Considering headlines, reports of researchers, investigative journalists, and tens-of-thousands of witnesses, how can intelligent beings deny the pervasive, destructive reality of evil throughout the ages? an evil that cares not for the good of others, but cares only for power and gain at the expense of others? And yet many of us seem to live in denial when we give no thought to truly understanding “the enemy.”
In any conflict, such stupor about “enemies” can prove fatal. Consider the understanding of Sun Tzu,2 an ancient Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher.
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of WarDeception is the key strategy that pervades our culture—a fact of the most elemental observation—yet for the most part, we seem to live in blissful ignorance3 of the secrecy, lies, distortions, and counterfeits that underpin an agenda of destruction. One author writes:
In accepting life, we must relate to the world as it is—to the struggle between good and evil. There are, of course, some who would have us believe that there is no such thing as good or evil, but this philosophy runs counter to the natural laws of opposites that exist, such as heat and cold, light and dark, gravitation and vacuum, and many others. We need to use our eyes that we may see, our ears that we may hear, and our minds that we may be able to think and make our own decisions as we sift out the chaff of all we see and hear, so that we may know the truth of that which we feel in our hearts, as it is affirmed by the Holy Spirit.4Many other intelligent observers have borne like witness, including:
Like a huge serpent [Satan] has been winding his way throughout this age, leaving everywhere his contamination. While Satan is not omniscient and perfect in knowledge, he has sufficient knowledge of his destiny and how soon that destiny will be accomplished, and so as the age closes he becomes fiercer in his wrath; like a serpent which is attacked and in danger of being caught, his hiss is heard on all sides. He is now actively engaged in counterfeiting the Truth, in putting in his demon doctrines, in perverting the Truth wherever he can. And by and by after the true Church is gone he will put his masterpieces into the world, ... . Then he will blind the nations as never before and rush them on to the final climax of the age.5So in our busy, distracted lives, let us ask ourselves how often we ignore things as they were, as they now are, and as they will be. And let us ponder whether there is any déjà vu in this further observation of Sun Tzu?
It seems sometimes as if the darkness that surrounds us is all but impenetrable. I can see on all sides the signs of one great evil master mind working for the overturning of our civilization, the destruction of religion, the reduction of men to the status of animals. This mind is working here and there and everywhere.6
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of WarWhat then is our responsibility to know the enemy? Would God repeat Himself with these words?
It is an imperative duty that we owe to God, to angels, with whom we shall be brought to stand, and also to ourselves, to our wives and children, who have been made to bow down with grief, sorrow, and care, under the most damning hand of murder, tyranny, and oppression, supported and urged on and upheld by the influence of that spirit which hath so strongly riveted the creeds of the fathers, who have inherited lies, upon the hearts of the children, and filled the world with confusion, and has been growing stronger and stronger, and is now the very mainspring of all corruption, and the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity. It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell. ... Which dark and blackening deeds are enough to make hell itself shudder, and to stand aghast and pale, and the hands of the very devil to tremble and palsy. And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart—For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—These should then be attended to with great earnestness. (Doctrine and Covenants 123:7-14)-------------------/
1. Pearl of Great Price | Moses 4:6 ~ And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy theworld.
Old Testament | Ezekiel 22:27 ~ Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
Book of Mormon | Helaman 8:28 ~ And behold, they both belong to your secret band, whose author is Gadianton and the evil one who seeketh to destroy the souls of men.
Doctrine and Covenants 10:27 ~ And thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men.
New Testament | Revelation 2:24 ~ But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
2. Sun Tz (/ˈsuːnˈdzuː/; also rendered as Sun Zi) was a Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher who lived in the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, a widely influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and Eastern philosophy. ... The Art of War is traditionally ascribed to Sun Tzu. It presents a philosophy of war for managing conflicts and winning battles. It is accepted as a masterpiece on strategy and has been frequently cited and referred to by generals and theorists since it was first published, translated, and distributed internationally. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu) Quotes from http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1771.Sun_Tzu
3. Book of Mormon : 2 Nephi 28:21-22, 24-25 ~ For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. And behold, others 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. ... Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!
4. “Turn Heavenward Our Eyes” by John H. Vandenberg, General Conference | Oct. 1971 at https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1971/10/turn-heavenward-our-eyes?lang=eng
5. Gaebelein, Arno C.. Studies in Prophecy ~ © 1918 (Kindle Locations 259-264). Kindle Edition.
6. J. Reuben Clark Jr. in Conference Report, Oct. 1935, 92 at https://ia600704.us.archive.org/33/items/conferencereport1935sa/conferencereport1935sa.pdf
(Thank you to C. Hardy for bringing this quote to my attention in a recent CAStake Conference.)