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ChristKnight

Exorcism in the LDS Church?

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I was just watching a segment on ABC's Nightline on [Catholic] exorcism, perhaps catalyzed by the new movie "The Rite" (based on the book "The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist" that describes the real life training and experiences of a Catholic exorcist).

How do LDS view such matters? Do LDS believe that demonic possession is possible? Does the LDS Church have a history of performing exorcisms? What is the LDS view on Satan and demonic influences in our world?

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Yes, there are exorcisms. But I don't know all too much about them... Gohan could tell you some things about them though.

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I was just watching a segment on ABC's Nightline on [Catholic] exorcism, perhaps catalyzed by the new movie "The Rite" (based on the book "The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist" that describes the real life training and experiences of a Catholic exorcist).

How do LDS view such matters? Do LDS believe that demonic possession is possible? Does the LDS Church have a history of performing exorcisms? What is the LDS view on Satan and demonic influences in our world?

We "know" that when we follow the commandments, satan has no power over anybody and simply canott take over ones being; now if a person does not follow the lord in all things, the spiritual companionship will not be there; yes they can and will be controled by the advesary;;;i can say it is all true having lived on both sides of the fence; if a person has been taken over, they must first; relize and admit it, {which most demonic persons wont do} and if they relize it,and actually desire to get out from the hell; the Holy preisthood will do the job.:P

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...Gohan could tell you some things about them though.

I never had to deal with actually casting one out of a person, although two of the Elders in my Zone did have that distinct displeasure.

Got to be careful though, a lot of people attribute things to possession far too often. I think there was an episode of 'Criminal Minds' about that recently...

But yeah, they're around. Not fun to deal with. As far as I know, and that's not a ton, there's no calling for it. And no 'official' prayer/rite/ordinance either.

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Do LDS believe that demonic possession is possible?

Yes.

Does the LDS Church have a history of performing exorcisms?

Yes.

What is the LDS view on Satan and demonic influences in our world?

He/they are very real but, as mentioned above, only have power as people surrender it to them. Casting out evil spirits, in my experience, is nothing like what's portrayed in movies or on TV. At all. It's simple, straightforward, and effective. Which would make for very short, boring entertainment.

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Got to be careful though, a lot of people attribute things to possession far too often. I think there was an episode of 'Criminal Minds' about that recently...

Very good point. As our understanding of mental illness and neurobiology improves, we start to realise that some of the behaviours that may have been attributed to demonic possessions in earlier times are actually illnesses that can be treated. Some, however, are genuine. A righteous follower of Christ, who has the gift of the Holy Ghost, should be able to tell the difference, detect the evil spirit and cast it out. I believe the priesthood is used for that purpose, and the pattern is shown in the temple.

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At the risk of fulfilling 2 Nephi 28:22, Satan and his minions don't have a big part in my personal beliefs, and I don't give a whole lot of credence to exorcism accounts. I think that the apparent fact that exorcisms, in both the Catholic and LDS churches (and I would assume other churches as well), happen overwhelmingly more often in 3rd world countries speaks loads.

Of course if I were a participant in an exorcism I might have a different opinion. But from what I have to go on now, it seems to me that most cases of exorcisms aren't so much due to literal possession by demonic spirits so much as psychological or neurological disorders combined with cultural superstitions where people can and will be possessed by demons.

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At the risk of fulfilling 2 Nephi 28:22, Satan and his minions don't have a big part in my personal beliefs, and I don't give a whole lot of credence to exorcism accounts. I think that the apparent fact that exorcisms, in both the Catholic and LDS churches (and I would assume other churches as well), happen overwhelmingly more often in 3rd world countries speaks loads.

Of course if I were a participant in an exorcism I might have a different opinion. But from what I have to go on now, it seems to me that most cases of exorcisms aren't so much due to literal possession by demonic spirits so much as psychological or neurological disorders combined with cultural superstitions where people can and will be possessed by demons.

None of the stories I have heard have ever been in "3rd world countries", and only one (in which I participated) was likely to be due to mental illness. I certainly wouldn't risk fulfilling 2 Nephi 28:22 because of a lack of experience with demonic possessions...

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Casting out evil spirits, in my experience, is nothing like what's portrayed in movies or on TV. At all. It's simple, straightforward, and effective. Which would make for very short, boring entertainment.

That is my experience as well, though occassionally additional confrontations are necessary, because sometimes they do come back.

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Man, you guys live in a scary world. I'm curious, how does one know when a person is possessed?

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Man, you guys live in a scary world. I'm curious, how does one know when a person is possessed?

They typically start speaking in Latin and/or reverse English and react violently to consecrated oil.

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As has been mentioned, the pattern is taught in the temple and I have a testimony that it works.

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As has been mentioned, the pattern is taught in the temple and I have a testimony that it works.

You have actually gone through that process with someone?

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You have actually gone through that process with someone?

I am just going to leave it at that

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Man, you guys live in a scary world. I'm curious, how does one know when a person is possessed?

This isn't a subject to discuss lightly. Pearls before swine, and all that.

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Saw this quote by Martin Luther recently and enjoyed it: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn."

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Saw this quote by Martin Luther recently and enjoyed it: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn."

Ha...Luther... Fun quote, but I'd recommend against it. I'm with mfbukowski on it being set down in the Temple and beyond that, go find a Bishop, Stake President, or someone else in authority.

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Does anybody see any contradiction in the idea that 'evil forces' may posses someone and the belief in free agency?

I can wrap my head around the concept that some people believe there is an adversary to goodness that would set traps of temptation externally so mankind would follow a 'wrong path' (by choosing to do so). But the idea that this adversary could affect a person's actions from within his or her own soul seem to contradict the idea that 'God' gave man free-agency. I would think that this free-agency would be absolute and not interruptible by outside influences internally.

Does this imply that 'Satan' can take away your free agency?

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There's only one authority over the devil and his demonic power. Christ alone.

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Does anybody see any contradiction in the idea that 'evil forces' may posses someone and the belief in free agency?

I can wrap my head around the concept that some people believe there is an adversary to goodness that would set traps of temptation externally so mankind would follow a 'wrong path' (by choosing to do so). But the idea that this adversary could affect a person's actions from within his or her own soul seem to contradict the idea that 'God' gave man free-agency. I would think that this free-agency would be absolute and not interruptible by outside influences internally.

Does this imply that 'Satan' can take away your free agency?

I've seen many problems with reconciling the idea of demonic possession with LDS theology, and this is chief among them, and one of the reasons why I don't personally subscribe to it (in the traditional sense).

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Expositor']

Does anybody see any contradiction in the idea that 'evil forces' may posses someone and the belief in free agency?

I can wrap my head around the concept that some people believe there is an adversary to goodness that would set traps of temptation externally so mankind would follow a 'wrong path' (by choosing to do so). But the idea that this adversary could affect a person's actions from within his or her own soul seem to contradict the idea that 'God' gave man free-agency. I would think that this free-agency would be absolute and not interruptible by outside influences internally.

Does this imply that 'Satan' can take away your free agency?

I've seen many problems with reconciling the idea of demonic possession with LDS theology, and this is chief among them, and one of the reasons why I don't personally subscribe to it (in the traditional sense).

I don't believe that one can be possessed without inviting the evil spirit to "come into their house". Free agency can be forfeited, as I'm sure you've seen many people do when they engage willingly in addictive behaviours. People can be lured into believing that yielding their agency and their body to evil spirits will grant them great powers and glory. I don't see how this is in contradiction with LDS theology.

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I don't believe that one can be possessed without inviting the evil spirit to "come into their house". Free agency can be forfeited, as I'm sure you've seen many people do when they engage willingly in addictive behaviours. People can be lured into believing that yielding their agency and their body to evil spirits will grant them great powers and glory. I don't see how this is in contradiction with LDS theology.

:P

Not only does it not contradict LDS theology, it in fact confirms prophecies about this happening in the Book of Mormon.

I suppose there are not a lot of devotees of Santa Muerta in Utah - yet.

Rites dedicated to Santa Muerte are similar to Christian rites, including processions and prayers with the aim of gaining a favor.[6] Many believers in Santa Muerte are Catholics, who invoke the name of God, Christ and the Virgin in their petitions to Santa Muerte.[9] Altars contain an image of Santa Muerte, generally surrounded by any or all of the following: cigarettes, flowers, fruit, incense, alcoholic beverages, coins, candies and candles.[2][6] According to popular belief, Santa Muerte is very powerful and is reputed to grant many favors. These images, like those of saints, are treated as real persons who can give favors in return for the faith of the believer, with miracles playing a vital role. In many ways, Santa Muerte acts like any other saint. However, Santa Muerte can grant favors that no other saint can, such as cause a person to fall in love with you, damage property, or even harm or cause the death of someone, but only in the name of justice. In exchange, the petitioner must be in the right and continue to live so.[4][11] As Se

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How do LDS view such matters? Do LDS believe that demonic possession is possible? Does the LDS Church have a history of performing exorcisms? What is the LDS view on Satan and demonic influences in our world?

Back during my Mormon days, I was directly involved in two such incidents. They were rather vivid experiences.

I cannot explain how or why "possession" happens, but there was no evidence that either of the victims consciously "invited" it, beyond being imperfect people like the rest of us. They were certainly not evil. In fact, from what I know of them, one might speculate that they were "high value targets". Apparently so was Mary Magdalene, out of whom Jesus cast seven devils.

I don't believe mental illness (schizophrenia) was a factor in either case. Depression due to a bad marriage may have played a role in one case.

stYro

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Does this imply that 'Satan' can take away your free agency?

Just to state this before I say anything else, what I'm about to say is differently doctrine of Gohan, and just my opinion.

Satan himself? No, he can't, not really. We do it to ourselves, if that makes sense. When we sin, we deprive ourselves of agency. The deeper and deeper that you get in, the harder and harder it is to get out. The more we expose ourselves to it, or do certain actions, the weaker we get.

And that's when the adversary makes his move, in a manner that I don't quite understand and don't wish too.

As stYro speculated about depression, I believe - know actually - the same weakening effect occurs, although for an entirely different reason.

And that's my badly worded, probably going to slammed, thoughts on the subject.

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The prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. when relating events of his First Vision as published in the 'Times and Seasons' newspaper, talks of an evil possession (that even bound his tongue)while first attempting to pray vocally in the grove. (LDS Joseph Smith History 1:15-16)

I recall two apostles in the 1830-1844 church while on mission in England, were involved in an exorcism of a man with demonic possession. This account might be in the 'Docudrama of the Restoration'. I'll see if I can find it again.

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