There is some truth to the old adage “the devil made me do it.” While I truly believe that we are in control of ourselves and our circumstances and what happens in our lives, there are times when we can be overcome with negative entities (company, as one friend of mine likes to call them) and find ourselves doing things we wouldn’t normally do if we were in a good state of mind. The reason why I’m listing “the devil made me do it” as one of the lies is because no matter what state of mind we find ourselves in, we still have a choice to make. Do we continue to feel out of control, do we continue to feel pain, do we continue down a road where we know we shouldn’t be, or do we choose to make a course correction?
Having already established that we all have a common enemy, let’s further explore how that enemy called Satan tries to distract us from our mission. The early American prophet Brigham Young has been quoted as saying, “You never felt a pain and ache, or felt disagreeable, or uncomfortable in your bodies and minds, but what an evil spirit was present causing it. Do you realize that the ague, the fever, the chills, the severe pain in the head, the pleurisy or any pain in the system, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, is put there by the devil? … The spirits that afflict us and plant disease in our bodies, pain in the system, and finally death, have control over us so far as the flesh is concerned.” (Brigham Young, *Journal of Discourses, Vol 4, “On the Death of President Jedidiah M Grant” p 133) It’s helpful to read the whole lecture, but what I think President Young was saying is that all physical and emotional ailments, trivial or serious, can be linked to something negative we have allowed into our lives. This, I believe, is the truth.
This is why I have come to understand why it’s so important to focus on positive—saying positive things to ourselves, rejecting that which will bring down our energetic vibration, surrounding ourselves with positive energy in people, media and environments. When we allow ourselves to entertain negative thoughts or beliefs, when we allow negative people, media, or situations to influence us, we in essence open the door for Satan and his followers to attack. I have learned about and had experiences with what some call evil weapons or devices, and how Satan uses them. His tactics are simple and devious. It’s genius, really.
Here’s an example of how it works. As a child, maybe you got in trouble a lot. Maybe your mother said things to you like “You drive me crazy,” or “You’re going to drive me to drink” or even, heaven forbid, “Damn you!” In your little child brain, you took these statements seriously. Your little mind might have believed that you were causing your mother a lot of stress and that maybe you weren’t a very good child. You may have even said something to yourself, like “I’m a bad child. I always cause trouble. My mother doesn’t love me because I cause her so many problems.” At that point, Satan and his minions act upon this negative belief. They place a spiritual device in you somewhere, maybe like a tape recorder in your brain, that replays for you what you believe about yourself, plus maybe a little of his own enhancement. “You’re a bad child. Your mother doesn’t love you. You’re a troublemaker. Nobody will ever really love you.” Then every time you do something wrong, this recording plays in your head and reinforces your belief. Since he’s already placed the device and it’s doing its job, he doesn’t have to whisper in your ears anymore. It’s all taken care of. It will stay in place until you choose to change that belief about yourself. It could stay there 50 years, playing and playing and attracting situations into your life that will reinforce that belief over and over again. Those beliefs will most certainly manifest themselves in your physical body. They may make you sick or depressed. They may cause your back to hurt all the time. Like I say, it’s genius. I know it probably doesn’t seem fair, but it is the way of things, and this understanding helps us realize there is a lot to learn.
There is great power in understanding his tactics. Knowing what’s going on, you can choose to change what you think and start saying positive things to yourself. That’s where it starts. You will need some help in clearing those old beliefs, but choosing to believe something different is the first step.
Another way Satan gets to us is by using others to cause contention. I have a friend whose seven year-old girl was frequently hitting her, jabbing her, and generally causing irritation, sometimes by even saying nasty things to her. My friend knew this behavior wasn’t natural for her daughter, but didn’t know what to do about it. It was pointed out to her that maybe her daughter had some negative company, simply for the purpose of irritating her and driving a wedge between her and her daughter. Once this company was identified and dismissed, through the power of Jesus Christ, my friend has a kinder, gentler daughter, much less prone to hitting and saying unkind things to members of her family. There are lots of stories like this. People just don’t talk a lot about it.
We have protection against these evil devices. “Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Satan and his disciples cannot tolerate the spiritual light of the gospel; they must immediately depart. If we…are obedient and walk in the light, having both the Light of Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide us, we will make the right choices. If we make our choices without the Holy Ghost, we will make wrong choices that lead us toward the darkness—and we will wander in strange paths and be lost. In our daily lives we must understand how important the light of the Spirit is to us. …the Light of Christ is our salvation and protection from the darkness of the adversary. We will never be left without the Light of Christ even when there is darkness all around us in this mortal probation.” (Robert Hales, “That Ye May Be the Children of Light”)
I am very grateful to have learned these things, so that I can share them with you. I believe there is great power in understanding and fighting the tools of Satan and his evil followers. I wish to be as Captain Moroni from the pages of the Book of Mormon, for “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.” He was a man “of perfect understanding.” (Alma 48) The more I understand, the more lies I can expose, the more power I believe I can have over my enemy. I wish the same for you.