Interesting Similarities between Mormonism and Spirit Release Therapy
“Spirit Release Therapy” is the term given to a type of therapy where people are “cleaned” or “depossessed” of outside/ foreign “energies”, spirits, etc. While it has been part of earlier cultures for a while, in Western therapy, it’s somewhat new.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ Mormon Church believes in many things that “add up” or “fit in” with Spirit Release Therapy (though others don’t). While LDS may scoff at the idea, especially since Spirit Release Therapy is often thought of as a “New Age” thing, the following might be noted.
(NOTE: If you don’t feel good/ you feel a negative presence that especially grows while you are reading this, I encourage you to not continue until/ unless you do. If you feel you have a problem with evil spirits, I encourage you as an anonymous friend to find a counselor, a Spirit Release therapist, an LDS Melchizedek priesthood holder, or any combination for help. There are also books and perhaps websites that talk about things that one can do to help in the meantime.)
We’ll start with whether spirits actually exist.
Latter-day revelation declares that “all spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure” than the physical materials of earth life (D&C 131:7-8).
Are there spirits right here? Are they just in heaven and hell?
Brigham Young taught that the Spirit World was taught to be right here, on this earth, and similar in many ways to this life:
“Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes they do…. Do they go beyond the boundaries of the organized earth? No, they do not…. Can you see it with your natural eyes? No. Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies.”
“When you are in the spirit world, everything there will appear as natural as things now do. Spirits will be familiar with spirits in the spirit world—will converse, behold, and exercise every variety of communication with one another as familiarly and naturally as while here in tabernacles. There, as here, all things will be natural, and you will understand them as you now understand natural things. You will there see that those spirits we are speaking of are active; they sleep not.”
“…if they hedge up your way, walk up and command them to disperse. You have the Priesthood and can disperse them, but if any of them wish to hear the Gospel, preach to them.”
Church history (old and new) and personal experiences contain accounts of spirit influence, spirit trouble, and spirit possession. I have put some of these here to reprove those who claim that there is truly no such thing and never has been; that all mental illness is completely personal/ medical, as some scientists claim, and that the “old ones” were just doing their best to explain mental illness in the best way they knew how, and that’s all it is. (While it is possible that some have been wrongly attributed, to pretend it’s all fake because a person might have been wrong to conclude a spirit caused an illness that it didn’t, is wrong.) When I spoke with a long-time member (of about 40 years) about casting an evil spirit out of someone we both knew well, he laughed it off and said I must have been mistaken. So, in light of that, in the mouth of two or three witnesses (and many more), here:
“There was a man with a family came into the church who lived about 15 miles from me who had a brother-in-law that was possessed with the devil and was kept chained in a tight room. Numbers had been there to administer to him but had no effect. I went there to preach on the after part of the day. The man got loose and was breaking down the ceiling. They had been in the habit of getting a very strong man to help on such occasions and were about to send for him in a hurry. I desired them to let me see him before they did. They were afraid he would come out and kill some of them. With much persuasion I got them to unlock the door to his room. Such rough, profane language, and threatening I had never heard before. They said he was dangerous, but I entreated them to let me open the door. I had full confidence that I could handle him with the help of God. I was satisfied that they did not understand my intentions. I looked through the crack of the door. When he caught my eye he said, “Old Pulsipher I knew you of old!” At that instant I burst the door open. He stood with a sharp stick in his hand drawn ready to stab me. Although he was a stout man and full of violent passion, I closed in with him so quick that he did not know which side was up till he lay on his back and I holding him while they bound him again. The family seemed surprised. Before I left the next morning the man, whose name was Samuel Newcomb, wished me to come and stay with him one year. He would give large wages for he said that I could handle him with ease and he could leave his family at home with more safety. He was a man of considerable business and property to manage. I asked him if he wished to gather up to Kirtland with the church. He said he would if he could sell his farm. He wanted $1600 for it. We arranged for him to go the next spring and I took the whole care of the wild man. I recollect at one time upon the matter of his feeding he flew into a rage all at once and broke loose. I was at work in the barn. A messenger came running for me and said the man was killing his mother. I found him in a dreadful rage. I rushed into the room and took him by the shoulder and shook him and said, “Sam, what are you about?” He, in a moment, left his raging, dropped his head and became docile until he was bound again. Later on we counseled with the old Father Smith and he advised us to get seven Elders of report and fast and pray till he was delivered. We consulted the family who had not kept the Word of Wisdom, but they agreed to do it. We, therefore, took the man, loosened his hands, administered to him in a room by ourselves and I do not remember of him a raving spell after that for six months. The devil entered him again. We were called for the second time. The family had promised to keep the covenants but found they had returned to the old practice of breaking the Word of Wisdom…(1836)”
“In Kirtland there were manifestations of evil spirits in high places, which might have been considered more dangerous than the manifestations in the early establishment of the Church. Sidney Rigdon, on one occasion got up to preach, and commenced by saying that the Church and kingdom was rent from them and given to another people. Joseph was absent, when he came home he found Sidney almost like a madman. He labored with him and with the Church, and finally succeeded in convincing him that he was under the influence of a false spirit.
A man from the state of New York by the name of Hawley, stated that while he was working in his field, barefoot, the word of the Lord came to him, saying that he should start on the instant, and not stop to put on his shoes. He came six hundred miles to Kirtland, and went to Joseph with the message that he had suffered John Noah, a prophet of God, to be cut off from the Church, and that consequently he had lost his office; and he had also suffered the women to wear caps, and the men he allowed to wear cushions on their shoulders, and for these heinous sins he was cut off, and this man had come six hundred miles barefooted to bear the terrible message. You might suppose such an adventurer coming among us would be regarded as a madman by all, but at that time several men were ready to listen to him; a bishop’s council was assembled and an investigation had.
During the investigation, the subject of women wearing caps and veils and having their heads covered was canvassed, and the Bible ransacked by Oliver Cowdery and others. When the man was expelled from the Church for giving way to the power of false spirits, he rose up in a most solemn manner, and proclaimed to the council that they had chosen darkness instead of light.”
March 15.–A council was called to consider the case of Brother Lake(41), from Wooster, Wayne county, Ohio, who came professing to have received revelations. On investigation, it was unanimously agreed, that said Brother Lake was under the influence of an evil spirit, and that his license as Priest be taken from him.
7. But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
8. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
Doctrine and Covenants 46
“Just before leaving England I visited some friends in Sheffield, and met with Brother R. Rushton, who was on a mission from Nauvoo. He had been asked to visit a brother in the Church who was possessed of a devil. This was the first case of the kind I had heard of being in the Church, and I felt quite anxious to see the party so afflicted. While reflecting about it, Brother Rushton asked me to accompany him, which I cheerfully did, and what transpired I never shall forget. When we entered the room where he was sitting, he looked around and saw Brother Rushton whom he had met before, and with a coarse voice said: “So you have come again in the name of Jesus have you? Well you may come if you have a mind to. I know you came from Nauvoo where you are building a temple to get your endowments and more power. Well, get your power, and the more power you get the more power we’ll get.” Just as soon as he was through speaking, Brother Rushton laid hands on him and rebuked the evil spirits that had possession of him, when the brother called out in a loud voice: “How did you know there was more than one?” Brother Rushton remarked calmly: “You said we.” The brother then said, “We will go but we will come again.”
Two days after they did come again, and his wife sent for the president of the branch who was a very good quiet man. A young traveling elder who had a good deal of confidence in himself, was in at the time the message came and asked the president to let him accompany him and administer to the brother, who at this time was breaking things in his house. When they reached the house they found him very much excited. He quieted a little when they entered, but soon became boisterous again, and they laid hands upon him, this young man being mouth. No sooner had he rebuked the spirits, commanding them to depart, than he became quiet and wished to lay down. But soon after, and when he appeared asleep, the young elder said to the parties present, “There, I believed I could quiet him.” He at this time was sitting upon the side of the bed where the afflicted man was lying. The brother no sooner heard this remark than he raised himself up quietly and as soon as he got up, struck this young man such a blow that he was knocked to the other side of the room. This convinced me that the brother had better give [the Lord] the credit for such manifestations.
“the truth of God would have left him untill he obeyed those ordinances & received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands according to the order of God he could not have healed the sick or command an evil spirit to come out of a man & it obey him”
16 July 1845, Wednesday
Wednesday 16th. … Evening I went to see Diantha. We walked out some
together. She seemed to feel very bad about something which passed
during her visit this afternoon. When we returned to her home I saw
that her mind was affected and she was likely to have another fit of
mental derangement. I tried to persuade her to go to bed but she was
unwilling, but I finally got her mother to make her a bed down stairs
and we put her to bed by force. Soon as she got laid down she began to
toss about and rave as if in great pain which seemed to increase
untill she was perfectly out of her mind and raging. She tore her hair
and I then held her which required all the force I had got to hold her
hands. She continued about three quarters of an hour in this
distressing situation and about half past 10 sister Farr went & called
brother Farr. He came down and laid hands on her and rebuked the evil
spirit and commanded it to leave her in the name of the Lord. She
immediately calmed down and seemed to fall into a mild sleep.
“At this time Sidney Rigdon… said the keys of the kingdom were taken from us. On hearing this, many of his hearers wept, and when some one undertook to dismiss the meeting by prayer he said praying would do them no good, and the meeting broke up in confusion.
Brother Hyrum [Smith] came to my house the next morning and told me all about it, and said it was false, and that the keys of the kingdom were still with us. He wanted my carriage and horses to go to the town of Hiram and bring Joseph. The word went abroad among the people immediately that Sidney [Rigdon] was going to expose “Mormonism.”
Joseph came up to Kirtland a few days afterwards and held a meeting…
Joseph arose in our midst and spoke in mighty power, saying: “I can contend with wicked men and devils–yes with angels. No power can pluck those keys from me, except the power that gave them to me; that was Peter, James and John. But for what Sidney [Rigdon] has done, the devil shall handle him as one man handles another.”
Thomas B. Marsh’s wife went from the meeting and told Sidney [Rigdon] what Joseph had said, and he replied: “Is it possible that I have been so deceived? But if Joseph says so, it is so.”
About three weeks after this, Sidney [Rigdon] was lying on his bed alone. An unseen power lifted him from his bed, threw him across the room, and tossed him from one side of the room to the other. The noise being heard in the adjoining room, his family went in to see what was the matter, and found him going from one side of the room to the other, from the effects of which Sidney was laid up for five or six weeks. Thus was Joseph’s prediction in regard to him verified.”
“One of my neighbors, a Brother James Moses, who lived across the street from me, was taken sick, and for six weeks was not able to speak above his breath. I went occasionally to see him, and one day while there Brother Bills and I were asked by Sister Moses to administer to him, which we did. She then asked us what we thought of him, and I replied that I had no testimony that he would live or that he would die; but she might as well pour water upon fire to make it burn as to give him medicine. This offended her, as she had a doctor by the name of Green attending him and we left.
Soon after this Brother [Heber C.] Kimball (one of the Apostles) was called on to administer to him, when Sister Moses asked him what he thought of her husband’s condition. He replied in the very words that I had used, but advised them to hold on to him. Brother Bills and I happening to call in again to see him, we were asked if we would anoint him. I consented and stepped up to the bed to put some oil on his forehead, but felt impressed to stop and say that he was possessed of evil spirits, and that they would kill him if they were not cast out before morning. He then commenced raving, and might have been heard across the street.
The Twelve Apostles were sent for and three of them came, Brother W. [Willard] Richards being one of them, who was mouth in prayer, as we all knelt in the room. After prayer, Brother Richards went to the bed, and, in the name of Jesus Christ, commanded the evil spirits to leave him and leave the house, which they did instantly, and Brother Moses became rational. He afterwards told us all about his feelings while the evil spirits had afflicted him, and that he was as sore as a boil all over from the effects of what he had passed through.”
Joseph put his hands on Harvey Whitlock and ordained him to the high priesthood. He turned as black as Lyman was white. His fingers were set like claws. He went around the room and showed his hands and tried to speak; his eyes were in the shape of oval O’s. Hyrum Smith said, “Joseph, that is not of God.” Joseph said, “Do not speak against this.” “I will not believe,” said Hyrum, “unless you inquire of God and he owns it.” Joseph bowed his head, and in a short time got up and commanded Satan to leave Harvey, laying his hands upon his head at the same time. At that very instant an old man said to weigh two hundred and fourteen pounds sitting in the window turned a complete summersault in the house and came his back across a bench and lay helpless. Joseph told Lyman to cast Satan out. He did. The man’s name was Leanon [Leman] Coply [Copley], formally a Quaker [Shaker]. The evil spirit left him and as quick lightning Harvey Green fell bound and screamed like a panther. Satan was cast out of him. But immediately entered someone else. This continued all day and the greater part of the night. But to return to the meeting, Joseph said, “Now if you elders have sinned it will do you no good to preach if you have not repented. Heamon [Heman] Bassett you sit still the Devil wants to sift you. . .”
…”After this we went down to the house and heard Harvey Whitlock say when Hyrum Smith said it was not God, he disdained him in his heart and when the Devil was cast out he was convinced it was Satan that was in him and he knew then it. I also heard Harvey Green say that he could not describe the awful feeling he experienced while in the hands of Satan.”
…”When night came Solomon and I, Wheeler Baldwin and some others started to my father’s, we walked heavily, some said that they felt as if they would be seized by Satan. Others that they felt as though the Devil and his angels were hanging about them. I kept my feelings to myself, until we came to the mill pond of Mr. Fergdsons about a half or a little over the distance we had to go that night. When we had got against the pond which was about fourteen rods across and very deep, I said, “Let us pray.” So we all kneeled down and prayed around a circle as soon as the last one got through about nine o’clock at night and the moon shown brightly. A sudden bray of a jackass was heard about twenty feet behind us. We looked and could see nothing and nothing in the way. It started toward the pond braying all the time. I never had seen one in my life and I know that there was none about there for I was well acquainted there. I heard how they brayed. The most of our company had seen them. This braying continued across the pond and ascended the high hills on the other side until it grew less and less distinct until it got out of hearing.
“There,” said Brother Baldwin. “This proves to me that this work is true, for we all prayed for assistance; the Devil ran away.” . . . “
The next morning I was up early and looked over the city of the Mormons. In the afternoon a funeral sermon was delivered in the temple by Jared Carter, a smart speaker, but I learned nothing in particular. The fact was the horizon of my mind was so obscured by clouds of darkness and doubt of long standing that I could see nothing as I ought.
The evil spirit came upon me and had that power over me that at times I would shake like a man with the ague. At another time I would be standing on some emenance [?] weeping like a whipped child, and knew no reason why; then lost in meditation, wandering about the city like a man of little sense.
There was a brother in the Church by the name of Kelley, who had a son some ten or twelve years old, who had been subject to fits from early childhood. They would seize him at any moment, and were as apt to throw him into the fire or into the water, as any other place, so that it was unsafe to leave him alone. His parents wished to have him administered to according to the instruction given in the New Testament, by James, where he says, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, . . .” James v:14, 15.
Elder George A. Smith, Joseph’s cousin, had come and was with us a few days, and we were together at the time. Before attending to the ordinance of anointing, we went by ourselves into a solitary place and had a season of solemn fervent prayer. We returned to the house, and calling the family to order, knelt before the Lord and had another season of prayer, when we arose and anointed the lad with olive oil, which had been consecrated and set apart for the purpose of anointing the sick, after which we laid our hands upon his head and asked our Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be pleased to rebuke the evil spirit and heal the lad, according to the promise of our Savior, in Mark 16:18, and left him in the hands of the Lord. He was perfectly restored from that very hour, and troubled no more with that sore affliction. We saw his father over forty years later, who told us his son never had another fit after he was administered to that time, whereas, before, they were of much frequent occurrence that it was unsafe to leave him alone. That he was now residing in Nebraska, the head of a family.
There was a family by the name of Newcombe, residing about one mile south of the temple in Kirtland. His wife’s brother, (a man we should judge about thirty years of age) was a raving maniac of the most violent kind. He had to be kept chained in an outhouse by himself, and clothed with strong, coarse clothing, for when he could, he would tear his clothing from him. He would also rave and rage exceedingly whenever any person came near him excepting his sister, Mrs. Newcombe, she had control over him. We saw him different times, but it was a distressing sight.
In the latter part of November or in December, 1836, several brethren took his case in hand, and went to Brother Newcombe’s and commenced to fast and pray for power over the evil spirit, and deliverance for the man from his power. Joseph Smith, Sen. (father of Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of the Book of Mormon), had charge, assisted by Brethren John P. Green, Oliver Granger, and others. They continued in fasting and prayer for three days and nights, with occasionally, one at a time, taking a little respite, when Brother [Joseph] Smith, Sen., told them to bring the man into the room where they were, which they did. They laid their hands upon him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and rebuked the evil spirit by which he had been bound, when the man wilted down, and became as a little child. Brother Joseph Smith, Sen., ordered them to take the chains from off him. He was healed, to the great joy of all, and they felt to render thanksgiving and praise to our Heavenly Father, to whom be glory and honor forever and ever, amen.
The sick were healed. One instance I will relate: A young lady, Emily Fuller by name, had joined the church and came from another branch to visit for a few days. She was at Brother Blaksley’s and was suddenly taken ill and went into convulsions. She grew worse. Her frame was racked with cramping. It took three or four of us to keep her on the bed. The elders were away quite a distance, filling appointments. My husband was at home, but he only held the office of a deacon, so consequently could not administer the ordinance of the laying on of hands to rebuke the destroyer. But everything was done that could be, but nothing relieved her. It seemed the evil spirits were bound to destroy her. At last my husband got on a horse and rode 14 miles and brought Elder Ducher to administer to her. She was in great agony when he came in. He knelt down and prayed mightily for strength and power that he might rebuke the destroyer and bid him depart. He arose and went to the bed side, laid his hands upon her head and clothed with the authority and power of the priesthood, be rebuked the destroyer and told her to be made whole and arise from her bed, which she did and called for water to wash and the comb to comb her hair, although she was very weak for she had been in this state for twenty-four hours. Time can never erase this from my memory for I was an eye witness of the whole thing and it was the power of God that raised her up.
We traveled along in fine order and after a few hundred miles we got out of money and stopped and worked about a month at Dayton, Ohio, and got means to pay our way thru to Missouri. While at Dayton the devil entered our camp and got possession of one of the sisters. She was in awful pain and talked all the time and some of the time in rhyme. The Elders administered to her. The evil spirits left her and entered another person and on being rebuked again would enter another and so continued a good part of the night. But when the devil was commanded in the name of Jesus Christ to leave the camp, he went and was very mad. He went thru the whole camp, made a roaring noise, knocked over chairs, broke table legs and made awful work.
About day break, Sunday July 30th, Elder Isaac Russell came up to the third loft where Elder Hyde and myself were sleeping, and called upon us to pray for him, that he might be delivered from the evil spirits that were tormenting him to such a degree that he felt he could not live long, unless he obtained relief. We laid hands on him, I being mouth, and prayed that the Lord would have mercy on him, and rebuke the Devil. While thus engaged, I was struck with great force by some invisible power, and fell senseless on the floor; and the first thing I recollected was being supported by elders Hyde and Russell who were praying for me. They then laid me on the bed, but my agony was so great I arose, bowed on my knees and prayed.
I then sat on the bed and could distinctly see the evil spirits who foamed and gnashed their teeth upon us. We gazed upon them about an hour and a half, we were not looking towards the window but towards the wall, space appeared before us and we saw the devils coming in legions with their leaders, who came within a few feet of us, they came towards us like armies rushing to battle, they appeared men of full stature, possessing every uncomely form and appearance of men in the flesh, and every variety of stature and form, mean, mangled and deformed, who were angry and desperate, and I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances, and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself; or portray the malice and enmity depicted in their countenances would be vain. I perspired exceedingly, and my clothes were wet as if I had been taken out of the river.
Although I felt exquisite pain, and was in the greatest distress for some time, and cannot even look back on the scene without feelings of horror; yet, by it I learned the power of the Adversary, his enmity against the servants of God, and got some understanding of the invisible world. We distinctly heard those spirits talk and express their wrath and hellish designs against us. However the Lord delivered us from them, and blessed us exceedingly that day, and I had the pleasure (notwithstanding my weakness of body) of baptizing nine.
Two of the candidates, on coming forward for baptism, ran a race; the younger, George D. Watt, outran the elder and was the first baptized in England.
“He [Joseph Smith] took me a walk by the river side and requested me to relate the occurrence at the Bozier house. I did so, and also told him the vision of evil spirits in England on the opening of the gospel to that people. After I had done this, I asked what all these things meant and whether or not there was anything wrong in me. `No, Brother Heber, at that time when you were in England, you were then nigh unto the Lord. There was only a veil between you and Him, but you could not see Him. When I heard it, it gave me great joy, for I then knew that the work of God had taken root in the land; it was this that caused the Devil to make a struggle to kill you.’ Joseph then said the nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power would be manifest by the Devil to prevent the accomplishment of the purposes of God. He then gave me a relation of many contests that he had had with Satan, and his power had been made manifest from time to time since the commencement of bringing forth the Book of Mormon.”
In the following morning we went to work as usual and when we returned home at noon we found my wife very sick. We began to realize the true situation. She had been indefatigable in nursing the sick and had borne up bravely until now. It was a new experience to be thus baffled by the powers of darkness, that such was the case was manifest in the condition of my wife who was a firm believer in the gospel. She had borne unflinchingly every trial every trial she had been called to pass through; she had all the confidence in the ordinances of the Holy Priesthood for the healing of the sick it was possible to have; but now worn out by anxiety and nursing the sick, and weak in body, she seemed unable longer to resist the evil influences surrounding her.
Usually when she was taken sick her first wish was to call upon the elders, but now as we approached her and laid our hands upon her head she resisted, the devil manifesting itself through her defying us saying we had no power to cast it out. For awhile I walked the floor talking to her, being convinced that all our troubles arose from the influence of the powers of darkness. I invited Brother Whitney to take a walk with me.
We walked some distance away from the town until we reached a secluded spot in the timber. There we both poured out our souls to God in supplication, beseeching him to hear our prayers and give us power to cast out those unclean spirits and devils that were distressing our families. We returned to the house to find my wife lying upon the bed just as we had left her. Her face was almost scarlet with the fever and in her eyes a terrible brightness and as defiant as before.
I went to the bedside, then I said, “Come Brother Whitney we will again lay our hands on and administer to her,” and we, together administered by laying our hands on her head and with all the power we held by virtue of the Priesthood of the Son of God we rebuked the devil and every evil spirit and power in the name of Jesus Christ. When we had ceased praying and took our hands off her head, she had fainted. When this passed off she was extremely weak, almost lifeless but in her right mind. We then went through the house and laid our hands upon each member of our families and rebuked the evil spirits in the name of Jesus Christ and commanded them to depart from the house and trouble us no more. Our prayers were heard and answered, the powers of darkness were rebuked. My wife recovered and we were disturbed no more. We praised God who delivered us out of this great affliction.
“The signs spoken of include the casting out of devils. This recalls to my remembrance something of the kind which occurred at the Pomphret Branch, previous to which I had had but very little experience as to what may be termed the physical power of the devil. I was then far from the body of the Church, consequently what I learned I had to find out by experience, having no one to tell me. The case was that of a sister, who was possessed, and whom I, with two other elders, was called upon to visit. Directly we entered her room, she called out, “Take your shoes from off your feet, this is holy ground, the Prophet Elijah is here.” I saw the spirit by which she was influenced, so I walked up to her and said, “I am a servant of the Lord, I obey no command of the devil.” She became uproarious directly, for all who had gone in previously, had complied with her directions.
As soon as we attempted to rebuke the evil spirit, in the name of the Lord, she arose up from the bed, on her feet, without apparently bending a joint in her body, stiff as a rod of iron. From this we saw the power with which we had to contend; and, failing at first to eject the spirit, we bowed ourselves in prayer before the Lord, and asked him to assist us. The evil spirit then came out full of fury, and as he passed by one of the brethren, seized him by both arms, and gripped them violently, [For similar instances of power see Elder Kimball's Journal.] and, passing towards me, something which by the feel appeared like a man’s hand, grasped me by both sides of my face, and attempted to pull me sideways to the ground, but the hold appearing to slip I recovered my balance immediately. My face was sore for some days after this. The other brother that was seized was lame for a week afterwards.
As soon as this was done, the sister partially recovered, so much so that she obeyed anything I chose to tell her to do, whereas before she was perfectly ungovernable. Still she seemed to be surrounded by some evil influence. This puzzled us, for we knew the spirit was cast out, but we learned the cause afterwards. Just then it was revealed to us that if we went to sleep, the devil would enter one of the brethren. My nephew, Melvin Brown, neglected the warning, and composed himself to sleep in an armchair, whilst we were still watching with the sister. Directly he did so, the devil entered into him, and he became black in the face, and nearly suffocated. He awoke immediately, and motioned for us to lay hands on him, for he could not speak. We did so, and the evil spirit then left him, and he recovered at once.
About a week afterwards the same spirit reentered the sister, and this time fully confessed his character. In answer to our inquiries, he said his name was “Legion.” This explained how it was that the woman, after we had cast out an evil spirit, was under an evil influence, for there must have been many spirits. [See case of Mary Magdalene.--Mark xvi, 9. The Lunatic.--Mark v.] He also reviled our priesthood, but he had to submit to it at last, saying to us, “O! you have the priesthood, have you? Well, then cast me out, command me to come out,” trying to shake our faith, and thus incapacitate us to rebuke him successfully. Failing in this, he tried another method by entering me. I felt seized by a strange influence, and to every question put to the woman, I knew the answer she was going to give, for I was possessed by a similar spirit. This broke the chain of our union and strength, consequently I requested the elders to rebuke the evil spirit from me, after which, at our united rebuke, he left the woman.
Previous to this, the sister had been a very faithful Saint, and she ever afterwards was, but she had given the devil ground by encouraging a spirit contrary to the order of the Church, taking upon herself to rebuke the elders, and he claimed his right by virtue of her transgression. No doubt one object of the Lord’s permitting him to exercise his physical power was to give me experience of such facts, without which I never could have known; but I, like many others who may read this record, might have argued my ignorance of such things, as a proof that they did not exist except in imagination. By “physical power” is meant such power as was manifested in the case of the man mentioned in the Gospels, who “could not be bound even with chains,” so great was the strength of the devil by which he was possessed. I know very well that this religious generation are so fearful lest anyone should suppose there is any resemblance between their faith and practice, and those of the ancient church, that, after most vigorously asserting that “Apostles, Prophets, and other similarly inspired men, are done away; revelations are done away; visions are done away; tongues and prophecy are done away; healings and miracles are done away;” and, in a word, all external manifestations of the Holy Ghost, or the power of God, devils are added to this list of “done aways,” and forsooth we are to rejoice and be exceeding glad.
Happy generation! Shall we say, where ignorance is bliss, `tis folly to be wise? They practically say it for themselves. What! they, “living in the blaze of gospel light, troubled with devils!” It is true that even now, sometimes, some are seized with strong afflictions called fits, which make them wallow on the ground, gnash their teeth, foam, tear their hair off their heads, and display such miraculous strength, that a dozen people cannot sometimes hold one person while under these strange affections. But what of that? Who but poor deluded “Mormons” would attribute such things to the power of the devil? May we ask what else they are caused by? Oh, they are caused by fits. Yes, but what are fits? “Why fits are–that is to say, we don’t know what they are, except that they are fits.” And this is all we can be told about the matter.
Then again, there are certain people called “madmen,” who, generally, previous to their having “the disease,” are quiet-going people enough, possessing no more bodily strength than anybody else, but who, through some “affection of the mind,” have increased their bodily strength to such an extent, that they have to be manacled–bound with cords and fetters, and put in great houses, where the windows have to be barred with iron, to protect them. “But these people are not possessed of devils, their brains are affected.” Indeed, their brains are affected, as well as many other parts of their bodies, when the devil gets possession of them.
We are told these are mysteries. They were no mysteries anciently! But this generation, despising revelation as being requisite now, have lost the key of knowledge, and are consequently surrounded by phenomena which they cannot understand. And if the Bible does not happen to say anything about them, as such persons have no hope that God will, they are quite contented to die ignorant.”
Now, these are not all the accounts; there are many more, from all time periods and places; but I imagine these suffice for a decent novice’s understanding. Is it possible that maybe a few of those were not just *true, actual* possessions or evil spirits. The proof is in the pudding, right?; and wasn’t that shown in the cases above? It’s *very* clear that the above was directly and undeniably due to evil spirits.
Note this also: Brigham Young said: “You never felt a pain and ache, or felt disagreeable, or uncomfortable in your bodies and minds, but what an evil spirit was present causing it. Do you realize that the ague, the fever, the chills, the severe pain in the head, the plurisy, or any pain in the system, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, is put there by the devil? You do not realize this, do you? I say but little about this matter, because I do not want you to realize it. When you have the rheumatism, do you realize that the devil put that upon you? No, but you say, “I got wet, caught cold, and thereby got the rheumatism.” The spirits that afflict us and plant disease in our bodies, pain in the system, and finally death, have control over us so far as the flesh is concerned. But when the spirit is unlocked from the body it is free from the power of death and Satan; and when that body comes up again, it also, with the spirit, will gain the victory over death, hell, and the grave. (JD, 4:133)
Here are a few other similar things:
Among other things, this might be personal protection against any type of unseen attack/ psychic attack/ curse/ cords/ spirit attachment or influence, etc.
Dedicating a House (and Consecrating Church Buildings to the Lord)
Thou it doesn’t say so, believe this is is similar to energy clearing/ “clearing an area” of negativity/ negative thought forms/ evil, and establishing an area of positive influence, so to say. It might also entail physical aspects, such as geopathic stress. I have heard of experiences some have had while visiting or traveling that support this.
Casting out Evil Spirits
This is similar to spirit release therapy, but oh so much better.
While there are still things that don’t match up right now (perhaps due to lack of knowledge on either or both the LDS Church or Spirit Release therapists), I think this shows that there are some that are at least related. LDS should not be so quick to dismiss everything in Spirit Release Therapy just because some parts might not match up.
(Remember love, prayer and God’s mercy, and the priesthood, if possible, to overcome evil spirits.)