Friday, April 5, 2024

Satan Out, Christ In!

Rebuking Satan and discerning the Lord’s Voice from Satan and the voices of the world.

The first application of the atonement we will study and discuss requires that we recognize the voice of the Lord and discern what voices are of the devil. Once we can discern what is of the devil we can use the power of Christ to command the devil to leave us.

The Lies of Satan

“Whenever the adversary cannot persuade imperfect yet striving Saints such as you to abandon your belief in a personal and loving God, he employs a vicious campaign to put as much distance as possible between you and God… he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.”

“As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself. Living the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy. Above all, it is completely unnecessary!”

– “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence” by By Elder Jörg Klebingat, Of the Seventy, General Conference October 2014


When God speaks to us through the Spirit the messages are gentle and kind, they inspire and encourage, they instruct and move us to act.

If the thoughts in our mind are mean, cruel, vicious, despairing, discouraging, and immobilize us, they are not of God! They most certainly are of the devil.

Once we can identify and discern between the words of Christ and the lies of Satan, then we have a powerful tool to get Satan out and begin to hear Christ.

“The house of the Lord is a house of learning… There we learn how to rebuke the adversary and draw upon the Lord’s priesthood power to strengthen us.” — President Russell M. Nelson, “Hear Him”

What instruction do we receive in the temple that teaches us how to rebuke the adversary? What we learn there about the power to rebuke Satan is also taught in the Pearl of Great Price in the story of Moses.

We can learn a great deal from Moses about how to call upon the power of Christ to rebuke Satan and get him out of our heads and our lives. (God to Moses Chapter 1, verse 12)

After the Lord showed Moses a vision beyond imagining, of all the works of God, worlds without number, and all of his purposes and glory, and all the ages of the Earth… After the Lord had departed and Moses was left to ponder, he said:

“I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed…

“And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.

“And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?… I can judge between thee and God…

“Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.

“I will not cease to call upon God… Depart hence, Satan.

“When Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.

“Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.

“And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.

“And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.

– Moses 1:12-22

We learn from this story that Moses gained strength to resist Satan because of his knowledge of his worth as a son of God, his determination to continue always in prayer, and to worship only God. We also learn that even a sincere and striving saint like Moses can be afflicted by Satan. Satan returns to him over and over even though he is true and faithful. In fact, it is because of what he is doing right that he must face the buffeting of Satan. In the end it is the fourth principle that is key to Moses gaining power over Satan. When Moses used the power of Christ to command Satan to depart, Moses gained the victory over Satan. We can and should learn to rebuke Satan as Moses did when we, like Moses, are buffeted by Satan regardless of our righteous efforts to resist. We can use the power of faith in Christ and his Word by commanding Satan: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.

There is Spiritual Power and Confidence is Discernment: We Must Learn to Hear the Voice of the Lord


1) The Voice of the Lord will not condemn the humble and contrite.
  • D&C 136:33: “My Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly.”
  • D&C 63:64: “That which cometh from above is sacred… spoken with care… in this there is no condemnation.”
  • Enos 1:5: “There came a voice unto me saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.”
  • John 3:17: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
  • John 8:11: “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
  • James 4:10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
  • 1 Peter 5:5: “Be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
  • Psalms 34:18: “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
  • D&C 52:15: “Wherefore he that prayeth, whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances.”
2) The Voice of the Lord will bear us up in comfort and mercy in our afflictions.
  • D&C 84:88: “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
  • Isaiah 49:13: “The Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.”
  • Jacob 3:1: “I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions.”

3) The voice of the Lord will speak peace to our hearts and minds.
  • Psalms 85:8: “The Lord will speak… peace unto his people, and to his saints.”
  • D&C 6:23: “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?”
  • Alma 58:11: “The Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.”

4) The Voice of the Lord speaketh the truth in love.
  • Ephesians 4:15: “Speaking the truth in love, [that we] may grow up into Him in all things.”
  • Titus 3:2: “Speak evil of no man… but [be] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”
  • Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
  • Moroni 8:26: “The Holy Ghost… filleth [us] with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.”

5) The Voice of the Lord edifieth and leadeth to do good and judge righteously.
  • D&C 11:12: “Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.”
  • D&C 52:16: “He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances.”
  • D&C 84:45: “For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”
  • D&C 6:15: “Thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth.”
  • Ephesians 5:9: “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.”
  • Alma 58:11: “He did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.”
  • Titus 2:1: “Speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.”
  • Ether 3:12: “Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.”
  • Moses 1:6: “He he is full of grace and truth.”
  • Isaiah 45:19: “I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”
  • I Corinthians 11:32: “We are chastened of the Lord.”
  • Hebrews 12:6: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.”
  • 2 Nephi 28:30: “I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”

6) The voice of the Lord causes our hearts to be filled with joy.
  • Mosiah 4:20: “He has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy.”
  • Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
  • John 3:29: He that “heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.”

7) The voice of the Lord speaks as a sacred friend knowing our inner heart and thoughts.
  • Exodus 33:11: “The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.”
  • D&C 6:16: “There is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.”
  • Romans 8:16: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
  • 1 Nephi 11:11: “He spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.”
  • John 10:4: “The sheep follow him: for they know his voice.”
  • John 10:27: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
  • Ether 12:39: “I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language.”
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9: “The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee.”
  • Psalms 139:1-4: “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.”
  • James 2:23: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”
  • John 15:13-14: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”



1) Bring to our remembrance
  • John 14:26: “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
2) Connects to us Spirit to spirit
  • Romans 8:16: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
The Spirit often connects with us spirit to spirit. A feeling a voice as though a memory is awakened from things our spirit already knows from a pre-mortal time. An epiphany of light as though we are remembering something we already know is true. I thought of the scripture in Romans 8:16 “ the spirit itself witness with our spirit…” this was a beautiful thought. So I have added this to the list of characteristics of the voice of the Lord.

3) Beareth Witness

When we bear record of the good news of the gospel, our spoken testimony invites the Holy Ghost to bear His witness of the truth of the message.

4) Voice of Warning
  • D&C 1:4: “The voice of warning shall be unto all people.”
  • Acts 26:14: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
5) Stupor of Thought
  • D&C 9:9: “But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought.”
6) Constrained by the Spirit

7) A Still Small Voice that Pierces the Soul
  • 3 Nephi 11:3: “They heard a voice as if it came out of heaven… it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center… yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.”
  • Helaman 5:30: “They heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul.”
  • Ezekiel 43:2: “his voice was like a noise of many waters.”
  • 1 Kings 19:12: “A still small voice.”
  • 1 Nephi 17:45: “Ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder.”
  • D&C 133:22: “And it shall be a voice as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, which shall break down the mountains, and the valleys shall not be found.”
8) Carries to the heart and makes it burn
  • 3 Nephi 11:3: “It did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.”
  • 2 Nephi 33:1: “When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.”
9) Speaks to us Through Dreams
  • Genesis 31:11: “And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream.”
10) Hearing a Voice & Feeling a Voice
  • Acts 9:7: “hearing a voice, but seeing no man.”
  • Acts 10:13: “There came a voice to him.”
  • Enos 1:5: “There came a voice unto me”
  • 1 Nephi 17:45: “feel his words.”
11) The Lord Speaks through Others, Especially the Prophets

Often the Spirit speaks to us through others, and that in service to others we convey the love of God and his voice is heard powerfully in this way as well.

12) Give us His Words to Speak
  • D&C 100:5-6: “Speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts… For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.”
We hear God's words when we are able to speak the words God would have them speak in the moment when they needed to, and not for themselves as much as for those they serve and love. It brought to my mind this verse from D&C 100:6 “For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.” This is another very important way that we hear the voice of the Lord, and sometimes we recognize his voice after we said just what was needed in that moment and we have a sense that those words were not our words at all.

13) The Lord’s Guiding Hand

Often we sense the guiding power of the Lord in her life as the sails of her life’s ship are filled by the directing winds of the Lord at her back. She expressed her faith in the Lord to move her in the direction he wants her to go. There was a profound truth in this observation that I had not identified in my scripture search though it is in the stories of the scriptures. It is a very important way that the Lord conveys his will to his, instead of voice it’s his directing hand. I am certain that a scriptures search of the key words directing hand, the Lord’s hand, would be rich with descriptions of this aspect of how God “speaks.”

One story that came to my mind was the story of the Jaredites. The story of the Jaredite journey to the promised land is a great allegory of the guiding hand of God in directing our course as we pass through the deep waters of life on our way to our eternal destination. Let me share the aspects of this allegory that expand upon the beautiful visual Becky shared as she expressed the unseen hand of the Lord filling the sails of her life ship.

First symbol in the allegory is the “barges” built by the Jaredites “according to the instructions of the Lord.” These barges can represent our inner lives, our homes and families. A very important feature of these barges is that “they were exceedingly tight” so that no water could penetrate the inner vessel. What could we do to build our life boats, our inner lives, so they would be “tight like into a dish” so that the waters of the deep, a symbol of the temptations, sins, and storms of this life, could not penetrate us? There are many scriptures that teach this principle, but one that comes to mind from Helaman’s descriptions of his faith and valiance of his stripping warriors. He said: “They did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness… [And] because of their exceeding faith… [they] did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power…. their minds [were] firm, and they [did] put their trust in God continually.” When we build our lives according to the instructions of Lord, our lives will be tight like into a dish, and we will be safe in the deep waters and storms of life will not overcome us in our journey through mortality.

The second symbol in the allegory are the stones lite by the finger of God that the Jaredites might not be left to travel in darkness, but to have light continually. This light represents the gift of the Holy Ghost that can be a light to us continually if we have built our lives after the instructions of the Lord. This light cannot be extinguished by the storms of the world because it is not worldly, it is heavenly light that shinneth eternally. In this part of the allegory the Lord also provides a way for them to breath throughout their journey, which I think is a precious connection between our total spiritual dependence on the Lord and his provisions for our temporal welfare as he preserves our lives in our mortal journey.

It is in the third symbol of the allegory that I see the truth Becky brought to our discussion. Jared has one more concern that he brings to the Lord when he asks, “whither shall we steer?” And the Lords response is: “For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth. And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come.” Theresa Lord tells Jared that he will be their rudder, he will steer their barges, they must trust in him even when it seems that the storms will overcome them, they will not for they are in His hands. I particularly like when he says “for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth,” it was this phrase that came to my mind when Becky was describing the Lord filling her sails as if his very voice, his breath, was pushing her sails and guiding her life. This is a real way that we experience “the Lord’s voice” but not as words, rather it is a guiding power we trust in as we orient our lives toward him and carry His light within. We can trust that he will direct us in the right path even when we do not know beforehand which way we should go.

*The Jaredite story is found in Ether 2

14) The Lord Speaks to Us Through Music
  • D&C 25:12: “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.”
The spirit speaks to us through music. I thought of the scripture, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” (D&C 25:12) The Lord uses heavenly music to speak to us. So I have also added this to our list for how the Lord speaks to us. What is beautiful about this idea is that music becomes a two-way communication between God and us, because it is like a prayer. Since Joycelyn talked about the song in her mind, I thought how wonderful it would be to be able to hear the gospel symphony and her head.


“HEAR HIM”: “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” (Luke 9:35) The more we feast upon the words of Christ the more able we are to recognize the voice of the Lord and the more able we are to comprehend and discern the light from the darkness.

“BY THE VOICE OF MY SERVANTS, IT IS THE SAME.” (D&C 1:38) As we listen to and watch the prophets and apostles we will become familiar with how Christ would speak to us if her were here.

THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST. I place this essential tool 3rd, and not first, because any voice or prompting we receive that is in any way contrary to the words of Christ from divinely appointed sources, contrary to the character of God as revealed to us in scripture, and in opposition to the words and deeds of His servants the prophets are of a certainty deceptions and not of God. We can know for a certainty that our promptings come from the Holy Spirit when we press them against the rock, who is Christ, and his words and they do not fall apart; if they stand firmly upon the foundation then they are of God. Our own personal witness from the Holy Spirit will be in harmony with #1 & 2.

BY THEIR WORKS YE SHALL KNOW THEM. “By their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.” (Read Moroni 7:5-19) It is given to us to know the way to judge – we may know with a perfect knowledge – for everything which inviteth to do good and persuade to believe in Christ, is sent by the power of God. Be very careful that you know what is good – in our day many will call good evil and evil good, and put darkness for light and light for darkness. – wo we must immerse ourselves in the words of Christ that we may know for a surety what is good and what is evil.

D&C 46: 7: “But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.”

D&C 50:31: “Wherefore, it shall come to pass, that if you behold a spirit manifested that you cannot understand, and you receive not that spirit, ye shall ask of the Father in the name of Jesus; and if he give not unto you that spirit, then you may know that it is not of God.”

D&C 50:2-3: “Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.”

Recognizing Satan’s messages, cultural influences, ideologies, and lies must begin with being fully immersed in the light. “I am the light that shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth me not.” (D&C 88:49) In a scientific sense, a light in a dark room is obviously discernable, even overwhelming obvious, but it doesn’t work this way with spiritual darkness. When a person is in spiritual darkness it is blinding, the midst of darkness so thick that the light is not discernible, thus the darkness comprehendeth not the light of Christ. Notice in Lehi dreams that those wandering the midst of darkness do not wander into the tree of life, but they first lay hold upon the rod of iron and begin to press forward in the path. As they move forward in the path and hold fast to the rod of iron the brightness of the tree of life comes into focus, becoming brighter and brighter as they draw nearer and nearer, until they come to the tree and partake of the fruit. From that viewpoint they can perfectly discern the darkness and the scenes that lie around them, but only so long as they stand firm in the light of the tree. If they wander off they will be lost again in the thick midst of darkness.

In our day we must be clear about how to lay hold upon the fruit of the tree and stay firmly planted in the light if we are to survive spiritually. “Whenever the God of Heaven reveals His gospel to mankind, Satan, the archenemy of Christ, introduces a counterfeit.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “A Witness and a Warning.”) Satan’s counterfeits in our time are particularly pernicious and difficult to discern without the full illumination of the tree. Anyone and anything that counterfeits the true gospel and perverts the plan of salvation is an anti-Christ. Julie B. Beck taught that in our times we would recognize these counterfeits by this true gauge, “If it’s anti-family, it’s anti-Christ.”

The Doctrinal Mastery Core Document has very valuable teachings and tools for discerning truth from error and recognizing Satan’s counterfeits. In Principle #2 of Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge, it teaches us how to examine EVERYTHING with an eternal perspective. It teaches that when we examine questions, ideas, or concerns with an eternal perspective, we seek help from the Holy Ghost in order to see things as God sees them. It teaches us to consider all things in the context of the plan of salvation. Implicit in this is the need to study the plan of salvation thoroughly and deeply, for the fuller our understanding of God's plan, the less likely we are to be deceived by the counterfeits. When we use the tools taught in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, we will examine questions and issues in proper context and discover the underlying assumptions of questions, concerns, and ideas presented to us – and we will be able to refrain from the questions which will lead us to correct answers based on the Lord’s standard of truth. Finally, we learn that we must never give more weight and importance to questions, concerns, or ideas that do not carry the saving power of covenants, ordinances & doctrines. We can learn to set aside those less important things when we can not reconcile them with what is most important and hold fast to the truths that we know.

What Does the Prophet Teach About Hearing the Voice of Lord and Rebuking Satan?

“He communicates simply, quietly, and with such stunning plainness that we cannot misunderstand Him… Daily immersion in the word of God is crucial for spiritual survival, especially in these days of increasing upheaval. As we feast on the words of Christ daily, the words of Christ will tell us how to respond to difficulties we never thought we would face.

“We can also hear Him in the temple. The house of the Lord is a house of learning. There we learn how to part the veil and communicate more clearly with heaven. There we learn how to rebuke the adversary and draw upon the Lord’s priesthood power to strengthen us and those we love.”

“We also hear Him more clearly as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. He is the Comforter. He will bring a feeling of peace to your heart. He testifies of truth and will confirm what is true as you hear and read the word of the Lord.

“What will happen as you more intentionally hear, hearken, and heed what the Savior has said and what He is saying now through His prophets? I promise that you will be blessed with additional power to deal with temptation, struggles, and weakness. I promise miracles in your marriage, family relationships, and daily work. And I promise that your capacity to feel joy will increase even if turbulence increases in your life.

— President Russell M. Nelson, “Hear Him”


Satan will never stop seeking to gain our souls, he will forever stalk us and fight against us. He will use any opportunity to burst into our minds and hearts. Let us do our very best, with the help of the Lord, to give him no power over us. When we forget how, when we take our eye off the Savior and allow ourselves to wander, let us immediately repent and rebuke Satan in the name of Christ. Remember, Satan and the Spirit of God cannot occupy your mind at the same time. We must learn to rebuke Satan and invite the Spirit into our hearts and minds, to fill us up, so there is no room for Satan.

If we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, seeking him in faith, trusting Christ in wholehearted belief, searching the scriptures with real intent, and feasting upon the words of Christ we WILL HEAR HIM and we will recognize and discern clearly between God’s voice and Satan’s.

In Conclusion of our Study of The Commandments

We’ve come to the end of this study and thorough examination of the commandments of God and His expectations of our obedience to them. We have looked at the consequences of keeping the commandments and rebellion against them, but at the center of all is the principle of love for God, for as Christ has said:

“If ye love me keep my commandments.” — John 14:15

I love the word keep in this scripture. Keep means “to have and retain possession of something.” We have been given God’s commandments as a precious gift, and he wants us to possess them, to retain them, for them to become part of us. To keep call also mean: “cause to continue in a specified course.” Is this not what the commandments to for us when we make them the guide by which we live, when we are diligent in our striving to obey them? Another definition of keep is: “continue doing or do repeatedly or habitually.” As we keep his commandments, the living of them becomes habitual until we become as He intends us to be, even as He is. Christ teaches us that this is how we show our love for Him and we have learned in this study that this is how we abide in His love for us.

“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” — John 15:10

Oh how different the world would be if we all loved God like this! Though in this world there will be strife and wickedness, yet among the followers of Christ there can be unity and peace that is not of this world.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33

The thousands of acts of keeping the commandments throughout our lives and drawing ourselves nearer and nearer to God are the way by which we will draw into our hearts and lives the power of Christ and his atonement and have the peace that He promises. Truly, a thorough study of the commandant, like the one we have done here at the daily manna over the last three months, can only convince us that faith without works is dead! As James taught:

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” — James 2:17-20

The commandments are not restrictions but rather they are the principles of truth that sustain us in the God given gift of agency by which we are made free. They activate in us the faith necessary to lay hold of His salvation and every good gift. They protect us from the fiery darts of the adversary and the temptations that so easily beset us. They bind us in a covenant relationship with Christ, the purpose of which is to change us into a new creature after his image, to be spiritually begotten of Christ and eventually become perfect.

“This day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.

“And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.

“And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.

— Mosiah 5:7-9, Book of Mormon

It is this relationship between faith and obedience, between works and grace, we come to truly know God and experience a transformation which makes bad men good and good men better. In our faith and knowledge of this true progression we can seek to establish a Zion people in these last days before the coming of Christ. Just imagine if the followers of Christ in this world were to live true to the faith what our society would look like.

In the Book of Mormon there is a description of such a Christian people, who for a time lived in a Zion society, one that came about because of this perfect partnership between works and faith — and sustained by their love of God. Look at what it was like to live in this way:

“And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.

“And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

“There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there [tribes]; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.

“And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered… and there was no contention in all the land.

— 4 Nephi 1:15-18, Book of Mormon

My hope and resolution after having completed this study of the commandments of God is that my commitment to keep his commandments will be renewed and that my faith will be expressed in my works, which include a daily joyful repentance for the ways I fall short of the glory of God.

So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
— Psalms 119:44-47

“The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” — Isaiah 32:17

“I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” — 1 Nephi 3:7

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me.” — 1 Timothy 1:12

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able…” — 2 Corinthians 5-6

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” — Philippians 4:13

“He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” — John 15:4-5

The Antidote to Covetousness: Humble and Grateful Love for God

The greatest antidote to covetousness and all its attendant vices and sins, is to live a humble and grateful life oriented toward love of God and all men.

“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” — Doctrine & Commandments 59:21

How can one know whether your desire for something is a righteous desire or covetousness (unrighteous desire)? There are two basic ways to judge, 1) Is your desire also God’s desire for you? 2) Are you seeking to acquire that desire in God’s way?

Of course, in order to answer these questions honestly, a person must be living a life dedicated to feasting on the words of Christ through scripture study and prayer, that they might discover what God desires for them to do and what it means to live in God’s way.

When we live our lives with a humble and grateful heart, and a love for God and our fellowmen, we will be spiritually inclined toward compassionate service and charity. One of my favorite hymns expresses this truth better than I am able.

Because I Have Been Given Much I Too Must Give

Because I have been given much,
I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty Lord,
Each day I live;
I shall divide my gifts from thee
With every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.

Because I have been sheltered, fed
By thy good care;
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share;
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
my roof's safe shelter overhead
That he too may be comforted.

Because I have been blessed by
thy great love dear Lord;
I’ll share thy love again
According to thy word;
I shall give love to those in need,
I’ll show that love by word and deed;
Thus shall my thanks be thanks in deed.

Righteous Coveting? 

“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” — 1 Corinthians 12:31

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” — Matthew 5:6

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” — Hebrews 13:5

Let’s make no time for coveting in our lives. “He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.” — Proverbs 21:26

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” — James 3:16-18

“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.” — Titus 3:2-3

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” — Malachi 3:10

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” — Matthew 6:1-4

“Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” — Matthew 5:42

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

— Matthew 25:34-40

“When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” — Mosiah 2:17, Book of Mormon

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.” — Doctrine & Covenants 78:19

“See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.” — Doctrine & Covenants 88:123

Covetousness Opens the Way For Greater Sin

Covetousness is a quality of the carnally minded. It is synonymous with other carnal sins such as envy, contention, divisions, thievery, adultery, and murder. Envying leads to strife and divisions. Covetousness is characterized by pride and selfishness, which leads to conceit and rebellion.

Covetousness and its related sins and vices lead to perilous times marked by conspiring men whose lusts inspire secret criminal combinations. The rampant disobedience to the final five “Thou shalt nots” will bring about the destruction foretold by prophets.

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” — 1 Corinthians 3:3

“They covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.” — Micah 2:2

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” — 2 Timothy 3:1-2

Joseph’s “brethren envied him… they conspired against him to slay him… and they stript Joseph out of his coat… and cast him into a pit… and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came… going… down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him…” — Genesis 37:11-27

Christ said the high priests delivered him to crucifixion because of envy. — “For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.” — Mark 15:10

“When Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.” — 1 Nephi 3:25, Book of Mormon

See if you can identify those “works of the flesh” that are consequences of coveting?

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” — Galatians 5:21

I count at least 9 out of the 17 listed.

“For the time speedily shall come that all… which are built up to get gain, and all who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.” — 1 Nephi 22:23, Book of Mormon

“Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God… Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.” — Alma 5:28-29, Book of Mormon

“Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.” — Moroni 9:28, Book of Mormon

Covetousness Afflicts the Poor and the Rich

The sin of covetousness is not related to how much a person has, a person can be rich and never be satisfied. The poor are just as likely to find contentment in their need as the rich. Covetousness afflicts the poor and the rich.

“From the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness.” — Jeremiah 6:13

The nature of covetousness is the restlessness of never having enough to satisfy. As the proud and covetous man looks always to his own way and for his own gain, meaningful contentment will ever elude him.

“They are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.” — Isaiah 56:11

Weather rich or poor, when life is focused first on the material, there will never be enough to satisfy, but rich or poor, when spiritual welfare is the first priority and it rules the material, then even when giving the last mite, there will be inner peace and satisfaction.

A favorite country song of mine speaks to this idea of “Wantin’ and Havin’ It All”

Rich man grew old, owned a mansion on top of the hill
Now he's sitting at the table with his lawyer
Goin' over his will 'cause he's ill
The kids don't call, they're waitin' for the man to die
He's gonna leave 'em all a little somethin'
But they're gonna be real surprised
There's a poor man livin' on a budget at the bottom of that hill
With a wife and two kids and a worried mind
About how he's gonna pay the bills
Well, only the rich man knows, see
That's where a lot of his money goes
To the man that brought wood in the winter
To take a little weight off his shoulders

There's this thing called wantin' and havin' it all
If you're gonna get there, you're gonna have to walk
But first, you'll have to crawl
And you know you've gotta do it step by step
Miss one and you'll fall into this well
Called wantin' and havin' it all

Poor man has everything that the rich man don't
He's got love in his life and his heart
He's got a house he calls home
The rich man owns everything from miles around
But what he needs can't be bought, it has to be found
His rich kids think that they're better, 'cause they're better off
That's how they grew up thinkin' and now
He thinks it's all his fault
So while there's still time, the daddy that they nickel and dime
Is gonna make 'em learn to take a turn
And stand in line

There's this thing called wantin' and havin' it all
If you're gonna get there you're gonna have to walk
But first you'll have to crawl
And you know you've gotta do it step by step
Miss one and you'll fall into this well
Called wantin' and havin' it all

See life's full of changes
And wantin' right now what you only see in your dreams
I know you don't like it and think
It's the strangest thing you've ever seen
Well, there ain't nothin' you can do about it

There's this thing called wantin' and havin' it all
If you're gonna get there, you're gonna have to walk
But first you'll have to crawl
And you know you've gotta do it step by step
Miss one and you'll fall into this well
Called wantin' and havin' it all

“Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of… judgment: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!

“Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!

“But blessed are [they] whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.” — Doctrine & Covenants 56:16-18

Can You Covet Your Own Property?

When we love our own property more than doing the will of God, when our love for our things causes us to be unwilling to be generous or sacrificing, then we covet our own property.

It is important to note here, that God wants heartfelt freewill offerings. Charity is powerful in its ability to change both the giver and receiver, but the power is lost when the offering is not free, when it is required. Those who see taxes for social welfare as Christian, misunderstand the essential need for freewill giving.

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” — 2 Corinthians 9:7

“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: and giveth it willingly with his heart.” — Exodus 25:2

“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” — Deuteronomy 15:11

“Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” — Matthew 5:42

“He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.” — Luke 3:11

“Thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely…” — Doctrine & Covenants 19:26

The 10th Commandment: “Thou Shalt not Covet”

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” — Exodus 20:17

Coveting is not an innocent yearning or simple desire to possess or have something, coveting in a scriptural sense is an unholy desire that expresses itself in greed, envy, jealous lusts, entitlement and ingratitude. It is a grievous sin because it leads to the pursuit of self over all. Covetousness seeks to tear others down in an avarice ambition and self-promotion. It is a wanting that is not satisfied.

We can come to understand the sin of covetousness by looking at its opposite. The opposite attitude is characterized by a generous nature, a grateful heart, and a selfless desire. A person without a covetous nature is a humble hard-working person who is satisfied with the life God has given them. They seek self-improvement for godly purposes and accept the trials and tribulations of life in faith and gratitude. They are generous and compassionate to those in greater need than themselves and do not envy those with greater abundance.

It is possible to covet more than temporal possessions, a person can covet another person's fame, public respect, popular attention, their talents and appetites, even their spiritual gifts.

Not all desire for something one observes in the possession of another is covetousness. For example, a young person may observe the happy contentment and bountiful blessings of a long married couple surrounded by their children and grandchildren and desire to have such a life for themselves.

How can one know whether their desire for something they observe in another is a righteous desire or covetousness (unrighteous desire)?

There are generally two basic ways to judge, 1) Is your desire also God’s desire for you? 2) Are you seeking to acquire that desire in God’s way?

The greatest antidote to covetousness and all its attendant vices and sins, is to live a humble and grateful life oriented toward love of God and all men. What would our world look like without covetousness? What murder, or adultery would be committed without the vice of covetousness? What lie would be told or possession stolen? What deceit would be practiced? The 10th commandment may be last, but it is not least in the “Thou shalt nots.”

When you think of the commandment “Thou shalt not covet” your first thoughts are probably related to the unholy desires for money and the possessions of wealth. The sentiment is expressed in an oft quoted bible verse:

“For the love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:11)

So let’s start our study of the 10th commandment with a discussion how the love of money is the root of all evil. It begins with the heart. It is not the money that is evil but the love of it.

Its Love of God that Saves us from the Love of Money:

Jesus taught: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21)

The orientation of our hearts and desires toward the things of heaven over the things of this world is the only sure way to be rich in a Godly way. It isn’t that Christ doesn’t understand our need for temporal possessions, or has no desire for us to enjoy the blessings of prosperity, rather he said:

“If ye… know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11)

It is how we order our desires and actions that frees us from the corrupting influence of the love of money, and brings forth the abundant blessings of our Father in Heaven, both spiritual and temporal.

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

“And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

“For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.”

— Matthew 6:25-34

In this passage, Christ is not advocating a naïve idleness, but rather an ordered active seeking to establish righteousness in our lives. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added into you.” As we aligning our will with His, those thoughts and concerns we have over temporal needs, will not be worried preoccupations with the material world, but rather a peaceful assurance in the promises of wellbeing for all those who live life yoked with Christ.

The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil:

Where there is covetousness there is pride. Pride is a condition of the sinful heart, it trusts in the arm of flesh, it loves money over God. It is the universal sin. Notice the connections between pride, covetousness, and love of money in this passage from 1 Timothy:

“He is PROUD, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh ENVY, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, SUPPOSING THAT GAIN IS GODLINESS: from such withdraw thyself.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some COVETED after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called.”
— 1 Timothy 6:4-12

Notice the base condition of those who are rich as to things of this world compared to those whose great gain is the contentment of a godly life. Why then are we so tempted to cover the pleasures of those wicked who are rich in the things of the world?

“I was envious… when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” — Psalms 73:3

“Be uot thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.” — Proverbs 24:1

Notice what the great stumbling blocks are among those who are called of God. Paul says to fight the good fight and lay hold on eternal life until which we are called, and Christ said: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) And why are they not chosen? “Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men.” (Doctrine & Covenants 121:34-35)

The difference then, is a matter of the heart! For what you treasure, there will your heart be also.

“Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” — Luke 12:15

“And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel… more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.” — Mormon 8:36-37, Book of Mormon

“Ye are cursed because of your riches… because ye have set your hearts upon them, and have not hearkened unto the words of him who gave them unto you. Ye do not remember the Lord your God in the things with which he hath blessed you, but ye do always remember your riches, not to thank the Lord your God for them; yea, your hearts are not drawn out unto the Lord, but they do swell with great pride, unto boasting, and unto great swelling, envyings, strifes, malice, persecutions, and murders, and all manner of iniquities.” — Helaman 13:21-22, Book of Mormon

Thou Shalt Not Lie: False Preaching

For the final topic in the study of the 9th Commandment, the scriptures have quite a lot to say about false preaching. To lie and deceive by preaching the lies of Satan as though they are the words of God is particularly harmful because of the power of words on the immortal soul.

“The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.” — Jeremiah 28:15

“Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad… and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life.” — Ezekiel 13:22

“Then the Lord said unto me… I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision… a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” — Jeremiah 14:14

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” — Romans 16:17-18

“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” — Ephesians 5:5-6

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” — Colossians 2:8

Thankfully the scriptures give instruction to prepare us against the deceit of false preachers. The first bulwark against false preaching is to know that those who deny the divinity of Christ are not true witnesses for God.

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” — 2 John 1:7

The second bulwark against the deception of false teaching is personal preparation through daily feasting on the words of Christ and the prophets — and abiding by the precepts of scripture and diligently striving to keep the commandments.

“Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived… Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul… ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him.” — Deuteronomy 11:16-22

“Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” — 2 Timothy 3:13-17

The third bulwark against the deception of false teaching is our reliance upon God’s authorized apostles and prophets to help us correctly interpret the scriptures.

“And he gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”—Ephesians 4:11-14

The struggle to know which pastors and teachers to follow is real. And the cost of following after those who are blind, or worse, who lye in wait to deceive, is no small matter. As Christ said, “They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” — Matthew 15:14

Jesus Christ himself gives the best warning of false preachers and the best antidote to deception in these words:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

“Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

— Matthew 7:15-20

On this principle of false preaching we must be careful because there are many honorable, faithful, and good people who are not Christian; and within the Christian world there are many sects who disagree on doctrine. Disagreements often get heated within the Christian world; and sadly there is often too little Christian charity in our interactions with each other.

It is then not surprising, but none the less sad, when there is harsh condemnation of those who have not received the testimony of Christ. I am saddened when I see Christians uncharitably attacking good and faithful Jewish people, as if to say they can’t possibly have anything virtuous or good to share because they don’t share our belief in Jesus Christ; or that an association with them is spiritually dangerous. I do not believe this is how Christ intended us to act when we asked us to beware of false prophets.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There are many Christians who say that I am not a Christian, that the teachers of my faith are wolves in sheep’s clothing. There are many pastors that sow hatred and division between their flock and members of my church. We are not alone. I have heard harsh words from Protestants toward Catholics and vice versa.

As a Latter-day Saint I have been taught and I believe that Jesus Christ is the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. I believe that Jesus Christ, under the direction of His Father, was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Jesus Christ is the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world, the unblemished lamb, the infinite sacrifice for sin. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth. He is my Savior and yours. He accepts all who come unto him with broken hearts and contrite spirits. He is the way, the truth, and the life. There is no way to heaven but through Him. He taught the truths of eternity, His gospel is a message of peace and goodwill. He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20), and because He lives, all men shall live again.

Most important of all, is my personal knowledge of Christ. The witness I have of his presence in my daily life. I have felt his power lift me, heal me, strengthen me and sustain me in my walk in this life. I know from his word that he expects me to walk in his ways, to keep his commandments, but I have learned in the trying that only through Christ can I do the good that I am able to do. That only through His atonement and daily repentance and trusting in Him — or in other words, only by his grace — will I enter into his rest and be reunited with my Father in Heaven.

This is my testimony of Christ. I cannot consider myself anything except a Christian. I understand well the differences in doctrine, the charges placed at my church. It may be because of the many experiences I have had as a Latter-day Saint that I am sensitive to how Christians interact with each other and those of other religions.

While we must be firm in our testimony of Christ we must also be examples of his love in our dealings with all people. There is a difference between those sources we look to for primary spiritual guidance in our lives and being open to and uplifted by all people of good influence.

In my church, as in most Christian sects, we have official statements that describe the basic tenets of our beliefs. One such document we call, “The Articles of Faith.” The last article, the 13th, makes this declarative statement about how we are to judge which teachings outside of our own church we ought to seek after.

“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” — Joseph Smith.

Remember, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” If we can allow ourselves to be uplifted by those things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy, then we will build greater unity in the faith. I pray we will do this until we all come together, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, for unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:5-6)

Do those we look to for spiritual guidance preach what we need to hear, or what we want to hear? Are their words flattery? Do they make us feel comfortable in our sin? Flattering words that give permission to act in sinful ways are vain and deceptive preaching. There is no true love or compassion in such lies, they only cause us to sin, which can have no effect except our own misery.

“They became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the vain and flattering words… for they did speak flattering things unto them.” — Mosiah 11:7, Book of Mormon

“For it came to pass that they did deceive many with their flattering words, who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins.” — Mosiah 26:6, Book of Mormon

For those who refrain from teaching the truth because they fear the truth will offend and be hard for some to accept, this warning is an important one:

“But behold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by thy lying and by thy flattering words.” — Alma 30:47, Book of Mormon

“And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.”

“Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.” — 2 Nephi 28:8-9, Book of Mormon

Eschew All Wicked Language

The commandments attendant to the 9th commandment, are all those commandments related to evil speech in general. We are commanded to cease from all filthy language, profanity, corse and lewd speech, insults, flattery, slander, gossip, etc.

“My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.” — Job 27:4

“Put off all these; ANGER, WRATH, MALICE, BLASPHEMY, FILTHY COMMUNICATION out of your mouth. LIE NOT one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” — Colossians 3:8-10

In “the transgression of the wicked… there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes… THE WORDS OF HIS MOUTH ARE INIQUITY AND DECIET: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.” — Psalms 36:1-4

“For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.” — Psalms 5:9

“Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant.” — Psalms 78:35-36

“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all… But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” — Matthew 5:34-37

Satan is the Father of Lies

“The devil… was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” — John 8:44

When Christ described the devil, he said he was the father of lies, but he also said he was a murderer from the beginning. What did he mean by that? How was he a murderer being unembodied? There is a clue to this in Revelations:

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” — Revelations 12:7-9

From the war in Heaven, Satan was responsible for the spiritual death of those who followed him, and he continues to be responsible for spiritual death. Through his lies he “deceiveth the whole world,” even into death.

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” — Revelations 21:8

When we understand that the line behind truth and lies is as clear as day and not, Christ and the anti-Christ, then we can understand why God has said he hates a lying tongue. A lie is an abomination in the sight of God.

“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

“A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

“An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

“A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

— Proverbs 6:16-19

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” — 1 John 2:22

“The devil, who is the father of all lies.” — 2 Nephi 2:18, Book of Mormon

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. — Revelations 22:14-15

“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer… He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. — Psalms 101:5-7

“And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord… They have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord.” — Jeremiah 9:3-6

“He flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.” — 2 Nephi 28:22, Book of Mormon

“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

“Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

“He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

“When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

“Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.

“Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

— Proverbs 26:22-28