We often think of temptations in a very narrow category. Morality or dishonesty or something involving money. But temptations come in all varieties (Mosiah 4:29) and tempt us to think and do things that lead away from God. We know who the tempter is..... and if we can recognize and drag more of such devilish tactics into the light, it could be of great benefit.
Joseph Smith taught:
“A man must have the discerning of spirits before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul-destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors; for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God."
Anyone else interested in checking up on some false spirits and turning away from them?
One is the temptation to control and misuse power and authority (Priesthood). Scripture warn that it's in the disposition of man to do this, even when we only suppose we have a little authority (D&C 121:39). Even "supposed" authority causes people to misuse the "supposed" authority. Geeze are we humans really that bad? Whether in work, dealing with children, parents, school, church, etc etc. Authority can be abused with words, indirect subtle messages, misguided actions, coercion, compulsion and or imposing false traditions. So what's the lie? The lie that accompanies the temptation to misuse power and authority is that by exerting control and authority it will calm your fears, get you power and influence, submit others to you, improve your standing, win you popularity, get you additional control, bring peace, or accomplish some other self centered objective. But it's a lie. Those tools are false. It will not last. It's a temporary illusion. D&C teaches that the ONLY tools that can be used, by virtue of the Priesthood are.... I'll post them so you can read them yourself, they are good
D&C 121: No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
On a funny side note. If any of you have seen the movie Nacho Libre (Jack Black) there's a scene where Nacho (A religiously suppressed monk who takes care of orphans at an orphanage. He loves the children but is oppressed by his church and fellow monk church brothers) is told by his wrestling companion Steven of a gypsy who knows how to get physical powers so he can start winning his Lucha Libre (Pro wrestling) matches. Tired of loosing, Nacho locates the gypsy who takes him to a cliff where he is told to climb up to a nest, and eat the yolk of some eagles eggs. This is supposed to grant him super special eagle wrestling powers. He climbs up and eats the yolks.
After that evenings loss at the wrestling match, where clearly the eagle powers didn't work, he turns to his wrestling tag team companion Steven and says "Those eggs were a lie Steven....A LIE!". The scene always cracks me up. haha YouTube clip here.
Anyway back to the actual topic. Another temptation is to trust in carnal security. I mean who wouldn't feel safer with an underground silo to live in should there be massive world wide war? There was some recent hype among my extended family regarding a book containing very detailed predictive visions of destruction in specific cities and earthquakes in specific places and such. The effect on those most into it was to trigger an appeal to carnal security. The lie works because carnal security so common sense and believable that it's accepted as if it wasn't distracting you from the reality of a bigger picture. The predicted earthquake never happened as many of those predictions don't. But the point is, what good is all the food storage in the world if you find your soul not saved? So lets look at the lie. What amount of political, social, economic or military security will matter in the long run if your own inner self is not reconciled to God? It doesn't matter at all in the long run. It's all in vain and all a big fat distraction unless/until the inner person has been reconciled with God. Carnal security and arm of the flesh are a lie. The only real security is with God and Christ and being reconciled to them.
Another one my mind this week was the temptation/lie that safety is found in the arm of the flesh, or in modern terms following a mortal due to his title, tradition, size and or success of the organization being led. The lie is that there is safety in numbers, safety in growth statistics, and safety in being part of a heard. But that's a lie. There is only safety in following God, and His Spirit. That's it. Arm of the flesh and other mortals are not trustworthy even if it's much easier and simpler or convenient to your faith in them. We should not be mislead by such lies that there is safety in following that nonsense. There's a distinct difference between a true message and a false one. One appeals to your vanity, pride, and carnal lazy nature. The other does not. If we cleared out all the religious garbage in our heads I think it would not be difficult to tell when you are hearing a load of crap, vs the truth.
Another temptation. We're tempted to postpone repentance. The temptation often shows up as a lie about how you don't don't need to repent. Or distracts you into the lie that other people need to repent more than you.....while of course blinding you to your own state.
Alma 12:14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.
Words, works, thoughts.... these are the things we are warned about. They will condemn us.
The verse says "will condemn" You can be tempted to believe the lie that our actions on earth only takes effect at the last day. But what if "will condemn" is not just about a future day of judgement when the effects of those things will be apparent, but what if the word "will" is also used in the sense of a description of those things which have the capacity to affect you here and now. Our thoughts "will condemn". Now, today, and tomorrow. We carry thoughts and speak words which are stopping our progress. Our vain, self righteous works in the dark are among the things that "will" condemn us. Words, thoughts, and works are powerful.
Another temptation that's been on my mind this week is how we are all tempted with hypocrisy. Lying to and about ourselves Being tempted to exaggerate the failures inadequacies and flaws of others, while overlooking our own. It's clever. We all have flaws, so some of our assessments may be correct. But the lie is that "they" are the problem. This temptation leads a person to think, say, and do some very harmful things to other people. Things that harm rather than heal. Christ warned about this:
Luke 6:42: Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
What about the temptation towards adultery or related immorality? What's the lie embedded in those temptations? The lie accompanying those is that such things will make you happy, or leave you fulfilled or get you what you "deserve" or meet more of your wants met than are currently being met. But it's a big.fat.giant.lie.
We should go to God and remedy ourselves, and marriage, that's where the hope lies. On that note, and to have a little contrast, see this quote below and its welcome spirit of discernment.
The Devil will exaggerate your mate's failures and inadequacies, sow suspicion and jealousy, indulge your self-pity, insist that you deserve something better, and hold out the hollow promise that things would be better with someone else. But hear Jesus' words, and remember; God can change hearts and remove all hardheadedness if we will allow Him.