What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Satan (Lucifer) is not a person I like talking about. However, I think his purpose and practices are widely misunderstood, even among Latter-day Saints. And so, prompted by this month’s First Presidency Message by James E. Faust titled “The Forces that Will Save Us” (originally printed in 1987 as “The Great Imitator”), I figured I’d share a few of my thoughts on the matter.
Echoing President Faust’s sentiments, I feel to begin with his own words:
I feel impressed to sound a warning voice against the devil and his angels—the source and mainspring of all evil. I approach this prayerfully, because Satan is not an enlightening subject.
The following are select verses and quotes dealing with “the great imitator”.
…Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
…Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me. (Moses 1:12, 19)
From these two verses we learn that Satan is an imitator. Having sought evil and falling from his position, he now seeks to make us miserable as he is. His method is imitation. As Pres. Faust writes, “Satan [is] the great imitator, the master deceiver, the arch counterfeiter, and the great forger.”
Echoing Satan’s method of imitation for destruction, the First Presidency issued a message in 1942 stating the following:
[Satan] plans to destroy liberty and freedom—economic, political, and religious, and to set up in place thereof the greatest, most widespread, and most complete tyranny that has ever oppressed men. He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Without their knowing it, the people are being urged down paths that lead only to destruction. Satan never before had so firm a grip on this generation as he has now…. (Conference Report, Oct. 1942, pp. 13, 15, emphasis mine)
The most important message conveyed in this statement by prophets of God is the fact that Satan is working in excellent disguise. Many have listened to his whisperings and are convinced that all is well in Zion. Satan’s method of denying his own existence to ensare us with a flaxen cord is supported by the following quote:
It must be remembered that the first job of any conspiracy, whether it be in politics, crime, or within a business office, is to convince everyone else that no conspiracy exists. The conspirators’ success will be determined largely by their ability to do this. That the elite of the academic world and mass communications media always pooh-pooh the existence of the Insiders merely serves to camouflage their operations. Gary Allen, None Dare Call It Conspiracy, p. 17)
The fact that “conspiracy theorists” are written off as mentally instable persons only lends further support to the fact that Satan is winning the hearts of the children of men. They are convinced he doesn’t exist and that conspiracies are an imagination of deranged minds.
As the First Presidency in 1942 stated, Satan is behind all evil in our day, seeking to bind us down with the chains of hell. Joseph Fielding Smith agreed:
Satan has control now. No matter where you look, he is in control, even in our own land. He is guiding the governments as far as the Lord will permit him. That is why there is so much strife, turmoil, and confusion all over the earth. One master mind is governing the nations. It is not the president of the United States; it is not Hitler; it is not Mussolini; it is not the king or government of England or any other land; it is Satan himself. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Source: Doctrines of Salvation, 3:315, emphasis mine)
His son-in-law, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, agreed:
Gadianton robbers fill the judgment seats in many nations. An evil power seeks to overthrow the freedom of all nations and countries. Satan reigns in the hearts of men; it is the great day of his power. (Bruce R. McConkie, Source: “The Coming Tests and Trials and Glory,” Ensign, May 1980, p.73)
Those who are endowed have additional knowledge as to Satan’s purposes and methods. Next time you are doing an endowment session, pay close attention to the words he says and you’ll realize exactly what methods Satan has employed in our day to achieve his goals. It becomes incumbent, once realizing his methods, to learn the specifics of his approach and through whom he is achieving his goals.
In the book of Ether we learn that Satan has employed the same methods since the beginning:
And it came to pass that thus they did agree with Akish. And Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought power, which had been handed down even from Cain, who was a murderer from the beginning.
And they were kept up by the power of the devil to administer these oaths unto the people, to keep them in darkness, to help such as sought power to gain power, and to murder, and to plunder, and to lie, and to commit all manner of wickedness and whoredoms.
And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God;
For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man.
And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.
And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.
And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning. (Ether 8:15-16, 18-25, emphasis mine)
The Lord, through his prophet Moroni, tells us here that the secret combination instituted and supported by Satan shall be among us. Satan is actively seeking to bring about the destruction of freedom and liberty in all nations. This is happening today. Those who disagree obviously do not believe that the Book of Mormon was written for our day.
It is interesting to note the strong language used in the above passage. We are not encouraged to learn about these things—we are commanded to “awake to a sense of [our] awful situation. Again, we are commanded to learn about these things which are of large consequence. We can’t ignore them or treat them lightly.
President Ezra Taft Benson, commenting on the secret combination mentioned in these verses, said:
I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14-16; D&C 84:49-53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. (See Ether 8:18-25.) (Ezra Taft Benson, “I Testify”)
Perhaps the best description of Satan’s secret combinations, with the exception of Ether 8, can be found in the latter half of Moses, chapter 5. Verse 53 describes luciferianism as being a male-only covenant:
And among the daughters of men these things were not spoken, because that Lamech had spoken the secret unto his wives, and they rebelled against him, and declared these things abroad, and had not compassion; (Moses 5:53)
Verse 52 indicates that Satan’s covenants and works were “spread among all the sons of men”. Three verses later, we learn that the works of darkness “prevail[ed]” among them. Then in chapter 6, verse 15, we read that Satan had “great dominion” among men. This state of progression shows not only how the world was in its early days, but how it is today.
The fact that so few people are aware of Satan and his tactics only testifies of the success he has enjoyed in blinding our eyes and hardening our hearts. For that reason we must “awake to a sense of [our] awful situation” and waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness.