Updated on May 18, 2021
Doug Tales 20: Chipping Concrete Out of My Mouth
Doug checked in with the Savior about when and where he was to respond to different people who sought him out (after his first book was printed in 2001 telling of his daughter’s near-death experience). He learned quite a bit from visiting people about how the Savior responds to and loves each of us. Doug Mendenhall was willing to have others teach, not just himself, as shown in these events on pages 19-31 of Possibilities: Lessons From the Spirit (2002):
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
It was just after Christmas and the roads were icy. I didn’t seem to notice, though, as I was deep in thought, wondering what in the world we were doing. I found the house and was amazed at how tiny and cute it was.
I kept telling myself to have an open mind, or even better yet, to have a “not knowing” mind, to put all in the Lord’s hand (as His hand is in all things). My mind drifted back to the e-mail I had received [about a woman asking for help with a problem in her life]…
I had sent her a return e-mail and set up an appointment to see her today. However, during the drive I felt as if Satan was working on me, telling me that I didn’t know a thing. I kept wondering what I was doing here, thinking I could help this woman? Was I way in over my head? Who am I to think I can do anything for her?
I agreed with most of my thoughts. I really was wondering what I was doing here. I knew I didn’t know a whole lot and probably was in way over my head. But, I did know this, it didn’t matter. I felt that Christ had told me to come. If I went in with a “not knowing” mind, (not knowing beforehand what I should do), kept my ego out of it and let Him do whatever He wanted, it would all work out for the best.
So with as much faith as I could muster, I knocked on the door hoping His peace would be with us. Denise was with me, along with Chad, a friend from Idaho…But we certainly were not counselors. How could we ever help this poor woman?
However as she finished her story, we opened our mouths hoping that the Spirit would speak through us. The Spirit told her that Christ stands at the door knocking, waiting to be let into our lives. However, He has said that it is up to us to open the door. We all seem to make opening that door so complicated, though it really is so simple that anyone can do it. It is opened with gratitude. We told them of a Methodist Chaplain that has talked of this principle for decades. If someone goes to see him with a problem, he will open the Bible and have them read all the scriptures which tell about gratitude and praising God for ALL things. Then he has them pray a simple prayer of thanksgiving, thanking God for the situation they are in, for the experience they are having. Then it seems that the miracles begin to happen…
I told Sue I knew all this seemed like a huge paradox, but I had experienced that it was a true principle nevertheless. In order to receive His peace, I explained that I felt Christ wants us to express gratitude for the experience of what we are going through. She still seemed doubtful. “How can I be grateful for the awful things done to me and my children?” she asked. Just then Chad spoke up and told his story.
“I’m eighteen years old. A friend of mine gave me Doug and Denise’s book a month or so ago. I had read about half of it. It offered concepts I hadn’t thought about before. It talked of receiving Christ’s peace, something I wanted, but could not understand how I could ever receive it.
“You see, I am a victim of Satanic Ritual Abuse or SRA for short. The perpetrator was my grandma and her new husband. I ‘woke’ up to it several years ago and have been healing from it ever since. I have been angry for many years with these relatives who had done these awful things to me. Countless times I have tried to completely forgive them of all the havoc and heartache they have caused me and my family. That anger and hate has been churning in my gut for the past years now and I have attempted many times to just leave them in Christ’s hands, but I knew I was missing an important element, that of forgiveness. I have never been able to forgive them. I can’t even call her grandma.
“Anyway, I had read about half of the book, My Peace I Give Unto You and was sitting in Church one Sunday. About twenty minutes into the meeting, the Spirit told me to leave and finish reading the book. I mentally argued with the feeling for a few minutes and finally left for my car.
“I sat out in the car and finished the book over the next few hours. As I read how Doug had lost his business and how his daughter was almost taken from him, I learned the great principle of gratitude for all things from Jesus. It gave me renewed power of hope and a key of knowledge, that of how to forgive those who had wronged me. I was told by the Spirit to pray and express gratitude for what my grandma had done to me. I had determined to do this, hoping that by expressing gratitude, all these years of anger, hatred, and tears would go away and I would receive His peace.
“So I went home and got on my knees. It was like chipping concrete out of my mouth, getting the words out. But I did it. As I continued to pray, my confidence and faith in the Lord grew stronger. I felt anger, hate, and bitterness leave my heart and stomach and I felt love and forgiveness replace them. I can’t express with words the feeling that came over me. Every cell of my body experienced the most profound peace. All the hatred and anger that I had harbored for these past years left! I was free of it. All from a prayer of gratitude.”
We offered several verses from the scriptures about gratitude:
“Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” (D&C 59:7)
“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess NOT his hand in all things. . .” (D&C 59:21)
We then told Sue that we would love to kneel down with her and her mother to offer a prayer of gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the experience of ALL the things she had gone through. We asked if she and her mom would kneel down with us right then? We knelt and they knelt with us.
I was in awe over the prayer that Sue offered. She was so specific about the experiences of abuse and thanked Heavenly Father for them, for each experience. She had been told that the more specific she was, the more powerful her prayer would be. It was indeed a very powerful prayer. She was weeping all the way through it, as was her mother. She also thanked Him for the experiences her children had gone through. She then ended it.
Afterwards Sue’s mother prayed. I could tell she was more doubting than Sue, but that was all right. She was at least doing it. What an exercise of faith!
After the prayers were completed we stood up. Sue looked at Denise and asked, “Is that Jesus that I feel standing next to me?” Denise confirmed that it was Him. I realized Sue had just opened the door He had been standing at. She stood there and cried, with joy and gratitude for every experience she had been through. She had received His peace.
We quickly left, giving them both hugs and asking that they keep in contact with us.
Nearly a week later, this e-mail arrived:
“Just a quick note to thank you and to let you know how I’m doing since I met with you. Thank you for being the instrument through which I received the gift of the Savior’s presence. After you left, I realized I had felt His peace before and heard His voice before, but I never knew that He was continually with me, or that I could have His peace with me always. The knowledge that He is with me has changed my life. Christ says that it is my job to teach my family. I was able to help Mom feel His Presence, and I have begun to teach my children about gratitude. I feel so good that I just had to share it with them, so they can have this experience for themselves.
“Thank you for bringing your friend. He said things to me that let me know God really does know me and hears my prayers. Abuse changes you. Therefore, there is a special connection between those that have been abused. Even though I don’t know a lot about him, I felt that bond with him…Thank you…”
The transformation from a frightened woman whose problems were about to “swallow” her up and “destroy” her to an incredibly “confident” person that now knows her Savior, feels His peace and is willing to do His will, still amazes me. All this and more came from simply kneeling down with a broken (open) heart and a contrite (teachable) spirit, expressing gratitude to her Father in Heaven for the experiences she had endured!
The Lord said in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
I have experienced the lightness of His burden and the easiness of His yoke when I offered prayers of gratitude for experiences I have gone through. It works with both the little day-to-day experiences and the “horrible” ones as well. He truly has experienced all things, descended below all things. Perhaps, that is WHY He is able to succor us perfectly…
Is it possible that we got off course when we try to figure it out with our finite “human” mind or when we come to our own “hardened conclusions” about what God is doing to “refine” each of us? Do we transgress (misunderstand) when we try to reconcile in our mind the events that have transpired, forgetting that God has declared they “shall work together for (our) good”? I’ve found that when passing through “bad” experiences, many times we “think” that His hand could not possibly be in what we have endured. However, He has declared over and over again that His hand is in ALL things and that we must be grateful for ALL things. I’ve asked many of those with whom we’ve worked, how much is ALL?
I’ve experienced that as we begin to praise or give gratitude to Him, with pure intent, His Holy Spirit will fill our beings with a peace that passes understanding. To continually praise Him, I believe, means a steady decreasing of self (understanding our “nothingness” in God’s way) and an increase of Christ’s presence within us until we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. I believe this is the joy experienced and expressed by my friends and is available to everyone. But I’ve found that it can’t be experienced until we affirm His hand in our lives and give thanks for the experiences of life. Again through all of this, I’ve experienced that as Christ’s presence increases in us, we truly become “like Him.”