2016-06-30

Dr. Graves requested that we take our seats so we could get started on the second major phase of the deliverance, the identification phase, which involved ascertaining the precise names, points of entry, and purposes of all of Jean-Guy's indwelling demons. He said that we had already gotten a good start on this prior to the break and that he anticipated a pretty smooth ride.

Just as calmly as before, without the least hint of theatrics, Dr. Graves asked the demons individually whom they served, how they had infiltrated Jean-Guy, and what their intentions were.

Jean-Guy sat motionless, eyes shut tightly, his face wrapped in a grimace of concentration. After fifteen minutes of question and response, Dr. Graves broke off the interrogation and said that Jean-Guy was afflicted by four separate demons. One of these was an ancestral spirit that had entered Jean-Guy before he was born through a curse placed on him by his paternal grandfather. The others had gained entry through Jean-Guy's intermittent anger, laziness, and frustration, his sexual vanity, and his jealousy of his wife's superior course grades.

Dr. Graves told Jean-Guy that it was now time for him to renounce his indwelling demons and to ask Jesus Christ to reclaim those areas of his life that had been taken over by them. "By the authority of Jesus Christ, I command you to come to attention," Dr. Graves said to the demons. Then he instructed Jean-Guy to renounce each individual demon and command them "in the name of Jesus Christ to depart his life and never return."

This accomplished, Dr. Graves asked the spirits individually whether they had "any grounds for staying in Jean-Guy." Each spirit answered no. He then said to Jean-Guy, "Do you think that was the full complement? Did we miss any?"

"I think we got them all," Jean-Guy said.

Dr. Graves checked that the door was locked and pulled the drapes shut on the basement room's lone window. He said that the time had arrived to expel Jean-Guy's demons once and for all.

"By the authority of Jesus Christ, I cast you out," he said in a loud and forceful voice to each demon by name. "By the authority of Jesus Christ, I cast you into the abyss. I expel you."

He asked Jean-Guy how he felt. Jean-Guy said that he felt fine and that he'd had a vision of the demons leaving him.

The actual deliverance was now concluded, but Dr. Graves still had stern words of advice for Jean-Guy.

Okay, Jean-Guy, he said, these demons are now expelled. They are out of your life. They no longer have grounds for infesting you. But your attitudes of anger and resentment and vanity are long-standing. They have become habitual. So you still have a lot of work to do. You could easily fall back into these habitual patterns of behavior. But this wouldn't be the work of evil spirits; it would be sinful habit. Remember that Satan and his demons are masters of the lie. If you find yourself falling back into this rut, you may be tempted by Satan to believe that the demons weren't expelled tonight and that you're still enslaved to them. But this would be a satanic deception. You have been freed, but now you have to work on this habitual behavior. You need the help of a supportive Christian community and a regular prayer group. It could take a long while.

Was Jean-Guy demonized? Needless to say, I'm not able to answer this definitively. From my limited perspective, however, there seemed nothing much wrong with him. Throughout the course of the evening he struck me as alert and charming and self-confident. The mixture of petty resentments that he and Sheila were complaining of seemed nothing more than the stuff of ordinary adjustment. In the space of less than two years Jean-Guy had undergone a religious conversion, gotten married, and enrolled in a faraway seminary, where he was taking courses in his second language. It's quite possible that he needed some psychological fine-tuning, but why on earth bring demons into the equation?

These reservations aside, the deliverance itself was an impressively civilized affair. Dr. Graves-cool, unflappable, a seasoned pro-ran things very much like a college seminar, occasionally pausing to field questions and jot notes on a legal pad. Even if demons weren't involved, there's a good chance Jean-Guy benefited from undergoing the procedure. In psychodynamic terms the deliverance may have been a galvanizing event, helping him clarify some of his personal anxieties and confusions and prodding him into more constructive behavior.

Afterward Dr. Graves told me that he's been conducting weekly deliverance sessions at the seminary for several years, but lately he's been having trouble keeping up with the demand.

"I've got a big backlog," he said. "I might have to go to twice a week for a while just to catch up. This is something that a lot of our students really want."