Saturday, December 28, 2013
# 20: Satan Wants Your Soul
I've had at least two encounters with Satan. Well, I've never seen Satan. I guess I can't be sure that he, or one of his henchmen, was really there. But a few times in my life, I've felt a real, dark presence. I've felt an evil power, a real force from the supernatural realm. Let me tell you about the two experiences I've had.
A decade ago, I was a missionary having dinner at a recent convert's apartment. Towards the end of the night, she talked about how she felt like her apartment was haunted. She said she felt like someone was watching her, and making her angry. I can't remember exactly what she said. This happened ten years ago.
But I remember that as she talked about her feelings in her apartment, I got scared. I got a really creepy feeling. My companion did too. I know it sounds crazy, but it felt like there was a invisible demon in the room, and it wanted to harm us. The demon exuded hatred. I remember thinking, as this convert was talking, "I want to pray, I want to pray, I want to pray..." And then when we did finally pray, as soon as we said, "Dear Heavenly Father," it was like a burden was lifted off our shoulders. It was as if a light entered the room. I no longer felt constricted and scared. I felt like I could walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil, because I knew that God was with me.
(I got goosebumps while typing this, recalling that eerie night.)
About three years ago, my wife and I ended up babysitting a lot for a couple who lived in the neighborhood. The household was very dysfunctional, and the husband was physically abusive. He would punch and kick his wife. He was so abusive, in fact, that one time the wife had to be hospitalized. Every time my wife and I went into that house, we felt bad, spiritually bad. They were toxic people. Eventually my wife said she couldn't go inside that house anymore. And eventually the family got evicted for not paying the rent.
At one time, a church video was playing in their house. (The dysfunctional couple actually joined the LDS Church. It's a long story.) And yet I felt that the church video couldn't pierce through the evil cloud that was hanging in the house. There was a picture of Jesus on the TV but the dark forces that reigned in that house were mocking Him.
Another time in that dark house I was reading a children's book, a book about Elmo, to one of the children. The child loved it. She hung on my every word. Out of nowhere I started crying, because I felt that this kid never got read to. This child was being neglected. This child was being abused. It was awful. It was evil.
This is so hard to describe. This is so hard to communicate. Again, I don't have proof of Satan's existence, and I fully expect many people reading this to dismiss my experiences as my own psychosis or delusions or imagination. All I can say is, these experiences and feelings were real to me.
I don't like to bring this up too often, but sometimes it's all I have left. I'm going to quote some scripture that basically says, "If you're unenlightened, you don't understand."
Matthew 11:25 "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
1 Corintians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
And here's one last scripture:
Luke 22: 31 + 32: "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:"
Satan is real. Just as Joseph Smith taught, Satan is an "actual being from the unseen world," and he wants your soul. He wants to make you miserable. He wants you to sin. He wants you to hurt others, and he wants you to hurt yourself.
In my personal experience, I've found that praying, receiving priesthood blessings, attending church, and doing other things I was taught to do by the Church, lessens the power of the Evil One in my life.
Let's fight the Devil. Let's stay LDS.