Mormon Youth and Drugs


ThereIsAWayBackPearsonA long time ago I read a book that profoundly influenced my life. It seems I start a lot of my blog posts this way, but it’s true. Reading can do that for you. This one was by Gerald Neils Pearson. You may recognize the name. He was the husband of Carol Lynn Pearson. Gerald was gay and died of aids in 1984. Carol wrote about him in her 1986 autobiography, Goodbye, I Love You.

The book was published in 1970. I picked it up at my California LDS Bookstore, Ellsworth’s Stationers back when they had a store in Baldwin Park CA, probably in early 1974. The year 1973 was not a good one for me. I got involved in drugs for about six months (mostly marijuana and LSD once or twice), was kicked out of High School and got badly beat up by my best friend.

I got religion big time in 1974, meaning I tried to do everything I had been taught I was supposed to do as I was growing up in the Mormon Church. It’s not that I was a bad kid when I was young, I just didn’t “get it.” That all changed with my, shall we say, “unfortunate” experiences of 1973. There’s no doubt about it. I made some bad choices, regretted them then and have ever since.

The Value of One Good Book

One good thing that came out of that recovery period was my reading of Gerald’s book. It’s out of print now and has been for many years so I doubt you can find it except in the depths of a rare and used book store somewhere along the Wasatch Front. I lost my original copy somewhere in one of my many moves over the years but I felt so strongly about it that I searched for another.

I found it in the basement of either Sam Weller’s or Confetti Books. Those have always been two of my favorite places to visit when we go to Utah, besides the DI. You can get all kinds of used LDS books at the DI for just a dollar or two. Sometimes I find real gems to add to my library. I’m glad I have a copy of Gerald’s book again. It’s my way of honoring what he did for me.

Someday I may do a full review of the book, but it wouldn’t do anybody any good because you can’t get it anymore. Let’s just say the book has tremendous sentimental value for me because it saved my life. I read it at a time when I needed to learn things that Gerald put in there in a way that touched my soul. It caused me to think twice about what I had done and what I needed to do.

There is a Way Back

If a copy of this post ever gets to Carol Pearson, or if any of my readers know Carol, maybe she might be interested in knowing what I’m about to share. Since Carol is my friend on Facebook I suppose I could tell her myself but I don’t want to impose. We’ve never met even though we’re Facebook friends. Interesting how social media works that way, isn’t it? We have mutual friends.

I wrote in my journal at the time, “I picked up Covey’s and Lund’s latest books. But for some reason, I saw a book that intrigued me because it had a painting of a young man with long hair on the cover. I had long hair at the time and so I picked it up. I was even more intrigued when I read the title and the subtitle: There Is a Way Back – The Story of Mormon Youth and Drugs.

“I opened it and read a few pages there in the store and knew I had to have the book. I went home and devoured it that night. I was so fascinated with what I had read that I did something I had never done before. I wrote a letter to the author expressing my gratitude for the book and how it had blessed my life and gave me hope.” There’s more in the journal I’ll leave unshared.

A Letter to an Author

Now, you’ve got to remember this was 1974. I was only seventeen. It was much more difficult for a fan letter to get to an author back then. The letter was probably two or three handwritten pages. In it I thanked him for writing and sharing the book in such a way that touched my heart and gave me a desire to know more about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how I could repent.

I don’t think I asked him for anything personal. I just wanted to share. I don’t know if I expected an answer back. I didn’t receive one. That bothered me for a while until I learned how difficult it is for authors to answer every letter they receive. It would be like a movie or TV star receiving fan mail. Sometimes they have a full staff to answer their letters. I’m sure he was very busy then.

I later learned that Gerald was going through his own struggles. I sympathized with what Carol shared and felt her pain. I also felt his pain. He was searching for something that he couldn’t seem to find – a feeling of brotherhood, love and acceptance that eluded him for the rest of his life. Gerald’s struggles with his feelings did not change my respect for him and what he wrote.

A Return to the Faith

I gained something special from Gerald’s book that sometimes makes me feel it was written especially for me. He describes the process of returning from the unreal world of drugs. His insights were especially helpful for me in dealing with the reality of paranoia caused by LSD and marijuana. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it happened to me and it affected me profoundly.

Gerald focused on the fact that we are all unique; that each one of us has special and individual talents that nobody else shares. Oh, sure, there are plenty of people who sing, who draw, who paint, who act or who write, but there is nobody who can express themselves in quite the way you can. Your gifts and talents are one of a kind because of the way in which you were made.

I know you can read that elsewhere. In fact, you can read a lot of what Gerald wrote in his book in plenty of other LDS books and perhaps in a better or more readable style. But for me at that time in my life, Gerald Neils Pearson reached out and touched my soul and saved me from some terrible feelings the adversary had placed in my heart that I was worthless because of my sins.

A Tribute from a Grateful Reader

I will always be grateful for that. I hope to meet Gerald someday. I hope to be his friend. I want to tell him what he did for me. Yes, I know he is in the spirit world now but I will be there soon enough. We will all be there. I know Gerald loved to sing. I also love to sing. There’s nothing I enjoy more than singing in a male chorus and hearing the power of voices raised in sacred praise.

In the intervening years since I read Gerald’s book, I have read thousands of others who have encouraged me on my way. I have read books of General Authorities, apostles and prophets. I have read books by extremely intelligent and talented writers and researchers. All have added to my knowledge and helped me understand just a little bit better this Mormon world that we share.

But I will never read a book that saved my life like Gerald’s book did at that time when I needed it most. Yes, I know if I had focused on the scriptures I surely could have felt the same message of love and acceptance I felt from There is a Way Back. But I was struggling with the scriptures back then and didn’t feel that message until Gerald told me what to look for and how to hear it.

Blogging is an Open Dialog

Do you think it inappropriate to write a tribute and express gratitude and praise for a man who chose to live a gay lifestyle and eventually died of AIDS? I don’t. I want to remember and honor a man who blessed my life. I want his family to know that I appreciate what he did for me, so long ago, even if it was such a small thing – the writing and publishing of an LDS-themed book.

Today when I receive private emails from my readers, I always try to respond to every one. It may take me a week or two or sometimes a month to get around to replying. The reason I always want to respond is because of what I learned from Gerald Pearson. We are each unique. I may write something that helps you. You may write something that helps me. We can help each other.

So to all my readers who take the time to write me privately, I thank you. We have had some wonderful dialogs, haven’t we? You have taught me things and caused me to consider things that I would not have otherwise seen. And for those who have the courage to share their comments in public, I thank you and promise you a kind, considerate and thoughtful reply no matter what.

Perhaps I could end this little post with one of Carol’s poems that Gerald shared in the book:

THE SOURCE

If God is love,
The source,
The spring,
Should not the lover
Pilgrimage there—
Reverently Seeking supply?—
That the cup he gives
Will not be dry.

Progress Report on Denver Snuffer


DenverSnufferPagesI apologize for the misleading title. This is not about Denver Snuffer. This is about my progress in reading and digesting what Denver Snuffer has written. If you’ll recall, about a month ago I ordered, received and wrote about Denver’s latest publications. I just finished reading volume one of Remembering the Covenant and want to share a few things I learned from that volume.

Remembering the Covenant is a reprint of Denver’s blog. Volume one covered approximately the first five months, from 1 February 2010 to 7 June 2010. It is about 435 printed pages. I took my time reading it because I had several other reading projects going on at the same time. I read each entry twice, highlighting with a different colored marker on each pass, pondering as I read.

This is still a solo project. Carol is not interested in what I am reading, although I do share a few quotes with her on occasion. She usually likes to point out that if the Lord wanted me to know what Denver had to say, the Brethren would have told us to read his books. Sigh. Carol’s not big on doctrine. The social aspects of the church are more important to her. We balance each other.

Careful, Ponderous and Solemn Thought

Many of the entries were familiar to me, having read them at one time or another on his blog. I was also impressed that a lot of content was shared here the first time in this volume and found full expression in his book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. It’s obvious the ideas found in PtHG were developed a long time before they were put together so powerfully in that controversial book.

My objective in the methodical and deep reading of Remembering the Covenant is obviously tied to my desire to obtain what Denver has written about in his first book, The Second Comforter. No, I have not yet obtained an audience with the Lord, but then, I’ve only been asking seriously for the last year or so. I started asking in earnest after my first reading of The Second Comforter.

Maybe my approach is all wrong, but what I’m trying to accomplish here is prove one way or another that a regular member of the church can have the same experience Denver Snuffer says we all can and should have – to receive a promise from the Lord of Eternal Life. And yes, that means a personal visit from the resurrected Lord, and to receive that promise from his own lips.

Why I Haven’t Received the Promise Yet

I found many helpful entries to explain why I haven’t had that sacred experience yet. One of them is found on page 261. You can read the entry on his blog dated 27 April 2010 – God is No Respecter of Persons. About halfway through the post he discusses what alienates us from the Lord. He makes an interesting point that it is not our sins per se, but the way we offend Christ.

Specifically he says, “He is offended when we are forgiven by Him, and then return to the same sin. This shows a lack of gratitude for His forgiveness.” Denver acknowledges that some struggle with addictions, compulsions and weaknesses for years, even decades. That’s me. He then offers what I found to be a sad commentary. It made me think that I must still have a long ways to go.

He writes, “When at last, because of age or infirmity, a troubling weakness is at last overcome, He will readily accept your repentance and let you move forward, clean, whole and forgiven.” This makes me sad because it causes me to feel that those who struggle with addiction will not be accepted by the Lord until the biological temptations of the body go away due to old age.”

I Sin Differently Than You

Perhaps you can help me out in my thinking here. Maybe some of you know what I am talking about. I’m going to be frank. They say confession is good for the soul. I’ve written about this before on my blog and got a lot of positive feedback from folks who said it helped them to be so open and honest about such a sensitive subject. You may think less of me after reading this.

Mental illness runs in my family. So does addiction. I’ll bet they go hand-in-hand. I recall a line used by President Uchtdorf in a recent General Conference address (April 2012). I believe he said it came from a bumper sticker. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.” In my previous blog post on the subject I wrote I was exposed to Internet pornography in 1995.

However, that wasn’t my first exposure to pornography. It seems the adversary knew what my weakness was before I ever understood. I struggled with pornography from the time I was eight years old, long before the Internet. I find it interesting that this temptation came into my life right after I was baptized. It has been a constant battle with many ups and downs for nearly fifty years.

A Common but Serious Weakness

I have never confessed this in a public forum before. I am pleased to say that I am a recovered addict and have been clean for many years, but like an alcoholic, it can come back in a second. My state of mind is something about which I have to be constantly wary. I must always be careful about what I look at, what ads I see, what TV shows I watch, what web pages I visit.

This is not a secret from Carol. We have worked on this together over the years. I am amazed at how kind, patient, loving and accepting she has always been. This is an intimate part of our lives but human sexuality is a big part of the mortal experience so it has eternal ramifications. For me, the biggest part of this struggle has always been feelings of guilt and of disappointing the Lord.

The last time I tried to confess this sin to a bishop, I also tried to turn in my temple recommend. This was many years ago, early in my married life. He pushed the temple recommend back at me and said, “I want you to go to the temple more frequently and I want you to stop confessing this. This weakness is between you, your wife and the Lord. You work it out among yourselves.”

Broken Souls Are Loved by the Lord

I came away from reading Denver’s entry that God is No Respecter of Persons thinking that I will not be worthy or qualified for a visit from the Lord to obtain the promise of Eternal Life for many more years, probably just before I am ready to leave this life. Perhaps someone who struggles with an addiction is a special case, who can’t be trusted until they’re almost dead.

I found some consolation in reading his entry on Broken Souls on page 387 which can be found on his blog dated 25 May 2010. In it Denver describes his work with and love for those who find it difficult to associate with other members of the church because they struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression caused by addictions. I could immediately relate this to my life-long hurt.

He writes that he has close friends who struggle with addictions so haunting and so terrible a force in their lives that rising each day to face the coming fight takes greater courage than he could imagine. “They are acting in faith at every waking breath, as they fight against a foe that I do not comprehend and could not face.” Yep, that pretty much describes my daily walk in life.

Forgiveness for a Former Addict

Hope came as I read there, “I marveled at how very much these broken souls, these discouraged people … are the very ones with whom I feel the Lord’s presence and love as I have the honor of meeting and talking with them about the gospel. These are the ones He loves the most. These are the ones with whom he associated during His ministry. He associates there, still.” I like that.

I made a decision a long time ago to continue to follow the gospel path, to attend my meetings each week, to accept and faithfully serve in callings when asked, to attend the temple and to do all within my power to prove to the Lord that I loved Him and wanted His forgiveness. But I also accepted the fact that I would never really feel that I belonged, that I was not worthy of the Lord.

All this, because as a former addict, I did not feel I could be trusted. I could and would do all that we are supposed to do, including prayer and gospel study, but deep down, I knew my weakness and it terrified me that I was capable of such betrayal. I had known the Lord’s forgiveness early in my life, but my constant struggle over the years caused me to feel I had offended the Lord.

You Deserve Your Insecurities

On page 408, in the post entitled Developing Your Faith dated 30 May 2010, Denver writes, “Insecurities are a result of a lack of faith. You deserve them. You have not acquired knowledge yet. You have them as a gift, as a warning that you have not yet received what you need. Nor have you developed faith yet.” He then admonishes us to go and re-read Lectures on Faith Six.

Of course, that lecture is about offering sacrifice to obtain sufficient faith to be saved. In this lecture is found the famous quote that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” I have thought and pondered about this for at least twenty years. I have yet to figure out what more I can sacrifice.

According to Denver, it is my fears and insecurities that I must sacrifice. It is my lack of trust in myself that comes from years of being a former addict that I must sacrifice. I know the Lord has forgiven me. That’s a given. I have asked and know that He has forgiven me. There has never been a hesitation when I have asked for forgiveness. But does he trust me enough to visit me?

Timing for the Visit From the Lord

I suppose the real question is, “Do I trust myself enough to let the Lord visit me?” Of course, we do not set the timing of the Lord’s visit. So the mechanics of how this works puzzles me. Let’s say I finally figure out in my mind at last a way to give up that lack of trust that I put there so long ago as I began my recovery from my addiction. I give up the fear that I can’t be trusted.

Well, that’s nice. That is, it’s nice to be able to say to myself that the Lord trusts me, but unless I hear the Lord say it to me personally, perhaps it’s just self-deception. The Lord has commanded us to drop doubts and fears from our hearts. I am willing to do so. For non-addicts I assume it’s a simple thing. You simply say to yourself, “I trust myself that I will not participate in sin again.”

I’m sure I’m over-analyzing this and making it way more complicated than the Lord intended. The gospel is supposed to be so simple that even a child can understand it. We are supposed to become child-like in our trust and faith in the Lord. I know I can trust the Lord, but I am not certain I can trust myself, even after all these years. There simply are no guarantees, are there?

Invitation to Dialog

For any other Snuffer readers out there, what do you think? Am I going about this wrong? Denver reports on page 421 in “Be Still and Know That I Am God” (2 June 2010), “Study what I’ve written carefully and anyone will find it is all there. Several people have done so, and have received the promised results.” That’s nice to know. I believe Denver and am happy for them.

I’m still pondering the approach I need to take to accomplish this work that only I can do for myself. One approach is to hang onto the belief that because I am a former addict who has offended Christ by returning to my sins after having been forgiven, that I must wait patiently until my life is nearly over before the Lord will visit me to proclaim I have Eternal Life.

The other approach is to give up all doubts and fears left over from years of sin, trust the Lord implicitly that He is willing to come to me now and ask all the more sincerely for that blessing. Perhaps I have missed something in The Second Comforter and need to go back and re-read it yet one more time, asking the Lord to show me what steps I missed the first few times I read it.

The Unquiet Dead


TheUnquietDeadI 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 tmalonemcse@gmail.com. Thanks for reading.

You Have Been Here Before


YouHaveBeenHereBeforeSome 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.”

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