Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: 'We Are All Enlisted'
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Joseph Smith's experience in the Sacred Grove is instructive in understanding the devil and his tactics, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve said in his priesthood session address Saturday evening.
"We don't talk abut the adversary any more than we have to, and I don't like talking about him at all," Elder Holland said, but Joseph's experience illustrates what every man in the congregation needs to remember.
"Satan or Lucifer or the Father of Lies — call him what you will — is real, the very personification of evil. His motives are in every case malicious, and he convulses at the appearance of redeeming light, at the very thought of truth," he said. He added that Satan is opposed to the love of God, the Atonement of Christ and the work of peace and salvation.
"He knows he will be defeated and cast out in the end, but he is determined to take down with him as many others as he possibly can."
Elder Holland discussed some of the devil's tactics.:
Though he cannot directly take a life, "his effort to stop the work will be reasonably well served if he can just bind the tongue of the faithful," Elder Holland said. "Brethren, if that is the case, I am looking tonight for men young and old who care enough about this battle between good and evil to sign on and speak up."
Using an athletic analogy, Elder Holland said, "With the game on the line, what this coach is telling you is that to play in this match some of you have to be more morally clean than you now are. In this battle between good and evil you cannot play for the adversary whenever temptation comes along, then expect to suit up for the Savior at temple and mission time as if nothing happened."
Elder Holland emphasized the "miracle of forgiveness" or the Atonement of Christ as a means of leaving behind any transgression with which one may struggle. "But you can't do it without an active commitment to the gospel and you can't do it without repentance where it is needed."
To Melchizedek Priesthood holders, Elder Holland said, "Don't smile and settle back into the comfort of your seats. I am not through. We need thousands of more couples serving in the missions of the Church. Every mission president pleads for them. Everywhere they serve, our couples bring a maturity to the work that no number of 19-year-olds, however good they are, can provide."
He noted that to encourage more couples to serve, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve in May of this year announced that housing costs for couples would be supplemented by Church missionary funds if the cost exceeds a pre-determined amount per month, that couple missions can be for six or 12 months as well as the traditional 18 or 24 and that permission is given for couples, at their own expense, to return home briefly for critical family events.