What are the buffetings of Satan?

Yesterday I asked the question, Does Satan Torment the Wicked in the Spirit Prison? Today after doing some research I feel that I have found the answer. Yes, the wicked who refuse to repent in mortality or in the spirit world, are subject to and tormented by the devil while they await their resurrection in the spirit prison. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, and Spencer W. Kimball have taught this. And apparently, being turned over to the buffetings of Satan is something that can happen right here in mortality too. This is especially true for one who apostatizes from the Church, commits adultery against temple marriage vows, or turns away from the Lord after he has had his calling and election made sure.

I especially found Alma 40:11-14 helpful. But I also discovered that Joseph Fielding Smith answered the question in his Answers to Gospel Questions. There he wrote:

Question: “Does the devil have power or influence to tempt the departed spirits in the world of spirits?”Answer: Permit me to quote to you a few passages from the Doctrine and Covenants and the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

And he who breaketh it shall lose his office and standing in the Church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption. (D&C 78:12)

And the soul that sins against this covenant, and hardeneth his heart against it, shall be dealt with according to the laws of my church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption. (D&C 82:21)

Inasmuch as ye are cut off for transgression, ye cannot escape the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption. (D&C 104:9)

. . . but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God. (D&C 132:26)

The spirit of Elijah was manifest in the days of the apostles, in delivering certain ones to the buffetings of Satan, that they might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. They were sealed by the spirit of Elijah unto the damnation of hell until the day of the Lord, or revelation of Jesus Christ. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 228.)


If they are turned over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption, or when Christ shall be revealed, then, it seems to me, they must be subject to Satan, and he would have power to tempt them. However, let it be remembered that men will answer for their own sins committed in this mortal life. Perhaps the power of Satan to persuade them may be limited in that spirit world, but it is a reasonable thought to think that they have their agency, and that he will endeavor to entice them to follow him, for he must exert great power over them when they are subject to his jurisdiction.

There is also an excellent entry in Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie on the topic, “Buffetings of Satan.” In it he cites his scriptural sources. Among other things, McConkie states:

“To be turned over to the buffetings of Satan is to be given into his hands; it is to be turned over to him with all the protective power of the priesthood, of righteousness and of godliness removed, so that Lucifer is free to torment, persecute, and afflict such a person without let or hindrance. When the bars are down, the cuffs and curses of Satan, both in this world and in the world to come, bring indescribable anguish typified by burning fire and brimstone. The damned in hell so suffer.”

We know that the telestial kingdom is the final inheritance of the unrepentant, and that the telestial kingdom is marvelously better than living in mortality. But the unrepentant wicked needs to remember that he will spend over a thousand years suffering the devilish torments of hell before he is resurrected to a kingdom of glory.

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