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DISTRACTIONS

Excerpts from The Protocols of Adversarial Resistance book.


Familiar spirits

Yes, what we’re saying here is that when these evil spirit entities are attached to us, we feel their emotions as though they were our emotions. If we are not discerning of this happening to us, they become so familiar to us that we, in fact, believe it is us. They have become familiar spirits to us, now attempting to bind us down with their additional fiery darts of thoughts, creating additional negative emotional content. When the person you’re working with has this knowledge and understanding that the fear they are feeling is not even theirs, that it is fears – fear. The lust they have been feeling in an overpowering way is not even their lust, it is lusts – lust. The despair they have been feeling is not even their despair, it is despairs – despair. The light comes on and the entities lose more power, as the person learns more truth. The person you are working with will discern the emotion and entity losing more power and the persons self-confidence that they are winning this battle continues to grow.

Remember, one of the adversaries most powerful controlling emotions upon us is fear. When you start these protocols, if you feel an increase in fear, remember that it is the entities fears of being discovered and eradicated that you are feeling. You are becoming more aware of an entity’s fear of being eradicated, and projecting their fears into you, to scare you, distract you, into not moving forward and taking your power of agency, choice, and freedom back through sufficient resistance.  One of the ultimate deceptions or adversarial trickery is that when we are attached or possessed with an evil spirit, they become so familiar to us that we think their fear or their emotions that we are feeling from them, are us. When you start these protocols, fear within the entities who know they are about to be exposed and eradicated most always increase. Don’t let fear from an attached entity distract and trick you, or any other entities emotions (curiosity, lust, helplessness, hopelessness, despair, the suicidal ideation team) deceive you into not figuring them out and freeing yourself from them.

 Distractions That Seek to Destroy Our Souls

I’ve noticed that when I’m plodding along, not doing any apparent harm yet not really doing much good either, things appear to go fairly smoothly.  However, as soon as I make a new commitment to live the commandments with more exactness or decide to influence someone towards Christ, events combine to keep me from being where I should be, doing what my new resolve requires.  It seems that every weakness I have or fear I can develop, is brought into play.

 It seems to be that the greater the resolve we feel to keep our commitments and covenants, the greater the opposition Satan exerts in whatever areas of our lives he can create an opening.  I also believe that when Satan’s minions cannot influence us directly, they begin to use objects, events, and even other people to divert our attention from a righteous endeavor.  For example, my editor remembers that soon when she and her husband had their first child, it was difficult for them to find time to discuss their spiritual progress and insights.  Whenever they planned an hour to do so–no matter the day of the week or the time of day–the same friend would call long distance and say, “You just popped into my mind, so I thought I would call to see how you’re doing.”  Because she lived across country, they felt obligated to spend time with her on the phone, although she mostly complained about her inappropriate and unsatisfactory love life.  These poorly-timed calls happened so often, they became a family joke, but the spiritual and marital growth that was hindered is far from funny.  It is likely that Satan knew that this woman, who was often idle and lonely, would respond to the thought to call at a spiritually distracting moment.  (This example should not be confused with promptings from the Holy Spirit to assist someone.  When I am not sure which voice has suggested I call someone, I find that the tone and direction of the conversation clarifies the source within the first few moments.) 

I believe the adversary also attempts to distract us from spiritual progress by encouraging extremes in behavior.  As we respond to life’s challenges, his followers whisper reactions that keep us preoccupied and render us less able to serve.  For example, I once had a therapy client who was so obsessed with cleanliness that she not only washed her dishes after a meal, but washed them again just before using them after they had been sitting in the cupboard.   [REAL stories for the following EXAMPLES WOULD BE BETTER.  Also, therapy client who cut her hair for more serious example??] For some people it may be a need to account for every cent, spending an extraordinary amount of time and effort to save a few dollars, while for others it may be a feeling they aren’t “the type of person” who can learn to balance a bank statement or live on a budget.  Another common distraction of this kind is spending an inordinate amount of time worrying about health.  Whether we believe it is alright to be grossly out of shape or whether we spend too much time dieting or working out, if we are extreme, we are out of balance.  We should suspect the wrong influence when we feel urged to bring simple health issues like daily exercise or eating differently way out of proportion, using them as an excuse not to do what we know we ought to be doing. 

[AGAIN, A TRUE STORY OF EXTREME BEHAVIOR WOULD HELP, ESPECIALLY TOLD IN FIRST PERSON BY SOMEONE WHO HAS REALIZED THEIR ERROR. Therapy client.]   Of course, the devil isn’t the “cause” of such behaviors.  His followers work with our natural tendencies, exaggerating them until we cannot or will not serve those around us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

we also need balance in our thoughts and actions.  Most of us have experienced extremes that taught us the truth of a matter.

Any principle of life can be analyzed by viewing its opposite extremes to discover where the balance truly is.  Our behaviors, when we are operating in truth, will be in the mid-range of responsiveness to any given stimulus from our habits and general attitudes to how we choose to spend our time.  Satan tries to distract us by keeping our behavior centered on one extreme or the other.

In particular, Satan’s hosts will tempt us into extreme behavior when what we are doing begins as a good and righteous effort.  This includes using church work as a distraction by urging those of us who are susceptible to spend nearly every available free moment in church service, to the neglect of spouse and children. Satan gets us to rationalize that what we are doing is pleasing to the Lord.  On the other end of the scale, he distracts others of us with feelings of no obligation to be of service to our fellowman, thinking our small part would not make a difference or turning selfishly inward with the question, “What’s in it for me?”  This balance is easier to find as we become more Christ centered.  We may, at times, need to spend more time in church service fulfilling the requirements of our calling, then at other times we may coast in our church service and be more needed at home with our children and family. The spirit will guide and direct us in these situations as we pray for constant direction.  Sometimes this balancing of our priorities is better viewed as juggling, we just may need to concentrate on one spinning plate at a time, get it going, and then go on to another that is starting to slow down.

A particularly powerful form of distraction is one associated with “the devourer” mentioned in Malachi 3:11.  I have noticed that when I become prideful in my pursuits and accomplishments, when I boast in some way about a particular possession, or when I have not recognized the hand of God in an accomplishment in my life, one thing after another suddenly goes wrong, breaks down, or backfires.  Murphy’s Law seems to take over and be in full effect.  The devourer is set free, allowing certain afflictions to humble me.  Usually things begin to get better as soon as I recognize God as the source of all my blessings and repent of what has been out of harmony.

At other times, the devourer is set free upon us to test us as Job.  Job was a righteous man, and nowhere does it say he deserved the losses inflicted upon him.  He was tested in his faith and belief in the blessings of God.  He withstood the test of losing everything he had, yet he held to his testimony, which in the end was made stronger and surer.  He did not become bitter about the losses, “curse God and die” so to speak, but went on to be greatly blessed again after patiently bearing the trial of the devourer.  Satan would have us lose our faith in God as we experience losses in our lives--financial setbacks, loved ones who are taken early, or other tragedies that try us to the core of our capacities.  Our response to these tragedies can be one of patience and faith or one of mistrust in God and rebellion towards him for allowing these things to happen.  Satan would distract us from looking for the divine purpose and will that is being manifest at these times, and thus rob us of the faith-building and strengthening that comes as we pass through such adversities.  Moroni explains:

 

. . . I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.  (Ether 12:6)

 

Some distractions keep us from spiritual progress in general.  We are kept from worthwhile projects because we are “so busy” with things of little eternal value. They keep us from our true priorities.  We may feel we must have a new car or a larger home, which justifies us working two jobs or having our spouse work to help us.  We not only lose the irreplaceable time that should be spent with each other, but also time with our children and time with the Lord.

The adversary may then give us urges to excel above others in numerous ways.  The Lord chastened William W. Phelps thus:

[H]e hath need to repent, for I, the Lord, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not sufficiently meek before me. (D&C 58:41)

 

If he can convince us to center our attention on our dress, education, or social status, we may lose our Christ-centered orientation in the way we view ourselves and others.  Satan knows how easily such distractions can be diverted into layer upon layer of sin.  Once we have obtained these “things,” we may begin to seek prestige among men instead of the honor of God.  If not brought back into a Christ-centered view and focus, by giving thanks and recognizing God as the source of all our blessings, these distractions and urges can compound into Pride.

[THIS WHOLE SECTION, GOING FROM PRIDE TO COMPARISON, ETC. WOULD ALSO BE POWERFUL IF TOLD IN FIRST PERSON BY SOMEONE WHO REALIZED IT.  Story with kids–horse, boat.]

If we accept Pride as our companion, it becomes nearly impossible to avoid further distractions.  Pride tells us that we are better than others because of our things, or our positions, or our station in life.  These become more important than people's feelings, our church callings, Sunday worship, and service to neighbors and community.  Pride smothers emotions like kindness, love, and compassion to the extent that those around us may not even feel these emotions from us.  Pride can thus distance us from the ones we should love and who should feel free to love, care for, and associate with us. It destroys our natural relationships with others and God.

            At this point, another unclean spirit almost always enters.  It is Pride's companion Comparison.  The spirit of Comparison never allows happiness, contentment, or peace.  When we're possessed of this spirit, we tend to compare ourselves with both those who have less than we do and those who have more.  We judge those who have less as not being as good or as worthy as we are.  We lose the happiness and joy that might have come from their friendship and association because these thoughts cannot be hid, and we project feelings that distance us from them.  The uneasiness between us is exactly what Satan hopes to achieve with these distractions, because it helps to tear down the self-esteem and good feelings of others.  Meanwhile, our own self-worth is constantly damaged by comparing ourselves to those who we know have more "things, positions, or a better station in life" than we do.  With both Pride and Comparison as our companions, we can never be at ease with those we feel are looking down at us in the same judgmental spirit with which we have viewed those who have less than we do.

            With these spirits influencing us the only group we are at all comfortable with is our peers -- those who are also seeking to excel beyond the mark of true success.  Though we find a sense of belonging among them, we find no true happiness with this group either since they, no more than we, can give full love and friendship as long as there is an air of competition, spoken or unspoken.  Worse yet, we cannot be either influential or influenced in this condition because Pride prevents us from drawing close enough to anyone to let them assist us in overcoming our weaknesses. We hardly would acknowledge our faults to anyone with whom we feel this spirit of competition, let alone have them openly discuss our weaknesses with us.  Nor would the spirit of Comparison, which wants us (and them) to be judgmental, allow us to receive counsel from one another.  Instead, we allow our peers to flatter us, and we unduly compliment them beyond the mark, thus eliminating trust because everyone recognizes false flattery, (flattery being another great tool of the devil as it distracts us from seeing the necessary changes required for us to get back into true balance).

            If we review the above chain of events, but replace the distraction of "things, position, or station in life" with attractiveness, or intelligence, or education, or athletic ability, or the like, we may be able to identify the source of distancing feelings in our own lives that make us feel uneasy around certain people or cause them to feel uncomfortable around us.  We have, perhaps, accepted the companionship of evil spirits who constantly suggest that we compare ourselves to others.

 

                                Satan Generates Vexations, Both Large and Small

            Another approach the adversary takes to keep us from continual spiritual growth is what I call “vexing.”  He simply attempts to make our lives as miserable as possible through any kind of mental turmoil he can generate.  He tries to discourage and overwhelm us with irritations, small and large, in hopes they will open us to lies about ourselves, the Lord, or others.            

            One ability the adversary has that he uses to vex us is blocking our thoughts.  How many times have we all experienced working on something and needing to go to the shop or another room for a tool or some supplies, and then standing in wonderment when we get there over what we came there for in the first place?  Of course, we can naturally lose our concentration at such a time, but it is worth checking next time to see if there may be another source of those memory lapses.

            In the following story the adversary's vexing influence upon a woman was meant to directly block her from learning truths Satan did not want understood:

 

            I had a personal experience of mind blockage.  It happened as an             acquaintance and I were studying the scriptures one morning.  He had just             read to me about Lazarus being raised from the dead.  Just about then my             telephone rang, and I went to the kitchen to answer it.  Upon          completion of the conversation, I returned to the living room.  As I         looked at him, I wondered what he was doing in the living room and, most                    of all, why was he holding the scriptures?  I couldn”t remember any of our                    previous discussion.  My mind had been totally blocked out.  He said that he              had felt the adversary enter and perceived that spirits were blocking my recall.      Shortly, I commanded the evil spirt to leave me, and my mind became clear                 and we completed our discussion.     

            Vexation can take the form of any irritation that prevents us from spending our time and energy in a worthwhile manner.  For instance, a spirit can bring to our memory the words of a song we have just listened to, repeating it over and over hour after hour.  We would like to stop thinking of the words, yet they are there, keeping us from those things we should be concentrating upon, such as school work, or studying the scriptures.  Or perhaps every time we decide to work on a particularly worthy project, we can’t locate the file (which was where it should be a few days ago).  Even some incidents of “bad luck,” like always purchasing the one appliance, vehicle, or item that is faulty and needs to be returned, may be influenced by an evil source.  I don’t mean to create paranoia; however, when such a pattern of disruption happens far too often to be blamed on coincidence, Satan’s hosts may be trying to wear us down. 

             I used to have to leave work late at night on occasions and was responsible for locking the door to the office behind me. By the time I would get to the car, I would find myself wondering whether I actually locked up.  Many times I would go back and pull on the door to see if I had in fact locked it.  It was always locked.  Then one night, after I had gone back for the second time to check the door, the question came again.   I almost went back to check it for the third time when it dawned on me what the source of this influence had to be.   

 

Another form of vexation is fear.  Fear is, in many respects the opposite of faith.  When we are fearful, we do not have the peace that comes with faith in an all-powerful being who is in control of our circumstances and experiences.  There are many fears:  fear of the unknown (such as being afraid of the dark), fear of failure, (thinking we may just not make the grade), fear of rejection (believing people may not accept us).  Fear of not being good enough is a common root that Satan desires to exploit within our belief systems.

               Satan would have us imagine all sorts of things that are never going to happen. He places thoughts of worry, doubt, and fear in our minds. We can spend much time and energy, needlessly, if we buy into this distracting vexation.

            Satan also attempts to place destructive thoughts of “gloom and doom” in our minds, including fears about the future which encourage us to act hastily and defensively.  By recognizing Satan’s hand in this way of thinking, we can, instead, choose faith and confidence in an all-wise and all-knowing Father, who allows experiences to come into our lives which teach, test, and try us the very best way possible during our mortal probation.  He has said that we will not be given trials and temptations beyond our capacity to overcome:

 

   There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but             God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;             but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to             bear it. (1 Cor 10:13; see also Alma 13:28 and D&C 64:20.) 

            Whenever we are beset with fear, it helps to ask ourselves what is the worse thing that could happen in this instance might be, then face the fear, knowing God is in charge.  We will find that when we have the right attitude of submission to God’s will in faith, fear will leave.  Instead of feeling afraid, we will look for the lessons to be learned in our adverse circumstance.  If, in fact, we do experience our worst fears, they will become our greatest growth opportunities as we face them in faith.

After explaining the worst that could happen to the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord said:

                                                                       

            . . . know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee             experience, and shall be for thy good. (D&C 122:7)

 

            The final counsel the Lord then gave to the prophet is also good counsel concerning our fears:

 

       Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with             thee;    for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years         shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall         be with you forever and ever.  (D&C 122:9)

 

 

 It should be clear by now that all of us have areas of our lives in which we may be deceived, distracted, snared, or vexed.  Often they are the very areas in which we feel our actions are the most “justified” or the areas in which we feel hopelessly tied to bad habits, bad attitudes, or even “bad luck.”  We believe Satan’s lies that we are “just that kind of person” or that life is “just that way.”  Yet, as subtle and pervasive as Satan’s influence is, the Lord has provided a way for us to discover and overcome it.  In the following chapters, we will discuss how to exert our faith in Jesus Christ to recognize the lies we now believe, to repent of the damage already done, and to resist future temptations Satan may have in store for us.

 

 

I had Jake and even though he was a quick birth, he had the cord around his neck.  I had a fifteen-month-old toddler and a two-week-old baby.  She had bit him a few day before on the finger.  I had laid him on the bed and then gone to the bathroom, a few feet away.  My daughter realized this new thing was taking up all of Mommy’s attention.  Joe left me for the first time at night to play basketball.  I had already been home alone all day and it was completely overwhelming to me.  I still wasn’t physically over the birth.  I couldn’t get my daughter to bed.  I called and asked him to come home.  He came and by the time he arrived, things were calmed down because I knew he was coming.  But he was angry.  He stayed only a few moments and left again.  As soon as he walked out of the door, I burst into tears.  A few days later, he had to work during the evening.  I laid the baby on the couch and said to my daughter, “It’s time to get your pajamas on.”  I went into the bedroom, then noticed she wasn’t behind me.  I felt I should go back, but I rationalized, “It will only take a minute to grab those pajamas.”  As I grabbed them, I heard the baby cry.  I entered the room and realized the baby was no longer on the couch.  That triggered something and the next thing I remember is seeing some maniac screaming at my daughter who was sobbing.  I looked more closely and realized the “maniac” was me!  As soon as I had that thought, I was back in my body.  I saw that the baby was on the floor and my daughter was crying.  I was yelling at her, but I knew I could stop.  My daughter looked at me and said, “Mommy!” as if she suddenly recognized me.

 

I believe that when we consciously decide to act on the temptations of devils, when we cross the line from thought to action, possession can occur.  Evil spirits are then able to remain with us, to take up abode with us and literally dwell with us in our earthly tabernacle.  Often their deceptions become such an accepted part of our everyday thinking that their presence seems natural.  Sometimes, however, we may be aware of a foreign presence and feel that our “real” spirit is being subdued, yet we may not have discovered the key to removing them from their place.  Thus, with possession we enter a battle for the habitation of our bodies and the direction of our souls.

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