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 Question

 

Dear Gramps,

In D&C 121:41 it says that:

“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;”

So, if forcing someone to do something against their will is contrary to the order of Heaven, then why should evil spirits feel obligated to leave when commanded by someone holding the priesthood?  Even if done in the name of Jesus Christ?

Robert

 

Answer

 

Hello Robert,

In this scripture the Lord has counseled his servants to be mindful of their interactions with other brethren by acting with persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness and by love unfeigned without compulsory means. Why?

President Ezra Taft Benson sheds some light on this matter,

“Freedom of choice is a God-given eternal principle. The great plan of liberty is the plan of the gospel. There is no coercion about it; no force, no intimidation. A man is free to accept the gospel or reject it… He will use persuasion through His servants.”

This scripture, and others, respect the freedom of mind, the freedom of agency our Savior willingly gave his life for; however, this scripture doesn’t negate the use of force when circumstances may require it.  One of these circumstances is the necessity to remove spirits from bodies where they do not belong. Possible question, when the spirit of the given body desires its body back, and the evil spirit is unwilling, whose right then is it to remain?

What happens when a priesthood holder, or any other member of the Church comes across a pregnant woman who is being repetitively stabbed?  Should this member, in light of this scripture, speak softly with gentle persuasions or act with some form of force?  Missionaries walked upon this scene and acted.  LDS Missionaries called heroes for stopping attack

In our lives, the scenario introduces a pregnant woman being attacked; however, the scenario doesn’t need to be a pregnant woman for us to act.  If we happen to experience a situation like this, we will have at least three choices:

1. Choose to do nothing and keep on walking

2. Choose to physically remove the antagonist by force or through escalation tactics

3. Choose to talk peacefully, with long-suffering and gentleness.

As we read further within this same section, a couple verses to be precise, we read the following (vs.43),

“Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost.” Perhaps the removal of disobedient spirits from a possessed body falls under this element of truth.

As parents given the responsibility of nurturing children, we experience situations that necessitate the forceful removal of a child, when the circumstance may result in bodily harm to another child (usually a younger sibling) — even if they acquiesce or gnash their teeth.

It would appear the order of heaven has other laws in place allowing for this necessity, and one could simply be the removal of a spirit who is unwilling to allow the spirit of the body to rightfully have its own body.

 

Gramps

 

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