In other words, when learning about something new and different, the non-informed attempt to hide their ignorance by a degree of aggressive descent roughly equal to the amount they do not understand. The greater their ignorance, the greater the opposition. If you think about it, you will recognize the truth of this axiom and circumstances in which you may have witnessed it fulfilled.

If you have not had personal experience with something and witnessed the good that it produces, you may feel uncomfortable with the idea or practice until you have had time to study it out for yourself to make your own determination if it is worthwhile. Imagine how you would feel if you are asked to pass judgment on a subject you don’t understand and only heard about hours before.

Opposition in All Things

In contrast, there are those who do understand something, at least to a small degree, and have decided it is not something of value because it exposes personal weaknesses or causes them to feel condemned by the light contained in the thing being considered. For example, if you are a controlling individual, wouldn’t you object to anything that gives freedom to those you control?

Even though it is expressly forbidden in our church, sadly, there are those who exercise control or compulsion upon others, usually their own family members, all in the name of priesthood authority and their right as the head of a household. This control may manifest itself in emotional abuse of their family members, and even more sadly, sexual and even satanic ritualistic abuse.

For those who are not aware, the problem of sexual abuse is well known and documented among church members living along the Wasatch front. In a 1990 document written by Glenn L Pace, then a member of the Presiding Bishopric to the Strengthening Church Members Committee, he detailed sixty alleged incidents of ritualized child abuse among Utah and Idaho Latter-day Saints.

Trauma in Southern Utah

I don’t want to focus on that negative element of the story but you need to be aware it does exist. The victims of that abuse experience deep psychological pain and trauma. It drives some to acts of self-loathing and even suicide. Because some of these individuals are strong, they seek help and healing from counselors and therapists in an effort to find peace and get on with their lives.

This is where my friend comes into the story. Melvin Fish has a Ph.D. in Counseling. He lives in Southern Utah, where, for some reason, there are a large number of individuals suffering from the trauma of sexual or emotional abuse. I know this because I have been studying the subject for about twenty years. Other counselors in Southern Utah have corroborated this fact, at least for me.

Now, to be fair, people come to these counselors from all over the Western United States, in fact, from all over the world. But our story takes place in Cedar City, where the men who sat on the High Council decided to excommunicate Mel Fish for priestcraft. I defined this unusual term in a previous essay but need to expound on the subject to make it clear in the minds of my readers.

Priestcraft in the LDS Church

The scriptural definition of priestcraft is that men set themselves up as a light instead of pointing others to Christ. The definition of priestcraft that seems to be used in the LDS Church today is that men charge money to help people find healing through Christ. As long as a man does his counseling the way the world recognizes and approves, the Church seems to have no problem.

As long as you practice techniques approved by the APA (American Psychological Association) or the AMCAP (Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists) then you are more than welcome to charge professional fees for your services. In fact, the church will support your business by sending you people from local congregations and then paying your regular fees.

In case you didn’t know, there is no place in the APA or AMCAP for the belief that problems of a psychological or emotional nature can be caused by the influence of evil or unclean spirits. In fact, there seems to be little belief remaining in the LDS Church in general that such beings exist. Even if you profess to believe that evil spirits cause problems, you can’t use that in your work.

Spiritual Counseling

On the other hand, let’s say you obtain a PhD in counseling with the intent of helping people resolve emotional issues that trouble them. You set up a practice and begin to see clients but are troubled by the fact that they have to keep coming back over and over to get help. Talking about their issues only seems to make them worse. You conclude that psychotherapy is ineffective.

So you search for other, more effective means to help people and are led to ideas and techniques that produce positive results in record time. Not surprisingly, these techniques center in ideas found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness of others is central to this technique. The belief that problems can be attributed to the influence of evil and unclean spirits is also essential.

Encouraged, you start practicing a technique of discovering and teaching unclean spirits to go to the light of Christ. The people who come to see you are healed in record time. They go away from their counseling sessions filled with joy and relief, happy to be free of the burdens they have cast upon the Lord. You publish books and teach others how to do what you have done.

Discovering Hidden Stress

Well, that’s what Mel Fish has done. And for this he has been excommunicated. This happened in 2009 about the time I first learned about his work. I purchased his books in 2010, studied them and discovered they contained teachings that brought me closer to Christ, especially as I applied the principle of forgiveness of others and myself. His visualization techniques are powerful.

The problem with what Mel Fish did is that he was too effective. He helped people who were bound by the adversary and in the process upset a few people who lost the control over their family members they once had. They could no longer be manipulated or coerced into doing what the controlling individual wanted. These individuals found fault with Mel and his techniques.

Now unless you’ve been exposed to kinesiology or muscle testing, you may think this method of discovering and identifying hidden stress or darkness is, well, simply put, weird. I have written a blog specifically dedicated to the process of how I first learned about muscle testing and saw firsthand how it helped my family. I appreciate that the weirdness factor takes some adjustment.

Strengthening Church Members

I mentioned this committee previously. When someone finds fault with what another member of the church has written or is doing, they tend to call Salt Lake to complain. Of course the Church asks that such complaints be resolved through local church leaders. But even those leaders will sometimes call Salt Lake because they don’t know how to handle the complaints they receive.

If enough of these complaints are received, it comes to the attention of a loose committee of individuals identified as the Strengthening Church Members Committee. When Elder Oaks was asked about this committee he characterized it as a clipping service. It is much more than that. This committee keeps track of anything that is published about the church by church members.

That includes blogs, which is why I mentioned that this essay about a controversial subject – the excommunication of a prominent published member – is something that could come back to bite me. I don’t want my stake president to get a call or letter from this committee asking him if he is aware of my blogging activities. Ordinarily I do all I can to hold the church up in a positive light.

Telling Mel’s Story

In this case, I would like to share with you what I consider to be failing in our church, brought about because of the efforts of the Strengthening the Church Members Committee and the local priesthood leadership of the Cedar City Utah North Stake. Ultimately the fault can be attributed to the adversary as he works to keep people ignorant of the true power of Christ’s atonement.

When I met with Mel last week, my intent was to write a better book review. I wanted to focus on his work and his books. I was only incidentally interested in telling the story of how he was excommunicated. As we met and discussed things, it became obvious that bringing his story to the attention of a wider audience was more important and what the Lord wanted me to do.

What happened to Mel Fish should not happen to anyone in our church, but especially to a man who has spent a lifetime serving the Lord and helping God’s children heal from pain and sorrow. I can tell you from personal experience that Mel and Gwena Fish are loved of God. I know this because I asked God in prayer with my wife and received a revelation of God’s love for them.

The First Disciplinary Council

Mel first published Healing the Inner Self in 1999 at age 66 after counseling and helping many hundreds of grateful people over the previous decade. He received his PhD in Counseling in 1995. Anybody who has done the work for a PhD dissertation knows how difficult it is to meet the strenuous academic requirements. Mel’s work involved many years of clinical experience.

In 2007 Mel’s Stake President was asked by the Strengthening the Church Members Committee to hold a disciplinary council. The council was held and no action was taken. In preparation for the disciplinary council, the Stake President received expert witness and testimony from Dillon K Inouye, a beloved professor in the BYU Psychology Department before his death in 2008.

I have a copy of that expert testimony and can understand why Mel’s Stake President took no action on that occasion. The document is convincing in demonstrating that Mel Fish’s work is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, it shows that Mel’s techniques are superior over three other well accepted techniques of producing psychological behavior modification.

The Second Disciplinary Council

A copy of that expert testimony was sent to Elder Holland, Elder Bateman and Elder McMullin. Mel’s Stake President was released in 2008. New priesthood leadership was put into place. In 2009, a second disciplinary council was held in which the testimony of the first Stake President was presented, along with a personal endorsement from Elder F. Enzio Busche, all to no avail.

Mel was not allowed to speak in his own defense. He was not allowed to explain his work or how he helped people discover and then relieve their burdens by giving them to Christ. As far as Mel knows, there was nobody assigned to see that his interests were met. At age 76, he was also required to stand for seven hours while the charges were considered and his case deliberated.

At that point in the story I knew something was terribly wrong. It seemed obvious that the church had received one too many complaints about Mel’s work and had made it clear that he was to be excommunicated, no matter what. The disciplinary council was not concerned about Mel. They were only concerned about meeting the technical requirements to justify the action taken.

Final observations

Of course I wasn’t there so I’m only telling one side of the story that I heard from Mel. As I wrote previously, the church does not comment on disciplinary actions. If you are familiar with the September Six, you know what a chilling effect the Church’s crackdown on intellectual criticism caused at that time. It seems now the Church has done the same thing among healers.

If you were at the disciplinary council I would like to hear from you (Strike that. It’s not an appropriate request to ask someone to break confidences). I doubt anyone will respond but as one who is familiar with the process from personal experience, I want to know if there was a spirit of love and concern expressed for the welfare of Mel’s soul. What efforts were made to help Mel understand what he had done that the Church found so offensive about healing lives?

I still intend to write that review of Mel’s book within the next few weeks. I received training in the techniques Mel uses so I know they are real and produce valid results. I have never seen a conflict between what Mel teaches and practices and what we find in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I welcome your comments. Mel gave permission to share the BYU document endorsing his work.

Update 3-28-13: I reviewed Mel’s book in this post.

Conquering Spiritual Evil


Apparently I’m the first to review this book. I don’t know why that is. Perhaps it’s because the book is not widely distributed. As far as I can tell, it is only available from Confetti Books in Spanish Fork. It was published in 2011. There is already a second edition, which I’m reviewing. The author is Doug Mendenhall, who published several previous books that you may recognize.

Doug is the father of Denise Mendenhall, who suffered a diabetic stroke and coma at age ten that destroyed the left side of her brain. When she recovered she no longer had a veil, meaning that she could see the spirit world and the spirit beings around us. Denise is not the only one who has such spirit vision but of all the accounts I have read, her gift seems to be the most pronounced.

The Mendenhall family has published My Peace I Give Unto You (2001) with Robert Lake, Possibilities – Lessons From the Spirit (2002), and In His Arms – Experiences With the Other Side (2006), authored by Denise. Doug said his latest book took several years to write but is based on his spiritual experiences with his daughter and others from the previous dozen years.

A Few Warnings

If you’re going to read these books you’re going to need to deal with a lower quality binding that may be disappointing to book collectors. Each of the four books has come apart as I have read them. I’ve had to tape them back up, something I rarely have to do with other self-published or small-press published books. I don’t think I’m hard on books and it really is quite annoying.

The other negative I want to get out of the way right up front is the number of typos that you will find in these books. Doug warns us in advance and for anyone who has self-published, you know how difficult if not impossible it is to find every typo. No matter how many times you review it or how many people put eyes on it before it goes to press, most self-edited books have typos.

The only other warning I want to offer if you choose to read this book is that you need to be aware of the intensity of some of the experiences, especially the chapters on possession. If you are not used to reading about such stuff you may want to prepare yourself by reading some other, shall we say lighter introductory material about the spirit world. I can recommend a list of books.

An Unusual Claim

Doug tells it like it is. I can’t see that he would have any reason to make these things up. He has put his reputation on the line when he says in the preface that the Lord requested him to write this book. If you’re a member of the LDS faith, you know what kind of claim that is. Not many people make that claim and those who do are usually looked upon as crackpots or “out there.”

I have made the claim that my writings have been inspired over the years but have never felt I could say that the Lord asked me to write something. Perhaps I don’t know Him that well. The only other person I know who has made the claim that the Lord asked him to write a book is Denver Snuffer, whose works I have read and reviewed previously on Latter-day Commentary.

Why would the Lord ask Doug to write this book? And if he did, why hasn’t it received more attention in the online LDS world? I have searched online many times since I first heard about the book and subsequently read it. I can find less than a half dozen references to the work in the blogs of other LDS writers. There seems to be no marketing effort being made for this volume.

First Impressions

I was fascinated with the content from the moment I received the book. I confess I jumped right to the chapter on complete possession. I could not put the book down for hours. I read there the account of Rick Bos, an LDS missionary serving in South America in 1969-1971 who dealt with individuals from the Candomblé spiritualist cult. They invite spirit possession through trances.

I had heard similar stories from my mission back in 1976, especially about the Garifuna people of Belize with their African voodoo religious roots. They practiced Gubida spirit possession. Although Belize was a part of our mission, we were not allowed to proselyte there as this was prior to the 1978 revelation on priesthood. I met people from Belize while in San Pedro Sula.

I’m sure a lot of members of the church have heard anecdotal stories of spirit possession from missionaries who encountered it while serving in places where it is common. In some ways we are used to the idea of spirit possession because it is part of our LDS heritage. Who hasn’t read the story of Heber C Kimball’s encounter with evil spirits while opening the work in England?

Overcoming Fear

As I have written previously, I think the biggest problem we have with this subject is naiveté and fear. We either know nothing about dealing with evil entities or we don’t want to because the idea makes us uncomfortable. Doug jumps right in and addresses this subject in the first chapter. The enemy in studying about evil is fear. It is by gaining knowledge that we overcome the fear.

Faith and fear cannot co-exist in the same person at the same time. If you’re considering this book to obtain help in overcoming evil in your own life or to understand how evil has afflicted someone you love, you will want to approach your study with prayer and faith. If the Lord has led you to this book, then ask him for help in dealing with any fears you may have about it.

The adversary has done an excellent job of keeping us from understanding how he works by causing fear to come upon us when we think about or talk about his influence. That is not the way we should tackle our task of mastering the devil and his angels. I believe this is something we should study but if we’re going about it with fear in our hearts then we are going to fail.

Reality of Spirit World

Doug next deals with the reality factor. So many people reject the idea of negative entities that it makes you wonder if they accept the notion of a spirit world at all. I can’t think of any belief more basic to our religion than the fact that we are eternal spirit beings temporarily housed in a mortal physical body for a season. To reject this belief is to reject all hope for life after death.

Among some sophisticated, intelligent, educated people, it is considered “not cool” to believe in things of a spiritual nature, especially spiritual beings. Their religious faith does not seem to have room for influences from beyond this physical world, either divine or profane. Sadly, this kind of thinking has carried over to some members of our faith, who seem embarrassed by such beliefs.

If you reject a belief in angels or devils then you won’t get much good from this book. If you do not accept the LDS doctrine that the spirit world is here among us and well-populated by beings unseen to mortal eyes, you will be equally challenged by the concepts presented in this volume. Doug’s work is precisely about identifying and dealing with those unseen and malicious entities.

Four Categories of Dark Entities

In the first edition Doug identified three classes of evil beings, but added the appendix in the second edition describing the fourth. They are of two main types: Those who have never been or ever will be mortal and those who have passed through mortality. Of the first type there are 1) devils and 2) demons. Of the second type there are 3) earth-bound spirits and 4) spirits in hell.

I think in our theology we have the easiest time understanding the idea of devils. We believe that a “third part” of the hosts of heaven were cast out for rejecting Jesus Christ as the Savior. Notice I didn’t say one third. I have done a careful study of the scriptures about this theme and have decided we have assigned a numerical value to something that was only intended to be a class.

We also should not have any problem with understanding the concept of spirits in hell. If there is anything that is universal in most Christian religions – and many others as well – it is the idea of a hell that is populated by those who have done evil while in this life. Yes, Mormon theology includes a hell, although for us it is a temporary abode for those who will someday be redeemed.

Power to Repent

Earth-bound spirits and spirits in hell are still in a probationary state, meaning they can choose to believe in Christ, exercise faith, repent and call upon Him for deliverance. My experience with earth-bound spirits has led me to believe they do not know their influence is detrimental to our spiritual health. These are mainly addicted spirits wanting to use our bodies if we let them.

Those in hell are being tortured for their rebellion and disobedience. They are held in chains, reserved for the Day of Judgment. They do not interact with us here on earth unless they choose to join with Satan in the rebellion against Christ, in which case they become fallen angels and make war against the Saints. Their ability to repent has been diminished by their poor choices.

Devils and demons, on the other hand, are evil spirits or entities that cannot and will not repent. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking we can send them to the light when they bother us. They cannot and will not go to the light. It bothers them. It hurts them. They avoid light. Devils and demons cannot repent. They are evil and have made their choice evident by torturing Christ.

A Personal Application

I bought this book to come to a better understanding of how the enemy of my soul was keeping me bound in a certain area no matter what I did to escape him. I found the answer I was seeking in a discussion about how we actually invite evil or unclean spirits into our bodies by the choices we make and the actions we take. This may sound like basic stuff but bear with me a moment.

Do you remember the scripture (Luke 11:24-26) about the unclean spirit who, when cast out, went and got seven more wicked spirits and came back to the man? What I learned from Doug, through several personal experiences he shared, is that those evil spirits only came to the man when they were invited back. They can’t attach themselves without some action on our part.

Such spirits will not leave until, along with our fasting, we petition the Lord in prayer to come and take them away. We cannot do it alone. Our faith and our priesthood authority is not enough with these kinds of entities – be they evil spirits (never mortal) or unclean spirits (earth-bound). It takes a God who has already battled them and won to remove them according to our faith.

Additional Content

There is so much more I could include about Doug’s book but I wouldn’t want to take away your joy in discovering the truths contained therein for yourself. Doug opens up a whole new vista for some who have never considered that there are spiritually gifted people among us who can see, feel or otherwise perceive things happening in the spirit world around us, both good and evil.

In his book you will read many stories of those spiritual encounters. You will learn how we can and should protect ourselves and our families through shields of faith and weapons of light. If you have read his previous books or Denise’s book, you will continue to be amazed at the simple acceptance of things that seem so foreign to those of us who do not have such spiritual sight.

You may especially be interested in the insights found in the chapter on how little children can be and are influenced by evil spirits. Those struggling with same-sex attraction will find answers that reaffirm the reality of the cause of their addiction. I’ve addressed it elsewhere on this blog but found it clearly and succinctly addressed in Doug’s book in a very matter-of-fact manner.

Summary and Conclusion

This is obviously not an unbiased review. I bought this book looking for something specific and found it. I was not displeased. Doug’s writing style is straightforward. He does not pull any punches. He is not looking to entertain but to inform. The subject is fascinating to me and I am grateful that he took the time to provide so much detail about this so very important subject.

I am confident I will be sharing additional insights I gained from this book and from Denise’s book in future blog posts. I recently purchased a CD recording of Denise speaking at Confetti Books earlier this year on the last days, another of my favorite study topics. I was fascinated by what she had to say and continue to ponder some of the ideas and visions she shared with us.

I highly recommend this book to those who are interested in spiritual healing or in overcoming long-standing addictions and temptations. If you have been wondering why some things would never go away no matter what you did, then this book is for you. If you will take the time to study it and apply the principles contained therein you will be blessed for your time and effort.

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