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European-American Evangelistic Crusades, Inc.

May 2003 Newsletter

Arrested Development Spirits

John S. Torell

The shooting war in Iraq is over and now the world is facing another crisis, the SARS "epidemic." The Lord Jesus Christ is leading me this month, not to deal with the different ongoing crises in the world, but to deal with a spiritual problem which is plaguing most people living on the earth, regardless of their religious affiliation. I am talking here about the infestation of evil spirits in human beings.

Much has been written over the years on demon possession and demon oppression, and the debate has been raging among the Christians, whether a born again believer in Christ can be oppressed by evil spirits lodging in the body of a Christian. In this newsletter I am not going to try to prove that evil spirits can inhabit the body of a believer in Christ, instead I will share with you some 30 years of experience dealing with setting Christians free from demonic bondage, including myself. If you want to investigate the subject of oppression by evil spirits, Christian Dynamics Course 1 will help you to study this thoroughly, looking at all the Scripture references.

As most of you know, I was born in Sweden in 1939, the same year that World War II broke out in Europe. I was born some three months after Germany and The Soviet Union jointly attacked Poland on September 1. The war was going to have a serious effect on my life, which I will later share with you.

My parents were very young when I was conceived; Dad was 24 and my mother was 19. Since the years of depression were still felt in Sweden at this time, my parents were very poor so they had to rent a one room apartment with a kitchen from my grandmother. The house had a full basement. My grandmother and two unmarried aunts lived on the first floor. We had our quarters on the second floor, and a room was occupied by an uncle. There was an attic above us with two rooms, but in the beginning of my life they were empty.

My reason for describing this house in detail is done for the reason that the house was filled with evil spirits which would attack me and alter my life, causing me much grief until I was set free from them in my mid thirties. It was common at night that my brother and I heard doors open and close, someone walking on the floor in the attic and that objects would move without any human being around. It was not until later in my ministry that I learned that there is a name for this kind of manifestation – "Poltergeist."

What I did not know until many years later, as an adult, was that my father had eight siblings and when my dad was around ten years old, his two older sisters introduced their siblings to the occult by teaching them how to use a three legged table to ask spirits about the future, and also by using "a glass," which moved upon a layout of letters, thus giving them answers. What they were doing was conjuring up evil spirits with divining methods. The two sisters were saved, but while they were in college and getting their education to become teachers, they were seduced and lured into the occult. They paid a heavy price for it. Both of them contracting tuberculosis and died in their prime time of life before turning 30. On their death beds they repented of their evil deeds and asked God to forgive them (both had been saved as young girls).

During this time in Sweden there was a severe outbreak of tuberculosis and thousands upon thousands of people died. Of the nine siblings, five survived but the other four died as young people. The five surviving children developed severe emotional problems, including severe eczema. My dad and the youngest sister were the only ones who had children in their marriages. One sister never married, one married when she was around 45 years old and dad’s brother also married during his late 40's, after he had been engaged for more than 25 years to another woman. My grandfather died of lung infection at the age of 60 before my birth, and my grandmother was bed-ridden for 15 years, suffering with severe arthritis, before she died.

This was the environment in which I grew up. My dad and his four siblings were in constant conflict with each other, so there was always a battle brewing. Evil spirits moved them to line up in different combinations and then viciously attack one another. At times the fights turned physical, particularly between my dad and his only surviving brother, and we children could hear the impact of the body blows, when they slugged it out. For twenty five years my uncle refused to speak to my dad, until there was a reconciliation in 1971.

At times, my youngest aunt was very nice to me and at other times she was very angry with me. We had no bathrooms in our house but there was an outhouse in the back of the yard. To get to the outhouse, I had to come down the stairs and pass the door leading into my grandmothers apartment. I believe that I was around the age of four, walking down the stairs and just as I had passed grandma’s door, my youngest aunt came out dressed in a white sheet and screaming a blood curdling scream. (My aunt at this time was 26 years old). I have never in my life been so frightened and I could not run up to mom and dad, but had to run out into the garden and scream for help. At that time I did not know that this was my aunt scaring me; I thought for sure that this was a ghost coming to kill me. I believe now that this was the time an arrested development spirit entered my life. From this day on fear was my constant companion.

In order for you to fully understand what I am sharing with you, it is important that you know that my dad and his siblings had received Christ at an early age, but their home life did not line up with the Christian image they showed to strangers. My mother was not saved; it would not happen until many years later.

On my dad's side there had been generations of children being conceived out of wedlock, including my own conception. The Bible puts a 10 generation curse on this sin (Deuteronomy 23:2). There had also been heavy alcoholic abuse in the blood line, which was to affect my only brother and myself. The curses from my mother’s blood line were alcohol (my mother’s father died as an alcoholic when she was three years old) and cancer, (scores of my relatives on mom’s side died of cancer).

Being born into these two families brought heavy curses upon my brother and myself, and having occultism in the family made it worse. I believe that I was born with evil spirits lodged in my body, which gave me a split personality. I could be very nice and loving, and the next moment I could be a monster.

Looking back on my childhood as an adult and a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I can see all of the classic symptoms of a demonized child. I was told by my parents that from the time I could walk and until I was around 4 years old, my parents could not take me to visit in someone’s home. I was totally destructive and would pull down and destroy anything I could get my hands on. It did not help to spank me; there was a force that my parents could not control. At the age of four, my parents had to wrap my hands in bandages every night before they put me to bed, since I would claw my face until blood came out.

Our house was next to the Pentecostal Church in our home town, and for some reason the pastor took an interest in me. I remember one day at the age of three standing in his office and looking at a painting he had on the wall, and I asked him what it was. Instead of brushing me off as being to young to understand, he explained that the picture was about the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, which was going to take place when Jesus came back to the earth. After he had finished speaking, I remember stating to him "I am going to be there also." I believe that this was my first commitment to Christ. At the age of four, attending Sunday School, I was told the story of salvation and took Christ into my heart as my Savior. I believe that this was the time I was born again and saved by Jesus.

After this I lived a double life. I could be the most loving child there was or a most evil child. I want you to understand one thing, this was torment of the worst kind. There was no one in my home town that had knowledge about evil spirits, not even the Pentecostal pastor that had spent much time with me. I was to continue to suffer with this, and it was going to get worse.

I remember one incident very clearly. I was about six years old and visiting in my grandmother’s apartment. At this time both of my aunts lived at home and I took an expensive stapler, opened the burning wood stove and threw it into the fire. It was destroyed. The aunt to whom it belonged (not the one that had scared me), was the most Christ like of them all, and she took me aside and asked me why I had done such an evil thing. I told her that a voice inside of me told me to do it, but instead of pursuing the matter and trying to pray out the evil spirit, the subject was dropped. It did not matter how much I was disciplined and spanked, when the voices told me to do destruction, I lost control and did what I was told.

Once I began to attend public school, the destruction became more expensive. In my second grade I destroyed all the gym bags for my classmates – around 30 of them. The school was next to a small river, and at this time no doors were ever locked. After school one day, I went back to the school and took down all the gym bags with shoes and clothing in them, which were hanging on racks in the hallway, and tossed them into the river. I do not recall if my parents had to pay for this, or what my punishment was. During the war years, my dad would listen to BBC broadcasting news from England spoken in Swedish. As a child I learned about much killing and bombing and I developed an intensive hatred for the Germans. In my mind I became fascinated with war and for some reason I learned many things that must have been given to me by evil spirits. At six years of age, I remember being in my grandmother’s apartment and telling her how the American soldiers were doing street fighting. I described to her the use of "bazookas" and "flame throwers." I told her how they fought from house to house, and how the soldiers moved and killed the Germans. She looked at me with amazement and asked me, "How can you know things like this when you are only six years old?" I felt very proud and told her that I just knew (At this time there was no television and I had never been to a movie theater, and there were no videos to watch).

As I grew older I began to feel that I had lived in a previous time on this earth, and I was drawn to read about war, and when science fiction books came out in the mid 1950's, I purchased everything that was on the market. I began to live more in a fantasy world than in the real world.

From the time I was four years old until I was 13, I attended Sunday School at the Mission Covenant Church in my home town, and I was also active in the weekly programs for boys, attending summer camps just about every summer. There were two persons developing in me, one that loved God and wanted to serve him, and one that hated people and wanted to do as much destruction as possible.

In Sweden, Sunday school ended when you turned 14 years old. I remember begging the church to start a class for older teenagers, but was told, it was not possible. A friend of mine, who was not a Christian, started taking me to the movies, and at once I was hooked. For the next five years we went to the movies every week, my favorite movies being American war movies and sex films.

When I was seven years old I started to steal cigarettes from my dad’s supply and I would smoke on and off, but by my teen years I was a total slave to nicotine. Also during my early teen years, I was introduced to pornographic magazines, and it did not take me long to get hooked on this diet of filth.

My life was no longer my own. I lived in a dream world where I was an American soldier fighting World War II over and over again. One evening when our parents were not home, my brother and I snuck out and we were no longer two young boys, we were now "hardcore commandos" sent out to destroy German fortifications.

We walked some seven blocks from where we lived, and then we started to throw huge rocks into store windows, just going down the street and breaking as many windows as we could. Then we used short cuts dodging through alleys and backyards to get to our home base, where we became little boys again and went to bed. There was a lot of commotion in our small town the next day, but the police were unable to find out who had done all of that destruction. My brother and I had learned from the movies, that when you had been on "a mission," you do not talk about it to anyone, and this is the first time in my life that I have publicly shared this story.

We played another war game. My brother was five years younger than me, and now we played we were an American attack bomber, hunting down the Germans. I would put him on the back of the bicycle with a large water pistol. I would then peddle up a street, and when I saw a lady walking to a store, I would take aim and drive fast, as close to her as possible, and once we were beside her, my brother would shoot her in the face with the water pistol. Then I would peddle as fast as I could to get away from the "target." The more the woman would scream, the better we would feel – we killed another "German." For some reason the police were never able to catch us in this game.

We were fascinated by death, and we played another game. My brother would sit on a type of a sleigh in the wintertime and I would crash him into a cement post, simulating the crash of a military aircraft. When my brother got hurt, we stopped this game.

I was saturated with wars and the glorification of it. From the age of 14 until I was 18 years old, I would play war games in the house when no one was home, using the whole house as a battle field and using toy tanks, guns etc. to simulate different battles. I would be on the floor just like a small child, and emotionally I was a small child, bound by the arrested development spirit. (This spirit does not affect the intellect, only the emotional development. That is why it is so hard for parents to identify.)

When I was 16 years old, we had moved to a different house close to a small forest. I recruited about ten young boys, around 10 years of age and I became an American officer training a small band of guerilla forces, this time fighting the Communists. We were equipped with knives and sharp wooden sticks and I would drill these boys in fighting. Eventually we became a gang. One day coming back from a training session in the forest, we ran head-on into another gang and they wanted to fight. We pulled out our knives and I warned the leader of the other gang, do not mess with us, or we will use our knives (we had hunting knives with blades about 7 inches long. But the other leader gave an order to attack and rushed us. I sank my blade into his rib cage up to the handle and then I saw him fall to the ground totally lifeless. Fearing the police, we took off running as the other gang threw big rocks at us, hitting us on our backs. Ten o’clock that evening our door bell rang, and outside were the police. They took my brother and me down to the police station and started to grill us as to who had knifed the other boy. My brother and I had rehearsed our story over and over again, and we lied and lied, until they had to let us go (God had his hand upon me at this time, the knife blade somehow slid between all his organs and did not puncture his lung or his heart, he just lost a lot of blood. If this boy had died, I would have been sent to prison being almost 18 years old, and would have never been able to immigrate to the United States and become a minister of the Gospel).

The timing of these events was in the late 1950's and the drugs had not yet hit Sweden, but we used to sniff paint thinner and also used alcohol.

It was a neighbor of ours who decided to take me under his wings and try to help me. He was a member of a temperance order, set up to abolish alcohol and the use of it. I became his youth leader and in a short time I had gathered a large group of teenagers. Our activities consisted of dancing and making out with the girls. We could smoke and be immoral, as long as we did not use any alcohol.

At this time I had become very bitter towards God, and the most sacred day in Sweden at that time was Good Friday. I scheduled our biggest orgies on Good Friday to mock God. The demons had a solid grip on my life.

I was also very cynical. My vocabulary was filled with the most terrible Swedish cuss words and I knew all of the dirty sexual jokes which I loved to tell to people. I was still living in a fantasy world, and now the image I was living was that of an undercover agent for the American government. No one on the outside knew the battle and the fantasies existing in my mind.

During the time that I was 13 to 14 years old, I used to torture big flies. I would catch them and then cut off their wings and put them in glass jars. I would take them out one by one and then slowly mutilate them until they died. Two kinds of emotions would go through my mind doing this, one of pleasure and one of feeling that some day in the future I would have to pay for this terrible behavior.

School was a nightmare for me. Although I found it was easy for me to learn, when it came to applying what I had learned, it was not there. Instead of doing my homework I would just goof off, and then fail the tests given in school. During my high school years I would leave the house as though I was going to school, and then when everybody else had left, I would return back home and play like a child and just goof off, knowing well that it was going to cost me later. Playing chess became an obsession with me, and to me I was not playing chess, I was killing people and enjoying it. When I was failing badly, I was dreaming of driving down to France and joining the French Foreign Legion to be a warrior for the rest of my life with no responsibilities. I was paranoid at this time and felt that someone was stalking me, and I never slept without having my large knife ready under my bed. My demonization had now progressed to the point where the demons manifested themselves and made me think that "real people" were trying to kill me.

At the age of 18 I had a man’s body but inside I was a young toddler. Depressions would hit me more and more, and the thought of just taking my life came more and more often. Somehow I was able to finish high school, and after taking classes in a prep-school I entered college. It was here that God sent me the woman who was going to be my wife and rescue me from self-destruction. She was a beautiful girl with a big smile, and God gave her compassion for me, despite the fact that she was not saved at this time. She was a gift from God for me, and I was a "basket-case" with which she got stuck.

She forced me to make a choice, her or "the bottle." At this time I gave up alcohol which I had begun using again. With the help of my wife and my parents I was able to finish college, after taking one year over and doing some special studies.

There had been a drive in my life, since I was five years old, to move to the United States and in 1963, fresh out of college, my wife Aina and I with four suitcases and $300 in cash flew to Salt Lake City, Utah, where we stayed with my uncle and his wife for a few month to establish ourselves in a new country.

During the month of May, 1965, my wife and I were watching a preacher on television, and right there in our home we gave our lives to Christ and repented of our sins. To begin with it felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my back. It took God until January 1966 to lead us to a small Southern Baptist Church in Salt Lake City – Central Baptist Church, where we met Pastor Robert McCullar and his lovely wife Gween. It was here we were baptized in water by immersion and then discipled.

On April 16, 1967, I surrendered to the Gospel ministry and my wife followed me to the altar that morning and dedicated her life to stand by my side. During the month of September, 1969, we moved to Mill Valley in California, and I entered the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary, from which I graduated in 1973 with a master’s degree of divinity.

I had quit smoking before I surrendered to Christ, and my beer drinking stopped gradually during the remainder of 1965, and once we had joined the church I have never again had a drop of alcohol.

What I did not tell the pastor about was the terrible thoughts I had inside of me. I was too ashamed to talk about it to anyone, including my wife. I could be sitting in church and worshiping the Lord, when the most terrible thoughts would shoot through my mind about sexual abuse on women in the church. At a church dinner, suddenly a voice inside of me told me to pick up a knife and stab a person sitting next to me. It scared me so badly, that at times I would literally sit on my hands to make sure this would not happen. Other times a voice would tell me to pick up a salad bowl and shove it into the face of the hostess at the church dinner.

I was still divided inside and did not know what to do about it. Voices inside of me told me that I was such a bad person, that there was no hope for me and if I told someone about it, they would drive me out of the church. At the same time I was witnessing and leading people to Christ and joy and sadness were mixed in my life.

When I started seminary, the Jesus movement was all around us and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was the talk of the day among us students. Early in 1970, another student and I were driving to Berkeley to attend a Full Gospel Business Men's International Fellowship convention. I was seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Nothing happened the first evening, and driving back for a second night, I complained to my friend about not being able to be baptized in the Holy Ghost. He turned his face toward me and boldly told me, "The reason for not getting it is that you are full of demons." I exploded in anger, and told him, "How can this be possible, since I am saved, sealed by the Holy Spirit and have been leading many people to Christ?" Instead of arguing with me, he said nothing. The evening was a wash for me and I drove home angry, feeling sorry for myself and not knowing what to do.

The next day, after my wife had gone to work and I had some time before class was to start, God began to speak to me softly: "Why don’t you pray and command the demons to come out from you?" I made sure that the door was closed to our apartment, closed the drapes and then I knelt before our couch and began to pray: "God, if I have demons living in me, I command them to leave me now." No sooner had these words come out of my mouth, than my body went rigid and I felt like my spine had been frozen in ice. All doubts were now gone, I had demons! And I began to fight and cast them out from me. I could feel every hair on my body stand straight out. How long this battle lasted, I do not remember. When I stopped feeling the demons, I began to thank the Lord and I was instantly baptized in the Holy Ghost. Gone from within me was the confusion and the battle on the inside.

I shared with my wife what had happened, and then I set out to buy every book I could get my hands on concerning demon possession, oppression and deliverance. As I learned more and more, I went after demons of different kinds and threw them out. It was going to take me some 18 years before I was totally set free and the last demon which had controlled me for so many years, the arrested development spirit, was thrown out around 1989, when I ran across a teaching on these kinds of demons. Now for the first time in my life I could understand my life, and I started to grow emotionally and in a year I was not only a man in body, but mature in my soul too. Up to this time I always thought of myself as a boy, and I called my elders and deacons "my boys." It was great to finally be what God had intended for me to be.

During these years I was preaching, pastoring churches and writing Bible study books which are still being used today, but with every new revelation and understanding, God added more to my knowledge and skills. In the beginning it was sheer discipline in my life which kept me from straying into sin, but as demon after demon was removed, the day came when there was no more struggle, JUST A GREAT FREEDOM IN CHRIST. Only a person who has been in bondage can appreciate the feeling of being free in Christ. There are still temptations, but they are coming from the outside, not the inside.

Being taught by the Holy Spirit and learning from other ministries, God has used me to write down all that I have learned and we can now help a person go through deliverance in a few weeks and get it all out in a short time, followed by a year of follow-up and maturing. In our ministry we have prayed for thousands of Christians and have seen them set free and rejoicing in the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest joy for me was when my wife and I traveled to Sweden and had the chance to preach the Gospel in Sweden and Finland, including my hometown, where I had failed so greatly. I was able to pray with my uncle and father, and they became the best of friends and were able to share some 13 years as true brothers, before my father and mother came to us here in California. Aina and I prayed with my aunts and helped them to get rid of their demons. I had the great joy of leading my brother to Christ in 1971, baptized him in water and my wife witnessed to his wife Monica, and she gave her life to Christ. In December of 1971 they immigrated to the United States and joined us in our ministry and we have been together since that time. Their eldest son Charles Thorell is our youth pastor and worship leader in our church and last year I had the joy of officiating his wedding to a sweet Russian Pentecostal woman, Yekaterina.

I believe now at the age of 63 , that there is not a person on this earth who is not infested with demons. The affliction of demons is a matter of degree, some are lighter and not that noticeable, others might be more severe like I had. Regardless, if you have not been cleaned up from demons (evil spirits) you are not living to the full capacity that God has for you.

If you are angry and upset after having read this newsletter, that is an indication that you indeed are infested with demons. The anger you feel is not yours, but it comes from the spirits living in your body, who are more than upset that they have been exposed. I also believe that at least 80% of all Christians have been stricken with an arrested development spirit, which has handicapped a lot of us all these years.

If you have gone through divorce, have been to prison or have been involved with drugs, then it is the evil spirit of arrested development which has taken you there. If you’ve had a problem in the area of pornography, child molestation, procrastination, chronic poverty, the inability to make good judgment decisions and are unable to cope with the stresses of life, consider taking out the spirit of arrested development.

This letter is written in the love of God. For the first time in my life I have opened up my personal life, which up to now has been mostly kept between me and God, so that you may understand and have the hope to be set free.

It is now up to you if you want to be set free or remain in bondage! Mark 16:15-20

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Any scripture references used are from the King James Bible.
Copyright © 2003 – European American Evangelistic Crusades (EAEC), Inc.
P.O. Box 41001, Sacramento, California 95841 USA

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