Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Alfred Douglas Young - Part 2 Evil Spirits

[This is a continuation of the Autobiography of Alfred Douglas Young. Written from his recollections in 1888. with some annotations added by me in square brackets]

Two days after we arrived among our friends near Springfield in [Robertson] County about 25 miles north of the city of [N]ashville. We were hospitably received by a Mrs. [Sarah] Dorris who was my aunt. She had heard something about the Saints from a brother [Coleman Boren] of hers who had joined the Church. She invited us to preach which we did the following evening at her house.

We had quite a large congregation. I was put forward to preach and in doing so, stood a short distance from and facing my brother William, Elder [Daniel] Hunt, Mrs. Dorris and a daughter [Nancy Dorris] about 18 years old. They were sitting near the corner of the fire. The room was large and of hewn logs, with a large fireplace, characteristic of those primitive days.

While talking, I suddenly felt a powerful evil presence come into the room and from my former experience and the impression I received from the spirit of God, I was aware that an evil spirit of great power had entered. I lost power to proceed further with my discourse and requested one of the brethren to continue the subject. Elder Hunt took my place to preach and I occupied his seat by the side of my Brother William.

Elder Hunt had spoken but a few words when the daughter of Mrs. Dorris was seized with terrible convulsions and in her agony fell towards the fire. Mrs. Dorris seized her as she fell and turned her away from the fire, and her head came between myself and Brother William.

We readily understood through the spirit that she was possessed of a devil. My brother William suggested that we lay hands on her. He rebuked the evil spirit in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and bid it depart from her.

With one convulsive struggle, the young woman beat the floor with her head and feet, when she arose and commenced praising God. Immediately on her being released from the power of the evil spirit, I felt as if I held a great weight in my hands, and without knowing how I arrived there, I was standing in the door of the house which was near the other end of the room, and I pitched the weight that was in my hands, out of the door.

The evil spirit came upon me with such power that it seemed as though my body would be crushed into the earth and as if he would devour me at once. I rebuked him in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and bade him depart and return no more. He immediately left my presence and I neither saw nor felt him again.

Mrs. Dorris said nothing about the previous condition of her daughter until the events just narrated had taken place. She stated that she saw me move to the door after the evil spirit went out of her daughter over the heads of the congregation. She was the only person in the house who professed to see how I got there.

Concerning her daughter, she stated that some two years previous to our arrival, she attended a Methodist camp meeting, taking her daughter with her. That there occurred a religious excitement in which her daughter participated, that in the excitement, she had paraxisms [paroxysms] in which she would become exhausted and swoon away. This condition in those days among the Methodists was considered a manifestation of the power of God for the conversion of sinners. The Methodists worked over her for several days without her recovering. She finally took her daughter from them and returned home. From that time, she had been subject to these fits, not very frequently, but still they had to exercise a constant care over her for fear she might fall into the fire or other places where she might be injured.

Before our arrival, when she came out of her fits she was disposed for a time to injure anyone that might be around her but as has been stated this time, she arose to her feet and commenced praising God. She ran to me, threw her arms around my neck and praised God for her deliverance.

Mrs. Dorris was out of health with a disease that had afflicted her for twenty years. She wished us to lay hands upon her. We did so that evening. The following day, she said she had not been so well for twenty years. We baptized her daughter and continued our journey to Smith County which was more particularly our destination.

[Note that area of Smith County that was their particular destination was probably in today's Putnam County.]

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