As Nephi earlier identified false doctrines promoted by Satan, he also identified some of the strategies that promote “the kingdom of the devil” (2 Nephi 28:19). Our modern-day prophets and apostles have continued to identify the tactics used by Satan. Bishop Richard C. Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric warned us of the reality of the attacks of the adversary:
“We have … had very specific warnings regarding Satan’s power, influence, and determination. Nephi prophesied more than twenty-five hundred years ago of the trials and turbulence that you would face. You all know the scripture. It is found in the 28th chapter of 2 Nephi: [2 Nephi 28:20–21]
“I believe this scripture is true. I believe the time is now. And I believe the target is you. For the most part, Satan has made great strides in establishing and selling his value system, which is based upon the son of man, not the Son of God: ‘Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die’ (2 Nephi 28:7) and ‘There is no hell’ (2 Nephi 28:22). His is a value system based upon selfishness, self-indulgence, and immediate gratification. Thus we see devastating decisions constantly being made by those of your age. We see cultures infested with drugs, sex, alcohol, pornography, laziness, and many other spiritually devastating practices. But that does not have to be you.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has warned us and pleaded with us:
I wish to say in the strongest language of which I am capable, stay away from moral iniquity. You know what is right and wrong. You cannot use ignorance as an excuse for unacceptable behavior. …“‘I beg of you, my dear young friends, to avoid such behavior. It will not be easy. It will require self-discipline. … You need the strength that comes of prayer’ (“To Men of the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 58–59)” (“Becoming You” [CES fireside for young adults, Nov. 3, 2002], 4, www.ldsces.org).
“They be stirred up to anger” (2 Nephi 28:19).
Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles identified the danger that comes from following Satan’s temptations to take advantage of each other:
“It should come as no surprise that one of the adversary’s tactics in the latter days is stirring up hatred among the children of men. He loves to see us criticize each other, make fun or take advantage of our neighbor’s known flaws, and generally pick on each other. The Book of Mormon is clear from where all anger, malice, greed, and hate come from.
“… By the looks of what we constantly see depicted in the news media, it appears that Satan is doing a pretty good job. In the name of reporting the news, we are besieged with sometimes graphic depictions—too often in living color—of greed, extortion, violent sexual crimes, and insults between business, athletic, or political opponents” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 24–25; or Ensign, May 1992, 19).
“Pacify, and lull them away into carnal security” (2 Nephi 28:21).
Bishop Richard C. Edgley commented on the carnal desires so prevalent in today’s world:
“Nephi describes [Satan’s] sales techniques as pacifying, flattering, and lulling as he declares, ‘All is well’ (2 Nephi 28:21–22). Among other things Satan would have us put in our bags is immorality in all its forms, including pornography, language, dress, and behavior. But such evil deeds bring emotional distress, loss of spirituality, loss of self-respect, lost opportunity for a mission or temple marriage, and sometimes even unwanted pregnancy. Satan would enslave us by having us put drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and other addictive behaviors into our bags” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 57; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 43).
“There is no hell; and … I am no devil, for there is none” (2 Nephi 28:22). One of the greatest lies perpetuated is that there is no devil.
President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) of the First Presidency affirmed the reality of Satan with this testimony:
“A corollary to the pernicious falsehood that God is dead is the equally pernicious doctrine that there is no devil. Satan himself is the father of both of these lies. To believe them is to surrender to him. Such surrender has always led, is leading now, and will continue to lead men to destruction.
“Latter-day Saints know that there is a God. With like certainty, they know that Satan lives, that he is a powerful personage of spirit, the archenemy of God, of man, and of righteousness.
“The reality of the existence of both God and the devil is conclusively established by the scriptures and by human experience” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 22; or Ensign, June 1971, 35).