You never felt a pain and ache, or felt disagreeable, or uncomfortable in your bodies and minds, but what an evil spirit was present causing it. Do you realize that the ague, the fevers, the chills, the severe pain in the head, the plurisy, or any pain in the system, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, is put there by the devil? You do not realize this, do you?
I say but little about this matter, because I do not want you to realize it. When you have the rheumatism, do you realize that the devil put that upon you? No, but you say, “I got wet, caught cold, and thereby got the rheumatism.” The spirits that afflict us and plant disease in our bodies, pain in the system, and finally death, have control over us so far as the flesh is concerned. But when the spirit is unlocked from the body it is free from the power of death and Satan; and when that body comes up again, it also, with the spirit, will gain the victory over death, hell, and the grave. …
When we have done with the flesh, and have departed to the spirit world, you will find that we are independent of those evil spirits. But while you are in the flesh you will suffer by them, and cannot control them, only by your faith in the name of Jesus Christ and by the keys of the eternal Priesthood.1
Heber C. Kimball
One day while visiting Joseph, he took me for a walk by the river side, when he requested me to relate the occurrence at Brother Bozier’s. After I had done so, I also told him of our vision of the evil spirits in England, on the opening of the Gospel to that people. He then gave me a relation of many contests that he had had with Satan, and his power that had been manifested from time to time since the commencement of bringing forth the Book of Mormon. I will relate one circumstance that took place at Far West, in a house that Joseph had purchased, which had been formerly occupied as a public house by some wicked people. A short time after he got into it, one of his children was taken very sick; he laid his hands upon the child, when it got better; as soon as he went out of doors, the child was taken sick again; he again laid his hands upon it, so that it again recovered. This occurred several times, when Joseph inquired of the Lord what it all meant; then he had an open vision, and saw the devil in person, who contended with Joseph, face to face, for some time. He said it was his house, it belonged to him, and Joseph had no right there. Then Joseph rebuked Satan in the name of the name of the Lord, and he departed and touched the child no more. 2
One night I was awakened out my sleep by my wife making a as though she was nearly choking death. I inquired the cause and replied that she had dreamed that personage came and seized her by the throat and was choking her. I immediately lit a candle and saw her eyes were sunken and her nose pinched in as though she was in last stage of the cholera. I laid hands upon her and rebuked the evil in the name of Jesus and by power of the Holy Priesthood commanded it to depart. In a moment afterwards I heard some half a children in different parts of Bozier house crying as if in great distress. The cattle also began to bellow the horses neighed the dogs barked the hogs squealed the cackled and roosters crowed everything around seemed in commotion. In a few minutes afterwards I was sent for to lay upon sister Patten the widow to David W. Patten who was living the room adjoining mine and was seized in a similar manner to wife. My wife continued quite feeble several days from the shock. 3
- Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 4:133–34. Funeral sermon by Brigham Young on the death of President Jedediah M. Grant. December 4, 1856.
- Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 269–70. The previous account is also quoted in: Joseph Smith, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 228.
- Heber C. Kimball, The Latter-Day Saints’ Millennial Star, Volume 45, p. 131