Sometimes, in our pursuit of service, we are asked to do strange things. Today’s guest post from Terry chronicles one such act of service.
One night on my mission, my companion and I received a call from the ward mission leader asking for our assistance in giving a young couple in the ward a blessing. It was past curfew, so there was some hesitation, but “the spirit” won out over the “the letter”, and we agreed.
When we arrived at the house, in a a middle class neighborhood in El Cajon (San Diego), the couple was clearly agitated. With wide eyes they spoke in hushed tones, telling us there was a demon in the house, and pleading with us to cast it out. Even as young missionaries (I was only 6 months into my mission and my companion was in his first month), we were skeptical. But they insisted with ever increasing desperation that we perform the ritual, until at one point, the wife jumped up and screamed, pointing toward a dark hallway, claiming that she had seen it. Frustratingly, I could see nothing but shadows and darkness.
At this point, the ward mission leader suggested that we just go ahead and do the casting out, and I was feeling a level of discomfort such that I was all too happy to go along and get it over with so we could, literally and figuratively, get the hell out of there. We all knelt in a circle, and the ward mission leader said a nice prayer for the couple, closing with the words, “By the power of the holy Melchizedek priesthood, and in the name of Jesus Christ, we command you, evil spirit, to leave this house!” I’m paraphrasing, but it was something close to that. Now, I’m not really sure if it’s good form to bless a couple with success and happiness while casting hell-spawn out of their home, but it seemed about as right as anything else we were doing at the time. Besides, our little white missionary handbooks were completely silent on the subject, so we figured we had some lee-way.
After the prayer, the couple wasn’t sure that it had worked, so we began a search of the house. Finding no demons inside the house, the search continued outside, where at first, we also found nothing. After several more minutes of searching outside (during which time, the demon caused me to feel foolish and stupid), we all gathered at the front of the house where it was our plan to declare victory and leave. But as we were saying our goodbyes, the wife screamed again, and pointed, this time at the neighbor’s roof, claiming to have glimpsed the demon. I looked at my companion and rolled my eyes, trying to stifle a smirk, when to my horror, the ward mission leader said that he had also seen it, and that it had taken off toward the next house over.
When the ward mission leader began running after it, my companion and I dutifully followed. We chased shadows down the block, and then down the next block. Then we hung a right and went up to the next street over, where the chase was resumed in the opposite direction – back toward original house (because, we were winded, and because when you’re chasing small devils at night in El Cajon, you don’t want to stray too far from your car, lest you leave yourself with a lengthy walk back through the demon haunted darkness). There were, of course, various sightings as we went, but frustratingly, I always seemed to be looking in the wrong direction at the critical moments, and the demon always managed to skitter just out of sight by the time I turned my head. Those SoCal demons are quick little buggers.
Anyhow, about the time that we began to feel sweaty and cold, we were able satisfy ourselves that Satan’s minion had been successfully chased off – for that night at least, and went home. For a while I wondered what it was that we had done battle with that night. Then, a few years later, I heard that someone, somewhere, saw something they called a “chupacabra”, and I knew – that was it.
Because if there’s one thing about that night on my mission in early 1990… one thing that I know to be true with every fiber of my being, and beyond the shadow of any doubt – it’s that it sucked goats.