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|Anybody know how to banish Screwtape?|
Jul. 9th, 2012 at 11:26 am
CS Lewis’ fictional communication between an apprentice devil and his mentor crosses my mind regularly. I’m a believer. I’ve been told that we have friends who were in the third of the host of heaven who sided with Satan. So there are spirits who know our eternal natures pretty dang well.
I’m more spiritually aware than I used to be and I talk back to these promptings. I remind myself that entertaining certain thoughts will lead to trouble. (Parenthetically, I have moments of pure relevation and encouragement as well).
Mormons are unique among the worlds’ religions in our calm acceptance of the spirit world and stories of interactions with its denizens that would have members of other religions calling Ghostbusters. I’m proud of this propensity and find it incredibly comforting. We get it.
Discussions of evil spirits, not so much. I recall being warned in Mutual classes that even speaking of evil spirits invites them into our lives. I don’t think we have to invite them; they’re here. Of course, playing with the occult is a different story. But I would like to explore the problem of evil spirits who beset “normal” Mormons.
I experienced this almost thirty years ago when I stopped taking a drug cold turkey (my doctor had urged me to take more if I needed and given me a my one year supply) and experienced severe withdrawal. I was very sick, weak and shaky. I slept only a few hours the first few weeks and lost ten pounds. I began to experience a kind of heaviness when Bill left in the morning. A darkness urging me to end my life. The Lord blessed me to get through those days with the help of friends and prayer. When Bill came home, that darkness left. Mostly.
I didn’t tell anyone. I was afraid to; in my current state, I thought I’d be committed for sure. But I did call my bishop and ask for a blessing. He came over and with Bill, put his hands on my head and pronounced a blessing. The first thing he said was I rebuke the evil spirits from this house. That’s all I remember. When he was done, I looked at him in astonishment and asked “how did you know?” He matter of factly said he’d experienced evil spirits on his mission and had to regularly rebuke them. He said he felt them the minute he walked into our house.
That darkness and heaviness was immediately gone and has never returned. I do recognize evil spirits tempting me, as I said. They are worse at times when I’m physically depleted and/or emotionally distraught (which as you can imagine, happens rather regularly). Last year I went through a particulary stressful few months and made an appointment with my (new, young—he played with my son when they were kids) bishop. When I asked him for a blessing to rebuke evil spirits, he was obviously discomfited. It’s no secret I’ve struggled with mental illness and depression (Mcq, if you think I’m a wing nut, imagine what my priesthood leaders call me). He gave me a powerful blessing, sans the rebuke.
Which got me to thinking. So I did some research on how the priesthood holders are taught to handle evil spirits. I couldn’t find anything in any literature; I did find this online http://tamarasbook.blogspot.com/2008/12/fascinating-paper-on-evil-spirits.html but nothing “official.” I wonder if the problem occurs in certain missions, so some returned missionaries are more familiar than others. My therapist, who is a counselor in a stake presidency, said he gives those kinds of blessings often.
I realize that I could sound like I’m simply schizo, but I also am convinced that people who are spiritually educated understand that when people are weak, evil spirits can swoop in. On an existential level, based on our beliefs, evil spirits are all around us. Some certainly know us well and know what to say to cause train wrecks in our lives.
What I’m wondering is, have any of you experienced this? I’m assuming this isn’t routinely discussed/taught in priesthood lessons. Is there any literature or teaching on how to give one of a blessing rebuking evil spirits? I’d appreciate any insight.
PS–this subject sounds familiar to me. If I already told this story, please disregard and just answer the last questions.