Mission Experiences, Chapters 17 & 18

This entry is part 9 of 18 in the series Mission

Chapter Seventeen
Creating a Barrier

It seemed as if the conversion of the Sherlocks was in the bag and we felt as if we were floating on cloud nine during the next day, but as the evening drew on I began to feel a disturbance in the force.

Later that evening I couldn’t ignore it any longer and told Elder Eldridge that something was wrong with the Sherlocks and we needed to go pay them a visit. Eldridge resisted a little but when he saw my earnestness he agreed.

We got there around 10 pm and knocked on the door. Mr. Sherlock answered and was nervous again, but invited us in this time. We sat down with them and they said they were glad we came by for there was indeed a problem. This time the problem was not with Mrs. Sherlock, but the children. One of the kids had her eyes open during the blessing and when we commanded the evil to depart she saw a gray figure leave the room. This frightened her significantly and was still fearful about it.

Secondly their other kids started acting out of character, almost like they were possessed. They seemed to suddenly become uncontrollable. The Sherlocks wanted to know if anything could be done.

“Here’s the problem,” I said. “You must have something significant to contribute by coming into the church and this evil presence does not want you to move forward and is trying to stop you. Because of the blessing we gave you it seems that you are off limits so it is going after your kids as a way to get to you and discourage you.”

“Well, I love my kids so he certainly has a good plan of attack. Is there anything we can do?” She asked.

“There is always something that can be done. We must always remember that the power of God is greater than the power of evil or the Prince of Darkness. What we can do right now is have a prayer together and ask God to protect your children from evil.”

This we did and afterwards we all seemed to be filled with peace and we had hopes that the problem was solved. To play it safe we went back there the next evening to see how they were doing.

They seemed happy and said a second miracle had occurred – that right after our prayer the children returned to normal and still seemed fine. They again seemed enthused about learning more about the church and getting baptized.

The next day I again felt a disturbance in the force. We had scheduled a lesson so we were supposed to visit them anyway. I was curious about what the problem was this time.

They invited us in again but did not look peaceful or happy. Mrs., Sherlock spoke, “The kids are back to they way they were almost as if they were possessed. On top of that my husband is getting negative and is again wondering if you might be from the devil. If this continues and the only way to stop it is to quit seeing you, then I do not think we have a choice.”

I said that there was always a choice and there is always something that can be done. I explained to her that what has happened merely fulfills the words of Jesus in Matthew. I opened the Bible and read:

“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

“Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” Matt 12:43-45

I closed the Bible and said, “This evil presence we cast out is not giving up. He apparently has gone and gotten seven times the reinforcements and is determined to discourage you no matter what.”

“Seven times the reinforcements – now that’s all we need,” she said. “There was a big enough problem with what we went through already. We certainly do not need seven times the original number against us.”

I almost regretted reading them that scripture, but replied, “It doesn’t matter how many are against us. If we do not give up and have faith then we can prevail.”

Then I recalled another scripture that I thought would instill hope. I told them of a man who brought his possessed son to the disciples and they could not cast out the evil spirits plaguing him. Then Jesus came along and did it. The disciples were amazed and asked Jesus why they could not do it.

He replied, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (See Matt 17:14-21)

So this is what we will do,” I said. “Elder Eldridge and I will fast and pray until your home and children are safe. We have helped you before. Will you give us another chance?”

They agreed but I could tell they were nervous about the situation.

I told them that we would come back in three days and bless their home and that it would then be off limits to all evil entities.

As we left and drove away I was inwardly hoping that Elder Eldridge would go along with my plan. I felt that I was taking a risk for he didn’t have a reputation for doing the spiritual work.

He wanted to know more details. I told him that these people must be important for some reason otherwise they would not have attracted the attention of the evil forces. Their power seemed to be enhanced and it now appeared that the only way to overcome the evil was to follow the advice of Jesus and fast and pray. I told him that I thought a one-day fast wouldn’t do it that we needed to fast three days and nights with no food or water and then return and bless their home.

“The church tells us that we should not fast more than a day,” he said.

“Yeah, but a day will not cut it. We need three days,” I said.

“Normally, I would have said no, but after what we have been through the past couple days I’d say that I must go along with you. I’m in!” he said.

We started our fast at that moment. Now fasting without either food or water gets to be difficult after the first day for the body needs liquid much more than it does food. We were also quite active which increases the need for water.

Then to our dismay we recalled that we had promised the local church that we would take a whole day off and work on the construction of the church with the members. As our luck would have it this day fell on the third day of our fast.

We debated calling it off since we would most likely be drained of strength and have to work on ladders and scaffolding. We both decided to honor our commitment else God may not hear our voice.

Then on the third day of our fast we both put in one of the hardest days of physical work in our lives. No one knew we were fasting and it seemed those in charge took delight in making us missionaries work extra hard. We hauled bricks, dirt, concrete and planks all day long.

By the end of the day we were both completely exhausted. We weren’t sure if we had the strength to eat and drink if it was placed in front of us.

We went to our digs that evening, cleaned up, said a prayer together and went off to the Sherlock’s home.

They invited us in and we asked them how they were doing. They said that their children were better for about a day after we left, but now they were being affected again. They said they were at the end of their rope and hoped that something would work.

I then told her that we were going to place a blessing on their home so that no evil being or force could enter it or bother their children.

Mrs. Sherlock sighed as if she was reluctantly willing to give us one more try.

We then all knelt together in their living room and I led us in prayer. I again commanded in the name of Jesus Christ for all evil to depart from the entire house as well as the children. I then asked God to place a barrier around the house through which no evil entity could penetrate.

When we arose from the prayer a feeling of great peace fell upon all of us and we all seemed confident the prayer would be answered. We departed with cheerful hearts.

I do not recall how we broke our fast that evening. Our landlady fed us breakfast, lunch and dinner and if we missed then we were on our own. I would guess that we got some fish and chips as Scarborough had some of the best available in all of England. Much more important though was renewing ourselves with liquid refreshment.

I do not recall what we ate or drank, but I do recall feeling proud of Elder Eldridge for joining me on this spiritual quest and being as supportive and believing as he had become.

Now the question was – were the Sherlocks going to join the church and live happily ever after or did the Prince of Darkness have something else up his sleeve?

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Chapter Eighteen
A Persistent Adversary

A couple days later we went back to the Sherlocks and gave them the next lesson. They were pleased to report that the children had returned to normal and everything seemed peaceful on the home front.

Then after we finished our lesson Mrs. Sherlock shared something else with us.

“I didn’t tell you everything that happened to me that night you gave me the blessing,” she said.

“What else happened?” we wanted to know.

“Well, it was rather unbelievable and I have been reluctant to talk about it but I feel I am supposed to tell you.”

We were all ears.

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She continued, “When you two laid your hands on my head and you started to speak suddenly I saw a great light and a being or angel descended and stood right beside us. He had a white robe and his whole body glistened brilliantly. I could see that he wore sandals and his feet rested about a foot above the floor.”

“That was quite an event,” I said. “Do you know why he came or did he communicate anything to you?”

“I received quite a number of impressions,” she said. “First he came to assist you in casting out the evil presence. Secondly, he came to give me some information, some of which I am supposed to share with you.’

“Did he speak to you?”

“No, not in the normal sense,” she said, “but he transmitted a lot of information to my mind. In an instant I understood a number of things.”

We encouraged her to continue.

“The first impression I received was that there is more scripture than the Bible.”

“We have already taught you that,” I said and pulled out a Book of Mormon. “This is a book of scripture that is in addition to the Bible.”

“No,” she said emphatically. That was not what he was referring to. There is more scripture than the Bible and Book of Mormon.”

“Then he must have been directing you to the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, revelations given to Joseph Smith.” I opened my scriptures to their location and showed them to her.

“No, no, this is not it. The scriptures he showed me are written on golden plates.’

Well, the Book of Mormon was originally written on golden plates,” I said.

“But these scriptures have not been translated yet.”

“The only thing that fits that description is the sealed portion of the plates that Joseph did not translate,” I added.

Her eyes lit up. “Sealed!” she said. “Yes, that’s the word I was searching for. His communication to me said the plates were sealed and the day is not far away when they will come forth.

We then related to her about the prophesies about the coming forth of the sealed plates. Then we expressed curiosity about why she would have received this.

She answered, “He gave me information about my youngest son (who was about 5 years old in 1966). He is supposed to be a prophet and somehow help in the work when the sealed plates come forth. If we join the church he will definitely become a prophet, but if we do not then he probably will live an ordinary life.

“Then I guess that is one more reason for you to join the church, so your child can fulfill his destiny,” I said.

“That’s where you are wrong,” she said. “Some of the information that came into my mind were the results of what would happen if we joined the church and also if we did not join. As I said, if we do not join our son will live an ordinary but peaceful life but if we do the whole family will experience great difficulty, especially him. I saw how the people would treat him when he began his work and many will mistreat him and hate him. I do not want my son to be persecuted!”

“Any person who does a worthwhile work for God has many difficulties,” I said, “but in the end it is worth it. For some reason you have been given a glimpse into the future and are presented with a choice. I’m sure that if he is going to be a prophet that he will need your guidance and support.”

“But I’m not sure if I can handle what my family will have to go through if my son takes the path I saw.” She was close to weeping and put her hands to her eyes. She then put down her hands and said, “What has happened so far bears witness that you are from God but I do not want my son to suffer as I saw that he would. I do not know if our family has the strength that it will take to fulfill the mission the messenger presented to me.”

We could see that the revelation she received made her very nervous about moving forward and joining the church. We realized that her inclination to pursue the higher path was very fragile and we had to place all attention possible in solidifying the right direction for her. We decided that we needed to visit them every day, instead of the usual once a week, to give them the encouragement they needed.

This we diligently did and with lots of encouragement they seemed to be leaning more toward joining the church. We continued teaching them over the next couple weeks but as we did so another disturbance in the force occurred.

Finally, they revealed what it was. “We have a problem,” they said. “At first we thought this problem was just caused by coincidence and had nothing to do with you or your teachings, but now we are not so sure.”

“So, what is the problem?”

Mr. Sherlock explained, “As you know we own an antique store and this is our sole means of support to take care of our family. The first thing that has occurred is that several of our most valuable antiques have mysteriously fallen from the shelves and have been destroyed.”

We tried to give him hope that this was a temporary problem. Then he said. “But that is not all. Normally, on an average day we have 30-40 customers come in and most of them buy something. In the past couple weeks do you know how many have come in on an average day?”

“How many?” we asked.

“One or two a day and this has happened not one day but every day since you blessed our house. In addition, the one or two have not been buying anything. Between the destruction of my best antiques and having no customers we are headed toward financial disaster.”

I explained to them that problems always occur when you try and do the right thing but he was concerned over the power these evil beings seemed to have. What happened he said could not be coincidence for he had never even had one day that was as bad as every day was now.

I suggested we could go on another fast and bless their business and also put that off limits from the adversary.

“But whatever this evil is it doesn’t seem to want to quit,” he said. “Even if you can get our business back to normal, what next? Maybe our kids will be attacked at school or we’ll have an accident while driving.”

I explained to him that the power of evil is limited – that if they continue that eventually the evil force will lose its power and things will be back to normal.

“But how long will that take? Things have to change soon or we’ll go broke,” he said.

We gave them all the encouragement we could, but as we left we did so with an uneasy feeling. We considered fasting again and maybe offering some universal prayer of protection that would cover their business and anything else we didn’t cover last time.

We returned to see them the next evening and found all the lights in their home were turned off. No one answered the door. We knocked a half dozen times and there was no answer. We knew they were home but didn’t want to see us.

We went back the next evening with the same results…

And the next.

Finally, we got the message. They decided to take the lesser path revealed by the messenger to avoid all the problems that would come if we continued teaching them.

We decided to give them one more try and the next day we visited their shop. It seemed to be teaming with customers. After a wait we finally were able to approach Mr. Sherlock. Before we could get out a word he asked us to leave. We replied that we just wanted a few minutes of his time.

Then he spoke quite harshly telling us that we needed to leave the premises immediately and if we did not then he would have us arrested for trespassing.

This produced a feeling of deep sadness that is difficult to describe. It appeared that this family came to this earth with the opportunity to be of great service to mankind but they placed their physical well being above the rewards of service. I reflected on the scripture, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.”

I stayed in Scarborough about three additional months after Elder Eldridge left for home. Just before I left Scarborough my new companion and I paid one more visit to their store. Both Mr. and Mrs. Sherlock were there and they seemed alarmed to see me again and were insistent that we leave. I agreed to leave but said I wanted to ask them one question.

“What happened to your business after you refused to see us again?”

Mrs. Sherlock smiled and said that immediately afterwards business increased. It didn’t really return to normal but better than normal. Business had been the best it had ever been and they wanted to make sure that would continue. They both insisted that the best thing we could do to help them was to just leave.

We departed and I have never seen or heard of them again.
Copyright 2010 by J J Dewey

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