LDS: Where exactly did the belief that Satan has an abnormal amount of domain over water begin?

As most of the novel doctrines of the LDS religion were revealed to prophets AFTER they experienced something that provoked them questioning something, what happened to Joseph Smith that provoked him to inquire of the Lord as to Satan's dominion over water?


Wyo: Thats it though! I've been taught this a lot growing up, and I even remember being couseled as a missionary to stay away from water.

I'm now looking for some substantiation either by scripture or something written by one of the general authorities.

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'd suggest reading D&C 61. I think that's what you're looking for.

  • Ender
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    This is mormon folklore and no doctrine.

    I think it came from the idea that because Missionaries can't swim on thier missions coupled with some misinterpreted verses from D&C 61, this story has been successfully propagated.

    We have missionaries all over Europe, Mexico, California, Latin America, Australia, Hawaii, and South East Asia. Beaches generally include scantily clad, sometimes topless, women. Not the place you want Mormon missionaries hanging out when they're trying to keep their "eye single to the glory of God" for two years.

    Secondly, missionaries do dumb things and get hurt. This is the same reason they're not allowed to play full court basketball, tackle football, water ski, snow ski, and in some cases soccer. It's not because Satan has power over those things, but rather Missionaries run on a wet pool deck or try a back flip off a high dive and get hurt. This takes two missionaries away from the work (as they have to be together all the time) that they're doing, increases medical bills, insurance claims, and insurance premiums.

    As for D&C 61, not once is the word "Satan" used. Water has facilitated death and destruction in many ways. Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami in Thailand, heck, there's even a US Navy ship called a "destroyer".

    That revelation was given to Joseph on the bank of the Missouri river. Dangers were experienced on that river. It was a specific warning to them at that time and not a general proclamation about Satan and water.

    This can be studied more, however, it does not tell us that satan rules the water. If that were true, we'd have a hard time explaining why 70% of our bodies are water and why we drink water for the sacrament, and are still allowed to swim, water ski, and snow ski (....after all, snow is just frozen water). It doesn't add up.

    On my mission, most of the transfers were done via boat. We traveled fairly regularly on them. Many don't consider swimming to be an activity appropriate for the sabath day. They don't swim for the same reason they don't go play football on sunday.

    I'm certain that there are LDS people who will disagree with me on this. I've argued with some over it before. They're never able to show me that "the destroyer" and Satan are the same thing. Afterall, the Lord sent the destroying angel to Egypt as one of the plagues and nearly all would concede that the "destroyer" in that instance wasn't Satan.

    Last of all, if this were true, wouldn't Satan kill any of us when we were at a low and unrepentant time in our lives if he had that power given the opportunity to do so? Most of us go to the beach, water skiing, snow skiing, tubing, pools, or hot tubs on some sort of regular basis, and I just don't see that occuring.

  • 1 decade ago

    The reference to D.&C. 61 is correct.

    Here is some background on when the revelation that makes up D.&C. 61 was recieved:

    "On the 9th, in company with ten Elders, I (Joseph Smith) left Independence landing for Kirtland. We started down the river in canoes, and went the first day as far as Fort Osage, where we had an excellent wild turkey for supper. Nothing very important occurred till the third day, when many of the dangers so common upon the western waters, manifested themselves; and after we had encamped upon the bank of the river, at McIlwaine's Bend, Brother Phelps, in open vision by daylight, saw the destroyer in his most horrible power, ride upon the face of the waters; others heard the noice, but saw not the vision.

    The next morning after prayer, I recieved the following (then comes the revelation known as D.&C. 61)." - Smith, Joseph; History of the Church; vol. 1, pp. 202-03.

    D.&C. 61 speaks of the waters of the earth being cursed by John in the latter days and that those that are blessed by the Lord will be safe on them. Thus the warning to missionaries, as a missionary that is playing in the water is obviously not focused on his mission, and can lose the protection the Lord provides

  • fung
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Satan Water

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's in the Doctrine and Covenants from a vision.

    It seems more about keeping safe then anything else.

    Missionaries aren't allowed to go swimming for many reasons, but mostly personal safety. Same as entering private watercraft.

    On my mission I was constantly in boats as I served in Italy. I was often in Venice and had to take a ferry every morning in one city.

    Taking unnecessary risks is something a missionary should avoid; but I don't think that there is real doctrine behind people afraid of a watery hand coming out of a swimming pool to drag them in.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No clue. It is interesting though - like some LDS families won't go swimming or things like that on Sunday. When I was growing up, whenever we were camping and there was a lake or whatever, we always swam on Sunday. My husband's family doesn't though. His grandma or someone she knew, I can't remember, got hurt snow sledding on Sunday so that made them believe you shouldn't do water things on Sundays...

    Who knows. I say if you are keeping the day holy, then fine. I think keeping the Sabbath day holy is personal judgement.

    Sorry, I kind of went off on a different course there...

    I don't know the answer, sorry. I am sure someone will though.

    Source(s): Eternally LDS
  • 1 decade ago

    Yup, D&C 61. We were cautioned, too as missionaries not to go in the water. I was even a little uncomfortable taking a boat on one of our p-days, but it was ok'd by our mission president.

  • 1 decade ago

    Starjumper has a point.

    Go to Hong Kong and stand by the water.

    I am not sure where, but I think its biblical even in Revelations.

  • 1 decade ago

    Water in the Bible (or waters) is a symbol for nations.

  • 1 decade ago

    Its actually Sumerian in origin. Satan/Enki's Domain was the AB.SU Or he whos home is water.

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