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Knowing the Tactics of Our Enemies – Joseph G. Richardson

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Military service taught me how a knowledge of Satan’s tactics can give me strength in the battles that lie ahead.

Source: Knowing the Tactics of Our Enemy

President George A. Smith (1817–75) of the First Presidency illustrated this when he told this Chinese fable:

“A man, traveling through the country, came to a large city, very rich and splendid; he looked at it and said to his guide, ‘This must be a very righteous people, for I can only see but one little devil in this great city.’

“The guide replied, ‘You do not understand, sir; this city is so perfectly given up to wickedness … that it only requires one devil to keep them all in subjection.’

“Traveling on a little farther he came to a rugged path and saw an old man trying to get up the hill side, surrounded by seven great, big, coarse looking devils.

“‘Why,’ says the traveler, ‘this must be a tremendously wicked old man, only see how many devils there are around him.’

“‘This,’ replied the guide, ‘is the only righteous man in the country and there are seven of the biggest devils trying to turn him out of his path and they all cannot do it.’”5

If Satan can lead away a member of the Church, he gains a greater victory than he does over one who has never made any covenants with God. Elder Larry R. Lawrence, an emeritus member of the Seventy, taught: “The devil targets all men, but especially those who have the most potential for eternal happiness. He is clearly jealous of anyone who is on the pathway to exaltation.”6

An even more decisive battle is won by the enemy if a leader of the Church is overcome by the adversary. President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) wrote: “Satan wants all men, but especially is he anxious for the leading men who have influence. Perhaps he might try much harder to claim men who are likely to be his greatest opposition, men in high places who could persuade many others not to become servants to Satan.”7

Knowing that Satan will put his forces on his strongest opponents can help us prepare to face battles throughout life. We can be motivated to continually put up defenses against our spiritual enemy.

Knowing this can also help us as we share the gospel with our friends and family. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “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.”8

As we share the gospel knowing that everyone will also likely be experiencing their own battles against Satan, we can be better prepared to recognize those battles and to join others in fighting against him regardless of their beliefs.