One of the most important things to understand in a battle is who your enemy is. Unfortunately, the enemy we fight on this earth is incredibly knowledgeable and powerful. He knows our weaknesses, and he is invisible to us. We are destined to find him and know him before we leave this earth, but he is a wily foe, with many faces. His strategies are designed to slip through our defenses and penetrate our minds and wills while remaining safely in the shadows, unknowable and incomprehensible as darkness.
In the Batman Dark Knight series made years ago Bruce Wayne was forced to fight an enemy that seemed to thrive in darkness. The idea of learning to see without seeing, by using superhuman senses is a common archetype in human culture. Who can forget the critical moment in Star Wars when Luke Skywalker turns off his targeting computer to make his last fatal strike on the Death Star? Blindly, using only the force to guide him, he is able to make the nearly impossible shot.
Is she going to make a Star Wars gospel parallel? Yes. I’m going to go there. How do you fight an invisible foe that knows you on a level that you can’t comprehend? How do you tap into “the force” that can enable you to discern the evil, reveal it, and conquer? I wish I knew the answers to those questions but I’m still a Padawan without a trainer……I know a few things, but have even more questions than answers.
One thing that is clear from the scriptures, is that Satan is a liar. He doesn’t deal in truths, he distorts truth to entrap us in lies. He effectively neutralizes all the light and knowledge that would save us by injecting it with falsehood. He makes allies look like enemies and enemies look like friends. Think of what Satan was able to do between the time of Moses and the time of Jesus Christ.
At the time the law was given to Moses, it had wonderful potential to nurture a people who would be prepared to welcome the Son of God ushering in a era of peace and joy; a renaissance the likes of which the world has never seen. The law of Moses was a preparatory gospel to train God’s people to think symbolically and abstractly. It was ritualistic like the pagan worship Jehovah was weaning them from. Even with the Law of Moses given by God himself, the people were able to find ways to look beyond the mark, justify themselves, and lose the good effects God wanted them to get from it. As in the master’s parable, we can safely say, an enemy hath done this! Rather than welcome the Son of God with gladness and rejoicing, they murdered him.
One of the things that surprises me sometimes is learning that I have behaved the way my adversary wanted me to behave. For example, I came across a fake news story on my Facebook feed about a clown serial killer. I pride myself on my macabre knowledge of serial killers and was surprised at the existence of a clown serial killer I was not aware of. I read the article appropriately horrified by the grisly tale of the fabricated monster. It wasn’t until I tried to google more information about the fictitious crimes that I discovered, I had been duped. I have since been more wary of fake news.
I was surprised to find that the DNC was encouraging two candidates in the RNC primaries in 2015. One of them was Donald Trump and the other was Ben Carson. I wasn’t surprised that the opposition wanted Trump, but I liked Carson. He was my number one pick for a long time. What made them think he would be easily defeated? I’ve also found myself drawn into conflicts on Twitter with trolls who provide no value to my life. I’ve wondered sometimes if some of the people I follow are really foreign agents who are feeding me seductive messages calculated with sophisticated algorithms to deceive me and warp my reality. I haven’t taken to wearing a tin foil hat yet, but in the age we are living in it is wise for us to exercise caution. We face a dangerous enemy and I fear they know us much better than we know them. Is our strategy playing into their hands?
One strategy that serves Satan and his polezny idiots very well is his ability to divide his enemies. He keeps us busy squabbling amongst ourselves about pointless things while he lurks unseen doing the real damage while we are distracted. Look at his work on the world stage! Former allies and friends look at one another with distrust and suspicion. Trump would have us believe that our pool of trustworthy news sources is whittled down to a small handful among hundreds. We are to trust his words and his perceptions over our own as he is our only advocate.
Abusers use similar strategies. They convince their victims that they alone love them, they alone understand and accept them, that leaving the abuse will result in a frightful vacuum of support in which terrible consequences lurk. A victim will defend their abuser even while enduring horrific treatment because the abuser has shattered the ability of the victim to trust the sources of assistance available to them. Lies entrap. Lies victimize.
Some say that we are living in a post-truth era where lies are everywhere. The facts depend on the narrative to which you subscribe and for every fact there is an alternative fact which is just as valid to someone else. This is the kind of environment that Satan loves. Eventually everyone gets used to the lies and becomes cynical expecting the worst in their fellows. Sometimes the lies seem so transparent as to be ridiculous. The Washington Post fact checkers used to give out Pinocchios to statements given by public figures when they told a lie. For the post truth era, they have instituted a new category of lie. It is the bottomless Pinocchio. Instead of a score of between one and four Pinocchios, the bottomless Pinocchio is given when a lie is repeated over and over in spite of being debunked.
The truth is, we all believe some lies. We believe lies, not because we don’t know the truth or can’t find it. It is because we want to believe the lie. We are vulnerable to the lie. Do we all know that good moral character is important in our political leaders? Yes. But when our guy screws up, it is so much easier to say, forgive and forget. He’s a good guy, he just messed up. When it’s the other guy, it confirms our worst suspicions. He’s a monster and should be thrown into outer darkness. Why do people fall for scams? The lie just sounds so appealing! We are vulnerable to it. The slick salesman that promises the deal that is too good to be true, the pyramid investment scheme that promises health and wealth, the scratch off lottery ticket with it’s tiny chance of a fabulous prize, the shuckster politician with a bag full of empty promises…..it is just too good to not hope for.
I watched a program today about hormones. It detailed the scientific journey of the medical world in identifying and understanding hormones and their function in the body. One of the things that struck me was that often the greatest breakthroughs in the research were the direct result of a failed hypothesis. When something goes the way we have been taught to expect, there is little we can learn. When research reveals something truly unexpected, we might be onto something special. Why don’t we celebrate those moments in our lives?
When I expect that my child will respond a certain way to my behavior and he doesn’t respond, do I think, “Wow! This is a great opportunity for me to learn something new about myself and my child!” No, I gripe and complain that he isn’t listening again. The journey to truth is an adventure. Each bend in the road is an opportunity to discover hidden truth, as long as your mind is open to receive it.
If lies entrap and victimize, truth sets us free. It reveals the intents of the wicked and exposes their abuse. It enlightens the mind and heals the body. Truth is a gift from God and blessed are those who find it and treasure it up in their hearts. Truth is the only truly effective weapon we have against Satan for lies and darkness cannot stand against truth and light.
I said earlier that I am a Padawan without a trainer. Perhaps I do have a trainer. He is my Savior, even my Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Prince of Light and he guides my path and my training as I learn the ways of the force. For he is the light of the world and all those who come unto him shall not walk in darkness, but have everlasting light!
One thought on “An Evolving Villian”
I love the last few lines of your post, as I believe being filled with the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost is the key to not being deceived.
Do you remember us discussing the parable of the 12 virgins. You remember 6 were wise and had extra oil with them, 6 were foolish and their lamps burned out. Of course it is explained in D&C 45 that the wise virgins received the truth and took the Holy Spirit for their guide and were not deceived. Let us all, as President Nelson pled, pay the price daily to light our minds with the spirit.
Love you so💕Dad
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