Excommunicated for Priestcraft

MelvinGwenaFishIn the Mormon Church, excommunication is devastating. It is a real and constant threat for those who write publicly about the church. In the five years I have been blogging about LDS themes, I confess I have written a few controversial essays. But I have never felt something I wrote could get me into trouble. This essay is different. You may find it to be critical of church leadership.

For the most part, serving in leadership positions in the LDS church is a volunteer assignment. The official phrase is “to receive a calling” but in effect, you are asked to accept a responsibility, often at considerable sacrifice of time and effort. In the local congregations, we have no paid ministry. Instead, the men are asked to lead the meetings and counsel local members as needed.

Being an old guy in the church, I have had my share of leadership assignments, but always in a support position. I would not want to be a Bishop or Stake President because of the difficulty of the task. My role has always been as a counselor or clerk to a Bishop or Stake President. Years ago I served on a Stake High Council, the group of men assigned to assist the Stake President.

Disciplinary Councils

One of the duties of priesthood leadership is to participate in disciplinary councils, something I never enjoyed. I am an imperfect man and am hesitant to pass judgment or even offer an opinion on the worthiness of another individual in the church. Gratefully, that responsibility falls on the shoulders of the Bishop or Stake President and never a bishopric counselor or High Counselor.

In the eighteen years I have served in leadership positions, I suppose I have probably participated in a few dozen disciplinary councils. That’s where a group of men get together to determine if another member should be allowed to remain in fellowship with the rest of the Latter-day Saints. When serving as a clerk, I have also written the follow-up reports that we send to Salt Lake.

In the years prior to the time I started serving in priesthood leadership, a disciplinary council was referred to as a church court. I never liked that phrase. To me, a court focuses on proving guilt, something I personally find distasteful. The purpose of a disciplinary council should be to help an individual struggling with personal moral failings find strength to turn their life around.

The Ideal Standard

I feel blessed to have served with men who loved the Lord and wanted to do his will. The Stake President with whom I served as a High Counselor is now a Mission President. He was and is a kind man, who always exhibited great care and concern for the welfare of the individuals who were called into judgment under his tenure. Let me share just one example of his kindness.

I recall an elderly gentleman who had been excommunicated for teaching false doctrine. It was evident the man had some mental and emotional problems. But he wanted to come back into the church. For those who don’t know, a disciplinary council must again be convened to reconsider the original evidence and to determine if change is evident and sufficient to be baptized again.

This stake president went out of his way to ensure this elderly man and his family members were comfortable with the procedure. He had his executive secretary sit with the family members the whole time the disciplinary council was being held. He sent his clerk out to the waiting area to keep the man and his family informed while we deliberated his case in the High Council room.

Justice and Mercy

Again, for those who may not be aware, in a Stake disciplinary council, half the High Counselors are assigned to look out for the interests of the person whose case is being heard. The interests of the church are the primary concern of the other six High Counselors. I have sat on both sides of that High Council room. In my experience it seems to be a fair and equitable system of justice.

In every disciplinary council in which I have participated, both as a bishopric member and as a High Councilor, without fail, mercy and love have been the prevailing concern. I said I dislike disciplinary councils. At the same time, I can tell you that it is in these councils that I have felt a strong closeness to the Lord as I have witnessed an outpouring of his love for these individuals.

Tears have almost always been shed by most of the grown men in the room as, in the end, we either brought the individual back into the church or pronounced that he or she would no longer be considered a member of our church. Tears of joy or tears of sorrow were accompanied by an overwhelming witness from the spirit to each of us that the will of the Lord had been done.

Zoob’s Law

I want to tell you about a friend who was excommunicated for priestcraft but before I do I need to tell you a little bit about what he does and why it is troubling for some people in the church. I also need to refer to Zoob’s law, which reads: “Generally people tend to oppose that which they don’t understand, the degree of their opposition being directly proportionate to their ignorance.”

In other words, when learning about something new and different, the non-informed attempt to hide their ignorance by a degree of aggressive descent roughly equal to the amount they do not understand. The greater their ignorance, the greater the opposition. If you think about it, you will recognize the truth of this axiom and circumstances in which you may have witnessed it fulfilled.

If you have not had personal experience with something and witnessed the good that it produces, you may feel uncomfortable with the idea or practice until you have had time to study it out for yourself to make your own determination if it is worthwhile. Imagine how you would feel if you are asked to pass judgment on a subject you don’t understand and only heard about hours before.

Opposition in All Things

In contrast, there are those who do understand something, at least to a small degree, and have decided it is not something of value because it exposes personal weaknesses or causes them to feel condemned by the light contained in the thing being considered. For example, if you are a controlling individual, wouldn’t you object to anything that gives freedom to those you control?

Even though it is expressly forbidden in our church, sadly, there are those who exercise control or compulsion upon others, usually their own family members, all in the name of priesthood authority and their right as the head of a household. This control may manifest itself in emotional abuse of their family members, and even more sadly, sexual and even satanic ritualistic abuse.

For those who are not aware, the problem of sexual abuse is well known and documented among church members living along the Wasatch front. In a 1990 document written by Glenn L Pace, then a member of the Presiding Bishopric to the Strengthening Church Members Committee, he detailed sixty alleged incidents of ritualized child abuse among Utah and Idaho Latter-day Saints.

Trauma in Southern Utah

I don’t want to focus on that negative element of the story but you need to be aware it does exist. The victims of that abuse experience deep psychological pain and trauma. It drives some to acts of self-loathing and even suicide. Because some of these individuals are strong, they seek help and healing from counselors and therapists in an effort to find peace and get on with their lives.

This is where my friend comes into the story. Melvin Fish has a Ph.D. in Counseling. He lives in Southern Utah, where, for some reason, there are a large number of individuals suffering from the trauma of sexual or emotional abuse. I know this because I have been studying the subject for about twenty years. Other counselors in Southern Utah have corroborated this fact, at least for me.

Now, to be fair, people come to these counselors from all over the Western United States, in fact, from all over the world. But our story takes place in Cedar City, where the men who sat on the High Council decided to excommunicate Mel Fish for priestcraft. I defined this unusual term in a previous essay but need to expound on the subject to make it clear in the minds of my readers.

Priestcraft in the LDS Church

The scriptural definition of priestcraft is that men set themselves up as a light instead of pointing others to Christ. The definition of priestcraft that seems to be used in the LDS Church today is that men charge money to help people find healing through Christ. As long as a man does his counseling the way the world recognizes and approves, the Church seems to have no problem.

As long as you practice techniques approved by the APA (American Psychological Association) or the AMCAP (Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists) then you are more than welcome to charge professional fees for your services. In fact, the church will support your business by sending you people from local congregations and then paying your regular fees.

In case you didn’t know, there is no place in the APA or AMCAP for the belief that problems of a psychological or emotional nature can be caused by the influence of evil or unclean spirits. In fact, there seems to be little belief remaining in the LDS Church in general that such beings exist. Even if you profess to believe that evil spirits cause problems, you can’t use that in your work.

Spiritual Counseling

On the other hand, let’s say you obtain a PhD in counseling with the intent of helping people resolve emotional issues that trouble them. You set up a practice and begin to see clients but are troubled by the fact that they have to keep coming back over and over to get help. Talking about their issues only seems to make them worse. You conclude that psychotherapy is ineffective.

So you search for other, more effective means to help people and are led to ideas and techniques that produce positive results in record time. Not surprisingly, these techniques center in ideas found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness of others is central to this technique. The belief that problems can be attributed to the influence of evil and unclean spirits is also essential.

Encouraged, you start practicing a technique of discovering and teaching unclean spirits to go to the light of Christ. The people who come to see you are healed in record time. They go away from their counseling sessions filled with joy and relief, happy to be free of the burdens they have cast upon the Lord. You publish books and teach others how to do what you have done.

Discovering Hidden Stress

Well, that’s what Mel Fish has done. And for this he has been excommunicated. This happened in 2009 about the time I first learned about his work. I purchased his books in 2010, studied them and discovered they contained teachings that brought me closer to Christ, especially as I applied the principle of forgiveness of others and myself. His visualization techniques are powerful.

The problem with what Mel Fish did is that he was too effective. He helped people who were bound by the adversary and in the process upset a few people who lost the control over their family members they once had. They could no longer be manipulated or coerced into doing what the controlling individual wanted. These individuals found fault with Mel and his techniques.

Now unless you’ve been exposed to kinesiology or muscle testing, you may think this method of discovering and identifying hidden stress or darkness is, well, simply put, weird. I have written a blog specifically dedicated to the process of how I first learned about muscle testing and saw firsthand how it helped my family. I appreciate that the weirdness factor takes some adjustment.

Strengthening Church Members

I mentioned this committee previously. When someone finds fault with what another member of the church has written or is doing, they tend to call Salt Lake to complain. Of course the Church asks that such complaints be resolved through local church leaders. But even those leaders will sometimes call Salt Lake because they don’t know how to handle the complaints they receive.

If enough of these complaints are received, it comes to the attention of a loose committee of individuals identified as the Strengthening Church Members Committee. When Elder Oaks was asked about this committee he characterized it as a clipping service. It is much more than that. This committee keeps track of anything that is published about the church by church members.

That includes blogs, which is why I mentioned that this essay about a controversial subject – the excommunication of a prominent published member – is something that could come back to bite me. I don’t want my stake president to get a call or letter from this committee asking him if he is aware of my blogging activities. Ordinarily I do all I can to hold the church up in a positive light.

Telling Mel’s Story

In this case, I would like to share with you what I consider to be failing in our church, brought about because of the efforts of the Strengthening the Church Members Committee and the local priesthood leadership of the Cedar City Utah North Stake. Ultimately the fault can be attributed to the adversary as he works to keep people ignorant of the true power of Christ’s atonement.

When I met with Mel last week, my intent was to write a better book review. I wanted to focus on his work and his books. I was only incidentally interested in telling the story of how he was excommunicated. As we met and discussed things, it became obvious that bringing his story to the attention of a wider audience was more important and what the Lord wanted me to do.

What happened to Mel Fish should not happen to anyone in our church, but especially to a man who has spent a lifetime serving the Lord and helping God’s children heal from pain and sorrow. I can tell you from personal experience that Mel and Gwena Fish are loved of God. I know this because I asked God in prayer with my wife and received a revelation of God’s love for them.

The First Disciplinary Council

Mel first published Healing the Inner Self in 1999 at age 66 after counseling and helping many hundreds of grateful people over the previous decade. He received his PhD in Counseling in 1995. Anybody who has done the work for a PhD dissertation knows how difficult it is to meet the strenuous academic requirements. Mel’s work involved many years of clinical experience.

In 2007 Mel’s Stake President was asked by the Strengthening the Church Members Committee to hold a disciplinary council. The council was held and no action was taken. In preparation for the disciplinary council, the Stake President received expert witness and testimony from Dillon K Inouye, a beloved professor in the BYU Psychology Department before his death in 2008.

I have a copy of that expert testimony and can understand why Mel’s Stake President took no action on that occasion. The document is convincing in demonstrating that Mel Fish’s work is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, it shows that Mel’s techniques are superior over three other well accepted techniques of producing psychological behavior modification.

The Second Disciplinary Council

A copy of that expert testimony was sent to Elder Holland, Elder Bateman and Elder McMullin. Mel’s Stake President was released in 2008. New priesthood leadership was put into place. In 2009, a second disciplinary council was held in which the testimony of the first Stake President was presented, along with a personal endorsement from Elder F. Enzio Busche, all to no avail.

Mel was not allowed to speak in his own defense. He was not allowed to explain his work or how he helped people discover and then relieve their burdens by giving them to Christ. As far as Mel knows, there was nobody assigned to see that his interests were met. At age 76, he was also required to stand for seven hours while the charges were considered and his case deliberated.

At that point in the story I knew something was terribly wrong. It seemed obvious that the church had received one too many complaints about Mel’s work and had made it clear that he was to be excommunicated, no matter what. The disciplinary council was not concerned about Mel. They were only concerned about meeting the technical requirements to justify the action taken.

Final observations

Of course I wasn’t there so I’m only telling one side of the story that I heard from Mel. As I wrote previously, the church does not comment on disciplinary actions. If you are familiar with the September Six, you know what a chilling effect the Church’s crackdown on intellectual criticism caused at that time. It seems now the Church has done the same thing among healers.

If you were at the disciplinary council I would like to hear from you (Strike that. It’s not an appropriate request to ask someone to break confidences). I doubt anyone will respond but as one who is familiar with the process from personal experience, I want to know if there was a spirit of love and concern expressed for the welfare of Mel’s soul. What efforts were made to help Mel understand what he had done that the Church found so offensive about healing lives?

I still intend to write that review of Mel’s book within the next few weeks. I received training in the techniques Mel uses so I know they are real and produce valid results. I have never seen a conflict between what Mel teaches and practices and what we find in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I welcome your comments. Mel gave permission to share the BYU document endorsing his work.

Update 3-28-13: I reviewed Mel’s book in this post.

Update 1-30-19: Mel Fish recently passed away. Here is a link to his obituary:


122 thoughts on “Excommunicated for Priestcraft”

  1. Pingback: Healing the Inner Self « Latter-day Commentary

    1. Please read my personal experience with Mel Fish and counseling at the end of these comments.

      1. My Name is Leonard Fish
        I was at my dads excommunication four years ago. I have always been taught that when their is a church court it is a court of love. When I arrived at the church I was a little uneasy, yet I thought I would be greeted with friendly caring faces from members of the stake presidency and high counsel. I needed comfort, I received cold stares and a wall of tension upon my arrival. I felt like the Stake President and High Councilmen had already made up their minds before the court ever started.
        My parents are friends with F.Enzio Busche an emeritus general authority who drove down from Bountiful to Cedar City to support my dad at his church court. While my dad was in the court Enzio Busche was able to visit with everyone who was waiting in the foyer. At one point Enzio pulled me aside and said their are five people in my life who have made a huge difference and your parents are two of the five people. It made me feel good and proud to have such wonderful parents. Enzio also had the opportunity to speak in the church court, when he came out of the room he said some people are harder to love than others and I didn’t feel any love in that room.
        I remember arriving at the church at 8:00 p.m. and staying their until 2:45 a.m. that is 6 3/4 hours. I have never heard of a church court lasting this long. Anyone who wanted to talk to the people in the court could do so. When it was my turn I was invited into the high council room where I noticed the room was full of people my dad was standing with no chair for him to sit on. This means he had been standing for over six hours. Is that a court of love?

        1. Leonard,

          I’m sorry for what you had to experience and your parents had to endure. I’m sorry that the leaders didn’t seem to have the Christian decency to provide a comfortable place for your father to sit. I’m sorry that small-minded men seem to want to pass judgment on their unlike-minded brethren. I’m sorry when they don’t deem it important to follow the Lord’s instructions on courts. I’m sorry if they didn’t realize that it was not just Mel on trial that evening.

          The test of the righteousness of their judgment will be if your father can still feel the Holy Ghost in his life. If he can, perhaps they were in error.


      2. I hope this shows up in the right place. It is intended as a response to Leonard Fish. Hi Leonard. I am honored that you left your comment on my post about your Father’s excommunication. I hope you know I did not publicize this event to denigrate your father in any way. In fact, I have nothing but the utmost of love and respect for your father. I continue to be amazed at the good Mel has accomplished and the good he continues to do, years after the events in this story took place. If you want to know what drives Mel Fish, read his book, The Power of Unconditional Love. In my opinion, there is little chance that Mel Fish will be re-admitted through baptism into the church whose people he has loved and served before his own days upon this earth are over. But that will not change the fact that the Lord knows him and loves him for what he has done. I honor Mel Fish and pray for blessings upon him and his family. Thank your Leonard for sharing.

    2. I have Mel’s books and have been to a healing workshop at a friend’s home here in Las Vegas. It was an amazing experience for me. I think it’s sad that there can be such a lack of warmth and love in the church. I have always firmly believed that the sign of a true follower of Christ is someone who demonstrates the pure love of Christ as is stated in the scriptures we claim to follow. Mel and his wife are two of the most loving people I have ever met in my life. I find it very disheartening that the church saw fit to excommunicate him in such a horrible and heartless way. I was raised in the church and grew up mostly in Utah. My father ritualistically sexually abused me all of my growing up years while we were “good” members of the church. He was finally excommunicated for it but was later re-baptized while I was in the MTC preparing for my missionary service. I fail to understand how those who abuse others so horrifically are treated with more love and acceptance than those who use their spiritual gifts to heal.
      The damage that my father did to my spirit and my whole being with his emotional, physical and sexual abuse has caused me to seek gifted healers who have similar abilities to Mel’s. I have found that as I have healed, I have come closer to Christ. In Moroni 7, we are told that the things which bring us closer to Christ are of Christ. I would not be here still today if it weren’t for the help of these healers. I have found in my years of being in the church that there are a few members who have the spirit with them and many who just don’t. It’s just too bad when a true follower of Christ is removed from the church. I will never agree with or understand this. I would think that they would be following the counsel of the Doctrine and Covenants and being patient and long-suffering and using persuasion and love to help people who are believed to be “wayward” rather than exercising control to punish and coerce. I am grateful for reading these posts though. I have been struggling with a few questions of my own and now have the clarity I have been seeking to finally make a decision that has been weighing heavily on me.

  2. Ordinarily I would include a lot more links to explain the unique LDS terminology used in this essay. I wanted to get this posted before we leave Utah today headed back to California. I will scan the document Mel gave me from BYU’s Dillon Inouye endorsing Mel’s work. It is very convincing. I’ll make it available online tonight. Update – Here is the link: http://3tcm.net/melfish_dilloninouye.pdf

  3. I was only recently introduced to the wonderful Melvin Fish through his DVD, Healing the Inner Light. I had no idea he had been subjected to such despicable treatment. On the other hand, it shouldn’t surprise me. More and more the true Children of Light are being driven from this Church, while those who excel at administrative and managerial skills are retained and held to high esteem.

    We might as well brace ourselves. The purging of the good and honest will continue until our “Courts of Love” will resemble the Court of King Noah more than anything else.

  4. Thank you for sharing this man’s story and telling about his healing work, I am certainly interested in truth and true healing princples. The LDS Church is very brutal corporation to go up against and some of the men in leadership roles are not very Christlike and are really confused darken minds. It takes a lot faith in the Lord to truly do His will, espeacially as a member of the LDS Church. I have no reason not to believe you are truly following the Lord in sharing these things, so I would like to say to you sincerely Thank you. I will be interested in reading the BYU document and any book reviews of Brother Fish’s books you may do in the future.

  5. I used to think that appeals from disciplinary councils to the First Presidency were pointless. My understanding is that, in fact, local decisions do get overturned. Mel should seek to appeal.

  6. I know from personal experience that my stake president received direct revelation from God concerning an action in which I was involved.

    1. Thanks Kris. Do you want to elaborate? I’m wondering if you were on the receiving end of the discipline or sat on the council offering opinion and counsel to the Stake President? I take it you were not involved in this particular disciplinary council in the Cedar City North Stake, correct? Please note that I’m not saying Stake Presidents don’t receive revelation when it comes to making the judgments required of them. I have seen much evidence of that myself in all the disciplinary councils of which I have been a part.

      All I’m suggesting is that in this case, the action was taken because it was directed by Salt Lake. Anybody who has studied the public comments by the participants of the September Six knows that the action taken against them was mandated by someone in Salt Lake, even though the council was held locally. In this particular case, it was very clear that Mel was excommunicated without any consideration of the good he has done. Hundreds of people he has helped would have been willing to testify on his behalf.

  7. I was just about to start a healing excersize via emails with a friend in another state. I told her to look up Louise Hay and Dr. Melvin Fish and let me know whose work she wanted to work with. She surprised me with the information that Mel had been exed. I have been buying, reading, using and sharing Mel’s work for several years. Last year, 2012, I got to be at a workshop he and his wife were teaching at a friend’s house here in Idaho. I think Mel is one in a very small group of people who really understand love. If you get presecuted you might be doing something truely “right” – it goes with the territory. He has helped me greatly. Maybe the good that will come of this is that more people will start to recognize that casting out evil should be a common experience. If half of all the healings that Jesus did as recorded in the New Testament were casting out evil spirits, how come we never talk about this in gospel settings?

    1. Amen, Gale. I mentioned in my essay that the Lord had revealed to me how much he loves Mel and Gwena Fish. As I have served in Bishoprics over the years, one of the favorite things I have always enjoyed is giving priesthood blessings as I set people apart for callings. Often during those times when I have my hands upon the heads of the youth of the church, the Lord reveals to me how much he loves them. It is a privilege to act as voice in those blessings because the feelings come so much stronger.

      That same thing happened the other night in prayer with Carol as I prayed for help in getting this essay completed before we left Utah. I prayed for Mel and Gwena and their family. As I did so, I was overcome with a feeling of love that kept growing until it nearly consumed me. It was so powerful I could not speak for a moment. The experience was the same as if I had my hands on Mel’s head giving a blessing. The Lord revealed things to me about Mel, confirming to my soul that He knew and loved Mel and his work.

      Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a delightful comment. You are correct. Mel understands and emulates unconditional love. He does not judge. He deserves God’s choicest blessings. God bless.

  8. I do not know anything specific about Melvin Fish, but I have direct experience with so-called healers and people involved energy healing and the like. It destroyed my family. My then-wife falsely accused my father of molesting me as a child on the sole basis of a “revelation” received by the healer. She has now falsely accused me of molesting my own children. She believes that she has the power of discernment, and can judge others’ intentions. I would guess that’s not how all healers operate, but anyone involved in this should be extremely careful. It not only destroyed my family, it did the same to several other families in my stake. There was one case, where the healer told a sister that her husband was cheating on her and molesting her kids; the sister, with no other evidence, called the police. She later recanted, but the damage had been done. Sexual abuse is obviously very real and heartbreaking, but it’s important to keep in mind that there are many documented cases of false allegations, false memories, etc, and for some reason the energy healing really seems focused on sexual abuse.

    Since I don’t know any details, I can only guess about Melvin Fish, but I wonder if it was more than just the fact that he was paid, but the specific techniques that he was using. I actually consented to visit the healer because my wife was convinced that I would see the truth of it, but I came away with an overwhelming sense of darkness. The healer used very specific, sacred terminology, but performed it more like it was a seance. It’s the only time in my life that I could say I felt sure I was in the presence of evil.

    I have also visited a counselor through LDS services, and was very appreciative of being able to receive counseling in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I do see a clear distinction between someone offering services that are in line with the principles of the gospel and someone who receives payment for healing, i.e. use of the priesthood, commanding in the name of Christ, etc. I do not know if that is what Melvin Fish did.

    I also have no direct knowledge of his disciplinary council, but having participated in several, I find it hard to believe that he was not given a chance to speak, or that he was required to stand for several hours. I have always found the councils to be extremely fair and positive as you have stated. I think that is the wisdom of having the 12 high priests. While you have admitted that it is only one side of the story, I think you have erred in asking for participants to speak up. They would be breaking confidence and should not do so. I don’t believe it is our job to evaluate this disciplinary council. As suggested by another commenter, Melvin Fish can appeal the council’s decision, and any one of the participants could have spoken up if they believed the decision was not valid.

    1. Thanks for your comments. It’s always good to have words of caution and reason. I concur with your point that not all healers are of God. I have seen this firsthand. I have studied false memories and have counseled with individuals who experienced them. I also know of individuals who were falsely accused, and have seen the terrible, confusing effects it had on their family. This is a highly sensitive area where one can be easily deceived. The brother who first posted that Mel had been excommunicated noted this happened to him.

      I appreciate you pointed out that I have only heard and related one side of the story. Mel already appealed the decision to the First Presidency. It was denied. If you have participated in disciplinary councils you know that those who offer counsel to the Stake President can dissent from the final opinion. I have seen this on a few occasions. That is the purpose of having six High Counselors advocate for the accused and six advocate for the church. We do not know if there wasn’t some who expressed that Mel should not be excommunicated.

      While I appreciate your caution about not breaking confidences, I can tell you that people with knowledge of the facts in situations like these do respond in private email to me. It helps me understand better what the objections are to what Mel and others who practice these techniques do. There are always two sides to every story. I know I haven’t presented both sides. It just amazes me that I now know of three people who practice muscle testing to reveal hidden stress or darkness have been disciplined by the church. Why?

      Every one of them has made it clear to me that what they do is to simply help the individual discover the root cause of things that trouble them. They are clear in pointing out that they are facilitators in that they point the individual to Christ. The darkness within is taught and invited to go to the Light of Christ. Any evil or unclean spirits are taught that Christ will honor their agency if they choose to believe and turn to Him. I hope to be able to explain this better when I get a chance to write my review of Mel’s book. To me, it is simply amazing.

      1. I’m glad we can have an open discussion. I understand that people may respond in private email, but whether it is private or not, it is breaking confidence. There is also the concern that there may be no real way to ensure that whomever contacts you was actually a participant.

        I can’t speak specifically to the muscle testing practitioners you referenced, but I can tell you that in my own experience with my ex-wife, it began very innocently with her concern over my son’s constant ear infections. I personally believe the practice involved evil spirits. When my then wife was first involved, she seemed to be making positive changes in her life and becoming more spiritual, but it eventually became clear that it was much darker. I judge it by the fruits, and the fruits were anything but good.

        This particular healer I had dealings with may have helped many other people, but she also did significant damage to several families. It did involve false doctrine, and although I didn’t try to pursue any formal church discipline against her, I can certainly understand why others might.

        When I read things such as “the darkness within is taught and invited to go to the light of Christ,” and the following sentence, I am very concerned. That does not coincide with any gospel doctrine I have studied.

        I like how you characterized my comment as words of caution, as that is really what I’m getting at. I caution anyone against getting involved in these practices as I have tasted the bitter fruit they produce. I understand that is not everyone’s experience, but it is a real danger, and I don’t believe these practices offer anything more than what each of can receive through prayer and fasting, and proper exercise of the priesthood, in line with gospel principles.

      2. I am curious about this “The darkness within is taught and invited to go to the Light of Christ. Any evil or unclean spirits are taught that Christ will honor their agency if they choose to believe and turn to Him.”

        Can you share more about this in your up coming book review?

        Who are these spirits? Are they the spirits that choose to follow Satan in the Heavenly Council? I am curious about that because why would the evil spirits want to go to the Light now? Christ was not able to persuade them to follow Him in the Council, why would we as mortals think we could persuade evil spirits to follow Christ now when even Christ Himself could not do that? Do the evil spirits that followed Satan even have agency at this stage to go to the Light?

      3. It is my understanding that we as mortals do have power over evil spirits and we can in the name of Jesus rebuke them and cast them out. An invitation to go the Light seems like it would not be powerful enough to make the evil spirits leave. Wouldn’t commanding in the name of Jesus the evil spirits to leave be more effective?

        If you could please address this in your book review that would be helpful, I would like to understand the author’s point of view on this.

    2. Nonrandom Set,
      There have indeed been so-called “healers” who irresponsibly implant ideas about revovered memories and other such nonsense, but this is not Melvin Fish’s way.

      And unfortunately, sometimes High Council trials are held without allowing the person being tried an opportunity to respond, or to have witnesses testify. It is a violation of Church law to conduct them in that manner, but they have been known to occur just the same.

      The trial of Jesus Christ was a violation of Jewish law on a number of levels. Had he not been “tried” illegally, he would never have been crucified. Such despicable behavior will have to be answered for.

  9. I just read the wikipedia article on the pace memo, and thought I should point out this concluding section:

    The LDS Church has made no official statement related to the allegations related in the Pace memorandum. However, one commentator has suggested that apostle Richard G. Scott’s sermon in the April 1992 general conference of the church may have been related to the SRA allegations.[11] In his remarks, Scott warned Latter-day Saints:

    “ I caution you not to participate in … improper therapeutic practices that may cause you more harm than good. … Detailed leading questions that probe your past may unwittingly trigger thoughts that are more imagination or fantasy than reality. They could lead to condemnation of another for acts that were not committed. While likely few in number, I know of cases where such therapy has caused great injustice to the innocent from unwittingly stimulated accusations that were later proven false. Memory, particularly adult memory of childhood experiences, is fallible. Remember, false accusation is also a sin.[12]

    I should also point out that in the example you gave, pointing to the Pace Memo, independent investigations could not corroborate any of the reported abuse (reference 10 in the wiki article):


    1. Hi again. I’m glad to see people taking the time to read and research. The Pace Memo is old news. It has been rehashed over and over again on numerous Internet forums. Thanks for adding the additional detail. I also concur with Elder Scott’s counsel. It is indeed a sin to falsely accuse another. I wish I could share with you a recorded conversation I have on the home computer (still travelling tonight). I think you would be amazed how it supports the points I think you are trying to make – that false accusations can destroy families.

      I will post it tomorrow. In a nutshell, a woman went to a therapist, participated in regression therapy and discovered a false memory of molestation. She didn’t want to accuse her father so she went and got a second opinion. Luckily, she went to my friend in St George (not Mel Fish who is in Cedar City). This counselor found that the woman had a spirit attached to her and was able to communicate with her. I know this sounds crazy unless you have personally witnessed it firsthand.

      Anyway, the spirit had lived in the 1800’s in England and was the one who had been molested by her father. Once taught to forgive and go to the light, the spirit left and the woman was no longer troubled by MPD or false memories. It takes a real skill and talent to be able to discern the difference between these false spirits and what someone may think is their own childhood memory. I greatly appreciate your caution in this area. All people should be as careful as you are.

      1. All I can say is that I’m very skeptical – not that evil spirits exist, but that anyone should engage with them. I also believe that my wife had an evil spirit, but I believe she invited that spirit into her life through her involvement with energy healing.

        Also, assuming someone does have a special spiritual gift for casting out evil spirits, I do believe it would be wrong to charge for that.

      2. Not sure if this will show up in the right place. It’s intended as a response to Nonrandom Set’s Feb 19th 8:17am comment. First, I want you to know that I have thought about what you wrote earlier about breaking confidences. You are right. It was wrong of me to ask that. I have modified the essay to reflect that.

        Second, I am glad to read that you are skeptical. We should all be skeptical until our doubts are satisfied. I can appreciate what you are sharing about the perceived downward slide of your ex-wife into darkness because of her involvement with a questionable healer. I know there are lots of quacks out there.

        Third, I would like to set the record straight that Dr. Fish does not cast out evil spirits. He helps people find the source of the issues for which they have come to him seeking help. He then helps people teach the spirits go to the light. He is a facilitator in the process. I hope my upcoming book review will make that clear.

      3. Isnt that what the righteous spirits, including the great and mighty, are set apart to do in the Spirit world is to share the gospel with these spirits and teach them about Christ?
        Christ spent time in the Spirit world to authorize and qualify these noble spirits. These ‘appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority’ were comissioned by Christ to do this great work on that side of the veil.
        I find it hard to comprehend that although people like Mel may be bestowed with a unique gift that he would be able to utilize it in that way without being set apart by proper authority to specifically lead said spirits to Christ as the great and mighty spirits–who again by the way are assigned to carry out this calling in the Spirit world (D&C138:30)
        I dont deny there are dark spirits among us (although Im grateful we dont talk about it as much as Im a big scardy cat & too much of my attn would be on that & not on the essential things)
        Maybe bro Mel is ahead of his time and gifts like his are not meant to be used to that extent n this life. Look at how many who are blessed with this gift are breaking families apart and not producing good fruit despite good intentions?
        I just dont see the priesthood not being required for such a task as this.
        If there is no priesthood given to someone to fulfill this specific calling in this life the results can be dangerously unpredictable as is any work carried out and accomplished without proper authority.
        How do you explain the many successes healers and families who have sought their help have had? Maybe these evil spirits are going along with it to plant in our minds proper priestood and keys are not needed.
        Whether a dark spirit tempted us to make bad choices, we still have the final say. We alone are held accountable for our actions. Use the gifts that we know to be true from the gospel & experience directly from God: faith, repentance, baptism, sincere prayer, gift of the holy ghost etc…to help us along the way

  10. I think that many of Jesus’ casting out of evil spirits are looked at as healing epilepsy or other mundane maladies by most modern people. Even some of the records from 19th century church history are now interpreted in that light.
    Obviously, casting out of evil spirits who are causing emotional or psychological stress is not a common practice by professional counselors. If a BYU professor is stating it is better than other methods, maybe the practice should be more common. Let’s see his expert testimony.
    I know a former Stake President of that stake, but no current leaders that I am aware of.

    1. Hi Al. Believe it or not, that was the paper I had originally intended to use to write this essay but it evolved when I asked the Lord for direction on what would be most helpful on the subject. I have always been surprised that paper has not seen more commentary on the Internet in forums and blogs, especially among LDS who are interested in healing. I still plan to write more about it in a future essay.

      In the paper you can find supporting evidence for my claim that members of the AMCAP do not acknowledge the existence of or use their belief in that basic Mormon doctrine of the existence of evil spirits as having any bearing whatsoever on behavior. It is sad and to me, a waste to go to an LDS counselor and not be able to consider evil or unclean spirits as a contributing cause of unwanted behavior.

      Thanks for visiting my blog, reading this essay and leaving your helpful comment with that link.

      1. In response to Niklas: No, I had not seen that case study. Thanks for sharing that link. That goes contrary to what Ronald Poulton asserted in his paper (linked to by Al above) that members of AMCAP do not deal with unclean spirits – that it is outside their professional worldview. Perhaps this was an isolated incident but it is good to see it documented. I will present a few more from Dr. Fish found in his book and associated book on clinical examples. Again, thanks for added to the dialog Niklas. That link is extremely helpful to my research.

  11. Here is the link to the PDF of Dr. Inouye’s defense of the work of Mel and Gwena Fish: http://3tcm.net/melfish_dilloninouye.pdf. It’s a large (8MB) PDF so give it time to load.

    Here is the story I referred to earlier of the woman who had been diagnosed with MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). She didn’t want to falsely accuse her father of molesting her when she was younger because she had no memory of that. It turns out the memory of molestation was from a spirit co-habitating with her.

    – Beginning of quote –

    A few years ago a man brought his wife to see me. She had been diagnosed as having multiple personalities. She had about 15 separate personalities that the psychologists had encouraged to come forth to strengthen them so they might be integrated into the personality of this lady. One personality identified as Ann supposedly had taken over when she was sexually molested by her father.

    The client had no conscious recollection of her father or anyone else ever molesting her, but when her therapist would encourage Ann to take over she could describe in detail, even very accusingly, when her father was present in the counseling session. The lady would not press charges against her father because consciously she had no recollection. As we worked with her we found that what had been diagnosed as multiple personality was really multiple evil spirits, that had gotten into her on stressful occasions throughout her life. I suggested to the lady that she command the evil spirits to leave in the name of Jesus Christ.

    As she began to do so she became fearful and said that Ann was taking over. Her body jerked and then she looked at her husband and me and informed us, “You guys are a couple of idiots!” He looked at me and suggested to me that this was the personality of Ann whom he had experienced take over his wife, previously. She was very belligerent with us but seemed to have to answer questions that we asked. I asked her when she lived here on the earth. Reluctantly she said “In the eighteen hundreds.”

    I asked what year she was born and she told us 1803. I asked her where she was born and she said England. We asked how she got into this lady’s body and she said, “A bunch of us spirits were badgering her and she couldn’t handle it and we got in.” (I thought it was an interesting use of words.) When I asked why, she said it was because she liked this lady’s body. I suggested that she leave her body and go to the light and get her own resurrected body sometime. She said she didn’t want her own body because it was mutilated.

    I asked “Mutilated?”

    She said, “Yes my husband bludgeoned me to death, but I probably had it coming ’cause he caught me with another man, so I don’t want to go to the light for he might be there.”

    I told her that if he was, then he had repented and had been forgiven. I suggested that a loved one such as her mother might be here to take her to the light.

    She looked around and said, “I’m not going with him.”

    When I asked, “Who, your husband?”

    She said, “No, my dad!”

    I said, “Why don’t you want to go with him?”

    “He sexually abused me as a girl!” she exclaimed.

    “If he is here to take you to the light then he has repented and you should forgive him.” I said.

    She asked me about forgiveness and I explained it to her. She forgave her father for sexually molesting her, then she forgave her husband for murdering her, and then herself for stepping out on him.

    “I’m going to go with him,” and the woman’s body jerked as Ann left.

    The lady looked at her husband and said, “Oh dear, I love you! She has gone with her father to the light.”

    The lady called her father and inform him that he hadn’t sexually molested her, as the spirit Ann had so explicitly described to her therapist. What a relief for him, having been so falsely accused by this spirit. I have since talked to this lady and her husband and they have been delighted that she has not been bothered by Ann or the other evil spirits that had been diagnosed as multiple personalities by the psychologist.

    – End of Quote –

    1. Thank you for the letter from Dr. Inouye. I can see why you think that Brother Fish was treated unfairly. Looked at from an academic or therapist perspective, Dr. Inouye seems to be saying that this is groundbreaking stuff and we need more research and more practice in this exciting new therapy. The church, or BYU (notice that former President Bateman is CCed), should investigate and expand and refine this technique.
      I notice that he directly addressed the TR question that can be interpreted in more ways that the commerce clause of the US constitution. I know of several people in various parts of the church that have been denied a temple recommend based upon vague “affiliations with groups who teach contrary….” or the like. I have answered yes to this question several times in my life. The most recent time was to a member of the stake presidency when I said that my employer met several of those criteria. I received my recommend renewal and shortly thereafter received a stake calling.

  12. Having read that account, I think the excommunication is probably justified. Casting out spirits for money is likely to be 1) fraudulent, 2) Unfounded and 3) Just plain weird.

    I think the clear reading is that the Church believes that someone who charges money to cast out spirits is being deceptive and worthy of discipline.

    1. OK, I’ll accept your opinion of the document. My conclusion was the opposite but I understand what you’re saying. And based on the outcome, your opinion coincides with the opinion of the church as expressed through the stake disciplinary council which did as directed by the church. Again, we’ll never know this because the church won’t publish a formal statement unless it gets a huge amount of media attention.

      However, I think a more careful reading of the document would have shown that Dr. Inouye was very clear in pointing out that Mel Fish does not cast out evil spirits for money. What he does is teach the evil and unclean spirits (two different entities) about forgiveness and the love of the Savior. He then invites them to go to the light. Yes, I know this sounds weird, especially if you’ve never witnessed it. I have. I know it is real and works.

      Mel stopped doing one-on-one sessions for a fee. He does not charge to do private group meetings. You can see a sample of his group instruction by purchasing a DVD from his website. In my opinion, Mel is doing everything he can to comply with the directives of the church. If I were his stake president, I would reconvene the council and make that determination. Mel deserves to have his membership privileges restored.

      Sadly, the bottom line is that you are right. Mel was disciplined because many people believed as you – that was he does is fraudulent (taking advantage of someone’s emotional or psychological problems), unfounded (no proof of evil spirits) and just plain weird (I’ll always agree with that assessment). But what about all the people who believe otherwise – that Mel helped him, that they love him and want to see him re-baptized?

      Thanks for your comments, anonymous. Always helps to see it from both sides.

    2. For clarification, that account of the woman with MPD (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder) came from another counselor in Southern Utah, not from Mel Fish. I will share some similar accounts of the clinical work performed by Dr. Fish in the book review I am writing and hope to publish next week.

    3. Isn’t it only fair that he would charge money for his services? I mean, he seems to be a man who dedicated a large portion of his life in order to help others. This obviously took a lot of effort, research, and his own resources to accomplish; he gained his PhD. I think there is a difference between seeking gain (seeking gain and power is utterly denounced in scripture) and working for a living. This doesn’t seem to be something he just did on the side, it was his life work. Then again, I’m not familiar with his practices.

      1. Ironic that the Church has no problem supporting other therapists who use conventional means, i.e. charging money to have the patient return for “counseling” again and again and again, with no actual benefit to the patient.

        Melvin Fish fixed the problems of those who came to him. One time. Occasionally a follow up by phone if necessary, but nothing was charged for the phone call.

        The world is upside down. If you hang out a shingle and charge people money and you know you’ll never solve their problems, you are approved. If you fix it so the patient never has to return, you’re a charlatan. Go figure.

  13. The darkness within is taught and invited to go to the Light of Christ…I’m very skeptical – not that evil spirits exist, but that anyone should engage with them. I’ve had some experience with this. It doesn’t matter if evil spirits actually exist or whether a person’s problems are actually caused by evil spirits. What matters is; if they believe evil spirits are involved then sometimes the issue can be reduced or eliminated by using mental imagery or guided fantasy to send them away, give them to the light, or to Christ as we would anything that burdens us. It is simply a positive affirmation, a mental visualization. So is raising the right arm to the square and invoking the Melchizedek Priesthood.

  14. The more I hear about the LDS Church excommunicating good folks like Melvin Fish, the more I am grateful for the scriptures, the Lord said that gross darkness would be present in His house in the last days. The LDS Church is fulfilling perfectly the words of the Lord. It is very upsetting that certain people are being abused by the LDS Church but they will be taken care of in ways only the Lord can do. Have faith in Christ!! The Lord is truly mindful of these events and people, both the accusors and the accused. We all who have bodies have agency, the word of the Lord will be fulfilled, we can be a humble followers of Christ or we can choose to follow someone else or an institution. Many people confuse the difference between Christ, the church as a institution and people with offices with in the institution. There are many false traditions and beliefs being taught to substitue actually seeking Christ and coming directly to Him. Man and institutions seek to control and have over step their bounds in this regard from what I am seeing.

  15. If Mel already appealed to the FP, and the appeal was denied, then I assume the FP (or a delegee) has reviewed the matter and determined the council was appropriate and the discipline appropriate. Given the recipients of Professor Inouye’s letter, I doubt that this was an action that is flying under the radar.

    Having said that, I should say that I am generally opposed to terminating the membership of almost anyone for almost anything. From what I read here, I think his ideas and practices are wacky. I cannot tell whether he is a licensed therapist. If so, I would be surprised if the regulatory authorities would not have carefully reviewed that matter. If he is not a licensed therapist, then I think, at a minimum, the Church should state whether or not his practices are consistent with the gospel, the doctrines of which are interpreted by the FP and 12. The Church recommends use of faith and priesthood blessings under specific guidelines, which his practices do not meet. It also cautions against use of unqualified and (I infer) unlicensed therapists.

    Terminating his membership seems too harsh. (I felt the same way about the September 6.)

    1. Hi David. I looked him up at https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html. Not there. Not surprising. Doesn’t appear Mel is a licensed therapist or counselor. I think he is acting as a teacher or facilitator. Same with my other friend in St George who practices this or a similar technique. He calls it stress management and as such, it is not licensed by the state of Utah. I had a friend in California who did the same thing. I wrote about my experience with this friend here: https://www.latterdaycommentary.com/2008/10/06/born-that-way-not-a-choice/

  16. I had Melvin Cottam Fish for a seminary teacher in ninth grade . This was probably about 1967 or 68.. I remember him a a quiet, kind individual. Other than that, I hesitate to comment only to say all we really know are the particulars as they have been related by aggrieved. I can sympathize with you (Tim) in feeling for him, but to reach out to those that sat in the council and asking them to break confidences doesn’t sit well with me. Just my two cents.

    1. I agree John. I changed my essay to reflect that my request was not appropriate. I think I was feeling bad for Mel when I wrote that, having just interviewed him and his wife. When Gwena related how Mel had been forced to stand for seven hours in a corner like a bad boy, I felt incensed. I could not believe that such a thing could happen in our church.

    2. I had a guy with the exact same name for AP calculus at East High in 1993. He used to joke about his name “Melvin caught-a-fish.” He was very sweet, mild, and funny. I am curious. It is an unusual name, so I am thinking it has to be the same guy.

  17. Elder Oaks referred pretty directly to this in his talk in last fall’s Regional conference for Utah and Wasatch counties, warning members not to fall for it and to avoid those holding themselves out as having answers/remedies based on non-scientifically vetted methods. So if you’re looking for a source in SLC that might have direct this excommunication, you might try reaching out to him. I hear that he actually reads and sometimes responds to correspondence.

    1. Elder Oaks teaching not to fall for non-scientifically vetted things is funny. I would love to see what he considers as scientific vetting of his Apostleship as well as the scientific proof of the Book of Mormon, the First Vision and all the other things we members believe to be true. This sounds like a case where he presented his own opinion on a matter rather than God’s truth.

    1. Thanks John. And since I’m a pretty open kind of guy when it comes to non-scientific methods I have been enthralled with this since the day I was first exposed to it twenty years ago. I would write to Elder Holland but I’ve got some more homework to do first when it comes to the doctrine that evil spirits can repent, which is what you’ll find in Mel Fish’s book. I’ve written about this before (https://www.latterdaycommentary.com/2012/08/06/dealing-with-evil-and-unclean-spirits/) and I questioned Mel thoroughly about his experiences in this area. I intend to share one of those from his book in my next essay. Update: I’ve written about this here: https://www.latterdaycommentary.com/2013/03/03/all-are-invited-to-the-feast/

  18. David H Wrote, “If Mel already appealed to the FP, and the appeal was denied, then I assume the FP (or a delegee) has reviewed the matter and determined the council was appropriate and the discipline appropriate.”

    I wouldn’t bet on it, David. Even though Church Law requires an appeal process, Church headquarters makes it almost impossible to appeal. If there were, we might hear about an excommunication being reversed now and then. Ask yourself, when was the last time you ever heard of someone being excommunicated, and that judgment was reversed? Ever? It used to happen quite a bit in the early days, because back then the Church leaders followed protocal.

    Witness this short excerpt from the strange tale by JJ Dewey (Dewey and his nephew Curtis were excommunicated for reasons that, by any account, were not merely unjust, but downright ridiculous):

    “D&C 102:26-27: ‘Should the parties or either of them be dissatisfied with the decision of said council, they may appeal to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church, and have a re-hearing, which case shall there be conducted, according to the former pattern written, as though no such decision had been made.’ ”

    “This was interesting. We were both dissatisfied with the results of our trials and this seemed to be a fair method of obtaining a rehearing to set things straight. There was only one problem. The scripture says that we were to appeal to the “high council of the seat of the First Presidency” and it was no longer in existence.

    “In the early days this was called the “Standing High Council.” The Reorganized LDS Church still has such a council, but it seemed that the Utah church feels it was not needed. Could it be that they do not want to have any such council to hear appeals in order to silence those who are “put out of the synagogue?”

    You can read the rest of the account here: http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2011/12/infallible-authority-chapter-eight.html

    Long story short, Curtis was scheduled a personal appointment with President Kimball to request a new trial as the scriptures promise. He traveled 300 miles and was early for his appointment. The secretary got Kimball on the phone, and Kimball made excuses not to keep the appointment, though he had nothing else scheduled for a full hour. Says Dewey:

    “The rejection reminded me a little of President Van Buren refusing to hear the grievances of the early saints when he said: “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.” President Kimball refused to even recognize that our cause was just.”

    It may be time to start recognizing that those charged with administering the business of this church no longer feel they are bound by the rules the Lord set out for them to follow. Those who doubt the veracity of that statement need look no further than the example currently NOT being followed in D&C 104:71 which directs that that monies placed into the Lord’s treasury shall “not be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by voice and common consent.” That directive has been ignored by those charged with obeying it since 1958.

    I think blindly trusting those in charge, whether they be governmental or ecclesiastical to follow the rules they are bound by, is misplaced faith. There is a reason God warned us to trust not in the arm of flesh, but only on HIS word. When our leaders begin ignoring God’s word, it’s time we took notice. God was not just blowing smoke when He warned us that this Church is under His condemnation. President Benson reminded us that condemnation has never been lifted. We ought to start asking ourselves why that is.

    1. The church being under condemnation for not reading the Book of Mormon? I think that is what he (Pres. Benson) was referring to. Although, I’m sure there are many more things.

      1. Here’s the pertinent section of the D&C Benson was referring to (Section 84) :
        And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.”

        There’s more, of course, and taken together I interpret it to include the warnings given in Mormon 8 (among others) where we Mormon laments how in the future the Church will become polluted.

  19. I said this on another site and I will say it here. My parent’s (father deceased and mother with advanced Alzhimer’s) were very good friends with a couple. The man served as Bishop and on the Stake presidency and High Council. The woman served in many positions also. Their adult son was called to church court and found guilty. The parent’s knew he was guilty and did not disagree with the outcome. What angered and shook them was how their son was treated and how they, the parent’s were treated. The father served on church courts before and since he no longer held any church position felt he could finally tell the story that the courts he was on mistreated the accused like his son was mistreated. He said he begged the others to show love, have a Christ like attitude, show compassion, etc. but they never would. So then his son is called to court and was treated worse than any other. The parent’s were appalled by the questions that were asked of their son. He was not given a chance to say much. The children of this couple are out of the church completely but the couple is still active (the man passed away 5 years ago) but they never had confidence in church leaders after their experience.
    I believe that evil spirits exist, as they existed in the day’s of the early Saints. They didn’t go away with advancing technology and modern times. They have always existed so why are they no longer spoken of?
    The more I read and study the church and doctrine I come to believe that the church is moving away from and has moved away from what the Prophet Joseph Smith restored and taught. The only way a person can get the attention of the church in SLC is to be rich and famous.
    I believe that you are sincere and truthful in what you say about Bro. Fish not practicing priest craft. You are matter of fact about it. Just because something is not accepted by the academic community does not mean it is wrong or bad or doesn’t work. Mankind would not be as far as it is if it were not for those thinkers that would not let their peers and others tell them their theories are wrong – like sterilization, washing hands, cholera in water etc.. And we would be farther along if the academic community would quit being so jealous of others who disagree with them, and would quit holding on to bogus theories and move on to new theories and accept new ways of thinking instead of taking years to figure one thing out or ignore it completely.

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  21. I went to visit Mel Fish about 10 years ago. I needed some counseling for some emotional trauma I had and hoped he could help me. I had visited 2 other counselors who used the way of book learning to counsel, and it did not help me.

    He did help me. I use one very good visualization technique he gave me—still to this day, and it is the only way I can deal with some issues.

    His counseling method brought me closer to Christ, and helped me learn to lay my burdens at His feet.

    He did not tell me a charge for his labors. He told me I could pay him if I had money, and that I could pay him what I thought was right. I paid him close to what I would pay a regular counselor. After all, he has to eat, too, right?

    I drove 10 hours to see him, and then turned around and drove home.

    The visit was worth it.

    Should Mel Fish be guilty of priestcraft, for taking money for his technique? Only if the General Authorities and Deseret Book are also guilty for their priestcraft.

    I guess if he counseled through the ways of the world, it would be much better for him in the church’s eyes.

    But not for me.

    1. Thank you Lizzie. I hope more people who have been helped by Mel will find this page and leave similar favorable comments. I especially liked your priestcraft comparison about General Authorities selling books that bring us closer to Christ through Deseret Book. I thought of making that point but declined. Well said.

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  23. Thank you for telling the story about Mel. I have 3 of his books, and while I am unsure if fallen spirits can go to Christ, I sorrow for the way he was allegedly treated. I’ve always felt that leaders put themselves under condemnation for passing unrighteous judgments. I wonder if this is what happened in Mel’s case.

  24. I have first hand experience with a healing for my son when my family went to see Mel Fish. He told us that the Lord told Mel that he would not recognize an excommunication, no matter what happened. I suppose that the writing is on the wall for the way the Brethren look at the adversary. Easier to say there is no devil there is no opposition.
    Why is this no surprise? This is just more of the same ridiculous protocol that constantly takes place and allows us to make that stance for truth, no matter what the cost. Oh, my goodness, what is next?

  25. Thanks for writing this essay and for sticking up for Mel when your own obedience can be put out for question. It has brought up so many thoughts that I’ll comment on. First off, I am a church going Latter Day Saint. I have held many callings in my years of church service, including being on the stake high counsel and a counselor in a bishopric (I say this only as background to the courts I have been at which I will mention later). I have met with and had discussions with Mel Fish. My belief is that he is a very faithful spiritual man. His techniques have helped hundreds of people. I know of a few people who his techniques did not help. Evil spirits are not the only thing that can cause phobias and illnesses, but to reject them as causing all sorts of mental, emotional and physical problems is to reject the words of the Savior. It also is a warning that Nephi gave us as a trick of the devil; to whisper that there is not devil. Unfortunately even Latter Day Saints want to characterize such things as “just plain weird”, as though they have completely forgotten that the history of God’s dealings with people are full of so-called weird things, such as a city going up to heaven, a great flood, Israelites walking on dry ground through a parted sea, Isaiah walking naked for three years, Elijah wearing just a loin cloth, Nephi zapping his brothers, pulling a gold book from a mountain, a virgin birth and of course a dead man rising from the dead in three days. The list is endless. But somehow a man teaching that illness is cause by earthbound or evil spirits is “just plain weird”. Mel may not understand all the doctrine that surrounds the success he has. I don’t think he is right in all his conclusions; but no one is. And he, more than virtually anyone else I have met seeks the power of the Spirit. And energy healing cuts both ways as has already been discussed, it has its false spirits. But my gosh, really does the standard medical protocalls always work? Medications have destroyed and killed people. Yet our society turns a blind eye at the hundreds of thousands of people wrongfully killed each year due to medication; even those taken as prescribed.

    I was not at Melvins disciplinary counsel, so I can’t speak as a witness to what happened, but I sure will believe his words over apologist on this comment board who want to exonerate the stake proceedings. Was the first stake president uninspired? Are we foolish to believe that pride can’t exist with church leaders from Bishops to Apostles? I have read and listened to the stories of the Sept 6. I have personally spoken several times to one of them. His excommunication was a prideful debacle on the part of the accuser(s). When one stake president wont do the bidding of some general authority, they will call one later on that will (this happened to more than one of the six). Members of the quorum of the 12 have strongly differing opinions of excommunicating people. Which ones are the inspired ones? Sorry to break anyone’s bubble, but the 12 do not see eye to eye on everything. They are not some close-net, buddy buddy friends that agree together on everything. And to hold Elder Oaks’ talk at regional conference as coming straight from the Lord as opposed to being Elder Oaks’ opinion is idolatry. Ask Elder Oaks to explain all the deaths I mentioned, even though the prescription was based on science. There is no doubt in my mind that not all the 12 feel the same way as Elder Oaks does.

    The people who make decisions to excommunicate have more to loose then those that have been accused in the hearing (see 3 Ne 14:2 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”) (also see section 121). And it should be called a hearing for someone who has been accused (read section 102). The apostles have changed the name to disciplinary counsel. Maybe it sounds nicer to them, yet to me, in today’s English, discipline means to punish. Ironically, the word discipline comes from the same root word as disciple. A disciple is disciplined (or trained) by his master. Certainly a master may require tasks of his disciples, but it wasn’t meant to be a punishment.

    Here’s the big problems I find with disciplinary counsels. Like I said, I have been involved in them as either a high counselor or bishopric member. In the paradigm the stake president or bishop are living in, they were very nice and helpful men. They really did act concerned and thoughtful. They were not rude, they gave the accused all the time they wanted to speak. Both the bishop/president and the accused had a sort of bonding experience, they both cried and spoke of moving forward. Everyone said how much they felt the Spirit was leading the discussion. All seemed well in Zion. Here’s the problem, only about 1 or 2 percent of these people actually do come back into the church. With all the feelings of love, the hearing is a death sentence to most people. Maybe they start thinking how stupid the hearing really was. In one of the cases I sat in, a grown man had to explain to 15 other men his one-night stand and his emotional and spiritual life leading up to that moment. He was sorry and distraught, blah, blah. As part of the counsel given to him to get ready to come back into the church, a list of things was given to him including not to sit at his computer alone because of the temptation he had with porn. Really, this is what would change his life to come back to the gospel I look back in embarrassment at how the president in all his kindness was really just treating this man as a child. The idea was he (the accused) needed to be disciplined, just like a father had to lovingly whip his boy. Something seemed noble about it, but in reality it was not. And if you are good for a year, you can have the privilege to come back in. That is not the Lord’s way, nor does it appear to be Joseph’s ways, seeing the historic record that he was more concerned with a contrite repentant spirit rather than some 1 year period. Where does all this tradition come from (naming it a disciplinary council, being out for at least a year, accusing a faithful brother one for his non-manual belief, ext). (Side note: An Elder Brown in Joseph’s day was put to trial for teaching about animal salvation. Joseph found it troubling that he would be tried for his belief, even though Joseph thought Elder Brown was wrong in his thinking.)

    Just a couple last points. I learned from a retired seventy that in the case of a stake hearing appeal; the appeal is handled by an area seventy, who collects the evidence in the case (not the actual stake case documents) and presents the evidence and his recommendation in a report that is given to a the 12 who review it as an appeal council. The recommendation of the seventy is virtually always followed. So it comes down to one man’s opinion in the appeal. Maybe everything is all good with this whole process; it would make us feel better, right?. It is troubling to me. How we can feel comfortable with trying to destroy a man for his beliefs, especially one who loves the Lord, is beyond me. To accuse Mel for Priestcraft would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. Someone already brought up the books the 12 write and sell through Deseret Book. So much pandering in Zion to look good and honorable to the world which is the greater priestcraft.

    1. Thank you for what you said, John, about medications killing people. I nearly died from the medications I was prescribed by the top psychiatrist in my community. He is not a bad man, but works in an flawed (and I would even say evil) system. I am much more worried about the subtle ways evil has reigned in this world than working with specific evil spirits. I am happy to finally be able to identify what is evil in me and begin to actually work with that spirit (at least one that I know of). I have been tormented for about 30 years, and in therapy for over twenty years for this, and I am just now starting to understand that I need a more spiritual intervention. I need to get more information before I head to a healer like Mel Fish (who I believe was my calculus teacher in high school), but this information on this blog is helping me. I already feel part of my burden being lifted. I find the discussion to be largely uplifting, informative, open-minded, and not one-sided. I really appreciate what people are bringing up – both in the way of caution and what it really means to come unto Christ and utilize the atonement. I believe we are living in a day when all evil will be brought to the surface and made clear. I hope it is in my lifetime. I am a licensed therapist, and I am trying to learn how to best help others heal. I take my job very seriously – not only for this life, but considering eternity. I am not able to separate one from the other.

  26. Pingback: From Darkness Into Light | Latter-day Commentary

  27. I am so sad to hear of Dr. Fish’s current situation. I met him last year via a referral from a friend of mine who is a psychiatrist here in SLC. I was serving as a first councilor in my ward bishopric at the time. My Stake President assigned me to help a young man who sent home from his mission early because he was having a “psychotic episode”. I had known this young man since he was 12 years old. When I picked him up, I could tell he had negative entities attached to him. This young man could tell they were attached but did not have much of a desire to get rid of them. During my ministry as a leader in the LDS church, I could often identify the presence of negative entities while I was setting someone apart or giving them a blessing. I would command the unclean spirits to leave during the coarse of the setting apart, blessing or ordination. The person receiving the blessing or others on the circle would often comment about how they could sense or feel the negative energy leaving. These people were completely unaware that these negative entities were attached to them. I am currently serving on the high council in my stake and on occasion will have the opportunity to expose these unseen beings.

    Now back to Dr. Fish. I called him out of the blue and explained the situation with the missionary. It just so happened that Dr. Fish was holding a workshop in Sandy the following week. The missionary and I showed up and spent the day with Dr. Fish. Dr. Fish opened by understanding and gave meaning and definition to what i was already experiencing. Dr. Fish used a lite hypnosis age regression with the missionary and identified the entities that were with him. The missionary was taught how to expel them. That young man was healed because of the precepts that Dr. Fish taught us. The Bishop and the Stake President took a dim view on our recounting of the events of that day. Nevertheless, when someone in the stake says they have evil spirits in their home or they sense them round about them, the Stake President refers them to me. When someone is hospitalized for mental health issues, I am called to give them a blessing. After the evil entities have departed I teach the victim the concepts I learned from Dr. Fish. I have all of his books. His techniques are sound and applicable. Now, I don’t talk about these things in church or in a classroom. There have been an occasion or two where someone has gone to the Stake President of the Bishop and complained about something I said. Like telling a sister she did not always need a priesthood blessing to expel evil spirits and she could use the concepts taught in the temple. At any rate, I understand the application of what Dr. Fish is teaching and they work! I do believe that he is a man ahead of the times. Twenty years from now the church will catch up to his teachings and be a bit embarrassed that they have dealt so harshly with him.

    I should also point out that Dr. Fish brought up some other concepts in the workshop that I did not agree with and seemed foreign to the gospel as I understood it at the time. I wasn’t offended and just put the concepts that he shared on a shelf in my mind. Over time, as I attended the temple and had other experience, I began to see how the concept fit perfectly within the context of the restored gospel. I have now read all of the book by doctor B. Weiss and clearly see new horizons even within the context of the restored gospel. Here again, I understand the bristling from priesthood leaders. I have been in disciplinary councils where we have disagreed on the outcome. Our experience and even our inspiration is different, it doesn’t make the gospel less true. We all will have issues with the institutional church, but the gospel is true. If it were permissible, I would be honored to call Dr. Fish a Master teacher and I, one of his students.

  28. I am not in position to judge either side. God is the ultimate judge.

    But is this a case of Mark 9:38-41?

    [38] And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
    [39] But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
    [40] For he that is not against us is on our part.
    [41] For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

  29. These topics are fairly new to me but have been pressing on my mind as I have grown in age, experience & in the gospel. The answer I often come to when controversial issues about the Church in this regard come up is that always it seems there is a direct need in the Church for the greater good to prevail. In saying that, I mean the “greater good” as in how many more souls will come to Christ from one action or another. I am not sure that Mel is right or wrong in his practices but what I think is that- at his point in time the affects of “allowing” this type of treatment may cause more harm to more souls by other “healers” who try to copy cat these methods in an irresponsible way. That my rip apart more families and cause more damage then the amount of souls that Mel or others genuinely gifted like him can help. There fore it is my belief that the family & it’s preservation is always the greater good no matter the issue. The gospel hinges on the preservation of the family so whatever decision is going to protect the family the MOST is going to prevail & that is the revelation the First Presidency will always follow. Each soul is valuable, important & loved by Christ. The mission of the Church is to bring to Christ as many souls as possible to Him.

  30. Thanks to the nice guy that left a comment about a general auth forgiving someone for murder and being allowed to be baptized…thanks…

  31. Two things:
    1. Having been a witness in a church disciplinary court, my experience was the same as Mel’s son. It was not a court of love but rather a court of darkness. And although the accused was innocent, brought there on bogus charges with the result of no church action taken against him, my family members and I who defended him will always think of that experience as one of the most painful and evil-spirited situations we have ever been asked to endure. We all continue as faithful LDS, but it makes us sick how the falsely accused can be dragged in there at the drop of a hat.
    2. Mel Fish should have been referring his clients to their priesthood leaders to deal with what he considered “evil spirits” or an evil influence in patients’ lives. He had no business to usurp authority by combining his professional activities like counseling with those types of sensitive spiritual issues. Unless a counselor is employed by LDS Family Services they had better do what they are being paid to do and refer LDS patients to their Bishops and Stake Presidents for the rest. I’m not saying he didn’t help people, but there were likely others claiming they were psychologically harmed by his techniques otherwise a disciplinary court would have never been held in the first place. Someone who went to a therapist like Fish was what caused #1 above.

    1. Great comment Holli. Thanks for sharing. Yep, there are quite a few “counselors” out there who don’t know what they are doing and cause mental, emotional and spiritual damage. Mel Fish made some mistakes, there is no doubt about that. I’m glad I got to meet him and ask him personally about his experiences, see him demonstrate his technique in helping my wife with an issue and then later to read all his books and write the review I had been intending to write.

      The difficulty in referring clients to priesthood leaders to deal with evil spirits is that there are too many who either don’t believe such things exist in our day and age or would know how to deal with them. I speak from experience. I’m not sure I would agree that Mel usurped any authority. His technique teaches an individual to invite the unwanted attached spirit to go to the light or, baring that, for the individual to cast them out in the name of Jesus Christ. Mel does not use the priesthood in his counseling.

    2. Holli,

      What right do you have to say that Mel was wrong in dealing with these spirits himself? Or to instruct his patients to deal with them?

      And given your experiences of someone being brought up on bogus charges, how can you say that a court would not have been held had there not been claims of harm?


    3. That is a very interesting comment. #2… Really? I know a young lady who endured years of torment by unclean spirits… Begged bishops & priesthood brethren to help her. Not one could. Not for lack of trying, but they lacked the knowledge & possibly the faith to make a dent. Long story short, Mel Fish was the beginning of putting that nonsense down. When a person has a trial/condition of this magnitude, it does not help to tell the person via a priesthood blessing that they simply need to read their scriptures & pray more. They were already doing this. This problem is massive in the church. But ppl hide their situation because of the ensuing judgement. Thank God for Mel Fish.

  32. Just one more example of how stark raving mad so many in the church are today and I DO NOT mean Mel Fish! Mormons, Utah Mormons in particular, are the highest users of antidepressants which rapidly produce psychosis, false memories of abuse, delusions, possession, homosexuality, you name it …. When Prozac, the first SSRI antidepressant, was first introduced I think there were over 500 adverse effects. At this point I have lost track.

    You can find the stats on Utah Mormons being the highest users of these drugs in a recent Forbes article. The article I read referring to it was titled “When God Is Not Enough!” Embarrassing? You bet! God is ALWAYS enough, no matter the issue, He holds the answer. That is what the gospel is suppose to be about. But I cannot tell you over the past two decades of specializing in adverse reactions to these drugs how many times I have heard a Relief Society President, Bishop or Stake President say they do not know how they could do their jobs in those positions were it not for these drugs. Interesting when so many patients, members or not, tell me they lose their agency with the first pill and even atheists tell me the only way they can describe their experience on these drugs is that they were possessed.

    As early as about 1998 the leading attorney filing wrongful death suits for those who have died on antidepressants asked if the church could do a survey to see how many Mormons had died. (He was a non-member) His reason for asking was that he could not believe the high high number of cases he was filing for Mormons! (He actually told me in the beginning of the conversation that he had a question only I could answer. That was, “What are Mormon garments?” When I asked why on earth he would be asking me that he told me it was because he has had to read so many autopsy reports where they had to cut off the Mormon garments!) Of course he went on to say what I have heard from so many non-members…”I do not understand your church. You teach not to use coffee, tea, tobacco or alcohol, but you allow the use of these extremely strong mind altering drugs????”

    Of course I explained, as I always do, that we have been deceived as John warned we ALL would be by the “sorceries” that would flood the earth in our day taking the lives of all good men. (Rev.18:23-24) What few are aware of is that sorcery in Greek is pharmakia – medicine from a pharmacy. Few in the church have bothered to heed this warning instead almost making antidepressants the new sacrament! Missionaries are forced to go home if they refuse to take them for the normal homesickness all of us went through on our missions. And then we wonder why such insane decisions like removing such a godly man as Mel Fish happens in the Church…

    Look at the Jodi Arias case and the great publicity that gave the Church! Do you know how many LDS singles are on these drugs?

    Look at the new book out by an LDS attorney who graduated from BYU and teaches a Sunday School class while her book is about her being a psychopath! She talks openly about wanting to kill people for little reason and says the LDS church is a perfect place for psychopaths! Yet Mel Fish is the one being excommunicated?!

    Ironically the first person to get a copy of my book on the deadly effects of antidepressants, Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? Our Serotonin Nightmare, was Hugh Nibley. Yet look at Hugh Nibley’s daugther and son-in-law who started on antidepressants when they gave birth to a Down’s Syndrome child. Soon they both decided they were gay and separated. The daughter even wrote a book about brother Nibley sexually abusing her throughout her childhood! Then she kidnapped him as he was in his last days of life to force him to admit what he did to her!!!!!

    Do you know how much of this insanity there is in the Church today? Do you really know?! If you did you would not wonder how Mel Fish or many other good men are losing their membership through these leaders whose minds have been altered by drugs. I do not know if this is the case in Mel Fish’s excommunication, but considering the widespread use of these drugs in the church the odds are very high that this is indeed the case!

  33. Sorry I haven’t read any of the other comments, but when I joined the church in 2006 as an 18 year old, I was still dealing with the PTSD from being molested and a few other things. My mother drove me from California to Utah to see Melvin C. Fish. I can honestly say that because of Melvin C. Fish and the 12 hour car ride to Cedar City my life has been changed. I I feel like because of Melvin C. Fish I was able to continue my progression to feel the way a man should, and be 100% healed from what happened, and be a normal happy latter-day saint. He didn’t use his priesthood, and he didn’t ask for a dime. I’m pretty heart-broken to find out of his ex-communication. He changed my life.

    1. Hi Austin,

      Thanks you for sharing your story. I think you’ll be pleased to know Mel called me the other day to tell me he is meeting with a member of the area presidency. He is hopeful this will begin the reconciliation process. Previous efforts to appeal to General Authorities were rebuffed, and very rudely I might add. All this is according to Mel. I continue to pray for him and his family that he may have he wish of his heart and be baptized before his time on this earth is over. He’s such a good man.


  34. I sometimes wonder if members who don’t believe in “evil spirits” are reading from the same scriptures or attending the same temple sessions that I am??? Seriously, isn’t possession exactly what Satan threatens to all those who don’t fully keep their promises to God?
    Did Jesus cast out evil spirits, or did he not?
    Did he tell his disciples that they would do likewise, or did he not?
    Did Joseph Smith also teach of spirits around us or did he not?
    I think it quite simple when you add it all up, with what we have been taught in the church about eternity and this life and how it is associated with spirits and the spirit realm.
    As Dr Fish has found out some are those spirits lived previously and are caught in Limbo afraid to go towards the light for fear of the retribution which awaits them, or simple lack of direction. They can also learn of Christ and be redeemed. Isn’t this why we do work for the dead?
    It may be contrary to “mainstream” psychiatry, mostly because they don’t believe in God (or Satan for that matter), but as God fearing Christians we should certainly believe in these things and seek to understand them as God intended.
    I appreciated Ann’s comments above and suggest that saints would fair far better by paying a visit to Dr Fish and get some real healing through repentance, forgiveness and instructing spirits that have traped themselves to this realm to go towards the light, than to their current psyco-therapist for more mind altering drugs!

    1. Tiffany it doesn’t matter what people like Joseph Smith or Brigham Young said. These were con-men. These were pedophiles. Wake up. You are alone on this floating rock. It’s tough, but the truth is not so easy. Haha can you imagine a God that requires secret names and handshakes to enter his kingdom.?? Come on.

      It is Satan that you follow in the LDS church.

  35. Many years ago, 24 to be exact, three six year olds were molested by a neighbor and one was my daughter. My daughter was frightened to say anything because this man’s daughter of the same age had told each of them that if they said anything to parents or police they would be removed from their homes and have to live with strangers. This man also threatened the mother of one of the girls by walking right into her house one day and telling her not to talk to authorities. He is a large man, a lot like a bully.
    The three involved couples, parents of the children abused were asked to come and talk to the Bishop one evening. What we didn’t know was that we all came at different times and didn’t see each other. When we entered the office, it wasn’t just the Bishop, his counselors and executive secretary were there too. I thought how strange this was. We were asked what we knew about the abuse from our daughter, and after that the Bishop told us that this ‘brother’ told him these girls made up the story. He believed him. And proceeded to tell us that if we talked to any one about this night and he found out about it we’d be excommunicated. My wife and I walked out in stunned disbelief of what had just happened.
    We had just been abused ourselves and threatened from talking to anyone including police. Isn’t that what abusers do to their victims. Not allow you to speak, frighten you to silence. (these three girls were a mess for years after that)

    I suppose that is how I understand an abusive court. There is no attempt to follow the rules or attempt to work with you.

    If there is no love, Christ was not there.

    And has been said “those who judge unrighteously will be judged themselves in like manner” something like that. Not much consolation for the here and now.

    Mel Fish never used his priesthood in helping spirits go to the light. He is a teacher. I would not be surprised that Jesus coached him on these techniques himself, because they work so well. How else would you explain it. Mel is also well versed in the scriptures, he’s read all the standard works more that 50 times. He loves them, duh. No one loves his fellow brothers and sisters than Mel and Gwena.

    Brigham Young taught (JD6:73-4) “There are myriads of disembodied evil spirits – those who have long ago laid down their bodies here and in the regions round about, among and around us; and they are trying to make us and our children sick, and are trying to destroy us and to tempt us to evil. They will try every possible means they are masters of deception to draw us aside from the path of righteousness”
    (JD4:133) “There are millions and millions of spirits in these valleys, both good and evil. We are surrounded with more evil spirits than good ones, because more wicked than good men have died here…The spirits of the just and unjust are here. The spirits that were cast down out of heaven, which you know are recorded to have been one-third part, were thrust down to this earth, and have been here all the time, with Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, at their head.

    Brigham Young spoke at one of his counselors, Jedediah Grant’s, funeral. “Do you think that brother Jedediah can do more good (in the spirit world) than he could here? When he was here the devils had power over his flesh, he warred with them and fought them, and said that they were around him by millions, and he fought them until he overcame them. So it is with you and I. 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 fever, 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…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.”

    How can we BIND SATAN if we don’t know how he can be defeated.
    We’re moving rapidly toward the millenial era and we must have Christ written on our hearts. Dr. Fish has been facilitating many to do just that, defeat Satan and become more Christ-like.

    just my two bits.

    1. I agree with what you have written here regarding evil spirits, JD. Thank you for sharing your experience and other thoughts. It gives me hope that we are close to that day when Satan truly will be bound.

  36. The most important decision and wisest decision I have ever made was the decision to leave the Mormon church. Why? Because it is a church built and established on lies. There was no first vision. There were no ancient people that were visited by Christ. Joseph Smith was a con-man and not a very good one. Anyone that is truely seeking the truth can see plainly that the LDS church is just an institution run by men. And these men are just continuing the false teachings as they were taught as kids.

    Don’t try to change the church. Christ is not there. In fact, not only is Christ not there bit Satan is at the helm. You have a brain. Use it. Get out of the insanity.

  37. If the church were built on lies & con how did Joe Smith just happen to get so many things right, i.e., the nature of God, man’s relationship to God, the pre-mortal existence, vicarious work for the dead, even new names, etc is an ancient teaching carried over in the Catholic church. And how does Kimball account for the Book of Mormon, it’s ancient language, and it’s power to transform lives? No the Church is true, but as in history not all men (leaders) have been true to the spirit. I met Mel 3 months ago and attended a class of his in SLC. I’m shocked that this has happened. I think the issue is getting paid for spiritual work. That is my understanding of Priestcraft, and I bet what they got him on. Although as a military Chaplain I got paid for such – interesting. Yes I think Mel should appeal, and let more loving heads prevail.

    1. Hi David. I spoke with Gwena today. They continue to express gratitude for this particular post and “all the good it has done.” In other words, they have received more calls, emails and letters from people asking if they can help them with some long-standing problem that turns out to be related to unclean spirits. Taking offense is the number one way people attract negative energy into their lives. Another way is being ungrateful. I expressed my love for Gwena, told her I knew the Lord loved them and told them I was continually praying that their family would be blessed for all the good they are doing. I am grateful to have been able to be a part of something that I hope results in Mel having his membership eventually restored. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

  38. I just spoke with Mel again today. Even though I’m trained on how to detect and remove dark spirits, I had been unsuccessful in this case. He helped me. I just wanted to publically acknowledge his kindness. Thank you Mel for being a true healer and a servant of the master.

  39. From someone who sent this directly in an email, I include the following. I asked if I could add it to the comments here:


    I am a member of the church, active, and believe that the church is the
    most firm foundation that I have found to come closer to Christ and live
    a very peaceful life.

    I wanted to say that the church excommunicates people for priest craft
    many reasons, almost all of which are political, and unfounded in what

    Christ himself said -Luke 9:49-50
    49 ¶And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

    It is saddening to me when we have to consider the censorship of good
    that is brought about by the church. It makes me sad and prepares me for the great sifting which will occur.

    Just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

    Vartan Ouzounian

  40. Tim – Thank you for this post. It has helped me sort out many questions I have had recently about healing and evil. I will continue to learn more about Mel Fish based on this post and the discussion following it. I have felt peace while reading many of the comments, and I am beginning to have hope about what I never imagined could be hopeful before reading this.

  41. I knew Mel many years ago and spent many evenings with him as we discussed spiritual things and how the Saviors loves us and heals us. I saw Mel teach my children to remove these tail-gating spirits who have hitched rides on our bodies. Mel is as good a man as they come.

    I would say this, if this is an a unjust ex’ing do you think the Lord recognizes it? I don’t think so and I don’t think Mel has thing in the world to worry about. There will be a day of reckoning one day and all things will made whole.

    I lived in the Cedar City area fora number of years. I had my own membership removed without request and without a high counsel hearing/court. My home teacher was a bishop and stake presidency counselor. Not one time did either of these men ever ask me questions concerning anything that might be bothering me enough to right a letter of inquiry to the Stake President. I was simply informed my name was being removed unless I objected.

    All things being fair, I believe if they had have held a court my attitude at the time would not have fared well for me and I would have been ex’ed anyway.

    I have since been re-baptized but I have not had my priesthood blessings restored. I doubt I ever will. At least not in this life. I take solace in the fact there is a kind and loving Father and Son who judges us according to the intents of our hearts.

    The one thing I think we tend to forget or lose sight of is this is the Lords church and He leads it along as He will. And the people get pretty much just what they deserve or want. I don’t think most of them really want what the Lord wants. They like the warm fuzzy of being a member of the church and that is sufficient for many if not most of them.

    That is not to say there are not many really good folks in the church, doing the best they know how to do, but putting too much “faith in the arm of flesh” and not being lead by the Holy Spirit, needing to be commanded in all things, and begrudgingly being obedient to the command, if obedient at all.

    Those who move ahead of the pack, and it becomes apparent when they fail to hide their talent under bucket, have to be reigned in before they make too many waves for the timid and complacent.

    It is interesting, one post said the “12? are not in total agreement on anything. I suspect not, but yet, they are suppose to be before they do anything. I suspect there is a lot “back scratching” going on up there in SLC for each one to get their turn at having things “I did it my way.”

    In the end, as stated before, I think the membership is getting pretty much what they/we are worthy of an no more.

    I am grateful to Tim for this post and all the comments made here, although a few were made from the “dark side”. The spirit of contention being quit evident.

    It is good to see one speak out, even cautiously, about in justices when they see them.

    Words. It is not that goes in the mouth, but what comes out which defilath man. Words. How they reveal the intent of the soul.

    1. rockwaterman1

      Haggard Ryder,
      I’m intrigued by your tale of local leaders simply deciding you weren’t wanted and removing your name without even a hearing. If you’re on facebook, I would like to hear more about this. Please PM me there. You’ll find me under the name Alan Rock Waterman

  42. I have not had the chance to read through all of the replies on this subject, but I did come across a scripture today which applies. Mark 9:38-41 “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”

  43. Priestcraft comes in all shapes and sizes. Those who have embraced this practice do so with either a love for money or the praises and honors of men. See 2 Ni. 26:29
    While many practice priestcraft without any disciplinary action taken against them, they still cut themselves off and unite themselves to that great and abominable church see 1 Ni13, 5-9. It was priestcraft and selling the savior for silver and gold then ultimately destroyed a perfect society. Are we allowing the same thing to happen to us today?

  44. I visited with Mel in the 90’s. He was kind and sincere. He didn’t charge payment for treating me, but said if I wanted to give him anything, he would use it toward his grandson’s mission. I gave him a check in the three figures. Unfortunately, despite his confidence that it would, his treatment had absolutely no effect on my condition.

  45. That picture at the top is just how I remember them when I knew them—two beautiful people. They have no reason to remember me, but I have reason to remember them. They were kind, thoughtful and just plain good and humble people. I didn’t know about any books at the time, and there may have been none (this was in the 1980s somewhere). If I then knew he was any kind of a doctor, I have since forgotten. But I do remember how special they were.

  46. I´m condident that Melvin undestands the gospel much better than most priesthood leaders. Furthermore I think that he is guided by the Holy Spirit much more than all of the priesthood leaders
    wo were members of the disciplinary councils. Many of my friends and family menbers are blessed through his work.

  47. Anne Vanderlaan

    http://spiritrelease.org has many who do what is called Spirit Release Therapy and is condoned in the UK. They charge a fee to do this kind of work. There are many who are also calling this kind of work negative energy as well. All of these people charge money. Why is it so hard for some to believe in this kind of work? In Brazil they have spirit hospitals for those with issues. Is it better just to give a person a pill to make the voices go away or someone like Dr. Fish who ushers these spirits away?

  48. Thanks for the entertainment everyone. May I say, as lovingly as possible, “You people are nuts!”. Sometimes, as in times like this, I have a hard time believing I belong to the same species … but maybe I have a demon or two attached to me, right?

    Ultimately, while an entertaining view into alternate realities, reading stuff like this just makes me sad for the human race, and our screwed up grasp on reality. Hopefully with enough promotion of skepticism and critical thinking in education we can evolve away from this mode of thinking, or at least counter our bad brain wiring.

    All of the “results” claimed within these comments can be explained via cognitive science, i.e. working within a person’s belief system to change their narrative.

    1. Ron Hill. You obviously have no other purpose for being in here than to cause trouble. Call names. Yeah, that’s the ticket. You must not know how ridiculous that makes you look. But then, I suppose you’re some kind of mole, although for whom I can’t imagine. However, that would explain the superior airs you exhibit, lifting yourself up as a judge over all the people commenting on this post, or perhaps all the people in the world, for that matter. In that, you and James Randi have a lot in common: you feed out of the same trough of inanity.

  49. I have always been able to feel evil spirits and also hear the spirit. I have dreams in which deceased individuals come to tell me their information for baptism and I have also woken up to see their beautiful spirits leave. My deceased mother has come to me to tell me important information. My husband and all of my children can feel spirits, have dreams, and also have been victims of evil spirits trying to harm us. We ha’ve had personal revelation that many evil spirits are assigned to us and even some of their assignments. I believe we were given this ‘gift’ because we have a great work to do. I have had dreams of walking with Jesus after his second coming. I have been saved from death by a beautiful angel as a child. My husband has been saved by his deceased grandfather by yelling to him and it saved him and others from a horrible accident on the freeway. I have many other stories I could tell from my own experiences and my immediate family about good and evil spirits. Several years ago I was almost dying and no medication worked. After seeing many doctors and being in the hospital nothing worked. I was at deaths door for a month. I usually ask for blessings fairly quickly because they really work. I finally got one and in the blessing it said for the evil spirit to leave me. Immediately I felt it lift and I healed quickly afterwards. I have had personal revelation since about evil spirits making me sick. I believe that evil spirits follow and plague us as we struggle to fulfill our missions in life. I have told stories of evil and good, seeing angels, and fighting evil spirits to other members to see what they’ve experienced and to find someone who’s gone through similar incidents and all but one person looked at me with vacant eyes and said they’ve never even heard of anything like that happening. The one person who understood said they were plagued by evil spirits once and if this is happening to me then I must have a great work to do. I am the first person to be baptized in my family and have lots of genealogy work to finish. My daughter and I have been told if we do what’s right well be here through the millennium to finish the work. I can ask a question of God and get an immediate answer yes or no by the spirit. After all of this I am reluctant to set foot into my church. I was persecuted by a new bishop who ‘didn’t believe’ in my illnesses. I am disabled to the point where I can’t stand or walk long. I have several chronic pain issues and am in the hospital a lot. I have a heart problem and just regular walking makes my heart beat as if I had run several miles is what the cardiologist told me. I was under much financial strain due to my illnesses and doctor bills. I reached out to the church for help and they got mad at me and said get a job. I told them I was bedridden but they didn’t believe me. Told me if I didn’t want my kids to starve I needed to drag myself to church and also clean it. I told them while I was so sick this would be terribly difficult and they didn’t care. I was upset because I know a lot of people who received help from the church with helpful and glad attitudes and they weren’t half as sick as I. The bishop was always angry with me and even pointed to the chapel while we were having a meeting and told me every single person in there were better people than me. He never prayed before we started a meeting. He never offered me a blessing. They would ask me disinterested how I was. After telling them how bad I was they never once would ask if they could give me a blessing. I know they didn’t pray about me and my family because if they did they wouldn’t treat us like that. I’d get upset and ask why they didn’t even offer me a blessing blessing. They said they’d write in our record for the church to never help me if I didn’t get out of bed and get a job. I couldn’t even walk! We never went back. I had to stop my medications because we couldn’t afford them. We’ve had no money for food and my children a d I have had to dig in dumpsters to eat. I know for a fact evil spirits are at work and made them not help us. I know that they deliberately made it hard for me to set foot in church. I know they are not perfect but it was uncalled for. I feel like the church has forsaken me and threw me away. I feel for this man and others who arent understood. I think there is a great effort to hurt and drive away righteous members by evil spirits. I’m tired of feeling alone and persecuted when I’ve done nothing wrong except be sick. I will always know the church is true and they won’t make me go off my life’s mission. I’ll wait until I move and get a new bishop who is more in tune with the spirit.

    1. Those of us who are called to do great things must pass through great tribulation. Stay strong. Your trials are preparing you for great service in the name of our Lord.

  50. This comment is late coming to the discussion, but I wanted to add my impressions about Mel and Gwena Fish. They were able to help with a problem I was having for which I am very grateful. Far more helpful than any other counseling session I’ve had in my life, and infinitely more helpful than counseling I’ve had with LDS social services. They radiate love. Their phone rings off the hook and they seem tireless in their efforts to love and serve. They probably get very little remuneration since they don’t charge a set fee but rather only accept donations from those who can afford it. It wouldn’t be heaven if those two weren’t there.

  51. Tim, thank you for your post about Mel Fish. He isn’t the only good man excommunicated for having the ability to think outside of the spiritual box. Max Skousen was excommunicated twice, I believe, although I believe he eventually recanted one last time so he could be a member of the Church.

    I haven’t read any of Mel’s books, as I wasn’t aware he had written any, but I have read the first of a series four Skousen books and found it the most important book I have read outside of the Book of Mormon and the writings of the early latter-day prophets.

    One of the last things Joseph Smith said before he was murdered was to seek after the mysteries, exactly the opposite of what we’re told today. So, quite naturally, those who heed Brother Joseph’s words are excommunicated, if what they learn, they teach or write a book about.

    Yes, the Church is true and God has given us the best men available to serve at its head. However, it is a corporate church after all, and it needs leaders who can carry on at that level of leadership. Most people I know couldn’t lead at that level; I certainly couldn’t.

    The problem with this is that our leaders are no longer in touch with the average Joe/Jane membership. I think they only hear about the extremes, such as Mel and Max. There are just too many members.

    I could be wrong, but have you ever noticed how barricaded from the people the GAs are at general conference time? Not only is there a physical wall that separates them from the people, they never come down to meet the people who have come to hear them. Instead, they shake each others’ hands, pat each other on their backs and walk out without even a glance at the congregation.

    Sorry, that was just one of my pet peeves. This was intended to be about Mel, but it kind of got away. Anyway, thanks for the post of so long ago, which is still garnering interest, judging from some of the comment dates I saw.

  52. I first came across “healing the inner self” as a teenager a couple years after the book came out. It changed my life. With the tools he presented I was able to discover and release myself of two very powerful evil spirits that we’re doing a splendid job reeking havoc in my life. Evil is real. Evil spirits are real. I commend Mel with eternal gratitude for teaching the truth and fighting against evil head on and ever through Jesus Christ in a way most are terrified of.

  53. Pingback: Evil Spirits in Psychotherapy | Latter-day Commentary – Last Days – Signs of the Times

  54. Barbara Neville

    Mel Fish has died. Funeral in Bluffdale, Saturday, 2 February, 2019.
    Rest In Peace, Mel Fish!

  55. He was the kindest most faith promoting man. I am sure his funeral will be full of loving people.

  56. Pingback: Mike Stroud Has Been Excommunicated – Latter-day Commentary – Last Days – Signs of the Times

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