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Possession / exorcism

exorcism possessed possession

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#1 twort

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 07:40 PM

:confused:I've heard a number of Mormon myths about exorcism and possession, but does anyone know what either the official word from the top is on possession is, or at least what the general concensus is? How do church leaders deal with percieved possession? What is a Mormon exorcism like? Just curious - I know this isn't necessary for my salvation everyone... that's not what I'm asking.

#2 slamjet

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 08:37 PM

Mormonism does not have an "exorcism" per-se. I've not heard about any outside of anecdotal stories concerning the driving out of evil spirits. We believe in the healing by the laying on of hands after anointing a person with oil and pronouncing a blessing, as guided by the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which the person giving the blessing will be ordained to. If the Holy Spirit so dictates to drive out evil, then so be it. But it's not a formal and distinct act (for lack of a better word). So the short answer would be: there is no dictated or formal exorcism in the church. It is handled by the healing power of the Priesthood Blessing, if the person giving the blessing is so prompted by the Holy Ghost to do so.
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#3 prophetofdoom

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 08:38 PM

I don't know the current statements of the church with regard to possession or exorcism. I think it rarely occurs, but, a companionship within my district (on my mission of course) witnessed someone they perceived to be possessed by an evil entity. I have heard many other rumors and stories of missionaries casting out devils too.

#4 Backroads

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 09:34 PM

Fiance and went and saw The Rite the other weekend (good movie, I recommend it if you like stuff like that). The movie is based on true events, and at the end it mentioned that one of the main characters is one of only 14 practicing Catholic exorcists in the United States. I jokingly said that didn't make me feel very comfortable, and my fiance rolled his eyes and said he would be happy to use the priesthood in the case of a possession rather than trying to find one of 14 US exorcists.

Personally, I do believe possession and exorcism happen in the LDS church. If anyone finds official LDS statements on it, great, but it may be one of those things that simply falls under priesthood duty.

I remember being 13 and going to girls' camp and people (including adults) saying one of the girls in another ward was possessed (I did know my priesthood leaders did have to go to that campsite). But I was 13 and girls' camp is a rumor mill so...

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#5 NeuroTypical

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 10:17 PM

Here is an Ensign article talking about why angelic visitations occur more often at certain times than others. Seems like the reasons given would also speak to demonic visitations.
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#6 mordorbund

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 02:33 AM

Probably not as dramatic as what you're looking for, but Joseph Smith said he was physically bound by the devil - to a point where he couldn't even speak.

A few years later Newell Knight had a possession. Joseph expelled the demon as follows (H of C v1 p82-3):

After he had thus suffered for a time, I succeeded in getting hold of him by the hand, when almost immediately he spoke to me, and with great earnestness requested me to cast the devil out of him, saying that he knew he was in him, and that he also knew that I could cast him out.

I replied, "If you know that I can, it shall be done," and then almost unconsciously I rebuked the devil, and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from him; when immediately Newel spoke out and said that he saw the devil leave him and vanish from his sight. This was the first miracle which was done in the Church.


Edited by mordorbund, 08 February 2011 - 01:53 PM.


#7 Blackmarch

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:42 AM

:confused:I've heard a number of Mormon myths about exorcism and possession, but does anyone know what either the official word from the top is on possession is, or at least what the general concensus is? How do church leaders deal with percieved possession? What is a Mormon exorcism like? Just curious - I know this isn't necessary for my salvation everyone... that's not what I'm asking.

posessions happen. scariest experiences i've ever heard...
the way that priesthood bearers exorcise is that they just command the devil to leave the body by the name of christ and by the priest hood they hold. They tend to be fairly simple.

#8 rameumptom

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:17 AM

I've been involved in a couple exorcisms - once on my mission. In that instance, we got the mission president's counsel on what to do. 1. Fast and pray 2. Fast and pray 3. Fast and pray 4. See 1-3 Even Jesus noted that possessions can be tricky things, and that sometimes a spirit that has been cast out will return with others to an empty vessel. Not a fun experience, and one I'd prefer not having again.
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#9 anatess

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:29 AM

Fiance and went and saw The Rite the other weekend (good movie, I recommend it if you like stuff like that). The movie is based on true events, and at the end it mentioned that one of the main characters is one of only 14 practicing Catholic exorcists in the United States. I jokingly said that didn't make me feel very comfortable, and my fiance rolled his eyes and said he would be happy to use the priesthood in the case of a possession rather than trying to find one of 14 US exorcists.

Personally, I do believe possession and exorcism happen in the LDS church. If anyone finds official LDS statements on it, great, but it may be one of those things that simply falls under priesthood duty.

I remember being 13 and going to girls' camp and people (including adults) saying one of the girls in another ward was possessed (I did know my priesthood leaders did have to go to that campsite). But I was 13 and girls' camp is a rumor mill so...


Uhm... the movie is as true as the DaVinci Code. It's a masterful intertwining of fact and fiction so that you don't see where one ends and the other begins. For example - there is no Michael Kovak, the mortician turned exorcist who now exorcises in Chicago. And there's no Father Lucas either.

Yes, there's a 2-month exorcism course in Rome, but that's about the only factual thing in that movie.

#10 Backroads

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:51 AM

Uhm... the movie is as true as the DaVinci Code. It's a masterful intertwining of fact and fiction so that you don't see where one ends and the other begins. For example - there is no Michael Kovak, the mortician turned exorcist who now exorcises in Chicago. And there's no Father Lucas either.

Yes, there's a 2-month exorcism course in Rome, but that's about the only factual thing in that movie.


Hence, based on true events. My brother works in film, I know history, I can tell the difference... we researched it, it is linked to real people and real events. It was more factual than the events The Exorcist were based upon--perhaps the most boring series of events ever turned horror movie.

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#11 anatess

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:27 AM

Hence, based on true events. My brother works in film, I know history, I can tell the difference... we researched it, it is linked to real people and real events. It was more factual than the events The Exorcist were based upon--perhaps the most boring series of events ever turned horror movie.


Uhm... no. It's not "based" on true events. It is "inspired" by true events. There's a difference. The former has an obligation to stick with reality, the 2nd doesn't. But, I agree, the Rite is closer to reality than the Exorcist is according to my perception of it.

#12 Backroads

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:48 AM

Uhm... no. It's not "based" on true events. It is "inspired" by true events. There's a difference. The former has an obligation to stick with reality, the 2nd doesn't. But, I agree, the Rite is closer to reality than the Exorcist is according to my perception of it.


I'll give you that, then. :peace:

According to my brother, however, there is no solid definition between "Based" and "inspired"; it's all consumer perspective.

Edited by Backroads, 08 February 2011 - 10:52 AM.

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#13 twort

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:13 PM

Not a fun experience, and one I'd prefer not having again.


Since it sounds like you are saying you've been possessed:confused:, and this post is about possessions and exorcisms, could you expound? You've sure got my attention.

I feel like once, while I was on my mission in Asia, I came across a man who was possessed. He came into the church though, I'm not sure how that fares with our beliefs... He told me I was doing Gods work, cursed me, and tried to steal the ring a good friend and convert gave me. I told him to leave, and he did.

#14 rameumptom

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 06:19 AM

I wasn't possessed. I was the priesthood holder doing the exorcism. Not a fun experience. And no, I will not elaborate, as such discussions only invite the wrong spirit in.
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#15 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 08:28 AM

I wonder if there is a relationship between possession and a spirit losing control of her body. In other words, can an evil spirit really kick one's spirit out of the driver's seat or can the evil spirit only jump in if 'the car is left running in the driveway with the keys in the ignition'?

#16 anatess

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 08:40 AM

I wonder if there is a relationship between possession and a spirit losing control of her body. In other words, can an evil spirit really kick one's spirit out of the driver's seat or can the evil spirit only jump in if 'the car is left running in the driveway with the keys in the ignition'?


From the events at the grove, I don't think this is the case... I mean, it could be the case in some but, surely not all.

A lot of the exorcism in the Philippines happen to the most devout Catholics.

#17 twort

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:26 AM

Although it's a curiousity and something fun to talk about, I sortof think that possession is very very rare. I'm thinking that most, if not all possessions are mental illnesses, cries for help or attention, or crazy parents trying to justify a wayward child. I always hear anecdotal occurances that happen to "a friend's mission companion's investigater" or some other distant connection. And when the occurrances are first person experiences, the person either refuses to talk about them in the name of piety, or overplays the actual occurance. I guess I'd say that I'm sceptical at best that possession should even be considered as a possibility when noticing personality changes in people close to us. I also think SeminarySnoozer is on the right track... if possessions do happen today, it seems like they almost need to be invited in...

#18 Blackmarch

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 11:01 AM

Although it's a curiousity and something fun to talk about, I sortof think that possession is very very rare. I'm thinking that most, if not all possessions are mental illnesses, cries for help or attention, or crazy parents trying to justify a wayward child. I always hear anecdotal occurances that happen to "a friend's mission companion's investigater" or some other distant connection. And when the occurrances are first person experiences, the person either refuses to talk about them in the name of piety, or overplays the actual occurance.

I guess I'd say that I'm sceptical at best that possession should even be considered as a possibility when noticing personality changes in people close to us. I also think SeminarySnoozer is on the right track... if possessions do happen today, it seems like they almost need to be invited in...

Posessions are very rare, and i have absolotely no idea how a spirit can get such power over another. Quite possibly most possessions in written records are probably some health deficiency rather than actual posessions, that is reasonable.

I think that most true posessions are invited in, but I cannot recall anything authoritive that explicitly confirms this. The best defense far as i know is relying upon the Lord. Nor is there anything that explicitly states what constitutes an invitation.
(IMO if the Holy Ghost is not there it's probably fair game.. but that can't be all to it as posessions do tend to be rare)

For identifying an actual posession (from records), I mainly use this qualifier: It will affect someone or something else in a very unique way, and then affect someone else also in a unique manner (generally not the same as the first).

For instance in the Bible the man with the many devils, can be identified as a posession because of what happened with the pigs at the exact time the spirit was cast out (besides him being able to identify the savior right off the bat)

Or When the false preachers tried to exorcise a spirit.

Edited by Blackmarch, 11 February 2011 - 11:08 AM.


#19 Backroads

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 02:41 PM

Although it's a curiousity and something fun to talk about, I sortof think that possession is very very rare. I'm thinking that most, if not all possessions are mental illnesses, cries for help or attention, or crazy parents trying to justify a wayward child. I always hear anecdotal occurances that happen to "a friend's mission companion's investigater" or some other distant connection. And when the occurrances are first person experiences, the person either refuses to talk about them in the name of piety, or overplays the actual occurance.

I guess I'd say that I'm sceptical at best that possession should even be considered as a possibility when noticing personality changes in people close to us. I also think SeminarySnoozer is on the right track... if possessions do happen today, it seems like they almost need to be invited in...


I don't think anyone should jump the gun at evil spirits when it is very likely mental or something.

Though I heard a very interesting reverse of that (from someone who agrees that most "possessions" are in fact not) that there could be cases in what we assume to be a mental disorder is in fact... a possession.

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#20 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 03:19 PM

Posessions are very rare, and i have absolotely no idea how a spirit can get such power over another. Quite possibly most possessions in written records are probably some health deficiency rather than actual posessions, that is reasonable.

I think that most true posessions are invited in, but I cannot recall anything authoritive that explicitly confirms this. The best defense far as i know is relying upon the Lord. Nor is there anything that explicitly states what constitutes an invitation.
(IMO if the Holy Ghost is not there it's probably fair game.. but that can't be all to it as posessions do tend to be rare)

For identifying an actual posession (from records), I mainly use this qualifier: It will affect someone or something else in a very unique way, and then affect someone else also in a unique manner (generally not the same as the first).

For instance in the Bible the man with the many devils, can be identified as a posession because of what happened with the pigs at the exact time the spirit was cast out (besides him being able to identify the savior right off the bat)

Or When the false preachers tried to exorcise a spirit.


Thanks, I have a hard time understanding how more than one spirit can possess a body. If we believe that the spirit fills the space and conforms to the shape of the body in its whole and that spirit matter is finer than physical matter then how could more than one spirit occupy the same space?
And, if they can't occupy the same space then what happens to the spirit of the person when they are possessed? By definition that would mean the spirit has separated from the body and that is what we call death. So, when the spirit comes back to the body that would be birth again. We say though that once we die and the spirit reunites with the body it will never again be separated.
I think a better description of "possessed" if it really exists is being heavily influenced by evil spirits to the point of the persons spirit not maintaining control of the body. I don't think another spirit can control a body that doesn't belong to that spirit only by way of influence, not direct control.




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