The influence of the adversary today

I would like to expand upon a theme I touched upon in my previous post. It has to do with the influence of the adversary in the lives of troubled teens and others who do outrageous things. Do you remember a survey from a few years back in which people were asked about their belief in the reality of Satan and his influence in our lives today?

If I remember correctly, less than half of the respondents admitted to believing that Satan or Lucifer was real. In fact, wasn’t there a similar survey taken among members of the LDS church with results that were almost as astonishing? Ah, yes, here is the article from a 2001 Deseret News story. I remember that survey because it stood out like a sore thumb to me.

The thing that surprised me most about the article was the fact that 41% of the members of the LDS Church do not believe that the devil is a real person. What? Wow! I find that astonishing. In fact, to quote Melanie Cooper as she wrote about it in Latter-day Saints, “The last time I checked, this was a basic doctrine of the Church. A no brainer.” Hello! Well, yeah!

Didn’t President Faust address this topic in the January 2007 Ensign? It’s good to know that my memory isn’t failing me yet. He provides us good advice as we consider this topic, “I approach this prayerfully, because Satan is not an enlightening subject.” And, “It is not good practice to become intrigued by Satan and his mysteries. No good can come from getting close to evil.”

Of course he was referring to the importance of avoiding the fascination of the Satan culture, not the idea of understanding his devices. We need to be informed and forewarned about how the adversary works in our lives so we can avoid the pitfalls that he places before us. There is no doubt in my mind that the devil is a real being for I have experienced his power firsthand.

Further quoting President Faust, “President Brigham Young said that it is important to ‘study…evil, and its consequences.’ Since Satan is the author of all the evil in the world, it is essential therefore to realize that he is the influence behind the opposition to the work of God. Alma stated the issue succinctly: “Whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.””

I remember buying a book about this subject from my local LDS book store a few years back. Gosh, it’s been twenty years. It is entitled, “Overcoming Satan in the Latter Days” and it was written by Timothy Wood. It contains some eye-opening stuff but it did not do well. Why? Perhaps it’s because such a large number of people still do not believe in the reality of Satan.

You know it’s not a popular subject when even the new video of the Joseph Smith story the church distributed recently excludes the scenes where Joseph Smith tells of his struggle with the adversary just before he received the First Vision in the Spring of 1820. I attribute that omission to the fact that it probably raises too many questions that detract from the message.

“I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction…I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being.” – Joseph Smith History 1:15-16

What do you think? Is Satan real? Is his influence still felt today, especially in the lives of troubled teens who decide to takes the lives of others around them by violence?

4 thoughts on “The influence of the adversary today”

  1. As astonishing as it is that members of a Christian church would dismiss Satan as a mere boogie man of the imagination, it’s even more astonishing that they would not recognize Jesus Christ as God Almighty. Surprise! Many Mormons are clueless as to the fact that Jesus is Jehovah or what this actually means. Maybe it shouldn’t be shocking to realize they don’t take Satan seriously, either.

    I too, have experienced Satan’s power firsthand. So he’s real. I’m not remotely interested in him — he’s pretty stupid, because he just wants to keep on disobeying Jesus — but I acknowledge his existence.

    But if others don’t, it’s not the only thing they err on. I have to say that a lot of people don’t take the scriptures seriously. In today’s society, it’s common to broadly interpret scriptures, even to the point of placing secular interpretations on them. For example, just look at the hash theistic evolutionists make out of Genesis. Mormons ought to know better. Genesis is corroborated by the Book of Abraham and the Book of Moses. Jesus Christ did NOT create the earth through evolution, nor are we dealing with millions of years. Conservative Christians have it right when they say that the creation took place in a short amount of time.

    Mormons should know that the six days of creation were spiritual, and the physical creation took place on the seventh day. Just read Genesis, Abraham, and Moses carefully, including the chapter headings, and you should spot it. But, alarmingly, you’ll find Mormons who buy in to the idea of evolution, casually tossing away the scripture so they can interpolate them with the doctrines of men. This, from a people blessed with more truth than any other Christians on the earth!

    Yes, Satan is real, and his influence is especially strong on the younger generation who have decided he’s about as harmless as the Tooth Fairy. Much of the younger generation don’t even recognize the influence of the enemy. And how can you win a battle when you won’t even identify the enemy’s tactics or admit he’s real?

    I’ve often wondered how, at the end of Millennium, Satan could again get a grasp on the hold of the hearts of men. But I suspect there will be a young generation too arrogant in their own prowess to humble themselves before God … and then Satan will rage and storm again, like he does now. Thankfully, it will only be for a little season.

  2. Satan has a great hold on the hearts and minds of today’s generation. For example, the mark of an educated person today is, supposedly, that he or she believes in evolution, and unequivocally states it is a fact. Of course, this blind belief just displays ignorance on the caliber of stupidity, but it is a blindness that leads people away from the living God and into the paths of darkness.

    Some Christians even believe in evolution, even though everything disproves it, including the world around us and the word of God. Evolution cannot be observed taking place today. All plants and animals remain in the order in which the Lord placed them. You never see a dog, for example, having kittens, and despite reports to the contrary, wolves produce wolves, not poodles.

    Evolution hinges on abiogenesis, or life from nonliving matter, a theory so widely discredited that even evolutionists insist it only happened once millions of years ago. I guess if you can’t find any proof of something happening, all you have to do is place it in the murky reaches of primordial vagueness, and it can therefore happen once.

    That’s not science. Science tests what can be observed and repeated in the real world.

    Evolution isn’t even remotely relevant to biological science. Theories about what may have happened millions of years ago have no place in textbooks dealing with the observable facts about anatomy, biology, botany, and zoology. Evolution is just a vague philosophy with its basis in Aristotle’s suppositions on spontaneously generated.

    But we have an entire generation that has grown up hearing the contrary. Make no mistake. Evolution is only popular because it denies the existence of God. It’s just another ploy that Satan uses to lead people away from the light of Christ.

  3. Pingback: Dealing with Evil and Unclean Spirits « Latter-day Commentary

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