“Because the people gave of themselves, wanting nothing back, Heaven took notice.” Doug Mendenhall shares the backstory to the unique Country Gardens restaurant on pages 3-6 of I See…Arise! (2016). Around 15 years ago, this restaurant in Sanpete County, Utah, hosted six families who served the local community without any of the workers being paid, and “Heaven took notice.”
Around 2005, while I was traveling north to do a seminar, the Spirit told me to make a bid to take over a restaurant in Fairview, Utah. It was a place that my daughter and her husband were running for his parents. They were in the process of closing it due to many months of losses.
The Spirit told me to approach five other families and ask them if they would like to take over this restaurant and work it for the Lord, and no one would be paid to work there—not one dime. I had no idea how these families would view what the Lord was asking us to do. They still would need to work their normal jobs so they could provide for their families in addition to covering all shifts at the restaurant.
All five said they would do it. One said they would do it for me. That didn’t sit well with me, as I knew they needed to do it for the Lord and not for a man. Nevertheless, I made the offer to take it over, and it was rejected. As I knelt on my knees that night, I reminded the Lord that this was His deal, and it had been rejected. He told me to have patience and wait.
The owners called three days later and said they would accept our offer to just take it over; no money involved in the transaction.
The five (later six) families ran the restaurant, Country Gardens, for two years. We learned much. We fought, cried, laughed, learned, worked very hard together, loved and hated each other, and yet we tried to obey the Lord in what we were doing. Country Gardens was His restaurant, not ours. It was hard to put in forty hours there and then work another forty hours or more to provide for my family. But the lessons learned were priceless, and little did we know how Heaven felt about it.
We started each day with prayer. Shields were placed around the restaurant to keep darkness away from it. Love was consciously put into the food as we cooked it. For Thanksgiving we fed anyone who wanted to come for a free turkey dinner. At Christmas time we fed fifty needy families a free Christmas dinner of any item on the menu that they wanted to eat, including dessert. There was a Christmas room upstairs loaded with purchased and donated toys, clothes, and other items that were given to the families for Christmas. Some families that came had up to twelve children. It was an amazing time and incredibly hard work. I remember leaving the restaurant many nights at one in the morning.
One family that worked with us, the DeGraws, dressed up as Dickens Carolers and sang Christmas Carols in the restaurant and also outside at a Nativity we had built. We gave away free hot chocolate and apple cider.
One Thanksgiving when we provided the free dinner, we stayed open until 3:00 p.m. and then shut it down so we could clean up and go home to enjoy the rest of the day with our families. At 3:10 there was a knock on the door. I opened the door, and there stood a man and woman, a husband and wife.
The man said, “We’ve been traveling and tried to get a Thanksgiving dinner at the restaurant in Mt. Pleasant, but we got there at 3:05, and they wouldn’t feed us, so we traveled here and found you. Could we get a meal here?”
I told him sure and asked them to come in.
We sat them in the booth near the register. They both ate two plates of food and dessert on top of that. It was fun talking to them because they had really “different” accents.
My daughter, Denise, sat over in the corner and just watched and smiled.
After the couple left I called our friend, Kitten, who has spiritual sight and asked her if she noticed anything about the restaurant as she had driven off with her husband. She had left as they walked up to our door. She stated that she had seen a huge light descend on the place but had been told to keep going home.
We asked Denise about them because the Spirit had told us that it had been the Lord Jesus Christ and his Wife that had come to our restaurant. Denise laughed and confirmed that, indeed, it had been Them.
We felt Their presence for weeks, and some of us found ourselves sitting in that booth whenever we could. We marveled that They would come to our little place. Why? And then we’d ask ourselves if it really was the Lord and His Wife. Then the Spirit would confirm it all over again to us.
Later at Christmas time as we were feeding the fifty families, They came back. They listened to the DeGraws sing carols for thirty minutes inside the restaurant, carols to Him, about His birth, as He sat there. Then They went outside and listened to the DeGraws and others sing carols at the Nativity we had built.
Once again it was confirmed that They had come back to see the restaurant.
Years later a good friend called me and asked me to tell him of our restaurant experience.
“You mean my monumental failure?” I asked him.
“No, it was not a failure. It was a piece of Zion here on the earth for those two years, and Heaven took notice,” he responded.
He went on to say that Heaven took notice because a group of people listened to His voice and worked a restaurant for two years without pay, doing much good for the community while learning many lessons themselves. Because the people gave of themselves, wanting nothing back, Heaven took notice.
Updated on June 3, 2021
Can you learn something—anything—different from what you already know if you don’t believe anything could be different from what you already know? What if you visit a medical doctor who shows you a healing device you had never seen before? Or, you learn that Oliver Cowdery was originally told in revelation that he had the gift of using a divining rod? Or, God provides you with “training wheel” tools to prepare you for learning something everyone around you says is impossible based on their traditions?
Doug Mendenhall became acquainted with many tools for obtaining light and conquering spiritual evil. He shares his first exposure to one of them in I See…Awake! (2015) on pages 13-17:
I have found over the years that many things that are considered to be evil by mainstream Christianity or by LDS really are just misunderstood. God has given us tools to use and of course those have been taken and perverted by the Adversary, so much so that much of what was once “considered good” is now felt to be of abject evil.
For example, some years ago my aged mother had shattered her shin which required surgery to repair. Several months later the pain still remained, so we took her to my sighted daughter’s doctor. My daughter had told me that this doctor was not a regular allopathic physician who practiced only the traditions of Western Medicine. I was going to learn something new!
We arrived at her home office and told her of my mother’s accident and subsequent pain. She had my mother get up on the exam table and lay on her back. The doctor then left the room and came back with a crystal pendulum on a chain. I was surprised to see a doctor walk in with that in her hand.
“So what are you going to do with that?” I asked.
“I’m not going to do anything with it, you are,” she answered.
I didn’t know why she wanted me to do anything with it. I really had no opinion of pendulums, only what the average “Christian” might tell you, they are evil, something that witches and soothsayers used. Well, I guess that might have been my opinion, too. The doctor then asked me to hold on to the end of the chain and let the pendulum on the other end dangle over my mother’s injured shin. I was instructed to hold it very carefully over the shin and to not move my arms or hands, to keep very still and let the pendulum do the work. I smiled inside, thinking that this ought to be really good. We could soon get this over with and leave. All I can say is thank the good Lord that the doctor’s faith was intact, and God was not going to have to rely on the disbeliever who had been asked to hold the pendulum above his mother’s leg.
I really liked this doctor because she had helped our daughter many times. But this really stretched my judgmental box. I sat in a chair next to my mother and put both elbows on the edge of the examination table. I was not going to move. I grabbed the end of the chain and held it so that the pendulum was directly above my mother’s shin bone, making sure that when this did nothing for my mother, I was not going to be the one the doctor blamed. I held as still as possible; I could feel and hear my heart beating.
Suddenly the pendulum quivered and started to slowly spin in a counter clock-wise motion over her shin. It made a pretty big circle for about ten minutes. It then slowed down and stopped. It quivered again and started going clock-wise in a big circle. After a while it slowed down and stopped.
The doctor looked over and said, “It’s done now.”
I looked at my mother and asked her how she felt. “The pain is gone,” she replied. The Doctor explained that when it went counter clock-wise, it was taking out the negative energy. Then when it went clock-wise, it was putting in Christ’s healing energy. I was shocked and couldn’t respond in any way. Mom never complained about that shin again.
This was one of my first introductions to a tool, an instrument that can be used as the holder intends. It can be used properly and can be of great benefit. It can be used improperly and be a great detriment if the sender is evil and desires to cause problems. Any tool is not inherently evil; it is just a tool. These past fifteen years the Lord has introduced me to many different tools. They operate by God’s natural law.
Joseph Smith was given several tools when he secured the metal plates out of the ground. One was what he called the Urim and Thummim, and another was a tool called a seer stone. He used both to “see” other things. He used the seer stone for a while to translate the plates, which became the Book of Mormon. He’d put it in the bottom of a hat and put his face in the hat. By doing this he was shown many things. He saw into the “metaphysical” world, or we might call it the spirit realm. Others procured seer stones and Hiram Page evidently used his improperly. Once again it is just a tool. Can you tap into light with it? Absolutely. Can you tap into dark with it? Absolutely. What is your intent? Where is your heart with the Lord Jesus Christ? After a while Joseph didn’t need the tool anymore; he could just look and see. He had become a true seer and had the gift of sight. The seer stone was just “training wheels” that the Lord had him use until it wasn’t needed any more…
I had a “spiritual rebirth” when our daughter, Denise, came out of her coma and came home with spiritual sight, with her “third eye” open to the spirit world, both light and dark. Now I’ve had an ecclesiastical leader tell me that my belief that my daughter can see through the veil is satanic. I thought it was just a gift from God, like Oliver had the gift from God to use a stick to find things. I have to say that he is right only if my intent is to use the gift from God for evil purposes. If the intent is to do the Lord Jesus Christ’s work, then it is of the Lord. My rebirth has gone on for some 15 plus years now, and it keeps getting better as I learn new things and as my own spiritual gifts have opened up. The more I learn, the more I realize that I don’t know very much. What we have experienced and learned we are to share in books, and this is one of those sharing experiences.
Later I would learn about energy work and healing and how that also is based upon laws decreed from the foundations of this world. On my mission to Spain in 1976 my companion and I experienced the healing of a man who had not walked in 6 years. He jumped out of bed and started to shadow box, then ran up the street shouting that he’d been healed. We two young missionaries stood there dumbfounded, in shock. It worked. We had laid hands on him and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ declared him to be healed, and he was. Was that a “metaphysical” experience? Some would say it was. For us it was a humbling experience showing us what faith could accomplish—one of God’s laws again.
Updated on June 3, 2021
Doug Mendenhall starts out his book I See…Awake! (2015) (on pages 11-13) by explaining how natural law is used by good to create freedom or evil to create slavery. He emphasized “natural law” whenever he was involved in a workshop, seminar, class, or writing books or on this blog. Doug looked for and saw natural law at work all around him, and constantly worked to increase his perception and understanding of natural law.
God has natural laws. These laws can be used for good or for evil; it is up to the individual to choose. No matter whether the actions of an individual are morally good or bad, they are brought about by exactly the same laws. The difference is solely one of intention. When we meditate or pray with gratitude and have faith that our God is working in our favor, we can co-create the world that we desire.
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (D&C 130:20-21)
Our Father in Heaven and the Gods of Light have given us natural laws (God’s laws) as the above scripture plainly states. If we operate by God’s natural law then we are fully conscious human beings. When we continue with that state of conscious- ness, we can become an “enlightened” being. From this point on, when we keep following the path of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can become a redeemed being, then a translated being, and then on to becoming a son of God. If we operate against God’s natural laws, we become dark and become enlightened in the dark arts. We then have the ability to travel that path to becoming an “ascended being,” and eventually all the way to becoming a son of Satan. A conscious person of light has the knowledge of what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior, which is surely enhanced by his or her connection to the Spirit and God. The world we get is the world we enact or co-create into existence.
For example, one of God’s natural laws is the law of freedom. It states that as the aggregate morality of a people increases, their freedom also increases proportional to that level of morality. The converse is also true, as the aggregate morality of any given people decreases, they become more enslaved.
The Book of Mormon puts this quite succinctly about “this land” we live in.
“Behold, this is a choice land and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.” (Ether 2:12)
If we obey our God, we will be a free land; if not, we will have bondage and captivity. Ancient Israelites and Nephites are examples of this. Obey God = Freedom. Disobey God = Bondage/Slavery.
Have you ever considered that natural law works both ways—with light and dark? The God of Darkness will answer his follower’s prayers just like our Father in Heaven will answer ours. The natural laws are there for the choosing. When we receive a blessing, it is because we obeyed the law or laws that allows the universe to fulfill that blessing. If you send out a curse, whether inadvertently or with intent, you obeyed that law that allowed it to be sent out.
This book will show you in many cases how Light works and also how evil works. Through the eyes of my friend, Kitten, my daughter and other friends with spiritual sight we will get a “behind the scenes” look at Light and also Dark to see what they do and how they do it. Why? So you can get an understanding of how the dark operates in order to overcome it, which will be important in your life especially when you are being plagued by them—so you won’t be plagued by them. Also, because evil mimics light and by seeing how that works, it will be possible to understand how our Father and His Son work. If our Father or the Lord Jesus Christ does something, the Adversary will copy it in darkness and for evil. There is much to be learned on how light operates by understanding how evil has copied it. For most that might be a new concept; nevertheless it is true, and it will be shown throughout this book.
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…
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.”
Doug Mendenhall voiced a blessing for his mother at her request, and explains what he learned from the experience in My Peace I Give Unto You (2001) on pages 41-44:
The phone rang.
“Hello,” I said and a familiar voice greeted me.
“I know you’re probably busy, what with trying to get the kids off to school and all, but do you have a minute?” she asked.
“Sure Mom, no problem, what’s going on?”
“Well, the doctor scheduled me for an angiogram tomorrow afternoon,” she started out, “and I was wondering if you would come over and give me a blessing sometime today? I think it would make me feel a lot better.”
“Of course . . . Mom, how long have you known about the angiogram?” I asked her.
“Oh . . . about three, maybe four weeks; I didn’t mention it before because it didn’t seem important,” she apologetically answered…
“Mom, I’ve got to go. How about if I come by tonight around, say, 7:00 to give you a blessing?”
“That would be fine, Doug. Good luck with Denise and have a good day son, love you,” Mom finished.
“Love you too, Mom.” I hung up the phone and headed for the kitchen…
“That was Mom.” I began explaining to Dianne. “She said she’s going in for an angiogram tomorrow. I know it has something to do with her heart but that’s about it.”
“Is something wrong with grandma?” Debi looked up from her half-finished breakfast.
“No dear, grandma’s fine, she’s just having a test, that’s all,” Dianne soothed Debi.
“Well, anyway, I’m going to call Mike. He’ll tell me what this is all about.” I gave Dianne a peck on the cheek and returned to the bedroom.
Mike is a good friend and a dentist. Granted, being a dentist isn’t the same as a medical doctor, but I figured Mike would know more about the procedure than I do. After a long conversation with him, I understood–it was a procedure used to diagnose heart problems; semi-invasive, painful and even dangerous.
Now I began to worry.
I went over to Mom’s at 7:00, as promised, to give her a blessing. She became calm as we hugged and started talking. When she was ready, I laid my hands on her head the way the apostles did anciently, and gave her a blessing.
“…I bless you that tomorrow’s procedure will not be painful and that you will recover from the discomfort you feel now. That your heart will be healed according to the mind and will of the Lord. He is very mindful of your trials and pains here and He loves you and is pleased with you. I bless you that you will rest easy this night knowing that tomorrow will bring you renewed health…”
As I removed my hands from her head, I marveled at what I could recall of the blessing. It felt like someone else had used my voice and I was an observer. I didn’t know what to think, so I said nothing about it to Mom. I knew from Mike that the procedure tomorrow would be painful, yet the words I could remember spoke the promise that it would be painless, that she would be healed.
Another hug and a few comforting words later, I headed home.
“I don’t know, Dianne . . . it was as if someone else was speaking through me tonight. They . . . I promised Mom there wouldn’t be any pain tomorrow.” I recounted everything to her as we lay side by side in bed.
“I would think you’d be happy knowing your mom will be alright,” Dianne offered.
“I guess so. I must doubt too much. My faith must not be what it should be . . .” I rolled over, disquieted.
“Good night dear. I love you.”
“I love you too. Don’t worry. Trust in the blessing and the Lord.”
Mom and I talked on the phone the day after the procedure. I had tried to reach her the night before, but couldn’t, and despite the blessing I’d given her and the confirmation that she would be just fine, I still doubted.
I needed to make sure she was okay.
Mom was in great spirits as she explained what happened. Apparently, as the physician maneuvered the camera toward her heart and after a few minutes of probing, he said, “I don’t know why you’re in here. You don’t need surgery, your heart is fine. There isn’t even a sign of a murmur.” And she felt no pain! As promised, the blessing had come—she was just fine.
At first I was a little stunned, but it quickly turned to gratitude as I considered how loving our Savior is, and how merciful His healing power. I also felt his gentle rebuke for not believing what He had told Mom in the blessing.
Is there a connection between gratitude and the apostle Paul’s discussion of spiritual gifts and the parts of the body of Christ? Doug Mendenhall ponders these scriptures in 1 Corinthians 12:15-21 on pages 28-33 in My Peace I Give Unto You (2001):
The traffic light turned green, and the car jerked forward as I accidentally popped the clutch. Dianne glanced at me as she lurched forward in the seat.
“Dear, what do you think of gratitude?” I asked her. “And I don’t mean gratitude for this beat up old car.”
“I don’t know. Too many people give way too little of it.” She hesitated.
“Well . . . it’s important. We should be grateful for all we’ve been given . . . I guess even this car.” She eyed me somewhat warily.
I saw confusion in her eyes. She was trying to figure out where I was going with this conversation. I held her gaze.
“Do you think there’s such a thing as misplaced gratitude?”
“DOUG!” Her shout sent my eyes back to the road. “That was a red light you went through! Keep your eyes on the road.”
Adrenaline surged through me. Instantly I glanced in the mirrors to be sure there were no flashing red lights. Dianne continued.
“Misplaced gratitude? Do you mean like being grateful for not getting caught doing something wrong?” The jab was unmistakable; she smiled.
“Well . . . yeah, I guess that too,” I smirked back at her, and went on. “But what I was thinking of was feeling gratitude for the bad things that happen to us.”
Dianne paused. The momentary silence was punctuated by the “blink – blink” of the car’s turn signal as I steered into the right hand lane.
“Well, many times people feel grateful for trials they go through only after they’ve had a chance to sit back and reflect on how their life was changed for the better. Is that what you mean?”
“Well . . . kind of, I guess. I know we should be grateful for trials, and it’s much easier once we look back on them. But what I was thinking was feeling grateful for malicious, evil things that may happen to us.”
“Do you mean you think we should feel grateful for the evil in our lives as well as the good?”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“Why should we be grateful for something that comes from the devil or his angels? Nothing good can come from them, and if it isn’t good, why should we feel grateful for it? Doesn’t that move us further away from our Father in Heaven?” she replied.
I understood her argument, but it didn’t convince me. There was something in it that didn’t feel right, something that bothered me. What?
“Yeah . . . I guess so. But there’s something that’s been nagging at me and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I thought it had to do with gratitude, but . . . I don’t know . . . .”
I went silent. The tangle of my thoughts was worse than the tangle of the roads in front of me….
[A while later,] we pulled into the driveway and I turned off the car. My nagging thoughts on gratitude returned and followed me into the house.
Later that evening…I was alone in the house. Again I turned to my books. For some reason my attention was drawn to the New Testament, in particular, First Corinthians. Thumbing through, I stopped at the 12th chapter and read Paul’s analogy of the body of Christ. I read specifically with gratitude in mind.
“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? … If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? … And if they were all one member, where were the body? … And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”
A pattern began to emerge from my tangled thoughts: If every man, woman and child that ever was, or ever will be, is a part of the body of Christ in some way that I can’t yet understand, then all things we do must be according to His will or plan. Christ is the head of the body, and the body follows the desire and commands of the Head.
Then if everything is done according to His will or His plan—for the benefit of the entire body—wouldn’t even the malicious and evil things people do be according to His will or plan—for some benefit I can’t comprehend? In other words, though I don’t understand the workings of the foot because I am a hand, the foot is part of the body, necessary and directed by the head even as the hand is.
Then, for the hand not to be grateful for the actions of the foot—whether those actions are good, bad or evil—would be like the hand telling the foot that it isn’t necessary, or it is bad for the body. That it should be cut off to improve the body.
Thus, the hand has set itself up as the head, by judging the foot. Neither knows the purpose of the other. So how can one judge the usefulness of the other to the body, regardless of whether it appears good, bad or evil?
Therefore, by being grateful for the evil and the good, we accept all that He has here prepared for us and recognize that His hand is in all things, and acknowledge that all things serve a purpose, in Him, which we cannot now understand.
And through this acceptance of Him and His will in all things, we open the door to true forgiveness and love.
Through gratitude, we then forgive. Not because we want to better ourselves or relieve our pain, but because we know that it is all according to His will, and that the wrong done to us serves a purpose in Him, even when we fail to comprehend it at the time.
And because we can now truly forgive all, we can truly love all, for all comes from Him.
And as we learn to truly forgive and love, then will we receive His peace, for we will understand His ways.
I knew in an instant that I had been given something of great worth. I also knew that not everyone would understand or benefit from it. His love filled my soul as I pondered again and again these thoughts. Gratitude should be offered to Him for all things, for He is in all things.
That night I slept peacefully and soundly for the first time in weeks.
Updated on June 7, 2021
A red cedar tree blew down in Doug Mendenhall’s yard four years ago. (Eventually, wood from that same tree would be used by friends for making his burial casket when he passed away in December 2020.) Doug shared in an unpublished email on August 28, 2017 some things he learned, and blessings he received, from his fallen tree experience:
The tree falling lesson was harsh in a way. The wind started blowing before I headed out to BBQ something for dinner. I had water on and headed out back first to change it. As I rounded the corner by the carport, now Daniel’s workshop for pyramids, a huge amount of sawdust came blowing out as the tarps were being thrown all over the place. My mouth caught more of it than I wanted to experience and I spit it out. Heading around the corner to the orchard I saw our yard was having a “brown out” with the dust from the construction across the street. Just us.
As I stepped into the orchard I asked permission to calm the winds and got it. So I raised my arms up and declared, “In the name of Yeshua the Christ I command the wind to be calm, NOW.”
It was like the Lord turned down the gas on the BBQ from high to barely on. It was calm within a few seconds. I noticed that there were a few swirls every now and then, but thought nothing of it. I went over and started the BBQ. It was then I looked up and saw a large bush on the property that I had never noticed before. Looking closer I realized it wasn’t a bush, but a huge tree had fallen over. I went over and inspected it and saw it was pulling down a live power line going from the cabin to the barn. I needed some help to get it off that line before it snapped.
Immediately I went over a mental list of whom I could call. I called my bud, Doug, and he told me to call the power company as it was their responsibility. I did and they came right over and said it wasn’t. It was a line inside our property and they had no call on it. Though he did turn off the breaker to the line so it wasn’t live. I tried calling Debi and Daniel but neither of their phones were working, so Dianne took off in the car to go get them to help with the tree problem.
Then I called Dale and asked him if he had a chain saw. He said no and asked why. I told him the problem and he said that he wasn’t of much use. Knowing it was about 90 minutes to dark, in my impatience I just hung up after his comment and dialed Kitten and asked if she had a chain saw. She said yes. I told her I’d send Daniel up to get it when he got here. I didn’t want her out here as she had been giving her back a rest the past few days to get ready for this next week’s portalcisms and clearings. I told her about the wind, etc.
Next thing I knew Kitten was here and she told me that the wind had worked its way up to her property, it had been sent to do damage to us. She went outside and destroyed the storm cell.
We then had Daniel, Debi and the girls come. Then Dale, Galen and Lori showed up. Limbs were cut and the line freed. It was nice to have friends here. At that point I’d gone and found a tree cutter who said he’d come the next day and cut it all up. But it was wonderful seeing these good people show up to help. Even my bud Dale who said he wasn’t of much use. I saw him drag off some pretty big limbs after they were cut. Yeah, right, not of much use. I didn’t care if he just came and told us jokes, he came.
My lesson was I didn’t ask about the storm or wind. Was it “normal” or had it been sent to destroy. If I’d known or had been aware enough to ask and He told me what was really up, could I have acted before the damage happened to stop the storm? Why didn’t my shielding work? Oh, I hadn’t shielded against wind or that kind of foe. And the demons laughed.
Is it about being aware of everything around us, even wind storms that might be sent against us that we can and probably should do something about? What else goes on in my life that I am oblivious to that I probably should be aware of? How much evil gets in our lives in ways that we are oblivious to? Sneaky buggers? Absolutely. And they laugh.
Might be wise to be ever vigilant in ways we had not thought of previously. Evil is ever creative, looking for an in wherever they can.
Kitten added: “That sneaky wind was also a test to see who would respond and who would not. The Lord and Savior Yeshua the Christ will allow trials to test our metal. It also lets us learn how we respond to trials and such.”
I was also told to slow down when things happen. I found I was in a rush to call and get help because it was going to get dark soon. But He told me to slow down and have patience and it will still get done in time. I should not have cut my bud, Dale, off when he made the comment he wasn’t of much help. If I’d had patience I probably would have heard him then say that he’d be here anyway. I apologized to him. It won’t happen again. Even then he came with Galen and Lori and my heart swelled. I know I could have called everyone one of you and you’d have come if possible. Now I know why you all came to my mind first. Love.
The Lord Yeshua turns fallen trees into blessings and lessons.
Take care and God bless,
Doug Mendenhall’s main book, Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One, was first published in October 2011. Five months later, in February 2012, he wrote out an appendix to the book, which he then shared via email with many people. This unpublished appendix to Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One, involves the topics in chapter 14, “Sending Demons and Devils to the Light,” which is a concept Doug disagreed with strongly, based on its misperception of agency. Here is that appendix:
Chapter fourteen of this book discusses the concept of sending demons and devils to the light where three categories of evil entities are discussed. These three categories have different status and therefore are governed by different laws. The first category is earthbound spirits and they are completely redeemable. These earthbound spirits are benign, confused, “stuck,” and of an evil nature. Those of an evil nature do work for the adversary though they reside on this plane of existence we commonly call mortality. They are men and women, like us, but now deceased, and still occupy their “second estate.”
The second category is the one third part that went with Lucifer and are called devils. They are not redeemable because they are perdition – those who knowingly and willingly rebelled and fought against the greatest light in this Kingdom, our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They had the opportunity for redemption and made the deliberate and fully informed decision to reject it. They did not keep their first estate.
The third category consists of those evil entities who are created by Satan and known as demons. Since they are creations of Satan, made from his essence, they are not redeemable. Such a creature is usually created for a singular purpose and is trained to do that one thing (though there can be exceptions). There is not much intelligence in such a being and no potential for growth in light or going to the light of Christ.
There needs to be another category of spirits that reside in hell. They were included in the first category in chapter fourteen as earthbound spirits, but they really ought to be discussed outside of that area since they really aren’t earthbound. They do not appear here on earth, but are bound below still in their “second estate.” They can choose to repent and return to Christ and the light, but also can choose to join those from the “first estate” who rebelled. When they join this rebellion, they are the fallen angels who are opposed to God, and make war against the Saints. When they do this, they return to fight here, joining with the rebellious. Since they remain in their “second estate,” it is possible – although improbable – for them to repent. They are spirits of our brothers and sisters who have lived here in mortality and have merited being sent to hell immediately upon their death. These spirits can be redeemed, but most likely can’t be sent directly to the light.
In between the spiritual realms of light and dark there is an area of “gray” where both dark and light beings can go. It is known as the “Plane of Repentance.” Before we really get into it, I want to give some background to these dark spirits.
“And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world; for these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who say they are of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; but received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant…These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth. These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work.” (D&C 76:98-106, emphasis added)
Those of us that receive not the gospel, testimony of Jesus, gossipers, harden our hearts, willingly disobey Father after receiving light and knowledge, atheists, evil people, Satanists, those that love to lie and make a lie, those that knowingly murder, and the like “are cast down to hell” and “are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” (Alma 12:11) These are those who “work wickedness and abomination before him.” (1 Nephi 14:4) There are many other scriptures that tell of the requirements to be sent to hell after we die.
As I was contemplating these things and wondering about the chains of hell and how the adversary “captures” us, I was told it is always our choice where we go, heaven or hell. We can choose eternal life or we can “choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.” (2 Nephi 2:29, emphasis added) I was shown people that had spiritual fetters on their ankles and the chain that came off of these fetters went down to hell. This is one of the ways the devil has power to captivate us and take us to hell.
“It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell.” (D&C 123:8 emphasis added)
The next time my gifted daughter, Denise, was over to the house I asked her if she saw the spiritual fetters on people’s ankles that secured them to the adversary and hell. A fetter will have a chain or cord attached that goes down to hell.
“Yes, I see them,” she said.
I asked another friend who has the gift of spiritual sight and she confirmed they are very real and there are many people who have them. “When they transition from mortality the demons in hell are able to just pull them down. The fetters make sure they can’t get away.”
Once in hell they have the choice to be tortured or become “recruits” of Satan. (Even if they become a “recruit” they will still be tortured for failures, thoughts, and actions.) After choosing to become a recruit, they are then trained in what they will be required to do to torment and take down those of us still on the mortal plane. After they are trained they are called “Legion” and are placed into battle while being governed by Satan’s generals in the spiritual warfare taking place.
We have experienced generational healing sessions in which individual’s ancestors have been redeemed from hell during the session. Of course it is our Lord, Jesus Christ, who offers redemption and makes this available to this group that resides in hell. They are taken by the angels to either a spiritual hospital or to the Plane of Repentance spoken of earlier.
The Plane of Repentance is between the area of light and dark. Both sides have access to those individuals in this area and can influence them. It is always their choice which direction they go. Every effort is made to help them into the light. They cannot be commanded to go into the light as that is against our Father’s law of agency, because it is ALWAYS our choice.
This is a group that does reside in hell and does work for the adversary but can still be redeemed. In this mortal existence those candidates for hell can be seen because they have not repented of their sins and those with spiritual sight can see the fetters and chains that literally bind them to Satan and hell. Once they are transitioned they will be pulled immediately down there.
Updated on March 20, 2021
Kitten, a sighted friend of Doug Mendenhall’s, adds many observations to Doug’s book, I See…Awake! (2015). On pages 203-209 of that book, she shares an experience which she was aware of. She tells about when an earthbound spirit was aided by someone who could both discern the spirit and also knew how to encourage the spirit to turn to the Savior Jesus Christ:
Years ago there was a somewhat mentally challenged young man who had gone swimming with some friends. Due to curiosity from viewing things that were underwater, he dove down with the intent of retrieving some objects with the hope of presenting them to his friends. A couple of objects were retrieved and placed into a pocket of his pants. Unfortunately he was unaware his shirt had become entangled in the branches of a fallen tree within the deep water. No one knew his whereabouts until it was much too late.
Although he valiantly fought to swim back to the surface, in his confusion, panic, and lack of understanding, he drowned while struggling with all his might to reach the surface in time. Within about a minute or so he gave up realizing it was impossible to reach the surface. His remains were found several years later.
A gifted woman who was hiking along the small river heard a voice calling for help. Stopping the trek, she went down to the water near the fallen tree with thoughts that perhaps someone had been entangled and needed assistance. There was a shadowy figure below the surface with what was left of some clothing entangled among the branches. It was late summer and therefore the water level was at its lowest. She wondered why the person did not simply stand up. With the assumption the person’s face was just enough above the surface, to the side of the tree, enabling speech the woman sought to render assistance as best able.
As she was moving into the water inquiry was made how the person became entangled in such a situation. It was also pointed out the water was low enough if someone of reasonable height stood up they would be able to disengage from the circumstance. The young man, emphatically, stated he had tried very diligently to rise to the surface but had not been able to. He explained what had caused him to be entrapped. Within moments of reaching the shadowy figure, the woman realized it was but the remains of someone. Being a gifted personage she realized what she heard was not from a living person but from someone who had died. The sound and timbre of the voice was masculine.
Kindly, gently, she informed the young man he had long ago died. At first he disbelieved it. After some discussion, explaining it was impossible for a mortal body to stay underwater for several years, the young man finally realized he had indeed died but did not know what to do. After a little more discussion it was discovered he knew of Jesus Christ. She told him to look up and ask Jesus Christ to come for him. At first he was a little afraid, for he still was not quite completely convinced he had actually died. After comforting him, she assured him it would be all right and that he would be perfectly safe by going with Jesus. The last words she heard was, “He is here. I am going now. Thank you.”
There are recordings of soldiers who have died in the battlefields who were so well trained, that they continued in combat. It takes someone they recognize having authority who must command cessation of hostilities and leads the combat spirits into a much better place of existence.
There are some combat veterans who, experiencing a near-death experience, spoke of these experiences whereby those of greater authority than the ones who had died in combat led the others out. The ones who returned were told they had to return to their bodies for there was further work for them to do as mortals. Often combat vets would state they were unaware that they had actually died until being told they had to return to mortality.
There are people who have died, and knew it, but had not a clue of what to do afterward. Howard Storm was one such person. He has written a book of his experience whereby he did die but did not know what to do. He was met by a dark being who took him to hell. There are numerous documents and books giving much information pertaining to what people have done after death.
Unfortunately, too many really have no idea what to do other than to continue their existence upon the Earth as they did in mortality. These are the ones that are more especially termed “earthbound.” To them, all they ever knew is what is upon the Earth in the mortal existence. Hence they never move on until someone teaches them otherwise. Then again there are too many who choose to be earthbound…
As can be seen, it is very possible to actually leave the mortal body and either be unaware of the death or have no idea where to go or how to do it. There are people who are actually caught by their own addictions and learn how to feed their addictions by entering other mortals who have the same addiction. There are many types of Earthbounds just as there are many types of people upon this planet.