Posts Tagged ‘Spirit world’
I have mentioned this book in several of my posts over the past year or two but only recently did I give it a thorough reading. It’s an old book so this is certainly not the first review. Oh, and by the way, this is not about the episode of the same name from Doctor Who, the British Science-Fiction television series. I think the title of the book was a good choice. It gets your attention.
It was published in 1987 and is Dr. Fiore’s second book. I reviewed her first, You Have Been Here Before in a previous post. Most Amazon and Goodreads reviewers gave it four or five stars. If you are not familiar with the work of Dr. Fiore, this YouTube video is a good introduction. It brings home the point that many LDS find objectionable right up front – where dead people go.
Some Spirits Hang Around
We have been taught in the LDS Church that there are two places for the spirit to go when it dies – either to the light of paradise or to the darkness of spirit prison. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Fiore has helped thousands of people deal with spirit attachments or possessions. You can learn more in this additional video excerpt from Dr. Fiore discussing how spirits can hang around.
My point is that there are some spirits who do not go to the light or to spirit prison when they die. Yes, we’re talking about ghosts here. Yes, I’m saying that I believe in ghosts. And yes, I have some personal experience in this area. I have shared that experience previously in private email for those who ask. I don’t mind if you don’t believe. I’m OK with that. I barely believe it myself.
Multiple Mortal Probations
In my review of Dr. Fiore’s first book which deals with Multiple Mortal Probations, I mentioned an alternative explanation for the evidence of reincarnation she presented. Of course the evidence was in transcribed recorded sessions of her patients under hypnosis. They were able to describe specific activities, sights, sounds and smells from someone living in a different place and time.
In other words, her patients related that they had lived before and provided incredible detailed descriptions of what happened to them in that previous life, which affected them in their current life. My alternative explanation is that the past lives being described were not from the patients but from spirits who had attached themselves to these patients. Her second book bears this out.
Man is More than a Body
The whole idea of spirit attachments or possession is freaky to most people. They simply don’t want to deal with it. Because this concept explains so much, it receives a lot of opposition. Our culture mocks those who believe in ghosts. That’s OK. It’s wonderful to find someone like Dr. Fiore who has shared professional clinical cases documenting the truth of this very radical idea.
I say it’s radical, but only to our modern, enlightened way of thinking. The influence of beings from the unseen world is an idea that has been around since the beginning of recorded history. The argument of just what comprises the soul of man continues unabated to this day. I found that most philosophers in my college philosophy classes could not agree on man as more than a body.
Different Kinds of Possession
The Unquiet Dead presents clinical case studies of these spirits communicating with Dr. Fiore while their hosts, her patients, were under hypnotic trance. The patients came to her seeking help with some problem that defied customary medical or psychological treatment. Dr. Fiore is a professional hypnotherapist who has found tremendous success in treating spirit possession.
Dr. Fiore is very clear that she doesn’t deal with demonic or satanic possession. That’s a whole different area best left to those who have studied, prepared for and specialize in treating disorders of this kind. If you are not sure of the difference, I’ll refer you the definitive handbook on the subject from my friend Doug Mendenhall. I previously reviewed his book Conquering Spiritual Evil.
The Effects of Possession
The Unquiet Dead is kind of a self-help book in that it guides the reader to a better understanding of recognizing spiritual possession by their effects on the body. In chapter six she discusses some of the physical symptoms, mental problems, emotional problems, drug and alcohol addiction, smoking addiction, weight and obesity problems, relationship problems and sexual problems.
The degree of possession can range from nearly total, in which case the original inhabitant is almost completely replaced, to a very minor influence. She also addresses the very important factor of age when possessed and the effect of possession by spirits of the opposite sex. Now I know this gets into a very politically sensitive area right now so I’ll try to tread upon it lightly.
Dealing With Same-Sex Attraction
I’d like to share a couple of fascinating quotes in Dr. Fiore’s book on this subject. The first is found on page 36. “Entities of the opposite sex are the cause of a great deal of confusion about sexual identity. Homosexuality, transsexuality and transvestism are the extreme results of this kind of possession.” This will be welcome news to some people but I know it will anger others.
She offers this on page 43: “One of the causes of homosexuality is possession by spirits of the opposite sex. If the possession began before puberty, heterosexual development often was disrupted and the afflicted grew up believing they desired sexual partners of the same sex, when it was the entities who were determining their choices.” This idea makes perfect sense to me.
Results of Opposite Sex Attachments
“Sexual hang-ups are part of the repertory many entities bring with them. Their own problems or proclivities manifest themselves when the possessed engage in sex. At one extreme, their host may even be prevented from approaching their partners.” A spirit attachment of the opposite sex can explain diminished sex drive or a reversal in typical male-female relationships.
She continues, “Every homosexual patient I have done a depossession on has had at least one exceedingly dominating entity of the opposite sex who was determining the sexual preference. Often these patients told of feeling they were ‘trapped’ in bodies of the wrong sex.” I know this is not something the gay community wants to hear, but is helpful for those who are questioning.
Wait to Have That Sex Change
“Some of these people were considering irreversible transsexual operations because of the spirit’s desperate attempt to make the possessee’s body as much like the deceased one as possible.” Can you imagine the devastating effect it would be on someone who went to the trouble and expense of a sex-change operation to later discover they had a spirit attachment?
The effect of being possessed by a spirit of the opposite sex can explain why some men feel a desire to dress up as women. “I have treated a number of transvestites, all with possessing spirits of the opposite sex. It was they who bought the clothes and dressed up to suit their fancy, much to the confusion and embarrassment of their victims.” Again, this makes perfect sense to me.
More Than One Witness
Dr. Modi, on page 270 of her 1997 book, Remarkable Healings, confirms the findings of Dr. Fiore: “In some of my patients, possession by an entity of the opposite sex has caused confusion in their sexual identity, especially when the possession occurred before puberty.” There are so many young people who could benefit from knowing this information. It would be so helpful.
Dr. Modi continues, “A female spirit in a man may desire sex with a man, and this desire and attraction may in turn become the desire of the male host toward another male. The host may think he is a homosexual, when in fact he is only acting on the spirit’s desire.” The gay community has tried to debunk these quotes but they’re helpful for those who don’t want same-sex attraction.
And Yet Another Witness
In Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, whose daughter is spiritually sighted, meaning she has lost her veil and can see spirit of all kinds, including those who are attached to others, shares additional evidence that spirit attachments are the real cause of same-sex attraction. You can read more about Denise from books published by her father on his site, Publishing Hope.
“When I meet people who claim to be gay, I ask my daughter what she sees in them. There has never been an occasion where she did not see one or more earthbound female spirits attached to a gay man and has always seen earthbound male spirits attached to a gay woman.” I have always thought this to be the case and have wondered why so many fight against the truth of this idea.
A Final Witness of This Truth
My friend Mel Fish in his book, Healing the Inner Self addresses this subject on pages 191 to 194. He provides specific examples of individuals who came to him for help after dramatic and undesired changes in their attitudes toward sex. He made it clear that he was only able to help people who wanted help. If they did not want to change, there was nothing he could do for them.
He wrote that he had no desire to force people into a heterosexual lifestyle if they did not want one. His only desire was to help those were experiencing unwanted same-sex preferences to come to an understanding of the source of the problem and remove it if they wanted to. If the person believed they were gay and had no desire to change then he could not help them.
Sexual Preference can be Tested
Mel uses muscle testing to determine sexual preference. He uses a scale that places a person who is completely heterosexual at a zero. Such a person could not be sexually aroused by anyone of the same sex. A person who is completely the opposite and cannot be aroused by anyone of the opposite sex is a six. He has never found a person who measured either a zero or a complete six.
He says most people test out at a one or two. Every one of the people who tested at a five had with them spirits who were of the opposite sex. After sending those spirits away, every one of these people changed from a five to a one or two. The whole point here is that there is a way to be “cured” for those who don’t want to experience same-sex attraction. Removing spirit attachments helps.
An Important but Controversial Subject
Now I know this is a controversial subject. I wrote about this once before and received all kinds of negative comments and denials that unwanted same-sex attraction could be removed. One regular reader commented that he was “pretty sure this will be in the running for this week’s least politically correct Bloggernacle post.” It’s been five years. I wonder if things have changed.
We live in a day of testing in our church. Those who are pushing the homosexual tolerance and equality agenda will not be pleased with this essay. As I noted on my previous essay, I did not write it for them. I wrote this because the Lord asked me to. He wants those who have unwanted same sex attraction to know that there is an explanation and a way to remove those feelings.
An Invitation to Dialogue
Comments are welcome. I love and appreciate opposing viewpoints. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I know this is a sensitive matter in the church right now, one that is separating many families and members of all age groups. Please don’t attack each other personally. If you want to email me privately, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.
Some of my regular readers are going to be mad at me. I’m going to argue in this essay the exact opposite position I presented a few weeks ago on Eternal Lives, Past Lives and Reincarnation. In that paper I stated what I would consider to be the orthodox position of most church members. I focused on the idea that we pass through this life but once. That essay opposed reincarnation.
Since I wrote that essay I read two older books from Dr. Edith Fiore. She has published three but I just could not bring myself to read Encounters, which presents fourteen case studies of people who, while under hypnosis, have recalled being abducted by a UFO. I read the reviews and will probably purchase and read the book someday, but come on now. Abducted by aliens, really?
One of the two books is The Unquiet Dead: A Psychologist Treats Spirit Possession. I read this one first although it was written after her original work, also based on clinical case studies, entitled You Have Been Here Before: A Psychologist Looks at Past Lives. The Unquiet Dead is the more popular of her books and benefits from better editing, a glossary and a bibliography.
Church Opposed to Reincarnation
But it’s her first book I want to focus on in this essay. At 185 pages, I read it in less than two days. I was so fascinated I could have completed it in one day but I was already stealing time from work to read it. Balance is a good thing to pursue in this life. You’re going to need balance if you read this book and have never considered the idea of reincarnation or past-life regression.
Like I wrote previously, I’m fairly certain the church’s official position is that there is no such thing as reincarnation. Yes, it’s official. I just found it in Preach My Gospel and you can read a nice argument against it by Spencer Palmer in the I Have a Question section of the August 1989 Ensign. If I remember correctly, Bruce R. McConkie wrote that it was a doctrine of the devil.
Just to state my position clearly, I do not believe in the type of reincarnation that advocates a return to this life in another state, either as a plant or an animal or as an inanimate object. However, I’m going to entertain the theory in the next few paragraphs that perhaps there is something to the idea that we may possibly experience Multiple Mortal Probations. Just maybe.
Convincing Clinical Case Studies
Notice the weasel words I used – perhaps, possibly and maybe. I am not convinced there is such a thing as Multiple Mortal Probations, but after reading the amazing case studies, I am scratching my head looking for explanations to fit this into what I already know and believe. I don’t read many suspense or horror stories, but the best is in this book – “I know what’s behind that door!”
How can you argue with recorded clinical case studies? Some of the individuals who participated with Dr. Fiore in these past-life regressions said they didn’t believe in reincarnation but could not deny what had happened to them. I have an explanation I’ll offer in a minute but it’s unorthodox. It combines what I have read in The Unquiet Dead with Mel Fish’s From Darkness Into Light.
You Have Been Here Before is a reprint of an earlier edition of Dr. Fiore’s groundbreaking work. It contains all the original typos, grammatical errors and formatting issues. It also contains the enthusiasm, excitement and amazement that Dr. Fiore experienced with her patients as together they discovered and documented the new breakthrough modality of past life regression therapy.
My Theory Explaining Past Lives
Here’s my explanation of how this works. It’s all theory and it’s all mine, so you can criticize it all you want. I throw it out there as a way of making sense of something that goes against all I have ever been taught and believed about the purpose of life – a one-shot, single pass-through experience. It has to do with spirit attachments, another controversial area that draws criticism.
As I read these case studies of past life regression, I kept thinking to myself, “whose past life are they now entering?” Dr. Fiore contends they are past lives of the individual patients themselves. I propose that the past lives being explored belong to spirit attachments that have been with the patients for a long time, perhaps their entire life. You can read more of this in The Unquiet Dead.
Dr. Fiore herself intimates in The Unquiet Dead that maybe hypnosis and past life regression is really a conversation with an attached spirit, not with the subconscious of the patient presenting itself in a previous mortal probation. She first wondered if they were multiple personalities but later came to recognize they were in fact, separate individuals embodied within her patients.
We Come Here to Learn
Now here comes the argument in favor of Multiple Mortal Probations. Note that I don’t call it reincarnation. I don’t want to confuse MMP with what some people believe that we can come back as a rock or tree. That just doesn’t fly for me. But as I read the case studies in Dr. Fiore’s first book, I found myself getting excited about the idea that maybe this does makes sense.
What about an individual who came to earth in the middle ages, had no education or prospects for advancement but simply lived day to day, hand to mouth, with little thought of anything else? What if this individual made a mistake, chose a foolish course of action that got her killed and did not accomplish anything with her life? Could she be given another chance another time?
This exact scenario is presented in Dr. Fiore’s book through one of her patients who had suffered from terrible headaches for the past seven years. A past-life regression through hypnosis revealed that the headaches were the result of being clubbed to death in a past life. You’ll have to read the story to understand why it made sense that her current headaches were related to her past-life.
Neither Heaven nor Hell
In any event, it made sense when I considered The Doctrine of Eternal Lives, which is presented in a book of the same name. I had rejected the idea the first time I read the book. I continued to reject the idea when I visited the topic again earlier this year and got such a tremendous amount of helpful feedback from so many of you. Now, with Dr. Fiore’s books, I’m considering it more.
Now before you come unglued and accuse me of blaspheme, remember I have offered a theory that explains how these patients and Dr. Fiore may have made a mistaken assumption in the research she was doing. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. The past lives that the patients found in hypnosis were not their own, but the past lives of other spirits that had lived and died.
I estimate that less than ten percent of members of the LDS church believe that spirits can hang around after they have died. We are taught to believe that we either go to the light of paradise or are sucked down into spirit prison by the chains of darkness which bind us in this life. But I have had too many witnesses to disbelieve there are some who die who go to neither place right away.
Spirit World Still Holds Secrets
The bottom line for me is that I have my alternative explanation to explain past-life regression therapy and now I think I have a clearer picture of the possibility that Multiple Mortal Probation may in fact be something that might be part of God’s plan. I know that’s a bold statement. I don’t believe that one can come back to experience an additional mortal probation after resurrection.
If you read the case studies closely, you’ll note that the patients reported in their hypnotic state after viewing their death in a past life, they were met by escorts who helped them understand what they had learned. Some were ready to begin the next mortal experience immediately, others needed a few years to adjust and decide if they wanted to try it again and do better this time.
Some of her patients had many past lives, some just a few, some only one and some none. It seemed that it all depended on what they had learned and if they were ready for the next step in their eternal progression – to go to the light and prepare for resurrection. There is so much we don’t know about how the spirit world works. Some of these things are only revealed by angels.
An Invitation to Dialog
Has anyone else read Dr. Fiore’s books? If you would like to meet her, you can watch excerpts of two videos on Thinking Allowed. I’m fairly certain I’ll be purchasing the full DVDs. In the end, acceptance or disbelief in the possibility of Multiple Mortal Probation is not central to the purpose of this life. What’s important is how we live here and now and how we bless others.
As Denver Snuffer wrote on his blog, “…whether true or not, it does not change a single thing about your life now. You have a challenge before you which can only be met by keeping every requirement established by the Lord for your redemption now. I fear those who are most enamored by this teaching are only distracted by it.
“They speculate about their own past history (or histories), and don’t realize their present life is slipping into history without adequate attention being given to the moment-to-moment responsibilities we are called upon to meet every second of this life. … even if you decide there is truth in it, nothing should change. … you have a challenge to live your life well NOW.”
This is a continuation from Part 1
19. The Gateway We Call Death, Russell M. Nelson, Deseret Book, 1995 – I get the impression this one was written as something you would give to a friend who had just suffered the loss of a loved one but didn’t understand doctrines of salvation. It’s a good little book but just a little too basic for me. There is a chapter on Life after Death and one entitled The Veil is Sometimes Thin but there’s just not a lot there beyond what you can already read in the scriptures or should have learned in Sunday school. Elder Nelson reminds us that “Our purpose in life is to be tested, to develop faith, to make and keep sacred covenants and later, to leave.” I’m afraid there in nothing in this book about NDEs or any real detail about what the spirit world is like. Joseph taught that we ought to study this subject more than any other. I’m constantly surprised by how little some people know about life after death. This is a good starter book for those who need some basics.
20. Embarrassed by the Light, Douglas Beardall, LDS Book Publications, 1995 – If you haven’t read Embraced by the Light then you won’t appreciate this book. Doug wrote it to counter all the embellishments he found in Betty Eadie’s book. If you weren’t around back in the early 90’s you may not remember the uproar Betty’s book caused in LDS circles because of contradictions to LDS doctrine and beliefs. People were quoting her book in Sunday classes and over the pulpit. I am fairly certain I recall someone reporting Boyd K Packer getting up in a stake conference and denouncing Betty’s book. I thought Doug was a little heavy in his rebuke but then I always like forcefully stated points of view. Whether you believe Bettie or not, take the time to read Doug’s rebuttal to get both sides of the story. No, Doug wasn’t there but one of his main points is that Betty’s story was embellished by Curtis Taylor with new-age stuff that simply didn’t happen. You decide for yourself. I’ve gone back and forth on some issues but agree with many he made.
21. Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, Villard Books, 1994 – This is one of the more controversial NDE books because it’s full of predictions about the future that failed to materialize. When I read how the visions of these future events were presented to him I had to put the book down for some time before I could finish it. In his NDE, beings of light came to him with little TV sets in their chests that showed future world events. He claimed to have seen in his 1975 NDE numerous major world events that happened prior to the publication of the book in 1994. Of course, I was immediately suspicious, especially because he also claimed to have seen events such as a 1995 nuclear accident in Norway that didn’t happen and the economic collapse of the United States prior to the year 2000. I had a hard time with this book when I read it and I still do. I don’t doubt he had an NDE, or three as he has claimed but I’m not too sure about his interpretations. Either he didn’t remember very well or he embellished them for some reason.
22. NDE – Near Death Experiences, by Lee Nelson and Richard Nelson, Cedar Fort, 1994 – Lee, who has written several previous volumes of life beyond the veil, collected stories of NDEs from people around him and published eighteen of them in this book. They are amazing stories, all of them, and well worth reading. Apparently some are repeats from the first three Beyond the Veil books. I found some of the online reviews a little half-hearted. One said, “An OK book if you’re into this kind of stuff.” They gave it three out of five stars. The reviewer apparently wasn’t into NDEs. I would give it five stars since I’m obviously into this kind of stuff. Each story was well written and well told. I enjoyed the book. Lee Nelson is a good writer. I think you’ll like it. Note: This is considered volume four of the Beyond the Veil series. I have volumes one and two.
23. Beyond Death’s Door, Robert L Top and Wendy C Top, Bookcraft, 1993 – Don’t confuse this one with the book of the same name by Maurice Rawlings (1991). I have read excerpts from that one and thought it would be interesting but decided against buying it based on the reviews. This book from Brent and Wendy Top examines NDEs in the light of LDS doctrine. This is a well written, well researched and well organized book. It’s one of the best from a conservative or cautious LDS viewpoint. It examines all the elements of NDEs and discusses them along with what we are taught in scripture. You’ll read about meeting a being of light, the commonly related experience of feeling not dead but seeing your dead body, the rapid life review, the tunnel of light, communicating via thought, high-speed or instant travel, expanded 360 degree vision, beautiful scenery, vegetation and buildings beyond any earthly beauty and the wonderful feeling of unconditional love and peace. There is even a section on hellish NDE’s which we don’t read about enough. Coincidently, Dr. Rawlings book of the same title addresses just that subject. I highly recommend this book by Brent and Wendy Top. Get a copy of you can. It’s a good read.
24. Reborn in the Light, Cherie Sutherland PhD, Bantam Books 1992 – If you want to read a well written professional review of NDEs, this book is for you. It was originally written as a dissertation and as such, is full of facts, scientific methodology, analysis and case studies. In other words, it was not written for sensationalism or emotional impact. Bantam capitalized on the success of Bettie Eadie’s book when they came out with this one so it also sold well. I remember I enjoyed it better than Betty’s book it because of the scientific / academic approach. But the book is not for everybody. It’s long, detailed, drawn-out in places and contains stuff that you may not be looking for if you just want to get to the meat of NDE stories. There are thousands of such stories out there, perhaps millions. It seems every book has unique stories to tell. This one is no different but the commentary in dissecting the stories makes this one more worthwhile to me. If you want to know how experiencing an NDE changed fifty Australians into more loving, caring, sensitive, happy and fulfilled people, then this book will be helpful to you. It was to me.
25. Embraced by the Light, Betty J Eadie with Curtis Taylor, Gold Leaf Press, 1992 – This is by far the most controversial book on this list. If you haven’t read it, you must in order to be well informed about the NDE literature out there. It’s still available, it’s still being reviewed and it’s still causing strong emotional response on both sides. Good for you Betty and Curtis. In other words, it’s a successful book. Does it contain truth? Yes. Does it contain errors? Yes. Does it contain pernicious falsehoods that will damn you to hell if you believe them? You decide. I made my mind up years ago when I first read it. My review might have been a one-star because of how contrived and misleading it is, but if I were judging solely on the salability of the product, she gets five stars – or rather Curtis does, since he really wrote it. To understand the controversy, read the one-star reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. Or you can read number twenty on this list, Embarrassed by the Light from my friend Doug Beardall. But you really should read the book and form your own opinion. Betty is a nice lady who probably had an NDE but I’m not so sure the interpretation we got in her book is accurate, reliable or believable. It negates the good stuff.
26. Closer to the Light, Melvin Morse with Paul Perry, Willard Books, 1990 – This one is sad for me, mainly because I learned the author was recently charged with torture of his eleven-year-old daughter. This book was a bestseller at the time of publication. He was interviewed on Oprah, Larry King and other shows. It is specifically about Near-Death Experiences of children. At the time I read the book I thought it was well-researched and well-written. After all, Dr. Morse is a recognized authority in the field of near-death studies. His book was endorsed by Dr. Raymond Moody. I enjoyed the book and learned much from it. He published a later book on the same subject entitled Transformed by the Light (1993) which is about how NDEs transform people. It is similar to Cherie Sutherland’s Reborn in the Light (1992). Seems like everyone was writing some sort of book about NDEs back then and making sure they had something about the light in the title. I don’t know if you can get past his current problems and get some good out of this one that did well back in the 90’s. Perhaps focusing on the beauty and innocence of children will help. I hope the charges prove to be false. The torture charge stems from his daughter’s claim that he held her face under running water as a form of punishment and called it waterboarding. As his lawyer said, he has already been tried in the court of public opinion and the media. So sad.
27. Beyond the Veil – Volume Two, Lee Nelson, Cedar Fort, 1989 – For those who don’t know, Lee Nelson has published at least 36 books. He is mainly known for his Storm Testament series of fiction. I confess I haven’t read them. He relates in his forward that the reception to the first volume was enthusiastic and the outpouring of additional stories from readers prompted the second volume to be published. The publisher continued in their prologue to admonish their readers not to share these stories but to allow them to be read and cherished but not discussed from a doctrinal point of view. Where’s the fun in that? The stories are enjoyable, add to the body of available literature on the subject and enhanced my understanding of how the spirit world works. I recommend the book and will probably buy a used copy of volume three soon.
28. Beyond the Veil – Volume One, Lee Nelson, Cedar Fort, 1988 – I think the publisher’s forward speaks volumes about these books. They expressed a concern that the stories would not be believed and a concern that the project to publish the stories would be seen as purely for commercial gain. Well, they wouldn’t be a book publisher worth their salt if they didn’t expect to make money off the project. As far as being believed, there are far too many people in the world who have experienced NDEs for themselves or know someone who has for them to not be believed. But I guess they didn’t know that at the time. They also expressed that many of those who contributed the stories were reticent to share for fear of being misunderstood. Thus, the publisher asked specifically that the stories not be passed on orally but only read and pondered in private in order to avoid any distortion or inclination to sensationalize. OK, I get it, but some of the stories were so wonderful that I just had to discuss them with others. Sorry. Get the books.
29. The Light Beyond, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, Bantam Books, 1988 – The follow-up to Dr. Moody’s best-selling first book, Life After Life, this must-read book adds to our knowledge of the spirit world as we learn about meeting deceased loved ones in the afterlife, experiencing an increase in knowledge and the ability to absorb knowledge, the idea of guardian angels, and the way an NDE changes us. As I’ve written elsewhere, my own NDE way back in 1974 changed my life forever. I did not go as deep into it as many experienced and mine was a descent into hell but I was never the same again. My values changed. I understood better the purpose of life and decided I wanted to use my life to prepare to the fullest for my eventual transition to the spirit world. This book addresses the transforming power of NDEs in the lives of those who survive and provides helpful commentary on why an NDE isn’t mental illness, something that is still a problem in our society. If someone claims they almost died and want to tell you about it, then we should be kind and listen with love. Who knows, you might learn something. I know I have.
30. The Journey Beyond Life – Volume One, Michele R. Sorensen and David R. Willmore, Family Affair Books, 1988 – Guess what? There is no volume Two. Not sure if this was written to capitalize upon the demand for books about NDEs but they did a good job and I’m glad I read it. It includes numerous NDEs not found elsewhere, great analysis and even better scriptural and doctrinal support for what is shared. Even though I picked it up at Deseret Book, I wonder why they didn’t publish it. In fact, the only two books from Deseret on my list are both very timid about the subject. Is reading about NDEs considered not acceptable in the LDS church? You decide for yourself. I like the study guides or question and answer section at the end of each chapter. The doctrine and the supporting scriptures are presented there while the interesting NDE stories compose the chapters. This is a good book. I enjoyed it. I recommend it. I wonder if the other book they published together called When the Spirit Whispers is considered volume two.
31. The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, Ballantine Books, 1987 – Now this one moves beyond the idea of encountering spirits in an NDE and provides what for me is evidence of the reality of spirits who want to possess, to harm or destroy us. Because of my own experience with evil spirits in my NDE, I was fascinated that someone, a professional with medical experience was willing to publish a book that was sure to be mocked by our modern, sophisticated society. How many people do you know who are comfortable talking about spirit possession? Besides the idea that most people have a fear of even talking about spirits, so also many I talk to are afraid their friends will think them foolish for even considering the concept might be worth studying. Even in the LDS church, it is not a comfortable subject. I have written about it numerous times and still get private emails from both camps – one side claiming I’m doing everyone a disservice by writing about this stuff and the other side saying I am not being assertive enough in sharing what I know. Sorry, I’m not providing a very good book review. Bottom line: I highly recommend you read this book and take seriously the idea that there are spirits among us who want to possess us. Be aware that Dr. Fiore has some strange ideas about reincarnation that take some getting used to. Just remember that she’s talking about the past lives of the spirits who possess her patients.
32. Return From Tomorrow, George G Ritchie with Elizabeth Sherrill, Spire Books, 1978 – I loved this when I first read it. I was introduced to it by a friend who wanted to point out the things George witnessed when he saw a group of spirits in a bar just waiting to get into the bodies of men who passed out drunk. George had died and his spirit went on a journey trying to get back home when he witnessed this scene. He came back to life ten minutes after he died. I’ve written extensively on my other blog about this book and the things George saw. This book was instrumental in my accepting the idea that there are spirits of the dead around us in this world that are not in a separate place. They are alive and can see us even if we can’t see them. I’m still amazed by the number of people who have no clue about this fact, don’t believe it or worse, believe it is a false doctrine of the devil. Get over it folks, there are spirits around us. Once you can accept that fact, read The Unquiet Dead and then read Conquering Spiritual Evil. But be warned, that reading path is not one to be taken lightly. But then, I’m a fan of William James.
33. Spirit World Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, Magazine Printing, 1978 – If you enjoyed Temple Manifestations (#35 below) then you’ll enjoy this one even more. It’s also more in line with the subject being considered. There are numerous stories of individuals being visited by angels, being taken on tours of the spirit world and of several NDEs which is why it belongs on this list. If you are like me and wonder why we do not hear as much about spiritual experiences or visits from angels in our church today, then this book will be a comfort and a revelation to you. Most all the stories are from our early church history, none later than the 1930s or so it seemed to me. What has happened to our church? Why do we not talk about piercing the veil and entertaining angels as we used to? Has our faith failed? Are we condemned for our lack of faith? In any event, this book always gets me thinking about how much more at ease the early members of the church were about relating experiences involving the spirit world. This is a great book.
34. Life After Life, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, Mockingbird Books / Bantam Books, 1975 – This is the classic that some say started it all. Personally, I say Duane Crowther’s book was first by a decade but of course it only sold in LDS circles at the time. Life after Life was a bestseller with millions sold – more than 13 million now. It did so well because for the first time, a medical doctor came out and said there may be something to these NDE stories that doctors and nurses had been hearing for years from patients who had been resuscitated. Modern medical emergency procedures increased the number of people who survived a near-death experience to the point where there were too many to ignore. Who better than the medical personnel who heard them first to share them seriously? So Dr. Moody did just that. He interviewed more than a hundred people who experienced clinical death and were revived. He then compiled and correlated the similarities into the standard NDE themes we know today – the out of body experience, the tunnel, the light, the interview, the boundary and the return. This is a great book with lots of case studies, commentary and impressions – not conclusions – at the end. You make those yourself.
35. Temple Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, Magazine Printing, 1974 – You may wonder why I include this one in a list about NDEs, life after death and the spirit world. It’s one my favorite LDS publications in my library from the 70’s. It has some amazing stories in it. The stories are inspirational, unusual and faith promoting. They are also all true according to Bro. Heinerman. As is stated on the back cover, “…it has been a constant desire among Mormons to erect holy houses unto the Most High God so that heavenly personages can reveal themselves to mortals in wonderful temple manifestations.” And reveal themselves they do. There are numerous stories in the book of those who witnessed visits from relatives and others who had passed beyond the veil. One of my favorites is from a brother confirming at the font in St George who wondered if those whose work was being done were aware of it. He described the vision of seeing the good sisters react as their names were called and the proxy baptisms were performed. There are lots more similar stories in there about the first nine temples of this dispensation. I recommend the book.
36. Life Everlasting, Duane S Crowther, Bookcraft, 1967 – The book contains hundreds of NDEs published early in our church history. It also relates the personal experience of the author’s daughter drying and seeing those in the spirit world. It was one of the first books I read on the subject of life after death. I was a teenager when I read it just after my uncle died. It is a classic on the subject and has guided me for many years in my thoughts in this area. Many people think the NDE publishing phenomenon started with Life After Life by Dr. Moody but this one was the first for me. No matter what you think of Duane Crowther’s books, I highly recommend this one.
Suggestions and additions welcomed. Want to discuss? Leave a comment.
In a recent Facebook post I mentioned I had dozens of books on NDEs. A friend asked for my recommendations of those books so I decided to review them. Obviously I won’t have space to review all of them in detail but perhaps a paragraph on each might be helpful to someone. At the very least it will be helpful to me to remember these books and my experiences in reading them.
The books are listed in reverse order by date published and are by no means comprehensive. It is simply a list of books in my personal library. As far as I can remember, I have read all of them. I may not be able to recall some of the details of the earlier ones but will share what stands out and why I thought they were worth reading. Someday I should transfer these reviews to Goodreads.
This review has taken the better part of a week because I kept getting sidetracked in re-reading. There are so many wonderful things I have learned from these books about the spirit world, life after death, suicide, the Savior, the adversary, evil spirits, forgiveness, peace, healing, comfort from loss, the purpose of life, visions of things to come in the last days and much, much more.
1. Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander, Simon and Schuster, 2012 – Loved this book. Eben seemed so unassuming in telling his story. He just lays it all out there for the reader and lets you draw your own conclusions. It’s very matter-of-fact which is in keeping with the idea that Eben is a neurosurgeon. I especially liked that he addressed all the opposing theories for what could have happened. No, his story is very convincing. His spirit left his body for nearly a week and he lived to tell about it. What he shares is fascinating, especially the love of his family members who pledged to stay with him until he died or returned. He felt their love and prayers drawing him back. I highly recommend this book to anyone who doubts the idea of life after death.
2. Visions of Glory as told to John Pontius, Cedar Fort, 2012 – I reviewed this in great detail in a previous blog entry. I learned much from the first two NDEs he related. However, I was not quite ready for what he shared in his third NDE about the Last Days. There was much specific detail about events in and around Salt Lake and the Western United States after a huge earthquake and subsequent invasion by a foreign power. I agree that society and civilization will degrade to the point of tribes, but I had a hard time with his narrative of the journey to Missouri via Cardston. I especially struggled with his description of the Savior appearing at a special session of General Conference. It just didn’t fit in with what the scriptures teach about the Lord’s Second Coming.
3. Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011 – I also reviewed this one in a previous essay. You may think it doesn’t fit in a list of books about NDEs but I also include some books that help us understand the spirit world and life after death. Besides, Doug relies heavily on what he has learned from his daughter who suffered a diabetic stroke which destroyed half her brain and now lives without a veil. She had an amazing NDE which I review below. What would it be like if you could ask a family member about spirits in the room around you wherever you go? Doug has some amazing insights that go beyond anything I have read in any other book about the spirit world. However, as I warn in my essay, the content of this book is not for everyone. The subject is obviously dark, even though Doug treats it with power and even some humor.
4. To Heaven and Back, Mary C Neal MD, Waterbrook Press, 2011 – I enjoyed this one. I think I lean more towards intellectual investigations and explanations. Some of the NDE books are too emotional or subjective for me. This one, similar to the book by Dr. Eben Alexander was filled with logical and precise descriptions. It was well written, well edited and well presented. The description of her spirit rising up out of her body while the kayak was pinned at the bottom of the river was riveting. Her story of survival is truly a miracle, but her story of being escorted by a spiritual guide to her spiritual home was even more miraculous. But it wasn’t her time so she came back only to be taught by an angel while recovering in the hospital. An enjoyable book.
5. Heaven is for Real, Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, Thomas Nelson, 2010 – Loved this little gem. Written by a pastor whose son, at four years of age, went to the spirit world during surgery for an emergency appendectomy, it is filled with sweetness and light. This book has sold well, been read and reviewed by thousands and had a great reception. I got that it was probably very colored by Todd’s background as a pastor. So what? I have enough experience with reading and interpreting NDE’s that most of what is told is figured out long after the events transpire. It’s the same with any spiritual experience. It takes time to fully understand it. I have no doubt that little Colton did see Jesus, angels and deceased relatives. He came back and impressed his family with what he was able to reveal. I’ll bet he is still remembering things about his visit to heaven years from now. I for one was happy to read this book and thank Pastor Todd for sharing it with us.
6. In His Arms by Denise Mendenhall, Publishing Hope, 2006 – This has got to be one of the most amazing NDEs ever told. Denise was 16 years old at the time she penned this book. It is full of grammatical errors and typos. Please get past that. You will be astonished at what you discover. Her father told her story in two previous books. This one adds more detail, especially about Denise’s life in living without a veil after the coma. When Denise was ten years old she slipped into a diabetic coma and suffered a stroke which destroyed most of the left side of her brain. When she awoke, life was completely different. Denise can see the spirit world around us along with the spirits in it, both good and evil. She also had a wonderful visit with the Savior, who took her to visit with Heavenly Father and her Heavenly Mother. She writes that he showed her many things which she is not yet able to share, although she had been sharing a few things in the last few years. She claims to have met all the prophets and said she watched Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon. She says she does not want to be anyone’s “oracle chick.” You’re either going to love this book or hate it. I happen to love it and highly recommend you read it.
7. And Should We Die, Ron McMillan and Randy McMillan, American Family, 2003 – Ron tells the story of his brother Randy, who struggled with Leukemia and ultimately succumbed. I’m not sure this one should be on a list of books about NDEs since the only reference we have to life after death is Randy, now dead, visiting his father in the hospital when his father was sick. If you know the story, you know that Randy served as Lance Richardson’s spirit guide as told in his cousin’s book, The Message, listed below. The book is well written, uplifting, enjoyable, and very LDS. Ron did a good job but there are so many references to the LDS lifestyle that a person not of the faith would have a hard time understanding much of it. This book is a great tribute to Randy and a good follow-up to The Message but doesn’t add much to understanding NDEs.
8. Possibilities…Lessons From the Spirit, Doug Mendenhall, Publishing Hope, 2002 – This is a follow-up to My Peace I give Unto You, reviewed as number 11 below. It recounts the amazing experiences of Doug and Denise as they go about sharing her story. I say amazing because most people I know don’t have casual conversations every day about spirits they see everywhere they go. Denise lives without a veil and thus can see them around and often in people. This is another book that has heavy LDS themes, culture and vocabulary throughout. It may prove difficult for some who have no exposure to the LDS faith. I include it in my list of NDE books because it adds so much to understanding the spirit world around us. This book is also an introductory text to Doug’s latest book, Conquering Spiritual Evil, number three above.
9. Visits From Beyond the Veil, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, Horizon, 2002 – Marlene has written three books in this series. The First is And There Were Angels Among Them (2001), this is the second and the third is By The Ministering of Angels (2006). I remember buying these at Deseret Book in St George while visiting family there, and then reading them in one evening. There are also revised later versions available now. I happen to have first edition autographed copies. I contemplated if they belonged in this list but remembered that some of the stories involved near death or at the time of death of a loved one. The stories are all true and well documented. Marlene did a lot of research in early journals in the LDS Church archives. The time period for all three books is 1800’s. I see these books as evidence that we were once a much more favored and blessed people. Where are the modern stories of angels among us? Too sacred?
10. There is no Death, Sarah LaNelle Menet, Mountain Top Publishing, 2002 – A sad book in many ways. I was sad for the terrible life that she had to endure both before and after her suicide. I was sad to learn about the reality of hell she had to endure for a few moments reserved for those who commit suicide. It was similar to the hell Angie Fenimore told about in her book, Beyond the Darkness. She teaches a lot of truth in her book but I had a little difficult time with the claim that she foretold the 9-11 twin towers attacks, especially since the book came out shortly after the event. It seems to me that those who see future events in their NDEs are seeing possible scenarios, not events that will happen. Interesting reading but let’s not treat Sarah like a psychic. She’s not a spokesperson for God as to how things are going to come to pass in the very last days. For example, she talks about biological attacks that she said would happen sometime after the twin towers attacks. They haven’t yet. You can watch interviews with her on YouTube.
11. And There Were Angels Among Them, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, Horizon, 2001 – This is the first in the series of delightful easy-to-read short stories about angels in early LDS history. I enjoyed reading this book because the stories are uplifting and faith promoting. I recommend each of the three books in the series. They are wonderful collections, each fully documented with original sources. There is an index by name of the individual involved. This is a great source book for those still in the uncorrelated church (email me if you don’t get this) who appreciate the early history of our church dealing with the spirit world. I see that Marlene has a new book out just a few weeks ago that should be on this list: Gaze Into Heaven – Near Death Experiences in Early Church History. I will be making that purchase and reading it in the very near future.
12. My Peace I Give Unto You, Robert Lake with Doug Mendenhall, Publishing Hope, 2001 – This is the first in a trilogy of books about Denise Mendenhall who suffered a stroke as a result of a diabetic coma at age ten which resulted in the loss of the left half of her brain, and, the loss of the veil. Yes, that’s right. She sees the spirit world around us including all the evil and lost spirits that inhabit this world with us. Talk about a near death experience, this one is one of the most profound you will find anywhere. And this book is only the first part of the experience. Each successive book reveals more and more about what Denise saw in her NDE and what she continues to see as she goes through life. The first book was written by a family friend who did a pretty good job. It’s not perfect but a very enjoyable read. The focus is on the Savior instead of the weirdness of the world around us – both seen and unseen. I’m glad they wrote it that way. I highly recommend it. You may be incredulous at what you find but it will touch your heart.
13. The Message, Lance Richardson, American Family, 2000 – You may not like my review. I’m afraid I’m like some of the one-star folks on Amazon. I felt there was something wrong with the book the moment I read it. It felt contrived. It seemed packaged. It was slick even though it was in need of further editing. I don’t know how else to say it. I know 95% of people who reviewed it said it was wonderful. I think that’s because the message is so focused on…well, on the message of the LDS Church today. To me, it was a bit over the top in hammering the point of the family. Did Lance really die? I won’t call it cheap inspirational fiction, but I was put off by The Message. I didn’t feel I gained any unique insights from it like I have from others who share their NDEs. Lance passed away in 2004 from complications of Crohn’s disease. If you enjoyed this book you may be interested in a follow-up book by Ron McMillian, And Should We Die – number 7 above.
14. Life After Death, Robert L Millet, Deseret Book, 1999 – I hate to say this about a Robert L Millet book. The book’s OK, not great, just OK. It seems very correlated, meaning it uses only the safest of church sources. I didn’t find a lot of depth or new material in here. It seemed very basic and straightforward with only stuff from the scriptures or what is taught in Sunday school. There are no quotes from people who visited the spirit world, no modern evidence, nothing other than what you can find anywhere else in standard church material. It’s good for teaching a lesson or giving a talk, but to me, it wasn’t faith-promoting or helpful to understand what life is like after death. In short, it didn’t fulfill the promise of the title. Like the description on the book jacket, this work is “stripped of any sensationalism or speculation.” Sorry, I guess I like that stuff because it gets me thinking and pondering about possibilities. I wouldn’t recommend this book.
15. I Stand All Amazed, Elane Durham, Granite Publishing, 1998 – I remember this one well. Elane is one of the few up to that point who had been certified by a competent medical authority and by a Catholic priest to have died. They thought she had a drug overdose but she had suffered seizures, a massive stroke and then cardiac arrest caused by an Arteriovenous Malformation in the base of her brain. She was pronounced DOA at the hospital. As with several other NDEs I have read, Elane had a difficult childhood, having been sexually molested by her father for years. She carried great guilt and shame. That all disappeared when she met the Savior and felt His unconditional love for her. She was spiritually healed but continued to have numerous physical problems after she came back to life – discovered by the nurse prepping her body for the morgue. Elane was shown some amazing things that have great significance for members of the LDS faith. She was also shown things pertaining to the last days. Her visions of the future were profiled in the television documentary entitled “Ancient Prophecies.” Elane has spent her life ministering to those who are dying. I love her book and highly recommend it as helpful to all.
16. I Saw Heaven, Lawrence E. Tooley, Horizon, 1997 – This is one of those Duane Crowther specials. His editing is evident in the presentation of the story and the checklist at the end. I’m not knocking what we got. In fact, I would say this is Crowther at his finest. But because of the editing, I’m not sure that we got Larry’s story as he remembered it but as Duane discovered it. I know it’s a small distinction, but an important one, at least for me. In any event, the story is well told, especially because we have multiple viewpoints – Larry and his wife. It’s a little confusing that Larry’s spirit guide is also named Larry, and their conversation is such well written dialog – again, a probable contribution from Duane – but it makes the story interesting and enjoyable. Duane also added all the chapter subtitles. I do that when I’m editing. It helps readers who want to skim through the text faster, looking for interesting phrases that catch their eye. The book was well received by most reviewers, although many non-LDS folks struggled with the LDS focus. It confirms many of the basic NDE themes of the importance of forgiveness and kindness to others.
17. Heavenly Answers for Earthly Challenges, Joyce H Brown, Jemstar Press, 1997 – I re-read this book to remember the story from the first time I read it 15 years ago. Joyce suffered so many health problems that she prayed for death. Her prayer was answered. She had literally willed herself to die. But what she found out when she got to the other side caused her to ask to come back to her pain-wracked body to be given more time to complete the things she came to this world to do. This book is targeted at anybody who is contemplating suicide. She published a later edition in 2000. Reading online, I learned she then lost her home of 35 years to fire. In spite of continued tragedies including the loss of her husband, Joyce continued to work to help people struggling with thoughts of suicide. The book is well written, enjoyable to read and worth your time. There are unique insights and many revelations confirming the NDE visions of others. Her relating the life review common to many NDEs is perhaps one of the best I have ever read.
18. Beyond the Darkness, Angie Fenimore, Bantam Books, 1995 – This one has a special place in my heart. I have discovered over the years that I learn best from opposition and adversity. Angie’s story touched me deeply when I first read it and still does. I seem to read it every year at Christmastime. Angie has become my friend on Facebook. I believe she is trying to get the book published in Kindle format. It is well worth the read. There is so much truth in it. I read it to my son one night when he was contemplating suicide. He may not remember because I think he was drunk at the time, but it was a spiritual and emotional experience for me and Mike’s still with us. Thank you, Angie for sharing your story. It took courage to write and has greatly blessed my life.
I am glad we have multiple accounts from people who have attempted to take their own lives and recovered. My mother attempted suicide once. I will be forever grateful my father was inspired to return quickly from an errand on which she had sent him to find her still alive before the drugs had completed their work. I think that’s why Angie’s story is so close to my heart. Although Angie’s tale has more darkness in the beginning, her response mirrored my mother’s story of disappointment and sorrow at the way her own life was going before she tried to end her life. Angie’s story is well written and evidences an intelligent analysis of what she found beyond the darkness. Suicide is not the answer. It is the worst thing you can do with the life God gave you.
In reading reviews of others online, I came across a few additional books I will be adding to my library that are not on this list: Gaze Into Heaven (2013) by Marlene Bateman Sullivan, My Walk Through Heaven (2008) by Kim Rives, Through the Window of Life (2005) by Suzanne Freeman and My Descent Into Death (2005) by Howard Storm.
There are eighteen more NDE books reviewed in Part Two
19. The Gateway We Call Death, Russell M. Nelson, Deseret Book, 1995
20. Embarrassed by the Light, Douglas Beardall, LDS Book Publications, 1995
21. Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, Villard Books, 1994
22. NDE – Near Death Experiences, by Lee Nelson and Richard Nelson, Cedar Fort, 1994
23. Beyond Death’s Door, Robert L Top and Wendy C Top, Bookcraft, 1993
24. Reborn in the Light, Cherie Sutherland PhD, Bantam Books 1992
25. Embraced by the Light, Betty J Eadie with Curtis Taylor, Gold Leaf Press, 1992
26. Closer to the Light, Melvin Morse with Paul Perry, Willard Books, 1990
27. Beyond the Veil – Volume Two, Lee Nelson, Cedar Fort, 1989
28. Beyond the Veil – Volume One, Lee Nelson, Cedar Fort, 1988
29. The Light Beyond, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, Bantam Books, 1988
30. The Journey Beyond Life , Michele R. Sorensen and David R. Willmore, Family Affair Books, 1988
31. The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, Ballantine Books, 1987
32. Return From Tomorrow, George G Ritchie with Elizabeth Sherrill, Spire Books, 1978
33. Spirit World Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, Magazine Printing, 1978
34. Life After Life, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, Mockingbird Books / Bantam Books, 1975
35. Temple Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, Magazine Printing, 1974
36. Life Everlasting, Duane S Crowther, Bookcraft, 1967
I welcome your comments and opinions on other NDE books that should be on this list.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I have written about this subject numerous times. It might be helpful to browse through a few of those essays to get some background. In the earlier posts you’ll find what I’ve been taught on the subject, what I’ve experienced and what I now believe. With this essay I reach far back into my youth in an attempt to provide evidence of things not seen but which are true.
8 Dec 2007 – The Influence of the Adversary Today
7 May 2008 – Pondering About the Spirit World
22 May 2008 – The Reality of Satan and Evil Spirits
5 June 2008 – Another Visit to the Spirit World
21 June 2008 – The Near-Death Experience of an Apostle
21 June 2008 – Brigham Young Teaches About Evil Spirits
6 Oct 2008 – Born That Way – Not a Choice
18 Oct 2008 – Speak of the Devil
20 May 2012 – Addictions and Disembodied Spirits
7 July 2012 – Deceived by an Angel of Light
In general, I think we as a people are naïve and uninformed about the reality of evil spirits. We either tend to deny their existence altogether or refuse to deal with the possibility that they could be real. I have seen the full range of responses to the idea that evil spirits could be influencing us. For most Latter-day Saints, it is still an uncomfortable subject, and one they would rather ignore.
I continue to write about this subject because of an encounter with evil spirits early in my life that affected me profoundly. In that experience I discovered what Joseph Smith learned when he went to the sacred grove to pray. In our modern sanitized retelling of the story we tend to either skip over or minimize the importance of that part. Here are the pertinent quotes from his story:
Joseph Smith Encounters the Devil
“I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
“But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me … I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being…”
From the 1835 account we gain some additional detail, “I heard a noise behind me like someone walking towards me: I strove again to pray, but could not; the noise of walking seemed to draw nearer; I sprang upon my feet and looked round, but saw no person, or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking.” I believe Joseph had an encounter directly with the devil.
My Encounter with Evil Spirits
Joseph was fourteen when he first opened his soul to the spirit would. When I was sixteen I found myself in a similar situation. I was alone and attempting to part the veil. In my case, fear seized my heart. I began to feel an extreme case of paranoia. Sounds became distant and unreal to me. I felt as though my spirit was about to leave my body. I was fearful I was about to die.
I heard voices all around me. They laughed and in their laughter I sensed some anticipated evil pleasure. I knew if something didn’t happen I would soon be under their power. My body was no longer functioning as it should. Time stopped. I was in between heartbeats, no longer aware of my own body. I felt as if my spirit was leaving my body. This was wrong and I knew it.
Similar to Joseph’s story, just as I felt I was about to die, I sensed the presence of a being of light, standing over me and behind me. I did not see the angel, but could tell he had a drawn sword in his hand and was there to protect me. I felt an incredible sense of peace and relief. The fear left me. The chattering of the voices disappeared. I came to myself and arose to my feet.
A Transfer of Knowledge
I looked behind me but there was nobody there. I was shaken and could not understand why I had felt such hatred toward me from the voices. Why did they seek to destroy me? What had I done to deserve such animosity? I was nobody – only sixteen years old. There was nothing special about me. Yet the feelings of hatred toward me were real, palpable and powerful.
In my case, I am convinced these feelings did not come directly from the devil but from evil spirits sent to destroy me. I felt their fear. For a moment I knew what they knew about eternity. They had chosen to follow the devil and were filled with anger and jealousy that I had a body while they didn’t. Their weapon was fear. It was intensified by their numbers in the hundreds.
Why am I sharing this? It is not an uplifting story, but it is factual. It happened to me at a young age and convinced me that the spirit world is real. I knew then and still know today that there are unseen beings all around us. They do not want us to succeed in our mission of developing faith and proving ourselves worthy. They look for opportunities to prevent us from parting the veil.
Learning from Opposition
I decided right then and there, based on my personal knowledge and experience with the evil spirits that what I had been taught about God, Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation was real. I am apparently one of those people who learn from opposites. I knew that evil spirits existed. Therefore I knew that angels and beings of light also existed. They can be sent to protect us.
In my encounter with these unseen beings, I experienced a transfer of knowledge to my soul that I cannot explain. As I wrote above, “For a moment I knew what they knew about eternity.” I felt what they felt. Their feelings of fear, resentment, anger, jealousy and hatred all flooded into my heart and mind. I knew they were on a mission to destroy me and I knew how many there were.
From that day I have had an intense interest in learning all I could about the spirit world and how it operates. I have studied hundreds of near-death experiences, read all I could find from the early brethren about their encounters with evil spirits, including the particularly insightful account from Orson Hyde and what Jedediah Grant revealed to Brigham and Heber just before he died.
Discerning of Spirits
I was especially fascinated when I learned of individuals who, in the course of counseling others, have had encounters with those who were overcome with disembodied spirits. I have come to understand the difference between evil spirits and unclean or foul spirits, the first never having had a mortal body, the second being those who have refused to go to the light upon their death.
I have prayed for and believe I have received the gift of discerning of spirits. I am aware when they are nearby. I am sensitive to how they manifest themselves through mortals who are not otherwise aware of their presence. Finally, I have come to understand that unclean spirits can repent in the spirit world. They can decide to believe in Christ and go to the light of his love.
After many years of study, fasting and prayer my confidence in one of Joseph’s revelatory declarations about the spirit world has greatly increased. He taught that “all beings who have bodies have power over those who have not” (TPJS p 181 & 190). In spite of what the world teaches about devils and demons, there is no need to be fearful over what they can do to us.
Seeking Visions of Eternity
We can seek to part the veil with trust in the Lord that he will protect us while we enter into the spirit world to be taught the things of the eternities. It is fear that keeps us from parting the veil. We are taught that we must continue to grow beyond our initial spiritual witness of the truth. Yet at the same time we are dissuaded from doing so by well-meaning leaders within our own faith.
I know their concern is based on love. They do not want to see us deceived. How many times have you heard that someone has seen visions and now declares himself to be a prophet? I have read these accounts many times throughout my life. Yet Joseph encouraged us over and over to seek to obtain visions of heaven. We are to part the veil and seek to see the face of the Lord.
We believe in the gift of visions (Seventh Article of Faith), yet how many of us seek to develop this gift? If visions of heavenly scenes are manifest among us then we are the people of God. If we are not a visionary people then our faith is inadequate and we are condemned. Moroni taught that if the ministering of angels has ceased then it is because of unbelief and all is in vain.
Power Over The Spirits
I have written this essay in an attempt to encourage us to be more diligent in our efforts to part the veil and receive the visions of eternity. In my opinion, the biggest impediment to doing so is fear. That fear is placed there by the adversary and is something we need to overcome. The fear is subtle but is prevalent throughout the church, including among those who teach and lead us.
The Lord desires to give us further light and knowledge. That phrase has significance. He is reaching out to us and encouraging us to build our faith in Him, to trust Him and to ask in prayer to have the heavens opened. There are things we need to know that can be obtained in no other way than by having them revealed to us directly by the Lord. He will help us build that faith.
A man would be a fool to ask to have evil spirits sent to him. Yet we must part the veil to open the heavens. In the process of doing so we will encounter spirit beings that are not of God. We need not fear what they say or try to cause us to feel. We have power over them because of our bodies. We can discern between true messengers and those who the devil sends to deceive us.
Unclean Spirits Can Repent
If they are unclean spirits, we can invite them to repent and to turn onto Christ. We erroneously think they are condemned just because they are in hell. These were once our brothers and sisters here in mortality. Christ suffered and died for them. They can come out of hell. It is not meant to be a place that exists for all time, but a place to learn a lesson and then to be freed through faith.
Yes, I know the scriptures teach there is a place reserved for the devil and his angels. From what I can tell it will continue to exist after those destined for the telestial kingdom have come out of their hell through the resurrection and the final judgment. But at some time, those who were once mortal and desire to come out of hell will be allowed to do so after they repent and follow Christ.
I do not know the final destiny of the devil and his angels, those who choose not to repent. The Lord has not revealed it to me. I also do not know if it is possible for those who chose to follow Satan to ever repent. There are many in the church who teach their eternal fate was sealed when they were cast out to this earth. I don’t know how they support that in light of D&C 76:45-48.
Can Evil Spirits Repent?
There are some who teach that evil spirits who have never had a body can repent. You can read the beliefs of one such individual on his unclean spirits blog. At first I assumed this anonymous blog was written by someone I knew who was involved in energy healing stress management. I have since opened a dialog with him and was surprised to discover that I have never met him.
This is a controversial area, one bound to elicit much contention and efforts to dissuade him from his teachings. I can understand why he has kept his blog anonymous. I have also been reading the latest book from Doug Mendenhall, Conquering Spiritual Evil. If you’ll recall, Doug is the father of Denise Mendenhall, who lost her veil at age ten and can now see into the spirit world.
The book is fascinating and highly detailed about how Doug deals with the attacks of the devils that surround us all. I am surprised it is not available on Amazon or reviewed on Goodreads. As far as I can tell, it is only available from Confetti Books. In my opinion, it takes up where “Overcoming Satan in the Latter Days” (Timothy Wood, Gazelem Publication, 1987) left off.
Go to Part Two for Conclusion
This essay is getting long. I have worked on it for a week as I have studied the gospel. There is already a part two, which I will publish immediately. In the second essay, “The Devil and His Angels,” I deal more directly with the claims found on the Unclean Spirits blog that evil spirits can repent. I think you can tell I have tried hard to support that conclusion but no longer can.
This is not a politically correct post. There are so many things that can be found objectionable I will list them right up front. In the end, I hope something I provide here will be helpful to those who struggle with addictions. I recognize this is a difficult subject in today’s enlightened world.
First is the idea of a spirit. If you don’t believe we have one, then you may find all this amusing. That’s OK. My life experience has led me to believe otherwise. No, I can’t prove we have a spirit and I don’t think anybody can prove it to your satisfaction if you choose not to believe it.
I accept the idea that I have a spirit, or more correctly that I am an eternal spirit temporarily housed in a physical body. This belief is a part of my faith, a fundamental part of my religion. I am certain I am not alone in this belief. Millions, if not billions of people feel the same way.
The Spirit World
Second is the idea that spirits can hang around after death. Those who do believe we have a spirit may be inclined to think all spirits go somewhere else when they leave the body. To some, it’s either heaven or hell, to others it’s paradise or spirit prison. That’s just not always true. Again, I base that on some of my personal life experiences so far and those shared with me by others.
I happen to be one who believes that not all spirits go to a place of happiness or rest. Does that mean I believe in ghosts? No, I don’t believe the spirit can normally be seen with our physical eyes. But yes, I do believe there are spirits hanging around who were not happy to discover they continued to exist after death and are now missing, even craving pleasures of their mortal body.
In my faith we are taught and I believe the spirit world is right here on earth among us. Most Mormons believe that the spirits of the departed can and do look upon us from time to time. If this is true for our loved ones, then the same is true for those who may not have lived such a good life. Rapists, murderers, adulterers, child molesters, and just plain dirty, nasty people go somewhere and that somewhere is right here or wherever they liked to hang out when alive.
Third is the idea that addictions can be caused by something other than standard explanations. Addictions to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, pornography, sex, gambling and even food have been extensively studied and explained as natural physical responses. Biology and brain chemistry play a large part in addiction but interestingly, so does genetic makeup and family history.
What if there is another explanation, one that has been around for thousands of years that could help us understand and overcome addictions? I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Most people have. It’s commonly dismissed as harmful in light of today’s scientific proof of how things work. We should rightly be concerned when someone attributes their addiction to any outside source.
When someone leaves this world with a habit or addiction to a physical pleasure, that addiction doesn’t just leave them. Addictions are more than physical. They are spiritual. Unless they have mastered them, a person who is now in the spirit world still craves the pleasures of the body. They continue to seek them out. I believe under certain, specific conditions, these disembodied spirits can temporarily co-habit or possess those who are still mortal but their bounds are limited.
OK, now I’ve gone all “spooky” on you. Talk about possession scares people. I understand that. It’s unfortunate that our perception of spirit possession is so skewed to the weird side of things. Movies like the Exorcist or The Shining have totally messed up our understanding of something that is referred to in the scriptures so matter-of-factly. I wrote an essay about this previously. The wide variety of comments on that essay demonstrates the interest people have in the subject.
In that essay I referred to a documented account of a conversation between a priesthood holder and an individual possessed of an evil spirit. I share that privately with those who request it. I’d like to take the dialog from that essay another step down the road of understanding. Throw out the false ideas of spirit possession from overly dramatic media characterizations. Instead, think about people you know who suffer from addictions. You may have some in your own family.
If you have studied the subject of addiction or talked with someone who suffers from addiction you know there are times they feel “out of control,” like they can do nothing other than the very course of action they are trying to resist. This is beyond a mere habit. I’m referring to a feeling that someone or something is taking over. Resistance makes it more noticeable. Unless you suffer from an unwanted addiction yourself, you may not be able to comprehend this feeling.
Shield of Protection
Let’s take the case of someone who drinks until they either pass out or blackout. We say they lose control of themselves. In the case of the blackout drunk, someone is obviously in charge of the body, even if the original owner is unable to remember it later. If you want to know more about what happens to drunks who pass out, read what George Ritchie had to say about it in his book “Return from Tomorrow.” I quote extensively from that book on one of my other blogs.
It is from Dr. Ritchie that I first learned about the shield of protection found in the human body. Some people call this our energy field. Western medicine has all but decimated any belief in the body’s energy fields. You’ll have to go to those who study or practice Eastern medicine to come to an understanding of how they work. I accept the reality of human energy fields as a part of my religion. No, it’s not taught in the LDS Church, but I accept truth from whatever source it comes.
The shield of protection can be weakened or breached when we participate in activities that are below our value standards. It can also be breached when we take offense at what someone has said or done. This shield of protection is composed of light, but a light purer than our eyes can comprehend. One of the objectives of this life is to gather light and to strengthen our shield. The weakening or loss of that shield of light can allow disembodied spirits to co-habit a mortal being.
Now let’s consider another type of addiction. I’ve also written about this extensively before. To this day I still receive private email requests for help in response to my essay on “Healing from Pornography Addiction.” I didn’t spell it out clearly in that essay but I’m sure I have elsewhere on this blog. There is no difference between what George Ritchie saw happen to the drunks and what happens to individuals who participate in pornography and masturbation. It’s that simple.
When viewing pornography, the individual is allowing those disembodied spirits to use their body, even if just for a few moments, so they can vicariously experience sexual pleasure again. I know many of my readers will find this offensive, but I’ve had enough experience in dealing with men in church disciplinary councils who can attest to this fact. A practice the world teaches is natural and normal is in fact, a conduit for unclean spirits to experience the thrill of lust again.
Of course we believe in repentance or change, even after this life. An addicted spirit can resist the addiction, which is now spiritual, but will feel the torment and pull of that addiction even in the spirit. Brigham Young taught that it is a hundred times easier to change while we have our mortal body. That’s why it’s so important we make every effort to master ourselves while we are still alive. It is almost impossible to prove mastery over the flesh when you no longer have it.
The counsel I’m about to share is spiritual and not intended to replace competent medical advice. I’m addressing the spiritual side of addiction, which can be just as powerful as the physical. When we allow a disembodied spirit to use us for a moment, even if it is unintentional, there is something left behind that allows that spirit or another like it to get back in when they want to. Think of it as a chink in the armor, a crack in the light, a trigger or button to be pushed at will.
Now don’t go thinking after reading what I’ve written so far that you’re possessed. A certified stress management consultant can easily ascertain if an individual has any spirit attachments. It’s possible but not as common as some people think. Then of course, there are those who think all this is hogwash anyway, but as I said at the beginning of this essay, I’m not writing for them. I’m reaching out to those who want help overcoming addiction or want to help a loved one do so.
The secret to overcoming a spiritual addiction is very simple. In fact, it’s such a modest proposal that you may be disappointed to learn how unassuming it really is. Note I didn’t say it was easy, just simple. All you have to do is forgive. The trick of course is discovering exactly who and for what. Once the original event that caused the crack in the light is discovered, it can be repaired in just a few moments. The darkness left behind by the disembodied spirit can be eliminated.
Forgiveness is the Key
Remember, this is advice for healing the spiritual and emotional aspects of addiction. Those who suffer from addiction should also seek and receive help to overcome the physical aspects of that addiction, be it alcohol, drugs, tobacco or even food. There are even programs for helping those with sexual addictions, but none of them of which I’m aware address the spiritual aspect. I know of several individuals who are skilled in finding and eliminating hidden spiritual addictions.
Over the years, I have spent considerable time and effort to study and understand the process whereby hidden stress can be identified so it can be resolved. It is not an easy process to learn but it is so much more effective than years of therapy that may or may not work. It involves questioning the intelligence or the innate part of our subconscious that remembers everything. Those who have experienced this process will agree that it produces amazing results.
With just a few moments of questioning the subconscious and receiving measureable yes or no responses, a skilled practitioner of this technique can find the root cause of an addiction. It is almost always traced to an individual from earlier in the person’s life. In either a traumatic event or an offensive situation, something negative passed between these two individuals. The only way to heal the effect is to forgive the other individual involved and almost always oneself.
I could go on and on about this subject. The purpose of this essay is not to titillate you with stories or ideas about evil and unclean spirits. They are not important. Yes, they exist but we should be more concerned with our own battles to master the flesh, not their desire to co-habit ours for a moment. There is a difference between those who were cast out, never to be born, and those who experienced mortality and have refused to go to the light once their life was over.
The idea here is to come to an understanding that sometime in the past, a person who struggles with addiction today may have opened their shield of protection in a moment of weakness, stress, or trauma that allowed an unclean spirit to use them for a time or a season. When the individual regained control of themselves, the spirit departed but left behind some darkness that acts as a trigger or future entry point for that spirit and others to work on until they gain entry again.
Dismiss all this if you will, it matters not to me. You’re welcome to leave comments telling me how deluded and mistaken this is. That’s OK. I’ve heard it all before. I used to think the same way. But if this essay has helped somebody, anybody to find some hope that perhaps their own or a loved one’s “out of control” behavior can be explained, then I will have succeeded in my purpose. Shoot me a private message with your questions or comments. I’m happy to share more.
Here are some individuals who practice the discovery and elimination technique:
Dr. Brad May, Emotional Complex Clearing, Serenity Systems
Dr. Mel Fish, Healing the Inner Self, Cedar City, Utah
Jan Graf, Graf Stress Management, St George, Utah
Tamara Laing, Hope for a Better World, Roy Utah
Russ Stewart, Stress Solutions, Grants Pass, Oregon
Elizabeth Richardson, Mind-Body Stress Management, Rockville, MD
If you know of others or have been helped by this technique, please let me know.
This entry was posted on Sunday, May 20th, 2012 at 8:26 am and is filed under Doctrine, Mormon culture, Personal Revelation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
7 Responses to “Addictions and Disembodied Spirits”
- Roy Says: May 20th, 2012 at 5:59 pm Tim,Thanks for this blog. It lends validity to some of my own experiences and studies. Thanks for your time and efforts on this and other blogs. I find it uplifting and inspiring. I also find it helpful in my personal journey to become more Christ like and hopefully someday to enter into the presence of the Lord along with those I love. Sincerely.
- Janet Owens Says: May 20th, 2012 at 8:05 pm I would be interested in more information on evil spirits that surround us and how to block them. Do they have the power to discern our thoughts?
- admin Says: May 20th, 2012 at 9:27 pm “…there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.” D&C 6:16 Of course, we are aware that just as the Lord and his angels can place ideas in our mind, so can the adversary and those who follow him. Those in the spirit world watch and know our actions and can share those with “familiar spirits” such as mediums and psychics. That’s why we are counseled to stay away from fortune tellers or “spiritual advisors.” The way to block the influence of evil spirits is to simply live the gospel: to love the Lord will all our hearts and to serve him in righteousness. Constant prayer and regular gospel study helps us walk through life with the Holy Ghost as out constant companion. We do not need to fear being deceived by the whisperings of the adversary into our minds. We can tell the difference through the light of Christ.
- h_nu Says: May 21st, 2012 at 7:28 pm Do you have any evidence of “energy fields” that protect people? Science has decimated my ability to believe in things for which there isn’t evidence… I have faith about spiritual matters that have scriptural precedent and record … but where is the evidence of a “energy field?” How on earth does this weird speculation get listed as a “faithful blog” This sounds new to me: “When viewing pornography, the individual is allowing those disembodied spirits to use their body, even if just for a few moments, so they can vicariously experience sexual pleasure again”. Do you have any scriptural backups for this type of weirdness. I agree with the church’s standards wrt the law of chastity and the word of wisdom … But this goes much further than any church leader has stated in general conference … I don’t believe in “private teachings”, and there were several apostates who did. I think Hiram page felt like he was getting some private revelations … I hope that anyone who reads this blog completely ignores it. There is a way to forgineveness, but believing false and (crazy) things won’t help you to it…
- admin Says: May 24th, 2012 at 9:07 pm Response to h_nu:I’m not quite sure what you were looking for or what you expected when you came to my blog. Let’s be clear up front. What I write here has to do with my own religious or spiritual beliefs. If you want official LDS Church doctrine, go to their web sites. I’m sharing things on my blog that have helped me on my journey through life. If you find it helpful, then I’m glad. If not, then take your own advice and ignore what I’ve written. It’s obviously not intended for you.
I’m not sure where or who has listed me as a faithful blog. I’ll give you my definition of faithful: One who is true to their covenants made as a member of the church. I think that’s about all you need to include. We accept people into our church who believe all kinds of stuff. I know of a recent convert who is very happy to share with you her Wiccan beliefs. She is a fun and happy person, a real nature lover, enjoying her newfound faith and keeping her baptismal covenants.
If you are serious about your assertion about science then I assume you do not believe that man has a spirit because according to science, we are nothing more than molecules and synapses. You can’t use that argument that you only believe in things for which you have evidence and also claim to have faith. You can’t prove God exists or that love exists. It’s not something you can see. You can’t take it out and show it to me. I can’t show you energy fields but I know they exist.
What I have is the witness of many individuals who have shared with me their experiences in working with energy. If you have never studied chakras or auras then of course it’s going to seem weird to you. I know of individuals who claim to be able to see the auras of others. There are times when I am certain I am seeing something unusual behind a person who is speaking or singing with passion, especially in a worshipful manner. It’s a spiritual gift some people have.
I linked in my essay to two sources that contain sufficient evidence for me that we have energy fields. One is found on my other blog on Holistic Research. I include the background there on how I was first introduced to energy fields, how I was dumbfounded the first time I saw muscle testing in action and my response to the amazing things I read in George Ritchie’s book, Return From Tomorrow. I spent years researching something that my mind said couldn’t be true.
The other is a transcript of an interview I conducted in my research for the book I was planning to write on the subject many years ago. As I wrote in the essay immediately preceding this one, I am most grateful to have been able to meet and interview Jan Graf, who I consider a pioneer in this field. The idea more commonly taught by the early Brethren that disembodied spirits can afflict and torment man came alive for me as I learned of the things Jan encountered in his work.
If you are serious about wanting to know more about the body’s energy fields I will be happy to share with you a transcript of a seminar in which the energy fields are discussed along with a demonstration of how they are balanced. This stuff has been around for years. It’s only recently come into more common knowledge of our civilization steeped in the Western way of thinking – you know, the kind that says I won’t believe in anything not taught in medical school.
You asked for scriptures related to what happens when you view pornography. You also noted that what church leaders have said on the subject in General Conference is a defining source for you on how you view the matter. I don’t know how long you have been in the church but I can assure that this is not a new idea. I have sat at the feet of General Authorities, Stake Presidents and Bishops for years who have taught that lustful behavior brings unclean spirits into your life.
3 Ne 12:28-29 – “…whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart.” What are “these things” to which Jesus is referring if they are not the feelings of lust placed there by unclean spirits? Lust opens the heart to allow evil spirits in.
D&C 42:22 – “… he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit.” D&C 63:16 adds the additional phrase, “and shall fear.” Think about it. What would cause that fear? Is it fear of punishment, fear of being caught, or perhaps some other kind of fear, the kind that the unclean spirits experience as they await their day of judgment? The guilt and fear that comes from viewing pornography or going to a strip club or wherever else lust is enflamed is placed there by unclean spirits enticing the man.
No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. The unclean spirits know this. They are fearful and cower in shame at his presence, therefore they hide. And where do they hide? They hide in those who invite them in through unclean behavior. Why do you think the Lord taught that those who believe could and should cast out unclean spirits in the name of Jesus Christ?
I think you misunderstand my emphasis on forgiveness in this essay. I’m not talking about receiving forgiveness from the Lord. I’m referring to releasing negative energy stored in the body, left there by unclean spirits. The way to get rid of it is to find the original event that caused it, and to forgive the individuals involved in putting it there. That almost always means forgiving oneself for participating in lustful behavior like viewing pornography and masturbating.
These are not private teachings. Disembodied unclean spirits are real. They hang out wherever pornography or public sex is being created, sold or viewed. They also hang out in many LDS homes when good priesthood brethren struggle to deal with them not knowing that they have the power to cast them out if they would only learn to exercise their priesthood in righteousness. In fact, priesthood is not required to cast them out. Women can do so in the name of Jesus Christ.
This is not a pleasant subject to discuss but it gets right to the heart of salvation. Being clean is what it’s all about – the fight in this life. We don’t have to be perfect when we leave this life but we do need to be clean. I don’t want to take along any extra baggage from unclean spirits. I want a bright spirit filled with pure light that comes from keeping covenants and faithful obedience to commandments such as not letting “any of these things” enter into my heart through lust.
By the way, thanks for visiting my blog and having the courage to leave an intelligent comment. I greatly appreciate the questions and reservations you expressed. They help me focus on what is really important in what I was trying to get across and give me a chance to clarify. It’s obvious you read my essay and thought about it. I get that it may be new to you and that it’s not orthodox or mainstream Mormonism, but trust me, this stuff used to be commonly believed in our church.
- Stephen Says: May 25th, 2012 at 5:56 am This morning, Mr Snuffer’s blog referenced Mosiah 3:6 “And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children or men.”Amazing how one could read the Book of Mormon almost daily and have stuff just skip right over you. I suppose that is why we are commanded to never stop reading the scriptures.
- admin Says: May 25th, 2012 at 7:21 am Hi Stephen,I also noticed Denver’s comments on the verse. What a coincidence. I wonder why it is that we don’t hear more of this subject taught from the pulpit today. Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to be perceived as “weird.” The early brethren – Brigham and Heber – were not reticent at all in talking about “whipping the devils” in our daily walk through life.
“Why doesn’t he get out of the way?” I asked from the middle of the front seat.
Dad didn’t respond. He locked up the brakes and laid on the horn. Our late 1960’s American Rambler slid down the hill on screeching tires.
Mother stopped talking mid-sentence in the back seat. She had just changed places with my sister and me a few miles back to talk with grandmother.
I was in the middle of the front seat. My sister was to my right. Seatbelts? I can’t remember. Shoulder belts became law in 1968. I can tell you I wasn’t wearing one.
Our California car probably crested the hill before the intersection doing 65 mph. Best guess from the photos looks like we hit the other car going 35 or 40. The impact pushed him into the ditch twenty to thirty feet past the crossing. Our car ended up on top of the stop sign.
I remember dad throwing his right arm out in an effort to protect me. I don’t remember the impact. Gingerly, I pulled my broken left arm out of the circular air conditioning vent. My sister was already out the right door. She held her left wrist. I followed quick as I could.
Dad came over to see if we were alright. The look in his and my sister’s face told me I wasn’t. I glanced down to see what they were looking at. The blood dripped profusely from the cut over my eye. It was hard to see.
“I’m OK, I’m OK,” I tried to assure them. I hopped about in an effort to deny the pain. The hopping didn’t help. The abnormal angle of my left arm frightened me.
“Son, didn’t you see that stop sign?” my dad asked the driver of the other car. Dad’s calmness amazed me. He then knelt next to the car in an effort to comfort my mother.
A low moan came from the back seat. Mother didn’t get out. She couldn’t. X-rays later revealed a broken pelvis and ruptured spleen. She had been sitting sideways when we hit.
Two ambulances took us to the hospital. Grandmother went with mother in the first. My sister and I went in the second. In spite of broken ribs, dad stayed behind to talk to the trooper.
I wasn’t prepared for surgery. I broke my finger in a skateboarding accident years earlier. The doctor reset the bone then and put a splint on it. My arm was in much worse shape.
“You sure swore a blue streak when you came out of the anesthesia,” the orderly said as he wheeled me to my room. Embarrassed, I made a mental note to clean up my language.
“Are you sure?” the nurse asked again on the third day. She asked the same thing every day. I had no idea what a bowel movement was. Why did she keep asking me that? My sister finally explained what she meant. I was glad we didn’t stay more than a week in the hospital.
The trip home to California was my first airline flight. I don’t remember if mother came with us then or travelled later. I know she had a difficult recovery. She lay on the couch at home for several weeks. As far as I know she started teaching school on time again in September.
It’s funny how everyone’s injuries were on the left side. Dad’s broken left ribs; my sister’s broken left wrist and my broken left arm. To this day I have the scars from the pins in my elbow. Occasionally my arm locks up, a reminder of that painful day.
In a quiet reflective moment with my dad years later, I asked him about the accident. He expressed the concern he felt for us at the time and then shared something sacred.
“You know your mother was hurt pretty bad,” he said.
“We were all messed up. She had surgery like me, didn’t she?”
“She did. I sat by her side all that night and every night for a week.” He struggled to go on. I could tell it was difficult for him to talk about this.
“I didn’t think she was going to make it. I can tell you I never prayed so hard in my life.” He was crying. Dad never cried. “It was a miracle we weren’t hurt worse.”
“I know. I still can’t remember the impact. It’s like I blanked out,” I said.
“We were protected by an angel, especially you.” Dad never talked about angels. I didn’t even know he believed in them. “It was a miracle.”
“What do you mean?”
“That night your mother lay close to death, I pled with the Lord to preserve her life. I didn’t think I could go on without her.” This was my invincible, invulnerable dad.
“I must have dozed off. When I woke, someone was sitting on the other side of the bed, looking at your mother.” Dad was serious in a way I had never seen before.
“Was it a doctor?”
“No. He had on a white robe that sort of glowed. His face shone. He looked up, smiled at me and then disappeared. I knew everything was going to be alright.”
“Who do you think it was?”
He looked at me long and hard before responding.
“I think it was the same person that kept you from going through the windshield of that car. Maybe it was your brother who died just after he was born.”
All my life in the church I have heard the promises of the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are held out as motivating ideas that are intended to help us resist the pull and attraction of worldly pleasures. In this short essay, I would like to consider just one of those promises and the power for good that it should have in our lives.
Of course, the attraction of promises pre-supposes that you are the kind of person that is motivated by the “moving-toward” model. If you’re not familiar with the idea, it comes from the book Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins. He states, “All human behavior revolves around the urge to gain pleasure or avoid pain.”
Tony’s shorthand for this is “pain or gain.” Which one drives you? Of course the concept is not original with Tony but he made it a focus of his seminars and books. The idea has been around forever and stated in different ways by various thinkers. The process is not absolute. We move toward some things and away from others.
However, most of us live our lives predominantly either moving toward a goal or moving away from an unpleasant situation, either past, present or future. You can easily determine your predominant model by describing something you desire. Do you express it in terms of what it is or what it isn’t, what you want or don’t want?
For example, think about and describe your ideal home or family. How about your ideal job? I was surprised to note that I described my ideal home in terms of what I want, but my ideal job in terms of what I don’t want. Maybe that’s because I am towards the end of my career and have seen plenty of negatives I want to avoid.
The greatest gift
What are the most important gospel promises that we should consider? Let’s start with the big one – eternal life. I’m not talking about being resurrected; that’s a given and a free gift from the Savior as part of the gospel plan. I’m talking about being able to live the kind of life that God lives, with complete joy and fulfillment.
In modern revelation it is recorded that “there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.” (D&C 6:13) We are also told that “if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” (D&C 14:7) Salvation in the fullest sense is defined as eternal life.
So just what is eternal life and how can we relate to it since we have nothing to which we can compare it in this life? In order for something to be desirable and worthy of sacrifice, we must have at least some sense of its attractiveness. In fact, it is up to the Lord to make us fully aware of what really comprises eternal life.
Salvation without exaltation
In the LDS Church, we commonly refer to exaltation as the kind of life that God lives, and consider it to be synonymous with eternal life. We also consider it to be the fullness of salvation. If we want to get a little more precise, let’s consider one common aphorism used to describe it: “Salvation without exaltation is damnation.”
This is a saying that engenders intense debate even among LDS scholars because I have read it online many times over the years. I agree with that adage because for me, it appeals to my predominant “moving away from” model. Yes, I confess that I am more inclined to make life choices in order to avoid unpleasant possibilities.
I consider the moving-away from model of thinking to be very mortal; not weak, just mortal. But I’m grateful to know that the Lord is fully aware of this approach. This is evidenced by the twofold promise of the Book of Mormon: If you keep the commandments of God you will be blessed. If you don’t, then you will be cursed.
Yes, tell me more about the negatives of a behavior and I will do my best to avoid it because I can see the results such behavior has produced in others. The only way I am motivated by a promise of eventual reward is if I have experienced something similar, even if it is in a small degree. My mortal mind doesn’t “get” eternal life.
Yet, in my heart I know that there is life after death. I have had too many personal evidences presented for my consideration to feel otherwise. I am satisfied that the concept of a spirit world is real; that there are unseen beings operating in a plane of existence just outside my mortal perception; and many times acting on my behalf.
Learning from opposition
So how does the Lord reach people like me who need a more solid understanding of eternal life in order to be motivated by the promise? I guess I’m kind of like the child that hears from a parent, “if you work hard in school, you’ll have an easier life when you get older.” It’s true, but it didn’t work for me when I was a child.
An easy life to a child is loving acceptance, lots of playtime, a warm, comfortable home, lots of food to eat and that safe, secure feeling that comes from knowing that dangers are far, far away, or even better, being oblivious to the concept of danger. But such a life doesn’t work as we get older because we experience opposition.
And that’s why I am more motivated by an understanding of what eternal life will not be like. I have experienced opposition, adversity, setbacks, disappointments and many painful shocks brought on by unforeseen and unwanted reality checks. Because of these experiences, I know what I don’t want eternal life to be like.
Of course, I don’t set the rules when it comes to my quality of life after death. But I do “get” the idea that I can determine a large part of that life quality by what I do or don’t do and how I respond to the life choices that are presented to me. There really is a lot of truth to the idea that a man is about as happy as he decides to be.
Disappointments will cease
I don’t want eternal life to be disappointing. I don’t think God is disappointed. Even though we believe that his most important work is us, his children, I don’t think he is ever really disappointed in us. I also don’t believe that his plans for us are ever really frustrated. We will get out of this life what we came here to get.
What we came here to receive is an understanding and appreciation for eternal life – the kind of life that God lives – that we never could have accomplished without experiencing opposition, adversity, disappointment, trail, heartache, frustration and pain. So whatever the outcome of our lives, we will appreciate eternal life better.
That appreciation comes by application of the “moving away from” model of life. Although we may not understand all the promises of peace, happiness, freedom, personal power, contentment and joy that are held out to us, we now know what we don’t want eternal life to be like. We don’t want it to be like our life here on earth.
Yes, I have experienced happiness in this life. I have experienced success, some personal power, a measure of peace, plenty of freedom and lots of growth. But even in achieving these things, I immediately realized that they were temporary and not complete. They do not last because of the transient nature of mortality.
Moving away from pain
Do you see? I now understand something about eternal life that I never could have fathomed before and something that I don’t want. I don’t want good things to end as they do in this life. I work long and hard to create my home and family life that I do not want to see come to an end. I don’t want that work to be wasted or to fail.
So for me, moving toward gospel promises is meaningless unless I have something concrete to compare them to. I am motivated to move away from something that I don’t want. I don’t want sickness, physical pain and death; therefore I am attracted by the promise of a resurrection, which becomes more attractive the older I get.
I don’t want to be disappointed in myself in the life to come. Carol has a way of expressing this that I find memorable. She says, “Do you think God will take away the memory of being married to someone if you don’t live worthy of them?” How tortuous that would be to see your mortal spouse and not be able to be with them!
So for me, gospel promises are more motivating when I think about what I might lose as opposed to what I might gain. I don’t want to lose things that I have been given or have earned. Yes, I believe we must earn or qualify for some blessings in the life to come. Eternal life is a gift, but we must meet the requirements for it.
I’ll bet there are at least a half dozen theological ideas expressed in this essay with which non-LDS readers will disagree. In fact, I’m certain that many of my LDS readers will also take exception to some of my statements. That’s OK. I welcome the dialog and hope that maybe something I have expressed has been helpful.
I love the Lord’s promises but I confess that I just don’t get some of them because of my weak, limited mortal way of seeing things. I believe the promises and am certain that they will mean a lot more when I get to the spirit world. Today, I just want to keep the good things I have gained from my experience with opposition.
Earlier in this essay I wrote that since we have no real concept of eternal life, it is God’s responsibility to make it appear attractive to us. I mean that. But how he does that may be different for each one of us. In my case, I am enticed by the spirit whispering to me that in the next life, I will no longer have to endure temptation.
I love that promise.