Mennonites and The Occult
Last Sunday my pastor mentioned how he had listened to a podcast/video about a murder that involved the occult in the area almost a century ago and then proceeded to mention that it probably is much deeper and devastating to our community than we realize. Thus I was inspired to write upon this subject...
This may come as a surprise to you but a lot of Mennonites are involved in occultism and alternative practices. I can only speak of experience and what my family and parents have been involved in. I don't believe any of it is right and that even though it is wise to be educated it is very wise to not get involved for any reason due to the powers associated with it.
When I was quite young, maybe like 8 or so, I remember going with my family and a driver several hours to a practitioner who specialized in iridology. We were about the only people there and I remember looking at the tall shelves of supplements. I was watching the man look at my dad's eyes and talking and something didn't feel right but my 8 year old mind was too young to understand or comprehend why I felt the way I did about it.
Another early memory was when my parents built a bigger house and a new well had to be dug. My dad had his keys on a ring with a string, to be used as a pendulum for water dowsing/water witching and he searched for a fresh spring. He could tell how many gallons a minute plus how far down it was. (Anyone who thinks this is an okay thing to do needs to do research on it and the side effects and powers behind it and the doors into the spirit world that it opens. It is something that should not be messed with.)
The pendulum was used for many things. (My grandma used a nail clipper on a string.) It was used to discern what pills would be good for your body and which ones weren't. It was used to find "radiation" streams in the ground for which then you would bend a coat hanger in a "G" shape or a piece of rebar and it was supposed to stop it as it was considered to be able to cause poor sleep and health if your bed happened to be in line with it. I know there where other things that I don't remember as of now but I know it didn't make sense to a mind that likes to understand how things work.
I remember going to a chiropractor who practiced kinesiology/ muscle testing. Even as a young teenager, I was uncomfortable with it but due to my past I didn't know how to have a voice therefore I never asked about it or shared my concern with my parents.
When I was still very young, before I remember anything, my dad's dad I think worked on a silo crew and something happened, perhaps a heavy silo block fell on his face, as I remember being told that he doesn't look the same as he does now as they had to basically reconstruct his face. He then had a lot of trouble with headaches and so they got involved in natural alternatives, which involves all kinds of things that are not good(there are natural medicines that are ok but there's many that aren't).
When I was a teenager, my dad was water dowsing and I asked him how it works. He explained that you have to empty your mind when doing so while asking questions in the back of your mind. I asked if there's any side effects afterwards to which he replied that yes he deals with headaches or stomachaches, I forget which. I had been given a pamphlet by a lady in the church on the subject and discovered that there's negative side effects which then made me curious about how it affects my dad.
Later on I gave it to my grandma to read, knowing she uses the pendulum. The next time we were at their house my grandpa called me aside and told me that he believes it is a gift from God but he also mentioned it was a generational thing that his parents did as well. I never saw the pamphlet again and I assume it was either trashed or returned to the individual to whom it belonged. I am quite sure that because of the powers associated with it and the other things that my family is involved in it has opened the door to the evil side and that it is partly to be blamed for the way my dad's side of the family is so dysfunctional. Anything that the devil is allowed to get a hold in will go bad eventually.
There is a book written by Dr. Nolan Byler called The High Cost of Holistic Healing. I used to have one but I can't find it so I think I must have gotten rid of it. Here's the link: https://ridgewaybooks.com/book/the-high-cost-of-holistic-healing/
It has a simple explanation for many of the things that the "plain" people are involved in. It explains how it works and why it shouldn't be used. I don't know how many things he mentioned but out of his list I think my parents/I were/had been involved in over half of them. In reading this book it also helped me understand why I didn't feel ok about some of the things that happened when I was younger that I mentioned above as well as gave me the words for it plus enough information so that I knew I didn't want any part in those things.
Now I see advertising for these things and I shudder for all the people who are involved in them and don't even realize it is not something Christians should be meddling with. I don't have any ads to share right now but I'd suggest if there's any kind of alternative practices that you may happen to be using, that it would be a good idea to do all the research possible on it to make sure you aren't involved in anything dangerous.
I keep thinking of someone else's story I've heard of being involved in alternative practices and how it affected her. I'm guessing it's in this video: https://youtu.be/ZYGO5dALWVE
If not, it's in one of the six videos of this series.
Some different types that I know of would be: homeopathy, acupressure, reflexology, acupuncture, water dowsing/witching, using a pendulum, iridology, plus more though I can't think of the words right now. I remember as a young child hearing of one of my dad's aunts who used astrology. My grandparents would get the farmer's almanac which has all kinds of alternative practices in it as well such as following the signs of the sun and moon etc. I'm sure that the things may work but there's spirits that can be involved as well. We would do well to study and research and be educated rather than ignorant, as ignorance can get a person into more "hot water" than they ever intended or were unaware of, and of the "behind the scenes" attachment to the spirit world.
This is what the Bible says on this subject:
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
-2 Chronicles 33:5-10
And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.
So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
-1 Samuel 15:23
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
-1 Samuel 28:7-19
Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.
And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?
And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.
Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.
And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.
And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.
And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:
Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day.
Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;
Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.
Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.
Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.
Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
-Numbers 24:1-2 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him.
Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.
Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.
Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.
Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.
And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.
The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.
But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.
They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.
The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.
But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.
The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
There may be more verses than these but I think this is more than enough to give you an idea what God thinks about these things. It is a vast subject and to not get caught in it is hard especially if a person isn't close to God. It is something that can flourish and wreak havoc where there is religion and legalism because the focus is more on the dos and don'ts there may only be relationship with God on a surface level, rather than being guided by the Spirit for it is the Spirit of God that guides us into all truth. There's also those who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof who will also get swept up in the wrong things easier than those who are true children of God. It takes time and practice to build up our ability to discern the spirits behind things we want to get involved in. But it is worth it. I find myself being very cautious, especially when I began to understand the effect of these things, which makes me even more cautious on the extreme side. I'd rather be safe than sorry...
I don't think I have too much more to add and so I want to say thank you for reading this article and please feel free to share. Feel free to leave comments and ask questions. I would like to hear your thoughts as well...Have a great week!