Updated on February 26, 2024
Doug Mendenhall often used the emotion of gratitude for our Savior when he did spiritual work, like creating shields. Jesus Christ is the fount of all such good things, and as Doug showed with his life, our remembering and thanking Him makes our spiritual shielding stronger. These Christ-centered experiences of Doug’s are from his Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One (2012), pp. 83-85:
I ask my Father in the name of Jesus Christ for a shield of protection to be around me. If I’m meeting someone, and I know they don’t have much light or are extremely dark spiritually, I will ask for the shield to be a reflective shield that will send back to the sender whatever he might throw at me, only it will go back with love instead of darkness. We can put a shield around whatever we have stewardship over that we feel might need protection. I have no right to put a shield around you if I have no stewardship over you. If I do so, that is going against your agency, and we should never do that. Some people shield others without their permission. The Lord never did that, so what makes us think we have the right to do so?
You can put up thick shields or layers of them. Remember, we are creators and whatever we can conceive, we can create.
One time there was a group of us traveling in a fifteen passenger van to Idaho. I had arranged the trip and was in charge of the group. I was driving and in the seat next to me was a friend that has been without a veil her entire life. One of her gifts is that she has the ability to see energies.
As we entered the mountains above Boise, the sun was going down. I decided that I might want to put up some extra shields around the van since the deer would be coming out and crossing the roads. Silently in my mind I asked for shields three layers thick to be placed around the van. I asked that each layer of energy (shield) go a different direction; one forward, one backward and one sideways. I visualized this in my mind. I thanked the Savior for this blessing and then forgot about it.
About five minutes later, my friend asked me if I had put shields around the van.
“Yes,” I responded. “How did you know?”
“Well,” she said, “I saw them go up. Did you do three layers or levels of shields and is each layer going in a different direction?”
I was so excited to tell her yes. She had actually seen what I had asked the Lord to protect us with! It was a wonderful witness to what the Lord can do for us.
One of the seminars we did was in downtown Salt Lake City. There is a lot of evil in Salt Lake, and I knew one of the speakers would be talking about devils or demons. So I knew it was important to clear out the building of past darkness and place shields of protection there and angels around the building.
The night before the seminar I went to check out the meeting room. I knelt in prayer, raised my arm to the square and commanded all darkness in the building, floors, ceiling, walls and all areas above and below it to be cleansed of any demons, devils, earth bound spirits, or any kind of darkness. I asked the angels to come and sweep it clean. Then I asked for a shield of protection to be placed around the building and meeting room. Also I petitioned the Lord for large warrior angels to surround the building, shoulder to shoulder. I offered other words as directed by the Spirit.
The next day as the man was talking about darkness and what it does, he paused after twenty minutes and said that he had the ability to see dark entities and he needed to check the room. He said he needed to “sweep” the area as he has the ability to see spiritually things of darkness.
He looked and said that we were okay because there were large warrior angels standing shoulder to shoulder outside protecting us from any darkness. Then he went on with his talk.
There are several ways the adversary can penetrate or remove our spiritual shield. One is if we become angry about something. Others are judging, condemning, or becoming fearful. It is important to stay out of anger and judgment or any negative emotion for that matter. These things destroy the spirit and will destroy or cause cracks in any spiritual shield we may have which will darkness to come in and cause us problems. Disobeying God’s commandments will cause our shields to weaken or go away all together.
One of the best ways to increase the power of our spiritual shields is to repent, read our scriptures and pray often.
Updated on February 19, 2024
Another dictionary definition of a shield is “a broad piece of armor, varying widely in form and size, carried apart from the body, usually on the left arm, as a defense against swords, lances, arrows, etc.” Notice the last part about being protected from: “swords, lances, arrows, etc.” This physical definition of a shield has a spiritual counterpart in protecting us from “the fiery darts of the adversary” mentioned in 1 Nephi 15:24. Doug Mendenhall tells of his friends using shields against dark arrows in Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One (2012), pp. 82-83:
We had a call one time from some people that wanted to come and visit. We knew that these people were workers of darkness or of negative energy. Denise also knew about them and said she would spend thirty seconds saying hello and then leave. I had invited three more friends to come over for the visit. Three of us knew about shields and independently had put them up. The fourth, Dave, was new to all of this and did not know about shields.
The people showed up, and we had an interesting visit of several hours. After they left, we all noticed that Dave wasn’t doing very well.
“Dave,” we asked, “didn’t you put up shields?”
“What’s that?” he responded.
We realized that we had never talked to him about them. The three of us were shielded and were fine, but Dave had at least eighteen “dark spiritual arrows” in him. They were sapping the life and energy out of him. We quickly taught him how to ask the Father in the name of Jesus Christ to have them removed. He did so and felt better almost immediately.
The three of us had all put up “reflective shields” that send whatever was sent us back to the sender as love rather than the darkness it came with.
One of the two women has the gift of spiritual sight. I asked her if the people had anything attached to them. She said that two of them had huge demons on their backs, and she described them to me. She went on to say that was what had been casting the arrows and other weapons of darkness at us. I thought it was interesting that it had been the demons attached to the people that had thrown the arrows, not the people themselves.
Updated on February 12, 2024
We can—and should—ask Jesus Christ for shielding of ourselves and where we live and have stewardship over. Doug Mendenhall shares experiences where spiritual shielding was effective and when it needed help in Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One (2012), pp. 81-82:
It seems that spiritual shields must be asked for, at least this type. That is why in our morning and evening prayers we ask for them to be around us, our home, our property, our cars, our animals, and whatever else we want shielded that we have stewardship over.
We have a good friend that sees spiritual things; she can “see” angels and demons. She and her husband were visiting quite late one night. They had parked their car outside our property. As I was walking to their car, she looked at her husband and asked that he put his arm around her as they left our property line.
“Why,” he asked.
“Well, Doug has a shield around his property so the demons can’t get in. But they are all camped outside on the road by our car.” They were actually camped all around our property.
We used to run a restaurant and asked in prayer for shields to be around it each day. A friend with spiritual sight came and ate at the restaurant one night. I was chatting with him afterwards, and he mentioned the shields.
“Do you know,” he said, “that you have shields around your restaurant?”
“Yes,” I answered, “we pray for them all the time.”
“Well, they go clear across the street. The demons and dark earthbound spirits are all over there, across the street, looking in. They aren’t happy they can’t get in the restaurant.”
I told him there are times when they do get in. Any kind of anger or negative expressions can bring down our shields. The shield around your home can be “broken” by devils who have been brought in by a person feeling angry or hateful at that moment. That can affect your complete household. The emotion of a parent can change the entire spirit of a house for good or bad, which is something many of us have experienced.
One time I went into the restaurant to work, and there seemed to be a bad feeling there. I wondered about that and asked if they had prayed that morning. The kids said they had. So I shrugged it off and went to work. When I opened up a container of tomatoes, it flew out of my hands and fell on the floor. A server in the back room had a similar experience. She sat down and started to cry. My daughter had something similar happen to her earlier.
Even though we were quite busy, I motioned to Peter who was washing dishes and to Stephanie who happened to be visiting a customer. We went upstairs and said a prayer of repentance, asking forgiveness for anything we had done wrong and then we cast out the demons asking the Lord to put the shield back up over the restaurant. When I went back downstairs, the atmosphere had switched. The rest of the night ran as smooth as glass.
Updated on February 5, 2024
One standard definition of a shield is “a broad piece of defensive armor.” When we are involved in conquering spiritual evil, we need defensive tools for protection, such as shields. Doug Mendenhall shares some experiences shielding cars in Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One (2012), pp. 79-81:
There have been many times that I and my family and many friends have seen the spiritual shielding around our cars while out driving at night. It was gratifying to me to have my family see it. Our youngest daughter, Denise is spiritually sighted and sees it all the time, but the rest of us are not as gifted as she is at this time.
The first time I saw it and realized what it was, I went home and asked Denise if she had seen them also. She informed me that she always sees the shields around us and had thought that I saw them, too.
Are these shields real? Absolutely they are. Do they work? Yes they do. One day she and I were driving, and she was talking about them.
“Dad,” she said, “I love driving and having a shield around the car. When we hit the demons that are walking on the road, it flattens them out.”
“Do you mean,” I asked, “that if we don’t have shields, they aren’t bothered or harmed or flattened?”
“No,” she said, “they just go through the car. It’s pretty cool to see them get knocked flat.”
My oldest daughter had bought a used car up in Orem, and I had gone with her to pick it up. I had asked to drive it home, so I could see how it performed.
We had just gone down a hill and across some railroad tracks on Highway 89 when a herd of deer jumped out in front of me. This daughter was in our car following me and watched this entire event unfold.
I had just got my speed up to 55 mph and realized that deer were on both sides of the car. I saw a doe about three feet in front of the car, just right of center. There was no way I could miss hitting her.
Suddenly the doe leaned away from the front of the car, slid along the road going away from me, “popped” off the road, and ran away.
There was no way I could have missed that deer and no way it could have done what it just did. Nevertheless it did happen. I knew instantly that I had watched the shield around our car protecting me and the doe.
When we got home my daughter asked me what happened. I told her and she said she had watched as that doe slid off the road in front of the car and ran away. She knew I was going to hit it, that it was impossible for me not to hit it. Then I missed it completely.
“It was the coolest thing I have ever seen, Dad,” she said.
I thought it was pretty “cool” too. What the Lord can do for us is truly amazing.
Updated on January 29, 2024
If a person has a hole in their energy field or aura around them, negativity and darkness know that is an invitation for them to siphon off energy and life force from that person. Doug Mendenhall went through the experience of having dark spirits cause him physical grief, and tells about the resulting understanding in Possibilities: Lessons From the Spirit (2002): pp. 151-154.
The next morning we took off from St. George for home. On the way we stopped off at a friend of Bob’s and talked for a while. Bob’s friend showed us around his shop and later Denise came up and told me she was hungry. I hadn’t realized it was so late, and being a diabetic she should eat on schedule. Bob’s friend said that they would feed us. His mother was there and she said that she would get right on it. I ate one sandwich and my daughter took a little nibble of hers and pushed it away. We then took off for Cedar City to meet some more friends and look at more petroglyphs.
About two hours later my stomach was hit with an incredible pain. I went to a mini-mart and got something to relieve it. My daughter said that she was very hungry and we bought her something to eat. I told Bob that I felt we needed to head back to Salt Lake; I was feeling really sick. It felt like I had food poisoning.
The pain and diarrhea were horrendous. It lasted for three weeks. I knew it wasn’t food poisoning because I had experienced that before and it is systemic. This was a horrible pain in my stomach along with bowel problems. After three weeks, I told my wife that maybe I should go to a doctor to see what the problem was. She told me that maybe I ought to ask Christ to come and heal me first. I agreed.
Friday night I knelt in prayer and asked Christ to come. I then asked Him to heal me of whatever was plaguing me. It went away, so much so that Saturday I ate the entire day. LDS conference was on TV, and I sat and watched it and ate. Later, I went to a church meeting, came home and ate some more. I had not been able to eat much for three weeks and seemed determined to make up for it in one day. Sunday I watched the conference again on TV and ate.
It hit me again Sunday afternoon. The pain had come back with a vengeance. We went to a book review meeting that evening, even though I was really sick. By ten that night I was in the kitchen deciding if I was going to live or not when my youngest daughter popped in.
“Hey, Denise,” I said, “I don’t bother you much anymore about using your gifts, but could you do me a huge favor and look at my stomach area?”
“Sure,” came the reply I had hoped for.
“Do I have a bleeding ulcer here?” I asked pointing to my stomach.
“No,” she said.
“Do I have cancer growing there?” I asked again.
“No, Dad, you don’t have cancer,” came the reply.
Wow, it wasn’t either of the two things I thought it would be. I pondered for a minute and the idea came to ask her if I had a devil there.
“Do I have a devil there?” I asked.
“Yes Dad, you have a real bad one there, a number nine,” she said.
Wait a minute, how did I get a devil in me? The first thought that came to my mind was at Bob’s friend’s house in Southern Utah. The food must have had devils on it. That must have been why my daughter took a little nibble and pushed it away.
“Hey, Sweetie, did that food in Southern Utah have devils on it?” I groaned.
“Just yours and mine did. Maybe you ought to be more aware of what is around you Dad,” came the “wisdom of the ages” reply.
“But I got rid of it the other night,” I said, “when I had asked Christ to come and take it. I didn’t know what “it” was, but He took it. So why did it come back?”
“Dad,” she said, “you have a big hole like thing in your aura right there. Maybe you ought to say a prayer of gratitude and seal it up.” I had my answer that I had sought for from the Lord. I just didn’t know that I would be living the answer. Yet I still didn’t know why Denise had allowed me, her father, to suffer like I had for those three weeks.
“Denise,” I asked, “you knew I was sick, that I really hurt, yet you didn’t say a thing about it. You just let me suffer. Why?” (Boy, could I play the martyr when I wanted).
“Dad,” came the reply I knew was coming, “I wasn’t supposed to tell you. It was your experience that Christ wanted you to go through, so you could understand.”
Later that night I knelt in prayer and asked Christ to come again and to take away the devil. He did. Then I said a prayer of gratitude for the experience I had gone though, for the pain, the horrible bowel problems, not being able to eat, the “damage” in my aura, and the understanding that He had given me. I haven’t had a problem since, but I am more aware of what is around me, what I eat, where I eat, and what if I do. It makes me wonder how many of our problems or illness come about as a result of us “letting them in?”
I know it is true, that we let darkness in as a result of our “sins” or misunderstandings. We let them in when we get angry or have any negative emotions or when we judge. Yet I still struggle with not judging, that is, condemning others and the things they are doing. A friend told me that because judging seems so “delicious to the taste and is very desirable, to make us ‘think’ we are wise,” we all do it continually. I believe that was what was mentioned in the scriptures about the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is desirable and delicious to make us think we are wise. But aren’t we commanded not to partake of that fruit? Isn’t it called the forbidden fruit? Aren’t we told that in the day we partake of that fruit we would surely die? Is that a spiritual death? Could the fruit of that tree be the using of our knowledge, of how we believe things ought to be, to accuse, blame or compare (judge) what is going on around us with how we “think” things should or should not be?
Updated on January 22, 2024
Doug Mendenhall shares in Possibilities: Lessons From the Spirit (2002), pp. 150-151 one of his many experiences with dark spirits and things learned from the experience, along with some of Brigham Young’s teachings about earthbound and evil spirits in the valleys of Utah:
I have found that in the “Lord’s University” the lessons seem to come all the time. I was still wondering about holes in auras and about how they allowed devils or spirits to come in when a friend from Boise called and asked if I wanted to take a short three day vacation to St. George to play around. We don’t get to play much anymore, so I agreed and asked if Denise could go.
“The more the merrier,” he said.
We had a great time in St. George looking at petroglyphs and hiking. We stayed in a townhouse that a friend was trying to sell. I was telling Bob, my friend, that on a previous visit to the house my daughter had come into my room and announced she was going to sleep on the floor in my room. I asked, “Why?”
She just said, “Because.”
We have stayed there several times since and she always wanted to sleep on the floor in my room. Finally I asked if there was a dark spirit in the home.
“Yes, Dad,” came the reply.
That night I was sitting talking to Bob. Denise had gone off to bed. The living room, dining room and kitchen were combined into one large room. Out of the corner of my eye I kept seeing something “dark” pacing back and forth in the dining area of the room. This went on for quite a while.
“Bob,” I asked, “do you see a dark spirit over there by the kitchen?”
He looked and said, “No, but it is dark over there, and I don’t mean the lights aren’t on.”
The next morning I asked my daughter if the spirit was a “devil” or the spirit of someone that was “earth bound.”
“He is earthbound,” she answered.
“Is he an evil or a mean spirit?” I asked.
“Yes, he is,” she replied.
I thought about the teaching of Brigham Young: “There are myriads of disembodied evil spirits – those who have long ago laid down their bodies here and in the regions round about, among and around us; and they are trying to make us and our children sick, and are trying to destroy us and to tempt us to evil. They will try every possible means they are masters of to draw us aside from the path of righteousness.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:73-74)
“There are millions and millions of spirits in these valleys, both good and evil. We are surrounded with more evil spirits than good ones, because more wicked than good men have died here. . .The spirits of the just and unjust are here. The spirits that were cast down out of heaven, which you know are recorded to have been one-third part, were thrust down to this earth, and have been here all the time, with Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, at their head. (Brigham Young, Dec. 4, 1856, Journal of Discourses 4:133-134)
Updated on January 15, 2024
When one of the ten lepers Jesus encountered on his way to Jerusalem “saw that he was healed, [he] turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And he fell down on his face at [Jesus’s] feet, giving him thanks.” (Luke 17:15-16) In a similar manner, Doug Mendenhall learned that healing spiritually or casting out of evil spirits should be followed by gratitude. Doug explains how he learned of this concept in Possibilities: Lessons From the Spirit (2002), pp. 147-150.
We had meetings where people would come up and tell us their problems with devils:
One woman told me her four year old grandson was plagued by them. She would see spiders appear on his cheek and then disappear.
Another woman told us her LDS bishop believed her three year old son was possessed.
A doctor told us she had a patient that was plagued with devils. The patient could hear them, and they would talk through her to the doctor. I had no answers for any of them.
Denise, my friend and I were scheduled to do a book review at the doctor’s home. We arrived about one hour early. A woman had come early in order to talk to us. We entered the living room where she was sitting with a friend of hers. The doctor stayed with her. She told us her story of “mental’ problems, being able to hear the devils and dealing with them for years. How a lot of her family has the same problem. I asked my daughter if she had any devils in her.
“No, she doesn’t have any in her,” was her reply.
“Does she have any on her,” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered, “five of them.”
Now my daughter and I have this little “scale” from one to ten for devils. One on the scale is the little guy that would stab me in the leg when I judged. Ten would be Satan. “Denise,” I asked, “on our scale, where are these guys that are on her?”
“They are nines, they are really bad guys,” she said. I asked the woman if she had received any “blessings” and she said that she had but they didn’t seem to work.
“Can my friend and I give her a blessing to get rid of them?” I asked. “If not, what can we do?”
“Dad,” my daughter replied, “She has to ask Christ to come, and she has to ask Him to take them. We can’t do it for her.”…
The woman bowed her head and offered a silent prayer, asking that Christ come and take the devils away. She prayed for several minutes. Finally she lifted her head up and my daughter made the comment that the devils were gone. The woman confirmed that they were; she had felt them leave.
I talked to her doctor several weeks later and was told that the devils had left her for two days and then came back. We talked for a while about this and could not understand why they would come back if Christ had taken them away from her. This was something that we had no understanding about. I asked Denise and she told me, “Go ask Christ and He would tell me.” I should have known that answer was coming.
About one week later I was chatting with a man and woman from Kearns, Utah about some of our experiences. I related this story to them, wondering if they had any ideas about why the devils had come back. All at once it hit us at the same time. She had holes (for lack of a better term) in her aura from the devils. She needed to say a prayer of gratitude to seal them up.
I remembered her doctor had told me in an e-mail, “It seems that most of her spirits (devils) were spirits that had died, but were still earth-bound. They all said through her, that they came to her because she could hear them, they liked having a body even if they didn’t have much control over it, and one said he could enter in because of a hole in her energy field or aura. She has been working to close those holes on a daily basis.”
I called her doctor and told her the feelings that my friend from Kearns and I had about holes in the aura and possibly closing them with a prayer of gratitude, it was just theory. We weren’t really sure. I asked her to let us know what happened.
I have found that in the “Lord’s University” the lessons seem to come all the time.
Updated on January 8, 2024
Fear or gratitude? What will we choose to think and feel when we face evil, even if it paralyzes us physically? Doug Mendenhall shares an early experience of his learning about the reality of evil in Possibilities: Lessons From the Spirit (2002) on pages 145-147. (Many years later, Doug would clarify in his April 19, 2020 blog post, “Really Know Him,” that Satan himself rarely bothers most people “and will send someone or thing of much less power.”)
In October of 2001, Denise, my oldest daughter, and myself were invited to go up north to do a meeting. This was a chance to go farther north than we ever had, so we took the opportunity and went. I must admit that I had other motives for going. The people that had invited us were quite interesting. Julie could see spirits, good and bad. She’s had this gift her whole life. It had gone away for the most part after having kids. But recently this gift had started to return. It was a double-edged sword for her. She enjoyed the gift and didn’t enjoy it. At the University, she and Tom, her husband, would be walking down the sidewalk and she would jump into his arms. It wasn’t his animal magnetism that had caused it but a “devil” or evil spirit had come at her and she jumped to get away. When they were first married, Tom had to keep all the windows covered at night. The evil spirits would look through the windows at her.
Needless to say, I was looking forward to spending some time with these two. The first night, we went to some activities and had a great time. We returned to their home to sleep. My daughters went into their room while I went in to the room prepared for me. I don’t sleep well on the road, so I did my normal thing and just lay there thinking. Since I am allergic to cats I shut the door tight, so as to not let their cat into my room.
About two in the morning I was laying there facing the wall. All of a sudden, it felt like the cat jumped next to me on the bed. I wondered how that thing had gotten into the room. Then I realized that if it was the cat, it was the size of a mountain lion.
At that moment I realized it was not a cat. I KNEW who it was; it was Satan. The thought came to me to “push” with my rear end to get him off the bed, as he had to be on the edge. So I tried to push. I couldn’t move, I was paralyzed. The astonishing thing was, I was not scared. I had no fear in that moment of him. I lay there wondering what I was to do. I tried to open my eyes, but could not. I had never been unable to move before. I asked Christ to please come! He did, and the Devil left.
I whirled around to the edge of the bed. I sat there for many minutes and prayed a long prayer of gratitude. I never knew that Satan had that kind of power, enough to paralyze me. But I was so incredibly grateful to Christ, that He would come and “save” me. The experience was only a few minutes long, but long enough for me to understand that Satan does have power and is very real.
The next morning I told Tom and Julie about my little experience. It didn’t seem to faze them. We went to church with them and later that night did a book review. It was a great time and we had a lot of fun with them.
After the meeting we talked past midnight. We were discussing how spiritual things seem to bring people from the other side of the veil. We talked of Christ and many others. The room felt full of “other” wonderful beings. All of a sudden they left. Every one of them. It was so sudden I exclaimed, “Whoa, they all left.”
“Who left?” Julie asked.
“All the spirits in the room,” I answered.
Julie then closed her eyes (she sees spirits best with her eyes closed) and said, “There is someone just behind me, outside the patio door about ten feet. He is around six feet tall, he is dressed in old Civil War type clothes. He has brown hair down to below his chin line. His eyes are red and he is angry, angry enough that he wants to destroy all of us.”
Tom responded, “It must be Cain.”
I knew who it was from the previous night, so I just asked Christ to come back. For about fifteen minutes we talked about why Christ had left, hoping He would come back. The room remained empty. Julie kept checking outside, the being stayed there, full of hate and anger.
Finally, Christ and the other “good” spirits all came back. I was astonished when they had left, but was I ever grateful. I told Tom and Julie, “They’re back.” Julie closed her eyes and checked outside.
“He’s gone and there are two angels on the roof in full armor,” she stated. “We will be fine tonight.”
We talked another thirty minutes and went to bed with no further incidents. I joked with Julie that I was grateful not to have her gift.
Updated on January 1, 2024
What do you think of people who sell cigarettes? Can they have good qualities? Doug Mendenhall faced those questions when his youngest daughter was recovering from her coma in 1999. He talks about going into a cigarette store, for his daughter’s sake, in My Peace I Give Unto You (2001) on pages 125-128:
“Hey, Denise, would you like to go with me to pick up your sister at work?” I asked as I headed for the door. For some reason, I didn’t want to go alone.
“Sure!” She grabbed her coat and ran to catch me at the top of the stairs.
It took a minute for our car to warm up. It didn’t like the cold and if you didn’t let it warm up, it would sputter and cough for the first two miles.
It was a short ride to my daughter’s job at a nearby copy and mailing store. I pulled the car into a spot right in front of the neighboring store dedicated to smokers. I wasn’t a smoker and had no interest in anything having to do with what I always thought of as a dirty habit.
My daughter, it appeared, was going to be a few minutes. She was still closing up the store. I made myself comfortable and turned on the radio…
“Daddy, what’s in that store?” Denise pointed to the cigarette store.
“Oh, there is nothing inside there but nasty cigarettes. We don’t go in there because we don’t like cigarettes. They make you sick and they make you smell bad.” I was happy just waiting in the car. I didn’t want to go inside.
“Oh Daddy, please! Can we go in? Please, Daddy!”…
“No, Denise, let’s just sit here and wait for your sister.”
“But look Daddy, they have a teddy bear in the window.” Denise pointed at the store window, “Pleeeease, Daddy, pleeeease?”
I turned off the car.
“Okay, but just for a minute. I’m telling you, there is nothing of any value in there.”
We both got out of the car and went into the store.
Since Denise got home from the hospital I’ve had a difficult time telling her no. I can’t endure inflicting any kind of mental or physical discomfort on her. I guess it’s just my reaction to almost losing her. So when she set her heart on checking out the cigarette store I knew I was going to succumb to her pleadings.
“Hi, can I help you find anything?” The woman behind the counter asked as we entered.
“Not really. My daughter just saw the bear in the window and wanted to get a closer look. Thanks anyway.” I replied.
“It’s a cute, cuddly bear and it’s on sale. There’s no reason why she can’t cuddle up to it and take it home.” She smiled at me and then glanced over to Denise who had rescued the bear from the window display.
“Thanks, but no.” I cut off our conversation and turned to Denise. “Sweetie, why don’t you go get a soda and you can drink it in the car while we wait.” All of a sudden, I felt very uncomfortable.
My congregation of fellow church members all knew of my strong dislike of cigarettes and I didn’t want them to see me inside the store. It was an image thing and I became very self-conscious.
“Oh Daddy, look how cute the bear is. He is so soft and cute, Daddy.” Denise had no intention of letting this end quickly or painlessly. I reached in my pocket just to confirm that I had barely enough money for a soda. There was no way I could get her the twenty-five dollar bear even if I wanted to.
“Oh, just go ahead and get her the bear. She has become so attached to it.” The clerk apparently worked on commission or so it appeared.
I walked over to the sodas and picked one up for Denise then pulled out all the money I had – pocket change – and paid for the soda.
“You sure you won’t buy her the bear? They look so adorable together. You’re going to break her heart if you don’t.” A smile of victory crossed the clerk’s lips.
“Please Daddy! I really want him!” Denise appealed to the clerk as much as to me.
“Look lady, I’m sorry, but I can’t buy the bear. The change I just gave you was the last money I have in this world.” I turned to face the clerk directly, “My daughter was just released from the hospital a few weeks ago. She had a massive stroke and went into a coma. She was in the hospital for over four weeks and the bill is staggering. I have no money to buy her or her brothers and sisters food or clothes, much less a bear. I’m sorry to disappoint you both, but I can’t produce money out of thin air.” I finished and turned towards Denise.
“I’m sorry. I had no idea.” The clerk humbly apologized.
“It’s okay, it’s not something that you would know. Thank you for your time.” I reached out to Denise to pluck the bear from her hands.
“Wait . . . excuse me,” the clerk spoke up, “but, would you permit me to buy her the bear?”
Confusion and disbelief colored my face.
“Please, really, I would like to buy it for her.” Tears glistened in the clerk’s eyes as she grabbed her purse from beneath the counter and retrieved a few bills from her wallet.
“Well . . . if you want. That would be very kind of you.”
“Thank you for letting me do this.” She caught a loose tear on her check with the back of her hand and then rang up the sale of the bear and handed me the receipt. This time her smile was one of love and compassion.
“Thank you very much.” I can’t remember who spoke those words though we both meant them. I shook her hand and pushed Denise out of the store.
We settled back into the car and Denise held up the bear for me to see.
“See Daddy, want to hold him?”
“No, he stinks.” I said.
“I don’t smell a thing!” She snuggled her face into the bear. “I told you there was more than cigarettes in the store. There are nice people there, too.”
Updated on December 25, 2023
Doug Mendenhall returned again and again in his talks and writings to the great contrast between how the Lord does His work and ways the world works. Twenty years ago, Doug focused on the weak and the simple seeking to follow Jesus Christ (in part of a talk he gave in Boise, Idaho). In his Ezekiel Conference talk from November 7, 2003, Doug briefly discusses those with spiritual gifts and how they are misperceived and persecuted by others. He also includes his own experiences as a young man on his LDS mission in Spain where he had a hard time speaking (because of his stuttering issues), yet he learned line upon line about what is possible relying on faith in our Savior.
Here is a link to a 14 minute audio recording excerpt from Doug’s talk: