One of the participants of the Sons of Mosiah program stimulated a great conversation with the question “Should we focus on Hating Satan or Loving Christ?” The following is my response:
I love the intensity of your conversations! I am so proud of you for being assertive yet edifying in these discussions. You are all seriously trying to find answers to difficult questions. You are being true to yourselves at the same time showing love and respect for each other. Well done!
Now, let me see if I can do my job in training you correctly.
Cleansing the Temple
Our body is a temple. Let us go back to the story of what happened when Christ found the temple defiled…again (John 2:13-15). Christ showed an unexpected amount of intensity in that situation. What I have learned, as a spiritual scientist, is that in order to cleanse your body of the chemicals that deteriorate accurate cognitive functioning (get us stoned), a reverse chemical process must take place in the brain. The feeling associated with this chemical shift is as hard to explain as describing how the Holy Ghost feels. The closest, brief description I have found is “intense ferocity”. It has been my experience that when your temple needs cleansing, you need to be Christlike by chasing away the unwanted visitors with intense ferocity.
Satan and the Temple
(I will try to be as reverent as I can with this next topic, remembering the sacredness of the temple and temple ceremonies.)
One of my biggest surprises when I went through the temple for the first time was to see how often Satan was included in the Adam and Eve story. He seemed to be everywhere. At that age, I thought it was peculiar. Now, after years of living and professionally working to help individuals and families, I have gained the same testimony…he is everywhere. Whenever I start to get concerned that I am over emphasizing the Satanic element of life, I listen carefully to the next set of conference talks and observe that near 50% of all conference talks refer to Satan, and a handful are directly about him.
The War Chapters of the Book of Mormon
For many years, I could not understand why there were so many chapters about bloody wars in the Book of Mormon. Certainly, if Mormon abridged the book, he would have taken them out and left just the “spiritual” chapters. Again, over time and experience, my awareness of how “bloody” this was can get has only grown. I get to hear 1-4 women each day cry because of what Satan has been able to do to their husbands and sons. I am the guy who good, valiant men come to when they have been fighting on the front lines (strong priesthood leaders) and they get hit with something they weren’t ready for, and in a pool of (psychological) blood, they lay on my operating table hoping I can do brain surgery fast enough, while their wives cry in fear and pain in the waiting room. The Book of Mormon teaches us how much “intense ferocity” is needed in order to protect our loved ones from a very cunning enemy.
Temporal and Spiritual
The Book of Mormon war chapters also teach us about the balance between temporal (of the body) and spiritual. To clarify this point, I remember a quote that I believe came from one of the modern prophets about 20 years ago (I will let one of you find the reference). “Pray as if it all depends on God. Work as if it all depends on you.” If we look closely at the times in the Book of Mormon when the Nephite armies were at their best, when not in battle, they were diligent about their relationship with God, Christ and the Atonement. They also exercised their military skills and strengthened their borders. There was a shift though, when the enemy was nearby. Reluctantly, they fought, and “like dragons did they fight.” As the warriors ran into battle, they “prayed as if it all depended on God, and FOUGHT as if it all depended on them.”
The Lamanites were very mean and cunning about the way they tried to enslave and destroy families. Satan is even more mean and more cunning. Modernly, he targets our bodies, and the chemicals in our bodies. He targets the chemicals that shift our brains out of the zones that help us remember our values and our plans and into the more animal zones that crave unignorably. When this happens, the temporal weapon needed to fight back is warrior chemistry, and warrior chemistry is released when we feel like the warriors of the Book of Mormon felt when the enemy was about the seriously hurt his wife and children. It is what Christ felt when he was cleansing His temple.
I have never been formally trained in any form of martial arts, but it is my understanding that warriors are trained to make certain sounds in conjunction with their fighting motions. It is my understanding that these sounds help produce intensity and strength in the warrior. Swearing during a psychological battle with Satan is not about the swearing. We Americans have little, accurate training on how to make sounds correctly while fighting. Our default, amateur compensation has become swearing while fighting. Several references come to mind from movies, but I will let you come up with your own.
It is true that some beginners swear unnecessary and excessively as they learn how to cleanse their temples using warrior chemistry. If they are sincere about their goal to learn how to do it right, I do not worry too much about this. But the goal is to cleanse the body of deviant chemicals using warrior chemicals, not to swear. I don’t know what Christ said under he breath as he cleansed the temple. I don’t know what each of the Sons of Helaman said under his breath as he was forced to put his sword through another Lamanite. I don’t know what they said, but I can imagine how they felt.
The Sons of Helaman program is designed to teach you how to fight, and how to win your battles. During this lifetime, you will probably live a life style similar to the Nephites who came before you. You will have times of peace and times of war. The church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are there for your healing and for your salvation. Do all you can to spend your time with them. But when the Lamanites come, when Satan comes, be ready. Sadly, we must take time away from the temple to work on the edge of the city building walls of protection. We must spend time on the practice field exercising our strength and skills in battle. We, as did the Sons of Helaman, will all come back from battle with wounds. Christ is there to heal our wounds. He is the great Redeemer. I personally would be full of depression and anxiety and deviant behavior if it were not for Christ and the Atonement. I am forever grateful.
So, hate Satan or love Christ? It appears that both are needed, and how much of each? It depends on whether or not Satan is in your face in the moment. And it is not really about “hating” Satan. It is another of those indescribable feelings. How were the Nephites supposed to feel about the Lamanites when the Lamanites were, right then, trying to kill the men in an effort to ‘take’ the women? What is the feeling that we are to have when we notice, again, that Satan is trying to distort our brain chemistry, our feelings, our thoughts, our words and our actions in an effort to destroy our confidence and our families?
Love Christ….Hate Satan