Understanding Basic Christendom and the Great Apostasy through the tenants of Mormonism
When I initially decided to write and then publish this article I lost a lot of sleep wondering how it would be received. As I have stated before numerous times WISPS is happy to work with any religion and accepts all religions which teach and promote faith in Jesus Christ particularly when dealing with demonic forces. My fear in writing an article centered on the theology of a single denomination, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormonism) is that in doing so I risked alienating my friends, colleagues, and potential clients from other belief systems. Please understand that is not my intent.
With that in mind, one has to ask why I would proceed to write about demonology from the perspective of a single faith. The reason I chose to proceed is I personally believe the LDS faith has the best explanation as to what these demonic spirits are, why they rebelled against God, and why they possess such a vile animosity and hatred toward us. The belief system puts motive toward why they seek to possess human bodies, and why they seem to know us so well. Keep in mind as I have written this I am not trying to convert anyone or push an agenda. I have included some LDS history to put their claims, and origins of their additional scriptures in context.
It is difficult to get into the subject matter of ghosts and their counterparts demons
without also delving into theology. To get into demons and spirits I have to start with some building blocks to build a foundation for further understanding. It is not my intent to push religion on anyone, but to clearly understand the principles I am about to present one must understand some religious history and core beliefs of Mormonism. What generally accepted practice details and deals with spirits, souls, and demons other than religion?
Theology is a difficult subject to touch on because like politics there are so many different belief systems, some even run contrary to others, but most have some common core principles. I will approach this subject from the angle of Christianity which I adhere to. That being said even Christianity has various denominations that teach contrary principles. With God being a good of order how can these contradictions exist in the same belief system? Who is right? Ultimately faith in Christ will prevail when dealing with the demonic, but this article is going to explain demonic spirits through the eyes of the Latter Day Saint (LDS or Mormon) belief system.
To get to the core of afterlife, spirits and demons one has to understand some basic tenants of Christianity. Before I delve too deeply into this topic understand most all Christian churches teach the truth. That being said you can still find doctrines that contradict each other from denomination to denomination. Though all these church teach good and teach truths most of them are lacking the full and complete truth and do the best according to their interpretation and understanding of the Bible.
To understand why one church set up by a perfect God can have doctrinal contradictions, we have to delve into history. Throughout the ages God has set up his one true church here on the earth. After some time the believers fall into sin, turning from gospel truth and prophets are killed and the church withers and dies as priesthood authority is lost and the leaders are left rudderless having to manage the church based off of the whims of man. When God is ready he again calls a prophet and reestablishes priesthood authority and again builds his church on earth. These resets, of a sort, are called dispensations. You may be familiar with some of these “resets” such as Abraham and Noah from the Bible.
God the Father sent his only begotten son Jesus Christ here to earth to set up his church and to fulfill the plan of salvation (Which I will explain in part 3). Christ set up his church calling Apostles to receive divine revelation and to lead the church after the atonement, and his crucifixion. These Apostles were given priesthood authority from Christ to administer the church and church ordinances in his name in his absence.
After Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection, the Apostles continued to build Christ’s church here on earth. Christ’s Apostles were then systematically hunted down and killed. Without them there to guide the church in the right direction through revelation, the priesthood authority was lost and the church fell into disarray and apostasy as leaders did their best to interpret God’s will without revelation or the priesthood, co-mingling the doctrines of God with the whims of man. This period is referred to as the Great Apostasy.
In 325 A.D. the Emperor Constantine was troubled that various Christian congregations were teaching various and sometime contradicting doctrines. The Emperor gathered all the Christian Leaders together from their various sects and they convened The Counsel of Nicaea. To make a long story short all the leaders got together and formed a standardized set of core beliefs, The Creed of Nicaea. The problem being to come to an agreement, some beliefs and doctrines that were controversial, albeit true, were discarded for the sake of unity. Other popular beliefs and doctrines which were not gospel truths were added. Without divine revelation and guidance this group did the best they could with what they had. The end result was the beginnings of Roman Catholic Church.
Over the years disagreements about points of doctrine have split the church further such as the Greek Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church, or the Church of England all breaking away from Catholicism over various disputes on leadership or points of doctrine. In 1517 Martin Luther not believing forgiveness for sins could be purchased for money (indulgences) confronted the Catholic Church and broke away to start the protestant movement, essentially protesting the doctrines of the Catholic Church. From there other protestant groups have split off to worship as they will protesting certain points of doctrine until Christ’s original church here on earth was fragmented into thousands of shards each teaching truth, but truth severely fragmented and damaged by the Creed of Nicaea, and other man made beliefs creeping into the original gospel.
Bear with me as I present a little more religious history, in respect to the beliefs of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is very relevant to demonology, the topic at hand.
In the 1820’s there was a great religious revival in the New England area of the United States. Joseph Smith a young boy about 14 years old was struggling with trying to find a church to join. He was confused by each church claiming to have the truth, and trying to discredit all the others.
In his confusion Joseph Smith stumbled on the following passage in his bible.
James Chapter 1 Verse 5:
After reading this passage Joseph Smith described its effects on him in his own words:
“Never did any passage of ascripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed bwisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects cunderstood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.”
Joseph Smith took this passage to heart and retired to the woods to pray and ask God which of the denominations he should join. I will again use Joseph Smith’s own words:
14 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the awoods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a bbeautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to cpray dvocally.
15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was aseized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick bdarkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
16 But, exerting all my powers to acall upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into bdespair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of clight exactly over my head, above the brightness of the dsun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself adelivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me Ibsaw two cPersonages, whose brightness and dglory defy all description, estanding above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is MyfBeloved gSon. Hear Him!
18 My object in going to ainquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were allawrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those bprofessors were all ccorrupt; that: “they ddraw near to me with their lips, but their ehearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines thefcommandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the gpower thereof.”
20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself alying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, bmother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” It seems as though the cadversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the dopposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?
There is much more to the above story, but essentially as he’s about to be destroyed in what is essentially a powerful demonic attack, Joseph Smith managed to call on God and is rescued by God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ.
Through this incident Joseph Smith was called to be a modern day prophet, and was given the true priesthood power, and authority to restore God’s church here on the earth for the final time before the second coming of Christ.
Through the restoration of Christ’s Church here on earth and with the restoration of true priesthood authority, and revelation God also brought froth additional scripture to help clarify and solidify gospel principles. I will be referring to some of that scripture which is part of the basis for me building this religious foundation.
These additional scriptures are The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. To give a little background on each book the Book of Mormon is named after an ancient prophet who wrote and abridged the book from the writings of other prophets. The book is a record of the people of Central America and their dealing with religion and Jesus Christ takes place between 700 BC and 400 AD in the area of Central America. The Doctrine and Covenants is a book of modern revelations given to and recorded by Joseph Smith and some other modern prophets at the time of the restoration. The Pearl of Great Price is a translated document that was found to be the writing of the biblical prophet Abraham, and some writings from Moses.
With religious background out of the way let’s delve into the meat and potatoes of the issue of what demons are and where they came from.
The Plan of Salvation and the purpose of life
The issue of demons puts us back into religious doctrine. Particularly the plan of salvation which I am going to lay out explains the purpose of life, and was one of those pesky doctrines discarded at the Council of Nicaea.
First one of the greatest fallacies and misconceptions to come out of the Creed of Nicaea and has unwittingly plagued modern Christianity is that God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one being. They most certainly are not. They are one in purpose, much like co-workers sharing a task have similar goals or similar to how my family and I are one in purpose and goals, but all members of my family are distinct individuals. God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose, but three distinct beings. With that out of the way let’s go back to the beginning…
Modern revelation and these new additional scriptures fill in some of the missing portions of the plan of salvation. Understand we, each and every one of us, are eternal beings. We are the literal spiritual children of God. We existed with God as spirits prior to being born on this earth. Unlike us at that time, God has a perfect immortal body of flesh and bone. We were created in his image. As God’s spirit children we reached a point were we had learned all we could learn, and had reached a point where we could no longer progress. A spirit also has limitations on what it can do. A spirit is inferior without a physical body.
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast achosen before thou wast born.
24 And there stood aone among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and bwe will make an earth whereon these may cdwell;
26 And they who akeep their first bestate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second cestate shall have dglory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
Every living person on this planet who has lived, and who will yet live, Lucifer, and the third the host of heaven which later rebelled and were cast out were with God in a pre-mortal state as his spirit children.
A plan was proposed where we would come to earth with no memory of our former existence, and receive imperfect mortal physical bodies patterned after that of God the Father’s. Here on earth we would be exposed to good and evil, and be tested to see if we would choose the good. It was understood we would sin, and make mistakes. The problem being that no unclean being can dwell with God.
It was proposed by our eldest brother Jesus Christ that he would come to earth and live a sinless life so he could return to dwell with God, but suffer and pay the price for the sins of the entire world taking those sins upon himself so if we choose to repent we can be cleansed of our sins and also return. It was the agony of suffering for the sins of the entire world which caused Jesus to bleed from every pore in the garden of Gethsemane. It was at that point Christ paid for our sins through his suffering. After his crucifixion Christ would be resurrected to a perfect immortal body of flesh and bone. Paving the way for us all to be resurrected with perfect physical bodies just like God has so we could continue to progress. After his proposal Christ told God that in doing so the glory belonged to God.
One of the gifts given to us by God is the choice of free will. It was understood in that plan that not everyone would make the right choices and not everyone would return to dwell with God. Because of the gift of free will some would choose to make poor decisions, but everyone, if they chose to, could take advantage of Christ’s sacrifice and repent and return to live with God.
Lucifer our spiritual brother, God’s son, and also Christ’s spiritual brother came forth and offered his own plan. Lucifer told the masses that Christ’s plan was too risky since we might not all return. Lucifer’s offered his plan which was to take God’s gift of free will away from us so that we could come obtain physical bodies, but be unable to chose for ourselves, forcing everyone to make right choices, making it so everyone could return to live with God.
Lucifer then declared with his plan all glory should go to him and not God. As Lucifer’s plan sought to take away God’s gift of free choice, and Lucifer’s plan was for his own personal glory and not God’s it was rejected.
Lucifer became angry and rebelled against God and with him 1/3 the host of heaven, basically 1/3 of all the spirits who dwelt with us and with God prior to the creation of the earth sided with Lucifer. A war of sorts ensued and Lucifer became Satan. Satan and his 3rd were cast out of heaven down here to earth. They are forever denied physical bodies of their own and they have been denied the chance to progress spiritually, and return to live with God. Knowing they have failed and can no longer participate in this trial of life, they do their best to thwart our efforts and try and make the victory for God as costly as possible at our expense.
All the children of God each and every one of us, even Satan, even the demons who are that lost 3rd are the angels, or fallen angels in the case of the 3rd spoken of in scripture. Those of us not here on earth being tested serve God as his messengers, doing his will. We are here to obtain physical bodies, and in the absence of God we are tested to see if by faith we will choose to good over evil. Knowing we will make mistakes we are able to repent through the atonement of Jesus Christ our elder brother. When we are judged we will be judged based on our knowledge. Those with greater knowledge of God and his plan will be held to a much higher standard than those who never knew about God. Each and every one of us will return to heaven, but only those who are truly righteous will be able to dwell with God.
Satan’s Plan on Earth
This is the plan of salvation This was one of those inconvenient and controversial doctrines that fell to the cutting room floor that was the Council of Nicaea.
Satan and his 3rd were cast down to earth in their spirit bodies, cut off from God because they willfully rebelled against God and the plan of salvation. Christ succeeded and fulfilled his mission. Satan and his minions can see the writing on the wall. They already know they have lost. Any love, joy, or happiness they once felt has been replaced with bitterness, hate, anger, misery, rage, and loathing. They know they will never receive physical bodies such as we have. Physical bodies we will receive again in a perfected form during the resurrection. They hate us, those who sided with God, as badly as they hate God himself. Knowing we are in a progressive probationary state, where we can stumble and fall, or fail through poor choices, they target us and attempt to trip us up.
Like any sore loser, their only recourse at this point in the plan is to try and make God’s victory as painful and costly for us and God as possible; in essence to try and throw a wrench into the works. For those of us who fall and make horrible life decisions, they like a 6th grade bully, want to giving us the spiritual equivalent of a swirly saying “Na na I told you so” when we are unable to return to God. The most basic way they do this is to try and turn us away from God, tempt us to commit basic and even more serious sins then dissuade us from seeking forgiveness through repentance.
They primarily do this through whispering, enticing, and temptation. We all, every one of us deal with this everyday. The subtle whispered promise is of there being no consequences for our wrong actions, followed after the act by condemnation and trying to convince us of no forgiveness when we do stumble. They seek to draw us as far away from God as possible.
Up to this point everything I have presented is absolute truth which I can back up with multiple scriptural references. I haven’t gotten too scripturally heavy in this because like I said this isn’t about pushing religion this is about explaining the phenomena, and the demonic rational behind it from the LDS standpoint.
Now I have to step outside the realm of hard religious truths, and into the realm of opinion, conjecture, and things learned through experience and case studies. Keep in mind this is educated opinion and conjecture based on experience and case studies and not just willy-nilly speculation.
First off understand the goal of these demonic forces is an attempt to frustrate God’s plan. Magic is real, very dangerous, and very expensive. Not real in a Harry Potter Hogwarts sense, but real in a sense that people who attempt dark magic, divination, dark religions or the intentional summoning of demons will get the results they seek, not through actual magic, but through demonic forces carrying out their will.
These demonic spirits once invited in can and will communicate openly and directly with those who seek their services. They can also choose to manipulate them subtly. These forces will promise great power in exchange for vows and acts of service that will draw the user as far from God as possible. These can range from repugnant sexual acts, to ritualistic animal sacrifice, murder, or human sacrifice. This can also be done by allowing the demonic spirits access to the participant’s physical body. The price depends on the person, but the price is usually far steeper than the individual understands it to be until it is too late.
Often times, these always deceitful demonic spirits, will turn on their supposed masters subjecting them to infestation, oppression, and ultimately possession themselves. They may even try and convince those under their power that suicide is the only escape from the torment. From a plan of salvation standpoint suicide for an individual is the equivalent of crumpling up your math final in the middle of the test and throwing it away before it can be graded. It’s difficult to pass or do well on a test you didn’t finish.
Unlike us who have no memory of our pre-mortal state. Demonic spirits retain those memories and use that vast knowledge against us. The know us as we were, they remember us, they use that knowledge against us. Because of their great knowledge and power, God has protected us to a point. These spirits to an extent can influence and tempt us, but cannot take an active role in our lives. There is however some exceptions to that rule, and limits to that protection. God can allow some incursion, such as in the biblical story of Job, where Job and his family were subjected to plagues, loss, and death. The second exception is when people intentionally invite these demonic spirits into the world where they can directly affect us an our environment. There are still limitations in place, however these spirits will work to get the permissions and invitations from us to allow them to more fully access our lives.
There was a war in heaven. These spirits our spiritual brothers and sisters rejected God, and rejected us. This war still rages as these spirits seek our destruction in an effort to spite God, and to make us fail and feel the same misery as they do. These souls have rejected all good to become the twisted, corrupted, demonic spirits we know of today.