Last August, Merrilee Boyack (one of my favorite Authors), gave a talk to the Youth during Education Week. Here are a few excerpts from it.:
This life is our battle (and there will be many)! And that would make Satan and his followers the enemy we are fighting against.
"The enemy is strong", she cautioned. She told the youth Satan wasn’t just anybody in Heaven — he was a leader.
“This guy was close to the Savior … he was an unbelievably developed spirit,” she said. “When he wanted his own way, he rebelled … and now he’s out to get you.”
"Satan’s plan", she continued, "is to attack the saints of God."
“[Satan] chose us to fight against,” Boyack said. “You are the target enemy, you are the crown jewels.”
What is Satan's Plan of Attack? How will he try to get us?
"Generally", Boyack said, "there are two positions members can choose apart from accepting the counsel of the prophets and Church leaders."
“One is apostasy in saying that our leaders don’t know what they’re doing. The other is apathy,” she said. “Both are dangerous.”
"Often in APOSTASY, good members of the Church justify their differing opinions by saying Church leaders are out of date, out of touch or simply stating their opinion", Boyack said.
"In APATHY, they just decide it will never happen, that the issues the world faces will disappear if only the members ignore them. This is Satan’s plan", Boyack said.
Boyack warned the youth about the bitterness of Satan, how he lost everything, and now he wants revenge.
“Can you imagine how miserable he is?” Boyack asked. “He could have had everything and he risked it all on one bet and with that he now he has nothing.”
His target, of course, has shifted to those who have found the truth and are on the path to getting back to their Heavenly Father.
“You are on the track of salvation and happiness,” she said, “and he’s not too happy about it.”
So he created his Plan of Misery, Boyack said. He created this plan to put all the two-thirds of heaven who did not follow him into an enslavement of sin.
“Here’s what he wants to do with his misery,” Boyack said. “His plan is for you to be miserable; his plan is for you to be in darkness.”
Boyack listed the several ways in which Satan would achieve his goal: through digesting damage, discouragement, distraction and darkening.
“There is a direct connection between your body and your spirit,” Boyack said.
Because of this connection, it is important the youth do not fall into gluttony, obesity and addiction. Boyack asked the youth if they were consuming food with drug-like attributes.
This is more than just caffeine, she said, this is sugar, chocolate, energy drinks and fat.
“You want to supersize everything,” Boyack said. “You’re going to supersize your body and your heart and your liver all at the same time.”
DISCOURAGEMENT & DISTRACTION:
She warned the youth about feeling too down on themselves or becoming so busy with other activities they don’t have time for the spiritual.
Boyack quoted a general conference talk by Elder Kevin W. Pearson, saying, “Discouragement and distraction are two of Satan’s most effective tools, but they are also bad habits.”
Finally, Boyack commented on how the world is continually getting darker.
A few decades ago, the movie “Gone with the Wind” shocked the audience with i’s undignified grammar. Now it’s considered tame.
“Satan has turned the dimmer switch darker and darker,” Boyack said. “We must fight for our freedom.”
Boyack then provided four easy ways to combat Satan’s plan.
1. Instead of digesting damage, we should nourish.
2. We should avoid discouragement and learn to love others and ourselves.
3. We can halt distractions by listening to the still small voice.
4. Cast out the darkness by emitting light.
“You were sent here because you stepped forward, you were here because you were battle ready, you are here because you’re the brightest and best hope of all God’s children,” she said.