The Ghostly Spectrum

June 4, 2007

by Carrie Ann

So as a missionary in Scotland, I heard a lot of ghost stories. Within seconds of beginning to teach the first discussion, the conversation would go something like this:

Missionary: “So we believe in God who is our Father in Heaven, in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost…”

Investigator: “I’ve seen a ghost.”

Missionary: (weary pause) “Oh really? We’re not talking about that kind of gho…”

Investigator: “ Yeah, once when I was at my mate’s house it was really late at night and…” (ghost story continues as missionaries nod politely until they can get a word in edge-wise)

Even if we used the words “Holy Spirit” instead of “Holy Ghost” we would still get a ghost story 97% of the time. A strange, and strangely consistent phenomenon, to say the least.

As Mormons, we believe the Spirit World is all around us. Some people have a spiritual gift to see things beyond the veil, not all the time, or whenever they want, but when the Lord sees fit to show them. I’ve been told that one of the inherent spiritual gifts of the tribe of Manasseh is to see things beyond this realm (think of sightings of the Virgin of Guadeloupe et al). But I think that gift can see good/true things as well as counterfeit things.

I have a ghost theory myself, not a story, a THEORY. And it must be said, this is Carrie Ann doctrine NOT Church doctrine:

We are taught that 1/3 of the hosts of Heaven, that’s 1/3 of all the spirits Heavenly Father EVER created, were cast out with Lucifer as a result of their rebellion. There was a mighty “war” fought for these spirits. There was a lot of convincing and debating going on for both sides. Heavenly Father wanted to keep as many souls as He could, and Lucifer wanted to take as many as he could with him to spite his father and to thwart the Plan. As you can imagine, there were probably a lot of fence sitters.

It’s important to realize that while in this pre-mortal, pre-earth spiritual existence with our Father we had the chance to learn and grow, or not. We were not all on a level playing field, if you will. As we learn from Abraham and Moses some spirits were mightier and more faithful than others, hence some spirits were quick to follow Lucifer, others staunch supporters of Jesus and His plan, and yet others who were somewhere in the middle not sure what to think. I’m sure there were some lukewarm spirits who were convinced to go with Lucifer who were not exactly fully converted to his diabolical plan, and vice versa.

So we have this spectrum of believers on both sides ranging from zealots to fence sitters.
Everyone who chose Christ’s plan got a body and was born or will be born to live out an earthly existence and to progress further in the Plan. Everyone who chose Lucifer’s plan will never receive a body, and things will eventually end poorly for them (see Revelations), they have been stopped in their progression, damned, but they will try and pull as many of us down with them as possible.

God’s forces are extremely organized: the Church lead by a prophet, apostles, 70’s, et cetera all the way down to nursery teacher (that’s not the lowest calling, I’m just trying to say we’re an organized bunch). Why wouldn’t Lucifer’s force of spirits be just as organized? I think C.S. Lewis came very close to revealing the “truth” of Lucifer’s scheme in “The Screwtape Letters”.

Now there may be many mortals who were spiritual fence-sitters and who got bodies and live here and never accept the truth, even when they hear it. They are just “not into” the whole plan of salvation. The pleasures and vices of mortal life are enough for them, and they care little for eternal progression. There is evidence of this all around us.

So what of those spiritual fence sitters who were convinced to follow Lucifer, but who are not all that committed to his plan either? I imagine there are many spirits who regret their decision to the extreme, but it was their choice and they made it and they are stuck with it. They want nothing more than to experience the joys of mortality and of having a physical body. They hang around us mortals just “dying” for the chance to be like us. I think they are drawn to the most innocent human forms: children and the elderly. They are seen by, and take the form of, humans in our most pure states or at least in the states in which we are the closest to heaven. Maybe they “haunt” places wishing it were their own. I imagine that they do not experience time the way we do which why some places seem “eternally” haunted or at least very creepy.

Then again, I believe some spirits are malevolent. They want to scare us, to intimidate us, to “hate on us” for having what they cannot have. And I believe some places retain a spiritual remnant of what took place there; like how some places just feel holy (the Sacred Grove in NY) and some places just feel dark (the cenote at Chichen Itza).

So that’s my theory, that there is a spectrum of believers on both sides, and they act accordingly. But I want to know is, was Hitler a fence sitter who should have gone with the other side but who got convinced to come with us? Who was responsible for that?



  1. I’m sure Hitler was in cahoots from the beginning. Something like, “Hey, I’ll be the one that kills lots of people, and that will contribute greatly to your cause!” So he got to have a body and drink wine and stuff, even though he was a bad seed–I bet he thought it was a pretty sweet deal…until his “retirement” (a.k.a. eternal damnation).

  2. I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits. Then again, I hardly believe in the Church, anymore.

  3. I don’t like the theory much, CA, in part because the concept of spiritual fence sitters has been used in the past to justify all sorts of nonsense (the ban on the priesthood being the best example). I also don’t know how I feel about the “spectrum of pre-mortal belief” idea. Certainly, we could sin pre-mortally (the 1/3 did), but I assume that it is the “calling it night with the noon-sun visible” type of sinning (the denial of the Holy Ghost kind). I don’t think our everyday sinning is comparable. So, I think that everyone alive was equally valient and everyone who isn’t going to be alive was equally wicked.

    I know this plays havoc with Abraham, but I am cool with that.

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