Updated on May 18, 2021
Doug Tales 21: The Adversary Never Rests, Never Quits
Is demonic possession fake or real? If you have not had experience with the adversary in this way, are you open to believing, or will you look to other explanations? And, how about dealing with or overcoming possession by evil spirits?
Doug Mendenhall wrote 370 pages of what he learned about our constant opposition in this world—and the fight with it—in Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One (2012). The following observations are from that book, in chapter 2, “Is Spiritual Evil Real?” on pages 15-21:
It seems that modern psychotherapy, modern medicine, and possibly even church members have reduced Satan to just stories from the Bible and from early church history. I have talked to many people that feel it is not something you are really bothered with unless you are extremely evil. As quoted [in this book] by LDS therapists, “At the time the scriptures were written, the people mistook mental disease and biologically based defects for possession by evil spirits.” If we persist in this belief, Satan will win many souls.
I have a daughter that works with wayward teenagers in a group home. She originally worked in a home for girls. She watched as the counselors worked with these girls, only getting them so far on the road to mental health recovery. One night she talked with the counselor and dared mention unclean spirits and demons. The counselor told her that she knew the girls had “possession problems” but that there was nothing she could do about it; it wasn’t a subject that could even be broached. She knew the girls could never be completely “healed” as long as this issue was not addressed.
Recently I spent five hours with a woman that had worked as a psych-nurse for over thirty years. The last few were with a group that handles mental issues for LDS missionaries. She stated that she knows most of the psych-problems she dealt with were a result of possession. She is blessed with discernment and carries much light and knows this is to be a fact. The problem was she was just a nurse and was never allowed to assess anything—her job was to hand out pills and do what the doctor ordered. I listened to dozens of stories about the people she had encountered that were possessed, and there wasn’t one thing she was allowed to do. As she told me, possession is not even in most doctors’ consciousness.
Even in one of our own recent LDS general conferences we are told, “Today the only power Satan and his followers have is the power to tempt and try us.” (Robert D. Hales, “Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life,” LDS General Conference, October 2010)
I’m not quite sure if Elder Hales really meant that Satan can’t possess us, enter into our bodies like he declares in the temple that he will and that he really only can “tempt and try us.” That would make things so much easier for all of us.
This is very similar to what Brigham Young declared many years ago: “I know very well that, whether we are active or not, the invisible spirits are active. And every person who desires and strives to be a Saint is closely watched by fallen spirits that came here when Lucifer fell, and by the spirits of wicked persons who have been here in tabernacles and departed them, but who are still under the control of the prince of the power of the air. Those spirits are never idle; they are watching every person who wishes to do right, and are continually prompting them to do wrong. This makes it necessary for us to be continually on our guard—makes this probation a continual warfare.” (Journal of Discourses 7:239)
As Brigham Young said, “This probation is a continual warfare.” If we don’t know that or even ignore that fact, we will still be affected by it. The adversary never rests, never quits. He and his minions are always pushing at us.
Brigham Young also said that we never had an ache or pain that wasn’t put there by darkness or the adversary and his minions. (Journal of Discourses 4:133). They have the ability to possess us—something even declared by Satan in the temple ceremony. We will see in this work that they also have the ability to cause us physical harm, psychological harm, and like Brigham Young said, aches and pains and all kinds of physical discomforts. It appears that they do have the ability to do more than to just “tempt and try us.”…
We invite evil into us in hundreds of different ways, but the main ones are disobedience to the Lord, anger, and fear. These will be discussed several times in this book. Once we have allowed the adversary a foothold, he can really go to work on us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
We need to understand that “The devil cannot compel mankind to evil, all was voluntary. Those who resist the spirit of God, are liable to be led into temptation, and then the association of heaven is withdrawn from those who refuse to be made partakers of such great glory—God would not exert any compulsory means and the Devil could not; and such ideas as were entertained by many were absurd.” (Joseph Smith, May 16, 1841, Words of Joseph Smith, p. 72)
This book comes from the stance that these things are real. In this continual warfare it is important to know your enemy and how he operates. It might be important to understand, contemplate, and meditate on all aspects of spiritual evil…
I have talked with members that have experienced severe “poltergeist” activity in their homes and have asked for help from local priesthood leaders, who then came and said a prayer over the home. Nothing changed. If these people are open to asking others, they will usually be directed to a person that does “energy work.” Individuals that do energy work are familiar with dark entities and spirits because of the work they do in helping people become free of such problems. But our church membership by and large seems to be ignorant of the problem or refuses to believe it exists. Though some do know it exists because it haunts them daily. They just don’t know where to turn for help, and therefore remain silent.
One woman was so beside herself from the poltergeist/demonic activity in her home that she called the local LDS authorities, the local Catholic Priest, and anyone else she could find—all to no avail. She just wanted help in alleviating the problem, but no one seemed to know what to do or what they did had zero effect. I was so new in this area at that time that I had no advice to give her. She told me she was going to move…
Another woman became quite possessed with multiple demons, and her husband had no idea what to do about it. He called his ecclesiastical leaders, and they were also dumfounded. It wasn’t until her son showed up who had seen such things in the mission field in Brazil and supposed he knew how to deal with the problem that anything was done. He said that his mother was possessed, and they needed to cast the demons out. Unfortunately, even though he had the right idea, he didn’t know the total process. There were several things he needed to do before casting out. We will discuss those in this book, giving the reader practical knowledge to help take care of this problem or to help others.
It is your choice as the reader to accept or reject what is written in this book. If the Spirit doesn’t verify what is before you, feel free to throw it out. But be extremely careful about throwing out something that is of God. We should walk softly and seek the Spirit in these matters…