Updated on May 16, 2022
Doug Tales 66: Evil Assumptions
Who is the author of the lies about the adversary? What is the purpose of such lies? Doug Mendenhall points out many so-called sophisticated assumptions which people proclaim about darkness and evil in Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One (2012), pp. 40-42:
When one embraces the idea that angels and devils from an unseen realm actually exist, 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, and blessings that can be used to bless our lives through the grace and power of God.
Unfortunately, however, many still scoff at all spiritual phenomenon as being “evil” thereby labeling those who have such experiences as weird, crude, spiritually unsophisticated, or primitive and judging them as superstitious, naïve, deceived, or under the influence of Satan. Some even claimed that they have such spiritual understanding and insight that they 1. “understand what is going on.” Which means nothing because they deny spirits exist; or 2. “don’t need such experiences” because they are spiritually beyond such experiences; or 3. are tolerant or curious enough to acknowledge that they have these experiences/encounters but proclaim that these occurrences are “so sacred that they should not be shared or spoken about.”
Curiously, I have also heard of esteemed individuals who blatantly deny that such occurrences really happened to early Saints or admit that if they really did happen, then “it is because the people at that time needed these experiences to strengthen their faith and show power unneeded in today‘s world.” All of these rationales are attempts to either deny the existence of spiritual experiences or deny the power of God and Satan. Some, however, may only use these excuses to cover their fear and don‘t want to understand how both the temporal and spiritual worlds interact…
We LDS tend to sweep these kinds of things aside. If we have entertained angels, it is considered too sacred to talk about. If we have experienced the adversary, we must be of an evil nature. Neither assumption is true. If it was too sacred we would not have the Joseph Smith story or the scriptures, and everyone that attains light in their life will have to confront the darkness.
Evil can be disturbing, even scary at times. I know when a number “9” or higher dark entity is after a person, it can be downright scary and intimidating, especially if knowledge about how evil works and how to control it is labeled as taboo or is intentionally disregarded, ignored, or locked behind the closed doors of piety with the warning that it should not be discussed lest one be taken or overcome by it, or even worse, decide to become part of it. This is no more than a lack of understanding or the use of fear to exercise control on other individuals. Ignorance can be extremely scary and sometimes dangerous. When we gain knowledge, we can stay out of fear and overcome what is being thrown at us. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. These things must be brought to light in order to dispel the falsehoods and ignorance that surrounds them.
Joseph Smith stated this in D&C 123:13-15: “Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—these should then be attended to with great earnestness. Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.”
As we grow in spiritual understanding and have experiences with angels, the Lord, and others beyond the veil, our confidence will grow. We will understand that it is just part of the process of growth in the gospel of Christ, knowing that these things are required.