Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Elder Ronald A. Rasband on Satan's latter-day tactics

Elder Ronald A. Rasband (born February 6, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 2000.  He was the senior president of the Seventy when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2015. This talk was given in a General Priesthood session of conference when he was serving as a Seventy.
"Brothers and sisters, we are at war with Satan for the souls of men. The battle lines were drawn in our pre-earth life. Satan and a third of our Father in Heaven’s children turned away from His promises of exaltation. Since that time, the adversary’s minions have been fighting the faithful who choose the Father’s plan.
"Satan knows his days are numbered and that time is growing shorter. As crafty and cunning as he is, he will not win. However, his battle for each one of our souls rages on.
"For our safety, we must build a fortress of spirituality and protection for our very souls, a fortress that will not be penetrated by the evil one.
"Satan is a subtle snake, sneaking into our minds and hearts when we have let our guard down, faced a disappointment, or lost hope. He entices us with flattery, a promise of ease, comfort, or a temporary high when we are low. He justifies pride, unkindness, dishonesty, discontent, and immorality, and in time we can be 'past feeling' (1 Nephi 17:45). The Spirit can leave us. 'And thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell' (2 Nephi 28:21).....
"When we build a fortress of spiritual strength, we can shun the advances of the adversary, turn our backs on him, and feel the peace of the Spirit. We can follow the example of our Lord and Savior, who, when tempted in the wilderness, said, 'Get thee behind me, Satan' (Luke 4:8). We each have to learn by the experiences of life how to do that."
- Ronald A. Rasband, "Build a Fortress of Spirituality and Protection," General Conference April 2019
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

It's not exaggerating to describe the present conflict between good and evil in the world as "war." The struggle is real, and prophets frequently warn us that Satan's "battle for each one of our souls rages on" and remind us of our need to be prepared and strong.

Elder Rasband described an experience of his great-grandfather who, as one of the early pioneer settlers in the Heber Valley in Utah, helped build a protective wall of cottonwood logs around their homes. He likened that to the need we each have to "build a fortress of spirituality and protection for our very souls," enabling us to better ward off the attacks of the adversary:


The description of Satan as a "subtle snake" who can "[sneak] into our minds and hearts when we have let our guard down, faced a disappointment, or lost hope" is one that we should ponder. At the times when we are most vulnerable, we need to be the most cautious and the most committed to our spiritual fortifications.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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