A legion of Taylor Marshall’s defenders seem to have picked up this claim from the false prophet himself: Demons speak the truth during exorcism; for they are compelled to by the power of Christ. One perhaps should be grateful they are attributing this truth-telling to the power of Christ rather than the demons’ native honesty. Small favors. Howbeit, it’s really a claim that demons never lie at all. For look you: When exactly do demons speak to us except when an exorcism is going down? If you think you’re hearing the voice of demons, you might want to visit a psychiatrist. Dr. Marshall never cited any source for the claim that demons tell the truth during an exorcism; he just said it’s “what I’ve been told.” He didn’t even do us the courtesy of mentioning who told him this tale. But his legion of followers accept it as though the thing were divine revelation—or demonic revelation, which possibly is truer still. But dear reader, I have a strange habit of checking these things out. And so I tracked down the transcript of the exorcism of Anneliese Michel, and here is part of what I read:
Repeatedly the priest commands the demons, in Christ’s name, to tell the truth. And yet repeatedly he catches them in lies; and repeatedly they claim to be lying. Lying is their “gig,” one of the demons says. It’s what they do. When they say they have lied, one of two things is possible: either they had lied and are telling the truth about it now, or they are lying about having lied. Either way, they lie and they deceive.
Another clear giveaway that the demons here are lying is that they identify themselves as Cain, Nero, Hitler, and Judas. But damned humans do not become demons any more than saved humans become angels. Dr. Marshall realizes this; and during his podcast he speculated that perhaps the demon who identifies himself as Hitler was the demon who was assigned to Hitler. The demons sound so red-pilled they must be telling the truth! The demons say what I, Taylor Marshall, think; they confirm what I wrote in my book; it must be the truth!
But if you go further and read the Praenotanda to the Rite of Exorcism, you will find that the Church counsels exorcists not to engage the demons or to trust anything that they say. (A priest was able to track this down.)
5. [The exorcist] will be on his guard against the arts and subterfuges which the evil spirits are wont to use in deceiving the exorcist. For oftentimes they give deceptive answers and make it difficult to understand them, so that the exorcist may tire and give up, or so it might appear that the afflicted one is in no wise possessed by the devil. …
14. The exorcist must not digress into senseless prattle nor ask superfluous questions or such as are prompted by curiosity, particularly if they pertain to hidden or future matters, all of which have nothing to do with his office. Instead, he will bid the unclean spirit keep silence and answer only when asked. Neither ought he to give any credence to the devil if the latter maintains that he is the spirit of some saint or of a deceased party, or even claims to be a good angel.
That last part is interesting: The demons might claim to be the spirit of a dead person. If they do, give them no credence; they deceive. I read nothing here about demons telling the truth under any circumstances. I read nothing that advises the exorcist to ask the demons’ opinion of controversial priests. The exorcist is not to ask, Tell me, what think you of James Martin? By engaging the demons in this way, you only prolong the agony of the human victim.
Demons lie; demons deceive; even during an exorcism. Give them no credence, do not engage them, don’t be curious whether they think the toilet paper should be unrolled from the top or bottom. That’s what the Praenotanda to the rite of exorcism says.
And that I need to write a whole blog article proving this is utter absurdity. But that’s where we are.