"And Thus He Cheateth Their Souls" (Satan's Plan)
A Moment To Ponder
(Reflective Questions and Self Evaluation)
*These questions should be answered a second time after reading this chapter.
- Was the "War in Heaven" during the pre-existence a reality?
- Who is Lucifer?
- Why does Satan seek the destruction of man?
- How does the devil gain control of man's agency?
- What addictions destroy mortal man's progression?
- How could Satan use money to govern over the earth?
- How would Satan seek to deceive you? Are you vulnerable?
- What would Satan have you not believe?
- What protection has the Savior and your Father in Heaven given you to combat the devil?
Read the Short Story, "Master Mahan's Plan."
Much of Satan's strategies are referenced in the scriptures.
Read: 2 Nephi 28:19-22 To flatter, to anger, to pacify.
The story above is fictional yet illustrates the reality of a pre-existent battle that continues here on earth each day. Many on earth today choose to believe that Satan does not exist. The dark side of this world is depicted by man as a classic fantasy of a supposed battle between good and evil. This worldly opinion desensitizes us from believing a horrid reality; Satan does exist. He rebelled in the pre-earth life, and sought to overthrow God. He wanted God's power and glory. His wrath and rage is still intense. He has had dispensations to refine his skills of deceit. He is the Father of All Lies, and the Master of All Deception. In our world he has created secret combinations and societies to conquer and enslave all, if possible. His hate for you and I is unquenchable, as we defied him and sided with God in our prior life. Without question, Lucifer's goal is to destroy our Father in Heaven's plan for you and I. Heavenly Father wants our exaltation in His presence. The devil wants to take that away.
It is very hard to address a subject so dark and so dangerous as Satan. His influence and control over the hearts and thoughts of man have produced heinous crimes that defy the very imagination of those who claim Christ as their Redeemer. Some of these acts, when informed, have left me and others physically ill. Such subjects are best avoided for they offer no light. Suffice it to say, if there is anything vulgar, decadent, or abhorrently distasteful one can be sure, the sons of perdition and Satan are behind it. My advice to anyone exposed to such information, is to immediately walk away. Don't listen to it, don't watch it, don't think about it; walk away! Stay away from the occult, the diabolical, and anything that pertains to the dark side of this world. That which seems harmless and small can carry a deadly spiritual venom.
My preference is not to include such topics in this book. Yet, to understand the tactics of the Adversary, it is important to know how he works, and uses our weaknesses against us.
Who is Satan? What makes him powerful? How does he steer men away from God?
In the book, "Mormon Doctrine," page 461, Bruce R. McConkie says: "Lucifer--The name of Satan means literally light bearer or shining one. It is thus intended to convey a realization of his status of prominence and authority in pre-existence before his rebellion and fall."
Read: D&C 76:25-27, 29
Before he lost his light, and became a fallen angel, Lucifer was loved and adored by millions of spirits. The heavens wept over him, his pride, his act of betrayal, and dissension. He took with him one third of the hosts of heaven, our spiritual brothers and sisters. They now are with him, making war against God, continuing in rebellion, wickedness, and that which is evil.
For as Paul said: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world..." (Ephesians 6:12)
Returning to "Mormon Doctrine" page 193, Bruce R. McConkie defines: "Devil--The devil (literally means slanderer) is a spirit son of God who was born in the morning of pre-existence. Endowed with agency, the free power of choice, he chose the evil part from the beginning, thus placing himself in eternal opposition to divine will. He was a liar from the beginning.' (D&C 93:25)"
The scriptures also refer to the Devil as "that old serpent."
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Revelations 12:9)
The knowledge Satan and his followers have accumulated since the pre-earth life is immense. For thousands of years their increasing knowledge has made them experts in human nature. There is no veil to their knowledge of the earth's history, or of man. They know every language, and are familiar with every culture. They understand Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, Theology, Chemistry, Physics, Science, and Mathematics. Because of this, Lucifer and his host are masters of deception and skilled in manipulating mankind. Any significant historical event of horror can be traced back to their evil involvement. Remember, their goal is the destruction of man. From the walls of one's home to governments, they create disillusionment, unrest, chaos, and turmoil.
The world for the more part has dismissed this reality as fiction. For if it were to be believed by man, they would exercise much more caution in their actions and decisions. Despite Satan's knowledge, it is important to remember, that the devil's intelligence is infinitesimally smaller than that of God's. Our Heavenly Father's light, intelligence, wisdom, dominion, power, and authority make Lucifer's knowledge microscopic. The god we worship is all knowing and all powerful; He controls the heavens and earth, and governs from eternity to eternity. Satan may pose a threat to us, but not to God.
The short story at the beginning of this chapter suggests that there are millions of dark spirits in force on this earth, engaged in the Great Dragon's Plan.
I find it particularly interesting that Satan was referred to as "that old serpent," which is very appropriate. Much like vipers that hide in a camouflaged environment, so does Satan blend into the world unnoticed. That old serpent has been at work since the earth's beginning.
When a snake attacks, it is often unseen, quick, and fatal. There are several types of snakes; the ones that interest me are the constrictors, and the venomous. Constrictors grab their prey, encircle themselves around the victim, and then slowly squeeze the breath of life out of their captive.
Vipers inject a harmful or lethal venom into their prey. The toxic venom attacks the nervous system or the circulatory system. Various symptoms emerge depending on the poison released. One could expect great pain, nausea, paralysis, convulsions, shock, permanent tissue damage, heart attack, or possibly death, if untreated. Many times the damage will be disabling and permanent. In other words, one may never fully recover from a viper's bite.
Spiritually speaking, Satan, that old serpent, with temptation, hides in camouflage. Like a chameleon he is waiting patiently to attack mortal man. If he chooses to be a constrictor, he will squeeze the light of life out of his victim. If he chooses to be a venomous viper, he will inject the poison of sin into his prey. Symptoms will then appear: spiritual paralysis that halts one's eternal progression; toxic venom that eats away and rots the spirit of man. Ultimately, the result (if untreated) is always the same, the victim experiences spiritual death.
Prepared with patience, Satan's cunning process is usually custom made, gradual, methodical, calculated, and precise. The initial sin is usually small and subtle, perhaps unnoticed. It starts as a thought, then a bad decision, then an action. The sin grows larger and more frequent. The victim's spiritual eyes begin to close.
The adversary is a great counterfeiter. He makes sin and bad things look good. He is an expert at setting snares. He waits, lures, and entices towards his trap. Distracted by the bait, man is oblivious to the danger. Once caught in serious sin (the snare), the predator's attack is quick and abrupt. He now has control of the man. Man's agency is softly and quietly taken away as the sin then perpetuates itself. Man is now in a cold, dark, and lonely spiritual prison.
What is Satan's motivation?
Read: 2 Nephi 2:17-18, 2 Nephi 2:27
Perdition and the sons of perdition are miserable. These legions of evil spirits are subject to the devil. They have surrendered their agency to him and have no freedom of choice. They cannot choose their kingdom of glory, they have already chosen. Satan rules over them. This guarantees eternal misery, damnation, and eternal unhappiness. Their opportunity for everlasting joy is long past.
The other opportunity lost to these demons of darkness in "The Fall" was that of possessing a body for time and eternity. They will not participate in the resurrection, nor be blessed with a glorified and perfected body. They will never be like God. This is misery forever and eternally. Jealousy and anger rages in their hearts for what we have: a body and free agency. They relentlessly covet our eternal gifts. They cannot and will not have a tabernacle of flesh. Therefore, they will try to steal ours or possess them in any way possible. It is easy to see why they are miserable, and why they want us to be "miserable like unto themselves." We must protect these sacred treasures (a body and free agency) bestowed upon us by a loving Father.
Satan wants to destroy "God's Plan," by using evil and wicked men.
Read: D&C 10:20-23, 27
Section 10 of the Doctrine & Covenants deals with the lost 116 pages from the translation of the Book of Mormon. It would have been known as the Book of Lehi. The manuscript was stolen by wicked men who were under the influence of Satan. Lucifer believed that he could destroy the restoration of Christ's Church by later altering the translation, and defaming its credibility. Just as God uses men to carry out his work, so does Satan use man to accomplish his vile deeds. By using wicked men to attempt to destroy the Restoration of the Gospel, Satan thought he could destroy God's Plan, and thus eliminate mankind's chances of happiness and eternal life. In his efforts, he was not successful. Today he continues to attack the Church, the Restored Gospel, and it's members.
Throughout these chapters, I have referred to the "Road to Exaltation." One thing that I did not share is that various dirt paths have been created by man that stray off this highway to heaven. I call these offshoots, the "paths to apostasy." They are all detours that lead man to the darkest places on earth. Each path entices man and carries its own set of sins. These paths are laced with temptations that lure man off the higher road.
In trying to destroy man one by one, what careless human behaviors do the sons of perdition watch for in order to entice man to these paths?
Here are just a few of the many: pride, naiveté, curiosity, doubt, excitement, desire, acquiescence, compromise, and procrastination. These behaviors precede many of the sins mentioned in Chapter 2. These behaviors also leave men vulnerable and easily exploited. Let us briefly examine each of the suggested behaviors. Pointed in the wrong direction, they lead to dangerous consequences.
Pride: An undue sense of one's superiority. Pride was discussed extensively in the second chapter of this book. As stated by President Spencer Kimball, "It takes on many different faces." John Henry espoused a belief system that said: "I know more about this than you do." Or, "Nothing can hurt me." The danger in this reasoning is that sound advice could be shunned. Those full of pride rarely heed the voice of warning, or inspired counsel.
As a banker, I saw a number of fortunes lost because investors put too much money into one stock. If their investment had a substantial gain, they avoided selling it, believing the stock price would go up forever. Rather than protect themselves from risk, they elected to ignore sound advice when given. Pride interfered with good judgment. I once saw a couple million dollars turn to a couple hundred thousand. Often the safe and unpopular idea is full of truth.
Not listening to the spirit, nor living cautiously, can cost one spiritually. We have all heard that "pride cometh before the fall." Such is the case, when a man believes he is superior to all others. Unbridled pride can leave one spiritually bankrupt.
Curiosity: an eager desire for knowledge of something unusual. The Adversary loves to play with one's curiosity. Mortals often use the excuse; "I just have to see for myself." "I just want to see what happens." Or. "I just want to try it one time." Sound counsel is not enough to detour the curious from danger. The glitter, the sizzle, attract these unsuspecting humans into circumstances that could change their lives forever. The first look at pornography, the first sip of alcohol, the first pill, the first sexual contact, can lead to paths of dark addictions. Curiosity for the wrong things is so dangerous. The curious mortal chooses not to learn from the past mistakes of others.
Naiveté: the quality of having a nature unacquainted with worldly experience. An innocence or lack of knowledge. There are those who travel this earth oblivious to the things around them. In a sense, they are innocent, and like a child do not understand the dangers in front of them. I would often counsel my teenagers to not stay out past midnight, or tailgate a car in front of them, or to not speed, or go to a drinking party with nonmember friends. Frequently they would respond; "Don't you trust me?" "Nothing bad is going to happen!" Or, "That could never happen to me!" A couple of my children learned that tailgating or speeding does have a consequence. The lesson they learned is that their contention, "That could never happen to me!", was wrong. Satan wants the innocent and naive to believe that there is no danger or consequence ahead.
Doubt: to hold the truth, validity, or reliability of, as uncertain; hesitate to believe or accept. One of Satan's favorite tactics is to create doubt. With doubt he can change 20/20 vision into blurred vision. Mortal logic for this careless behavior is expressed as; "I don't believe you!" Or, better said; "I don't want to believe you!"
They know that truth demands a change in behavior. Doubting is an excuse not to take action, and not to change. Doubting is like a filibuster that allows the "Father of Lies" to create alternative explanations. Then, truth can be reasoned away. Doubt is a method to hide the truth. It is like a dark cloud that hides the brilliance of the sun.
As debilitating as doubting the truth, is "doubting in oneself." Self-doubt leads to sure destruction! Satan would not have you believe in yourself, your potential, or your divinity.
I remember associating with a friend of mine who was a fellow graduate student at the University of Utah. Brian had chosen to leave the Church a short time after being converted and baptized. He told me that he really believed what he had been taught for a while. I ask him if he felt the Spirit bear witness to him of the truth. Brian confessed that he did feel something and that his conversion was a touching experience.
Somewhere doubt crept in. As he added; "The feelings were probably just an emotional reaction to what was happening in my life at that time." He explained away the witness of the Spirit which was given him. Doubt led him to take one of the "paths to apostasy."
How often does Satan try to create doubt in our lives? The answer probably is, "everyday."
Excitement: the state of feelings and emotions being aroused. Satan relishes the opportunity of finding mortals who love excitement. Those who engage in reckless and careless activities just to get a "rush," are prime targets. The idea of cheating death, or getting away with something is enticing. What is their reasoning? "It feels so good!" Or, "You only have one life to live!" Sadly, such logic often leaves a life that could have accomplished much to be cut short, or damaged. To try to cheat death (even spiritual death) or get away with something that is bad, is stupid. Unsavory activities eventually result in an unwanted consequence that changes the course of that person's life. To sell the future for "a few moments of thrills" is unwise.
I heard of a young man who was visiting the Grand Canyon. Clearly posted by the view point was a sign, "Stay behind this rail!" Wanting the "rush" of doing something dangerous that no one else would do, he hopped over the other side. It did not look treacherous, the ground appeared stable. The ground was not secure. It gave way and he fell down the side of the mountain. Was the excitement worth it? Too often the sons of darkness would have us flirt with spiritual death, while seeking the spontaneous thrill of the moment.
Desire: wishing or longing for, craving. The tempter and his legions use men's desires against themselves. Knowing what a man desires most, is a powerful tool to turn him away from Christ. When desires turn into cravings or obsessions, the addicted have little time to think of anything else. Their free time is spent in pursuit of satisfying an insatiable want or appetite. The rationale for this illogical behavior is; "I wanted that, at that moment, more than anything else in the world, no matter what the cost!"
Those who are acquainted with addictions (i.e., gambling, pornography, drugs, sex, money, power, etc.) know that the inflicted, will do most anything to fulfill that craving. They lie, cheat, steal, exploit, abuse, injure, even murder to possess the focus of their obsession. They hurt themselves and many around them. The suffering caused in pursuit of that desire can seem endless. The cost of that misguided longing is often their self-destruction, and the permanent scarring of others.
What desires do we have that interfere with our progression? Are these desires hurting others? Satan knows that using desires is like drawing bees to the honey.
What righteous desires should I be seeking and cultivating?
Acquiescence: quiet submission, passive consent. Satan understands that peer pressure and majority rule is very intimidating. To make righteous decisions unpopular is a clever tactic. Pulling good men into sin by subtly compromising their standards, is cunning. The careless behavior of acquiescence is defended by the logic; "It was easier to just go along with it, rather than to disagree."
Or, "It's what the mainstream is doing, so it couldn't be bad!" "Everyone else couldn't be wrong!" To acquiesce is to blame the wrongdoing on the group. It is not taking a stand for what's right, nor accepting responsibility for what one knows to be true.
So often Lucifer uses the "popular" to sway men's hearts, and blind their perspectives. Good and what is right, is never defined by men, but rather by God. Righteous principles are seldom popular in our world. Much of what Satan has achieved is due to quiet submission, and passive consent.
Compromise: an adjustment by concession, to expose to risk. The name of the adversary's game is compromise. To gradually lower the standards of an individual, step by step, is genius. Desensitize over time. Make what was wrong yesterday, okay today. The devil's brigade takes black and white, and makes it gray. Mixing lies with truth can, and does, cause compromise. The perpetrator of compromise often uses the excuse, "Everyone else is doing it!" Or, "what's the big deal, it's not that bad!" "I only do it once in a while!" "Well, you and I are just different, we think differently!" "God understands my situation!"
Compromise is too often, "rationalization." By justifying borderline behavior (good vs. bad), we can postpone the good behavior to an indefinite timeframe. Compromise prevents excellence. Settling for something below our potential is unacceptable in God's eyes. Who in their right mind would give up God's Kingdom for the compromise of one commandment? Compromise eludes clear perspective.
Procrastination: to put off an action until a future time. How Satan would love man to waste his time here on earth! He would love man to procrastinate the day of their repentance! This would grant him more time to gain power and control over the hearts of men. The careless logic: "I will do it tomorrow!" "When the time to change is right, I will know it!" "There is plenty of time, we don't have to worry about that today!" The danger is obvious. The really important things that are eternal in nature get set aside until it is too late. Celestial goals are never achieved. As a result, we fall short of the glory of God.
I knew a neighbor whom I loved. We were good friends. He chose inactivity over the truth. Once he told me, "God and I have it all worked out! There will be a day when I come back into the Church! When the time is right, I will know it!."
There is no special plan that God has for one man (and not another) to come back to Church when it is convenient for him. His rules are not specific to one, and not another. His counsel is the same for all. Man cannot pick and choose the commandments he wants to keep, nor can man decide his own definition for how to keep a commandment. Heavenly Father expects each of us to keep all of the commandments. Although hard at times, and challenging, we show Him our love and dedication when we live the hard ones as well as the easy ones. Growth through sacrifice, is what we learn when keeping the hard ones. The tough commandments are the ones that test our faith and refine our spirits.
We could add many other careless behaviors in the nature of man. Many times these behaviors are not practiced alone. For example, one can compromise and procrastinate the commandments by saying; "I'll will be better tomorrow! Just this once, it'll be okay!"
One can let self-righteous pride, curiosity for the wrong, doubting truth, unhealthy desires, excitement in the moment, acquiescing to the popular, compromising of higher standards, and procrastination, be stumbling blocks to their eternal progression.
Satan knows our nature and shortcomings. He and his followers are there to capitalize on these weaknesses as they emerge. In recognizing the means by which Satan gains power and influence, we can fortify ourselves and overcome these weaknesses.
One may ask, "If Satan is so powerful, why would God leave His children vulnerable?" There is a great promise in the Book of Mormon.
Read: Ether 12:27
In evaluating ourselves, the truth is that we are much better than we often behave. We need to acknowledge our weaknesses and make them strengths. This is the part of progression that requires humility, repentance, faith, and an unyielding determination to become like our Savior.
There is a basic truth in the Plan of Happiness that will help us understand our earthly challenge. Lucifer operates on a completely different standard than that of the Lord. He represents the opposite of everything that God is and does.
God lifts and builds; Satan suppresses and destroys. God is perfect light; Satan is pure darkness. God is warm and caring; Satan is cold and abusive. God loves; Satan hates. God represents truth; Satan epitomizes lies. God is generous and forgiving; Satan is greedy and revengeful. God is virtuous; Satan is lustful. God encourages composure and restraint; Satan inspires unbridled anxiousness and lack of control. God encircles himself in righteousness; Satan basks in wickedness. Whatever is worthy in God's eyes, is looked upon with contempt in Satan's eyes. God gives peace, while Satan delivers unrest. God offers us freedom; Satan promises bondage and enslavement. Satan is God's great opposite.
The overwhelming evidence of Satan's success is found in his most powerful strategy, "desensitization." An example many of us have heard is the analogy of how to cook a frog. If the water in the pan is too hot, when the frog is placed within it, the frog will jump out immediately. If the frog is placed in the water at room temperature, it will stay there enjoying the bath. As one slowly turns up the flame, the frog pleasurably remains in the warm bath. Eventually, the water gets hotter and hotter, but the frog cannot move nor escape. The way to cook a frog is slowly over time. The frog becomes desensitized and tolerates the dangerous situation that eventually will take its life.
In a recent conversation I witnessed a real life situation where desensitization had blinded a man. Thirty years ago in Salt Lake City, there was a theater that played explicit and lascivious movies. The cinema's billboard made it no secret that a XXX rating was their allure. Although appalling to many in the community, it remained open. The civil laws allowed it. Therefore, it was "tolerated." There is a great danger in "tolerance" of evil and wicked behaviors.
Recently one evening while reviewing the cable TV guide, I noticed a movie title once displayed at this XXX theater was scheduled to show on a prime-time, popular cable channel. I thought, "How disgusting!" What was once tolerated, was now accepted. What once was restricted from our homes could now enter them. Where adult restrictions were mandated 30 years ago, now there were none. I thought, "How desensitized to evil the world has become!"
I entered a discussion with a young recent return missionary about how Satan has altered the moral code of our society. I was shocked to learn that this young man had viewed the show referenced. "I saw it, it is no big deal!" He said. Well, it was a big deal as the movies dealt with gender identity change and gender preference. God did not accept lascivious and immoral behavior then, and He will not accept it now!
Our current generation is being raised and tutored by man's philosophies and twisted truths. They reject the teachings of righteousness of the past, claiming those standards are archaic and outdated. Our children are being bombarded with left wing liberal ideologies that claim to be new, progressive, and tolerant of differences. We live in a generation where what was once sin, is now accepted and normal. A certain scripture comes to mind.
Read: 2 Nephi 15:20
The defense usually heard for those that would commit such sins has been, "They have their free agency. We should not persecute them, but tolerate them. God loves them too! Some of them are my friends. They deserve to have the same rights that we have!" I held my tongue, realizing that God loved His children in Sodom & Gomorrah. Yet, He had no choice but to destroy them.
This younger generation is quick to reject the words of living prophets, as they have not been on this earth long enough to see for themselves the successful plan of Satan at work. They have not witnessed past sins become the norm of today.
I wonder, what will be the moral code thirty years from now? Will what is indecent today, be accepted as moral in the future? While justifying decadent behavior, will their future defendants cry out, "They deserve to have the same rights that you do?" Will they shout, "Who are you to unfairly judge us and take away our rights? Will they proclaim, "The right thing to do is to embrace diversity, and be tolerant!"
Should we respect others? "Yes." Should we be tolerate of sin? "No, not ever!" When can immorality ever become okay? Is it okay for men to change the the definition of moral behavior? Of course not! Only God not man, can dictate morality!
The Evil One will always, "call evil good, and good evil." He is the great Counterfeiter and Deceiver.
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul teaches us of his deceit.
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15)
The Master of Deception can package any political agenda that is bad for humanity to look good, fair, and morally right. As stated in the scriptures, anything that fights against God and His plan for man, is of the devil. Tolerance and desensitization foster the Devil's subtle deceptions. They are effective because they slowly over time, invade and conquer the moral conscience of society.
Tolerance breeds insensitivity to God's laws, God's code of morality, and to the true Plan of Happiness. It is sad that Satan's movement now wants to alter the definition of the sacred marriage covenant and family. There are those who feel we should not stand up as a people for the things we find morally wrong. They say, "Think of how they feel. We should love them!" We can love without condoning sin. God loves all of His children, yet he still sent the flood to wipe out the wickedness of Noah's generation.
Paul insisted that we must be bold in the testimony of Jesus Christ. If we do not take a stand on morality, Satan will continue to destroy future generations. The price of tolerance to sin and immorality could mean the loss of our eternal families and posterity.
Those who have a true testimony of the Father and the Son, know that His laws do not change. They are the same yesterday, today, and forever. His moral code is unchanging. It cannot be redefined by man or Satan. Right will always be right, and wrong will always be wrong.
Followers of Christ must always beware of tolerance and desensitization. As mentioned before, their destructive powers often show up as cancer, not obvious in the beginning, but after it is too late or even terminal. Satan's long term plan to divert man from God, is desensitization and tolerance.
Let's ask four questions. Are there behaviors that I tolerate that I should not? Have I been desensitized to value man's opinions over God's? Are God's values, my values? How well do I defend God's truth over man's truth?
What is the devil's short term methodology? It is "distraction!" By keeping man's eyes off of "being single to the glory of God," he distracts them from their eternal goals. Think of all the distractions before you. How many of them mean nothing compared to your real purpose in life? Are you spending too much time doing one thing that is unimportant?
Worrying too much can be a distraction. The mind is locked into a mode where it cannot accumulate light and knowledge. Rather than worry, pray for understanding and then move on! Is Satan distracting you through "worry?"
Consider all the careless behaviors outlined in this chapter. They are often caused by distractions. Lucifer believes, "If I can have their eyes single to some other goal, rather than single to God's glory, then I can divert them off the Road to Exaltation."
What are the distractions in your life that are stopping you from progressing? Eliminating these distractions and replacing them with uplifting activities will accelerate your progression, and invite the Spirit. Sometimes it is necessary to choose new friends that will aid you in your sojourn up the mountain. Sometimes it is necessary to replace TV with reading the scriptures. Sometimes it is necessary to replace window shopping with service. These are just examples of some distractions that keep us from the more noble and beneficial activities of life.
Because God does want us to enjoy life, sometimes what would be a distraction, could be made an opportunity for service. If I am going to a movie that I really want to see, I could invite a lonely soul to go with me. If I love basketball, I could invite an inactive member to play ball with me. Hobbies do not need to be only self inclusive.
The sobering questions is: How would Satan have me use my time, versus how would God have me use my time?
In this chapter we have exposed only a small part of Satan's evil strategy and legacy. One so evil, perceived as so powerful, could be feared. It is true that he has inflicted great damage and evil on mankind. Still we need not fear him. We have been counseled that if "we stand in holy places, we have no need to fear." A very simple way to have power over Satan, is to live the first law of heaven. The law is "obedience." There is an implied message found in the dedicatory prayer of the Kirkland Temple for those who are obedient. They are promised protection.
Read: D&C 109:22, 26
How does Satan utilize money?
We know that greed, selfishness, vanity, pride, overindulgence, and dominance make up his platform for attack. Therefore, it stands to reason that money is used by Satan to promote these same vices. The devil employs money to feed one's addictions. He implements it to deceive or to give one a false sense of success through worldly possessions and riches. He teaches that money buys power and control. He deploys it to purchase fame, status, and popularity. Satan uses money to hold people down and to obtain the upper hand. With it, he can purchase governments. Satan utilizes money to shackle and enslave man, individually and collectively.
The riches of the world create a powerful distraction during this time of probation on earth. The Lord describes Satan's power and influence with money in a scripture.
Read: 3 Nephi 27:32
What the Lord is saying is that Satan would engage money to deceive man, and lead him away from God. The scripture above implies that men would be drawn to seek wealth and worldly riches rather than an eternal relationship with the Father and the Son. This is Satan greatest desire, to destroy God's Plan, and to separate the Father eternally from His children.
Wealth and riches used unwisely is one of Satan's greatest tools to promote wickedness. Satan's influence over the use of money can easily sway men to do evil. It can rob them of their eternal inheritance.
Is our wealth and prosperity bringing us closer to God or further away?