Updated on March 20, 2021
Doug Tales 7: Spiritual Phenomena
At the very beginning of Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One (2012), Doug Mendenhall wrote out (on pages ix-viii) thirty-one definitions of various spiritual phenomena which he and others have encountered. Here are ten of his definitions from that book:
The act of commanding dark entities to leave a human host, dwelling, or property.
Discerning of Spirits
The Prophet Joseph Smith spent a great deal of time attempting to describe how to discern between good and evil spirits. George A. Smith, Joseph’s nephew reported, “There was no point upon which the Prophet Joseph Smith dwelt more than the discerning of Spirits” (Minutes of Meetings held in Provo City, 28 November 1869, Church Archives; see also Words of Joseph Smith, p. 21)
The Prophet Joseph Smith stated, “…A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.” (History of the Church 4:588)
Ghost Hunters & Debunkers
Entire industries have been built on this phenomenon. For example, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramais in Columbia Pictures’ 1984 release of Ghostbusters, attempted to clear or cleanse areas where these earthbound spirits and devils haunt or reside. TV shows and Hollywood portrayals sensationalize these spiritual phenomena in an attempt to entertain the idle and curious.
But the premise of the author is that spiritual phenomena exists as a natural part of the mortal experience and that anyone can utilize the power of God through knowledge, spiritual gifts, and power of the spoken word in the name of Jesus Christ to cast out evil from their own lives. With this knowledge, one can be aware of what is actually going on and, therefore, make conscious choices as they “listen” to these “promptings” and can choose good from evil. (Moroni 7:12-13, 15-19).
An entry way into our physical world. Think of the “tunnel of light” that people have reported they enter when they have had a near death experience. This is a portal from our world to the spirit world of paradise and prison. On the other side of the spectrum, the dark side, portals are created to move from their realm to ours. Earthbound spirits and devils are already here. Demons and others have need of portals to enter our existence to do their evil deeds and inflict their pain.
Reality of Evil
From an LDS perspective, one cannot accept the existence of divine angels without accepting the reality of demons. All things have their opposites, or as our scriptures declare, there “is opposition in all things.” If one desires to see and experience celestial climes, one must also comprehend the depth of hellish spheres.
While enduring one of the most grueling experiences of his life, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote an epistle to the Church from Liberty jail dated March 25, 1839. In it he taught, “the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity…”. (History of the Church 3:289-305; see also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 137)
When one embraces the idea that angels and devils from an unseen realm actually exist, many events in this mortal sphere begin to make sense. Events no longer become just occurrences or coincidences, but can be seen as tests, trials, afflictions, all blessings that can be used to bless our lives through the grace and power of God.
Spirits do not need to use vocal chords, sound waves and words to communicate. They use thoughts. When a concept is transferred from the other side of the veil to this temporal side of the veil, it is received through a process known as revelation. It can be compared to a download of a computer. It is received by a person’s spirit and is often manifested as a thought in a person’s mind.
Joseph taught about spiritual things, “All things whatsoever God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract, and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle, but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all; and those revelations which will save our spirits will save our bodies.” (April 8, 1844, History of the Church 6:318-320; see also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 355)
A spiritual device of energy or light that can surround our being preventing physical and spiritual harm to us. It can operate as the person intends it to operate, meaning several layers thick or it can be reflective, meaning it allows nothing of darkness to come through while allowing light to do so. The variations are only limited by our imagination and what we desire to create.
Most all mortals miss much that is going on about them because the temporal realm veils the spiritual realm until we learn to “see” again. Some refer to our spiritual eyes or third eye being opened to when we see or perceive spiritual things. This spiritual sight can be bestowed spontaneously or developed. I have seen both. There are those who never lost their spiritual sight from birth or as they matured physically.
There are more who have limited sight as a result of God spontaneously bestowing a gift on them or their having developed this gift to see. Whether a person never lost this sight or whether it came as a gift, we will refer to all of these people as “gifted” or to those who “can see” or who “have spiritual sight.” They can see what is going on in the spiritual realm particularly with angels or spirits while many are still blind to spiritual things in this temporal realm. Many can see and understand energies, the human aura, and other things we may not have considered to be in the spiritual realm, but certainly are.
Some have questioned these gifted people who can “see” while they themselves cannot. Some have asked in curiosity while others asked in skepticism, unbelief, and jealously. Most people can develop this gift to some extent but with limited capabilities. However, those who do see with unlimited sight bear a weighty burden and contend mightily with evil forces along with their enjoying the association of angels. It is a gift that is a two-edged sword that cuts both ways.
Types of Spirits
The Prophet Joseph explained in elementary terms that there are three types of spirits. He instructed, “There are three independent principles—the spirit of God, the spirit of man, and the spirit of the devil. All men have power to resist the devil. They who have tabernacles have power over those who have not.”
In this mortal plane we, “the spirit of man,” experience different levels or dimensions of spirituality. A full spectrum exists. Different entities that we encounter from spiritual realms possess different frequencies. They range in this spectrum from pure godliness and purity, “the spirit of God,” to pure evil and darkness, “the spirit of the devil.” Some are helpful in life’s journey while other’s purpose is to detract and destroy.
Veil and the Spirit of Man
The spirit of man represents each of us who have been born into mortality. We each have a body of spirit, light, intelligence, and energy along with a body of flesh and bones. The veil of the spirit body is the body of flesh and bones. This veil inhibits one’s ability to “see” spiritual realms so that each individual can live by faith rather than by sight in perfecting the flesh by obedience to the commandments of God.
This body primarily uses the sensory means of touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. When we die, nothing more than a separation of mortal body and spirit occurs, our spirit lives on and we can again enjoy spiritual powers and abilities we once enjoyed before we were limited by our mortal bodies in a spiritual sphere.