The Devil is true. This is what I have wanted to say many times in Testimony Meeting. But I’m sure before I got the sentence out of my mouth the Bishop would be dragging me away from the podium.

Even though we believe in Satan, he is usually just a footnote added to most talks and lessons. Nobody gets assigned “Lucifer” as a topic for Sacrament Meeting. Although Satan is discussed at the temple, most people in the church—especially the younger demographic—are educated about Satan via Hollywood. Lucifer has become nothing more than a ghost story to many people.

Occasionally someone at church will bring up C.S. Lewis’ excellent book The Screwtape Letters. Or some sweet old lady will dust off that silly quote, “the Devil isn’t smart, he just has a lot of experience.” Sadly, the Devil is smart. Very smart. And it is naïve and ignorant to assume that we can float along in life without having to face off against Satan.

This is what I would like people, especially the younger ones, to know: the Devil is real and powerful and nothing but evil. He has been around a long time and is a cunning expert at getting people to believe what he wants. He can convince you that red is blue and that up is down. And he can do so without you realizing what has happened until you, like the scriptures say, are wrapped up entirely in flaxen cords on your way down a terrible path.
But this doesn’t happen because you put on a cursed amulet or moved into a house built on an ancient Indian burial ground. The Devil can’t take over your life without you letting him. If you think about it, our daily decisions and just about everything we do either invite the Lord or the Devil into our lives.

That feels so histrionic to say; that we are inviting Satan into our lives every time we criticize someone, or flirt with a person we aren’t married to, or keep the extra change that the grocery store clerk gave us. I mean, come on! Spare me the fire and brimstone!

But the Devil is real. And I don’t know how else to say it. Yes, it is melodramatic. I guess all of religion is melodramatic. This is peoples’ souls we’re talking about here; the subject deserves some melodrama.

It is a scary topic and one that people don’t want to come right out and talk about. But I think that’s foolish. In every story and movie where there is a foe to be fought, the protagonists must first know the enemy in order to defeat him.

What have you learned that has helped you in your fight against the enemy? How are we to defeat Satan?

42 Comments

  1. Stephanie

    March 3, 2011

    Um… amen?

    Seriously, I wholeheartedly agree. Just as I’ve had to come to be sensitive to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, I’ve had to learn when Satan is the one nudging me to be more angry, more prideful.

    He’s real, he’s relentless, and he’s very good at finding cracks in my spiritual armor.

  2. Melanie

    March 3, 2011

    “And he can do so without you realizing what has happened until you, like the scriptures say, are wrapped up entirely in flaxen cords on your way down a terrible path.”

    This is so true, and this is why it’s so extremely important that we seek to have the Spirit with us at all times.

    In my thirst for all types of learning, sometimes I notice myself slipping into attitudes that are not in harmony with the gospel. It scares me to realize that if left unchecked, I could slowly be lead to turn against the church. I’m really grateful for the Spirit that helps me to identify when I’m starting to cross a dangerous line.

  3. MelissaPete

    March 3, 2011

    I do believe I actually said this while bearing my testimony once. Why? Because I had a friend who was in the depths of depression, and she told me she didn’t believe in what people said about Satan. I saw that because she didn’t really believe in him or his power, she did not recognize all of the signs of his influence in her life. Everyone around her saw it. Knowing your enemy is crucial in order to know how to defend yourself. I felt like this is knowing he is our enemy is part of my testimony of the gospel and what our challenges are in this life. I’m not saying that every testimony need include a message about Satan, I’m just saying that acknowledging his influence and sharing what has helped one overcome it is a strength to those listening.

    Knowing that doubt and despair are his tools have helped me overcome. I still slip because I don’t recognize his hand. That is exactly the point of the “flaxen cord” metaphor. So when I recognize it, I try to fight. Recognizing that it’s him is the first step. These kinds of feelings don’t generate from a loving Heavenly Father. He does not delight in our sadness.

    The last time I slipped and missed the cues, I found myself in the midst of a year long mild depression. I understand that depression is a different animal. I didn’t even know what had happened to me for almost a year. When I figured it out, I could see that Satan had gotten through with his messages and I was buying them. It was so sly. Talk about a flaxen cord. I believe the depression may be chemical (I have a doctor’s appointment soon to discuss this), but I also believe that Satan gets you when you’re down. He knows our weaknesses and capitalizes on those. Even when I realized what was happening to me, I didn’t snap out of it right away. But I tried really hard to think about my Father in Heaven and his love for me.

    I am slowly returning to normal, but it is a daily struggle to remember my worth. I am easily distracted by life which is just the ticket to opening myself for sabotage. If I get too busy, I forget my prayers and scripture study and the things that I need to do to stay connected. This is a hard struggle, and he is not ever going to give up. We have to fortify ourselves and be constantly aware.

    Thank you for your post. I’m sorry my response was so long. It isn’t even well-written, but I appreciate the chance to share these thoughts.

  4. Sharlee

    March 3, 2011

    Flannery O’Connor (referencing Baudelaire) reminds us that the devil’s greatest wile is to convince us that he does not exist.

    You are so right, Jennie, that we must know the enemy. I think the way Lucifer is depicted in the temple is so instructive; he’s handsome, reasonable-sounding, and quite charming.

    Here’s what I’ve learned about the ol’ guy: he will go for your weaknesses, every time. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll go for your strengths, pushing you toward fanaticism and over-zealousness until those strengths become weaknesses.

  5. Kathryn Skaggs

    March 3, 2011

    Can I give an “Amen”!

    You’re right, we don’t talk enough, not only in Church meetings, but even in our own homes, about the reality of that fallen “son of the morning” — Satan!

    Thanks for your “subtle” reminder;)

    tDMg

  6. Melissa M.

    March 3, 2011

    I had several experiences on my mission that taught me that the devil is real. I’ve never forgotten them. I agree with you Jennie that Satan is often reduced to a folk tale or a ghost story, and I worry that our youth don’t take him or his tactics seriously enough. And, as Sharlee said, “the devil’s greatest wile is to convince us that he does not exist.” I do think we need to teach our youth that he is real, that he will use his cunning to ensnare them, and that they need to arm themselves by being aware of his tactics and by holding fast to goodness and righteousness. You’re right, it sounds a bit melodramatic (and I sometimes feel that my children think I’m being melodramatic when I talk about Satan’s wiles)—but it’s true, and never more applicable and crucial to understand than now.

  7. KLS

    March 3, 2011

    “I am no devil, for there is none…”

  8. mormonhermitmom

    March 3, 2011

    Oh yes he is real, but I think we need to emphasize that we can control him by controlling ourselves. Our obedience to the gospel brings the Holy Spirit around, and Satan doesn’t like that. He may fight it, but if the Spirit is strong enough, Satan leaves.

    We also need to emphasize that Satan loves to instill fear in all of its forms. Faith is the opposite of fear.

    Yes we need to acknowledge that he does exist, and since he doesn’t have a body, he technically IS a ghost. But I find that if we talk about the guy too much, it’s like giving a terrorist too much press coverage – it just strokes his ego more than it deserves. I don’t want to glorify Satan, I want to focus on Christ. The one we pay more attention to, the one we obey more, that is the master that will have the more powerful influence.

  9. catania

    March 3, 2011

    Super interesting post, and I think that what you’ve said is true. It is easy to overlook Satan, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. He’s working hard to destroy us, and he has a whole lot of other souls doing the same thing.

    As a teacher/leader of the youth, I feel like it is really important to be realistic about Satan – recognize that he exists and he wants us to be miserable – without using “scare tactics”. Sometimes Satan seems hyperbolized (even if he isn’t), and that causes the youth to ignore what we’re teaching.

    I also love the comment – that he will also tempt us to become overzealous.

  10. A

    March 3, 2011

    I am so glad you posted this. I also know that Satan is real. And he and his devils NEVER sleep. And the fact that he is perceived as a ghost story is even more concerning, because that is JUST what he wants us to believe, that he is not really there. It is easier for him to pull us down when he has us believing that.

    My advice? Pray for the gift of discernment. Pray to know truth. Anyone who desires these gifts for Righteous intent can receive them. There has never been a stronger need for the Saints to know the difference, and be able to recognize the adversary and know how to handle it, than right now.

  11. Naomi

    March 3, 2011

    I find TRS’s experience in the temple interesting, since I find that the temple is the exact place where I have learned the most about defeating Satan. One of my favorite aspects of the initiatory is the final promise given concerning the garment. And we watch Adam and Eve and the Lord’s servants dispel Satan with power. It’s important to remember that we have that power, too, and have been given the same tools.

    And, yes, as silly as it may sound, I sometimes have to whisper under my breath to tell Satan to go away and to leave me alone.

    But none of this is to say that he is a constant thought–heavens no! I find it most helpful though to recognize the source of my feelings or thoughts or actions–be it Christ or Satan. I think that recognition is important, particularly when I need to go about remedying or changing something about myself. And it’s just as vitally important (if not more so) to recognize when my feelings, etc. come from Christ. It causes me to reflect on what I am doing or thinking or feeling, so that I am better able to recreate that experience again and again.

    We focus a lot of our discussions on recognizing how the Spirit speaks to us individually, but I think it’s also important to recognize how Satan works on each of us. He does work in patterns. He does go for our weaknesses. And once we recognize these tactics we are better able to prepare our defenses. It literally is a war and sometimes I need to remind myself of that fact.

  12. Karyn

    March 3, 2011

    Thank you for the well-written post. It is a dangerous thing to underestiminate or minimize the power of Satan. We do have power to lessen his power in our lives as we monitor our thoughts, words, and actions and center our lives on the Savior.

    However, those who suffer with mental illness sometimes face serious challenges with Satan which all the willpower in the world will not overcome. I am appalled at the influence Satan has in the life of my schizophrenic niece, who is an angel when she is well and is very dangerous when she forgets or refuses to take her medications. I know a number of people who experience very real bombardments by evil spirits when they experience the chemical imbalance of depression and schizophrenia.

    I feel sad that in some cases, people–through no fault of their own–literally lose their agency because of mental illness, when Satan overcomes their hearts and minds. It is a question I am anxious to have resolved, in this life or the next.

  13. jendoop

    March 3, 2011

    It is a delicate balance to talk about the reality of Satan while not giving him too much credit. You know, the whole, “the devil made me do it” argument. Remembering that the power is ours, we only need to step up and claim it, is an important part of the conversation. As you said, he can’t have influence over us unless we let him.

    As many others mentioned, maintaining a close relationship with the Holy Ghost is my greatest shield against the adversary. A huge part of this is reading scriptures and learning the doctrines so that I can obey.

    TRS – Your comment seems snarky and bait for a fight. Those aspects you mentioned are completely applicable within context. If you can’t understand how there are many places you can study. You can even ask to speak to the temple president about your concerns.

  14. Paula

    March 3, 2011

    A very well written post. I’ll say amen to the fact that Satan does exist and wants us “to be miserable like unto himself.” Along the lines of the quote by KLS, I’ve always felt that one of Satan’s biggest tools is to make us believe he doesn’t exist. I often tell myself that Satan will not win and Heavenly Father has given me (and each one of us) the power to defeat him.

    The power to defeat Satan comes from putting on the armor of God daily, study the scriptures, say my prayers, keep the commandments, act as the Savior would to my fellow brothers and sisters and follow the prophet of God. I think we tend to make it more complicated than it really needs to be.

  15. Rachelle

    March 3, 2011

    Will I have almost actually said this over the pulpit. I just have not said it verbatim. The Devil is as real as the Holy Ghost. Satan can speak to our minds and until we recognize his voice we can get confused that it is our own thoughts. Once we recognize the voice of Satan whispering in our ear we can start to say “I am not having this conversation.”

  16. Paul

    March 3, 2011

    “Oh yes he is real, but I think we need to emphasize that we can control him by controlling ourselves.”

    That statement is true as it relates to ourselves — that is, I can control the place I give the adversary in my life. But I cannot control what place he has in yours.

    The example in the Garden is instructive: Satan influenced the choices that Adam and Eve made, but in the end, thy chose what they did. Our pattern is no different.

  17. Stephanie2

    March 3, 2011

    I believe the depression may be chemical (I have a doctor’s appointment soon to discuss this), but I also believe that Satan gets you when you’re down. He knows our weaknesses and capitalizes on those.

    This has been my experience.

    To combat Satan, I seek to develop the gift of discernment. I do believe it is one of my spiritual gifts, but I try to practice and stay as close to the Spirit as possible. I try to listen and obey promptings.

  18. MelissaPete

    March 3, 2011

    Stephanie2, thanks for your comment. I am a really, really spiritual person. So much so that I think one can become too confident in that? Not in a bragging way, just in that we can prepare ourselves spiritually, and think we are somehow safer, but it doesn’t mean that at all. He just gets more cunning. That’s what surprised me the most this last year. I thought I was smarter than this. I definitely have to pray for the gift of discernment, no doubt. We can’t ever let our guard down, and I have complete faith that remaining close to the Spirit is our definitely our best defense.

    Karyn, I agree whole-heartedly with what you have said. We, too, have a family member who succumbed to the kind of influence you mentioned. I have to believe that our merciful Father knows what is in our hearts and what is or isn’t in our control. I am waiting with you to find out the answer to that question.

  19. Anna M

    March 3, 2011

    I am no apologist, but I think that the reason we don’t talk about Satan much in church is to not invite him into our conversation. Who are we to talk about that would make us feel light and truth?

    I know Satan is real. I know he is our brother and that he was probably a very charismatic and engaging friend of many. I know that he wants us to be like unto him. I know he has a TON of followers that want the same thing–for us to be MISERABLE. So, maybe if I talk about him (them) and think about him and discuss him often, it becomes a comfortable situation. I don’t want Satan to feel comfortable in my home.

    He is real. He is not invited.

  20. mom o' boys

    March 3, 2011

    Thank you for this and the comments that have followed.

    Prayer has been the most essential way to keep Christ’s light in my life. And, I unfortunately don’t pray on my knees very well…I fall asleep or get distracted. I find my very best moments of connecting with God are those moments nursing a baby (sadly not nursing anymore) in the early morning or washing dishes when all kids are happily occupied or driving alone to and from preschool or going for a walk.

    The other thing that I think helps us in our battle against Satan is to have an open heart…being willing to change (in a good way). There are little things in my life that I wonder if it’s time to give up. Our mortal experience is supposed to be one of continuous progression so I think step by step, bit by bit we need to give up something or add more of something. Change is really hard for me, and I’m trying to be willing to do it.

    One last thought in regards to the ongoing battle against Satan….I really think we live in a time when we need to be constantly vigilant. I’ve gotten lazy at different points with our family’s scripture study, and it is a real battle to get back in the routine each time, but I know that it is worth it. How can I send my kids out into a filthy world without their “armor” on? On thinking of teaching my kids in this day and age, I think of John 17 (the Lord’s intercessory prayer), especially of this verse: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”

    And, finally, I think an emphasis on Christ’s love and mercy is one of the best ways we can arm our kids against Satan. They will make mistakes along the way, and knowing of Christ’s open, loving arms may help them quickly come back.

    MelissaPete, best wishes to you and all those who fight mental illness. It looks like you’re preparing to get some advice for depression. I just wanted to share this one thought as I unfortunately have had my own battles in this area….there’s been a lot of research on the link between low vitamin D levels and depression. It’s not just quack doctors claiming this…I promise. I had my vitamin D levels checked a few months back (very easy blood test), and they were abysmally low. It makes a huge difference to get those back to normal. For a discussion of this and lots of other amazing stuff, check out the book “The Depression Cure” (I really and truly promise that it’s not Chinese herbs and quacky stuff). Sometimes, an episode of depression is very truly best helped by an antidepressant, but sometimes there are other possible triggers that might be as simple as not getting enough sunlight or not getting enough sleep or not spending enough time with people. I hope I haven’t been a threadjacker with this side note.

  21. Laurel C.

    March 3, 2011

    I agree wholeheartedly with “MormonHermitMom”‘s comment way up at the top of this thread. Talking about Satan truly invites his spirit in. I’d much rather focus on Christ. Knowing he’s real is good enough.

  22. Ana of the Nine Kids

    March 3, 2011

    Amen to your post. I’m reading Lord of the Rings to my kids (hardly scripture, I know but good nonetheless!) and I can’t help but think about the part where Gandalf, in trying to explain what caused Saruman’s fall says that it never pays to study TOO closely the ways of the enemy. (I can’t find the exact quote.) I am not refuting the importance of not discounting satan, just reiterating the importance of not placing TOO much emphasis on him.

  23. Kerri

    March 3, 2011

    I love this talk by Elder Holland: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=8501

    I’m also finding that as I become better at recognizing the voice of the spirit, I also have started better recognizing Satan’s whisperings and influence. I’m surprised at how often I’ve allowed him space in my thoughts without even realizing it was him. The same for the wild and crazy battles that can pop up in our home for no apparent reason before or during something important: attending the temple, FHE, serving someone.

  24. Heidi

    March 3, 2011

    Ditto to Stephanie2 and Kerri. Great thoughts!

  25. MJ

    March 3, 2011

    So often I’ve found myself in a discussion with a relative or a close friend about how they just aren’t getting answers anymore, and they honestly feel as though the Lord has forgotten about them, or they aren’t important enough to answer.

    I can see what Anna M is saying, about not wanting to invite Satan into her home, but I don’t think talking about Satan is an invitation to enter the premises. Just as one would teach a child how to recognize the Spirit’s whispering, so must one teach them to recognize Satan’s whisperings. Because as important as it is to know that Christ’s arms are always open for us, we also need to know that any thoughts of hopelessness come from Satan. One must have an understanding of both the good and the bad. It’s just a fact.

    I think Discernment is the key.

  26. mmiles

    March 3, 2011

    I think it’s too easy to over simplify our feelings. Not all feelings of hope and despair are from Satan, nor is mental illness or its effects. The gift of the human condition gives of the gift of experience–and mortal feelings that come with those experiences. Not all of our actions that fall short are because of temptation–they just are.

    Just like we are commanded to be anxiously engaged in good cause of our own free will and volition, and just as the Lord says we should not wait to be commanded in all good things, sometimes we will do really stupid things and have fleeting thoughts that are also simply our own volition without the whisperings from forces of good or evil. That is part of being human.

  27. LDS Anarchist

    March 4, 2011

    Your testimony of Satan is a good start. You just need to follow it up with some more doctrine. Amulek taught:

    Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.

    Yea, and I also exhort you, my brethren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing. (Alma 34: 23, 39)

    The ancients fought the devil’s power by preaching about it and by praying against it.

    Now, when was the last time you heard another LDS praying to God against the devil, or for power to resist his temptations?

    If we never pray for power against the temptations of the devil, what makes us think we will be free from his captivating power? The ancients surely did not just assume God would give them something they never asked for. Why do we?

  28. Sage

    March 4, 2011

    My fourteen year old almost always prays for the power to resist temptation (and it is not something we say, but what he truly means).

    I do think we are taught that Satan is real at church. That’s where I learned it. It is just an infrequent topic.

    Since no one has mentioned it I will. The book Left to Tell, although hard to read about the atrocities of Rwanda, was an amazing account of faith. I forget her name, but the author who was hidden in a tiny bathroom with about six other women for about two months, learned to recognize and ignore the whisperings of Satan encouraging her to succumb to hate as she listened to the evil going on around her. But she didn’t! She sought to fill herself with love and forgiveness. It is a powerful, amazing and beautiful example of overcoming Satan in the smallest temptations in order not to succumb to the greatest evils surrounding her.

    Pray, study the scriptures, attend church and serve others!

  29. Sage

    March 4, 2011

    I’m just thinking out loud, but I worry that I had the same attitude that “it is just part of being human” to make mistakes. I agree it’s not always Satan himself whispering in our ears, but I think I wasted years when I could have been drawing nearer to Christ, instead thinking I was just the way I was supposed to be. I want to more actively seek to overcome the “natural” man. That is why I was so impressed with Immaculeé Ilabagiza (the author of Left to Tell). In the extreme situation she was in, she was able to more clearly recognize which thoughts, however excusable, would lead her to hate. She chose to love instead.

  30. Mom of Teen

    March 4, 2011

    This very subject has been consuming me this week as my almost 14 yr old daughter told me she no longer wants to be Mormon. It is too much to get into in a comment, but it has consumed my life this week. It has consumed my prayers. There are several things going on, but mostly I wonder how we teach our children when they have already closed the door? I was told “I don’t want to feel it (the spirit) because I don’t want the label (Mormon) and I don’t want people to think I am weird (bc that is what people think of Mormons).” Now that she has said all of this (and more) I am afraid of being preachy and just pushing her away. She is scheduled to see a counselor next week, but I can’t tell you what this has done to me. I think we as adults recognize there are two paths and although we may get caught in Satan’s traps, how do we teach this to our children when those whisperings to be like the natural man come they are not of good, but of evil? Am I too late?

  31. Sharlee

    March 4, 2011

    Mom of Teen, no you are not too late. Almost- 14 is so young. Your daughter is still a child. Don’t despair. And don’t give up. Keep praying and don’t panic. With the guidance of the Spirit, you’ll know what to do. I’ll be praying for you too. Much love.

  32. Jennie

    March 4, 2011

    Mom of Teen, I agree with Sharlee. 13 years old is still a baby (although I doubt she thinks so). You’re still the boss even if she doesn’t want that to be the case.

    I’ll keep you in my prayers as well.

  33. O

    March 4, 2011

    Hmmm, I’d say this viewpoint is a bit heavy handed, and its not the way I’d talk to my kids about it. Honestly, mine would have nightmares and be scared to even tie their shoes after hearing something like this. I don’t think “every single little thing we do or say” invites God or Satan into our lives. Thats a bit extreme IMO. I agree that we need to be vigilant, but I think focusing more on the good is a better way to approach it. This feels too much like hell, brimstone and fire to me. Scare them straight, not teaching them to be good for goodness sake.

  34. Paradox

    March 4, 2011

    Satan doesn’t need any more attention than he currently gets. He isn’t worth the time or the memory it would take to mention him.

    By having the Atonement as an active, powerful force in our lives, we will have the Holy Ghost in our lives. He is our defense against the evil of this world, and he does his job just fine. We don’t need to “up our game” in this fight because this isn’t our fight–it is God’s. We’re better off exactly where we are–as disengaged with evil as we can possibly get.

    The Lord doesn’t honor anyone who goes looking for a fight. Only pride would make us do that. If we have peace in life, we have our prize. If we lack peace or feel beset by temptation, only the gospel and repentance will fix that–not jumping into the ring for a fight we will certainly lose.

  35. Kristine

    March 4, 2011

    Moroni 7:13. But behold that which of God invitith and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which invitith and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

    My prayers for every wonderful little teenager in the church.

  36. Michelle L.

    March 5, 2011

    Thanks for a fantastic post, Jennie.

    I especially loved this reminder–“we are inviting Satan into our lives every time we criticize someone, or flirt with a person we aren’t married to, or keep the extra change that the grocery store clerk gave us.”

  37. *camille

    March 5, 2011

    he tempts us, he tries us…his offerings at times may seem easier but when our backs are to the wall, he is no where to be found. he is a friend to no one.

    My fight begins with knowing that Christ is the way. He truly is the light when all else is dark. With Christ, I know that I am never alone.

  38. Mo

    March 6, 2011

    Recently I read an analogy that Satan is like both an arsonist and a firefighter–constantly appearing at disasters he has helped create. He lures us into sin and then turns around and accuses us of being sinners, telling us that our sins are so grievous that we should just go away and hide. As abundant as our sins are, they are no barrier to the super-abundant mercy of God, and yet Satan is masterful in distorting our perspective so that the size of our sins looks bigger than God’s grace. I try to remind myself that clinging to my guilt cannot and does not add to the value of Christ’s death on the cross for me and that my guilt should drive me to the Lord, not away from him.

  39. Jewel

    March 6, 2011

    Sometimes I too feel melodramatic when I see things as black and white as “Satan vs. God” in every little choice I, or others make.

    But I guess it’s better than being lukewarm and spewed.

  40. Kerri

    March 6, 2011

    Mo, I love that comment.

    Mom of Teen, I’m very touched by your predicament. My mom and dad have nine children, and only four of us have chosen to be active participants in the LDS church. Looking back, I’m sure that my mom’s and dad’s best tactic was love. One of my brothers (who early on had problems with the church) had some major issues in his life and sometimes would just disappear from our home. My mom made it a habit to leave a note on his pillow every night. We laughed about them (they would say things like “For FHE tonight we talked about prayer and then had brownies for our treat. I miss you!”) and teased her, but these little notes and the constant reminder of her love were the things that kept him tied to our family when he was pulling away the hardest.

    The Holy Ghost will teach you how best to love your daughter. Don’t give up or give in. She may or may not turn her heart around quickly. It’s 13, 14 years later for my brother and he hasn’t returned to fellowship in the gospel (although he does have a positive attitude towards it, which is nice), but he has returned whole-heartedly to the family and loves us all dearly. Lots of love to you. You can be the light she needs if you’re able to allow love to guide you instead of fear.

  41. mormonbirthmom

    March 11, 2011

    Yes, our conversations with each other should include warnings about Satan, but it’s my gut feeling that we don’t discuss him at length over the pulpit to protect the Spirit and keep our focus on worshipping Christ and not giving Satan a stage there. But listen to our Prophet and the Apostles conference addresses and messages – they DO warn us and are very direct about it. The core of the gospel is not only understanding how Christ is our Redeemer, but knowing the Adversary’s role during our earthly experience. If we are not choosing the one, we are choosing the other (“Ye cannot serve God and mammon”). I also suffer depression (it hit me in my mid 30’s)and Satan DOES kick you while you are down – he also kicks you when you pridefully think you are “doing great” and cannot be tempted. The Master of Lies just waits to suck you in and I believe we should pray always to draw unto Christ and avoid evil. Be careful not to dwell in evil places – a bar or “party”, online chat rooms/websites, or whatever encourages you to let your guard down and be of the world instead of with God.

  42. Mom of Teen

    March 18, 2011

    Kerri, I have thought about your story quite a bit. Thank you for sharing it. I’m sure that was a huge stress and really hard for your mom. She sounds like a wonderful lady/mom.

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