Friday, July 11, 2008

Satan and Missionaries

When I was a young missionary in the Canada Toronto Mission I had an usual experience with Satan in the Royal York apartment we had in the Toronto area. Our mission president M. Russell Ballard told us as missionaries that we needed to dedicate our missionary apartments. I remember getting down on my knees with my companion Elder Harry Lodholm and commanding Lucifer to be depart from our apartment and be bound and not enter again through the Holy Priesthood and in the name of Jesus Christ. I thought it would be a simple matter but as we were doing it an evil presence fought for my very soul. I saw in vision the Adversary fighting with an Angel of God for my soul. I was overcome and had to lay down as they battled back and forth for several minutes. Finally I was delivered by the Heavenly Messenger who drove the evil being away. I was overcome with the Spirit and had a very strong impression concerning my one day being a great leader in the LDS Church. My companion didn't think it was any big deal at the time and was just mildly concerned. A few days after the experience I related it to President M. Russell Ballard. He said I should write it down in my journal. He told me he had had an experience while he himself was a missionary in Great Britain with the Savior that he would one day share with me. Until now he has never shared it although he has alluded to it from time to time over the years. I told him that Satan himself grappled for my very soul and I was delivered by an angelic being. He told me that Satan didn't fool around with the likes of guys like him or me since we were just little fish in the ocean and that in our case he sent his lieutenants. I never fully agreed with him even at that time I expected him to one day be an apostle and I think Satan himself was very aware of who we are and what we were capable of. I recently came across a quote by Elder James E. Faust, former second counselor in the First Presidency that talks about how he himself was buffeted by Satan while serving as a missionary in Brazil:
We hope that young people, unfamiliar with the sophistries of the world, can keep themselves free of Satan’s enticements and deceitful ways. I personally claim no special insight into Satan’s methods, but I have at times been able to identify his influence and his actions in my life and in the lives of others. When I was on my first mission, Satan sought to divert me from my future path and, if possible, to destroy my usefulness in the Lord’s work. That was more than 60 years ago, and I still remember how reasonable his entreaties seemed. (James E. Faust, “The Forces That Will Save Us,” Ensign, Jan 2007, 4–9).
I think Satan is very aware of the noble and great ones and will do much to try and frustrate the work of the Lord that is taking place in the mission field. I am sure many missionaries have had experiences with Satan himself and/or some of his lieutenants as President Ballard alluded to. I am sure many missionaries have had some bizarre things happen on their missions. I bet some are more startling that the one I described.

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